Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I don't know if I would actually want to eat this solo, but add some eggs and carbs and I think you might have some tasty greasy fun going!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Daneyal Mahmood Gallery
October 16 - November 15, 2008
Opening: Thursday, October 16, 5:30 - 8:30PM
I've always loved the pic of this dude in his meat suit, and meat and food in general so I'm definitely going, and so is my bro Reid of www.Iluvpork.com. So in a big thanks to sherri for hooking me up with another link in one week, I'll Meat you guys there...
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I'm not a breakfast guy. I'm lucky if I can eat a piece of toast in the morning. Usually a cup of coffee will keep me going till lunch. Every once in a while however I can go for a greasy, carb heavy breakfast and one dish that I'm always drawn to is biscuits with sausage gravy.
This is my first time making this dish, it's pretty simple but can be messed up easily if not done right.
Biscuits (think Cliff originally gave me this recipe)
2 c. unbleached flour, plus more for dusting
3 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
(or just using self-rising flour)
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. sugar
Mix all ingredients in bowl until forms a ball. Turn dough out and knead. Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness and using a 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut out dough. Line one inch apart on a greased baking tray. Cook 10-13 minutes in preheated 500 degree oven or until golden brown
3/4 lbs. of sausage (the fattier the better. Don't use Italian sausage, it's too lean)
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 c. milk
Fresh ground pepper
Cook sausage in large skillet until browned. Remove from pan leaving fat rendering. Add flour one tbsp. at a time whisking constantly until well mixed. Add milk and bring gravy to boil. Lower heat and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir back in the sausage and add pepper.
Pour gravy over biscuits.
I worked with a couple of recipes to get this one. I still don't have the flour to milk ratio down right but just add milk if it gets too thick.
Haven't had this dish in a long long time. Real simple to prepare and a mess to eat. Makes a great appetizer or quick snack too. I was able to get a few fresh artichokes as there just about out of season... gotta love global warming.
4 large artichokes
1/2 c Romano cheese
1-2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
2 c. unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. chopped parsley
salt/pepper to taste
Cut the stems off the bottom of the artichokes to give them a platform to stand upright. Cut down from the 2nd set of leaves (just below the prickly ones) giving you a flat surface up top. Rinse out and begin to spread apart the leaves.
Combine all other ingredients. Stuff mixture into top of artichokes pushing it down in between all the leaves. Drizzle with more olive oil.
Fill a roasting pan with water up to the first leaf of the artichoke and cover the whole thing in foil.
Cook for 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees. Fill water back up as neeeded
So what does that have to do with a sandwich, and a large guy named Darrel? Well, the train show is set up inside an old gym at Rutgers University. Which happens to down the street from a greasy food stand called RU Hungry. It is at that stand for which you can get the sandwich called the Fat Darrel. And what wrong headed goodness the Fat Darrel is. Now, apparently, the Fat Darrel was “invented” by a Rutgers student who was trying to find an economical way to eat all the foods he loved, craved perhaps, in one package. Thus was born the Fat Darrel. I’m sure you have noticed that what is actually in the Fat Darrel has yet to be described. That is because the ingredients are somewhat embarrassing, if only because I have actually eaten this thing. Twice. And yes lived to tell about it. Although I’m sure in some way it has taken at least some time off my life, I’m hoping in some Karmic way, because of what could be described a spiritual eating experience, the damage has elevated by some degree. I suppose it could be described that way, if only for my mental well being, for as you are eating this thing, the Fat Darrel, you are assuming some risk to heart and body and I’m sure I sent shivers of worry through my wife, as I have just, not weeks before, spent hours in the ER complaining of heart related symptoms. I’m not talking the Karmic or spiritual high I’ve gotten from a really great plate of ribs in Memphis (Cozy Corner), or just a great meal prepared by a friend or a dumbly expensive dinner at a first rate restaurant. No not that. Maybe more of the feeling you get when you score the winning touchdown during a game in your backyard when you were 14. In the bigger scheme of things, not such a big deal, but still damn important.
It really shouldn’t taste this good. It is honestly just crap in a roll. But you know, crap hasn’t ever tasted so good together.
