Monday, December 21, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
8pm - pop into Noodle Bar and order the traditional ramen soup with pork shoulder, pork belly and a poached egg for take-out
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
I tend to lust over cookbooks (both new and old) all year long, but get particularly engrossed around the holiday season and find myself pouring through recipes and gorgeously rich photos for a little cold-weather inspiration and holiday warmth. Here are a few cookbooks on my list this year, and maybe on yours as well.
Jamie at Home (Oct. 2008) -- It might be among last year's hottest cookbooks, but this is still one of my favorites from acclaimed celebrity chef and Food Network star, Jamie Oliver and is definitely worth a good mention. Recipes are seasonally-inspired and are organized by spring/summer/fall/winter sections. Ridiculously gorgeous, mouth-watering photos and equally tasty recipes, Jamie's continued focus is on balance, fresh produce, making the most of the season and filling dishes with tons of flavor. You'll find recipes like Grilled lamb kofta kebabs with pistachios and spicy salad wrap, Warm strawberries with Pimm's and vanilla ice cream, and Superb squash soup with Parmesan croutons. And if you weren't already aware, Jamie is taking his fight on obesity and healthier eating habits from across the Atlantic, putting America's "diet" on a diet. Check out a 6-part video series and recipes from his American travels here. Jamie's newest book, Jamie's America (Sept. 2009) is currently out on shelves.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed (cut the sprouts in half if they’re medium to large or leave whole if they’re small)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt.
3. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the leaves are browned. Shake the pan to keep the sprouts from sticking about halfway through.4. In a small saucepan, simmer the balsamic vinegar with the honey for about 5 minutes to reduce a little. Pour the reduction over the pecans and stir to coat. Toss the glazed pecans with the sprouts.
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
In a bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and confectioners' sugar. Mix on medium-low speed until well combined, about 4 minutes. You can also use a food processor to mix the dough, pulsing on and off for about 2 minutes.
Mix in the egg and then the yolk, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next. In two additions, add the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Turn out the dough onto a clean lightly floured work surface. Divide it in half, shape into flattened disks, and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before using.)
Poached pear topping:
3 ripe red D'Anjou pears, peeled and left whole
3 cups water
1 cup white wine
Place pears in a large pot with water and wine and simmer at a medium-low heat. Poach for about 20 to 25 minutes until soft.
Allow pears to cool, stem and slice thinly
Spiced caramel sauce:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 whole clove
- 5 cardamom pods
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
Put granulated sugar in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and crumble brown sugar over. Melt sugars, undisturbed, over moderate heat until granulated sugar is mostly melted. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until a deep golden caramel. Carefully pour in cream (**note that the mixture will bubble up and caramel will harden slightly**) and stir in clove, cardamom pods, fennel, peppercorns, and cinnamon sticks. Simmer, stirring, until caramel is dissolved and sauce is reduced to about 1‚ cups, about 10 minutes. Pour sauce through a sieve into a 2-cup measure and cool to just warm.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Roll out one disc of dough onto a 12" tart pan with removable bottom. Fork a few holes in the crust and spoon a thin layer of the caramel sauce onto the dough. Arrange the pear slices, fanning them in a circle as in the photo. Drizzle additional caramel over top of the pears. Bake the tart for about 35 to 45 minutes until golden brown. Garnish with a few fresh cranberries or crushed almonds.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thought this recent blog posting in the New York Times was a great one - check out the full post here. On this Thanksgiving, some musings on fresh v. fast food, our founding fathers, eating local, Alice Waters, kids in the kitchen, edible schoolyards and more. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I'm very thankful for fresh food, family and friends!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
- Average American 12" Margherita pizza = 1,600 calories (think your national chains, heavy, grease-stained, plasticy-cheese dripping pizza) all thanks to a much heavier dough which contributes more carbs and less protein (which means you're left hungry and may end up eating that much more). We all know what happens when you eat too much bread/bready products and it ain't pretty.
