Thursday, February 26, 2009

white balsamic vinegar

Add a bottle of this stuff to your grocery list. White Balsamic Vinegar. And immediately try swapping it out for regular balsamic in your salad dressings. It's also great to use in lieu of champagne vinegar, FYI. The rich, slightly sweet flavor is (dare I say) much more complex than that of regular balsamic. Although balsamic vinegar absolutely has its time and place in a plethora of dishes and I still remain a huge fan, there's something about the tang to sweet ratio in white balsamic that's got me hooked. So sweet in fact, you won't need to add nearly as much olive oil to your dressing. I find myself adding a dash of it to a number of different dishes to add a certain level of bite and an added layer of flavor. It's also not going to break the bank by any means. Try the brand shown above, Alessi. It shouldn't cost you more than $5-$6 a bottle.

Here's my basic salad dressing recipe. You will never buy that bizarre-o stuff in a bottle again and it takes seconds to make:

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely grated or chopped

1 tsp. dijon mustard

salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. While whisking, Slowly add in the olive oil in a stream. The mustard will act as an emulsifier and will keep the vinaigrette from separating. Taste for seasoning and enjoy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

mario batali in soho

To all you you cargo short and orange clog clad Mario Batali fans out there, the Iron Chef himself will be speaking at the Apple Store in Soho tomorrow, February 26th at 7:00pm. My good friend Berit brought this event to my attention and it sounds like a great opportunity to m(eat) and greet the man, the myth, the legend. Batali will be there to discuss his PBS series "Spain...On the Road Again" along with the director of the program, Charles Pinsky. It's unfortunate that Mark "Bitty" Bittman and Claudia Bassols won't be there to join him but Mario alone will draw quite the crowd, I'm sure. I'd try and get there on the early side.

Here's an idea: Swing by the Despana Market on Broome St. for some Spanish tapas and yummy nibbles to get you in the mood and then stroll on over to the Apple Store for a night of culinary chatter from a guy who seriously, seriously knows his stuff.

103 Prince Street New York City, NY 10012

Monday, February 23, 2009

fat tuesday's tomorrow, ya'all

So whether or not you're a die-hard Mardi Gras'er or just need a midweek pick-me-up, tomorrow is Fat Tuesday. And since Creole food is not my specialty, you won't have any luck knockin' on my door for some Jambalaya and Hurricanes. Beads, however? Maybe.

If you're in the partying (and shoving face) mood, Delta Grill (700 Ninth Ave., at 48th St.), a New Orleans restaurant within stones throw of my digs, is of course, holding a Mardi Gras celebration. $20 will get you a free Hurricane, all you can eat cajun buffet, and a night filled with live music, and everything else that comes with the crazy Nawlin's holiday...

Since I'm not really the all-you-can-eat buffet kinda gal, I think I'll quietly celebrate at home instead. Toasting whiskey sours with my two roommates while playing some Keith Urban sounds about right. And decidedly down home.

and i'm like, get outta here cold

Given that I was most definitely ill for the entire weekend (so much for fast-acting z-pack), I unfortunately cannot report on any good eats that have been devoured of late. I did manage to eat the majority of my meals at home this weekend, both surprising and unsurprising given the state of my health. But sometimes, all you need is some serious rest with limited interaction with the outside world. Or, Lost Season 4 on DVD with the blinds drawn plus lots 'o fresh squeezed OJ.

What did I make? Again, really nothing to write home about, err, blog about. There was a straight-out-of-left-field breakfast early Saturday morning, complete with two small pancakes lovingly topped with butter and maple syrup and two perfect, gently fried eggs on the side (clearly a desperate attempt to convince myself that I could in fact eat a whole meal, cold and all). I fell back asleep shortly thereafter only to wonder if I had dreamed about eating my lumberjack breakfast or whether it did in fact, happen. Since all my R&R this weekend was cough and cold medicine FREE (read: no drug-induced food hallucinations), I'm embarrassed to say that this breakfast really did take place. The real giveaway: two lone pancakes left to stay warm in the oven were discovered late Sunday. A minor casualty but slightly sad realization.

