Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rotini with Shrimp and Spinach

After a few disappointing meals this week, I decided it was time I get in the kitchen and make something happen.  I wasn't quite sure what to cook but I knew my local fish market would be involved.  I picked up a half pound of shrimp and went to the grocery store for some spinach.

By the time I got home, I decided I would make Rotini with Shrimp and Spinach in a white wine sauce.  I'm usually into red sauces but I guess the summer has me thinking white.  I adapted Giada's recipe.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
12 ounces Rotini pasta
3 cups (packed) fresh arugula, torn in ½
Tomatoes (DO NOT ADD)*


Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and white wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the wine reduces by half, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook just until they are pink, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the Rotini in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Drain the Rotini. Add the Rotini and arugula to the skillet. Toss to combine. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and serve.

Hungry yet?

I unfortunately added tomatoes to this dish.  It was disgusting.  I didn’t cook them long enough and warm tomatoes are really not my thing.  Big mistake and I do not recommend it!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chai Thai

Lots of work these days so I haven’t really had time to get out for an enjoyable meal.  I made a quick run to Chai today with Ms. M.  We usually go to Q2 but decided to try somewhere new.

We walked in and the restaurant had some patrons but was not bustling.  We ordered our very affordable lunch specials and waited outside until our orders were ready.

I ordered Chicken Kra Pow which comes with either a spring roll or salad.  I went with the salad.

Yup that’s the salad they gave me.  Definitely does not look fresh and the dressing looked disgusting.  I didn’t even bother trying it.  Ms. M tried it and noted that the dressing was definitely not as delicious as Q2 or even Topaz.

The Kra Pow chicken is sautéed with chili and basil.  It was definitely different than the one at Q2.

It didn’t look very appetizing but I had to give it a shot.  It actually tasted pretty good.  The spice was more like an after taste, which can be nice when you’re starving and just diving into your meal.  However, the spices weren’t blended well together.  I enjoyed the meal, but I think that had more to do with how hungry I was than anything else. 

Sad to say but I doubt I’ll try Chai again until someone tells me they’ve improved their dishes.  Or perhaps I’ll go back and try something else.  My love for Thai food makes it hard for me to abandon a Thai restaurant.

Hungry yet?

Chai NY on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 28, 2010


The problem with having a food blog is my desire to amuse you all with at least one new dish every day can make it very difficult to eat leftovers.  I do tend to cook as though I’m feeding a small army and I guess it’s time I adjust my portions.

Tonight I decided to try out the BBQ chicken from a while back and add the spinach from last week.

Quite the experiment.  The spinach was no good and I threw it out after one bite.  The chicken and potatoes were still good but definitely didn’t taste as good as when I first made it.  From now on, I am making smaller portions.  Unless if you want to come over for dinner!

Hungry yet?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Flor de Mayo

After reluctantly making our way back to NYC, Mr. G and I decided to pick up some take out and have dinner at his place.  Flor de Mayo is a Peruvian Chinese restaurant.  Weird right?  Wrong! It’s a perfect combination!

We ordered half fried chicken with shrimp fried rice.  The chicken is so incredibly well seasoned, I am shocked at the deliciousness.  The spices are perfectly blended.  Not spicy, just very flavorful.

The shrimp fried rice is standard Chinese rice with shrimp.  Not nearly as delicious as the chicken, but quite flavorful.

Flor de Mayo apparently has two locations.  Mr. G and I usually go to the one on Amsterdam, but tonight we picked up from the Broadway location.  They were really packed and we waited a while, but it was definitely worth it.

Hungry yet?

Flor de Mayo on Urbanspoon

Haven Café & Bakery

We woke up this morning and watched Germany annihilate the Brits.  It hurt to watch, especially the ref’s poor call but c’est la vie.  After watching the pummeling, it was time to get our chow on.

We went to Haven Café & Bakery in Lenox.  A short drive from the house.  Haven is a cute spot and the best part is you pick up your food then pick a table.  Since we had the whole crew of 7, we were fortunate to get a seat at the largest table.