- Average Neopolitan-style 12" Margherita pizza = 800 calories! That's a huge difference and makes for a much more reasonable and healthfully indulgent meal, particularly when you split the pizza and start with a salad. Why is Neopolitan pizza so much lighter? "It's all in the pizza," states Caporuscio. The best ingredients, the most simplistic and light/airy of doughs, fresh, quality toppings, the hands of a skilled pizza maker and finally, a hot, hot oven (it's imported from Naples and made from volcanic stone). Pizzas are cooked for a mere 45-60 seconds at over 800 degrees! To make their well-received pizzas, Keste starts with the dough, allowing it to rise at least 8 hours -- this allows the yeast to fully rise, gives the dough a more airy, light texture and keeps overall carbohydrates (and that lovely post-pizza bloated whale feeling) to a minimum. I had the chance to make my pizza and hand-flip the dough and it definitely takes a delicate, skilled hand. Too much kneading or pulling and you're left with a chewier, heavier dough.
1 liter water
3.78 lb flour *Caporuscio recommends the brand Antimo Caputo flour from Naples which can be purchased at Di Paolo's on Grand and Mott St.
2 oz salt
1 oz sugar
.17 oz yeast
mix all ingredients together, split into 10 balls and let that dough rise!
If you're still skeptical about how to fit pizza into the picture so you're getting a balanced, healthy meal, here's your go-to order:
Start with a salad to pack in greens/veggies and keep portions right on track. Depending on the size, 2 medium-sized slices of pizza (3 for dudes) and you should be perfectly full. Toss on some veggie toppings or go with fresh buffalo mozzarella (better quality cheese and generally less of it). If you're a pepperoni or sausage lover (I admit, I love good sausage), order on occasion - if it comes overflowing with meat, take some off so you can still indulge without going overboard on excess calories or driving up cholesterol levels!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
After taste-testing a new line of granola and granola bars over the past few weeks (well, new to the East Coast at least), I just had to give the folks at 18 Rabbits a solid shout out. Hailing from San Fran and founded by Alison Bailey Vercruysse, 18 Rabbits is totally natural, straight up granola goodness. The products support local farmers and artisans in the Bay Area with sustainable and organic ingredients whenever possible. Forget sugary sweeteners, these delectable items are the real deal with simple, basic ingredients like pecans, apricots, figs, pumpkin seeds, whole oats, bing cherries, dates, almonds, sesame seeds and cocoa nibs. Among the 4 granola bars flavors, the Funky Fig & Cherries was my fave (and I'm beyond selective when it comes to any granola bar period!). Other tasty flavors include: Cheeky Cherry Chocolate, Haute Diggity Date and Veritas granola (hazelnuts, flax, walnuts and cocoa nibs). These suckers are damn tasty and are great for a filling, energizing snack and the calories are right on target around 200. Keep your eyes out, 18 Rabbits has hit Dean & Deluca and is making its way to Whole Foods soon!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
It's a little hard to miss Tom Colicchio -- his notorious bald head, his honest (sometimes brutally honest) commentary as head judge on Top Chef and his amazing command of the kitchen and focus on seasonal ingredients. Yes, I've written about Tom before, clearly I'm a fan, but this post comes fresh off of
a) meeting the acclaimed chef in person yesterday (my entire week is made!) and b) watching him move swiftly through not one but four different types of confit dishes (lemon, tomato, tuna and pork butt) in under 45 minutes...and still have time for humorous banter with the audience. FYI, confit is virtually anything, meat, fruit or vegetable, slowly cooked and preserved in fat, often its own fat like duck confit.
I was lucky enough to catch Tom's culinary demo in conjunction with Food Network's annual NYC Wine & Food Festival that occurred over the weekend bringing chefs, members of the food industry and food-lovers together for demonstrations, tastings, educational seminars, book signings and more.
But back to the bald chef. Before I give you a sneak tasting of his tomato confit dish, here's what I loved most about Tom's discussion (and why he's one chef in particular I'll continue to chatter about)...
1. He could care less about recipes. He consistently speaks about learning how to work with your food, rather than follow a recipe. It's not about the exact amounts or ensuring you have each and every ingredient on hand. It's about mastering techniques and methods, experimenting and creating, so that you're able to feel at ease in the kitchen. You're mastering cooking, not the ability to follow a single recipe to the tee. Take a flip through his cookbook, Think Like a Chef and you'll understand what I'm talking about.
