After two days of constant snow and nearly 2 feet of accumulation, we were getting cabin fever. The cure for cabin fever? Go exploring in a different neighborhood in search of food. In the West Village, just south of Chelsea, is a lovely little British shop called Myers of Keswick. We have wanted to go there for some time, and it seemed like the perfect day to do so. Plus, Brie has wanted to make Flapjacks for me (the British version, not the “pancakes” often referred to here in the U.S.) and we needed some Golden Syrup. M.o.K is a tiny shop, but their shelves are packed with canned goods, teas, sauces, and snacks to the ceiling. On the other side of the shop is a refrigerator case where they offer a wide variety of homemade meat pies and fresh sausage. I couldn’t resist. We purchased one Cornish Pasty and one Pork Pie in addition to Lyle’s Golden Syrup and a few snacks (bacon flavored crisps!).
On the way back to the subway we decided to swing into the Chelsea Market to see if anything looked good for dinner. I made a beeline to The Lobster Place and tried to decide what to make that evening. There are so many different types of fish and seafood available at this market that it can be overwhelming. Luckily, a beautiful red snapper got my attention and I had the fish monger (I love saying that) remove the fins and gills. It weighed in just under 2.5 pounds and was incredibly fresh. I also grabbed a dozen cocktail shrimp and some fresh cocktail sauce for dipping.
Once we got home I got to cooking, like a good husband. I wrapped the whole fish in foil and roasted it with garlic, thyme, lemon, and butter. With the snapper we had roasted carrots with an aged balsamic glaze, and pan-fried cauliflower with curry. And of course, don’t forget the wine! We enjoyed a bottle of Granger 2007 “Le Bouteau” Beaujolais Village (I know, red wine with fish, but this went really well with it!!).
The next day (today) we had our Cornish Pasty and Pork Pie. The Cornish Pasty was filled with ground beef, potatoes, peas, and onions. It was very similar to a hash or meatloaf, but wrapped in a delightfully flaky crust. The Pork Pie was filled with, as you might have guessed, pork. The crust was very buttery and made a perfect home for the meat. I can’t wait to go back and try their other pies!
It was a dark and stormy night. No wait. Really, it was.
So there I was in the greatest of NYC beer bars (Valhalla) with my lovely wife talking about the happenings of the day. It was the first time it had rained in quite some time and it was coming down like mad. The craziest thing is that the clouds were so low that the huge “GE” sign on top of the Rockefeller building would disappear completely for minutes at a time. It was the perfect type of night to be inside a warm pub drinking some quality beer.
Speaking of which, on a recent trip I was drinking Hofbrau from a huge 1 liter stein, but this evening’s trip was all about sampling, and less about getting hammered and wearing a viking helmet (there are photos somewhere out there). These were the lovely draught beers I tried:
De Koninck – A Belgian beer that is very smooth, a bit malty, and not overly carbonated.
Belhaven Wee Heavy – A crazy Scottish beer that was creamy with a nice dark roasted flavor and a touch of sweetness.
Kwak – One of my favorite Belgian beers served in what can best be described as lab equipment. I love this beer!
The Frittata is one of the easiest things to cook when you are short on time. For example, I didn’t get back from the gym until 6:45 this evening, but by 7:15 a delicious homemade meal was ready to go. For this frittata I ended up scouring the refrigerator and came up with the following recipe from the ingredients I had on hand:
Vegetable and Chorizo Frittata
6 eggs (I used 3 full eggs and 3 egg whites)
2 inches of Spanish Chorizo, cut into 1/4″ pieces
8-10 stalks of asparagus
1/2 Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups whole leaf spinach, rinsed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup romano/parmesan blend
1/8 tsp marjoram
1/8 tsp chives
1/8 tsp terragon
salt and pepper to taste
Steam or saute the asparagus and set aside. Quickly saute spinach until JUST wilted and set aside. Beat eggs and herbs until blended, adding a bit a few tablespoons of water to the mixture. Mix in cheese to the egg mixture. In a medium sized skillet saute onions with olive oil until just starting to become translucent. Add shallots, garlic and chorizo and cook until fragrant and onions are soft. In a small oven-safe pan, place the spinach and onion/chorizo blend and bring the heat up to medium. Stir in the egg/cheese mixture until well mixed and then let cook over medium heat until almost set. Press in the asparagus spears until just visible. Place in the oven on a high rack and broil until the top is golden brown.
