I haven’t blogged in a while because of an incident. I lost my pink digital camera in May! After a great dinner with my boss and co-worker, I hopped into a cab and apparently the camera fell out of my bag. Nobody has turned it in and I’ve been in a funk since then. I had loads of food photos and memories with my friends and family on it. I know I should have uploaded them onto my computer immediately after taking them but I didn’t. I still have some photos from my old digital camera and will try to blog more and go out to eat more. I am hoping to get a new digital camera before my California/Vegas vacation in July.
My sister told me about Firmoo, a website that gives bloggers free glasses/sunglasses if you blog about the glasses they send you. I absolutely loved the Tortoise Full Frame Wrap Around Sunglasses. I fell in love with the print and the white butterfly knot on each arm. I always wear my aviators and this was a pretty different look for me. I absolutely love the wild yet feminine touch of the glasses. If you are a blogger and are interested in a free pair of glasses or sunglasses, check out firmoo.
On top of everything, the glasses came with a glasses case, glasses pouch, AND glasses screw driver. I was able to tighten the loose screws on the glasses. You can’t beat that!
Danny and I went to Ippudo for the first time a little while ago. We had to wait at least an hour to be seated but it was well worth it! For our appetizers, we ordered the pork Hirata Buns and Kurobuta Pork Tatsuta Age. The Hirata buns were delicious! The bun was nice and warm and the pork was cooked so delicately and just fell apart with every bite. There were eringi mushrooms but I didn’t really taste them. I definitely tasted Ippudo’s original spicy bun sauce. It was tangy and spicy. I don’t really like spicy food but this was a good spicy!
The Kurobuta Pork Tatsuta Age was delicious as well! The Kurobuta Pork Tatsuta Age is marinated Berkshire pork, thinly coated with rice powder, that is delicately fried. The pork was nicely fried and crunchy. There was a nice mayo sauce on top and when everything mixed together with the rice, it was such a nice combination. Not too overpowering.
For my entree, I ordered the Shiromaru Hakata Classic. It came with the original silky “Tonkotsu” (pork) soup noodles topped with pork loin chashu, sesame kikurage mushrooms, memma, red pickled ginger, & scallions. I’m not a huge fan of ramen but this was something. There was so much flavor in the broth and the pork loin just added more flavor to the broth. The mushrooms, memma, and scallions were delicious. I don’t like ginger, so I just picked them out.
For Danny’s entree, he ordered the Tori Ramen. This came with Ippudo’s “Chintan” clear chicken, fish and pork noodle soup topped with pork loin chashu, menma, kaiware radish, shiso leaf & daikon radish. This was just as great as my ramen! There was more of a seafood flavor to it but just delicious. The pork was great, along with the vegetables. Danny loves ramen and this won him over! We had a regular ramen shop we went to in Chinatown but unfortunately, they closed. Ippudo may have become Danny’s new favorite ramen shop.
For dessert, we ordered 1 scoop of pear sorbet and 1 scoop of blood orange sorbet. I absolutely love citrus and was stuffed and couldn’t eat anymore. The sorbet was a perfect end to a meal and super refreshing after dinner. The pear sorbet was a little grainy (just like a regular pear) and the blood orange sorbet was super citrusy and tangy. The subtle pear and acidic blood orange sorbet balanced each other.
65 4th Ave
New York, NY 10003
For Valentine’s Day, Danny and I had dinner at New Malaysian Restaurant. It’s located in an alley on Elizabeth Street. We’ve been here many times in the past and just missed this tiny little restaurant. We ordered the roti canal for an appetizer. The roti canal is a little appetizer that gets you in the mood for Malaysian food. The roti curry was mildly spicy and coconuty. There was also bits of chicken in the roti. You just dip the bread in the roti and it’s like heaven. I’m not a fan of spicy food but the roti had a good kick to it.
For our entrees, we ordered the honey glazed steak. In the past, we’ve always ordered the honey glazed steak and it was pretty good. This time, the steak was slightly overcooked and had a beautiful honey flavor with a hint of black pepper. I love just about any kind of steak and this was pretty good (despite the fact that it was a little tough). There were also sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. They didn’t make too much sense with the steak but I love me some cukes and tomatoes. We also ordered a side of rice to soak up the sauce. What I thought was funny was that they gave us a butter knife to cut the steak. Maybe they’re afraid of people stabbing each other?
We also ordered the pan fried seafood noodles. On top, the noodles were super crunchy and the bottom of the noodles were moist. There was a variety of seafood (scallops, shrimp, calamari, fish ball, artificial crab meat), mushroom, and veggies (snow peas, carrots, and chinese broccoli). This was a great dish. Though the noodles were moist on the bottom, the top remained crunchy. The seafood was plentiful, piping hot, and cooked perfectly. The mushrooms were squishy as normal and the veggies added a nice healthy crunch.