My reward for my week + weekend long battle with a loss of appetite and overall feeling of crapiness was a homemade meatloaf (my chipotle turkey meatloaf, of course) sandwich on 12-grain with avocado and baby greens. Rapidly devoured at lunch today.

I'm back in action, baby.

Friday, February 20, 2009

dinner for 7 at 7

I don't know what or why it is, but dinner parties at my place seem to get a little out of control. Something about the laid back atmosphere, close quarters, and the continuous eating and drinking that just keeps going and going and going to the point of ridiculousness. Even when gone into with good intentions (à la Sunday Night Dinners) my guests and I don't stand a chance. I blame it on the wine shop that delivers. 100% THEIR fault.

That said, some friends and I attempted to have a "normal" family dinner last night. Some pasta, some salad, some wine (ok, copious amounts of wine) and of course, good company. And while you may or may not want to take entertaining advice from me now, I can tell you that a good time is always had by all. I really, really encourage you to have your friends over to share a meal. To help you cook. To share stories. To laugh, laugh, laugh. Because when it comes down to it, there's nothing more rewarding or satisfying than feeding and sharing with the ones you love.

So what'd we nosh on? A simple bruschetta to start: seeded and diced campari tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper spooned onto fresh Amy's Bread baguette slices. Then a huge HUGE pot of penne with a roasted red pepper and tomato cream sauce with chicken and tons of torn basil. Parmesan aggressively added in at the end and it was a creamy, gooey, cheesy pot of comfort and coziness. Then to brighten things up, a simple salad of razor thin slices of fennel and red onion, supremed oranges, and arugula was delicately dressed with a citrusy vinaigrette: orange marmalade (yup), dijon, garlic, white balsamic, and olive oil. Bright, fresh, sweet, and happy. A perfect light week night meal in and of itself with a piece of crusty, crunchy bread to sop up the remains.

And while the wine consumption may or may not have gotten borderline inappropriate, I think we can all say that the night was quite yummy, much needed, and of course, hilarious.

I think…

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

cooking with a cold

So, I've most unfortunately come down with a cold. How naive of me to think I'd be able to get through an entire New York City winter without suffering through at least one. But, walk-in clinic, in, out, z-pack, fingers crossed, let's hope for the best.

Now, when I'm sick, I tend to crave everything but have the appetite for nothing. So last night, instead of picking up a can of chicken noodle soup (I'm sorry, I just can't), I decided to whip up some homemade soup of my own. And fast. Hello? Energy level? Depleted.

I picked up a package of Bell and Evans chicken tenders (less chopping, quicker cooking time) and just covered them in a pot with water and added two smashed garlic cloves, a big pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of chili flakes. Once that came up to a boil, I reduced it to a simmer and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Once the chicken was cooked, I removed it from the pot and placed it on a plate to cool. When cooled, shred the chicken with your fingers or two forks.
Dump the poaching liquid, clean out the pot, and fill it with an entire box of chicken stock (preferably organic and low sodium). Grate in a large clove of garlic and another heavy sprinkle of chili flakes (FYI, garlic and spicy things are supposedly decongestants). Bring to a boil. Once the stock is at a boil, add in a package of fresh or dried tortellini (or egg noodles).

About two minutes before the tortellini is cooked through, add in two cups of fresh spinach, loosely torn. Add in the shredded chicken and stir. (*You could just as easily purchase a rotisserie chicken and shred some of that and add it in.) Add salt and taste for seasoning.

Spoon into a shallow bowl and finish off with a little fresh lemon zest. This is key.

I don't know if it was the z-pack or the fresh lemon zest hitting the warm broth allowing me to actually smell for the first time that day, but I guarantee you, a bowl of this and you'll be feeling better no matter what the ailment.

Enjoy and stay cozy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

new york hotdog & coffee

Haven't been to this joint YET but a seriously lucky co-worker, Mr. Jason Graphic Artist Extraodinaire, has. And given my previous post about bulgogi, I'm totally intrigued by this concept. Here's what he had to say:

"Awww, HELLZ, yeah. New York Hot Dog and Coffee. Relatively cheap but SERIOUSLY good. Hot dog + Korean barbecued meat = automatic deliciousness. I went there last Thursday night with a friend and we had 2 beef hot dogs topped with bulgogi - one with kimchi, one without. Pretty stellar, imho. Unfortunately, they were out of the spicy fries but we substituted mini-waffles topped with warm chocolate and fresh whipped cream. NOTE: Don't be fooled by the word "mini" in the title because they are super delicious and super filling. If you order them, i recommend ordering 3 mini waffles, split between two people. Yeah, you KNOW I'm going back. They also have a grilled chicken sausage topped with spicy chicken breast which I'm curious about :) mmmmmmmmmmm......"

