Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pumpkin Bread


Last night while I was making the Red Snapper, I felt it would be wrong if I did not have some dessert.  Although it was rather warm yesterday, I did get excited at the thought of fall vegetables.  I was never a big fan of squash, pumpkin or any of the gourds.  But during my 3L year of law school, the Student Senate hosted an Iron Chef Competition and the secret ingredients were fall vegetables.  I served as a judge so I was able to sample so many delicious delights.  Since then, I’ve opened my mouth to those fantastic flavors.  While I would have loved to make pumpkin loaves from scratch and I’m sure that will come later, I had to go with a quick and easy recipe that included a can of Libby’s pumpkin.


Like so many others, this recipe is from my Epicurious app.

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 15-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder

Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans.  Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend.  

Mix in eggs and pumpkin.  

Sift dry ingredients into another large bowl.  Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions.  Divide batter equally between prepared pans.  


Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes.  Turn loaves out unto racks and cool completely.


Seriously, this is one of the EASIEST recipes to make.  I have baked this multiple times and each time it’s turned out great.  The best part is the recipe yields 2 loaves.  I brought one loaf into the office and it was gone in about an hour.  Hopefully my coworkers enjoyed it and it didn’t end up in the trash.  I’ve been sneaking in bits and pieces of the second loaf today….I just might finish it all by myself. 1 ½ cups of sugar…don’t mind if I do! J

I will definitely try making pumpkin bread later this season when I see some better looking pumpkins at the market.

Hungry yet?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Red Snapper with Mango Salsa and Wild Rice

I first started thinking about this meal a couple of days ago but I couldn’t quite figure out exactly what I would make and how I would make it.  I’ve thought about making tropical salsa for a while but don’t really know what to serve it with or which fruit to use.  I finally decided to focus on mango and go from there.  I knew I would go with seafood but it wasn’t until I got to the fish market that the red snapper spoke to me.  I really wish I could have found a filet, but in the end I had to settle for the red snapper steak.  Here’s the recipe that ended up producing this.


Ingredients
2 Red Snapper Steaks (or filets)
1 tsp chili powder or cayenne
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp grated ginger
salt to taste
juice of half a lime

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Pat the fish dry and lay on individual large pieces of foil. Mix spices in a small bowl and squeeze half of lime juice in and stir together.  


Use the mixture as a rub for the fish.  If using steak, rub both sides.  


If filet, only rub on non skin side.  Squeeze remainder of lime juice over the fish then fold foil ends so they meet then fold down and secure creating a wrap.  Place fish on a baking sheet and bake for 10 – 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.  When you remove it from the oven, open up and this is what you get

I tried to capture the steam rising but couldn’t quite get it.  Mango Salsa recipe below.


Friday, September 24, 2010

YourOwnExperience


Lots of great food events coming up this week.

September 24, 2010 and September 25, 2010
6PM
MoMA P.S. 1 22-25 Jackson Ave. Long Island City $50 - $80
New York v. San Francisco
The age old question of which city is the culinary giant.  Watch the heavyweights of New York and San Francisco battle it out while you taste the culinary delights.  Hurry up and get your tickets, they’re going fast.  Limited number of tickets will be available at the door.  http://www.legrandfooding.com/home.php

September 25, 2010
Governor’s Island 12PM – 5PM $85 - $100
New York’s annual competition for the title of Best Street Food Vendor.  Tickets are sold out but there will be food trucks on the island selling their specialties, including a few imports from Philly!  

September 25, 2010 – October 3
Cooking with Chocolate, Rosa Mexicano 9 East 18th Street
Rosa Mexicano’s annual Festival de Chocolate Mexicano means it’s time for complimentary cooking demonstrations.  Call 212.397.0666, extension 27 for reservations.

September 25, 2010
The Heritage Party $100 per person
402 Graham Ave.  Brooklyn, NY 7PM – Midnight
All you can eat party with a tasting of meats, fish and many other dishes.  The Roberta’s chef will be working with farmers to develop the dishes.