A roll, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, french fries and tomato sauce. Some kind of heaven I say, although it’s probably the part that is pretty close to hell.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
My wife gets back, and I must admit I wasn’t too specific when I had asked her, but she had a quizzical look son her face. She asked something like “You buy THESE eggs?” and I looked at the carton she was showing me. Nope, they weren’t. But hey, eggs at the farmers market were probably all pretty good, right? Then she told me what they cost and I almost fell over. Six dollars for a carton of eggs? Was she nuts? Well, she didn’t want to disappoint me, but there was no way in hell I would have bought six dollar eggs. And I’m not sure who the hell would, but apparently the person who had ordered the carton hadn’t picked them up and it was the end of the day, so my lucky wife got to buy them.
I opened the carton to find rows a very different size eggs, real small, real large and everything in between.
Then…then I cracked one open to make my son a couple of eggs. The yoke was bright yellow, I mean YELLOW. The albumen was wonderfully clear and held itself together in a way I had never quite seen. These were beautiful eggs. I scrambled them really soft, fried ever so lightly and made a frittata for the boy. The yokes were so flavorful with a real intense yokey(?) taste, and hell they looked oh so good on the plate. The simple egg, breakfast food for the many, and I had really amazing specimens. I carefully cooked each one, not wanting to waste them, not just because of the price, but because they were special. I wondered if this is how eggs should be, or what they had been, before the onset of the factory laying facilities. Worth six bucks? They were probably the best eggs I ever had, but not sure if I would fork over that much on a weekly basis. But maybe when I want, perhaps need, a nice plate of eggs…
Monday, September 22, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
My dish was a simple pasta with a sauce made from three different kinds of tomatoes I had gathered out local farmers market. Some Plum, beefsteak and red and yellow cherry tomatoes. I used a little more olive oil than usual, hoping to make it a little lighter than a sauce that is cooked way down, and tossed three cloves of crushed garlic in the pan to slightly brown before putting in the tomatoes and softened some small yellow onions. I wanted to try and keep the freshness of the tomatoes, that with the coming of mid-September, will soon be gone, gone, gone. So I resisted cooking down the tomatoes to long and left the cherry tomatoes to put in last, about half way through the cooking. I threw some fresh basil on top, put it in a big bowl, and walked up to the next block to see what Liz was making. With-in twenty minutes we were eating al-fresco, in the middle of the street, a soft breeze, and with friends and just met neighbors. There is a reason I live in Brooklyn.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Now Mickey’s, a real honest to goodness Art Deco diner car, looks like it hasn’t changed since it opened before WWII. Really, there is a picture on the cover of the menu, and the place looks eerily the same. And the cooks are very, VERY, good. Nothing really beats a short order cook that knows what the hell they are doing. The grill is maybe three, three and a half feet wide and it’s all cooked there. Burgers, eggs, omelets in a small pan right on the grill, bacon and most importantly, and most beautify, hash browns.
“Yeah, Yeah hash browns.” You say, big deal maybe. But these things are the most amazing pile of potatoes you will ever eat. Mike and I, without expressing it to each other were a little worried. We ordered from the cook, she slapped on a pile of potatoes on the grill and preceded to cook all kinds of other stuff, just sort of leaving the potatoes sitting there. Burgers, fries, omelets and the potatoes just sat there. I was getting kind of nervous for her. Sweat dripping from her brow and lip. Expressing her desire to leave in 15 minutes or so when her shift was done. I all but assumed the hash browns were toast, burnt, and not tasting so good. Well, what a jackass I was, (and later found out so was Mike). Because they were absolutely perfect. Perfectly brown on the grill side, and perfectly steamed on top. The nutty taste of the browned crust, the silky, mellow taste of the rest of the potatoes had me so wanting more of them. I was able to squeeze in one more trip to Mickey’s, a late night meal after day three of the convention. Again they were perfect. I just didn’t, or do , want them again, but crave them. I swear it would be reason enough to go back to that fair and self described friendly city
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I stood gazing at my fried wonder, attached somewhat mournfully to a stick through its innards, powdered and chocolate drizzled, wondering what the hell I was doing. Ah, but one bit and I realized what all the fuss was about. A warm, crunchy outer coating, the white stuff reduced to a near liquid, infusing itself into the golden outer cake. Just amazing. Was it food? Yeah, I guess. Was it a culinary highlight? I guess that depends on your definition. Would I eat one again? I’m not sure my body would be able to take another hit like that, but I sure the hell would be tempted.
