Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

The blog will be on vacation until after the new year. In the meantime, I'll be cooking, baking, and hosting delicious feasts.

Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy holiday and new year.

Cheers! Read more...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lunch Week 43: Moroccan Lamb Tagine

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week 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: Moroccan Lamb Tagine
I was getting tired of the same ol' flavors of Thanksgiving by now. I needed something extremely different. Something with spices, something foreign. Something like Moroccan lamb tagine! It's not a spicy dish but it has a lot of spices. It's braised until the leg of lamb is so tender and soft. It's full of vegetables and fruit. It core warming. It's what you want to eat in the winter.
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Lunch Week 42: Turkey Vegetable Soup

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week 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 last week: Turkey Vegetable Soup

So I completely messed up again. I forgot to take a picture of my lunch. And it was such a delicious one too! I used leftover Thanksgiving turkey, a bunch of vegetables, and some homemade stock. So much flavor, so enriching. It was a soup that's perfect for the cold or even if  you had a cold. It warmed me up so nicely.

Too bad I suck though.
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Old Traditional Polish Cuisine Truck

As you can tell, I went without lunch for a week. So I hit up a bunch of food trucks that I haven't tried before. The Old Traditional Polish Cuisine Truck is one such truck (Phew! What a mouthful!)
But if you're telling me I can get delicious kielbasa and pierogies, I'm there!
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Moo Shu Grill Truck

When I heard that the Bian Dang group opened up sister trucks such as the Moo Shoo Grill and the Domo Taco truck, I was intrigued. I have enjoyed Bian Dang (aka NYC Cravings) previously so the Moo Shoo Grill truck seemed good enough to try. Also, this used to be the Fishing Shrimp Truck which I really enjoyed but it is no longer. They could not sustain the rising prices of their goods. So sad.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Paris Sandwich Truck

Walking up 46th Street in Midtown, you'll find a variety of food trucks parked and ready to serve. Some of the more favorite trucks could boast lines 20+ people deep. On a short lunch break, that just wouldn't work. So when I stumbled upon the Paris Sandwich Truck, I happily walked right up to the window and ordered my meal.
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Souvlaki GR Truck

When the Souvlaki GR Truck first started out it didn't venture into Midtown. It stayed as far uptown as the Flatiron and Chelsea neighborhoods. I bugged them about it but they weren't ready for the Midtown masses of office workers looking for lunch. But eventually they opened up a storefront which allowed their truck to explore new areas.
They've been servicing Midtown now for a while but it has taken me quite some time to go visit them.
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Friday, December 13, 2013

Thanksgiving: Apple Pie

I made apple pie for Thanksgiving dessert per usual. But I didn't like how it came out. I tried a new pie crust recipe that everyone has been raving about it. It didn't fail, per se. But it didn't hold up the way I wanted it to.


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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thanksgiving: Garlic Bread

A lot of people serve bread with their meals especially at Thanksgiving. I bring it up a notch with homemade garlic bread. Oh yes, that garlic butter is crack. You can smell it down the hall enticing you to try some. If you like garlic, you'd love this garlic butter.
And how does the butter work? Basically in a slow poaching method that caramelized both the garlic and the milk solids of the butter. It almost becomes a brown butter garlic spread.
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Thanksgiving: Roasted Butternut Squash

I feel like my Thanksgiving meal is pretty complete except for one dish. Over the years, I have tried to figure out a good sweet potato dish. I dislike the sickeningly sweet dish with brown sugar and marshmallows. So I have up the sweet potato this year for the butternut squash. It was well received with my guests. And with that, it became a permanent addition to Thanksgiving. And now, it's complete.

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Thanksgiving: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I don't know what they did to Brussels sprouts but they're really good now. No more bitter, mushy orbs of cabbage. Instead, you have charred and caramelized nuggets. I like them best when roasted in the oven.
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thanksgiving: Mashed Potatoes

Super smooth and creamy mashed potatoes are a wonderful thing. Perfectly seasoned too.
There's no secret on how to make good mashed potatoes but you just have to put in a little effort. That's all.
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Thanksgiving: Macaroni and Cheese

I don't have to convince you that macaroni and cheese is delicious. Pasta, melted cheese, and a crunchy bread topping. It's wonderful, comforting, and filling.
I've made okay macaroni and cheese in the past. But when I came across a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, I decided to try it. Wow. I was mistaken about my macaroni and cheese. This was much better. The pasta was more tender. The cheese sauce was more creamy. It was fantastic. I was a convert immediately.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thanksgiving: Sausage Dressing

