Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Sometimes the classics are all I want. Peanut butter (smooth only) and jelly (Raspberry jam actually) on toasted bread. The heat melts everything just a little bit. But it's just perfect in my mouth. Read more...

Five Guys again

I'm being moved at work again. This time I'm moving to a totally different building. But I'm not leaving the Midtown area. Heck, I'm not even moving from the Times Square area. In fact, I'm just moving across the street. But this is still new for me. I'll have new coworkers and new neighbors. So, as a last hurrah with my old pals, we went out to lunch. So we decided to have some big and good burgers. Five guys came to mind. I ordered a burger with some of the free fixin's. Their regular burger comes with 2 patties. Mmm, mmm. And I ordered a large sized fries to share. Five Guys Burgers 43 West 55th Street New York, NY 10019 (212) 459-9600 fiveguys.com Read more...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lunch Week 13: Leftovers - Pastitsio & Chocolate Cake

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Leftovers of Pastitsio & Chocolate Cake I've been so busy this weekend that I didn't have any time to make something for the week. Fortunately, I have plenty of leftovers from my dinner party. And what delicious leftovers it is! Pastitsio (or Greek lasagna as I like to call it) is pasta in a meat sauce covered with bechamel. I like to use beef and lamb in my sauce. And I added a little cheese in my bechamel for thickness and flavor. It's really flavorful and really happy with the outcome for my first try. Recipe will come in a later post. Along with the pastitsio, I also had some leftover chocolate cake. This cake was huge! Four layers of decadent chocolate goodness and lots of chocolate whipped cream. Ooooh la la. If you love chocolate, then you'd love this cake. Recipe to also come in a different post. Read more...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Uncle Nicks again

I couldn't stop from thinking about Uncle Nick's after that good meal. I wanted a gyro badly. So we ordered in one night and it was everything that I wanted. For some variety, we ordered some marinated feta cheese ($5). And some fried potatoes or as they call it, Greek fries ($5). These are similar to very thick cut chips but they suffered from the styrofoam container and travel time. I, of course, ordered the gyro sandwich. It was delicious and big. Filling and definitely worth the $5. He ordered the lamb souvlaki ($5). It tasted good but definitely wasn't as good as the gyro. Uncle Nick's 747 9th Avenue New York, NY 10019 (212) 245-7992 unclenicksgreekrestaurant.com Read more...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oatmeal Almond Toffee Crunch Cookies

Ah baking cookies. I'm become really good at this. And I've finally reached the point where I can play around and come up with my own recipes. So I was inspired one day the supermarket. I was picking up some chocolate chips but found a bag of Heath bar chips instead. Woah! Toffee chips! Heath bar! Yes, yes, yes. I promptly looked around my cupboard to see what would go well. I found some slivered almonds and some oatmeal. That sounds like that would work well. So off I went and mixed up a regular batch of cookies dough. The KitchenAid mixer is your friend. Embrace it. And here's where the fun begins. A nice bag of Heath milk chocolate coffee bits. Drool! And a bag of bits of toffee. Wait! They're different. One has chocolate and one doesn't. Hmm, didn't notice that. Eh, a little chocolate won't hurt anyone. Then I mixed in the almonds and the oatmeal. Woah, this batter us thick. I formed them into balls and into the oven at 375 degrees for about 9 minutes. Here's a close up of the cookie dough balls. This isn't the kind of dough to eat raw. Raw oatmeal sucks. So out came the cookies. See the top row? They're burned. Those were left for myself. The rest, I baked for about a minute or 2 less and they came out much better. The consensus? Delish! But there are a couple of things I would change. The thickness of the cookie was not to my liking. I like thick, puffy, and soft cookies. These were flat and crunchy. I would probably have to put the batter in the fridge before I baked them. Otherwise, the taste was great. Mmm, toffee and almonds, and oatmeal. Oh my! This is a rough draft of the recipe: Oatmeal Almond Toffee Crunch Cookies 2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 1 tsp vanilla extract 3/4 cups of sugar 3/4 cups of brown sugar 2 sticks of butter, softened 2 large eggs 1-2 bags of Heath toffee chip (with or without chocolate) 1 bag of slivered almonds 2-3 cups of oatmeal Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. 1. Mix dry ingredients together. 2. Cream butter and sugar. Add brown sugar and vanilla extract. Mix well. 3. Add eggs one at a time until well incorporated. 4. Add dry ingredients and mix until dough forms. 5. Add toffee chips, oatmeal, and almonds. Mix well. 6. Allow dough to firm up in fridge. 7. Form dough into balls, about golf ball size. 8. Bake in oven for 6-8 minutes until edges are slightly gold brown. 9. Let rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely. 10. Stays fresh in an enclosed plastic container for about 3 days. Read more...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Burgers at Home

