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Virtually Absent

16 Jan

Recently I’ve been suffering from the nagging suspicion that my internet presence is slowly dwindling down to virtually nothing (pun ever so intended). I miss my Twitter friends, I never seem to catch birthday reminders on Facebook, and I immediately delete all emails from Klout, shuddering at the thought of what my current score must be. (I won’t even touch the fact that I’ve basically ignored this blog since we moved to Kentucky nearly six months ago.) There’s no longer a healthy (read: neurotic) competition with Adam to see who is more virtually influential, just shame at my inability to keep up.

But then there’s the ray of hope that is Pinterest, with its daily (sometimes minute-ly) updates on my likes and repins. Not only is it a useful tool for organizing recipes, gift ideas and such, but it let’s me feel that I haven’t completely forsaken the internet for real life activities, like walking the dog and going to work. “Don’t worry,” those emails remind me, “there are still people online, both familiar and unfamiliar in the offline world, who are aware of your presence. Look, they even ‘like’ something you posted!”

Okay, so maybe I don’t actually stake my identity on how many Friends and Followers and Likes I have, but I have been feeling a strange sense of disconnect lately which Pinterest has slightly assuaged. I might not be reformatting my blog or working my way through the thousands of posts backlogged in my Google Reader, but I am clicking the “Pin It” button and building (what I consider to be) useful and interesting pinboards, and the frequent emails telling me about each person who responded to my pins is, well, nice.

So while I’m failing at blogging I’m winning at pinning, and the cooking is still mixed in there. I added these recent successful meals to my “What’s for Dinner” board :

Martha Stewart's Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Skillet Rosemary Chicken from Minimally Invasive

And these treats on my “To Do (as a Gift)” board went out to various friends and family as holiday surprises:

Saveur's Candied Orange Peels

Whole Foods Market's Chocolate-Dipped Figs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just haven’t managed to blog about any of it.

I blame the dog.

Agent Dale Cooper Keiper Winer

Meatless Monday: Cheesy Chard and Pasta Gratin

22 Aug IMG_4044

During the summer, my mom’s favorite activity seems to be giving away vegetables. Now that I’m back in the Midwest (or thereabouts), I’ve become one of the lucky benefactors of her garden’s overwhelming productivity. Unfortunately, I missed all of the asparagus, but she never fails to foist bags full of chard and tomatoes and peppers on me whenever she gets the chance.

Not that I’m (really) complaining- it sure beats buying all my produce at Whole Foods (especially given my current, unemployed state). But each time it starts a race against the clock- how do I use all these lovely, backyard garden-grown vegetables before they go bad?

For the chard, this required an exploration of the internets: tomatoes are easy to turn into a tasty caprese salad, but I don’t have much experience with chard. Luckily, I managed to stumble upon a recipe that looked perfect for me: covering vegetables in cheese is always my favorite solution!

Mom was sweet and gave me the chard already separated

Chard and Cheese Pasta Gratin

adapted from Girl Interrupted Eating

I’ve made this dish twice now and all I can say is it’s one of those where you can play around with the ingredients/quantities to suit your tastes. I upped the amount of cheese sauce the second time around since I used whole grain pasta, which tends to absorb more moisture.

Ingredients:

10 Chard leaves, separated

1 Small onion, finely chopped

2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

12 oz. Whole grain pasta

1 T Butter

1 T Flour

2 c Milk

2 T Whole grain mustard

8 oz. Extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2/3 for sauce, 1/3 for topping)

Breadcrumbs

Salt and Pepper

Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
  • Finely slice the stalks and greens from the chard.
  • Saute the stalks with the onion until softened, then add the garlic and finally the leaves. Allow the leaves to wilt,  then set aside.
  • Create a roux, then slowly add the milk, stirring to prevent lumps. (My sauce was quite thin, but it worked just fine since the whole dish gets baked and the pasta absorbs a lot of the moisture.)
  • Slowly add 2/3 of the shredded cheese, stirring in a figure 8 to prevent clumping. After all the cheese is melted, stir in the mustard.
  • Mix the greens with the pasta, then transfer to a 9″x 11″x 2″ baking dish.
  • Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and greens.
  • Top with salt and pepper, breadcrumbs, and the remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is starting to crisp, then broil for 3-5 minutes to give it that nice bit of color.

