April 28, 2010

Oven-baked Panko and Coconut Shrimp

Baked Coconut and Panko Shrimp
Crispy, crunchy, with a touch of the tropics, we just love coconut shrimp. But unlike the deep-fried shrimp we've had at restaurants, we wanted to enjoy a fairly guiltless version.  Made with Panko and baked in the oven, this version of Coconut Shrimp uses almost no oil but maintains its addictive quality.

April 27, 2010

Dirt Candy - Creative Vegetarian in the East Village

red pepper cake square
Having friends in town (one of whom is vegetarian) gave us an easy excuse to make reservations at Dirt Candy.  Owner and executive chef Amanda Cohen opened this tiny, narrow spot (seats no more than 30) highlighting various seasonal vegetables.  In her words, "Made of little more than water and sunlight, vegetables are candy from the dirt".  And though the prices are a little steep for meatless dishes (the bill quickly adds up!), most of the plates left us happy and satisfied.

April 25, 2010

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Hester Street Fair - 1895 and Now

Hester Street Fair title
"B&W Hester Street photo from National Archives" By an unknown photographer, ca. 1903 on left; our photo on right, ca. 2010.
This past Saturday marked the return of the Hester Street Fair.  Located at the corner of Hester and Essex Street, the fair celebrates the culture and rich history of the Lower East Side neighborhood.  At the turn of the century, Hester Street was the site of the busiest outdoor market in New York City.  As noted by the NY Times (07/27/1895), "There is hardly a square foot of ground in Hester Street that is not covered with people during the day. The whole place seems to be in a state of perpetual motion, and the occasional visitor is apt to have a feeling of giddiness."

So we were excited to visit, along with a couple of friends from Canada, the re-launch of the Hester Street Fair.  We enjoyed eating our way through the Hester Street Fair and seeing how different this modern-day market compares to that of original.

April 22, 2010

Earth Day Kitchen Gadget: Sodastream

club soda with grapefruit slices
According to Morton Williams Supermarket (NY Post, 06/27/08), the most purchased grocery item in NYC is a 1-liter bottle of seltzer.  With all the people in NYC, you can imagine how many plastic bottles are tossed out every day.  In honor of Earth Day, we wanted to share a better alternative.  How can we get our fizzy water without plastic bottles?

April 20, 2010

Red Russian Kale

Red Russian Kale
After having fun with our last farmers' market find, we were eager to try something else that was new to us.  The purplish-red coloring amongst these green leaves caught our eye.  This bunch of greens turned out to be Red Russian Kale.

April 19, 2010

Brooklyn Brewery: Black Chocolate Stout and Dark Matter

My hubby, HLFD's beer and wine connoisseur, returns with this review of Brooklyn Brewery's recent winter ales.  Both of these beers are still available (but won't be for long) so give them a try if you get a chance before the summer stock comes in. 

Who doesn't love chocolate?  It's great in desserts and pairs well with ports and even beer.  One of the best chocolate pairings is with Brooklyn Brewery's Black Chocolate Stout (10% ABV).  This Imperial stout is brewed with chocolate malts (not actual chocolate) to give it it's rich, roasted notes.   It's a great sipping or dessert beer on it's own, or paired with a decadent rich chocolate torte.

April 18, 2010

Pancakes and Bacon Custard from Shake Shack

Pancake and Bacon Custard
Danny Meyer's burger mecca has brought a sweet addition to weekend brunch fare.  Saturdays in April are Pancakes and Bacon custard days at Shake Shack. So of course, when we passed by the UWS location, we by-passed the long line of strollers, families, and tourists and headed straight to the empty C-line (the express line where you can order anything but hot foods).

April 16, 2010

Celebrating Cambodian New Year at Taste of Southeast Asia

Cambodian New Year event
Last night, I was invited to celebrate the Cambodian New Year with a Taste of Southeast Asia.  The event was in support of Khmer Legacies and was held at the Bennett Media Studio (a beautiful space that's also been used to film television shows like Law & Order and White Collar)

It was a nice event, with a handful of tables serving food and drink.  But my favorite part of the night was going up to Ed Bennett's beautiful kitchen (as large as my apartment - sigh!) for an intimate cooking demonstration led by Chef Jay Weinstein.

April 15, 2010

Homemade Lemon, Strawberry, and Mint Popsicles

Strawberry and mint popsicles
With strawberry prices dropping , we have been enjoying plenty of the red berries in our salads and desserts.  In anticipation of warmer weather (and eager to test out these popsicle molds I bought at Zabar's), I decided to use these berries (and other fresh ingredients) to make homemade popsicles.

