Tuesday, December 23, 2014
One constant during my Food Studies experience was the amount of simple comfort food us students would look for during the stress times. For me, it was often grilled cheese and, when I was really lucky and smart enough to make a big pot ahead of time, I’d pair it with soup. But we’re not talking about your regular old orange cheese and butter on toast (though that is delicious). I got fancy and started brushing the bread with olive oil.
Sidenote: did you know that there are DOP-certified olive oils?! I didn’t. For work, I tasted too many olive oils to count and came away learning that I enjoy oils with a bright, grassy start and a slight spicy finish—a good happy medium that is surprisingly hard to find. In the past few weeks, I was introduced to Chianti Classico DOP Olive Oil and it fits the bill perfectly! Yes, Chianti is more known for its wine, but it is part of Tuscany, the picturesque land of olive groves. In fact, the olive oil consortium began as an offshoot of the wine consortium. Since certified oils can be found from almost every region of Italy, I highly suggest looking for this oil to begin experimenting with. And remember to look for the logos above!
Ina Garten’s Winter Minestrone Soup. It has squash in it! It’s fancy Italian tomato soup with vegetables! And top it off with an older Pecorino Toscano, the cousin to Pecorino Romano, and another DOP product. For those that don’t know, Pecorino Toscano & Romano are sheep’s milk cheese and the aging process concentrates the nutty and sharpness, but it’s still creamy and melts wonderfully on hot soup. Feel free to drizzle some of the olive oil on that too. jump
Monday, December 22, 2014
But where to pick up some of these and know that it’s DOP-certified? I stop by the heavy-hitters: Eataly, DiPalo’s and Murray’s! There you can talk to knowledgeable cheesemongers and butchers, they can show you the label on the package or the information will be a part of the products description. jump
Friday, December 19, 2014
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
If it’s summertime, then you can bet I’m down with drinking cold brew iced coffee. Ok, most anytime of the year I’m down with drinking cold brew. That being the case, I know firsthand that it can be a pricey habit to indulge in if you let others brew for you. At your local coffee shop a cold brew might run you $3 to $5. A bottle of Grady’s Cold Brew aka my special treat and obsession last summer will run you $14 or $1.75 per serving. But what about homemade cold brew? Could I make it at home for cheaper? I had to give it a try . .
I first tried making my own cold brew at home last year to rather pathetic results. I tried making it in my French press overnight and failed. That’s a lot of coffee to waste for meh results. So I hit the internets looking for a cold brewing “system” as they’re called to eliminate the user error part of the equation. I looked at the Toddy and I looked at the Filtron, two of the most popular systems on the market. They each have their own loyal followings, but all of my intel from friends was pointing towards getting a Filtron. But, to be honest, the big turn off for me was that the Filtron does its long brews in plastic containers. Yuck. I try not to store any foods in plastic if I can help it. I thought about getting the Filtron then spending extra to get a glass carafe, but then Facebook’s habit of creeping on my internet searches came through in a surprising way by flashing an ad for Uncommon Goods’ “Coffee Cold Brew Gift Set.” Say what?! I love Uncommon Goods! Siobhan first turned me onto their website years back and now it’s my go-to spot for gift ideas for Lawman. Remember that time I got him the good & evil sponge holder for Christmas? Uncommon Goods!
Over the years I’ve bought a number of things, gifts mainly, from Uncommon Goods and here’s why. They work with artists and artisans to sell really cool, unique gifts that are perfect for hard to shop for people, like Lawman or my dad and my brother (they actually even have a curated gifts “for him that’s further divided into the type of “him” your him might be…new dad, geek, beer lover etc). They are an equal opportunity gift giving spot so there's also a gifts for her section as well. Their stuff is fun and funky. Quirky and clever. They have a great selection of personalized gifts that are awesome for weddings and showers when you want to get something a little more fun and meaningful than a couple of place settings. And really nice, thoughtful anniversary gifts, too, They’re based in Brooklyn, so I’m supporting a local business and with each purchase they donate $1 to a non-profit of your choice. There are a number of great causes that you can choose from but City Harvest gets my $1 every time. So many wins.
I reached out to Uncommon Goods and they sent me cold brew set as part of their blogger review program. Before we get on to the review, I only ever mention products or services that 1) I would buy myself and 2) I think that readers would be interested in.* Now that I’ve had the chance to test drive it for just about 2 months of regular use I’m ready to give my full review.
