Monday, November 29, 2010

i'm in jamaica!

But don't worry. In between the Red Stripe Lights (which are handed to you upon landing) and Spiny Lobster Tails and Red Snapper Sandwiches served on the beach, I'm taking notes. And I mean that. Or at least mental notes. And photographic ones, for sure. Because there's something to be said about Jamaican cuisine beyond the Jerk Chicken and Rum and Rasta-lifestyle. Or, at least, I think there is.

A few teasers to keep you 'round. I'll be back soon. No worries, mon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

thanksgiving line-up

le menu

Pepperidge Farm Stuffing with Green Apple and Mushrooms
Fall Salad with Pear and Red Onion-Parsley Vinaigrette
Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Apple

To nibble on beforehand, there will be a mind-boggling array of some of my favorite cheeses: Petit Nivat, Chaource Lincet, and Camembert D'Isigny. One of our friends is bringing "Potted Shrimp"--a recipe she had seen in the Food Section of the New York Times. And there will be no shortage of wine. From Gosset Brut Grande Reserve to Jean Paul Brun Beaujolais L'Ancien to Washington State Riesling to California Zinfandel, I'm honestly not sure which part of this ridiculous spread I'm most excited to dive into.

Although if push came to shove, the answer would quite simply be: cheese and wine. End of story.

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? What are you responsible for this year?

Monday, November 22, 2010

co ba

My love for Southeast Asian cuisine is old news by now. And by old news I mean I've beaten the proverbial dead horse, ad nauseam, in front of you all more times than I'd like to recount. But I can't help but get excited when I come across a new cilantro, mint, and lemongrass-centric place to share--especially when said new place is a stones throw from my apartment. It automatically gives it an unfair and openly biased boost based on convenience. But for what it's worth, I was dining with a Swede and a Connecticut'er, both of whom could not stop raving about the food and would leave civilly only if they were promised to return soon. So regardless of convenience-factor, Co Ba is totally bringing it with their food.

And balance (of flavors, textures, and temperatures) is the name of the game.

ginger poached duck with cabbage salad topped with vietnamese coriander, shallot crisps, and spicy lime-ginger dressing

grilled lemongrass chicken over vermicelli salad with fresh herbs, peanuts, and a chile-lime sauce

pan-seared red snapper with spicy lemongrass-pineapple sauce

We left with lips still tingling, stomachs comfortably full, and wallets miraculously in tact. The ideal dining experience with exceptional service--oh, and did I mention it's conveniently located? And don't even get me started on their Banh Mi's.

God, I love this kind of food.

Enter: Dead Horse and Kiira, bat in hand.

110 9th Ave. (b/w 17th and 18th)

FOOD: 37
LOOK: 17


Friday, November 19, 2010

my nyc restaurant map

Everywhere there's a little blue marker, I've eaten at. At least once. If not multiple times. And if this doesn't worry you, rest assured that I'm doing all the worrying for you. Tenfold. And I wonder why my paychecks always seem to dissipate so quickly? Someone needs an intervention. And I'm not naming any names.

For more detailed information on my restaurant map, click here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

weekend dinner party

It's the weekend before Thanksgiving (gulp) so I propose keeping things light this weekend. There's also the fact that there are only ten days and a holiday centered around gorging that separate me from the beaches of Jamaica (do ya hate me?). Alas, all the more reason to lighten up the ole "diet."

Whether or not this spread can truly be considered "lightened up" is debatable because it certainly tastes anything but--which is the trick to staying on the healthy-eating track. And from a person adverse to almost all things track-related, you can rest assured that my "responsible" suggestions won't leave you feeling deprived of anything.

You see, because there are just very few things I deprive myself of. I come from a place of "yes."

In many ways, this spread is my ode to Mooncake. And while I owe them much of the credit, I came up with these recipes all on my own this past weekend when they were received with an overwhelming (yet humbling) number of compliments and finished with a standing ovation. While the latter may or may not be a slight embellishment on the truth, I assure you this meal will not go by unnoticed. And your figure will thank you (but really, me).

salmon with cilantro-ginger sauce over steamed rice
bibb lettuce salad with avocado, mango and orange-ginger dressing
new zealand sauvignon blanc

toasted coconut frozen yogurt

The pictures above show how leftovers (we did strip steaks rather than salmon) were translated the next day: Open-faced sandwiches, lovingly and perfectly curated by my cousin Renée on Sunday afternoon. May be one of the best looking things on Eat + Greet to date. And I had nothing to do with the assembly. Go figure.