Mr. A, Ms. A (not the same A), Mr. G and I ate here yesterday, so there will be some blending of experiences and use of the previous day’s pictures in this post.  Here is a picture of Mr. G's corn muffin from yesterday.  He remarked that this is the best muffin he has ever had and was disappointed when they didn't have it today.

Ms. A ordered the French Rolled Santa Fe Omelet.  Chopped bacon, cheddar cheese, roasted poblanos, sour cream and pico de gallo. Now check out the picture she snapped.

According to Ms. A, the poblanos are the real deal.  They are more flavorful than green or red peppers, but not as hot as other chilies.  Tasted so good, she ordered it both days.  

Ms. P ordered the Smoked Salmon Scramble.  Hudson valley brown eggs, smoked salmon and caramelized onions on fresh spinach.

Mr. G and I ordered the same thing on Saturday.  Although they called it smoked, the salmon was more cooked than I’m used to.  Still tasted good I’m just sayin’.  The potatoes were also pretty good.

Ms. D ordered a fantastic Aegean Salad.

Look at that deliciousness, Grilled artichoke hearts, marinated tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, tuna with capers on mixed greens.  Props to Ms. D for snapping the fantastic picture.

Mr. W and I ordered the Croissant French Toast, two pieces dipped in cinnamon, vanilla egg batter topped with powdered sugar.

Yummers!  I was a bit skeptical about this dish because it looked paltry.  However, from my first bite I was in love.  The croissant was light and the hint of cinnamon was fantastic. My only regret was that I didn't take a picture that really did it justice.

Mr. A and Mr. G both ordered pancakes.  However, Mr. A added coconut shavings for a tropical flair. 

Sorry about the pic…he already started eating before I could snap.

Haven is fantastic.  The prices are very reasonable and the portions are enough for brunch but won’t leave you stuffed.  If you’re ever in Lenox or surrounding towns, I highly recommend a trip to Haven Café & Bakery.

Hungry yet?

Haven Cafe Bakery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Banana Bread

After leaving Baba Louie’s happily filled, we stopped by the SoCo Creamery and picked up 2 pints of ice cream: gingerbread and vanilla.  

Although she travelled all the way from Texas, Ms. P managed to bring about two fantastic desserts.  Ginger bread, which was a bit crumbled but I devoured it.

As you can likely guess from the title of this post, Ms. P’s Banana Bread was the star of the evening.  I was fortunate that she shared the recipe and was willing to let me post it on my blog.

Below is the recipe. It's modified from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" (Ms. P’s cooking bible!).
8 Tablespoons butter
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (original recipe calls for 2 cups white flour)
1 Teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar (original recipe calls for white but I use brown)
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed w/ fork until smooth
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, cream the butter and beat in the eggs and bananas.  Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients; do not mix more than necessary. Gently stir in the vanilla and nuts (or whatever else you want to put in).

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. A toothpick inserted in the center of the bread will come out fairly clean, but banana bread is excessively moist compared to other breads. Do not overcook. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Hungry yet?

Baba Louie's Great Barrington, MA

After spending the day watching some quality World Cup games and playing a quick (but intense) round of Taboo, we made a trip to Baba Louie's in Great Barrington for some dinner.  We waited almost an hour for our table of 7.  I was FAMISHED and starting to get cranky.  Luckily I was with a great group of people and the conversation helped pass the time.

When we finally sat down, I thought I might faint if any more time passed by.  We quickly ordered a family size Antipasto for the table.

You see all that?  Roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, chevre (goat milk cheese), sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, turkey sausage, calamata olives, prosciutto and garlic toast.  Man o man I couldn't be happier.  I quickly dove in and enjoyed some of the most delicious mozzarella I've ever had.  The turkey sausage was spicy and the garlic toast was surprisingly tasty.

Ms. D ordered an Insalata Allegra that she kindly shared with the table.

Look at those mixed greens, figs, apricots, roasted pecans lightly coated with balsamic vinaigrette.  The apricots were especially delicious.  It's like finding candy in a salad!  The best part about ordering appetizers is that it distracts me from the fact that my entree has yet to arrive.  I definitely needed distracting here.

Soon after, the pizzas started arriving.

