Monday, November 29, 2010

Things I know....

I will have pies at my wedding.

Glazing makes anything prettier.

I love marshmellows. Especially authentically roasted in your house fireplace.

I'm terrible at chopping/cutting/peeling, anything involving knives.

I prefer cookie cutters. Or in fact, you don't need one to make lattice pies - just a square shape in your dad's desk will do just fine.

Cranberry is an awesome christmas color!

Burned pumpkin pies will sink.

You can always fit more pie filling in the pie dish.

Egg whites can be whipped into perfection.

Hand written recipes always turn out the best.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nature vs the City

Last weekend, the weather was gorgeous, the air was crisp and ready for fall, and these legs were itching for a good walk! Make that an 8 mile hike in beautiful Mohonk. It was a perfect day, and me, my camera, a backpack full of delicious treats, and an entertaining walking buddy ;) hit the trails!

There were rock climbers, wildlife, and rock scrambles [oh my], and after 8 miles of going up and down vertical ladders, squeezing through crevices and walking through the woods, I was exhausted.

The views here are spectacular - especially at the Mountain Lodge! There was a wedding going on at the time, and lets just say the bridesmaids and bride herself were definitely indulging in the afternoon celebration ;) !!

And of course my afternoon snack had to be portrayed - a MASSIVE sandwich, which had to be specially wrapped to stay together, complete with turkey, half an apple, a little smidge of fig jam, cucumber slices and tomato slices. Perfect for the half way point :)

The weekend is supposed to clear up here in the city this weekend, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed - pretty please??
Adios folks!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just Dessert :)


I can't believe Kevin won top chef!! Honestly, thorughout the season he wasn't my favorite and I'm not sure how he made it to the end, but he pretty much nailed the finale - what an insanely ridiculous moment that must be!!

Now getting ready to watch what I'm betting will be my new favorite, Top Chef Just Desserts!

And as fate would have it, I walked out of my office building today and low and behold...

GIving out free desserts - wahooo. Of course the line was incredibly long with 9-5'ers looking to get a nice lil sugar kick on their way home, so I skipped the dessert truck and instead headed to my gym for a KettleBells demo class that was being offered. I've never taken kettlebells but they look like this:

The class was an hour long and while it wasn't the hardest workout, it definitely kicked my thighs to the core! Currently stretching them and dreaming of sugar and buttercream... mmmm


Oo just found out that no recipes are allowed in Just Desserts. That's crazy!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not Completely but Almost [Free]Tatta

I heard on the Today Show today that Thursday is one of the "unhappiest" days out of the week, based on a recent poll. I'm going to have to agree with the newscasters and say that I just do not agree! Like one of the ladies said, "I'm in a great mood today! ... Because tomorrow is Friday". Nothing wrong with that ;)

Because my weeks are getting more and more scattered with travel for work and play, I'm trying to be pretty frugal about buying groceries. There is nothing I hate more than having a ton of great looking produce and letting it go to waste because I end up traveling for the week. On the other note, sometimes when my fridge is full of fresh fruits and veggies, I end up eating waaaay too much because I'm afraid that it'll go bad. So, in an effort to try and just use anything perishable in my fridge, along with buying as minimal as possible I baked a delicious yet simple Frittata on Tuesday night!

In my fridge already was 4 organic eggs, some Jarlsberg cheese slices and 4 slices of Turkey bacon - (clearly I had a hankering for a bacon/egg/and cheese sandwich sunday morning). So I popped on down to the Chelsea Trader Joes which just opened and is the best thing on earth, literally :) Smiles appear on my face when I talk about it :) :)
...and I bought some mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and spinach for ~$5. Unbeatable.

