Archive for April, 2011


Friday Afternoon Treat, and Dinner

Like mrscannoli, my husband and I are huge fans of the Food Network. We have our favorite TV chefs like Ina Garten, Tyler Florence, Guy Fieri (not so much his food but his personality). Actually, my husband has a bit of a man-crush on Tyler Florence; he just LOVES Tyler’s food. We’ve tried many of Tyler’s recipes and have only been disappointed once or twice.

For a long time, my husband wanted to make Tyler’s Berry Scones with Orange Honey Butter. Since yesterday was the Royal wedding, we decided to ‘celebrate’ it by making this ultimate British afternoon tea treat.

The recipe was surprisingly simple. The only thing was that using one quart of heavy cream, we ended up with a lot of butter and buttermilk. Oh well, guess we would just HAVE TO make a couple more batches of scones then! The butter has a hint of orange flavor and lightly sweetened with the honey. The majority of the honey sweetness ended up in the buttermilk, but was not overpowering. The only things we changed was that we used dried blueberries and cranberries instead of fresh berries, and we didn’t sprinkle more sugar on top of the scones. The scones came out very nice and soft in the middle, and not too sweet. We slathered some orange honey butter onto the warm scones and the butter just melted, releasing more of its flavor. How can you not salivate over this image?! OK, so it’s not the traditional scones with clotted cream and jam, but hey, who cares?! It was DE-licious!!

Mixed Berry Scones

Mixed berry scones with orange honey butter. Simply scrumptious!!

For dinner, we made pork schnitzel with roasted potatoes, and roasted vegetables with orzo. Very simple but tasty. Not British, but so much more satisfying!

Schnitzel with roasted potatoes and roasted vegetables with orzo

A simple, but satisfyingly tummy-filling meal

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Royal Wedding Madness

Tomorrow, April 29, 2011, is the day that billions of people around the globe have been waiting for. But, the mania has already begun. People who have been able to make it to London will cram the streets along the Royal Wedding procession, hoping to get a glimpse of the bride and groom and to celebrate their happy union. Many have marked their territory by camping along the wedding route today, from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. I myself will watch Prince William and Kate Middleton say ‘I do’ from the comfort of my home. It may be the event of the century, but I am not THAT crazy to be squeezed and squished by hundreds of thousands of people.

For those of you who wants to know how the wedding is expected to progress, take a look at the Official Programme. Happy wedding watching everyone!

 I realized I left my gym bag at home this morning, so at lunch I decided to walk over to the Sports Authority to buy the cheapest workout gear i could find. I went straight to the sale racks at back and got a pair of sweatpants, sports bra and socks for 29 bucks! Not a bad deal! On my way back i stopped at Sensebowl for lunch since it was near by:

Restaurant Name Sensebowl
Website http://sensebowl.com/
Location Midtown East
Cuisine Asian to go, described by its owner as “Chipotle meets Momofuku”
Order  Brown rice with shredded beef, mushrooms, bok choy and snow peas with the house dressing on the side.
Culinary Experience(hot/cold, wet/dry, hands/fork) Hot/Wet/Fork
Service Assembly line – Where do I start? First they had no shrimp (they never have any shrimp!) then they hold on to your food for WAY to long because although it’s technically an assembly line, there’s only one guy assigned to it during the lunch hour. I could feel my food getting cold while my rice and beef sat out in line with 5 other bowls in front of it waiting for the rest of my order to be added. Not cool. Then they  ran out of magic sprinkles! You should have seen the look of disappointment in my face.  All in all Sensebowl is a little too laid back with their service for my liking but…
Cost  $9.00
Satisfaction …The food was good! Never had the shredded beef before and it was very tasty. The house dressing is very good…makes me wonder how many calories are in it. Maybe it’s better not to know.

 

What’s for Lunch?: Tuesday, April 26th

I discovered this place a couple of weeks back with my boss.  I was naïve and thought he was taking me to lunch (if he’s reading this – sorry, I really thought you were!), but in fact there’s no room to sit and eat a civilized lunch at this place.  But he did pay for my lunch and I am appreciative of that!

Bigzgirl and I took a stroll up Lexington Avenue and looked at shoes during lunchtime and stopped at Glaze on the way back to the office.  Finally a lovely Spring day in NYC!  And, the nude heels are within my grasp!  I hope to have an update on that this week, but for now, it’s all about food.