First of all, it’s pretty much everything I wanted in a cold brewer. I like that the jar is glass. I like that it fits a lot of coffee. I like that it comes with a pour spout for easy filling and refilling your glass. I like that the filtering part is a “coffee sock” made of organic cotton. It’s easy to clean and use again and again. No need to buy paper filters.
The instructions are simple. You put medium/coarse coffee in the “coffee sock,” add some water to “bloom” the coffee, tie the sock off and fill the jar with water then let it steep overnight. As simple as the instructions were, it took us awhile to get our cold brew groove. I wish the instructions had been more clear as to how much coffee you should use. After revisiting the site it appears that they recommend 6 ounces of ground coffee per 6 cups of water. I also found that I preferred the taste a 18 hours (or more) to the taste at 12 hours. The process says 12-16 hours, but the first few batches I was so eager for my coffee, I only waited the 12 hours and if you love strong coffee like I do that’s a mistake, go for the longer brew for flavor. While the label on the jar has suggestions like "add chicory," "grate a little nutmeg," I wish that it came with more specific recipe ideas and suggestions for which type of coffees to try.
The cold brew system from Uncommon Goods definitely gets style points in terms of the total package: looks good, functions well, makes people happy. Pricewise, the Filtron goes for about $43 and the Toddy goes for anywhere from $34 to $39 but neither of them come with a first batch of coffee. The Filtron filters last 3-4 months, while the Toddy filters last about 3 months. The coffee sock however should last up to 9 months before needing to be changed out. The glass brewing/storing set up gets a big thumbs up from me and I would definitely consider giving it as a gift to coffee loving friends. It’s simple to use, not too bulky and makes a good cup of coffee. Apparently you can also use it to make horchata and almond milk, so that’s pretty cool, too. In terms of its gift-ability, the way it comes packed with everything stuffed in the jar is pretty cute. There’s a very good chance my brother will get one from me for Christmas. Shhhhhhh…
Do you brew your own cold brew? What do you use?
*I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” jump
Thursday, July 17, 2014
My good pal, Erin, works at Good Eggs NYC so I’ve been following the farm-to-doorway grocery service since it launched. I like a lot of the food producers they feature—Anarchy in a Jar, Brooklyn Slate, Flying Pigs Farm, Red Jacket Orchard, and Katchkie Farm among others. Well, on Monday afternoon someone rang my bell. It was a Good Eggs deliveryman. Erin surprised me with two bags of tasty treats and included in amongst the goodies was a flyer for their Berry Bonanza this week.
Here’s the drill according to their site:
"It's Berry Bonanza Week at Good Eggs! That means you can add FREE BLUEBERRIES to your order this week! Head to our marketplace, spot the free organic berries, and add them to your order before July 20. Spread the berry love with your friends and fam! Fine print: You'll receive a basket of organic blueberries from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Supplies are limited, so don't wait to order! Please limit 1 basket of berries per order—that way everyone can enjoy some! Offer only applies to orders of $30 or more placed between July 14 - July 20, 2014, while supplies last. Please note you must add these free berries to your order and check out to receive them."
As a disclaimer, Erin did send me the initial package of fruits and veggies as a gift so it was free to me. However, I was under no obligation to blog about it and I only ever mention products or services that 1) I would buy myself and 2) I think that readers would be interested in.* With that in mind, once I tasted the delicious blueberries, I knew I had to place my own first Good Eggs order, so I ordered up a TON of tart cherries which I’m looking forward to picking up on Friday. Easy, peasy, mac & cheesy. Since supplies of the free berries are limited, if you’re interested, I’d urge you to get on this.
*I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” jump
Friday, May 2, 2014
STREET FOOD ALERT! The Chipper Truck, New York's only Irish food truck is coming to Manhattan for a very special event TODAY!...
Run by Alice O'Brien Bermejo and her husband Valentino, the Chipper Truck is patterned after the chip vans, Alice grew up with in County Leitrim. Typically a late night truck, The Chipper is the spot to go in Woodlawn for some tasty grub to help sober you up after a night out at the pub.
We were so honored to tell Alice and Val's story in our book, New York á La Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. They are a wonderful and hard working couple. Our book features the recipe for their famous fish & chips and boxtys (pictured above). Made from Alice's mother's recipe, boxtys are a staple comfort food in the Northwest of Ireland and are especially popular in County Leitrim where Alice is from. Cooked slow and low these are an Irish version of a potato pancake and couldn't be better for soaking up a night's drinking.