Then I pranced on home, feeling pretty happy with myself and continued to bake the following:

Simple Frittata

- 3 eggs and 1 egg white
- 2 cups of mushrooms*
- 8 grape tomatoes*
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 slices of turkey bacon
- 2 slices of jarlsberg cheese
- coconut oil
- salt & pepper
- Thyme (1/2 Tsp)
*Use as many of these ingredients as you want and feel free to switch them up. That's the beauty of something like this, tons of different veggie combos can taste fabulous.
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Use butter or cooking spray to coat the bottom of a square baking pan (I assume any would work fine)
3. Put bacon on pan and cook until they look browned and crispy; place on paper towel to cool
4. Cut up mushrooms if they are not already sliced, and tomatoes in half
5. Saute cut veggies in 2 Tbs of oil until mushrooms are browned
6. Put veggies into baking pan to cover the bottom
7. Place spinach on top of veggies to add an additional layer
8. Scramble up eggs and egg white in a bowl and add a little water (or milk if you prefer)
9. Add in salt and pepper to your liking, and some thyme (Rosemary could work here to)
10. Add bacon to egg mixture
11. Pour egg mixture into baking dish
12. Pop into oven for 20 - 25 minutes, until egg looks well cooked
13. Take baking dish out and place cheese on top. Throw the pan back into the oven for an addtional 5 or so minutes, or on broil, to get a nice melted and crispy top.

Take out and enjoy!!

I was able to create 4 portions of this meal and use for lunch every day. Couldn't ask for anything better than a $1.25 lunch huh??

Happy thursday all - and feel free to enjoy it since tomorrow is Friday :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vegetarians Beware

I have never claimed to be a vegetarian, however sometimes I realize that I haven't eaten meat, chicken, or even fish, for a few days or a week at a time. Which then makes me question my overall protein intake and I end up dining on said meat, chicken, or even fish for the next weeks to make up for it. Ironically, I haven't been lacking protein in the past few weeks (mostly due to my stash of chicken sausages from whole foods - too many flavors to ever get bored)! However, I somehow managed to consume more meat in 1 meal this weekend, than I think I ever have, or will again... at least until my next bbq excursion ;)

Yes, that's right, on Sunday night (when nothing counts right??) I headed to Hill Country in Flatiron/Chelsea. I heard plenty about this unique place, but have never ventured inside. It's a little intimidating at first because it looks like a market where you bobble around with trays and pick and choose what you want. Not so fast though because there is a hostess at the front with a vibrant pig tattoo on her arm, and she is taking names... Needless to say, the staff is very friendly and explained how everything would work, once the initial shock of entering into this haven for meat-lovers wore off. Basically, each diner gets a ticket and you have a waitress for drinks, but otherwise, you bring your ticket up to each individual counter and the staff will check off what you order -- super simple!

First stop -> BBQ. Seeing as how we were totally out of our element, we asked the man with the giant meat cleaver for suggestions. He promptly stated that for the two of us: "3 lbs, moist brisket and pork spare ribs". Mmm Done and Done.

The sides table was where I really got excited and picked up a "Healthy Eatin'" Portion of smashed sweet potatoes and a cucumber salad. We may have snagged a piece or two of cornbread on the side ;)

Dig In!

Diner TIP - 3 lbs of meat is waaaaay too much, even for two people. I loved the pork spare ribs and had about two, but the moist brisket was just way too fatty for my liking. It comes with white bread so I put a few pieces into one slice and folded it over, but the texture and taste are just not my cup of tea. My dinner guest, on the other hand, just couldn't get enough of it! :)

Needless to say I had to be rolled home, but it was a fun dinner date for sure.

Additional recommendations: There is live music here! Check out the music schedule if you are planning on going and make sure you get in a good square dancing round!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stuffed [my face off] French Toast

Hoboken is continuously climbing the list of the top cities to find good eats! I know I know, I live in New York, the city of a million cultures and cuisines and good good food! But, alas, sometimes too many options are not a good thing...

A few weeks ago I was home in CT playing around on the tv and settled on Bobby Flays' show "Throwdown". B Flay was in the midst of challenging a poor soul on his Stuffed French Toast. Lo-and-behold, this restaurant was located in Hoboken, NJ! La Isla - oh i have walked by this cute little awning and fake bamboo trees multiple times on Washington street, however, never managed to stop in. The head chef, Omar Giner, definitely held his own against Mr. Flay and won the competition! So, I said to myself, I must try this delectable looking french toast that clearly rocked the judges socks off.