Ms. D and her Mr. W (forever and ever and ever) ordered Queen Margherita: Baba Louie's Classic Cheese Pizza topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, infused garlic olive oil and basil.

How great does that look?  So good that I wish I sat close enough to slide one of those slices on my plate.  Mr. G and I decided to split the Hannah Jo.  Fresh mozzarella, ricotta, red onions, shrimp, pineapple, prosciutto and green chili sauce, topped with dried coconut.  Mr. G and I skipped the prosciutto.

This was the BEST pizza I have ever had!!  Pineapple, shrimp, green chili and dried coconut.  The combination is to die for!! Admittedly, I was a bit reluctant to order this because of the crazy combination.  The green chili was perfectly spiced, the coconut and shrimp combination was fantastic and the pineapple showed up each time I was starting to miss it.  YUM YUM YUM!

Ms. A and Mr. A (but not the same A) decided to get individual pizzas.  Above, you see Ms. A's Melanzana Cardinale Ricardo's Pizza Famosa. Tomato sauce, chevre, sun dried tomatoes, asiago, calamata olives, mozzarella, roasted garlic, basil and parmesan.  She added sausage.  That's one of the many fantastic things about Baba Louie's they have a whole host of toppings to your pizza.

Mr. A ordered Hannah Jo avec prosciutto.  That's why his has that extra splash of color!

Ms. P ordered Pomodoro Bianco Melanzana Cardinale. Fresh mozarella, eggplant, tomatoes, smoked gouda and pesto garnished with parmesan and red pepper flakes. While I was tempted to slide a slice on my plate, I was so full that all I could do was stare in amazement at the deliciousness that lay in front of me.

I like pizza.  But usually I'm not very impressed by the selection.  Baba Louie's totally changed that perspective.  I may now actively seek brick oven or wood fired pizza shops.  I can't believe how amazing the pizza tasted.  The creative selections also left me quite thrilled.  If you're ever even remotely close to the Berkshires, I highly encourage you stop by Baba Louie's.  It's worth the wait!

Hungry yet?

Babalouies Sour Dough Pizza Company on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 25, 2010

Berkshires: Stockbridge, MA

A couple of years ago in my third year of law school, I attended the PILF Auction.  At the auction, a few friends and I had the crazy idea of bidding for the house of one of our professors.  I enthusiastically volunteered to be the paddle waver and of course, we won!  Although we were studying for the bar at the time, we enjoyed our summer weekend at the house on Stockbridge bowl.

So this year, we decided to do it again only this time without the weight of the bar exam on our shoulders.  It was mostly the same crew, although a couple of people couldn't make it which made room for a couple of plus ones.

The house is gorgeous.  While the professor calls it a cottage, any structure with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a massive living room and gorgeous kitchen is anything but a cottage in my eyes.

Oh and did I mention it sits on a lake?!

I hope I can own a "cottage" some day.

The Berkshires are a fantastic getaway and only 2 1/2 to 3 hours from NYC.  Definitely an easy weekend drive and I highly recommend making the trip.  Stay tuned for some of the fabulous eats that we're likely to experience this weekend!

Sandwiches and Such

Sometime during this crazy week, there was another catered lunch at the office.  This was mediocre compared to the other delightful meals we've been served over the past couple of months.  Alas, who am I to turn down a free meal!

The pasta salad was tasty, but that's probably because I was hungry.  Upon reflection, it was too cold and not salady (yes, that's a technical term) enough.  It seemed as though someone cooked some penne with marinara then served it cold the next day.

The salad was too salady for me.  Look at all that green! I might as well go eat grass.  I skipped that one but notice quite a few people chomping down on the leaves.

I selected the grilled chicken wrap.  It was just what I needed.  Chicken, wrap, lettuce and tomato.  

The fruit was delicious! The mango was very ripe I wanted to throw it in a smoothie.  Pineapple was sweet without the tart that most pineapples have had these days.  Berries were great as were the grapes.

The dessert tray only had one legit chocolate chip cookie so I of course selected that one.  The rest of the was too suspicious for me so I left it alone. 

Another catered meal, but no where as good as the last few.

