Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kimchi Taco Truck

At $7 for 3 tacos, Kimchi Taco truck's tofu edamame falafel tacos are a lunchtime bargain. The tacos are heaping with unconventional logs (yes, each of my three tacos came with logs and not balls) of falafel, made from ground tofu, edamame and chickpeas, and are topped with a healthy scattering of veggies and homemade kimchi. One of the more colorful lunches I've eaten in quite some time, each bite is packed with zesty, spicy tang. For an extra punch I chose the spicy sauce to dip the tacos in- it is a dark sauce with sweet and smoky chipotle flavors that, in my opinion, is unnecessary given everything else the tacos have going on.

While the tacos are undeniably delicious- close talkers should eat with caution. I found that long after the last bite is gone, the strong flavors keep on giving. Unfortunately, not even a few turns at the sink armed with mouthwash, a toothbrush and toothpaste provided relief.

Kimchi Taco's menu- it's tofu edamame falafel tacos are 3 for $7 or 4 for $9
Three colorful tacos
A close-up of the veggie and kimchi topped falafel

Monday, November 28, 2011

Market Mondays: Maple Roasted Sunchokes With Caramelized Pecans

With the consistency reminiscent of a potato and a nuttier, sweeter flavor, Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes) are my tuber of choice. As luck would have it, I've seen them on almost every menu in every restaurant I've been to recently ('tis the season). For this week's edition of Market Mondays, I decided to make a simple side dish showcasing the veggie's delicious, often overlooked qualities.

I roasted Jerusalem artichokes with maple syrup from Vermont's Deep Mountain Maple, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Fork tender with a crispy exterior, I tossed the finished chunks with chopped caramelized pecans and served them hot.

Jerusalem artichokes for $3/lb at the Union Square Greenmarket
Deep Mountain Maple's 2011 Sugarmaker's Select
With Dec knocking on the door, I also picked up a seasonal poinsettia
The finished side- maple roasted sunchokes with caramelized pecans and red pepper flakes

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fat Fridays: Chozen

I spent my last Fat Fridays in November attempting to beat unseasonably warm (60+ degrees) temps with Chozen's Matzoh Crunch. Created by Ronnie Fisher and her two daughters, Chozen is a line of all natural ice creams inspired by Jewish holidays, traditional desserts and family recipes. The Matzoh Crunch flavor combines vanilla ice cream with caramel and chocolate coated matzoh (I posted a recipe for outstanding Matzoh Toffee-Chocolate Crackers here).

While I think it is a wonderful idea to add a rich holiday treat to smooth ice cream, the clusters of matzoh don't retain their crunchy texture (at least they didn't in the batch I bought), and the mushy consistency wasn't something I anticipated or enjoyed. Unfortunately, this week was a Fat Fridays bust- one I won't be repeating anytime soon.

Chozen's all natural ice cream is sold at Garden Of Eden
A spoonful of the Matzoh Crunch

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011: Giving Thanks To Hill Country

Unforeseen and uncharacteristic laziness put a wrench in what is typically a very traditional holiday. Instead of spending the day at my friend's apartment, contributing a few dishes but mainly enjoying her family's delicious home-cooked fare, this year's Thanksgiving was drastically simplified. My husband and I opted to play host/hostess while we, along with friends, enjoyed a fully catered meal from Hill Country Barbecue Market.

Our first time taking the easy route definitely won't be our last. A large pit-smoked turkey, along with all the trimmings, came packaged and ready for easy reheating, making for one of the fastest, no-fuss preps and clean-ups in Thanksgiving history.

A fully cooked bird was accompanied by pan gravy, skillet cornbread with ancho honey butter, sweet potato bourbon mash, green bean casserole with Durkee onions, white shoepeg corn pudding, Texas toast stuffing, Longhorn cheddar mac & cheese, and cranberry sauce. For dessert, gingersnap pumpkin and Texas pecan pies. Scenes from Thanksgiving 2011 are below.

A note of gratitude from Hill Country
We munched on snacks while the food was quickly reheated
Hill Country's pit-smoked turkey, ready for carving
Expert slicing courtesy of my friend Garth's steady hands
My starch-heavy first plate of sides
Traditional cranberry sauce
Pumpkin pie topped with gingersnap crumble
Texas pecan pie
My only worthwhile contribution- an early morning stop at La Maison du Macaron for an assortment of its seasonal macarons
My husband and I each attempted to win the coveted Thanksgiving wish by tugging on the turkey's wishbone- I think we were being punished for ordering in- we both came up short

Monday, November 21, 2011

Market Mondays: Radicchio And Winesap Salad

A trip to the Union Square Greenmarket for this week's edition of Market Mondays led to a bag brimming with radicchio, parsley, winesap apples, and aged farmstead cheese. Back at home, the purchases were washed, cut, and quickly tossed with caramelized pecans, extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate balsamic vinegar (courtesy of the Filling Station), and a dash of salt and pepper. Bitter, tart, and sweet- all in one crunchy salad. Perfect for the uncharacteristically sunny, 60+ degree November day.