Alas, if you don't find yourself in Woodlawn in the wee hours of the morning, you probably haven't had a chance to taste the delicious wares of this 2013 Vendy Cup Finalist. Fortunately it's your lucky day!
The Chipper has been invited by Glucksman Ireland House NYU to partcipate in the PEN World Voices 2014 at NYU Street Fair on Washington Mews today, Friday, May 2nd from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Washington Mews between 5th Avenue and University Place. This event hosted in cooperation with PEN and the International Houses of the Washington Mews is an "open air indie book fair with special literary and musical guests. Nestled among the cobblestone street of NYU’s storied Washington Mews, the Literary Mews Festival will feature writers’ workshops in the morning and readings in the afternoon. Browse the tables where literary magazines and independent presses proffer the work of up-and-coming writers, wander the streets and explore NYU’s International Houses, or stop to take in busking musicians or a puppet show."
Sounds awesome, right? And The Chipper Truck will be there along with the Old Traditional Polish Cuisine food truck. It's a gorgeous day. Get our there and get some food and some culture while you're at it.
For the Chipper Truck's whereabouts today (and always), check their Facebook page.
Friday, April 25, 2014
Our pals at the Cinnamon Snail are having some truck troubles. Their old truck has permitting issues (if there's one thing we learned about NYC street food from writing our book it's how much insane red tape there is for vendors) and is prone to breaking down. They just renovated a new kitchen in Brooklyn and need help getting a second truck so they can get back on the road...
Chef Adam Sobel, founder of the Cinnamon Snail, is one of the kindest (and zaniest) guys you'll ever meet. Their doughnuts are among the BEST you'll ever taste. Their food will make even avowed carnivores stop and think, huh, maybe I could be vegan.
Here's the thing about the food business. The margins are low. Especially when you use top of the line and organic ingredients (did you know they event fry their doughnuts in organic oil?!) If you don't know the Snail, make a point to get to know their awesome food. Check out their Kickstarter for the full details and if you're able, consider making a pledge. They have just THREE days left for their project to be funded and about 20k left to go. There are some pretty sweet rewards--doughnuts, cooking classes and more. I'm pledging. How about you? jump
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
About a year ago, I was introduced to Banoffee pie and it immediately claimed a spot on my favorites list. But I didn't realize how unbelievable easy it is to make until this past weekend when I experimented with First Prize Pies' recipe! Allison Kave's book just came out and it's filled with seasonal pie recipes, Banoffee being one to whip up in the summer, and you should check it out if you're a big pie fan, but totally don't want to just make plain fruit pies. But back to my pie which was described as "a cloud of orgasm"....
Banoffee Pie with Chocolate Wafers
Makes one 9-inch pie
Time: ~30 minutes active unless you have to make the dulce de leche
14 oz. dulce de leche
1 1/2 c. Loacker Chocolate Quadratini, crumbled
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 graham cracker crust
To make dulce de leche, submerge an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk--label off!--in a deep pot of water, making sure that the water fully covers the can. Cover the pot, and bring to a boil. Once there, turn down heat to medium or enough to allow for a rolling boil, and boil for about 3 1/2 - 4 hours. When done, turn off heat and let the water and can fully cool. (I did all of this the night before, leaving the water and can to cool overnight.)
Preheat an oven to 350ºF. Make your favorite graham cracker crust and place in oven for 15 minutes to set. Allow to cool. While doing this, I hand crumbled the Quadratini in a plastic bag, breaking them into small chunks.
Once everything's cool and ready, make the whipped cream. Place the heavy cream in a middle mixing bowl and whip using a hand mixer or whisk until stiff peaks form, about a few minutes of whipping. Now, spread the dulce de leche into the crust. Slice the bananas on top of the dulce de leche. Place the layer of wafer crumbles, and then dollop all the whipped cream on top. Decorate with more crumbles, chocolate shavings or a dusting of cocoa powder. Serve immediately.
About this contest. It's all happening over on Pinterest where I've finally created an account. The recipes that are pinned the most make it into the final round. Judges then determine a winner--who will win a $1000 Amex Gift Card! That's a lot of pie crusts! So, please go repin me with the #PureIngredients! Also, you can head over to their Facebook and get a $1 off coupon for your own wafers (and seriously, this is one of those cookies where you eat the whole bag in one sitting.)
