Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hardcore Homecooking
Have you ever imagined not eating out or getting delivery for a year? Yeah, me neither, but Cathy Erway of the Brooklyn blog Not Eating Out in New York did. For two years she did not eat out in New York! In addition to being a lovely person, she bravely committed to this mad mission, and succeeded. Through her blog she was able to turn her adventures into a recently published book, The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove.

How can you not eat out in New York? More so than any other city I've lived in New Yorkers eat out... alot. How can you socialize with friends or boyfriends? Cathy finds some unique ways to make it work, with varying outcomes. Her book is more a memoir of her experiment with some great recipes thrown in. I plan on trying her San Bei Gi very soon. The Brooklyn food scene is so vibrant and she is shining in the middle of it. Go Cathy!

You might also want to check out The Week of Eating In that Cathy inspired on the Huffington Post.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Twitter Recipes:
I like to write an entire recipe in 140 characters

I've heard from a few of you that you would like to see a repository of some of the recipes I twitter. Maybe a tumbler blog? If you have any suggestions let me know.

Ultimately I'd really like to publish a mini book of my recipes. The type of book you often see by the counter at book stores, usually 2 inch square.

If you're interested in more twitter recipes you might also like to see this UK Guardian article about other twitter users and chefs who tweet about delicious ideas. I'm in it!

This is the quote from the paper: Piper's Best Baba Ghanoush, transmitted over two tweets: "Best Baba Ghanoush Halve 2Eggplants rubwithEVOO RoastCutSideDown 400degrees tilSoft chopwithskinON Processwith 1/4cupTahini Juice1Lemon 2mincedGarlic Cloves 1TbspCumin Add more of any of these &S/P to taste."

Twitter Recipes

Depression Proof Recipes: Rub whole sweet potato with OliveOil & lots of salt/pepper. Pokew/knife so it doesn't explode Roast 400degrees 1hr

Chicken legs marinating in Italian dressing. later dredge in grated parm cheese and roast ~1hr @375 #cheapdinner 5:00 PM Jan 21st from web

Steam head of cauliflower(pokew/knife) til v.Tender drain well(Key!) Puree w/ 4-6ouncesCreamCheese S&P Nutmeg ToTaste :)

Avocadoes on sale 2 for$3 Guac! Cilantro 2TbspWhite Onion minced, Juice of 1 lime, 1 tomato chopped, Jalapeno, 1tspgarlicclove S&P

Eggplant 1/4"slices dipped in egg then 1/2CornMeal and 1/2freshgratedParm Bake onOliveOiledPan 350 about 45 min. flip when each side brown

Make the eggplant into a Napoleon, stack with layers of Tom Sauce, Mozzarella and parm cheese. Top layer is Mozz. Put back in oven to melt.

Brussel SproutsFresh/frozen simmer til tender drain/dry well Toss in EVOO with lots of S&P Roast 400degreetill brown ~45min stir ocasionaly

@Jeters I'd cube veg, roast with lots ofolive oil/rosemary/S&P for about 1 hour @375degree put S&P'd fish on top after 50 min. cook til done

PureedSwedes: nuke 1large/choppedPeeled rutabega tilSoft, puree with 4tbspcreamcheese or butter, S+P totaste. Keeptasting for salt

CheeseSauce that makes everything taste goodMelt2TbspEach Butter+Flour cook til gold Stir in 1CuptEach Milk Shred SharpCheddar til Melted

RecessionProofCooking MisoSoup 4cupsH2o 3TbspMiso 2tsp InstantDashi(get@JapaneseStore) simmer w/cubedtofu little minced greenonion

Vegetable Candy: CutCarrots/Parsnips into same size tossed w/oliveoil lots of S+P Roast at 375 tilsoft 1hr. Stir every15-20 min or so

FastGravy for boring leftovers: Stir 2TbspFlour into2TbspHotButter Stir 1Minute Stirin1CupChicknBroth 1CupHalf&Half S+P to taste

Slaw shred HeadCabbage 1/2thinlyslicedRedOnion 3-4TbspCiderVinegar 2-5TbspMayo 1tspPaprika/DryMustard S&P ToTaste Chill a few hours.