Anyways, a bright, zippy Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand with big, juicy hints of grapefruit will go smashingly with this meal. And I know that because it's what I served alongside. Making two red wine drinkers absolutely swoon.

Contrary to popular belief, turns out I know a thing or two about wine and food pairings.

Salmon with Cilantro-Ginger Sauce
Serves 4

For the salmon:
4 6-oz. salmon fillets
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. lite soy sauce
2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
4 cloves of garlic, grated
2 tsp. of sugar (or honey or agave syrup)
sprinkle of red chili flakes
1/2 tsp. salt

In a shallow dish, combine all of the wet ingredients. Turn the fillets of salmon around in the marinade until they're evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two, turning the fillets once or twice.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Wrap each fillet in a piece of foil and place on a baking sheet. When the oven is up to temperature, place the baking sheet in the oven and allow to cook (steam) for about 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Serve with steamed rice and cilantro-ginger sauce.

For the cilantro-ginger sauce:

1 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
sprinkle of sugar
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. canola oil
salt to taste

In a food processor, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, and ginger. Pulse until everything is finely chopped. Add in the rice vinegar, sugar, canola oil, and salt and blitz until combined. Taste for seasoning.

Orange-Ginger Dressing

1/4 cup orange juice
3 slices of ginger (cut 1/4" thick or so)
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. canola oil
salt to taste

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the orange juice and ginger slices. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer until the juice has reduced by half. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a small bowl, add the cooled orange reduction, rice vinegar, and chopped shallot. Stir to combine then whisk in the canola oil. Taste for seasoning.

Serve drizzled over a salad of bibb lettuce, sliced avocado and mango.

Monday, November 15, 2010

arthur ave.

What better excuse to hit up Arthur Ave. than for a quick lunch before a trip to the Bronx Zoo? Besides, we had two Swedish "tourists" with us and it seemed like an appropriate NYC experience--and one that this so-called "New Yorker" hadn't yet experienced. Our game plan? To hit up whichever spot along Arthur Ave. that we could find a parking spot in front of. And lo and behold, we found ourselves at Full Moon Pizzeria.

A slice of cheese for me (judge all you want, but, I think this is the best way to detect a pizzeria's worth) and a few other slices of veggie-laden pies and we were ready to gorge.

The pizza was good enough--a typical New York slice--but certainly nothing to rush back to the Bronx for. And we can probably blame that on my lack of energy to seek out the "best" of the neighborhood for the sake of convenience. So why even bother posting about this lackluster, run-of-the-mill lunch? Because I really just wanted to post pictures of my Swedish cousin Renée's little nugget, Nellie, indulging in her first New York slice.

I nearly die every time I look at that angelic, rosy-cheeked, blue-eyed face. She is absolute preciousness personified.

And she's a really, really good eater. A petite gourmand in the making.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

weekend dinner party

How's this for an unintentionally prejudiced conundrum: I don't particularly care for Indian curry but I love, love, love Thai curry. There it is. Out in the open. I can't explain it. But I can make an educated guess that it has something to do with the addition of cumin (A spice that I unfortunately cannot stand behind--literally). This inopportune opposition has led to a tragically limited number of Indian food experiences. My excuse is always that I'm not in the mood. But really, I think it's got a whole lot more to do with a reverse Pavlovian-type response I have to cumin-scented curry along with the lack of a clear, rational mind.

So, in an effort to take the fragrant bull by the horns, this weekend's dinner party menu showcases an Indian-themed spread. The combination of my sweet cousin, Aly (seen below), who's living in India for the semester and my Indian-food-loving Swedish cousin, Renée, who's coming to visit this weekend, provided me with all the inspiration I needed. And when I started clicking through Aly's unbelievable photos documenting her adventures and simultaneously sifting through the cilantro, mint, cucumber, yogurt, and garam-masala flecked recipes, I started to realize just how irrational my alleged fear is and how excited I am to start exploring by means of shoving face with these delectable dishes.

chicken masala
jasmine rice
cucumber raita
curried carrot salad with currants and mint
pomegranate spritzers with lime


Chicken Masala

Cucumber Raita

Curried Carrot Salad

Pomegranate Spritzers: Equal parts POM pomegranate juice and seltzer and top with a squeeze of lime. For an alcoholic version, a splash of vodka can be added.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

betcha didn't expect to see this

Believe it or not, I've been perusing recipes for chicken enchiladas as of late. Can't exactly tell you why, seeing as I've never really even had much experience with chicken enchiladas, but I've just been curiously drawn to them. A typically cheesy, creamy dish that's perked up with chile and cilantro and made hearty by shredded rotisserie chicken. More importantly, I wanted to try and find a recipe that would allow me to lighten it up significantly while also making it a little bit more "gourmet" and a little bit less kitschy. And while a cup of cream and a pound of cheese might be appropriate (and/or borderline cruel) for a dinner party, it has no place in my weekly diet. And so here's what I'm proposing: replace the cup of cream with a combination of 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream and 1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt. The mozzarella cheese can be replaced with part-skim mozzarella (or a reduced fat monterey jack or cheddar). While I admittedly haven't yet experimented with this on my own, I have a feeling the substitutions will work seamlessly and none of the luxurious texture of this dish will be sacrificed in the least.