Hungry yet?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Central Park Zoo catered by Flik

Mr. G's firm hosted an event at the Central Park Zoo.  We showed up just as the Sea Lions were eating.  That meant we got the chance to eat while the rest of the guests watched the Sea Lions.  The event was catered by Flik.

Flik did a fantastic job and offered many options.

I stayed away from the roasted vegetables.  Although they looked great I wasn't interested.

The potato salad was alright.  Not as delicious as I would have made it, but it was edible.

The BBQ chicken was the highlight of the meal.  Juicy, succulent and simply fantastic.   So much so that I went back for a second plate.

The grilled chicken was also well done.  I placed one of these pieces on a bun and enjoyed a grilled chicken sandwich.

Mr. G helped himself to one of these burgers.  It was apparently a hit, because someone stopped by our table and noted how delicious the burgers were.

Many thanks to Mr. G and his firm for providing my dinner.  I guess cafeteria food isn't that bad after all.

Hungry yet?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

China Gourmet

It's been a rough week.  I had to cancel a previously scheduled lunch today and instead order from Seamless Web.  I'm not particularly proud of this order from China Gourmet, however I was starving and my secretary pressured me to place an order.  She knows how cranky I get when I don't eat.  I was so hungry I was almost half way thru before I took a photo.

There it is.  Chicken and Broccoli with white rice.  Greasy, and most certainly not gourmet.  But it did indeed hit the spot.  Hopefully I'll make it through the rest of the day and have a delicious meal for dinner.

Hungry yet?

China Gourmet Chinese Rstrnt on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Caffe Cielo Lunch

You'll recall that I went to Caffe Cielo for dinner just a few weeks ago.  While dinner was less than spectacular, the lunch was superb!

This time around, I ordered Farfalle con Arugola E Gamberetti.  That's Bowtie Pasta with Shrimp and Arugula in a White Wine Sauce.  However, I requested that a spicy marinara be substituted for the white wine sauce.

Perfection.  The sauce was perfectly spicy and the shrimp was the right size for this kind of dish.  Sometimes shrimp in these dishes is too big with a tail and requires far too much work, but this was perfect.

Caffe Cielo redeemed itself from the last time I was there.  My hope is that the wonder that they brought to lunch can be repeated at the dinner table.  For now, I will stick to lunch and you probably should to.

Hungry yet?

Caffe Cielo on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 21, 2010

Braised Halibut with Spinach and Mushrooms

After spending almost all of my food budget in the first half of the month, I knew I had to switch it up for the rest of June.  I took a quick trip to Whole Foods after work today with hopes of stumbling upon something delicious.  There was a sale on Halibut, so I decided that even though I had never made it before, that would be my main course tonight.

Spinach is pretty easy to make so I figured I couldn't go wrong on that.  Especially since Mr. G and I made that while we were in SF.  While waiting on the check-out line, I picked up a Food & Wine magazine.  Lo and behold one of the recipes in there was for Halibut.  I decided that I would do a modified version of the Braised Halibut with Mushrooms and Shrimp recipe.

Braised Halibut with Spinach and Mushrooms
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch of Spinach
Salt and pepper
3/4 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 6-ounce halibut filets
3/4 cup dry white wine for cooking

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Add the spinach, salt and pepper then cover.  After 2 minutes, uncover and mix around, cover again.  Repeat until spinach is wilted, but still very green.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and, when it's hot, add the sliced mushrooms.  Cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until any liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are browned, about 7 minutes.  Push the mushrooms to the side of the skillet and add 1 more tablespoon of the olive oil.  Ad the sliced garlic and cook over low heat until golden, about 1 minute.  Toss the garlic together with the mushrooms in the skillet and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the mushrooms to the same pot as the spinach.

Add the remaining oil to the skillet.  Season the halibut with salt and pepper on both sides then add them to the skillet.  Cook over moderate heat for about 2 minutes, then carefully turn the halibut.

Add the white wine, cover and cook until halibut is just white throughout, about 2 more minutes.  Voila!  For added flavor, you can combine the spinach and mushroom in the same skillet as the halibut so the juices run together.  I was too hungry so I plated the fish and added the vegetables.

This was a very quick recipe and did not take long to make at all.
Hungry yet?