Slaw Rec. cont I also sometimesadd thinlyslicedFreshHotPepper, 1TbspChipotleinAdobo, grated carrot, cilantro, depends on whats in the fridge

Want: A Grilled Cheese made from fresh sourdough bread sliced with mix of XtraSharp Vermont&Irish CheddarCheese browned inlotsof goodbutter

Quick Summer Salsa Cube1ripeMelon, mince1/2jalapeno, 1/2bunchmint, 2-3TbspRedOnion Add toTaste limejuice little hotsauce ChiliPowder S&P

Cheap Tasty Cream of Broccoli Soup recipe on the way. Don't forget to add salt and pepper to taste cont...

Cook1dicedOnion in 1/2stickButtersStir in2TbspFlour Whisk in5cupsChickenStock Simmer Add1boxFrozenBroccoli Cook20Min Add 1/2cuptCreamPuree

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Respect for the Eggs is the Brunch Litmus Test
Brunch at L'ecole Review

I take brunch seriously. I recently had one of the best at L'ecole, the restaurant of The French Culinary Institute. Full disclaimer: I was invited to this brunch and aside from tips, it was free. Please believe, I would never tell you I loved a meal if I didn't. Speaking of love, they are having a special Valentine's Day brunch.

For $19.50 you get an assortment of freshly made bread, an appetizer and an entree. In Manhattan that is a steal! The quality of everything I tried was stellar. Every dish was clearly made with care and attention. Even more importantly, my eggs weren't crucified. They were exactly how an omelet should be - soft and creamy perfection. Why is it that most brunch spots can't cook eggs? They're always rubbery or brown. Usually, if I want great eggs I have to do it myself or go to Stone Park Cafe in Brooklyn. I even heard another diner order their eggs cooked “over medium”! I could see it and it did look more glistening with a gorgeous wobbly yolk.

Here's what we had:
Complementary Bread: The basket came with an assortment of 5 different types. Most had seeds, nuts or dried fruit and were delicious. Even better, the butter was actually spreadable. I have never understood sending out cold bread with frozen butter.
Cappuccino and a Bloody Mary: Coffee was very good, but the Bloody Mary wasn't that inspiring. It seemed watery and needed more horseradish.
Appetizer of Duck and Pork Terrine with Pistachio and Truffle: I think this was terrific, but I wasn't in the mood for it. It was a cold day and I should have started with something warm. Next time I'll try the French Onion Soup app.

Shrimp & grits

Appetizer of Butter Poached Shrimp on top of Grits with Andouille Sausage: Three perfectly cooked tender juicy shrimp on top of a good 1/2 cup of buttery grits. Very generous serving size for an app.

Omelet: Redolent with delicious smoky bacon, thanks to North Country Bacon out of New Hampshire. I also added in some goat cheese and sauteed onions. Like I said, perfectly cooked eggs! Hooray! It came with a potato terrine in the form of thinly sliced potato, layered with herbs. My only disappointment was that although I could see the herbs between each layer I couldn't actually taste them. I also would have liked a hollandaise or bernaise sauce puddle underneath.

Duck Confit

Second Main of Duck Confit: Delicious juicy duck with a citrus sauce that I wanted more of! The fresh tasty greens (baby arugula?) were a nice accompaniment, but could have used a little more acid in the dressing.

The decor was warm and attractive, though maybe just a little hotel lobby-ish. I appreciated that my seat gave me a view out the street. Ask for the table in the corner closest to the bar. I haven't had dinner there, but the dress of most everyone at brunch was casual. This may sound odd, but the dining room chairs are really comfortable. Some restaurants feel like they chose chairs just so that you would eat and leave as soon as possible. Too bad I didn't take a photo of them. :)
The music level was perfect. I often I find myself at brunch yelling over Led Zeppelin.
This is a great spot to bring larger crowds, though I would make reservations. There are 3 or 4 tables that can take parties of 6 to 10.

Very friendly and attentive. Not sure you can take this into account since they knew I was there to review them. :) I did see that other tables were well taken care of. You can read on Yelp that I'm not alone in my opinions. The yelpers love this place.

Wrap up:
Over all very, very well done French food with good portion sizes at prices that you can't complain about. I plan on coming back as soon as I can and recommend you try it out, maybe this Valentine's Day. I'm looking forward to trying a dinner here. They have a $42 five course prix fixe that dinner menu that includes appetizer, fish course, meat course, salad, and dessert. That is an incredible value. Great spot for any age range, good for dates and out of towners you want to impress.