Friday, April 24, 2009

Curried Mango Quinoa and Goat Cheese Fritters w/Truffle Honey

There are times when I really pat myself on the back (perhaps a little bit too enthusiastically?) for a clever innovation or inspiration in the kitchen. Tonight was one of those nights when the only thing I should congratulate myself for is having the good sense to spot two brilliant recipes and enough kitchen competence to avoid complete failure with either.

So, here are the original recipes (which featured my CSA chevre and goat's milk ginger yogurt!):
  • Curried Mango Quinoa (the only things I added were sauteed sweet onions. Oh, and I roasted the peanuts myself)
  • Goat Cheese Fritters (Bollos) over which I drizzled some truffle honey (purchased at Arthur Ave market) and served over an arugula, tomato, and red pepper salad (doused in a truffle lime vinaigratte).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hearty and humane: Steak, homemade beer battered onion rings, and gnocchi with spinach and chevre

The title pretty much says it all. Had a meat and cheese delivery from my CSA today and put a bunch of it to immediate use. The gorgeous (and completely frozen) steak was medium rare and juicy as all heck in just 25 minutes thanks to my nifty Nu-wave oven (yes it does work!). I have officially sent my decades old fry daddy out to pasture now that I see my plain ol' cast iron can turn out perfectly browned onion rings. Served the whole meal with the same Saranac Pale Ale that bubbled up the onion batter.

Posted by ShoZu

Vosges: rooster

Did someone say chocolate ganache infused with tallegio cheese? Vosges' Katrina Markoff did and I said yes please. Vosges has multiple locations, but this truffle was acquired on Spring St in Soho.

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Baked by melissa: one bite (birthday) cupcakes

This darling miniature cupcake shop, baked into a tiny sliver of "store-front" on Spring st (just west of Lafayette in Soho), serves up about half a dozen diminiitive delights (3 for $3, with per pastry prices diminishing with volume). I treated myself for my 29th b-day and got the peanut-butter cup, pb&j, and red velvet (for k). Mine were perfect little peanut-buttery morsels, though they (bizarrely) tasted almost identical. I suppose peanut-butter is a little dominant as a flavor.

Bonus: these tiny treasures solve my two top cupcake complaints, frosting on my schnoz and crumblage.

Gotta go back for the S'mores!

Posted by ShoZu

Monday, April 13, 2009

Taste tripping with the miracle fruit?

Um...does anyone know where I can get a hold on one of these:
The miracle fruit plant (Synsepalum dulcificum) produces berries that, when eaten, cause sour foods (such as lemons and limes) consumed later to taste sweet. The berry, also known as miracle, magic, miraculous or flavor berry, was first documented by explorer Chevalier des Marchais who searched for many different fruits during a 1725 excursion to its native West Africa. Marchais noticed that local tribes picked the berry from shrubs and chewed it before meals. The plant grows in bushes up to 20 feet (6.1 m) high in its native habitat, but does not usually grow higher than ten feet in cultivation, and it produces two crops per year, after the end of the rainy season. It is an evergreen plant that produces small red berries, with flowers that are white and which are produced for many months of the year. The seeds are about the size of coffee beans.

The berry contains an active glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrate chains, called miraculin. When the fleshy part of the fruit is eaten, this molecule binds to the tongue's taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. While the exact cause for this change is unknown, one hypothesis is that the effect may be caused if miraculin works by distorting the shape of sweetness receptors "so that they become responsive to acids, instead of sugar and other sweet things". This effect lasts 15-30 minutes.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Donut Plant: peanut butter glaze and strawberry jelly

After seeing a Dunkin Donuts commercial repeat at least 9 times as I watched the Mets and Yankees both lose today, I was eager for some sweet fried dough. Luckily as I was walking to a theatre to see a show, I happened to stumble upon the world famous Donut Plant (Grand St on the lower east side). I saw them best Bobby Flay in a donut throwdown last year so I am glad I had this random chance to sample the goods.

Lotsa good options. Went for the one that most closely resembled the PB&Js I hold so close to my heart. The jelly to dough ratio was kind of perfect, just moist enough that I got a nice squish with each bite, but with enough structure that the squishes didn't end up on my shirt (even though I ate it while jogging to make it on time to the theatre!).

I'll be back for more...

Posted by ShoZu

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Anyone know how to cook these?

Posted by ShoZu

Payard: seared scallops with blood orange

Last Saturday I took my kid sister and K out to Payard (74th and Madison). We wanted to go to the nearby Buzina Pop, but they were shuttered with a sign which (rather passive aggressively) announced they were moving downtown "where they belong."

Payard is a stunning patisserie with a luxurious two-floor restaurant attached. It is also tres cher (with attentive service befitting such luxury), so we only ordered 2 entrĂ©es and ¹app to share.

The duck (w/seared breast and confit) was nicely cooked but nothing thrilling (though I was glad my sister got a chance to taste one of my favorite meats). The Chatham Cod was certainly tasty, but just not the tastebud explosion of uni -infused reduction, bacon, caviar, and black trumpet mushrooms promised by the menu.

