Monday, January 30, 2012

Market Mondays: Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes


Sweet potatoes are one of the more nutritious foods I crave (I'm a notorious snacker, always ready to skip the dr. recommended three square meals a day in favor of sugar laden treats). A picture of health with incredible versatility, the tubers are sweet and earthy at the same time- in a completely different league than a standard potato. And so- sweet potatoes take center stage for this week's edition of Market Mondays. I roasted them with maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper. Once fork tender, I added chiffonaded sage to the mix and topped it with pomegranate seeds. My simple recipe for maple roasted sweet potatoes is below.

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled, medium dice
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 sage leave, chiffonaded
Pomegranate seeds, to finish
Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Coat sweet potatoes with maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. Roast until tender, approx. 25 minutes.
3. Remove sweet potatoes, including drippings, from oven and toss with sage. Top with pomegranate seeds and serve warm.

A basket of tubers on an uncharacteristically balmy Monday in January
Maple syrup from Vermont, sold at the Union Square Greenmarket
I scooped up a bunch of organic sage for this week's dish
Maple roasted sweet potatoes with sage and pomegranate seeds

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fat Fridays: ABC Kitchen


Although it was shared between four friends, I easily could have devoured ABC Kitchen's famed sundae on my own. Hands down the best $12 sundae I've ever eaten, the dessert consists of three scoops of salted caramel ice cream (stop right there and it would be enough- there is something so phenomenal about salted caramel), a handful of candied peanuts and popcorn, and a dollop of whipped cream, all swimming in a healthy dose of chocolate sauce. The ultimate Fat Fridays treat (and a much better pick than the restaurant's disappointing seasonal donuts).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

An Engagement At Abe & Arthur's

How could you possibly say "no" when your boyfriend uses a tower of injectable donuts as his proposal prop? Congrats Tom and Jennie- and thanks for sharing (the engagement and the donuts)!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Market Mondays: Roasted Beet And Yogurt Salad


This week's edition of Market Mondays focuses on beets- one of my favorite, go-to winter veggies. A roasted beet is incredibly delicious standing on its own, but I decided to pair one with a creamy, tangy yogurt for one of the simplest salads I've ever made. Fresh microgreens, crunchy caramelized walnuts, and bright Meyer lemon olive oil round out the dish. My recipe for roasted beet and yogurt salad is below.

Roasted Beet And Yogurt Salad
Ingredients:
1/4 cup plain yogurt (preferably Greek)
2 tablespoons microgreens, washed and dried
1 large beet, roasted, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon caramelized walnuts, coarse chop
salt and pepper, to taste
Meyer lemon olive oil, to finish
Preparation:
1. Spread yogurt on plate, top with greens and beet chunks, and sprinkle walnuts over top.
2. Add a dash of salt and pepper and finish with a drizzle of Meyer lemon olive oil.

Plain yogurt works well, but the tanginess of Greek is preferred in this dish
A basket of microgreens- a rarity in winter
Red beets- in all sizes
The finished salad- perfect to brighten up a winter day

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fat Fridays: New York Natural Pudding Co.


New York Natural Pudding Co.'s rice puddings are made in small batches in Westbury, New York and recently became available in my local gourmet food store, Garden Of Eden. Flavors include Broadway Belgian Chocolate, Verazzano Vanilla Bean, Coney Island Coconut, Cobble Hill Coffee, Soho Orange Zest, and this week's Fat Fridays indulgence- Canal Street Cookies'n Cream. Packaged in a 12 oz. container (it supposedly serves 3- I ate the entire thing solo), the Cookies'n Cream pudding is undeniably creamy, loaded with soft rice and flecked with chocolate cookie pieces. It is an instant winner.

A spoonful of New York Natural Pudding Co.'s Cookies'n Cream rice pudding

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Flu Remedy: The Juice Press


I was completely out of commission the past several days (hence no Market Mondays this week). Like a silent assassin, flu symptoms took over my body in the middle of the night and wreaked havoc for days. I honestly can't remember being so violently sick, and so weak, and so sad that I couldn't get near my baby (not surprisingly, my husband proved he could easily manage as a single dad- although somehow the ability to do laundry escapes him, so our son would likely be sporting a new outfit every day of the week). Once the illness worked itself through my system, I focused on recovering with rest and plenty of fluids. My drink of choice for a surefire flu remedy- The Juice Press' pineapple tropi-zyme.

Combining pineapple juice, ginger, and wheatgrass, pineapple tropi-zyme is touted as a great recovery drink for workouts, hangovers, flu symptoms, and burning man events (it also apparently stops hallucinations in case you're in the market for a hallucination stopper). Not the most appetizing of beverages (I'm a fan of ginger, but this drink is incredibly ginger heavy- so much so that it burns your nose), the 8-ounce bottle worked its magic quickly...I was back in business later that day, a little worse for the wear.