2. He likes things in moderation. Sure, confits traditionally are made with A LOT of fat (whether it's duck fat, pork fat or olive oil like Tom used yesterday). But he made the point to emphasize balance at mealtimes and small portions, and to call out that processed junk is the primary problem our overweight society is faced with (THANK YOU, Tom!). Real food, good food in smaller portions and leading a balanced lifestyle, exercise and all. When you're focused on that, a little confit in your diet isn't a big deal -- the majority of the fat stays behind in the pot and you come away with major flavor and taste in a few bites.
3. He's big on seasonality and he's prepared. I'm always writing about making an effort to shop and cook seasonally on this blog and Tom is just hammering it home for me (and you). Better flavor, better taste, better nutrients, means you're a happy eater. Creating items and having things prepped and stored away ahead of time allows you to whip up a speedy, healthy meal in no time. No more excuses for the delivery guy.
With all that said, here's Tom's recipe...wait, let's say 'method' instead, for tomato confit.
*This is great for end of season or out of season tomatoes that don't have a ton of flavor left in them.
Cut tomatoes in half, place them face down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a healthy amount of olive oil (we're talking a good half-inch or more). Toss on top some sliced garlic and sprigs of thyme. Cook slowly at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Peel off the skin, add additional olive oil and place back in the oven at 300 degrees until the tomatoes cook down, shrink in size, about half, and are completely soft. Remove from oven and pack those babies in...more oil! Jar them or store in them in an air-tight container.
Use the confit to top braised lamb shoulder or grilled fish or chicken, or toss in with some pasta for a quick meal or flavorful side dish. Any confit will last for a good 6 or 7 months in the refrigerator, just be sure not to touch it with your fingers, otherwise it'll spoil.
Here's Tom in action...and just a final note, he mentioned that he's in the process of filming a documentary on obesity and the connection between hunger, type-II diabetes and obesity. Good stuff, Tom.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
And if you're looking for what's up next for Ms. Reichl, keep an eye out for her new cookbook, Gourmet Today. Sure to be a good one.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Here's a sneak peak at the cover--pretty adorable, huh?!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
It garnered so much attention that editor-in-chief Cindi Leive blogged about it herself....and had a response of nearly 1,000 comments!
I think it's fantastic that such an prominent women's fashion magazine like Glamour is making efforts to reach out to their readership in different ways. They're depicting normal, real women and we as readers relate that much more (hence the 1,000 blog comments!). But it also shows a hopeful shift in body-image and what's "ideal" and what's "normal." Your body's healthy weight is normal! Celebrate your curves people, we all have them...even models! What are your thoughts on the photo?
Monday, September 7, 2009
Certainly, food and diet is a controversial topic within the fashion world when all hinges around weight and appearance, but that wasn't the focus of the movie. Figuring out how to balance healthful eating and a realistic healthful weight helps us feel that much more comfortable and confident in our own skin, regardless of what we put on top of it!
Friday, August 28, 2009
On other fronts, I have a new kitchen toy/new obsession. I have recently purchased my first French press coffee maker and will be testing it out tomorrow morning. The style and design of this Bodum French press drew me to purchase it like a kid in a candy store and I must say, it's looking damn fine sitting on my kitchen counter right now. Nothing wrong with a little sleek, sexiness to make your morning brew taste that much better. You can check out the "Eileen" (at left) at Bodum's website here. Ain't she pretty? She's priced at a reasonable $59. Not to discriminate, I am also drooling over Alessi's Cactus! French press (below), though it's a wee bit pricey. Thoughts on your all's favorite French presses and favorite brands of coffee? I'm on the hunt for an excellent local or fair-trade brand. Suggestions are much appreciated! And for the record, coffee boasts some significant health benefits--it's loaded with antioxidants. In fact, it's the greatest source of antioxidants consumed by the majority of Americans...not blueberries or pomegranate, coffee. That says something about our country's fruit intake and possible caffeine addiction, but we'll leave that for another post.
Aside from getting my caffeine fix this week, I've got a few new recipes to add to the mix. They'll be going up early this week, but as an enticing lead-in, keep your eyes and taste-buds out for Avocado Corn Salad with Roasted Poblano-Jalapeno and Cilantro Vinaigrette and Asian Summer Noodles with Grilled Shrimp and Toasted Peanuts.
In good taste and good health...