The scallops (pictured above) were, however, even better than I could have imagined from the menu description. Perfectly seared over a bed of frisee tossed with avocado, hearts of palm, nicoise olives, blood orange slices, and a delightfully tart blood orange reduction. Too bad it was just an appetizer portion!

I was feeling too po' for dessert so we picked up a bar of Hershey's new dark chocolate with pomegranate.

I think I'd happily go back to Payard on someone else's tab or for a special occasion, but the food wasn't quite dazzling enough for me to commit that kind of cash on a regular basis...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More Arthur Ave fun: oysters @ cosenza's fish market

If you have ever, like me, lusted after beautiful oysters in a fish market and grown angry that those very same oysters will cost you twice as much a restaurant, head up to Cosenza's on Arthur Ave in the Bronx. Shucked before your very eyes at $1.25 per shell, the oysters are, while a bit muddy (just the shells: use a fork and you'll be fine!), fresh and juicy as can be. The lobster-sized cooked shrimp are available with cocktail sauce for $.75 per tail. You can eat at the outside counter and chat up your shucker or you can sidle up at one of the two outside tables.

Posted by ShoZu

Palombo Cafe: Cappuccino perfection

Go grab it and tasty cannoli and myriad other pastries in Little Calabria on Arthur Ave (@ 187th St) in the Bronx.

Posted by ShoZu

Busaba Eathai: fried calamari (um...WOW!)

Though we enjoyed all of our meal at london's busaba eathai (see below), this appetizer (which actually arrived AFTER our main course) was one of the best dishes I have ever tasted in my life. This is not hyperbole: I giggled with delight!

The squid are melt in your mouth tender, cut into nice juicy 1" wide rings. The batter is lighter than an angel's kisses. The sauce, subtly applied, is a ginger honey concoction which, if I bathed in, might lead to autocannibalism.

The whole meal for 2, including the life-changing calamari, a cranberry presse, beer, and two dessert teas came to £33, about what I'd pay for gross and greasy Thai in NYC.

Posted by ShoZu

Busaba Eathai: Pad Thai

Lured by what blogs said was the best Thai food outside of Thailand, K and I decided to spend our last London meal (we didn't know it would be our last but K got a stomach bug the next morning) at Busaba Eathai (yes, the last word is a conflation of Eat and Thai) on Wardour St in Soho. The line literally stretched to the end of the block, but the host (without even glancing at it) assured me that we'd be seated within 15 minutes. While we waited for about 10 minutes, we were quizzed by more than a few passersby who were trying to understand what all the fuss was about. I didn't give a good answer then but I can now: busaba eathai is a restaurant which has earned its hype.

You are seated at a communal table but, unlike our experiences in Paris, there is no expectation to socialize with your fellow diners. You receive your menu while waiting on line so a server takes your order seconds after you sit down (this + the lack of a dessert menu is how they ensure speedy turnaround). The service is indeed efficient, but it is friendly and helpful, too.

K and I ordered the pad Thai and butternut squash curry (pictures above) and fried calamari (pictured in next post). The pad Thai was delicately flavored, the usual grease replaced by an actual sensitivity to ingredient combinations. I tastes the lime, the peanuts, the grilled prawn, the fried tofu, and the crabmeat distinctly, each with their own unique texture and each cooked to perfection. Once we devoured the dish, there was nary a drop of oily residue on the plate--a great sign! The curry which we ordered with a side of addictive coconut rice was likewise near perfect. The only way to describe the texture of the squash would be to, absurdly, say it was "falling off the bone." The heat of the dish was well-balanced.

Posted by ShoZu

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pain, Vin, Fromage: The fromage

This was the actual cheese flight we ordered (from PVF, see below). We opted for the Southwest and were treated to a nice assortment ranging from the hard and mild, to the melty and stinky, to the blue and moldy. Though I definitely enjoyed all of them, I missed the fruit and quince etc that you often get with a cheese plate (especially one that costs over $20!). Apparently they have another location which offers such sweet savory pairings, wine by the glass, and later hours. K and I will definitely check that out when we are back in July.

Posted by ShoZu

Pain, Vin, Fromage: La Norvegienne

Now I am two countries behind on my food blogging. No good, says I! But the above sandwich was!!!

K and I heard about PVF last summer but it was closed in August. It's tucked in on a sidesteeet just east of the Pompidou museum (in Paris, off rue beauborg).

It's a cozy rustic affair with cheese flights sorted by region, hardness, and milk (goat, sheep, and cow) for 17 euros each. As the name suggests, they also have wine (though few by the glass or half-bottle) and an assortment of sandwiches toasted on the truly incomparable pain poillane sourdough.

Above was the extraordinarily decadent norvegienne with smoked salmon, double-cream brie, and creme fraiche (on a thick slice of poillane!). Like a tuna melt for hedonists! 7 euros.

Posted by ShoZu