So there have been a lot of exciting things going on lately, so unfortunately I’ve been lax in posting some of my delicious things. Hopefully tonight I’ll have a few done and ready to post for the rest of the week. Coming up: Holiday Pastry traditions, maple marshmallows, beet and goat cheese salad, and more. Stay tuned!!!
First off: THANK YOU GROUPON! I write about food on this site, but you can see an article that I wrote for another blog on this fabulous group discount service that gave me my dozen cupcakes for half the price.
Second: HELLOOOOOOO BUTTERLANE!
Ahhh, a group of folks after my own heart! Ever since I was two and my Dad gave me a small stuffed cow that was featured in all of my childhood photos, I have LOVED cows. I have a sweet spot in my heart for the resident cow of my childhood vacation spot, Block Island, and hopefully sometime soon will have his portrait purchased 8 or so years ago framed and hung on my wall. So you can imagine my little heart jumping for joy at the site of this beautiful bovine hanging on the wall of my sweet-tooth driven destination. Everyone working at Butter Lane is unbelievably friendly, talkative, and so helpful.
Butter Lane is like most cupcakeries in that they have two or three cake bases (vanilla, chocolate, and I believe their only other one is banana), and then the frosting combinations are where the creativity lies.
You know something has to be good when a patron already in the store tells you to trust the employees to picking the flavors for you.
Which brings me to:
Ahh, such high expectations. And for the most part, Butter Lane came through. To start off with, the brief not-so-goods: the vanilla and chocolate cakes that I had were just a bit dry. They crumbled too easily, and didn’t dissolve on my tongue the way I expect cake to. I also like my chocolate cake to be a bit bolder, with a chocolate flavor that you would be happy to have in your corner in a fight between the frosting. A real hold-it’s-own kind of chocolate cake. Butter Lane’s chocolate was just a tad shy of the bar.
Now that we’ve got that squared away, on to the good stuff!
Ohhhh that frosting! The buttercreams are absolutely DELISH. They make all kinds: vanilla, chocolate, maple, cinnamon, raspberry, strawberry, espresso. And the banana cake was ON POINT! Moist, delicious, and not too overwhelming on the banana. It’s no surprise that my favorite cupcake flavor came with a banana base. The Banana with Cinnamon Buttercream is the kind of thing that I would go back and order a whole dozen of at full price.
Overall, I give Butter Lane a thumbs and a half up. I’m going to go back to see if cake is a bit moister next time, but I’m going to protect against dry mouth with at least a half dozen with the banana base. Of course, now that I’ve said that, the next time I go everything else will be oozing moisture and the banana will feel like sand in your mouth. That’s just how the world works.
123 East Seventh Street, New York, New York 10009 (p) 212.677.2880
Being a locavore is so trendy these days, so I walked into Fort Defiance in Red Hook feeling pretty good about the simple, chic traditional food I was about to consume.
Not to mention that I had just walked a little over a mile through a rather dark neighborhood to get there because my boyfriend told me it was “really close to the subway.” Yeah right. On top of the walk, I had not been feeling so good, and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw the small chalkboard sign on the restaurants corner.
The beautiful cherry interior garnished with bright colored prints on the chairs and tables echos the warm and genial service. The server was incredibly attentive and helpful. We ordered two of their signature home-made seltzer drinks–mine was a gingerade (spicy ginger and tart lemon is a PHENOM combo) and Nate ordered a Dark and Stormy. Our next course was a goat cheese salad with beets and a tomato bread soup with shaved parmesan, both fresh and full flavored with that juicy quality of just-picked vegetables. Our next course was chicken with balsamic braised brussel sprouts and whipped potatoes. Simple, but perfectly executed. The brussel sprouts were the best I’ve had this season, with a crispy glaze and perfectly tender inside leaves.
Of course, I couldn’t leave without dessert when I found out that their special was a chocolate pudding with fresh whipped cream. Chocolate pudding is a personal favorite of mine, and this particular dish was the perfect combination of dark chocolate and cream. Often times there is just too much milk in the pudding, but this pudding was dense with dark chocolate, and left the creaminess to the fresh whip on top. I would definitely go back if I’m in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, and I would treck back to it as a destination if I knew they were serving the chocolate pudding again.
Overall: Great drinks, delicious, simple food. Warm and welcoming atmosphere.
365 Van Brunt Street (corner of Dikeman)
Brooklyn, NY 11231
347 453 6672
Blondes do not have more fun.
Which is why we are always on the lookout for delicious, satiating dessert recipes that don’t break the belt buckle. I found this recipe in a great book, Cook Yourself Thin by Candice Kumai, Harry Eastwood, and Allison Fishman. We had leftover whipped cream, which the recipe calls for, in the fridge (SCORE!) I decided that it was a good time to try my hand at meringues. Chocolate meringues, that is.