A Pollen-y Analogy

11 Aug

Thinking about that meal at Volt, I remembered an article I read not too long a few months ago about the popularity of pollen in dishes. The article itself was on Tasting Table, though I found it because of an installment of What We’re Reading from the NY Times Dining Section. I’m not sure that the link would have even caught my attention had it not been for the analogy :

Tasting Table: Dill pollen is to fennel pollen what Neutral Milk Hotel was to Nirvana. — Jeff Gordinier

Thanks to my music-snob boyfriend, I had a vague sense of what that was supposed to mean. (Or, more accurately, I was very pleased with myself for recognizing that Gordinier was referencing two bands.) At any rate, the Tasting Table article basically introduces dill pollen as the new, cool flavor enhancer.

What does this have to do with Volt, you ask? Well, check out this picture (again):

Notice those breadsticks sitting in front of my music-snob boyfriend? Yep, they’re dusted with fennel pollen.

Guess Bryan Voltaggio didn’t get the memo about which pollen the cool kids are using.

Back with a Volt!

8 Aug Adam at Volt

Aaaand I’m back.

My poor blog has been virtually nonexistent recently- let’s just say that I’ve clearly not yet learned to be one of those queens of domesticity who can go to work all day, then come home and meticulously photograph a meal as I put it together and have it waiting on the table for my beloved when he walks in the door. And then blog about it.

Sigh.

But now I’m in Kentucky, with a temporary condo (our apartment is currently being constructed) and no job (yet) so I have a bit more free time (when I get tired of staring at my resume). Of course, given that all of our belongings are currently in boxes in the garage, I’m not exactly making gourmet meals at the moment.

You know where they do have gourmet meals, though? Volt.

We lived in Frederick for a little less than a year, but I’m going to miss all the lovely people and places until I get to visit.

In the meantime, I’ll share some pictures that I’ve been meaning to share for months…

We finally made it to Volt during Frederick Restaurant Week this past March. I had something strep-like at the time and was barely dragging myself off the sofa, but I refused to miss this meal. Luckily, since I was just having a throat issue and not a gross sinus-stuffing cold, I could taste every delicious bite (even if it was painful to swallow it).

First Course

cherry glen farm goat cheese ravioli butternut squash, maitake mushrooms, sage air

sheep’s milk cavatelli country ham, broccoli rabe, parmesan

Adam ordered the goat cheese ravioli, I of course went with the dish that most closely resembled macaroni and cheese. Delicious, though I seem to remember an unnecessary hint of cumin.

Second Course

scallop beluga lentils, cauliflower, cilantro, medjool date, verjus

pork tenderloin brussels sprouts, braised red cabbage, creamsicle sweet potato, mustard greens

I had the scallops. They were a-maz-ing. Frankly, the drips and drops of things on the plate didn’t add much, but it sure looked pretty, don’t you think?

Dessert

goat cheese cake d’anjou pear, spiced vanilla ice cream, citrus tuille

textures of chocolate dark chocolate ganache, chocolate caramel, raw organic cocoa

Yes, that might have been too much chocolate, even for me. On the other hand (or, I guess, plate), I’m still dreaming about that vanilla ice cream.

Oh, and there were extra treats, in case that wasn’t enough:

they brought around an awesome bread basket between each course

just in case we were still hungry- coffee cake to-go

So that was our meal- super tasty, but definitely not for every day.

Unleavened Bread & Plenty of Fluids

26 Apr matzo meal latkes

I always manage to screw up Passover. Usually it’s just a little slip, like accepting a bagel chip offered by a friend without really thinking about it. Once, it was because I was studying in London, and my parents came to visit for spring break and we spent five days in Italy: the land of pasta and pizza is not really Kosher for Passover. This year, however, I was going to be good. I as going to make matzo ball soup (for the first time ever!) and matzo kugel and matzo meal latkes… I had a shopping list and everything.