O - M - Y - G- O - S- H

I think this may go down as the best thing I have had for breakfast ... ever. I clearly tried to make my own version of this brunch specialty right after watching the episode, but after tasting this creation today, my was an embarrassment - to put it lightly.
Two thick slices of egg bread, dipped in a cinnamon batter, coated with crushed almonds and corn flakes, and then stuffed with a strawberry and guava cream cheese filling.

I was a little afraid that the filling was going to be a little too overbearing or sweet, but it was just perfect. And no syrup necessary :)
But honestly, the kicker to this culinary perfection was the crunchy cornflake crust. That little boost of texture on french toast makes such a world of difference! When I tried to make this at home, I burned the pieces pretty spectacularly - so I'm thinking there is a trick to this cooking technique that I will master one day.

If you are ever in the area and have a hankering for some delicious sweet breakfast, stop in at La Isla, order the Stuffed French Toast and an Iced Cuban Latte and give Chef Omar a pat on the back because you will not be sorry ... ahh love sunday eats !

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Restaurant Review: 2.5

Summer time makes me crave good food and good people, and being out in the city definitley finds opportunity for some great eats. Somehow, I've found the extra $$ to fund this little hobby, but all for a good cause :)

Restaurant 1:
A few weeks ago, a girlfriend from college came in for a short and sweet little visit (Hey Jessie!!). I love having friends visit, especially now, because my I have a great group of college girls in NY but we all have our own lives and schedules and it's hard to get together - much harder than living in the same [pink & purple] house :) :)

So in Jessie's honor, we made reservations at Bond ST Sushi. They have a great upstairs restaurant, as well as swanky downstairs lounge. The lounge was perfect for us because with this many girls, our appetites are all over the charts. Sometimes going to restaurants and having everyone order just appetizers or just wine makes for an unhappy waiter. Ironically, this time around we all could not resist the amazing looking menu:

Tuna Avocado Tartare

Spicy Yellowtail

Mish-Mosh of delicious food

Amazing girls

Restaurants 2:
So part of my busy schedule the last month has been....APT HUNTING! I wish I was exaggerating in saying that it was slightly miserable, but - alas - it was painful. However, after mis-matching schedule conflicts, broker lies, $$$$, lots of walking/emails/phone calls to strangers and strangers apartments, we finally found a place! We felt like this a few times along the way, so we continuously decided to treat ourselves to a glass of wine/nice dinner to celebrate. This included one stop to Barbounia. The photos are beautiful on the wall and the decoration of the restaurant and the food was great! However, I think their AC may have been broken (??) so slightly uncomfortable, especially close to the kitchen!
Still we ate a really good meal to celebrate our new apartment and new roommates!

Munching food

Charred Octopus with shaved fennel salad, mint,
grapefruit & extra virgin olive oil

Red Snapper Ceviche with Tabbouleh, cherry tomato, cilantro, olive oil & lemon juice

Restaurant Review .5

Finally, what is a good meal without a great dessert? Especially with this ridiculous heat wave that has been coming through the city, some cold ice cream always does the trick. However, it's nice to throw a little curve ball in there and try something new right!? I stumbled upon this place in Hoboken, NJ called Miami Rice (creative name huh?) It's all these different flavors of rice pudding!! Flavors like Pistachio, Cinnamon Bun, Apple Pie, Canoli, Plain, Chocolate, etc. Then...there was gelato flavors - which you could mix and match with the rice pudding...and THEN there were toppings! Like graham crackers, chocolate candies, syrup, cereals, gummies galore.
Apparently some avid fans had created their own combinations that became so popular they got their name and recipe on the board (ummm yes please?)

Our two creations:
"Pistachio Bashio": Pistachio Rice Pudding, Vanilla bean gelato, graham crackers
"Holy Canoli": Rice Pudding, Canoli gelato, whipped cream, chocolate fudge, sprinkles

Holy Cow - a must visit :)

That's all for now folks - restaurant week is coming up so I'm hoping to get some more good ones in! Stay coooool