As promised, I have uploaded my photos from my quick weekend trip to Minnesota. Now, many of you may not think that MN is the best place to visit, particularly in February, but I beg to differ. Of course, being from there I may be slightly prejudiced, but the Twin Cities have exploded in the last few years with a number of great restaurants, and shops, not to mention the second-most theaters and museums per capita after New York City. If you don’t believe me, just check out the James Beard Award nominations for this year — Twin Cities chefs all over the place! Anyways, this trip was too short to eat at many places, but we did fit in breakfast at Barbette, one of my old favorites, and the BEST chocolate cake you will ever eat from Café Latte (get the turtle cake and don’t ask questions. Trust me.) Much of the weekend was spent seeing my youngest sister’s play (she was amazing) and hanging out with my family, though a few bottles of wine may have been consumed. The best one was a Domaine d’Auphilac Montpeyroux from Languedoc, which we actually had for the first time on the Upper West Side at Bar Boulud. It was excellent with our impromptu cheese plate and homemade pizza.
Monthly Archives: February 2012
To many who live in NYC, the Brooklyn Flea market is not necessarily the best, or the cheapest flea market in the city. For my money, that title belongs the 25th Street Flea Market, which has a very eclectic selection of vintage wares in all price ranges (my last find was a vintage mirrored vanity tray for $20!). However, the Brooklyn Flea does have some advantages over the other flea markets in the city 1) food and 2) its winter location.
First off, the food. For anyone who has visited Dough in Bed-Stuy, I need say no more. This amazing doughnut shop has a stand at the flea with all of their regular flavors (my favorite is lemon-poppy). During the summer, there are lots more vendors, including the excellent Mile End, McClure’s Pickles, and People’s Pops. I did, however, have an excellent brisket sandwich from Lonestar Eatery, accompanied by plenty of hot sauce, pickles, and creamy potato salad. There are still many other options for food, including tacos and porchetta, but the downside is that the tables are set up in a rather dark basement setting (hence why I didn’t take any pictures). Continue reading
Apologies for the lack of posting last week. I was in the midst of getting ready for a quick weekend trip to Minnesota (photos to come this week) and ate a lot of takeout. I know, disgraceful. However, we did have time to ship up this easy parsnip and apple soup. With the addition of bacon, this soup makes an easy (and cheap) weeknight dinner. The parsnips and carrots could easily be substituted for any other root vegetable — potatoes would make this even more inexpensive.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, spring feels like it’s in the air. A string of 50 degree days and all of the sudden everyone looks happier. Of course, we could have a blizzard next week, but for now I am content to celebrate the lovely day with a simple lunch of asparagus, eggs, and prosciutto. This post also marks a new series which I will (try very hard to) post every Monday, called $10 Mondays. The prosciutto in this recipe does bring the cost up a little, but if you make 2 servings (as shown), you should come out under $10.
Spring certainly feels like it’s in the air in New York. I spied some asparagus at the grocery store the other day that actually looked fresh, and couldn’t pass up the chance to try it. This is one of my favorite dinners to make in the spring — still hearty enough for cold nights, but a nice way to showcase spring vegetables. It is especially good served with a crusty baguette and a glass of chenin blanc.
Even though peaches are wildly out of season (bad), when I was at the grocery store this morning I couldn’t resist buying a few. A girl can only eat so many apples. And since peaches are my favorite fruit, I decided to dress them up with a little sweetened sour cream and these lovely cornmeal shortcakes. The cornmeal adds a nice crunch to contrast with the sour cream and sweetness of the peaches. If you aren’t a fan of sour cream, you can use regular whipped cream, but personally I like the tanginess.
In an effort to be slightly healthier, Ari and I have started making more fish. Of course, it’s still battered and pan-fried, but still better than a steak, right? Or bacon? Anyways, we made these fish tacos the other night and they not only came together in half an hour, but they were also quite good. And you get your daily serving of vegetables! Everyone wins. Well, except the fish, perhaps. Continue reading
In lieu of a new recipe post, I thought it might be fun to take an old post from my former blog (the Intrepid Cook) to show why I started writing about food in the first place, as well as to reflect on how far I have come since then. This was the very first blog post I ever wrote, and I think that it says a lot about why I love cooking and blogging.