And btw, thanks to Justin for being so obsessed with finding Famous Dave’s place, next time you’re at the fair, look for it and get yourself some chocolate dipped bacon.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Last week I visited Dolce Vita in Manhattan’s Little Italy. It's not often you get a new restaurant opening in that area. This place has gotten a bit of press lately because of their neighbors aren't playing very nice and trying to force out the new kid on the block. So much for Italian hospitality.
Little Italy isn’t my first choice for Italian food. Getting solicited by a hostesses begging me to come in is normally not the way I like to start my meal. Most of the restaurants are usually no better than the Olive Garden, vegetables and pasta are overcooked and nothing is typically fresh. On top of that it's the same boring food, I don't even need to see a menu to know that I can get some fill-in the-blank parmigiana.
But I put all that aside because I thought I’d support my Italian brethren by checking out what they had to offer, plus my dad missed my birthday and promised to pay.
The setting is small but comfortable. Simple table settings with not a lot of frills made it feel very contemporary. The John Legend album playing was better than some Italian opera but not much better. Lacking a liquor license is hurting this place but they’ve made up the difference by offering to go out and buy wine or beer for us.
After reading Preston’s post about mussels I had a hankering for seafood. For an appetizer we split orders of sage fried calamari with a balsamic and orange juice reduction and mussels sautéed in a white wine butter sauce and served with toast points.
All the fish was quite fresh and cooked well. The mussels could have been a bit larger in size, especially for this time of summer but they packed a nice taste.
Calamari was fried well but the reduction on top was too understated and didn’t stand out well.
Both dishes seemed like they sat for a bit and judging that we were the only ones in the place I’m wondering what the chef was doing back there that we couldn’t get a hot plate of mussels.
The place bragged about having homemade pasta using organic ingredients so of course we had to taste some. My dad went right for the homemade pasta ala puttanesca, he’s such the classic. Besides the usual olives, capers, and sauce they spin-it up and add mussels, clams, and shrimp to the dish. I always chuckle when I see this dish on a menu because the name literally translates to "pasta the way a whore would make it", generally it's believed that in Roman times, prostitutes would serve this dish to entice customers, plus it was easy to prepare.
I tried the homemade ravioli. Two large sheets barely contained filling. Cooked nearly to al dente but might have needed another few minutes in the water. Definitely not enough filling to get a satisfying taste of much of anything.
One very redeeming quality of this place was the dessert. They only had one to offer and that a tirimissu. I figured if that's all they were offering it had better be good. Oh my it was! it was made from scratch by the owner's wife when we ordered it.
Very light, creamy and not too much liquor. It's by far some of the best I've ever had.
In the end, I probably won't go back to this place. Just wasn't all that psyched in the end about my meal. But I grabbed a delivery menu just in case anyone at work wants a try!
I was fortunate enough to score a fresh tomato from my dad's garden. This thing was as big as a baby's head. It needed a day or two on the windowsill to redden but it was worth the wait. My dad was thoughtful enough to also include some of his greek basil and a large chunk of dried cornbread that he baked.
This is definitely some of my summer comfort food. I'll usually eat some variation of this dish a few times a week. It makes for a great side to a steak or alone with a large hunk of bread!
Kept this one real simple. Sliced the tomato and rough chopped the basil. Couple of pinches of kosher salt and a light coating of extra virgin olive oil. Crumbled up the cornbread after it soaked briefly in some water. Had some good calamata olives leftover and in those went as well.
The biggest trick to this dish is to let it sit for 15-20 minutes and let the salt start to break down the tomato juices which will get absorbed into the cornbread.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Ok, ok, I know I don't live in Brooklyn but after meeting me you'd swear I invented the place. I grew up in south Brooklyn where I wear the shiny badge of knowing how to appreciate what it means to visit a butcher or haggle at a fruit market. I know good Italian food when I see it, and cooking the traditional classics is always my go-to. I can proudly say my education comes from tugging at my Nonna's apron and usually getting the splatter of hot sauce on my face.
Now I hold court in Harlem, where I've been for around two years. This is a place whose culinary cuisine has at times been stereotyped but after a little searching and digging there are some real gems in the community.
So now I got to get to shopping so I can share some of my uptown flavor mixed with a bit of old school charm.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
“You want some mussels too?”