Then I got some kind of stomach virus and the only things I could keep down were sourdough pretzels. Sigh.

So a few days, three IV bags of saline and a very sad shopping trip later (my cart literally contained Gatorade, 7-Up, Saltines, broth and Jell-O) and I completely gave up on being ‘good’ for Passover.

But…

Before I got sick, I did manage to make one matzo-based meal. Luckily, it’s one of my favorites.

Matzo meal latkes!

Most people are more familiar with potato latkes, but I’ve always liked these more because with matzoh meal latkes I can just sprinkle a coat of sugar over them, and I do love sugar. My recipe was not at all recipe-like, given that it came from my mother and, as usual, included the phrase “you just have to get the feel for this one” in the directions. I make pancakes quite frequently, however, so I at least knew what I wanted the batter to look like and could tinker with the quantity of the dry ingredients.

The ‘recipe’ went something like this:

Matzo Meal Latkes
Ingredients

4 eggs, beaten

‘a little’ water (1/4 cup)

1/4 cup matzo cake meal (plus some)

1/4 matzo meal

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Mix all the ingredients, adding extra cake meal until batter is normal pancake consistency.

Heat enough oil in a frying pan that the pancakes will float.

Drop spoonfuls of batter in but don’t crowd the latkes. (They reminded me of funnel cakes floating around in the pan.)

Allow the latkes to brown, then flip to brown on the second side.

Drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with sugar and enjoy!

Oh so much garlic in the soup

26 Feb the cloves going in the oven to roast

I know that I’m relatively new to this food-oriented blogging thing, but I still can’t believe it took me so long to discover the 44-clove garlic soup. I guess I’ve been on a bit of a soup kick lately, inspired by the gross weather and my new toy, the immersion blender. At any rate, when Ali at Gimme Some Oven posted this soup it took only two days before I just had to try it for myself. I mean, 44 cloves of garlic!!!

the 18 raw garlic cloves

the cloves going in the oven to roast

It was delicious. Not quite as rich and creamy as my recent roasted leek and potato soup, but still lovely and flavorful. (A roasted garlic/cheesy potato hybrid soup is now in the works!) I suppose my substitution of half and half for heavy cream probably accounts for the slight lack of rich creaminess, but the added parmesan at the end fills in nicely, and the lemon sets off the flavors in an unexpected way. I had a leek and two shallots lying around so I tossed them in with the garlic to roast, and only used one onion. I also skipped the thyme since I didn’t have any fresh, but figured there were enough flavors happening already. I have to say, I agree with Ali on roasting method. I figured I would try it Deb‘s way, but  ended up with hard shells where the individual cloves were lying against the baking dish. Next time I’ll just stick to roasting the whole head of garlic, even if it means I don’t have a precise clove count.

all the flavors I threw in

roasted garlic cloves (~26 of them)

At any rate, this is definitely a recipe I’m going to keep around and continue to experiment with. If you like garlic then definitely try it out- it’s totally worth it!

 

44 Clove Garlic Soup

(adapted from Bon Appetit, via Smitten Kitchen and Gimme Some Oven!)

Serves 4

Ingredients

26 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/4 cups sliced onions
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
18 garlic cloves, peeled
3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
4 lemon wedges

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 26 unpeeled garlic cloves in small glass baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Transfer cloves to small bowl.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and thyme and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add roasted garlic and 18 raw garlic cloves and cook 3 minutes. Add chicken stock; cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan; add cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide grated cheese among 4 bowls and ladle soup over. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.

the toppings- lemon and parmesan


How to make cauliflower yummy!