New York Hotdog & Coffee
245 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10014

Thanks, Jason!

Friday, February 13, 2009

dogmatic gourmet sausage systems

Now, everyday when lunchtime rolls around, I entertain the idea of actually leaving Chelsea Market and venturing outside for a special treat. Perhaps taking the short stroll over to Bonsignour and treating myself to my favorite warm goat cheese salad and a side of John Krasinski. But, no. It has become increasingly rare that I ever leave this building until I'm dragging myself home at the end of the day.

However, when I heard about a little place called the Dogmatic Gourmet Sausage Systems over in the Union Square area, I literally flew out of my cubicle, pressed the elevator down button so aggressively, so many times I feared I'd get stuck between the 2nd and 1st floors, and booked it across town. Needless to say, by the time I got there after the 5 avenue block dash, I was panting in my order.

Dogmatic Sausage was once a food cart that gained such a loyal following, they decided to open up shop in a tiny little space on E17th St. The sausages (which btw, are hormone, nitrate, and antibiotic FREE) come in beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey (or asparagus spears for you veg-heads) and are inserted into a warm, hollowed out mini baguette courtesy of Pain D'Avignon and are then joined by the sauce of your choice: Cheddar Jalapeno, Horseradish Mustard, Truffle Gruyere, Chimichurri, Sun Dried Tomato Feta, or Mint Yogurt.

On this particular day, I went for the chicken sausage with the Chimichurri sauce and let me just say, I think it lasted half an avenue block on my trek back to the office. To my credit, they do run on the fairly small side, but the flavor and texture from this thing kind of kicked my butt. And I'm not even a huge sausage fan (yeah, I get it)! The casing-free sausage was smokey and salty and the chimichurri was so bright, tangy, vibrant, and pungent from the garlic and herbs (parsley, garlic, lime, and perhaps some mint) that it just made you smile with every bite. And when you get to the bottom of the perfectly crunchy yet soft baguette, you're left with a sausage-less bite. No complaints here. Just a little nub of bread appropriately drenched with the garlicky herb sauce. With Diet Coke in hand, I think I may or may not have floated back to work with a stupid grin on my face.

If you're in the area, grab a dog. At $4.50 a pop they're a pretty great lunch (or quick dinner) deal and the flavor combinations this place is rocking are pretty sophisticated.

Hey, Michelle.

Dogmatic Gourmet Sausage System
26 E17th St.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

prix fixe special at anthos

Anthos is now offering a 3-course winter prix fixe menu for $35 (most likely an extension of their restaurant week offering). Monday - Saturday, 5-7pm.
Go. Like, now.

36 W52nd St.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

fat hippo

So a new restaurant has just opened up down on the LES called Fat Hippo (ehh, on the name) and I'm absolutely loving the way this place looks. The decor is totally minimalistic done right. It's sexy, chic, and cozy all at the same time. Hello, date night. Or, let's be honest here, girls night out. Grub Street was the first to post its menu this afternoon and it looks especially promising. Especially the house cured salmon with apple fennel salad and potato latkes, the shrimp ceviche, and the duck cuban. The prices are decidedly reasonable and dare I say cheap but, the real kicker? Until they get their beer and wine license, it's BYOB. And, there just happens to be a liquor store right across the street. Mmm. Perfection.

Fat Hippo,
71 Clinton St., nr. Rivington St.

despaña market

Despana Market, located in Soho, means the tastes and flavors of Spain have officially moved in to lower Manhattan (gracias a dios!). The market is jam packed with imported Spanish goodies and boasts a plethora of free samples along the way (lemme hear a serious "psh" to Stew Leonard's and Costco). However, before you go hog wild for the marcona almond and manchego cheese samples, make your way to the back of the store where there's a counter to cozy up to and enjoy authentic Spanish sandwiches (bocadillos and flautas), open-faced sandwiches called pintxos, tortillas, and of course, a wide variety of delectable little tapas. For the time being, it's the closest this working girl's gonna to get to The Boqueria in Barcelona which is why I plan on booking it over there ASAP.