It is with great pleasure I am able to feed my son. From an early age he has been rather adventurous with food. Loves fried oysters. Although it was quite a hoot watching him try a raw one, that didn’t go over so well. Everyone sitting at the Oyster Bar counter seats in Grand Central got quite a kick out if too. Sushi, he’s more than good with it, and will badger us for days to get some. As long as it is not a green leaf or peanut butter and jelly, we can usually get him to try it. And the kid is picky. He knows what is good and won’t take anything less.
Of course, this does bite us in the ass. He has refused to eat pasta at his friend’s house, his friend’s mother being a very good cook, but she just happened to overcook it. Even after the fatherly talk about why you politely eat something at someone else’s house without an attitude. He just refused to eat the overcooked pasta. The mom ended up making him a breaded chicken cutlet that he deemed superb. He will only consume the mozzarella from Caputo’s on Court St. Granted it is the best in the neighborhood. Olives have to come from there too. When I cook something that is not quite up to par, he has no qualms telling so. And why…
So I made him the stuffed calamari. Just a simple bread crumb, oil, garlic and parsley stuffing. Broil it for 10 minutes, turning to brown on each side. Although my broiler sucks and I’ll pan fry it next time. We got an extra big bag of the mussels from the fish guy, something about the captain of the boat not having it together that morning after a late night at a wedding and “did I just want the rest of them?” I steamed them in water, sherry, garlic, green scallion tops and butter. Steamed a few ears of that nice bi-color corn I got on my trip to the Union Square market.
The kid was happy dunking the mussels in the pot liquor and butter. He inhaled two of the stuffed calamari and his mom made him eat a half an ear of corn so after he only took a few bites and said he was full. Moms do that.
I always ask him how the meal was. “Pretty good dad.” I guess I’ll settle for that and try better next time.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
So this was a strange combo lunch of soppresatta, Sweet Emotion cheese, heirloom tomatoes, basil, sweet corn and scallops.
It was all from the Union Square market except the soppresatta from Emily's on Graham and cheese from Saxelby's in Essex st. Market. Ann there kicks ass. Oh, and new fave cheese, Trefoil. follow the link for Saxelby's writeup of it... personally if it were reasonable i would roll around in it for a day.
So the lunch was a total throw together, but since I was eating alone I went for it all on one plate. Everythign worked well with eachother so no flavor issues, just a bit crowded. but next time i'd def do it for dinner, and split it into a couple courses...
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Well, well well…nothing like a rather overwhelming trip to the Union Square Farmer’s Market to start a day. Defiantly need to be caffeinated next time. As you can imagine it is ALL in season and the booths are more than chock full delectables. All that fruit and veggies, it’s all there. I bought apricots because they looked and smelled so damn good. I don’t think I’ve ever bought apricots that weren’t part of a spreadable in a jar. My partner in crime on this blog, Cliff, and I got to float on through looking, touching and smelling. (Which Cliff usually reserves for the lady folk, but he of was making an exception on this morning.) Our mission was Tomatoes, heirloom Tomatoes. We scoped out them all, found a great price, $3.50 a pound, and did our damage. A baguette later purchased and we had lunch. Good bread, the toms and a little salt. Done, done, done…
We were good, didn’t go crazy. Didn’t over buy what we couldn’t reasonably use. My family sponged a neighbors CSA box when they told us we should take their share, because they were away. I had plenty at home already, just needed to round it all out. Some real, real nice small skinny little eggplants to go with the white eggplants I had at home. A nice big bunch of insanely nice parsley, scallions with looooong greens attached. Some this and that and just a little bit of the other thing.
Last night I got to make a real nice sauce with corn, the eggplants, squash and some real ripe plum tomatoes. I pulled out my magic pot, (a 7 ¼ quart Le Creuset dutch oven I had to beg my mother to get me for Christmas, and what remains the most expensive thing that I get to cook with,) and browned the corn just a bit with a little crushed garlic, added the squash, a little wine to steam it in a bit, the eggplant and let that cook down a few minutes. I made a little hot spot and chucked in some minced garlic and shallots and let it move over to translucent before mixing in and then adding the five seeded, peeled tomatoes. Put the pasta in the water, when that was done within an inch of its life, that hit the magic pot with a little pasta water.
Just fresh, fresh. My kid wasn’t too enthralled, not a big eggplant fan. He “doesn’t like the texture.” Damn NYC kid. But the wife liked it. And that is enough for me…
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