25 Feb Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

My favorite go-to vegetables are spinach and asparagus. Spinach is just so easy to cook, whether alone with a little lemon or thrown into, well, anything. Asparagus, sauteed with a little butter-flavored olive oil and salt and pepper tastes so good I almost feel guilty about eating it. But as far as vegetables go, that’s about my limit. Not because I don’t like other vegetables, but more because I don’t necessarily have a typical way that I like to prepare other veggies, so they require a little bit more planning. (I even tried out kale chips, but couldn’t handle the overwhelming smell. Maybe I’ll try The Post’s method next time.)

Well now I know how I like my cauliflower. While looking for a veggie for my Valentine’s Day recipe I discovered a cauliflower gratin recipe on Smitten Kitchen. It was a bit heavier and cheesier than I wanted for that meal, but I bookmarked it for a colder day.

With the snowy, rainy mess that this week has been, it was the perfect weather for a casserole dish full of creamy, cheesy deliciousness, and this recipe delivered.

Cauliflower Gratin

(from Ina Garten, via Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets

Kosher salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups hot milk

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Meatless Monday Recap: Roasted Potato Leek Soup or Ina Garten, I love you!

1 Feb Roasted Potato Leek Soup

Oh how I love the Barefoot Contessa. Let’s be honest- who among us doesn’t dream about running away to the Hamptons to run a specialty food store? No? Just me? Whatever- regardless of your feelings about the buttercream queen, you are going to love this soup. Seriously. Love it. I’ve been a bit lackadaisical in my praise for some recipes I’ve tried recently, but this one gets a standing ovation. I should have known Ina wouldn’t let me down.

I saw this Roasted Potato Leek soup months ago on an episode called Comfort Classics Closeup. I wanted to try it immediately, but decided to wait until I got the immersion blender that I knew my mother had planned for my Hannukah gift.

It was so worth the wait.

Somehow, my soup ended up tasting like a bowlful of liquefied sour cream and onion potato chips- in an amazing way. On the Food Network website the recipe had four stars out of five, but a quick read-through of the reviews revealed mostly raves, with a few disgruntled failures mixed in. Just to make sure that it wasn’t going to end up “very bland” (as described by the most recent reviewer), I tried one of the potato pieces post-roasting: tasted just like latkes (a thought that Adam immediately echoed when he walked in the door, “it smells like latkes in here!”). Of course, now I’m just looking forward to trying the Cheesy Soup that popped up in the ‘similar recipes’ sidebar, although Robert Irvine could never hold the place in my heart that Ina does.

A few notes, before the recipe:

~The ‘cook time’ is supposedly 1 hour 35 minutes, but it took me 3 hours start to finish. I’m certainly not a speedy cook, but this is also definitely not a quick recipe.

~I’d never used leeks before last night- I was completely surprised when I pulled apart the leaves and found mud between the layers! Katie Goodman of goodLife {eats} provides great step-by-step instructions (with photos!) for cleaning leeks. While I’ve never had a problem with cutting onions, the leeks definitely had the inside of my nose stinging. Hooray for trying new vegetables!

I had no idea leeks were so huge!

~I did try to make the crispy shallots for on top, but they just didn’t turn out crispy. At all. I’m going to blame my lack of a candy thermometer and say that the shallots are probably lovely when done properly, but I didn’t really mourn their absence (because this soup is awesome). If it hadn’t been Meatless Monday I might have followed some of the suggestions in the comments section and topped the soup with some crispy bacon, just for fun.

trying to fry shallots

waiting for shallots to get crispy

~My grocery store didn’t have crème fraîche and my specialty store was out, so I just substituted 1/2 cup lowfat sour cream and 1/2 cup half & half- turned out just fine.

~Finally- I was a little confused because there were no instructions concerning when to add the butter. This is, after all, an Ina Garten recipe- how could there be no butter involved? After searching the ingredients list several times, however, I was reassured that this wasn’t an oversight, and I comforted myself by adding some extra parmesan, just to be safe.

Anway, here’s the recipe that will have you swooning. Enjoy!

