Thursday, May 28, 2009

rooftop farm in the bk

Something tells me I'm going to have to have a word with my super as well as the entire co-op committee because, I want roof access for this and well, you bronze. Amazing! A roof full of veggies and even an apiary to make their own honey. I wonder if they accept visitors and/or volunteers because I've got to check this place out.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

entertaining 101

Since the name of this blog is Eat and Greet, I figured I should probably start paying closer attention to the "greet" part. And that means entertaining. I think that the reason most people in their 20's (or in general) are intimidated by entertaining a group of people is because of false preconceived notions. "I can't afford it," or "I don't have enough time," or worse, "I like can't cook anything." Because you know what? The answer to all three of those questions is "Yes, I can."

Why do I feel like I'm not really responsible for the coining of that phrase?

Anyways, I'm a firm believer and advocate for entertaining on a budget. And you know why? Because I love to entertain and I love to do it often. And in order for that to fit into both my lifestyle and my budget, I've got to be smart about it. Now is not the time to serve a large fillet of salmon for six. But it could be the time to incorporate a smaller piece of salmon into a pasta dish with the addition of some red onion, lemon, dill, and a touch of cream. It's all about finding ways to stretch your dollar without sacrificing an ounce of flavor.

There's a straight forward, top of the trees guide to entertaining for beginners on Apartment Therapy that's worth taking a look at. And then a couple of supplementary pointers of my own?

1. Delegate. I know, at least for me, it's hard to give up control of a menu once it's planned but if you're inviting people to your home for dinner and they ask you if they can bring anything, perhaps you should take them up on their offer. But in this way: ask them (politely of course) to bring one ingredient each for the starter course, perhaps. (My lovely dinner companions for this evening know all about this.) This alleviates you of paying for however many people you are having over to dine and gets others involved. Invite them to help you chop some veggies, flex those culinary muscles and show them a thing or two. It'll be fun and informative for them and (hopefully) make things easier for you.

2. Alcohol. BYOB. Always.

3. Make simple, casual food. I can't take full credit for this as Miss Rachael Ray is always preaching about this but, I've gotta say, it's true. The more casual and unintimidating the food, the more casual and unintimidating the conversation. This is not to say that you should always play it safe, because I'm a serious believer in pushing your own boundaries and experimenting with new ingredients, but start with a familiar dish and then throw in a few curve balls of your own.

4. Shop the sales. Never did I ever think I would have half as much fun as I do flipping through the circular for my local grocery store. In fact, I'm cringing a little bit in sharing this because I fear it makes me look...well...dare I say sad? But, that aside, I do find it fun (in that challenging kind of way) to sometimes build my week-long grocery list and/or menus based around what happens to be on sale that week. If anything, it pushes you to be creative and certainly adds some variety.

5. Do as much as you can, ahead of time. Most of the gripe I hear from my friends is that they don't have enough time during the week to pull something together. And here's the thing. Where there's a will, there's a way. We know this. And we know this because it's true. If you really want to entertain and cook for friends, then nothing's going to stop you. Even if that means staying up another 10 minutes the night before so you can chop up all your veggies for the next day. Because that extra 10 minutes is going to save your little behind on game day when you can just throw everything into a hot pan as soon your guests arrive and dinner will be on the table shortly thereafter.

And with that, go on, invite your friends over, impress that boy or girl you've been eyeing, catch up with an old friend. Because I'm telling you, it'll be therapeutic and fulfilling for everyone involved.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

beach eats

I am pleased to say that I am refreshed, bronzed, and, well, sad after an admittedly fabulous Memorial Day Weekend. Sad because I'm staring longingly out my window right now, wishing I were back home, lounging on the beach or kicking it around the house. The switch went off this weekend. I am officially in Summer Mode and not at all ready to "focus" or "work" this week. My productivity levels are nose diving as we speak. Anyways, I suppose that that means this weekend was a smashing success and for that, I am not complaining one bit.

While I didn't find myself eating half as much BBQ and burgers as anticipated, I did have one incredibly notable little meal on Saturday. After a long, lazy afternoon soaking up as much sun as humanly possible at Compo Beach in Westport, we decided to stop by Splash, a waterfront restaurant and bar located within the Inn at Longshore, for a cold one and a bite to eat. Without even glancing at a menu, we trusted our friend Arax, and we ordered four Cracked Calamari Salads to go. Down to the waterfront bar we went to sip on ice cold beers and bop our heads to the live "jazz" band that was most certainly gettin' down.