Restaurant Name Glaze Teriyaki Grill
Website http://www.glazeteriyaki.com
Location Midtown East
Cuisine Teriyaki to go – really, there’s only like 5 tables so you have to go!
Order  Chicken thigh teriyaki with white rice, side of 4 pork gyoza, and side salad with carrot ginger dressing
Culinary Experience(hot/cold, wet/dry, hands/fork) Hot/Dry/Fork
Service Average – in and out in about 10–15 minutes
Cost $10.61
Satisfaction Chicken was cooked perfectly and the teriyaki sauce was sweet, but not too sweet.  Gyoza were delicious, but I am a sucker for anything made of pig and fried dough.  I did not touch the salad, it looked a little too “fresh picked from the backyard” for my liking, and I’m not a big fan of salad unless I make it at home.  All in all, I am stuffed to the gills.  Great lunch!

Oh want a glorious day!

Mrscannoli and I decided to take a walk up Lexington in search for some really cute heels. More on that later, i’m sure.  On our way back we stopped by Glaze for lunch.

Restaurant Name Glaze Teriyaki Grill
Website http://glazeteriyaki.com
Location Midtown East
Cuisine Korean “Seattle Style” Teriyaki
Order  Combo 1: Half Chicken Thigh/Beef extra spicy teriyaki with brown rice and a small garden salad with carrot ginger dressing on the side.
Culinary Experience(hot/cold, wet/dry, hands/fork) Hot/Wet/Fork
Service Counter – Let me change my order, so A+ from me!
Cost  $10.89
Satisfaction Yum! The extra spicy teriyaki was simply perfect, very flavorful. The brown rice was a little mushy but forgivably so.  Carrot Ginger dressing was also very good, wish it came in a bottle. Portions were just right, felt full without the need for a mid afternoon nap. Mrscannoli gave me a one of her Gyoza dumplings. Also very good, crisp and light. Very satisfactory indeed!

 

Success at Last

Last month, mrscannoli blogged about going back to baking and one of the things she made was red velvet cupcakes with mascarpone frosting. While I didn’t get to taste one of those delicious morsels myself, I’ve heard the saliva-inducing reviews from the other Spices.

Now, I’ve baked red velvet cupcakes a few times before. But for some reason, I was only successful the first time; all other subsequent attempts came out all wrong and I had no clue why. Mainly, the color did not turn out nice and red, but an ugly mauve. And sometimes even the cake itself was not nice and moist (nyuchick’s favorite word :D) even though I used the same recipe. I’ve tried changing to different brands for the various ingredients, but still no luck. So, finally, I decided to fork out a hefty £9 for a small container of powder red food coloring (used in the culinary school where I’ve taken classes) to see if that will solve my problem.

I finally got around to testing out this red food powder yesterday, as it was my Mom’s birthday. I decided to bake a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting (will try the mascarpone frosting next time!) topped with toasted dessicated coconut. I was anxious about how the cake will come out but it was perfect! The color was a bright red and the cake was airy and moist. Adding the toasted coconuts really adds another dimension to the flavor and taste. My Mom had seconds and even my Dad, who does not like sweets at all, ate a small piece. I am so happy that I finally made a delicious red velvet cake!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Piece of Cake!

image

This was only half the sandwich!

So this isn’t really a Midtown lunch although I work in Midtown.  Let’s just call it the Midtown lunch from Downtown.

This lunch started with a stroll downtown this past Sunday, where it was close to 80 degrees and absolutely gorgeous. After Soho, I walked into Chinatown and came upon this shop.  As I walked in, I thought what a great lunch for tomorrow. I was skeptical how it would keep for a day but for under five bucks, who cares.  It’s got to be better than the lunches in the “food wasteland of Midtown,” as another blogger calls it.

Restaurant Name Banh Mi Saigon Bakery
Website http://www.banhmisaigonnyc.com/
Location  Chinatown
Cuisine Super cheap Asian to go
Order  Banh Mi (the Vietnamese Sandwich) – Pork and Spicy
Culinary Experience(hot/cold, wet/dry, hands/fork) Cold/Dry/Hand
Service Quick
Cost  $4.25
Satisfaction Size was very large and I was very full, I probably should’ve stopped at the half. I did wish I ate it day of but still made for a pretty decent Midtown lunch from Downtown

What’s for Lunch?: Monday, April 25th

Most of us work in Midtown in NYC and there’s a lot of new delicious places to eat lunch.  I’ve already blogged about Social Eatz ad nauseam, so it’s time to give some shout-outs to other places we love.  Thank you to bigzgirl for the idea!