408 Broome Street, New York NY 10013

recession special: 5 ninth

Image courtesty of The New York Times's Dealfeed is reporting that the Meatpacking's 5 Ninth now has a 4-hour happy hour special that will showcase $3 draft beer and $5 well drinks and wine daily. All that served alongside complimentary homemade pigs-n-blankets? Not too shabby. And, it just happens to be located within stones throw of my office building. Who's in?

5 Ninth
5 Ninth Ave., nr. Gansevoort St.
Deal's good on: Sun-Thurs, 5-9pm

Monday, February 9, 2009

egg and cheese con papas

Now, I'm not sure how or why in hades this seems to be the case, but it seems to me that NYC is incapable of making a decent egg and cheese. I mean, it's pretty straight forward. Two eggs, perfectly fried over medium with gently melted american cheese all delicately placed on a soft, seedless kaiser roll. Yet every time I go to order one at my corner bodega or elsewhere (read: the answer to your hangover) it always fails to please. Perhaps my standards are set too high. Growing up in the suburbs of New York, the delis in my town had this sandwich nailed. Particularly Made It Myself in New Canaan, CT, where they slip on some soft, slightly spicy homefries on the roll too. The "egg and cheese con papas." So until I'm oh-so-pleasantly surprised with a stellar egg and cheese in this dang city, it looks like I'll be making my own on Saturday mornings. And while it's a minor pain in the arse to do when you're regretting everything you drank, said, did, texted the night before, one bite of this bad boy and you know what? We were all just having fun. Nobody remembers anyways. Right?!?!

Here's how it goes...

Egg and Cheese con Papas
Makes 2 sandwiches

1 large idaho potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2" cubes
1/2 medium onion (yellow or white) finely chopped
1 jalapeno (seeded, finely chopped)
1 large clove of garlic, grated
2 tsp. chili powder
salt to taste
4 eggs
4 slices of american cheese
2 soft, fresh kaiser rolls
2 Tbsp. butter

In a small pot, and potatoes and fill with water (about an inch above the potatoes). Add a good handful of salt and put them on high heat with a lid on. Allow them to come to a boil, remove the lid and let them cook for about 8 minutes, or until you poke them with a fork and they split in half. Drain and set aside. In a medium-sized pan (preferably a cast iron) over medium-high heat, melt 1/2 Tbsp. of butter. Add in onions and jalapenos and allow to cook for a minute or two. Add in the potatoes and chili powder. Stir then light press down on the potatoes and allow them to cook (without touching them) for about 3 minutes. Add in the garlic. Turn the potatoes every so often so that all sides are brown and delicious. About 12 minutes total.

In a medium-sized nonstick pan, melt some butter over medium heat. Crack two eggs in the pan and fry to your liking (*I recommend the low and slow method. Crack the eggs in a medium-low pan, cover them and cook for 2 minutes. Then carefully flip and cover for another 2 minutes for an over-medium egg.). After you flip them, add two slices of american cheese and cover the pan until the cheese melts. Repeat for second sandwich.

Split open the kaiser rolls and place a scoop of the potatoes on the bottom half. Slide the egg and cheese on top. Cut in half. DEVOUR IMMEDIATELY (with ketchup, obvs).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Kiss the Cook 2

Scroll down below the Pam Real Thai post for Kiss the Cook 1!

Simple Sangria
Recipe courtesy of Kiira Leess

2 bottles of inexpensive, fruity red wine (i.e. Merlot, Burgandy, etc.)
½ cup Triple Sec (or Cointreau)
1 orange, sliced in rounds
1 lemon, sliced in rounds
2 Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
¼ cup sugar

In a large pitcher, add the orange and lemon slices and sugar. Using a wooden spoon, mash the oranges and lemons with the sugar, releasing the juices from the fruit and allowing the sugar to dissolve. Add the Triple Sec and stir. Add in apple slices and top with the red wine. Gently stir. Allow the Sangria to rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours (or up to 12) before serving. Serve on ice, scooping some of the fruit out into each glass.