September 25, 2010
Dumpling Festival, free admission $20 for four dumpling tastings
Sara D. Roosevelt Park on E. Houston
The 7th annual festival will showcase dumplings from all over the world and a dumpling eating contest.  The record of 66 dumplings in 2 minutes still stands from 2008.

September 29 – October 3
A series of events including tastings, book signings and demonstrations, including the Ultimate Lunch Break.  Can’t wait!


 Hungry yet?

Stir Fried Prawns with Noodles


I was looking through my Stir Fry and Wok Bible a few days ago and flagged a bunch of recipes I  wanted to make.  I decided to try the Stir-Fried Prawns recipe so I went on a hunt for tamarind sauce.  I walked into several stores searching for the one ingredient I didn’t have.  Turns out it’s not so easy to find.  I’ll definitely have to order it online for next time.  Not to be foiled, I decided to improvise on the recipe.

Stir Fried Prawns – improvised from the Stir Fry and Wok Bible.

3 tbs wok oil
2 chopped garlic cloves
3 tbs chopped onion
2 tsps crushed red pepper
1 tbs light brown sugar
¼ cup Szechuan sauce
1/8 cup water
1 tbs thai fish sauce
1 tbs rice vinegar
1 lb prawns (shrimp)
1 package wide lo mein noodles, cooked

Heat up the wok with 3 tbs wok oil.  When it’s nice and hot add the garlic and onion. 

As they’re sizzling, add the crushed red pepper and brown sugar.  

Stir for a couple of minutes until onions start to brown.  Add the fish sauce and rice vinegar.  Be careful it will splash!

Push everything to the side and add the Szechuan sauce to the middle.  

Stir until hot then add the water.  Mix all the ingredients together and add the shrimp.

Cook the prawns until pink then flip over to the other side – about 2-3 minutes on each side.   

Spoon the shrimp onto the plain noodles.  The fish sauce and Szechuan combination may taste a little salty so do not add salt to the noodles! If you just can’t live without salt on your noodles, then ½ the fish sauce and vinegar.

I was pleased to serve this dish and my guest went back for seconds so I guess I was doing something right

P.S. if you can advise on where to find Tamarind sauce, I would be eternally grateful.  Thanks!

Hungry yet?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Meze Grill

So I didn’t make it to work on Tuesday because I felt terrible, but still managed to eat that Chicken Parm for lunch.  It was quite tasty.  Wednesday was a nutty day in the office.  All sorts of meetings, announcements and time out of the office.  It was so crazy that it wasn’t until around 3 that I realized I hadn’t eaten lunch.  I realized that, I still had a coupon for a free chicken pita sandwich from Meze Grill.

Obviously I’m a big fan of free food so I walked the few blocks to get my lunch.  Meze Grill was virtually empty – which really isn’t a good sign – but remembering that I was in for a late lunch I figured it wasn’t a terrible sign.

Meze Grill is like a Mediterranean chipotle.  The worker bee asked me whether I wanted a whole wheat or white wrap.  I picked whole wheat.  He added the chicken and of course there are tons of toppings options. 

I went with the lettuce, cucumbers, jalapenos, Mediterranean salsa and spicy harissa.  He wrapped it up and I couldn’t wait to get back to the office.  

I got back and after a few more distractions, I was finally able to dig in.  

The pita wrap was incredible.  It’s not just cuz I was hungry either.  

The ingredients were fresh, I mean the cucumbers were a great contrast to the jalapenos.  The spicy harissa is VERY spicy so if you can’t handle the heat don’t do it.

Overall Meze Grill definitely did the job.  It filled up my very empty stomach.  It seems like a light lunch but in truth it packed a lot of punch.  You also have lots of options when it comes to the topping so you can add a lot more than what I did.  Toppings include pickled turnips, tomatoes, pickles, olives, onions and feta cheese.  Sauces include tzatziki and tahini.  Their sides also look pretty good and I’ll likely try a couple of them next time.  Yup that’s right – I’ll be a repeat customer.

Hungry yet?