Roasted Potato Leek Soup
(from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients:

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (I needed three leeks)

1/4 cup good olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cups baby arugula, lightly packed

1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving (I used a Schmitt Sohne reisling that’s been floating around since our housewarming; it worked just fine)

6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (I subbed vegetable stock, as usual)

3/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces creme fraiche (or 1/2 cup sour cream plus 1/2 cup half &half)

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (I used about 1/2 cup), plus extra for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the potatoes and leeks in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them a few times during cooking, until very tender.

leeks and potatoes getting roast-y in the oven

Add the arugula and toss to combine. Roast for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the arugula is wilted. Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan. (I ended up adding a bit more of the stock at this point because I was having difficulty loosening up all the yummy bits.)

maybe the only benefit of my electric cooktop- it's flat (though not at all level)

Transfer the vegetables to a large pot; add the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the stock.

roasted veggies and vegetable stock

Use an immersion blender to create a puree, then add enough of the remaining 1 to 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup.

immersion blender in action

Add the cream, creme fraiche, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and check the seasonings. (The one note I would make here- taste the soup before adding the 2 teaspoons of salt: it might already be salty enough.)

adding in the creaminess

When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons white wine (I added a bit more) and the grated parmesan. Serve hot with an extra grating of parmesan.

(Given the richness of the soup, I served it with a simple arugula salad- just baby arugula tossed in olive oil, lemon juice and a little salt, topped with shaved parmesan and some freshly ground pepper. It provided a really nice balance to the rich, creamy soup. Plus, you know, vitamins.)

A New York weekend, by the food

25 Jan steamed pork buns 2

Oh my poor, sad neglected blog! I could blame a weekend in NYC for my absence, but even then I managed to try out WordPress’s mobile blogging app for one post. No, it was a cold-induced lethargy that made stringing together coherent thoughts seem far too challenging last week. Happily, I have emerged from my Sudafed-aided stupor and I’m ready to attack the posts that were languishing as ‘saved drafts’ while I was consuming plenty of fluids and watching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (seriously, my brain was not functioning).

So, like I said, last weekend Adam and I were hanging out in Manhattan. While the main focus of our trip was visiting with friends who we don’t see nearly often enough, I did get to fit in a little New York food fun. Here’s a look at some weekend highlights, by the food:

photo from the Market Basket website, not my S.T.J.

Now, normally, I would never mention New Jersey in a post about New York City. I know that New Jersey is not “pretty much New York.” But Adam’s parents live 30 minutes from the city, so a trip to NYC mandates a trip to Bergen County. And, of course, a trip to Bergen County isn’t complete without a stop at The Market Basket. So for lunch on Friday we met up with one of Adam’s high school friends and enjoyed delicious sandwiches. I have no picture of the amazing S.T.J.(smoked turkey, melted Jarlsberg and creamy honey mustard on a croissant) that Adam and I split, but it was delicious enough to warrant a shout out. Market Basket, you make me dislike Jersey a little less.

fried calamari- good for soaking up alcohol

From Jersey we headed to Shivani‘s apartment on the Upper East Side. Friday night involved a couple of midtown bars: dinner at Opal (a trio of sub-par sliders: chicken cordon bleu, angus beef, and “portobello ‘shroom”) was followed by drinks/fried snacks at a bar whose name escapes me- the evening was clearly not memorable for the food. In the morning, however, we got homemade blueberry pancakes- necessary preparation for a day wandering the cold, snowy streets of Manhattan.

I'm not used to someone else making pancakes for me!

I only had one thing on my to-do list for the weekend: get steamed pork buns at Momofuku. Before we got to New York, I had checked in with one of my favorite Frederick tweeps who had been to NY recently, to see if there were any food places I just couldn’t miss. The response was quick: “Momofuku,esp SSam Bar/Milk Bar(get there near 5),Halal carts,grazing @ Chelsea Market.Meat to bring home from @themeathook Brooklyn.” I’m so glad I thought to ask for suggestions- I had completely forgotten that I’d been meaning to try Momofuku for more than a year- basically ever since I moved back to the DC area. I’d had my fill of Halal carts while living up there, and we didn’t make it out to Brooklyn this trip (sad, because I’ve really been wanting to try Liddabit Sweets) but now it was my weekend mission to try those steamed buns.