April 14, 2010

Free stuff from Jamba Juice and Starbucks!

flatiron starbucks
While walking through the Flatiron area last month, I passed by this site.  Starbucks was setting up tons of paper cups for a commercial.  Ironically, the commercial was encouraging people to save trees by not using a paper cup.

April 13, 2010

Insalata Primavera at 'Inoteca

insalata primavera
My husband often chides me when I order salads at restaurants, simply stating that we can make them at home.  He's right - we do often make salads.  But what I love about ordering unusual salads is that they provide me with new inspirations for meals at home.

April 12, 2010

Maitake Mushrooms

maitake mushroom
Like birds to shiny objects, we're drawn to foods with unusual appearances. That's one reason why we bought this Maitake mushroom (aka Hen of the Woods mushroom) at a local farmers' market.

Maitake mushrooms (meaning "Dancing mushroom" in Japanese) are grown at the base of trees.  In Eastern medicine, it is thought to boost the immune system.  According to the American Cancer Society, there are ongoing studies to see if maitake mushrooms can help fight against or slow down cancer.  Health benefits would be a bonus as these mushrooms are meaty, earthy, and easily adaptable to many dishes. 

April 9, 2010

Mystery Meat from Dickson's Farmstand Meats - Answer Revealed!

Happy Friday everyone!  We thought we play a quick game of "What the heck did they eat?"  Take a look at this photo, read the clues below, then add a comment with your guess.

April 8, 2010

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

cherry heirloom tomatoes
Aren't these cute?  We bought these heirloom cherry tomatoes at a local grocery store simply because we've never had them before.  Growing up, red tomatoes were the norm, so getting to enjoy these flavorful yellow, green, orange, and purple tomatoes was a nice treat.

April 7, 2010

Delicioso Coco Helado carts: Beat the Heat on the UWS for only $1

coconut ice
It felt like summer here in NYC as temperatures reached record highs today (Central Park got as hot as 92F/33C).  While on the Upper West Side, we spotted street carts with green and white umbrellas selling helado (Spanish for ice cream).  At $1, this ice cold treat has to be one of the better deals in the neighborhood (especially to beat this heat!)

April 6, 2010

Land Thai Kitchen: Our Go-To Cheap Lunch Place

Land Thai UWS
What's your go-to restaurant?  You know, the one you call whenever you crave take-out or want to enjoy a nice, inexpensive meal for two.  For us, we head to (or call up) Land Thai Kitchen.  Like its sister restaurant Recipe, Land Thai Kitchen features affordable food in an elegant (albeit tight and narrow) space.  So when I had a friend in town from Montreal and mentioned the "$8, 2-course Thai lunch", she immediately perked up and asked, "Where is it?" and "Can we go there now?"

April 5, 2010

Cherry Blossom Season at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Cherry blossom
Pretty in pink!  This past weekend marked the start of Hanami at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  Hanami is the Japanese tradition of enjoying the beauty of cherry blossoms.

Last year, we took these photos - but wanted to share them with you as a reminder to take advantage of the warm weather and check out these beautiful blooms.  The gardens are a wonderful place to enjoy a leisurely walk and afternoon picnic.  

April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

cracked egg
We have been lucky to have sunshine and warm weather here in NYC and hope to send a bit of it your way. Have a wonderful holiday weekend with family and friends! We will be cracking open our naturally dyed Easter Eggs (and figuring out what to do with a bunch of hard boiled eggs). 

Happy Easter!

April 2, 2010

First Look: Canteen 82 (in the old Water Moon spot) NOW OPEN!

Pan fried dumplings - Canteen 82Within minutes of the American Museum of Natural History, restaurants like high-end Eighty-One, Baoguette's upscale cousin Bar Bao, and affordable Asian restaurant Water Moon have all shut down.

Given empty store fronts and delayed restaurant openings in NYC, we were really surprise to not only find a new restaurant had taken over the Water Moon spot, but that it has already opened for business last night.   

(update:  We learned that new restaurant Canteen 82 is owned by the same owners as Water Moon.) 

Canteen 82 currently offers dumplings at $1 or less a piece, bringing Chinatown prices in a clean, UWS environment.

April 1, 2010

Using All-Natural Foods to Dye Easter Eggs

easter eggs
Spinach, beets, and green tea...sounds like ingredients for a very healthy meal, right?  Well, they were...but they were also the ingredients used to naturally dye these beautiful Easter eggs.  They are very easy to make - it just took some time and patience.