Friday, December 11, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
The biscuit is, to me, the perfect texture, with just a hint of ginger. Combined with the tag team trio of peach and blueberry, and the shortcake soaking up some of the blueberry juice, and it's a kickass rustic dessert.
Peach Ginger Shortcakes
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 10 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold salted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger, divided
- 1/2 cup ginger ale
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 4 large peaches, halved, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, 6 tablespoons sugar, and baking powder in large bowl. Add butter; rub in with fingertips until very coarse meal forms. Mix in 1/4 cup chopped ginger. Add ginger ale and sour cream, toss until moist clumps form. Gather dough into 7-inch log and cut crosswise into 6 equal rounds. Place on sheet, spaced apart (they will spread). Shape each into 2 1/2-inch diameter round. (Brush with one tablespoon milk or cream combined with 1 tablespoon sugar if you like - it helps give it a nicer golden color.)
Bake shortcakes until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool on sheet.
Meanwhile, toss peaches in large bowl with 4 tablespoons of sugar and remaining 1/4 cup chopped ginger. Halve shortcakes horizontally, place bottoms on plates. Top each with peaches and the top of shortcakes. Serve with warm blueberry sauce and/or lightly sweetened whipped cream.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 cups blueberries
- pinch of salt
In saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water. Stir in blueberries. Bring to boil over medium heat and boil for 1 1/2 minutes to remove any starchy flavor.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Inside, they have photos of various famous places in NY smothering the walls, while the customers are jammed in just a couple feet from one another...sitting asshole to elbow is truly reminiscent of New York, at least to me. There is a bakery in house, and the case you see just as you walk in is filled with enticing treats: several varieties of cheesecakes, cannolis, cookies, brownies, and more. And at 5pm, as we found, the restaurant is completely filled with old people; an absolute sea of white hair. As an old friend would say, "it smells like death in here!"
I think my only complaint, other than lack of ambiance, is that they have far too many menus. Upon seating, you receive no less than 3: a special menu, breakfast menu, and regular menu. All of them are oversized and cumbersome at the little tables. But no matter, at that point you usually see a waitress walk by with a sandwich containing what can't be less than a pound of amazing looking deli meat, and you forget about how awkward all the menus are.
Not for the caloric conscious, when you order a drink and sandwich, a cup of soup and a slice of cheesecake are free. My father decided to indulge (congrats, dad! minus 105lbs and counting!), the free soup of the day was a delicious matzo ball, while I had one of the best tomato bisques I think I've ever had. Topped with scallions, it had a kick to it that seemed to come from fire roasted tomatoes and possibly the addition of cayenne as well. Yum. My father got the reuben sandwich, which made me wish I was hungry enough to get a sandwich too: piles of corned beef around a layer of sauerkraut, all between two slices of buttered and toasted rye bread. It looked like it was roughly the size of my head. Now that is a sandwich.
Not to be outdone, the cheesecake with raspberry sauce we shared stood on its own: excellent texture and flavor, and great crust that had a little bit of toasted coconut on the outside. A million times better than the cheesecake at my school (what the hell kind of culinary school chooses to do cheesecake without a graham cracker crust, just a thin layer of vanilla sponge cake?? and then pile every type of fruit onto it, even grapes??).
Come to think of it, I went to high school with the son of the owners of The Lucky Dill and he was in the process of learning how to run it. The family owned one other restaurant nearby, called Molly Goodheads. I went there once and vaguely remember really good crapcakes. Kudos to them for putting out good food for what is hopefully many years to come.
*To be honest, we tried to go to our old truly favorite place, called McCabe's Cafe. It saddens me to say that they are no longer in business.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
These experiences have been buried deep in the archives of my brain, when it was suddenly brought to life when I came across a recipe for that very same cucumber onion salad they used to give us. As soon as I saw the picture, I knew this was exactly what I had enjoyed as a precursor or side to Chinese food all those years ago.
Not only did it match perfectly, it takes about five minutes to whip up. Try it next time you're making an Asian-based meal.
- 2 cups chopped cucumber
- 1/2 cup red onion, sliced thin
- pinch of crushed red pepper (to taste)
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 T. sugar
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- crushed roasted peanuts, for sprinkling
Toss everything together, and let it marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature. Not only will the onion get a little less pungent, but everything soaks up the vinegar, which really makes it good. There seems to be quite a lot of vinegar but that's mostly so that it can marinate. Sprinkle on some crushed peanuts before serving.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
- 16 oz watermelon
- 5 oz cantaloupe
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons vodka*
- 9 oz sugar, ~ 1 1/4 cups
*Vodka is used because it won't contribute much flavor to the sorbet, but I actually used black cherry vodka because it's what I had on hand. I don't see any reason not to use flavored vodka if it's fruity and you think it will go with the other flavors, or even midori as it's a melon-based liqueur.