“When I was little, I never dreamed of being a cook. A ballerina, sure, or an actress on Broadway, but the kitchen had never been part of my plans for the future. I can remember making oatmeal cookies with my mom and helping my dad make chili or chicken and rice (a perennial favorite), but the first time I remember food making a profound impression was when my family traveled to France when I was 16. This epiphany came in the form of a tiny restaurant in Arles, in the south of France, run by a husband and wife team. She cooked, he did everything else. There were about twenty seats in the whole restaurant, which had stone walls, old wood floors, and worn wooden tables and chairs. We went to dinner around 7:30, early for the French, and closed the place down.
At that point, I was still hesitant about many foods, so I decided to play it safe and order a salad. I don’t even remember exactly what was in it, but I remember being astonished by the freshness of all of the ingredients and how each one accentuated and yet blended perfectly with the rest of the flavors. My mother ordered salmon, to this day the most perfect salmon I have ever tasted. Bright pink and flaky, it melted in your mouth. My dad ordered a steak, cooked wonderfully medium. For dessert we had profiteroles, small pastry balls filled with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce, topped with a cage of sugar strands. It was the first time I have ever eaten it, and remains to this day the most memorable.
That trip opened my eyes to the possibilities of food. Since then, I have tried to cook whenever possible and learn as much as I can. Last year I was lucky enough to study for a semester in Bologna, Italy, the birthplace of Parmiggiano Reggiano, balsamic vinagar, prosciutto, and tortelloni. This helped further my education in food, and also sparked an interest in wine, which continued this summer when I worked in a vineyard in Minnesota. Yes, there are vineyards in Minnesota. Most are small, and all have difficulty with the cold, but there are some surprisingly good wines that are being produced there.
Cooking, at its base, is about sharing. So that is what I would like to do with this blog — share my experiences and adventures in cooking (and drinking) with you. As a senior in college on a small and somewhat isolated campus, it can be hard to think of cooking ideas that taste good and are also inexpensive. Additionally, I think that many people, especially college students, don’t know a lot about wine and are intimidated to learn. So, I will also try to bring you along on my own education in viniculture and viticulture, concentrating mostly on bottles under $15. For my friends and I, a fancy bottle generally means spending over $10, but there are some surprisingly good wines out there for not very much money if you are willing to look. Of course, every person has their own tastes, but a sense of adventure is essential. If you are willing to venture beyond boxed wine, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
For now, I will be posting recipes, reviewing restaurants, and tasting wine. Of course, it always helps to have roommates who appreciate good food and who aren’t afraid to try new things. Pairing food and wine is tricky, and takes a lot of expirimentation — but I’m willing to try.”
Obviously, I’m not a college student anymore and no longer live in a small town, but I don’t think my principles have changed much. I still love trying new things, both new kinds of food and (always) new wines. I still find joy in being able to make a great meal out of inexpensive ingredients, a skill my parents taught me long ago. And I love being part of an online community and sharing these things with all of you.
I’ll admit it. I’ve been dreaming of peaches and tomatoes, of zucchini and plums in abundance. The farmer’s market in the winter can be a little depressing, with heavy root vegetables and apples and pears week after week. Even though it hasn’t been all that cold in New York, I’m looking forward to summer and its produce. However, while we are all waiting for spring, this creamy tart might help lift you out of the winter doldrums. I like how the salty, buttery crust contrasts with the sweetness of the pastry cream and the vanilla-scented pears. Also, this would make a lovely Valentine’s day dessert if you have some time…you could even poach the pears in red wine instead of water for some festive color (although then I would recommend removing the vanilla).
I love Thai food. However, sometimes I find that takeout options can be sickly sweet, or too oily, or not spicy enough. I decided to take matters into my own hands, and after finding out how easy this recipe is, I might never order pad thai for delivery again. It is also gluten-free, an added bonus to its simplicity and great taste. This can also easily be non-vegetarian by substituting the tofu for shrimp.
Pad Thai (modified from Bon Appétit)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 block tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups bean sprouts
6 tablespoons tamarind water, or 3 tablespoons tamarind paste mixed with 3 tablespoons water (I couldn’t find tamarind paste, so I used pomegranate paste to the same effect)
3 tablespoons (or more) Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
3 tablespoons simple syrup
5 scallions, thinly sliced.
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
6 tablespoons crushed roasted, unsalted peanuts, divided
2 lime wedges