I am thoroughly convinced that the reason I enjoyed the end result was only partially due to the recipe itself. I used unsweetened cocoa, but I used Divine powdered cocoa, and shaved Callebaut dark chocolate over the whipped cream to top off the dish. The age-old lesson: a quality recipe is only as good as the ingredients you put into it. I left out the melted chocolate and raspberries because I didn’t have time to run to the store. They would have been amazing though. Be sure to check out all of the fabulous recipes from Cook Yourself Thin!
Calories per serving: 337
4 egg whites
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
½ tsp lemon juice
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup fresh raspberries
¼ cup shaved dark chocolate
¼ cup melted chocolate for drizzling.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Whisk the egg whites and salt on high speed until they hold their shape. Add the sugar gradually until the mixture stands in firm peaks. Add the lemon juice and whisk just to incorporate. Sift the cocoa powder into a small corner of the bowl and lightly fold it into the meringue using a plastic spatula. Do not over mix of you will lose the rippled effect. Pour the meringue onto the parchment-lined sheet pan in an oval shape, roughly 3-inches by 5-inches and 2-inches high. Place into the bottom of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Switch off the oven without opening the door and leave the Pavlova in the turned –off oven for one hour. Remove and set aside
- For the topping: whisk the whipping cream into semi-stiff peaks and spoon on top of the pavlova. Sprinkle with raspberries and shaved chocolate before serving. Finish with drizzled chocolate.
Every year it’s the same story: tons of turkey, mounds of stuffing and mashed potatoes, and a big container of gravy all piled back into the fridge waiting to be re-purposed for future meals.
In trying to find new ways to work with the traditional medium of leftovers, I started to think about something that I was really craving. In the middle of the chilled holiday, my mind drifted back to the blistering heat of Asila, Morocco, and to a small restaurant called Casa Garcia. Casa Garcia had the freshest fish and fruit-filled sangria in the small seaside town, and their menu contained a surprising favorite: Seafood croquettes. The croquettes came to the table hot, with a satisfyingly crispy crust and a mouth-singeing creamy starchy center with small pieces of shrimp and fish.
And thus Thanksgiving Leftover Croquettes were born. A delicious and satisfying meal in the spirit of making “the perfect bite” and using what is already in the fridge. The beautiful thing about this dish is that you could use any leftovers from your holiday feast.
As long as they all taste good together to begin with (epic fail awaits those who attempt to incorporate dessert leftovers into this recipe).
Our Thanksgiving Leftover Croquettes featured a center of turkey and stuffing, wrapped in a layer of mashed potatoes. We served ours with gravy “dipping sauce” and fresh vegetables (an attempt counter-act the frying component and use up leftover appetizers).
Make sure to read the tips in the instruction section—borne from my own experimenting and mess-ups
Thanksgiving Leftover Croquettes
Makes 12, fist sized croquettes
12 1 ½” long, thinner pieces of Turkey
aprox. 1 ½ cups Stuffing (chilled)
aprox. 4 cups Mashed Potatoes (chilled)
2 ½ cups bread crumbs
Oil for frying
- Preheat oven to 225°F. Line a baking sheet with freezer paper and set aside. Beat eggs in a wide bowl with a fork, and set aside. Pour breadcrumbs onto a plate and spread evenly.
- Make Croquettes: In one hand, combine one piece of turkey and about 1 Tbsp. stuffing. This is the center. Cup your hand around the center and top with about 3 Tbsp of mashed potatoes, shaping to form an oval around the strip of turkey. Turn croquette over so turkey and stuffing are facing upward (mashed potatoes are in the palm of your hand now) and cover with mashed potatoes, shaping to maintain oval, and cover turkey and stuffing completely and evenly. Repeat until all 12 are done.
- Take each croquette and roll in egg, and then in breadcrumbs (TIP: Make sure you cover the whole surface of the croquette with egg and breadcrumbs, otherwise when you go to fry them the exposed mashed potatoes will dissolve.) Set on waxed side of freezer paper on baking sheet. Repeat for each croquette. Cover the croquettes with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Heat 2-3” of oil in a pan on medium heat. Oil is ready when water droplets sizzle in the pan. Working in batches of four, place croquettes into the oil. Use a slotted spoon to gently turn the croquettes every few minutes. Cook until crust is golden brown, about 8 minutes (Watch carefully, if the mashed potatoes start to dissolve too much, remove croquette as soon as it begins to brown.) Remove croquettes using the slotted spoon and place on a paper towel covered plate. Pat to remove the remaining oil, and place on a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm while you fry the remaining batches. Serve immediately.