Place melon is the bowl of a food processor and process till smooth. Add lemon juice, vodka, and sugar and process for another 30 seconds. Place mixture in fridge until it reaches 40°F, which will take between 30 minutes to an hour. Pour chilled mixture into bowl of an ice cream maker (already running) and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze 3-4 hours before serving.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
The first thing anyone notices of this "modern Mexican" restaurant is, of course, the decor. It's insanely bright with pink walls and chairs and tables in various shades of pink and green. Some find the adornment obnoxious, others love it. I found it to be a little unsettling at first, but got used to it. Obviously they're going for the overly-ornamented look, but the shared sinks by the bathrooms upstairs are a little awkward. It's a very trendy place, the hostess had kind of giraffe-like skinniness and looked as though she should be a supermodel, and most of the people there appeared to be on business lunches. The constant theme of Mexican wrestlers is a goofy one that I find hilarious - they even have a giant TV screen upstairs that plays scenes from Nacho Libre(they may have changed that by now to something else). Friday and Saturday nights (I think) they have a flamenco guitarist/singer with a beautiful voice that serenades customers.
Distrito has a lunch special - two courses for $15. This is a pretty good deal, especially considering the quality you're getting (though I've read many other reviews that complain of how expensive it is - it looks as though a la carte adds up quick, and people forget that this is a tapas place). It's a little limiting though, considering how much more is on the dinner menu, including the Kobe beef tacos I'd been told to try that are apparently amazing. There's an incredible range of food even on the lunch menu, from ceviche and soups and salads for first course, with second course items containing duck, chicken, pulled pork, short rib, yellowtail, and even cactus.
For first course, I had the chilango chop: a salad of baby arugula, watercress, cherry tomatoes, green olives (ew), orange segments, and pecans, with shaved coconut on top and a tomato-lime vinaigrette (you can choose that or the chipotle buttermilk dressing). I added the Kobe beef, which will get you about 5 hunks for $7. Except for the olives, it was simple but good. I loved the pecans, and the Kobe beef was rich and served medium-rare. My friend had the camarones ceviche - shrimp served with avocado, a spicy tomato sauce, and plantain chips. He was entirely unimpressed and when I tasted it, I knew why - the flavors instantly made me think of Indian food, and he is not at all a fan of that. Oh well. I liked it, though I've never been impressed by plantain chips. Both were very different in portion size: the salad was a decent spread, while the ceviche was basically 4 shrimp in a sauce and a few little plantain chips.
Second course brought my hamachi tacos - fried yellowtail that resembled a fishstick, chipotle remoulade, red cabbage, avocado, and a lime for squeezing over top. This I really liked - there was good texture contrast with the soft tortilla, crunchy cabbage, creamy sauce, and flaky fish. The sauce had a good balance of spice; it didn't overwhelm the other flavors. It was my favorite. My friend ordered the queso fundido - with duck and poblano and tortillas. Though not healthy or low calorie by any means, it was lovely. It was greasy of course...duck and cheese will do that...but not as much as it could have been. However, it's hard to get the flavor of duck out when it's covered with 3 types of cheese, and it most definitely isn't going to be rare. It could easily be mistaken for pork if unaware.
For dessert we split the coconut flan, as they were out of the tres leches. Having worked the pastry station, I knew how good it would be and it was nice to be able to sit and enjoy it instead of putting it together as fast as possible. Garnished with a quenelle of whipped cream (which had melted on ours by the time it got to us), toasted coconut, and a coconut tuille, it was a good ending to a good meal.
I love the range of dishes available, and the variety of ingredients used. All in all, the food was good - but there was nothing I had that I'll be craving in a couple weeks enough to make me want to go running back. I may go back anyway in a couple of months when I can legally drink to try a margarita - they boast having around 80 types of tequila. And maybe along with that I'll try a couple of the dishes that I've heard the most about, and it will make me want to go back time and time again.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This is the Royal Towers building. See that bridge that connects the two? That's a hotel room that costs $25,000...a night.
There are six buildings on the island for accomodations, a casino, the waterpark, scuba diving, Dolphin Cay, a marine habitat, golf, bars, and even a pottery studio and library in case anybody ever decides to go there and not spend all their time outdoors in paradise.
Jean-Georges, Nobu, and Bobby Flay all have restaurants there. Jean-Georges is one of the biggest restaurants in NYC, and working there is one of the most well-known pastry chefs right now, Johnny Iuzzini. I've never tried his desserts so I don't know if it's because he's really that amazing or if it's only because he's incredibly gorgeous, or maybe a mixture of both. Even Jacques Torres approves of his food though, so his looks could have nothing to do with it. All I'm sayin is, working at a Jean-Georges restaurant would be an incredible oppurtunity...but any of the restaurants on the island would be as well.
It would have to be something to work towards, unless you're aiming for one of the lower positions in the kitchen. Right now they're hiring for a chef de cuisine at one of the restaurants and it requires a minimum of a 4-year degree, five years experience at a 5-star hotel or restaurant, extensive experience in high-volume banqueting, and international exposure. You couldn't simply pick up your culinary degree and expect to be hired.
It does look amazing though...maybe one day I'll make a visit to see if it would ever be the type of place I'd want to work at.