Then the salads came. Oversized white take-out boxes were opened to reveal a huge mound of frisée lettuce and little pieces of fried calamari scattered throughout. I generously drizzled my dressing on top (what tasted like soy, ginger, and lime, with some sort of spicy kick) and piled up my fork with the perfect lettuce to calamari ratio and shoveled it in my mouth. De-freaking-licious. Crispy, crunchy, cool, and refreshing. It was the perfect bite after a near perfect day at one of my favorite places on Earth. The beach.

As far as home cooking went this weekend, it was kept to a surprisingly drastic minimum. Turkey burgers and hot dogs were grilled one night and last night it was grilled steak sandwiches with a salsa verde mayo-mustard spread, grilled asparagus with truffle oil, grilled red onions, and a huge salad. None of which was consumed by me (read: hello, lunch) in my haste to hop on the 7:43 mad house, sardine-packed train back to New York. But two friends in tow, sitting atop our luggage with ice cold beers in hand, we managed to continue our long weekend of fabulousness even while on over-crowded public transportation.

Toot. Toot.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

whaddya got in there

Is it just me or was anyone else's favorite part of MTV Cribs when they showed the contents of everyone's refrigerator? I feel like you could learn so much about the person given what they have (or didn't have) stored away in there. All organic foods, control freak. Cristal chilling, baller. Coronas and limes, my kinda guy. All of which is why I find this photograph "exhibit" seriously engaging. It's titled "You Are What You Eat." Appropriate and totally interesting.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

le fooding: new york

OMG, OMG, OMG. I can't spit my words out fast enough due to over excitement so just read this article from the New York Times Food & Dining Section. Think over-sized picnic with food prepared by Daniel Boulud, April Bloomfield, and David Chang, outside on September 25 in Long Island City. The concept is 100% French and this is their first American event. Tickets will be $30. We're going. And so are you.

ode to anchovy

I'm a blogging failure for not taking pictures of last night's meal. So I had to snag it from Gourmet. But they deserve almost all of the credit anyways because this recipe (pasta with zucchini and anchovies), my friends, is DAMN GOOD. So good, in fact, that I turned an anchovy hater into an anchovy lover. Because you know what? If you don't like anchovy, I guarantee you haven't tried it. Don't look at me like that. It's true. And if you fall into that category, first I feel a little bit sad for you, and second, you're going to try this recipe out because in the end, you are going to flat out LOVE what you taste.

Served alongside this luscious spaghetti was a simple fennel, orange, and red onion salad that was beautiful dressed with my white balsamic vinaigrette and some fennel frawns. It is this salad that makes me especially sad I was not with camera in hand for. It looked beautiful when it hit the table. Toot. Toot.

And talk about quick! As an unexpected overachiever last night, I went ahead and prepped all my ingredients and arranged the salad and threw it into the fridge (only because I had the time!). Once my first guest arrived, the pasta was in the pot and the onions were cooking away and within 15 minutes or so, dinner was on the table.

The recipe for the zucchini and anchovy pasta is linked up above (Note: I added 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes instead of the black pepper and also added a 1/4 cup of chopped mint) and here's the fennel and orange salad. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.

Fennel and Orange Salad

2 medium to large sized fennel bulbs, core removed and thinly sliced (reserve some frawns for garnish)
3 oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds
1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced

Arrange all the ingredients on a platter (get creative!). Garnish with the fennel frawns on top and drizzle with white balsamic vinaigrette.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

le gamin food truck

Craving an authentic Parisian crepe or baguette sandwich? Then track down Le Gamin food truck. Wondering how? Well, that's easy. You can follow them on Twitter (@legamintruck) and dart out the door the minute they're in your vicinity. Sound familiar, my Parisian amie, Nadina? Can't say that I blame her, though. I could easily put down one of those baguette sammies right about now.

Bon appetit.

LIC's new beer garden

Grub Street just posted a slideshow of Long Island City's new beer garden (picture above, courtesy of Melissa Hom of Grub Street) and it looks pretty amazing. Spacious and well designed, I look forward to spending a late afternoon into the evening here on a warm summer night sometime soon. And for once, I know I won't have to beg anyone, anyone to join me. Plus, their grill menu is up and nothing is over $8. Chicken Souvlaki, Honeymoon Summer Ale, fabulous outdoor venue. Done. Deal. Hello, Summer!

Friday, May 15, 2009

french pour deux

So my good friend Catherine from high school and I were supposed to go out for a French meal last night (we had quite the jaunt in Paris back in college). But after racking my brain and the internet for an affordable little joint that was potentially BYOB, I came up with...nothing. Because this place does not exist here. I know, I know, Ivo and Lulu, but really? Take a look at their menu and tell me what you would order. This is a challenge. I dare you.