Today, I had lunch at what has become my regular lunch place.  It’s close, it’s quick and it appears to be healthy.  We have many differences of opinion on this place but i love it!  Once you get the knack of what to order, it’s fantastic.

Restaurant Name Sensebowl
Website http://sensebowl.com/
Location Midtown East
Cuisine Asian to go, described by its owner as “Chipotle meets Momofuku”
Order Udon noodles with shrimp, mushrooms, baby corn, bok choy, chili soy dressing and vegetable broth
Culinary Experience (i.e., hot/cold, wet/dry, hands/fork) Hot/Wet/Fork
Service Assembly line – very crowded today
Cost $9.50

Satisfaction

 Very satisfied!

Good Friday: Happy as a Clam

Every year I stick to a the Catholic tradition of not eating meat on Fridays during Lent, and every Friday during Lent I complain about it.  As much as I love eggs and seafood and other meatless items on a regular basis, when meatless Fridays hit, I crave bacon and burgers.  Every week I am tempted!  But I am proud to say that every week I stay strong and do not give into the temptation.  I know some folks actually fast on Fridays, but I did not grow up with that tradition and don’t really feel the need to fast.  I don’t follow many of the other Lenten traditions but I do stick to meatless Fridays.  I know as a Catholic, I am not supposed to pick and choose which rules to follow, but I’m not perfect and my intentions are good.  In fact I’m so fanatical about meatless Fridays during Lent that Hubbo even feels compelled to observe meatless Fridays, even though he has less of a connection to his faith than I do.

Today is Good Friday, the last meatless Friday of the season.  I worked from home today, so I had some time to cook dinner tonight.  I was going to throw together some kind of pasta and veggie thingie, until Hubbo called and requested something he has never requested before.  Linguine and clam sauce.  I was in shock.  Hubbo does not eat seafood, and only eats baked clams twice a year.  I, on the other hand, love seafood.  In the last couple of years, I’ve become obsessed with linguine and clams and order it a lot at restaurants, but have never made it at home.  So who am I to say no to a request from my wonderful Hubbo?  Time to get my clam on!

The amazing Anne Burrell

I have to say I was quite disappointed that my cookbooks did not have a good traditional recipe for linguine and clam sauce.  Not Lidia.  Not Mario.  Not Silver Spoon.  So back to the internet and my ol’ reliable Food Network.  I found a traditional looking recipe that also looked super easy by one of my new fave chefs, Anne Burrell.  She’s certainly not new to the culinary world, but I only heard of her when she came out with her own show on Food Network, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.  She has crazy hair and says crazy things and makes crazy yummy noises as she cooks.  She scared me at first, but now I’ve grown to love her!  She’s an awesome female that can cook!

I took a drive over to the local fish monger to pick up 5 dozen littleneck clams.  I had to write that sentence just so I could use the word “monger.”

Anyhoo, I followed Anne’s recipe to the letter, except that I took all the clams out of the shell.  Anne’s recipe says to keep half the clams in the shell for presentation. I will admit I do very rarely cook seafood at home so I was nervous about cooking the clams wrong or not cleaning them properly.  A gritty sandy clam can ruin your whole meal.

Closed . . .

Open!

Anne also adds one cup grated Parmesan to the recipe (optional) and of course for me, the cheese was a no no.  The topic of cheese and seafood has actually become quite controversial, as most old-school traditional chefs do not believe the two should ever be married.  The younger generation of chefs tends to throw this rule out of the window.  Hubbo throws grated cheese on all pasta, seafood or not.

So how was it?  Fantastic!  Anne’s recipe was fool proof and this fool did a pretty good job.  There was no salt or pepper in the entire recipe and it was perfectly seasoned.  I could not believe how good it came out.  It was restaurant quality, if I can brag for a minute.  Ok, I’m done.

Delicious!

And to top off a great meal, Hubbo brought home macarons from Payard’s new location on Houston Street.  Poor guy, he was expecting coconut concoctions and was possibly disappointed.  I’m sorry I forgot to take photos of all the macarons in the box, but Hubbo ate one and I was halfway through one before I remembered.  His was Oreo and mine was chocolate.  Considering macarons are like the Oreos of France, I find it funny that they actually make an Oreo macaron.  Those crazy ironic French!

One is Coffee and one is PB&J but I can't tell which one is which!

At least I remembered to take a photo of the box!

A Weekday Poll!