laura ratliff and ryan smith

Shrimp Tacos with Crema and Salsa Verde Recipe

By Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith | May 24, 2012

tacos

Summer tends to bring about a fierce craving for tacos and even though New York sadly lacks the Tex-Mex cuisine that the Southwest has in abundance, tacos are happily up to par. While it’s so easy to grab a taco from one of the ubiquitous trucks, you can easily make your own. These tacos are served on corn tortillas (double-layered, of course) and will never see lettuce, tomatoes or processed cheese.

While these tacos have more of a Californian flair, reminiscent of San Francisco’s great taquerias, they’re still entirely authentic and also entirely delicious. Rather than barbacoa or carnitas filling, these are made with plump, fresh shrimp, with their shells on. Cooking shrimp with their shells retains juices, which means more flavor once they make their way to the tortilla. After cooking the shrimp in garlic butter, shell and pile them high on tortillas and top with shredded green cabbage, homemade crema and salsa verde. Tacos like these are simple to make and can be modified to suit virtually anyone’s tastes, so don’t feel as if you need to stick to a recipe too closely. Paired with an ice-cold beer and some guacamole, you simply can’t go wrong.

Photos by Laura Ratliff

Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith are the authors of Smith & Ratliff, a New York City-based lifestyle blog. They write about food, cocktails, art, style and life in New York City. Follow them on Twitter:@smithratliff

Thai Green Curry Shrimp Recipe

By Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith | May 24, 2012

shrimp

 

This recipe, inspired by authentic ingredients from a market in Thailand, features an intoxicating green curry paste,used in a hearty, spicy meal of green curry shrimp served over fragrant jasmine rice. There is no comparison between jarred green curry and the homemade version.

 

The shortcut is tempting, but the second your kitchen is filled with the aroma of green chilies, coriander, ginger and lime, the jarred stuff will be the furthest thing from your mind. Plus, curry paste keeps forever in the freezer and you can cut off chunks as you need it, whether it be for a full-fledged meal or just as a topper for some steamed rice. Almost all of the ingredients can be found at the Chelsea Market here in the city, but there is also ImportFood.com for hard-to-find items.

 

Photos by Laura Ratliff

Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith are the authors of Smith & Ratliff, a New York City-based lifestyle blog. They write about food, cocktails, art, style and life in New York City. Follow them on Twitter: @smithratliff


Lobster with Linguine Recipe

By Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith | May 24, 2012

lobster with linguine and mint

This fresh pasta with lobster and mint was inspired both by Mark Bittman and a dish at Mario Batali’s southern Italian restaurant Esca. In addition to being delicious, it involves no more than three ingredients—two of which you probably have in your pantry already. The third might require a trip to the market (try the Lobster Place in Chelsea Market) to snag the freshest ingredient you’ll need. While buying a live lobster might seem daunting, it’s not too traumatizing and really adds to the final quality of the dish, as the pasta that cooks in the water is also used to steam the lobster.

Rigatoni with Chicken Livers Recipe

By Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith | May 24, 2012

pasta

If the idea of liver is off-putting to your taste buds, this is a recipe that may just coax you out of your skeptical uncertainty.  If you’re lucky you can find everything you need at the Greenmarket like the perfect cipollini onions, beautiful sage, fresh butter and big bags of meaty chicken livers.

Fresh rigatoni is recommended, but dried noodles would work just the same. Dishes like this can make you an instant believer, as the buttery richness of the sauce mellows out any overwhelming tinges of liver that can be off-putting. This is a far cry from the liver and onions of yesteryear.

Photos by Laura Ratliff

Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith are the authors of Smith & Ratliff, a New York City-based lifestyle blog. They write about food, cocktails, art, style and life in New York City. Follow them on Twitter: @smithratliff 

Recipes

Butternut Squash Pizza Recipe

By Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith | April 25, 2012

Butternut Squash Pizza

One of the greatest picnic-friendly dishes to make in the spring is pizza! Not only does it not require utensils to eat, but there are also endless possibilities for your favorite toppings. While pizza is not only delicious in New York City; it’s also readily available. Some of the best shops in the entire city-John’s, Keste, Joe’s, and Bleecker Street Pizza-are within a one-block radius of our apartment, meaning that there’s not a huge incentive for us to make our own pies. Regardless, we’ve been doing just that!

While I don’t make the dough at home, I think I’ve mastered the topping-to-dough ratio and the perfect art of that crispy, crackling crust. Making pizza at home is fast and happens to be a great way to use seasonal ingredients, especially those that are about to spoil in the crisper, as we’ve discovered.

Before I started making pies at home, I wanted to make sure that I could replicate that shattering crust that so many of the best shops in the city have. We don’t have a pizza oven, or even a pizza stone, but with a baking sheet and a bit of experimentation, I found a method that works.

First, I preheat an inverted baking sheet in a 500 degree oven for upwards of 30 minutes, or however long it takes me to prepare my toppings. Once I’m ready to build the pizza, we (very carefully) pull the baking sheet out of the oven and make the pizza right on the hot baking sheet. Then, I’ll typically bake the pizza for about 5-10 minutes.

This particular pizza was a little different, since butternut squash takes longer to cook. I preheated my pan as normal, but rather than baking the pizza at 500 degrees, I turned the oven down to 450 degrees and cooked the pizza for a bit longer.

The last step was inspired by a New York City pizza legend, Di Fara. The Brooklyn shop‘s owner, Dom DeMarco, handcuts fresh basil over all of the pies that come out of his oven. In our case, the freshly-cut arugula was the perfect finishing touch for a pizza that was already excellent. We might not have Dom DeMarco’s experience (or his oven), but using a trick from a seasoned pro made for an at-home pizza that was devoured in an instant.


Recipes

Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew With Couscous Recipe

By Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith | November 22, 2011

Cauliflower stew

Sometimes you just need a rib-sticker, you know? You know what I’m talking about; the kind of meal where just one bowl can keep you full or warm in the frigid air for hours, and yet you still can’t resist going back for leftovers.

Ryan and I had one of those last week in the form of a hearty cauliflower and chickpea stew with couscous.

Cauliflower has been a staple for us over the past few weeks since it’s in season, and we’re always big fans of chickpeas and the whole tomatoes that made up the stew’s sauce.

While I normally steer away from anything canned in the house, San Marzano tomatoes are our go-to for stews and sauces. The tang and fresh flavor satisfies that tomato craving even when the late summer heirlooms are long gone. Ryan loves the whole San Marzano tomatoes and could admittedly eat an entire can of them on their own, but I knew this dish was a winner when he kept going back for bowls of the tender cauliflower and chickpeas. Combined with fresh spinach from Satur Farms on Long Island and salty, protein-rich chickpeas, it’s pretty to easy to see why this was a filling meal.

We’ve unintentionally been posting a lot of vegetarian recipes lately (very fitting for this month), but I really hadn’t even noticed until writing this post-even the vegetarian recipes we cook are so filling that you won’t miss the meat. This stew is no exception.

I’m embarrassed to admit that we had no leftovers! We ate part of the batch for lunch and the remainder for a cozy weekend dinner-but I imagine that a day of flavors melding in the fridge would only make this stew even better. Nevertheless, it’s great fall meal that will keep you full, even if you don’t keep coming back for more!

Adapted from RealSimple

Photos by Laura Ratliff

Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith are the authors of Smith & Ratliff, a New York City-based lifestyle blog. They write about food, cocktails, art, style and life in New York City. Follow them on Twitter: @smithratliff

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