**NOTE** Be sure you cook the eggs long enough on the stove before transferring to the broiler!!
1 – Leek
2 – Cucumbers
6 – Valencia Oranges
6 – Braeburn Apples
1 lb Bananas
1 – Broccoli
6 – Bosc Pears
1 – Bunch Spinach
3 – Avocados
2 – Mangos
2 lbs Yellow Onions
1 lb Carrots
1 – Head of Red-Lead Lettuce (not shown since Brie had already shredded it for salad)
I used the parsnips from last week with the carrots and leek from this week to create a delicious winter soup. My recipe:
Curried Parsnip and Carrot Soup 1 lb Parsnips, peeled, roughly chopped
1 lb Carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 leek, rinsed, white part only, roughly chopped
2 tsp curry powder
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
3 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp olive/vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 450F. Toss vegetables in oil. Place vegetables and garlic in oven-safe pan and roast at 450F, stirring/rotating vegetables every 10 minutes, until lightly browned and soft. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Place vegetables, spices, salt, and broth in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into pan and bring to simmer over LOW heat. Once heated through, place in preheated bowls and serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream/yoghurt and some parsley flakes.
The President’s Day three-day weekend is a much-needed reprieve in the middle of February. My friends, Ian and Mike, came out to NYC for a few days to blow off some steam and enjoy the offerings of the city. As always, by the time they left I thought my liver was going to explode and my lack of sleep was catching up with me. Here are the highlights:
Halal Cart – Street vendors that sell things such as Falafel and Gyro sandwiches. Our delicious Gyro sandwiches (half lamb, half chicken) were smothered in white sauce and hot sauce.
In addition to the major events listed above, we watched the opening ceremony for the Vancouver Winter Olympics and played drinking games while watching Three Sheets. As always, it was a great time and we made the most out of the short time and bad weather. Until next time!
I am also including some of the pieces that struck a chord with me while at the MoMA and Met.
With the bounty of vegetables in the refrigerator calling our name, Brie decided that a pizza would be a delicious way of reducing the supply.
The whole wheat crust was made from scratch and the toppings included garlic, marinated diced tomatoes, olive oil, chopped mushrooms, roasted eggplant, thinly sliced yellow onions, thinly sliced italian salami (on my half), fresh basil, a dash of fennel, a dash of oregano, and finished with some mozzarella. It was then put into a HOT oven until browned and bubbling.
I think one of my favorite things about pizza is the texture difference between the different toppings. The chewiness of the crust, the softness of the cook vegetables, the crisp edges of cheese.
I think I’m going to have to go eat some leftovers now, I’m making myself hungry.
With the pizza we split a bottle of 2005 Chateau Moulin de Tricot. It was a very smooth Bordeaux that is drinking well right now, but would probably be even better after a few more years of aging.. However, since we have no wine cellar or wine refrigerator, these bottles need to be consumed sooner than later.
A weekend in the Poconos isn’t complete unless some fine liquor is consumed. While the food was fantastic (well mostly, I made a forgettable Scotch Broth), I am going to focus on an amazing Poire Williams from France and a lovely 16-year-old Whiskey from Ireland.
Poire Williams is a pear flavored ea-de-vie/brandy/schnapps made mainly in Germany and France. Most of the times it is around 70 proof (35% alcohol), but this special bottle of Joseph Cartron Poire Williams from France is 98 proof (49% alcohol) and packs a delicious punch. The sealing wax used to keep the cap on is always a pain to break through, but it gives it a beautiful touch. Unfortunately I cannot find it anywhere in the United States, so it is one of those items that I get when I travel to Germany.
As for the Irish Whiskey, it is 16-year-old single malt from Bushmills (Northern Ireland). It is a fantastic whiskey with nutty flavors and a lot of character. I am guessing that comes from the fact that it ages in three different casks: an American Bourbon cask, a Oloroso Sherry cask, and finally finished off in port wine pipes. Long story short: Delicious!
Until yesterday I had always assumed “Indian Food” is similar no matter where you dine. It makes sense that a country as large as India has different types of cuisine in different areas of the country. Without going into too much detail, let’s split India into a Northern and Southern region. This “Northern” food is what I have always experienced when eating Indian cuisine in the United States; think Naan, Chicken Tikka Masala, and meat cooked in a Tandoor.
A coworker of mine is in NYC for a trade show and asked if we would be interested in eating at this place called Saravana Bhavan. I never turn down a chance to try new food, and three of us headed that way immediately. On our cab ride down there (Murray Hill neighborhood, lovingly called “Curry Hill”), my friend mentioned that this restaurant exists in his home town of Chennai, India (with locations around the globe) and has missed it terribly. He also warned that it is completely different from the northern cuisine typically available.
We tried Dosas (a thin crêpe) filled with onion and spiced potatoes that is served with three different chutneys; coconut, mint, and tomato. There was also the amazing bowl of Idly smothered in Sambar (probably my favorite dish I tried) that had a lovely spice that creeps up on you. At this point I was rather full, but my friend insisted we try the desserts and have a coffee. The coffee was fantastic and the cardamom and saffron spiced dessert, called Rava Kesari, was out of this world.
Everything I tried was delicious and I am thrilled that I have experienced the magic that is southern Indian food.