The misspelling did nothing to deter me from grabbing a head of radicchio
A generous bunch of parsley is reasonably priced at $1
Typically used for juicing, the winesap apple made a great addition to the salad
Tonjes Farm Dairy's cheeses are made from the milk of grass-fed cows
A close-up of the finished salad

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Whirlwind Weekend Eat-A-Thon

While my husband was otherwise engaged this past weekend, my cousin Kathy flew in from Buffalo to keep me company. Since my activities are somewhat limited these days (I get pretty winded trying to accomplish what used to be the easiest of tasks), her short visit consisted of food, food and more food. Some highlights from our multi-day eat-a-thon (we hit ABC Kitchen, Union Square Cafe, Ciano, Max Brenner, L.A. Burdick Chocolate, Beecher's Cheese, and Colicchio & Sons) are below.

Surprisingly, the most disappointing food of the weekend came from ABC Kitchen. The seasonal donuts left a lot to be desired. From left to right- concord grape glaze (no grape taste whatsoever), raspberry jelly with lemon sugar (the best of the bunch- but I don't know how it's seasonal), and chocolate glaze with cocoa nibs (I thought the donut itself was too airy for the heavy glaze, and again- what's seasonal about chocolate and cocoa nibs?)
Kathy, hair blowing in her face, enjoying a thick hot chocolate from Max Brenner while I sampled the O.M.G. Chocolate Chunk Cookie- delicious
Our favorite meal of the trip was had at Union Square Cafe- below is Kathy's lamb special. My ricotta gnocchi isn't shown- but was a picture of pillowy perfection
Dessert at Union Square Cafe- pear and oatmeal cookie crumble with ginger ice cream
The server at Collichio & Sons gave me a bit of 'tude when I asked for maple syrup with these outstanding pumpkin pancakes- but it didn't stop me from soaking up every last drop, in addition to the accompanying honey butter, ginger whipped cream, and pomegranate seeds
The juices wouldn't stop flowing from the TC burger, topped with drunk onions and pecorino

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fat Fridays: Roni-Sue's Chocolates

Clusters of buttery, salty-sweetness, Roni-Sue's Beer & Pretzel Caramel Nuggets have become one of my favorite indulgences. Made with Martin's Pretzels, various natural sweeteners, beer from Brooklyn Brewery, and a few other ingredients, the nuggets' flavor profile is reminiscent of Liddabit Sweets' Beer Pretzel Caramels (maybe that's why I fell in love at first bite). But at $5 a box (possibly big enough for two snackers- but I have no problem, or remorse, devouring every last crumb solo in a single sitting) versus $6.75 for 6 individually wrapped caramels, I'd choose the bite sized crunch of Roni-Sue's nuggets over Liddabit Sweets' chewy confections every time. Somehow, they magically get better and better with each successive handful.

$5 boxes are sold by Martin's Pretzels at the Union Square Greenmarket
Martin's Pretzels, cultured butter, cane sugar, agave, beer syrup, malt syrup, candied mustard seeds and sea salt are what make these nuggets so tasty

Monday, November 14, 2011

Market Mondays: Concord Grape Pizza

I've been on a major juice kick during the latter half of my pregnancy. My drink of choice, Welch's 100% Grape Juice. Under normal (nonpregnant) circumstances, I find it overly cloying, but now I can't get enough of the sweet grape flavor. So when I passed by baskets overflowing with concord grapes at the Union Square Greenmarket, I instantly thought about incorporating them into this week's Market Mondays dish- and a star was born. Using pre-made dough from Eataly, I put together a concord grape pizza with ricotta, rosemary, and honey. Not the most conventional combo, but a nice after-dinner treat.

I braved a swarm of bees to grab a box of concord grapes
I was lucky to find freshly made ricotta
I chose rosemary from a basket of herbs- a late bloomer this season
Berkshire Berries' rooftop honey
A close-up of the dessert pie

Lord & Taylor Partners With Sweetery NYC

In anticipation of tonight's unveiling of its 2011 Holiday Windows, Lord & Taylor has partnered up with Sweetery NYC and is handing out sweets from a special truck currently parked on 5th Ave. and 23rd Street (the location will move to 5th Ave. and 39th Street at 5:15 p.m. and stay put until the treats run out). Anyone willing to wait in line can choose between one free cupcake (in vanilla, red velvet and chocolate), whoopie pie (in red velvet and chocolate) or s'mores; each adorned with a chocolate tablet emboldened with Lord & Taylor's decal. Sarabeth's hot chocolate will be served after tonight's event.

A red velvet cupcake with vanilla frosting
A chocolate whoopie pie with vanilla cream
A s'mores

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fat Fridays: Poseidon Bakery

This week's edition of Fat Fridays brought me to family-run Poseidon Bakery in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen. The shop has been turning out authentic Greek pastries since 1923, in a neighborhood that is much different than today's gentrified area. Its baklava is legendary- as thick as a triple decker sandwich, layered with homemade phyllo dough, chopped almonds and walnuts, and drowned in sweet honey. At $3 a square it is messy, gooey, and undeniably delicious- a Fat Fridays treat I would happily repeat week after week.

Three pieces of uncut flaky, sweet baklava
Thick baklava overrun with chopped nuts and sticky honey