A small bottle of the green concoction will set you back $7
Fast acting, allowing me to get back to more important things...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fat Fridays: Argo Tea


It's no secret that a hot cup of tea is my all-time favorite drink; a tall glass of smooth chocolate milk is a not so distant second. Argo Tea's White FrosTea Chocolate perfectly combines the best of both drinks in one froth-topped treat. Made with white tea, white chocolate, steamed milk (as always- nonfat, 2%, soy, or almond milk are available), and a hint of mint, the seasonal specialty has become a favorite Fat Friday's indulgence this winter.

The seasonal White FrosTea Chocolate
Topped with frothy goodness

Monday, January 9, 2012

Market Mondays: Baked Eggs In Jersey Tomato Sauce


I love eggs- breakfast, lunch, dinner- I can eat eggs all day long. That's why this week's edition of Market Mondays brings eggs center stage- for a quick, wholesome, protein-packed dinner. I picked up a vegetarian sauce from the Union Square Greenmarket; made with Jersey plum tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, salt, pepper, white wine and extra virgin olive oil, mixed in torn spinach, and poured it into a small casserole dish. I cracked two eggs over top, gave it a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and let it bake in a 350 degree oven until the eggs whites were set and the yolks were still runny, about 15 minutes. When the dish was ready to come out of the oven, I topped it with fresh thyme leaves and scooped it up, piping hot, with a crusty sourdough baguette.

Tomatoes were scarce at Monday's Greenmarket, but jars of canned tomato soup and sauce were in abundance
Fresh spinach leaves
I picked up a dozen free range eggs after passing on Raghoo's elk meat
A reasonable price for a bunch of fresh thyme sprigs
Bagged sourdough baguettes
Before the parmesan is added
The finished dish, with two slices of sourdough bread

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Steel-Cut Oats In Almond Milk


Chewy steel-cut oats, nutty almond milk, sweet currants, crunchy caramelized pecans, and smooth maple syrup combine for an energy boosting breakfast, so good it could easily double as a dessert. As a time-saver, the base of this simple two-step recipe can be prepped in advance, stored in the fridge, and re-heated in the microwave.

Steel-Cut Oats In Almond Milk
(serves 2)
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons dried currants
2 tablespoons caramelized pecan pieces
Maple syrup, to finish
Preparation:
1. Bring almond milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add oats and currants and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer uncovered until liquid is absored and oats are tender, about 25-30 minutes.
2. Divide oat mixture among two bowls and top with caramelized pecan pieces and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

In Search Of Maialino's Olive Oil Muffins


Nearly everything can be found online. When a simple 5 word Google search- "Maialino olive oil muffin recipe"- brought me to pastry chef Jennifer Shelbo's instructions for Olive Oil Cake with Blackberries, I thought I had found what I was looking for; the coveted recipe for one of my favorite desserts. Golden, dense, flecked with orange zest and soaked with olive oil, Maialino's olive oil muffins make the perfect just-sweet-enough treat.

Saying I ate a muffin somehow feels better to me than saying I ate a piece of cake, so I opted to pour the batter for chef Shelbo's cake into a muffin tin as opposed to a cake mold. The only step that needed tweaking- reducing the baking time from 1 hour to approximately 38 minutes. So why aren't these home-baked muffins nearly as good as Maialino's olive oil cake or its olive oil muffins (side note: my husband assures me they are)? They are absolutely delicious, but are petite, light, and airy as opposed to the dense monsters I've come to know and love. For round two, I'm taking my chances and upping the quantity of olive oil and maybe whisking in an extra egg.

Jennifer Shelbo's original recipe for Olive Oil Cake with Blackberries (minus the blackberry topping) is reprinted below.

Jennifer Shelbo's Olive Oil Cake
Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Spray a 10-inch cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest and Grand Marnier. Add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Eve: The Newborn Version


New Year's Eve has never been a favorite of mine. Plans tend to get overhyped for a night that usually ends up playing out just like any other. After weeks of ordering in and sleepless nights with a 3-week old at home, this New Year's Eve was the most exciting I've had in a long time. Like a card-carrying member of a senior citizens brigade, I headed out with my husband, sister and friends of ours to a 5:30 seating at Blue Hill. We finished a 4-course tasting menu (including dishes like chestnut soup, a slow poached egg with veggies, roasted duck, and peanut butter mousse with chocolate sponge cake and hazelnut praline) in time to make it home to feed and spend the rest of the night, and the beginning of 2012, with this little guy-