Long story short, I ended up offering to just whip something up at my place. It'd be a heck of a lot cheaper and every menu I had looked at was lacking what I essentially craved. A warm goat cheese salad, chevre chaud. Plus, this dish was somewhat sentimental to my dinner guest and I as we shared this meal on her first day with me in Paris at my all time favorite bistro, Le Comptoir du Septième. So, menu? Done.

I ran through Manhattan Fruit Exchange (If you're like me and can't seem to make it to the Union Square Farmer's Market...ever...go here. Their selection and prices are phenomenal.) on my way out of Chelsea Market and picked up a box of baby greens, a shallot, a boucheron of goat cheese, and a round of Camembert. Quick stop in Amy's Bread for a baguette, and I was on my way home.

The vinaigrette was easy. Finely diced shallot, a touch of grated garlic, plenty of dijon mustard, a splash of white balsamic, and a stream of olive oil until it emuslified into a golden bowl of deliciousness. I then sliced my boucheron in two and slipped them into an egg white bath and straight into a dish of panko breadcrumbs. Back in the fridge they went to chill before my guest arrived. Thinly sliced bosc pear was also added to my salad bowl.

As soon as she walked in the door, two bottles of wine in hand (a bottle of Simi Sauvignon Blanc and an Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon -- smokey and sweet. Get this.), I seared my goat cheese "cakes" in a pan with a touch of olive oil until I could see the cheese begin to ooze. Then off the heat they went and straight onto a plate with a heaping mound of salad (apologizing in advance for picture quality).

As Catherine (one of the ultimate story tellers) recounted her most recent trip à Paris, we cut into our boucheron cadeauxs (goat cheese gifts) of gooeyness, loaded our forks with greens and some pear, and allowed the flavors of France to transport us back. Simple, easy, and always a crowd pleaser. We sipped, munched, and sipped a heck of a lot more into the night at my little French BYOB bistro. 'Cause ya know, if you build it...

Viva la France!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

frank bruni steps down

So Frank Bruni officially steps down as the New York Times' Restaurant Critic this August. And while he'll remain a contributor to the Times Magazine, I guess we should probably talk about this. Thoughts???

spiced orange wine

While cruising through looking for some inspiration for a light little French meal I'm throwing together for a friend and I tonight, I came across the most interesting recipe. Spiced Orange Wine. The combination of white wine, pernod, grand marnier, cloves, bay, and oranges sounded so divine and unique that I immediately pressed File, Print. While I may not have the time to prepare one for tonight, I will for sure be experimenting with it soon, if not this weekend. A great alternative to Sangria. Just imagine being able to whip a bottle of this out of your fridge and serve it icy cold to a friend who pops by unexpectedly on a perfect spring or summer afternoon. The thought sends shivers down my spine.

And again, what a beautifully delicious gift it would make as well...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

taste of tribeca

This year's Taste of Tribeca is taking place on Saturday, May 16th from 11:30AM - 3:30 PM on Duane and Greenwich Streets. The event, which raises funds for Tribeca's PS 150 and PS234, showcases the best eats the area has to offer. Some of the restaurants participating this year include Bar Artisinal, Bouley, Bouley Bakery, Chanterelle, The Harrison, and Landmarc just to name a few. Tickets are $40 and available here which is not a horrendous price to pay to sample the foods from well over 60 restaurants and 100% of all proceeds go to the elementary schools. A great cause and great eats? I'll see you on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

why you should eat out

Gael Green (formerly of New York Magazine) has put together a list of the top 12 reasons why you should continue dining out in New York despite the economic climate. #11 and 12 absolutely take the cake. Amen, Gael!

swedish cucumbers

As promised, here's a quick and easy Swedish recipe for you all to try out. Swedish cucumbers are a fabulous accompaniment to almost anything. And I'm serious about that. Not only are they required alongside our family's Swedish Meatballs (and at every Christmas feast) but I know you'll love them tucked into sandwiches, thrown into salads, up on top of your bagel with lox, or next to a piece of poached salmon. They're incredibly sweet and crunchy and better than any pickle that's ever come my way. All that, and they only need to pickle for a few hours which means you can enjoy them in no time at all. Ja!

Swedish Cucumbers

1 english cucumber very thinly sliced (If you have a mandoline, now is the time to use it. If not, take your time to slice these cucumbers as thin as possible.)
1 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups water

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 freshly chopped dill
1 Tbsp. whole peppercorns

1 bay leaf

Combine water, sugar, salt, vinegar, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Discard bay leaf. Choose the vessel you'd like to pickle the cucumbers in (tupperwear, or glass jar -- anything with a lid or top) and add the cucumbers and dill to it. Pour the pickling liquid on top of the cucumbers and dill, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Then, they're ready to enjoy!