The tweet had immediately reminded me of an NPR story that necessitated a phone call to Maggie- that’s how amazing these buns sounded. I think it was this line, from chef David Chang, that really got me: “It has a burst of fat flavor from the salty pork belly, and then it’s got this cool, crunchy texture from the pickled cucumbers and the sweetness in the hoisin sauce.” Salty and sweet, yet still light and crunchy? This was something I just had to try.

I was not disappointed.

The menu states, "We do not serve vegetarian friendly items." As if the buns weren't enough of a reason to love this place!

The steamed buns listed on the menu are filled with pork belly (brined and roasted, based on recipes I’ve seen that attempt to replicate the legendary snack), scallions, cucumbers, and hoisin sauce. I’d only had pork belly once before and the experience was not a great one: the meat was kind of chewy and flavorless. I couldn’t believe that this was the same cut of meat! The meat was perfectly cooked and full of flavor, like an amazingly subtle, soft, yummy piece of bacon. As a whole, the elements balanced each other beautifully, just as Chang had promised on NPR.

As if that wasn’t enough, there was a ‘special’ bun: crispy pork belly with avocado, radish, basil and a spicy mayonnaise.

the 'special' Momofuku bun

Once again, the texture of the meat just blew me away. This time the pork belly was more reminiscent of bacon, since the ‘patty’ had a nice, crispy crust on it. That texture had a nice contrast in the creamy avocado, but this bun was a little underwhelming for me as a whole. The flavor of the supporting components didn’t have enough punch of its own to suitably complement the pork belly. (Maggie went a few days later and got beef brisket buns as the special- I would have loved to try those!)

I have to say, these steamed buns are going to be a new frequently-craved food for me. Maggie and I had recently been having a conversation about how much we wanted duck pancakes from Chinatown: these buns have pretty much all the same elements- perfectly cooked flavorful meat, crispy refreshing greens, and a sweet tangy sauce. Luckily, it seems that many other people have this obsession, so there are plenty of recipes for when I decide I need to attempt this myself.

Speaking of crave-able foods…

Having indulged my desire to try Momofuku, the rest of the weekend was about hanging out with friends (and satisfying some other NY-centric food cravings). After watching the Ravens lose, Baltimore-native Sam was especially in need of some sugary comfort. The closest available cupcakes were at Magnolia Bakery‘s Grand Central location, so we headed there for a little sweet treat.

So many choices!

I’m not a huge Magnolia fan (I think their cupcakes are just too sweet: by the time I finish one I’m sweating), so that wasn’t really the most satisfying snack for me. On the way home, though, I got what I’d been waiting for all weekend:

New York pizza!

I just can’t get enough of the salty, tangy deliciousness of a slice of New York pizza, even if it does send a trail of bright orange grease running down my arm.

And finally, on our way out in the morning, Adam and I stopped to stock up on bagels, smoked whitefish salad and olive cream cheese. Weekend accomplished!

New Year’s Day Part 2: Dinner

8 Jan Leftover shrimp bowl

My first dinner of 2011 was decidedly less fun than my first breakfast, largely due to the fact that Adam was at work: I don’t particularly enjoy eating alone. Luckily, our NYE tapas created leftovers that were enticing enough to cheer me up. I just cooked up some pasta and tossed it with spinach and some of the leftover shrimp. I microwaved the shrimp briefly on medium heat, then added the pasta to the bowl they were already in to take advantage of their spicy garlic-y juices. The fresh spinach I just threw in at the end, and stuck a lid over the bowl to capture a bit of the steam so the spinach would wilt. Since the shrimp already had plenty of flavor I just topped my pasta bowl with a few dabs of butter, a spritz of lemon juice and some parmesan. I know there are old Italian rules about seafood and cheese but I tend to ignore those. An easy and satisfying meal- just what I expect from good leftovers.

pasta with garlic/hot pepper shrimp, spinach, lemon juice and parmesan

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