Move over Stove Top Stuffing. I've got some homemade dressing that's way better. Crusty bread, sauteed sausage and vegetables, and homemade stock. Layers of flavors and textures.
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Thanksgiving: Corn Souffle

Oh corn, how I love thee. You're so delicious on your own but when I find a wonderful way to prepare you in a dish that showcases everything wonderful about corn, then I'm even more grateful. This corn souffle recipe is such a dish.
Sure, you'll find some corn pudding dishes on some Thanksgiving tables. But this is really more of a corn souffle. It's lighter, more delicate, and almost fluffy. But really, the separation of yolks and whites really make this dish a souffle as opposed to a pudding.
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Thanksgiving: Mustard Glazed Ham

Once I tried a real smoked ham, I never went back to those supermarket generic hams. The flavor and texture was just that much better that it became a staple in my Thanksgiving feast.
This year, I added my own tweaks which resulted in a much juicier ham with a lot more mustard glaze to go around. I received good responses about these tweaks so this is the way I'll do it going forward. I didn't do step by step picture instructions since I have a pretty good post about that here. But I will repost the recipe with my personal changes.
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Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving: Turkey Stock & Gravy

Growing up, I used stock from cans. I didn't know better. But one day I tasted homemade stock and was hooked. The developed flavors of meat and vegetables was incredible. So now I make stock all the time and freeze it. It's great for soups and just about anything. In this case, it's great for gravy.
But first, the stock. I usually take the leftover turkey carcass as my meat base. But if you don't have that, use a smoked turkey leg. I get mine from the butcher but I've seen smoked turkey legs and wings in supermarkets so they're more readily available now. With that, add 4 stalks of celery, 4 carrots, 2 onions, and the stems of a bunch of parsley. Keep the leaves for garnishing your dishes. Honestly, you can use scraps to make stock. Collect carrots peels, onion skins, celery cores, and parsley stems. They freeze well too. Collect it until a 1 gallon plastic bag is filled.
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Thanksgiving: Roast Turkey

Turkey is the star of my Thanksgiving. I take immense pride in how juicy and flavorful it comes out. It has taken me years to get it the way I want it to taste and I feel like I've finally mastered it. And it's a glorious thing to have.
Even though I felt like I've got the turkey roasting down, this year I decided to try to spatchcock my turkey. Why? Time. It's an immense time saver. It only took 1 hour in the oven. Yes, that's right. Just 1 hour. I was also able to make 2 turkeys at once. That makes for lots of leftovers. Sounds good enough to try.
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tasty Eating's Essential Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a big deal in my home. I've been hosting for years and I do all the cooking by myself. Guests come with empty stomachs ready to eat. And I'm happy to serve them.
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lunch Week 41: Thanksgiving Leftovers

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week 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: Thanksgiving Leftovers
 People who come to my Thanksgiving dinners always ask why I make so much food for a small group. For the leftovers of course! This once a year feasting is highly anticipated. The leftovers are even more treasured. Guests leave with trays full of food. But I make enough that it leaves me with a bounty. Well, enough for Mr. M&P and I for lunch the whole next week as well as plenty of dinners. I'll probably end up freezing some of it as well. My favorite leftover is definitely turkey with gravy and cranberry sauce. The sides above are roasted brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash with onions and cranberries, and corn souffle.
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

(Belated) Lunch Week 40: Vegetable Japanese Curry

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week 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 2 weeks ago: Vegetable Japanese Curry
Leftover Japanese curry from a dinner party I had a while ago. It freezes pretty well actually. It's a vegetable curry with potatoes, carrots, and frozen peas. I use the potatoes as a natural thickener for the curry. It's great over rice. Oh and don't worry, it's not really spicy. It's more sweet than what more people thick of curry in general.. Read more...

Monday, December 2, 2013

(Belated) Lunch Week 39: Korean-Mexican Salad

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week 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 3 weeks ago: Korean-Mexican Salad
This week's lunch was originally supposed to be lettuce wraps with Korean and Mexican ingredients. It was supposed to be kind of a taco but with lettuce instead. When I purchased my Boston lettuce heads, I wasn't particularly happy with the varying sizes making it difficult to use as taco shells. So instead, I made the lunch into a salad.
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