Cooking for one? Try halving or quartering the recipe and layering it up in a smaller individual-sized baking dish. Just cut the tortillas down to size to fit the vessel.

And alongside? You can guarantee there will be a simple green salad with some sliced avocado and tomato with a lime dressing to liven things up. The added bonus to this recipe is that it's a totally economical way to feed a crowd. Not to mention incredibly filling with just enough of a kick for both body and soul. Which is just what this doctor ordered.

Layered Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2005, amended by yours truly
Makes 8 servings

2 pounds large tomatillos, husked, rinsed, halved
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups sliced green onions
2 cups (packed) very coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 large serrano chile, sliced (with seeds)
12 5- to 6-inch flour tortillas
1 purchased rotisserie chicken, meat torn into strips (about 4 cups)
1 pound part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut into strips
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 450F. Mix tomatillos, chicken broth, and garlic cloves in a large saucepan. Cover and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer gently until tomatillos are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer hot mixture to processor. Add sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and sliced chile; blend mixture to coarse puree. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Overlap 6 tortillas in 13x9x2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Top tortillas with half of the chicken strips and half mozzarella strips. Pour 2 cups tomatillo sauce evenly over. Top with remaining tortillas, chicken strips, and mozzarella. Stir in reduced-fat sour cream and fat free greek yogurt into 1 1/2 cups of tomatillo sauce and pour over top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until bubbling, about 25 minutes. Cool enchiladas 10 minutes. Serve with remaining tomatillo sauce.

Photo above courtesy of Bon Appetit

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

comfort food

It's not just the abrupt and startling (and unwelcomed) blast of chilliness that's got me longing for comfort food. No, instead, it's a whole slew of other non-weather-related things that have managed to do a number on my appetite. Flavors are temporarily coming across somewhat muted and so my natural next step is to turn to soothing textures. And warmth. And there's nothing more soul-satisfying and comforting than a piping hot bowl full of familiarity that's enriched with some cream and spooned over buttered and parsley-flecked egg noodles.

Beef Stroganoff may not be instinctual for you, but there's something about the old school'ness of it that sends me right home. In fact, I promptly called my mom this morning to get this recipe from one of the cookbooks that happily fed us throughout my childhood, appropriately called Dinner In Minutes. Which means you can cozy up to this meal at the drop of a hat--and we all know that when we're hit with pangs of sadness or homesickness or whatever else it may be, there's a sense of urgency. And the faster, the better.

Beef Strognaoff
Recipe Courtesy of Dinner In Minutes (and amended by Mom)
1 1/4 pounds flank, rib eye, skirt or lean sirloin steak
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups low fat chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dijon mustard or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce or more to taste
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Remove fat from meat and slice into thin strips about 1/4 inch thick. If using flank steak, slice across the grain. Place 1/2 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet and brown a few slices at a time on high heat, adding more oil as needed. Do not overcook; the meat should be juicy and slightly rare. As soon as the meat is browned, remove from the pan. Continue to brown all meat slices in this manner. Add onions and sauté until transparent, about 10 minutes. If the pan seems too dry, add about 1/4 cup water to prevent burning.

Add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Pour in chicken stock. Add tomato paste, mustard, worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all of the browned bits into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes to reduce the sauce and slightly thicken it. Taste. You may need to add sugar and a little more worcestershire sauce or mustard. There should be a delicate blend of flavors. Return meat to sauce and add cream and sour cream. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes without boiling to rewarm meat. Taste for seasoning again. Stir in parsley right before serving.

To serve: Place cooked, buttered egg noodles on each plate and serve stroganoff over noodles. Sprinkle with a little bit more parsley.

Monday, November 1, 2010

halloween brunch

absolutely perfect eggs benedict

pizza with sliced potatoes, onion, rosemary, goats milk brie, speck and egg

pizza with white onion, goat cheese, smoked salmon, frisée salad


Related Posts with Thumbnails