*As much or as little of any kind of fruit may be added to this sangria and it can also be made with white wine. Have at it!

Steak Sandwiches with Arugula Mayo and Smothered Onions
Recipe courtesy of Kiira Leess

1-1/2 lbs. London Broil, sliced against the grain, as thin as possible
1 white onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic
¼ lb. Monterey Jack Cheese (or America, Swiss, etc.)
1 box of baby arugula
6 soft hoagie rolls
arugula mayo (recipe follows)

Before slicing the steak, place it in the freezer for a half hour or so. This allows you to cut the meat extra thin, without it tearing on you.

Slice the steak as thin as possible against the grain. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Add some olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are slightly translucent and light brown around the edges. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the steak to the pan in batches, cooking only for about 30 seconds per side. Grate in garlic to the pan as the steak cooks for added flavor. When all of the steak has been cooked off, return all of it to the pan and turn the heat off. Immediately cover the steak with the sliced cheese and put the lid on top, allowing the cheese to gently melt. Serve on hoagie rolls with arugula mayo, arugula, and smothered onions.

Arugula Mayo
Recipe courtesy of Kiira Leess

3-4 Tbs. mayonnaise
½ cup finely chopped arugula
1 garlic clove, grated
Juice of half a lime (or lemon)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill till ready to use.

“Patatas Bravas”
Recipe courtesy of Kiira Leess

2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and Pepper
A few sprigs of cilantro
chipotle aioli (recipe follows)

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Spoon teaspoon-sized scoops of the potato batter into the pan and allow to cook for two minutes on each side (or until a deep, golden brown). Transfer to a warm plate and top with a small dollop of the chipotle aioli and finish with a cilantro leaf.

Chipotle Aioli
Recipe courtesy of Kiira Leess

3 Tbs. mayonnaise
2-1/2 tsp. chipotle in adobo sauce (or to taste)
1 lime, zested and juiced
Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill till ready to use.

Maple Balsamic Dressing

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence

1 small shallot, finely diced
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Make the dressing by combining the chopped shallot, Dijon and balsamic vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while you whisk to emulsify. Add the maple syrup and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

korean bbq 101 in apt 3s

What was being whipped up in my kitchen last night? Well, Korean BBQ, of course. Bulgogi to be more specific. Thin slices of sirloin quickly marinated in soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. Just an hour in the fridge infuses an amazingly pungent and sweet flavor to the meat. While the meat marinates, cook a small pot of brown rice. The meat cooks in just seconds in a hot pan. To serve, take a full leaf of either iceberg or boston lettuce, a little spoonful of the brown rice, and top with two pieces of the steak. Fold over the lettuce leaf and insert into your mouth. Quick, healthy, and truly divine.


1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. vegetable oil for grilling
3 cloves of garlic, grated
2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 lbs. sirloin (london broil), thinly sliced

In a large ziploc bag, combine all wet ingredients (minus the vegetable oil). Make sure the sugar has completely dissolved. Add in the sliced sirloin and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sliced and marinated steak (less than one minute per side) in the 1 Tbsp. of vegetable oil. Remove from pan.

Serving suggestion: Serve a piece or two of meat with a spoonful of cooked brown rice in a lettuce cup (iceberg or boston lettuce). Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the village voice's choice eats

The Village Voice is hosting their second annual Choice Eats Event on Tuesday, March 31st. For three hours (6:30pm-9:30pm), you get to nosh on some of the best bites the five boroughs have to offer. Mercadito, Motorino, Momfuku Milk Bar and Bakery, and Porchetta are just a few of the 50+ restaurants that will be participating this year (and ones that I will be especially looking forward to trying). Tickets are only $35 for a night of great food and drinks. I will most definitely be there with two food-loving friends (Meg! Anna!), eating and drinking our $35 to its fullest. Well, obviously.

Tickets are available here: http://http//

pam real thai

As a Hell's Kitchen Resident (holla HK!), I quickly became familiar with a local Thai restaurant called Pam Real Thai. Ninth Ave between 40th and 55th Streets is literally Little Thai-land. In fact, Pam Real Thai was the first meal I ate as an official NYC resident so I suppose it carries some sentiment in that regard as well. But, hold up for one second?