Meze Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stovetop Chicken Parmesan


I woke up feeling quite terrible this morning, but figured it was just Monday morning that was making me sick so I trucked along to work.  I had a bagel for breakfast because the thought of eating any more than that made me ill.  Unfortunately as the day progressed it was clear that I wasn’t going to be capable of doing much more.  At the urging of a few coworkers, I went home and took a very long nap.  When I woke up I still felt bad and was terribly hungry.  I decided stove top chicken parm was the best way to solve this problem.  I usually make chicken parm in the oven but I figured I could handle this.

Chicken Parmesan 

2 chicken breast cutlets
1 egg
1 tbs crushed red pepper
1 tsp basil
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbs olive oil
1/3 cup bread crumbs
3tbs grated parmesan
1 ½ cups tomato sauce
¼ cup mozzarella

I had to use the chicken today because it’s been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days so today was probably it’s last day of safe use.  I thought I brought out two pieces but turns out it was just one monster.  I split it in half so I could make two pieces.  Eventually that turned into three.

In a small bowl, add the egg, crushed red pepper, basil, salt and pepper.  Beat together.  On a plate mix the breadcrumbs and the parmesan.

Dip the chicken in the egg then roll around in the breadcrumbs until well coated.  

Heat up the oil and drop the pieces of chicken in the skillet.  Cook for about 5 – 7 minutes on each side.

Pour the sauce over the chicken then add a little mozzarella to the top of each piece of chicken.  Cover the pan until the mozzarella melts.

I made some rotini & ziti to go with this chicken parm…I even sprinkled some parsley so the picture would be pretty J

The unfortunate part is that even though this looked really good, I was barely able to eat it.  Hopefully I wake up feeling better tomorrow and can have this for lunch at work.

Hungry yet?

Ms. O & Mr. M's Big Day!


It’s here it’s here it’s here!  After a wonderful bridal shower and a delicious bachelorette weekend, I knew that the food at Ms. O’s wedding would not disappoint.  Boy was I right!!

The ceremony was incredibly beautiful and ended well before the reception started.  I was happy to find Ms. H and even happier that she invited me to come hang at her hotel.  Unfortunately, we spent a little more time than we should have and arrived at the New York Athletic Club a little late.  This meant that I was only able to try one kind of passed hors d’oeuvres. 

I’m a big fan of crab cakes though so I was thrilled that this was the hors d’oeuvre that I found.  There were rumors of shumai, salmon and so many other delicious items.  It pains me to have missed out on the opportunity to photograph and taste them.  Luckily, there was also a pasta station. 

I only had time to try the Penne.  It was incredible and definitely hit the spot.  I couldn’t have been happier.  After hearing about the fantastic items at the cocktail hour, I knew that dinner was going to be fantastic.  I arrived at my table just as the salad landed. 

As always I was suspicious of cheese on my plate but turns out it was goat cheese which went well with the greens, raspberries and nuts.  I was excited about the entrée and I had a feeling that it would be a Land & Sea meal.  I was right!

Chilean Sea Bass and a healthy piece of beef.  I don’t eat beef but EVERYONE at my table who did inhaled the meal!  Our table was virtually silent when everyone was eating.  No words except for comments directly related to how delicious the food tasted.  Since I don’t eat beef, I was pleased that this was a land & sea dinner, because once I alerted our waiter, he arrived with this.

YUM! The Chilean Sea Bass was amazing!  Super fresh and the sauce was perfect hints of spice and tomatoes.  The crab cake like structure you see is actually potatoes! Brilliant!  I’ll admit it I was fooled but it would be pretty silly to put two seafood items on the plate.  Guess I was still dreaming of the crab cake from the cocktail hour!  One of the guests sitting at my table ordered the vegetarian dish. 

I gotta tell you, that is the most hearty veggie plate I’ve ever seen.  And he finished it right up!

Dessert followed soon after.

I never quite got the name of this tasty treat but it had blueberries, blackberries and if my memory serves me right, raspberries and strawberries.  Cream and fruit – what more does one need? 

Oh right, the cake! I believe this was red velvet though I must admit I was a little confused because I’m pretty sure I saw their wedding cake in one piece shortly after I downed this little guy.  