Ah I'm on a burger fix and wanted to make some at home. I've always been fond of Bubba and Topps burgers as they satisfied my cravings. But it's about time I make my own burgers. So this is my first attempt of probably many attempts until I get something good. So, I start off with some ground beef. I don't have my own grinder so this will have to do until I get good enough to warrant that purchase. I bought 80/20 ground chuck from the market. I lightly mixed in some bacon fat (yes, I render bacon fat and store it) and formed them into patties. I made sure not to work them too much. As the beef patties came up to temperature from the fridge, I worked on the toppings. Here are some onions to be caramelized. And some lovely bacon that were cooked on low to render the fat. Got to add to the supply. By the way, I like my bacon ham like and soft. Please don't judge. And some sliced tomatoes, red leaf lettuce, and pickles. And now the burgers are ready. I heat up a pan until really hot, then I seasoned the out of the burgers. Into the pan they went. Sizzle! Splatter! Oooh, messy. One flip and the sliced cheddar goes on top. When they're ready, onto some Martin's potato rolls. I had one plain cheese burger with ketchup. And one with all the toppings. The verdict? Overcooked and under seasoned. Damn it! So, this is what I learned from attempt #1: *My usual heavy hand of salt isn't going to do it. A need a super heavy hand. *Burgers cook up really fast and would probably need to cook them in 1/4 of the time. *Bacon fat adds a lot of moisture to the patties. Even though they were well done (we prefer medium to medium rare), they were still super juicy. And they were so tender that the patties started falling apart in our hands. Hmm, maybe too much fat? In the end, I still enjoyed my burgers. Yes, much more can be had. But it's a learning process. A slow one, I bet. Whatever, just more burgers to be had. Read more...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lunch Week 12: Roast Chicken Wraps

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Roast Chicken Wraps. Yeah, I know boring. I didn't have much time this past weekend so I had to make do without going with a salad or a sandwich again. Though, this is just like a sandwich but rolled up. So I start with whole wheat wraps. Some dijon mustard goes on that. Next, the chicken. I stripped the meat off of a roasted chicken I bought from the market. This tastes much better than they precooked then refrigerated/frozen stuff. Some sliced cucumbers and red onions. Lastly, some pickles and a few leaves of lettuce. Rolled up like a burrito. Voila! Instant lunch. Eh, but filling enough. Read more...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Village Voice Choice Eats 2010

The Village Voice Choice Eats Event is something that I look forward to every year. It's a tasting event that affordable and features some of the best restaurants in town. Now, they don't have 3 star Michelin places but these are places that people go to for the food. It's all about the food and affordability. This is the common man's tasting event and it's awesome! They also serve a wide variety of wineries and beers along with the food. All this for only $35 each. I'm all about the food. So, learning from last year's event, I went with a plan. The Choice Eats get pretty crowded quickly. So it's actually kind of important to hit as many tables as possible. I start at one end and go around the perimeter. Then, I snake my way through the middle tables. Oh, and share every single plate. It's the only way to eat everything without bursting at the seams. So here we go! Tiffin Wallah: Flavorful and filling. Purple Yam - Delicious! Sweet buns made from yams. Toloache Ovelia Psistaria - Cheesy Ovelia Psistaria - tender meat cooked rare. Oooh la la. Zuzu Ramen Sheep Station - Love those meat pies and sausage roll Despana - Who doesn't like a chorizo sandwich? Congee Village Cheeky Sandwiches - Mmmm, meaty. Spot Dessert - Was I the only one who wasn't crazy about this? Hummus Place Bep No. 7 - Fake Lobster Meat goodness. Salty but still good. My favorite! No. 7 Highlands Txikito Juliette AM Thai Chili Basil - Shrimp was undercooked... AM Thai Chili Basil Patacon Pisao - Flavorful! Cafe Glechik An Choi - Pork Belly fatty goodness Del Posto - Ice cream pop yum! (A Fave!) Egg Sigmund Pretzel Fette Sau - Meat, meat, meat El Almacen Radegast Hall & Biergarten - Another sausage roll Fort Defiance - Mmm, deviled eggs Motorino - Octopus Salad with a great vinaigrette (A fave!) Salumeria Rosi - Mortadella...the only bologna I'll eat Resto The Vanderbilt - Headcheese and terrine goodness Pinche Taqueria Mantao Chinese Sandwiches Mustang Thakali Kitchen - Dry Dumpling Jimmy's No 43 Mama's Food Shop - Mac n Cheese? Yes please. Lucy's Whey - I love cheese. Porchetta - Where are the cracklings? Max - Cold lasagna is never good Spicy Bampa - Dry... Xi'an Famous Foods - Noodle skin (a fave!) Xunta Mercadito - my longest wait and it wasn't worth it The Village Voice Choice Eats The 69th Armory 68 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10010 (212) 643-3152 sixtyninth.net choiceeats.villagevoice.com Read more...