This video is hilarious. Alan Richman takes Eric Ripert to Costco, and Ripert is totally scandalized. While he admits that the warm bread from the bakery is a plus for the mega-store, he says that nothing looks natural or “like it is from Planet Earth.”
The most surprising element of the entire episode is Ripert’s use of herbs de provence with steak. It’s not a traditional or popular choice, but he says it tastes good, so perhaps the next time I’m jonesing for a steak, I’ll try it like almost-Costco-convert Eric Ripert.
Ripert is surprisingly open-minded throughout the entire episode: at one point he admits that they are having a good meal, and although he would like to be in the street with a sign that says “I hate Costco” he can’t do it because “they have some good stuff.”
But he does not want to go back.
[via Eat Me Daily]
On route 114 in Bristol, RI lies the collegiate mecca for doughnuts and coffee: Sip and Dip. Sip and Dip is a chain exclusive to the Ocean State, and serves the most unbelievable flavored coffees, like chocolate coconut and blueberry cobbler (which you may not expect to be good, but will shock and amaze you). Their doughnuts are divine: light, fresh, and appropriately sugary. Residents of the RI like their coffee light and sweet, so unless you specify your kinds of milk and sweeteners, expect a light and sweet that will knock your socks off. I’m a skim-milk-only type of gal, and I really enjoyed the L&T (this warning comes from experience!)
My my, what to do with a house full of Turkey! This evening was all about simplicity, so I made a delicious french onion soup, courtesy of an L.A. Times’ article, and paired it with deliciously simple turkey sandwiches. Again, simple was the idea:
Turkey (sliced thin)
caramelized shallots (2 shallots, cut in half, sliced lengthwise, in a pan on medium-high heat for about 15 minutes)
Step 1: Toast the marble rye very slightly.
Step 2: Spread a bit of butter on one half of the bread (the side where you are going to pile on the goodies) and place thinly sliced turkey on butter.
Step 3: Place shallots on top of turkey, then gravy, then mozzarella cheese. Toast for another 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. One of my secrets here is to toast the other side of the bread with the stacked piece, so that both sides are warmed prior to serving.
Step 4: Cut sandwich in half and serve. Simple, but so good.
The shallots add a nice hint of garlic and onion, without the toughness of a traditional onion. Sorry there aren’t any photos for this one–we were just really enjoying ourselves
Happy Thanksgiving Leftovers Day!
MMMMMMM Fresh fruit soda from the Pacific Northwest. HOTLIPS is like a party in your mouth. A few days after this delicious little package with individually wrapped bottles arrived on my doorstep, I took my first sips of HOTLIPS, and I was a convert. The sodas are all cooked in a kettle, then bottled, and then pasteurized. The fruit flavorings take you a bit by surprise, because you expect the sodas to be a bit sweeter or more artificial tasting, but the truth is the sodas taste like real fruit. There’s no long story to this one. Even though HOTLIPS soda is across the country, it’s totally worth the shipping to taste these artisanal fruit sodas. DELISH!
Let’s take a second to talk about brussel sprouts. This dreaded childhood vegetable that has recently seen a seasonal revival in high-end restaurants and home kitchens around the country, and it’s Cher-like comeback could not have come in a more delicious wave of popularity. In a previous post, I touted the marvels of Michael Symon’s Fried Brussel Sprouts at Bar Symon. I also recently sampled fresh market balsamic glazed brussels at For Defiance (post to come shortly!) and so I decided to try out this incredibly chic side-dish myself. I settled on a simple recipe from Dan Barber: Balsamic-Glazed Brussel Sprouts.
I wanted to add something of my own to the mix, so I decided to give my bottle of Blood Orange Infused Olive Oil a shot. The result was deliciously cripsy brussels with a hint of orange and the sweetness of the EVOO. The blod orange infusion paired very well with the aged balsamic vinegar used to deglaze the brussels. The one thing I would have done differently would have been to leave the brussels in the oven a bit longer, to get them crispy all over, instead of just on the side that was pan fried. Here is the fantastic recipe, courtesy of Serious Eats.
Dan Barber’s Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts
- serves 2 as a side -
Adapted from Dan Barber
2 cups Brussels sprouts, cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Gently heat the oil in a cast iron skillet, then add the sprouts, cut-side down. Cook without moving until they brown nicely and develop a crust. This is where the flavor happens.
3. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 4 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and, using tongs, turn each sprout over carefully onto its back. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze, gently shaking and tossing the skillet until there is no excess vinegar in the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.