So it looks like I got the job! Yay for me! But that means I may not be posting much on this...because apparently when I'm unemployed and have a lot of time on my hands I do things like make food blogs, however, with school and work we shall see how that goes.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Somehow I had forgotten how heavenly these little cookies are. The simplest thing to make (provided you have some kind of mixer), and just a few ingredients make a lovely, melt-in-your-mouth delectable treat. Not to mention only about 30 calories a cookie and hardly any fat! At some point I'd like to try them with Splenda to see how well they come out...then you'd REALLY be eating a light dessert.
- 2 large eggwhites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch of cream of tartar
- dash of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- extra sugar, for sprinkling
Thursday, March 5, 2009
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tsp vanilla (only add this if you're making a sweet crepe)
Sunday, March 1, 2009
There were two things wrong with this endeavor: for one, I can't find a recipe in any of my cookbooks that I trust. And for another, I've never eaten it...meaning I have nothing to compare it to and don't know how good it really is.
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup pitted dates (I actually had a box of chopped, pitted dates, which made my life much easier)
- 1 1/4 cups boiling water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch round or square baking dish. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper. Chop the dates fine. Place in a small bowl and add the boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a bowl of electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the date mixture to the batter and fold until blended with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake until pudding is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool.
This is a traditional recipe, but it's a cake that you can easily mess around with the flavors - instead of dates add dried cranberries or blueberries. Like it? Add it!
"The live music will be good for you then," he says. "Why did you change your mind?"
"I'll e-mail you the menu and be in touch." I can't help my smile at this point, shake his hand once more and thank him.
I really didn't think much of it - I've had an extremely hard time finding a decent job, and passed it off as another I probably won't get. But I went to the open interview anyway, and before I knew it, my nerves were setting in. This has been a problem for me in the past. Before I started work at my first real restaurant, I could barely eat for about three days. I did what I could to calm myself - took the car where I can feel confident in my own little bubble, where I can listen to whatever music I like, however loud I like. I thought of all the experience I have - a 3.9 GPA in culinary school that I'm attending, management at a pizza place, sous chef at a fine dining French restaurant where I butchered tenderloin, stripsteak, and removed silverskin from lamb. I learned to fillet Dover sole, though I never got to be great at it, and probably couldn't do it if you asked me to right now. I covered all the appetizers, like crab imperial, stuffed shrimp, smoked salmon with toast, and escargot. I learned a little bit about sauces, though not much relatively speaking. It was the first time I tasted mornay, beurre blanc, and tournedo. The front of the house was one of the most terribly adorned places I had ever seen: the seventy-year old woman owner's doll collection was scattered about, and her presence was further enhanced by massive amounts of doilies. We served our specialty items on gaudy purple and gold plates, like the lamb.
But despite all of this, I think of my weaknesses as I drive to the intersection of 38th and Chestnut. By the time I walk into the building bearing the outdated sign of "Koko Bongo," the business that failed, I'm shaking. The entire building is completely gutted - the walls are all different colors from pink to blue to white, there are giant eight-foot sheets of plywood laying about, while loose nails appear on the floor every here and there. Straight ahead is what looks to be the set up of a stage, and the first thing I reach upon walking in is the giant bar: it looks to be thirty feet long. Standing at the end nearest the door are two girls that look to be around my age, and when I walk closer, I see they're filling out applications taken from a stack laying on the bar. Down at the other end of the bar, sitting at a small fold-out table are three men. In front of the table is a single chair, where another girl about my age is being interviewed. I figure because I have my resume, the application would be obsolete, but as they dismissed the girl from the interview one of the men walked toward me and told me to go ahead and fill one out anyway. His light brown hair is short on top, and he holds a beard that gives him a vague Amish look (pointed out by one of the others during my interview). I hate filling out applications. The next two girls go one by one to the table at the end of the bar, chasing front of the house jobs. The men are blatantly flirting with both of them. I overhear snatches of the conversations, and they both sound a bit ditzy - someone you could easily imagine saying, "I love The Hills!" or "I can't believe I have to miss the Lady Gaga concert." But they could be good candidates to serve food and booze to people that come in and get shitty.
After standing around for what feels like hours, it's my turn. The man on the left is tall with dark brown hair. The one in the middle looks like he could be a linebacker - but has a very gentle smile. And the bearded man on the right turns out to be the one in charge of the music and booking for the place. They are all young, and seem full of excited ambition. Despite my nervousness, I do a good job at swallowing it and throwing big smiles, acting confident and extremely interested in everything they have to say. They ask me if I would rather serve or cook, and I say for now maybe serving. I didn't tell them that this is because the money is better, and I don't want to get stuck making crappy bar food like potato skins and wings. But by the end of the interview, when I was informed that Chef Ross Esner, former chef of Django (the food of which is the second picture shown), would be the head chef here and there was an actual casual dining restaurant next to this large "fun room," they tell me in so many words that I would be working in the back of the house if anything. I'm fine with this - no - I'm great. In fact, I'd felt a little guilty saying I'd rather serve. A funny thing was that they actually spoke a good bit more than I did - it seemed like I could hardly get a word in. They were young and ambitious indeed. I left feeling like I'd at least gotten a little word in about myself.
The very next day Chef Ross calls me and leaves a message saying he would love for me to come by and set something up. As soon as I get a hold of him, he tells me that Thursday he's holding interviews and to come by then.
To be continued...