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Last time I visited Seattle was in the fall of 2008. I hit Pike Place Market, Cupcake Royale, and Trophy Cupcakes. This trip I'll be visiting for a few days but will be working for a good chunk of that time, so I want to make those meals, snacks, treats, and COFFEEEEEEEEE count. If you're a reader, you know I love doughnuts, pie, hot and cold caffeinated beverages, and basically anything that's delicious. Tell me where to go and perhaps most importantly, tell me what to sock away in my suitcase for the trip home. jump
Monday, April 7, 2014
Tours at the Waterbury factory are totally free and open to the public, so this is part of my trip that you can do yourself. The place is all about ice cream, right down to a collection of antique scoops. When your tour is finished, you allowed to try a few scoops of the day's experimental flavor (that's the ice cream up at the top,) ours was "At the ChocoBanana" banana-cinnamon ice cream with brown sugar caramel swirls and milk chocolate chunks. If anyone wants to recreate this in my life, I will gladly help with taste testing.
If you are looking to taking this trip or simply visiting the Burlington area, I highly recommend staying at Hotel Vermont (the communal tea & coffee areas were so great *and* fancy bathrooms!) and eating at The Kitchen Table, Hen of the Wood, Penny Cluse, and The Farmhouse Tap & Grill. All are serving some great food and drinks, but are not pretentious about it.
Lastly, a big THANK YOU to the entire Ben & Jerry's team for everything. They do this trip for a select few food bloggers and writers and they really know how to host a big group. They are awesome! Now, go get your free cone tomorrow!! jump
Friday, April 4, 2014
And holy baloney, this post is getting long and I'm still on day one, so day two is coming on Monday (I super extra bonus promise and yes, it involves the new Cores flavors) but what you want to know is WHEN IS CONE DAY?!?! It's TUESDAY!! Yes, this Tuesday, April 8th, almost every Ben & Jerry's will be giving out free ice cream and this year the goal is 1 MILLION cones in the US alone. People, I know we can fall on this sword to make Ben & Jerry--my best friends in my mind--happy. We can do this! jump
Monday, March 17, 2014
Well, I should be celebrating it plenty today, but it probably won't involve green frosted doughnuts. A friend & I stopped by Peter Pan late Saturday afternoon and I just couldn't not get one, even though I had had more than my fill of ice cream and knew that beignets were in my future. It's just SO PRETTY! Knowing Peter Pan, these beauties will be around all day, so go celebrate!
Peter Pan Bakery
727 Manhattan Avenue
Friday, March 14, 2014
Pie for breakfast?! Yes, pie for breakfast. And where better to get pie for breakfast than Four & Twenty Blackbirds at either their 3rd avenue shop or their BRAND new cafe inside the Brooklyn Public Library main branch. Pie and books, what a delicious combo.
Another great spot to hit for pie for breakfast? Robicelli's where from 8am 'til 7pm (or until they sell out), they'll be celebrating Pi Day by selling slices of pie for only $3.14! They will have apple crumb, chocolate cream, sweet potato with honey whiskey butterscotch, Creamsicle, blueberry panna cotta, and chocolate crunchie. Check out their tumblr for more info and to stay up to date on their offerings. Go forth and eat pie! jump
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Crispy with just the right amount of salt. These are fries that you won't get bored of eating. I'm not going to lie. I wasn't one of those people that would turn up my nose at the crinkle cut fries, but these are much better. More potato-ey, if that's a thing. I'm convinced that they had to adjust the cheese fries sauce slightly to thin it out so it would adhere to the skinnier fries better without significant fry foldage from the weight of the sauce. On first glance it looked like they skimped on the cheese. But NO! The cheese was all there, it has just pooled in the bottom beneath the fry stack cracks.
Here are the locations where you can get "Shack Fresh Fries" as they are called. Naturally they have their own hashtag (#ShackFreshFries):
- Upper East Side, NYC
- Upper West Side, NYC
- Grand Central Terminal, NYC
- University City, PA
- King of Prussia, PA
- Paramus, NJ
- Harvard Square, MA
- Battery Park City, NYC
Also, a friendly heads up to the Shake Shack custard gurus...I saw that "Big Easy Banana Chip" is the featured Tuesday flavor for the month of February. Alas, Mardi Gras is super late this year. It's not until Tuesday, March 4th. Hopefully Bananas Foster is in the rotation next month! jump