After/during the meal, almost everyone was on the dance floor.  The band kept it live and everyone was in great spirits.  Congratulations Ms. O and Mr. M wishing you all the best! 

Hungry yet?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ariana Afghan Kebab Restaurant

A lot has happened since I last saw Ms. J.  In fact, an entire season has gone by!  I was thrilled that our schedules coincided for lunch on Friday.  Since I’ve been to so many midtown lunch spots, I had a hard time figuring out where to go.  I gave a few suggestions and Ms. J picked Ariana.

I’ve heard and read a lot of great things about Ariana so I was super excited to try.  Like many of the Ninth Ave. establishments, it is a rather small restaurant.  The décor is very interesting and includes rugs and photos of Afghanistan.  The menu has a lot of different dishes, but Ms. J and I both had our heart set on the Famous Chicken Shish Kebab.


This meal was absolutely delicious.  The boneless chicken tasted like it had been marinating for weeks.  It was tender and the seasoning was all over it.  The chicken was served with basmati rice and a salad with an incredibly tasty dressing.

The owner, at least that’s who I think he was – he’s the man pictured on the website – was incredibly kind.  He didn’t rush us and was very attentive.  If I had it my way, I would never have left, but alas back to work I went with a huge smile on my face from the wonderful meal. 

If you’ve never been, now is your chance.  The weather is still nice enough for them to keep the windows open and if you can’t leave your office, they deliver!

Hungry yet?

Ariana Afghan Kebab Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 17, 2010

YourOwnExperience


I’ve been getting a few requests and questions regarding a food news segment.  I will try to post weekly updates regarding events, restaurant openings, closings, and other pertinent food news so you can have YourOwnExperience!

Today – March 14, 2011
Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen Exhibit
Don’t forget if you go between 4PM and 8PM on Fridays admission is free!

Sunday September 19, 2010
Noon to 4PM
The Yard at P.S. 41, Greenwich Avenue and Charles Street $30 - $85
An amazing event supporting P.S. 41’s green rooftop program.  Participating West Village restaurants include Choptank, One if by Land, Market Table and Cabrito.  Tickets will be sold on site but you can also buy them in advance.

Sunday September 19, 2010
Market 11AM – 4PM; dinner 6PM
Gansevoort Plaza, 42 Gansevoort St. tasting at market $20 - $75; dinner $125 - $175
This green food movement has really taken off!  The first annual festival by day, you can shop for traditional, localized, 100% traceable food from 30 family farmers and local top chefs. At night, farmers, chefs and a select group of ticket holders will come together for a seasonal, farm-to-table dinner to celebrate good food.  Get your tickets now.

Monday September 20, 2010 – Thursday September 30, 2010 (weekends excluded)
Celebrate a culinary diverse borough during their restaurant week.

Tuesday September 21, 2010
7:30PM – 9:00PM $125
Enter at 16th Street & Union Square West
Union Square Park, Manhattan
A fundraiser for Union Square Park featuring some of the hottest restaurants in the Union Square District including ABC Kitchen, BLT Prime, and Pipa.  You can also sample Hill Country Chicken, which just opened this week! Purchase tickets here and use code harvest for $20 off

Tuesday September 21, 2010
Cheese Tasting
7:30PM – 8:45PM $25
The Clerkenwell 49 Clinton St. between Rivington and Stanton Streets
Tasting of cheese from Spain and Portugal.  Joy of Cheese founder Martin Johnson will present four varieties from each country. (hat tip Time Out NY)

Tuesday September 21, 2010
6PM – 9PM $55 in advance, $65 at the door
Astoria World Manor, 25-22 Astoria Blvd at Crescent Street
This 9th Annual Food and Wine event promises to be very entertaining.  There will be 50 vendors showcasing the diverse cuisine of Queens.  There’s also a five ingredient cook off between Rocco Sacramone (his restaurant was voted number 1 Italian in NYC by Zagat) and Andrea Beaman (Top Chef alum).