This would also make a lovely and thoughtful (and uhh, super cheap) hostess or housewarming gift.

Monday, May 11, 2009

mom's day

For Mother's Day this year, my mom had one request: that we go for the brunch buffet at an Indian Restaurant in Darien that has a serious following. Indian is not something I typically go for (we're talking MAYBE once a year) so I was rather intrigued and looking forward to filling my plate with a number of mysterious dishes and tasting my way through the cuisine. However, 2:45 rolled around and we discovered that brunch was served until 3:00.


Plan B. Something French. Maybe a warm goat cheese salad? A glass of Rosé? And while we all agreed that that would most certainly fit the bill, there seems to be a bizarre and extreme shortage of anything remotely French (or worthwhile) in Fairfield County. So what was the final decision? We'll just have to make something ourselves, of course.

Off to the market we went, three chicks getting to take advantage of the fabulous weather and riding through town with the top down on my mom's new toy, her Volkswagen Beetle Convertible, wind blowing through our hair (read: ridiculous knots), and heat blowing full blast on our feet. Typical.

Once at the market, I had a plan: A grilled pizza topped with zucchini, white onion, dollops of ricotta, and drizzled with a salsa verde. With a salad on the side, we were ready for a light, springy, and admittedly verdant meal. We also picked up a goat, sheep, and cow's milk cheese that had caught our attention (shown below, for $7.99, this was killer. Super stinky, super flavorful; salty and smokey. Delicious.) as well as a loaf of freshly baked ciabatta. Sorry, we couldn't help ourselves.

Once home, the grill was fired up and I stretched out a piece of store-bought pizza dough till it resembled a somewhat round shape. I rubbed it with olive oil and slapped it on the grill. After about three or four minutes, I flipped it and got ready to throw on my toppings. First came a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese, quickly thereafter came the zucchini ribbons and thinly sliced white onion. I closed the grill so that the heat could get trapped inside, and gently begin to break down the veggies.

After about 5 minutes, I took the pizza off and brought it inside to receive its finishing touches. Dollops of fresh ricotta cheese were joined by a generous drizzle of salsa verde. With a salad of baby arugula and field greens quickly dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, dinner? Done.
Throw in a bottle of Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon (You must find this wine. Heck, I must find this wine somewhere in the city. Ridiculously affordable. Incredibly delicious.) and you've got a scrumptious spread that was whipped up in 20 minutes.
Then you get to linger for as long as you'd like with Mom. And you know, talk about the power of John Mayer's lyrics and whether or not the back splash tile should go all the way up to the ceiling or not. What? That's not what you talk about with your mom?

Whatever. Love you, Mom.

Friday, May 8, 2009

prune goes svenska!

You know what? I was just about to go off on my rant praising Swedish food and all of it's wonderfully subtle nuances when I realized something. I've never had my Swedish food rant. Not once! How could this be?! For the record, I consider myself half Swedish and half Norwegian. Whether that's entirely true is a different story. But since my mom is, in fact, half Swedish and half Norwegian, I just say I am too. Whatever. Deal.

Scandinavian food, in general, is extraordinarily underrated in the sense that it's rarely seen. Everyone assumes it's all Swedish meatballs, all the time, and while I too am a sucker for the little guys, there's so much more to indulge in. Herrings, Crayfish, Lingonberries, Toast Skagen (open faced shrimp sandwich), Gravlax, Wild Moose Stew (thank you, Lennart). But where are you to go to try? Well, there's Marcus Saumuelsson's Aquavit of course, and then there's Smorgas Chef for a more affordable route (and a great outdoor seating area at the West Village location). But to be honest, it wasn't the best representation of the simplistic wonders of Scandinavian cooking.

All of which is why I am particularly excited to hear that Prune will be serving a special Scandinavian spread on Sunday, May 17th. The dinner, from 5:30 p.m. till 8:30 p.m., is $75. Reservations at 212-677-6221.
And if that price point is not in the budget (because frankly, it's not in mine) I'm going to post some recipes for you to try at home. I really think you'll enjoy the flavors and textures of this misrepresented cuisine.
54 E. 1st St. (nr. 1st Ave.)

the cuban

So yesterday I'll be the first to admit I was nursing a massive hangover. In every way possible. GO 24! That said, I ate the worst things possible all day long. So what did I run downstairs and treat myself to? The Cuban from Ruthy's. And this time, I snapped a pic for you.