This place is insane. And crazy authentic (Disclaimer: While I have not yet had the pleasure of traveling to Southeast Asia, I have read on numerous other reviews of this restaurant, Thai people hailing Pam's authenticity. Saying it's not Americanized Thai Pam's serving up. It's Thai Thai.).

Don't come to Pam Real Thai for the ambiance. Unless of course, you're like me, and find something about the no frills joint to be funnily charming and cozy. But for God's sake, come here for the food. It's cheap, too! With most dishes coming in at the $10 and under mark. (Note: cash only)

Thai food is known for its balance of the the "five fundamental flavors": spicy, sour, sweet, salty, and bitter. And as I've said before, any dish that can successfully marry all five of these flavor notes at once will be something special; lively; memorable. It's the reason why I can't go more than two weeks without satisfying my Pam craving. Dangerous, I know.

To start things off, I highly recommend selecting a few appetizers for the table to share. Some highlights include the steamed chive dumplings, the steamed thai dumplings, and pork larb (hot, hot, hot!). While I've yet to try the green papaya salad (I know, how dare I?!), I've heard all good things on that front.

The cheap wine is fine and they're heavy handed pourers but go for a Singha. It'll feel more like you've actually been swept away to Thailand for the night and there's something about the cold, crisp, bubbly brew that goes perfectly with anything on their seriously extensive menu. It cuts through the creamy curries and balances out the sweet dipping sauces.

As far as the mains are concerned, I end up ordering the same dish every time I go. Without fail. I swear, I humor myself sometimes by reading into the menu to see if there's something else that sparks my interest. And while there's tons more that does, I love my red pumpkin curry with shrimp way, way, way too much to not order it. I'm not going to get into it. Just order it. TRY it.

Also tasty is the Pad See Eil: stir fried long flat noodles, with chinese broccoli, meat of your choice, and a sweet soy sauce. Soft, crunchy, sweet, and slightly indulgent. What I would do for chinese broccoli to be available in the regular grocery store! (Reminder to myself: must ask produce guy about this...)

Pam Real Thai's also known for their whole fish entrees served up in a number of different ways with different sauces and accouterments. Again, I still need to try one of these guys! Damn you, coconut curry.

It's just one more reason amongst many to go back. So who's coming with??

Pam Real Thai
404 W. 49th St., nr. 9th Ave.
New York, NY, 10019

Kiss the Cook 1

White Bean Crostini

2 cans of cannolini beans (drained and rinsed)

2 garlic cloves, grated

2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped

1 to 1-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1 lemon, zested (+ the juice of half)

3 Tbsp. olive oil

balsamic vinegar to drizzle

salt and pepper to taste

1 french baguette, sliced into rounds, brushed lightly with olive oil and toasted in oven (350 for about 5 minutes)

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the balsamic. Using the back of a spoon, lightly mash the beans while keeping the majority of them whole. Season with salt and pepper and test for seasoning. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of white bean mixutre onto the toasts and finish with a tiny drizzle/drop of balsamic vinegar.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Maybe it's my Swedish blood (ja!), but I have a serious, passionate, and loving relationship with cardamom (shown above in pod form). If you haven't tried it before, I seriously encourage you to go out and get a jar. It can be a bit pricey, but I promise you, once you catch a whiff of it's peppery, exotic, sweet aroma, you'll be hooked. And even more so when you actually taste it. It is by far one of the most under-utilized spices, which totally boggles my mind. It's not only used in Scandinavian cooking but African and Indian cuisines as well. From curries to chai tea, cardamom plays a shining lead roll. I've even been sprinkling it in my coffee this winter for an unexpected kick (or just an attempt at masking my inability to make a perfect cup o' joe. wtf.) and added incentive to wake my ass up. In fact, I'm having a staring contest with a bottle of it at my desk right now. Try using it in place of cinnamon the next time a recipe calls for it. I really think you'll be into the results.

Or try these! We make these at Christmas every year and let's just say they never last long. And when I say they don't last long, I mean 50% of the batter doesn't even make it into the oven. No big deal.

*Double the cardamom and omit the icing. They're much better plain!


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