Thursday September 23, 2010
7PM – 10PM
The Diamond 43 Franklin Street
This bake off which is part of GreenPoint Open Studios, a week long celebration where artists open their studios to support the creative community.  It costs $10 to eat but free to enter your pie.  The grand prize winner receives dinner for two hosted by Brooklyn Edible Social Club.  

If you make it to any of these events or know of another food event you’d like to share, please comment and let us know!

Hungry yet?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fu Sushi NYC

As you know, Ms. J’s birthday was last weekend.  While I was happy to celebrate with her last weekend, I was really looking forward to taking her out to dinner.  I decided on one of my favorite sushi restaurants in the city.  Fu Sushi is an amazing restaurant.  While it may not look like much from the outside, the food rocks my world.

I arrived to dinner a little late because I just had to see Ms. O one last time before the big day.  I was pleased to find that Ms. J had already arrived though I felt terrible for keeping her waiting.  We ordered shumai to start.

The shumai was well stuffed and although bite size still packed quite the punch.  Although I’ve been to Fu Sushi a few times, this was the first time I ordered the shumai.  I’ll definitely be adding it to my future meals.  For dinner, I suggested we order two items that I’ve previously eaten and Ms. J suggested the third.  

We started with the Spider Roll.

Sushi was difficult for me to photograph but I hope you are able to appreciate the soft shell crab, lettuce, cucumber and tobiko.  I certainly appreciated it when I put the first piece in my mouth.  Delicious as I expected and I couldn’t wait to eat more.  I paused for some ginger then moved on to the Union Square.


Salmon, avocado and mango topped with seared tuna and avocado.  Looking at this makes me want to go back and order some right now.  It was amazingly fresh and the tuna and salmon were a good combo and mango was fantastic.  Of course, I saved the best for last.  The American Dream.


Shrimp Tempura (my fav) with avocado and spicy tuna topped with spicy lobster and kani.  It’s incredible.  There’s no point in pretending.  This is by far my favorite sushi dish ever.  The spice level is unlike any I’ve experienced in sushi before.  It makes me soooo happy J

Fu Sushi is the truth.  The sushi is incredible the vibe is laid back and unpretentious and the price is right.  I highly recommend the trip to the east village!

p.s. Fu is a byob restaurant and gets pretty crowded during the weekend so you should DEFINITELY make reservations.  Weekdays are pretty low key though.

Hungry yet?

Fu Sushi on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rice 'n' Beans

Another buddy lunch = another free meal...and of course very serious lawyer talk.  I have to cover a compliance conference for someone tomorrow so I needed some buddy to buddy assistance.  I chose a restaurant I've blogged about before but didn't provide it enough coverage.

Rice & Beans bills itself as continental cuisine and Brazilian specialties.  It's a pretty small restaurant and while I've enjoyed both dinner and lunch there, I am a big fan of the $9.99 lunch menu.  We decided to start with Empanadas and Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Style Cheese Puffs).


There was a slight mixup with the empanadas.  My buddy, Mr. A started snacking on the chicken one and "didn't realize" that it wasn't beef. Ha! When I finally got a hold of the chicken, it was scrumptious! I'd believe them if they said they marinated it over night.  The best part is that the empanada is properly filled.  No unnecessary dough.


The cheese puffs were also tasty but a little too cheesy for my liking, but I can see how others would like them.  They're served warm.

Our entrees arrived pretty soon after.  Mr. A ordered the Brazilian Style Shrimp Risotto.


Looks good right? I was a big fan of the dancing shrimp.  They looked tasty and must have been because Mr. A cleaned up.  I ordered the 1/4 Pollo Loco roasted chicken with special hot sauce.


I was a big fan of this dish.  The hot sauce wasn't that special.  I expected them to bring the fire.  While it was flavorful, it definitely wasn't spicy.  I'd still recommend it though.

Rice n Beans is awesome.  A great midtown restaurant especially for lunch.  It can be a little noisy especially when they open the doors, but if you take a seat closer to the kitchen it'll be less noisy.  Oh and p.s. the bathroom is IN the kitchen.  Wild, I know but no worries it's very clean back there!

Hungry yet?

Rice 'n' Beans on Urbanspoon