Thinly sliced ham, melted american cheese, mojo sauce (garlic, olive oil), pickles, and pickled jalapenos on a soft baguette. Please don't hate me. Just make the trek on over to Chelsea Market and get your own. Because as far as sandwiches go, this thing is epic.

Happy Friday!

Ruthy's Bakery

75 Ninth Ave. (b/w 15th and 16th St.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

what's for lunch

Today was one of those days where I found myself starving at around 1:00 (well, as per usual I suppose) with no idea what I was in the mood for. It had to be good and good for me and something different than my usual salad, sushi, or sandwich. So, feeling a little indulgent and adventuresome, I made three different pit stops down in Chelsea Market: Manhattan Fruit Exchange for some baby greens very lightly drizzled with olive oil and vinegar, a container of crumbled goat cheese (red onions so would have been involved here but the salad bar was OUT), The Lobster Place for a smoked salmon plate, and Amy's Bread for a French rustic roll.

So I sprinkled the greens with the goat cheese then sliced the smoked salmon into bite-size strips and laid them on top of the salad. A squeeze of lemon juice, a few capers, and shake, shake, shake. A make shift smoked salmon salad effortlessly prepared desk-side.
What'd you eat?

freeze it

Great piece in this week's Dining & Wine section on how to maximize your freezer's greatest potential. It'll save you money AND make cooking easier. Next to your favorite knife, the freezer may or may not have just become your second greatest cooking tool.

True or false: My freezer will never, ever be so lucky as to look like the one above.
Damn it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

cinco de mayo

Wherever you are, whatever you do, make sure you treat yourself to some fish tacos and margaritas tonight. I know it's depressing as hell here in New York City today, but let some good, spicy food and libations change that for you.

Pinche Taqueria
Grey Dog Coffee Cafe
BLT Fish
Or check out this guide.


Monday, May 4, 2009


My Dad popped by yesterday to take a look at the new digs and to treat his first born to a little pre-birthday dinner. Not. Too. Shabby. So I decided to check out Jane over on W. Houston, the famed brunch spot with the perpetually incessant line every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. But since it was a rainy, and albeit dreary Sunday, we had absolutely no trouble walking right in for an early dinner.

The restaurant is surprisingly large inside. Dark wood paneling, budding tree branches placed throughout the restaurant in over sized vessels, large pieces of modern art along the back wall. Not at all what I would have pictured but it was very nice, nonetheless. Cozy and warm, with the friendliest of staff.

As per usual, I had obviously pre-read the menu online days prior so I had a feel for what I was going to order. The lamb ravioli was the first thing that caught my eye but when we had finally gotten there on Sunday, I found myself leaning towards the Salmon-Avocado Tartare. But as soon as our waiter came by, we were alerted that there would be no salmon tonight. And with that, my decision was made.

A glass of dry rose was my aperitif of choice. Although it was far from spring-like weather outside, something about a glass of rose puts me in spring mode no matter what the temperature outside.

Lamb ravioli with mint, French Feta, and a Cabernet sauce was quickly placed in front of me.

Absolutely delightful. The pasta had a serious chew to it and inside these lovely little pockets was a filling of shredded, tender lamb infused with fresh mint. The Cabernet sauce, which at first glance, sounded rather daunting, was actually a very nice accompaniment; slightly smokey and seriously smooth. The French Feta was a fantastic salty bite: a cross between feta and goat cheese, with a much softer mouth feel than that of Greek Feta.

My Dad went with the Grilled Chicken Salad with roasted corn, grape tomatoes, bacon, avocado, and blue cheese. And while it might sound like your run of the mill, Cobb Salad, it was actually really very good. The lemony red wine vinaigrette made the salad pop and all of the flavors played off of one another.

Was it mind-blowing food? Perhaps not entirely. But it was perfectly yummy and the right kind of ambiance. I doubt I'll be waiting in their one hour minimum wait for brunch on the weekends, but I'll definitely be back for a lovely supper on a weeknight to try their Toasted Ricotta Gnocchi with Truffle Oil. And hey, maybe the Salmon-Avocado Tartare.

Because once I've got something in my head, we all know, this girl's gotta see it to fruition. And fast.


100 W. Houston (nr. Thompson St.)

Friday, May 1, 2009


Ok this picture (from Pabo76 on Flickr) is driving me insane. Like I have to eat that and see what in the heck it tastes like because as far as I'm concerned, it looks like perfection. WHY did I have to eat lunch three hours ago?!?

Hakata pork bun from Ippudo.


65 4th Ave.


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