New Malaysian Restaurant
Between Bayard St & Canal St
New York, NY 10013
On a random night out with friends, Danny and I grabbed dinner at Bareburger. Bareburger is a grassfed natural/organic burger joint. Danny ordered the organic beef Roadhouse. The Roadhouse included pepperjack, hass avocado, blackened maple bacon, roasted red peppers, apple smoked onions, tomatillo sauce, and a side of fries. This was actually pretty good and a little different for Danny. The burger had a little kick from the pepperjack and red peppers but was slight sweet from the bacon and onions. The avocado and tomatillo sauce added a little latin kick to it.
I ordered the original burger with bison and a side of cranberry blue salad. The burger was cooked to medium rare and was just perfectly juicy. I’ve never had bison before but it tasted like a gamey beef. I love a good juicy burger with the classic works (lettuce, tomatoes, colby jack, raw red onion and bareburger special sauce). I don’t remember too much about the special sauce but the burger itself was just yummy. The cranberry blue salad had baby spinach, cranberries, danish blue, almonds and apple cider vinaigrette. I love spinach and loved everything in the salad. The cranberries and almonds added a nice crunch and the apple cider vinaigrette was light and sweet.
85 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10002
Danny and I went to La Parma out on Long Island. He’s been there many times with his family and took me there for date night. La Parma is an Italian restaurant that serves everything family style. We ordered fried zucchini stick as an appetizer. They were super crunchy on the outside and moist inside. I love zucchini and this just hit my zucchini spot. The marinara was a little spicy but still rich and yummy! Surprisingly, I thought there could have been more zucchini sticks, since it was family style but the zucchini sticks were good nonetheless.
We also ordered penna a la vodka (my favorite sauce!). Now this was seriously served family style. We had more than enough for leftovers (probably enough to feed a small family). The penne was cooked al dente and the vodka sauce was just delicious! The vodka sauce had pancetta in it, so it gave the sauce a nice meaty taste. The sauce was light, cheesy, and had a faint bacony taste. If I could, I would have penne a la vodka for every meal!
For our main entree, we ordered veal Parmesan family style. Our server cut and served the veal Parmesan before I could take a whole picture of the plate lol The veal Parmesan was good but I’ve had better. The veal was slightly overcooked and tough but it was ok. If the veal was moist, then that would’ve made the entire meal perfect. The marinara and parmesan tasted better than the veal itself. However, the veal parm tasted good with the pasta a la vodka. Next time, we definitely won’t order the veal parm.
452 Jericho Tpke
Huntington, NY 11743
Mickey Mantle’s is an all american sports bar that also has a sit down section. We go here for the holidays every year. It’s one of my favorite traditions. As tradition, I always order the chicken fried steak. The chicken fried steak comes with a side of mashed potatoes, cream gravy, and mixed vegetables. The chicken fried steak was as crunchy and yummy as usual. My only complaint is that I think the steak has gotten smaller over the years. The chicken fried steak dipped in the gravy was so southern and homey. The mashed potatoes were moist and buttery. Also had the potato skins in there too (I like the skins because I usually have just smooth mashed potatoes, so this was a nice change). I loved the veggies! The beans and carrots were just crunchy and slightly salted. Overall, another great dinner. I’m looking forward to going back for the holidays this year.
Mickey Mantle’s Retaurant
42 Central Park S
New York, NY 10019
A few weeks ago, I was very fortunate to be chosen to participate in Foodbuzz’s 24X24 project. Basically, they showcase 24 featured publishers from all over the world to host and post up a meal, all within 24 hours. My theme was Red February. February is American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day is also in the month of love. Each dish would either be red or have some red to it. Foodbuzz pays for the meal, so all I had to do was come up with a menu. For our appetizers, I made a lovely radicchio salad and homemade garlic bread with paprika. Our entree was fettuccine with shrimp and lobster Fra Diablo sauce.
My boyfriend helped make the garlic bread. The red part of the bread was the paprika. I bought a loaf of Italian bread and garlic spread. Danny sliced the loaf of bread in half and spread a few tablespoons of garlic spread and a dash of paprika. Then we baked the bread in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until it got crispy. The bread came out delicious! It was garlicky and had a nice little kick to it. The bread dipped in the marinara sauce was super delicious and added a little more heat.
I also made a radicchio salad, a great nutritious salad that’s great for the winter. This salad was vibrant and colorful. It was a big hit during dinner! I couldn’t find any pomegranate, so we didn’t have it with the salad. I love nuts in my salad, so the walnuts added a great crunch. The arugula added a slight bitterness and the apple added a nice fresh sweetness to it. The radicchio and romaine lettuce added the crunch and freshness. We also added gorgonzola cheese so good! I also made the dressing and it was actually really good! I’m not a big fan of mustard but the honey balanced out the mustard. I found the recipe recipe.
Radicchio Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranates
Prep: 25 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 head radicchio, cored and finely chopped
2 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup chopped arugula leaves
1 Fuji apple, diced
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup crumbled reduced-fat Blue cheese (goat cheese may be substituted)
1. Whisk together vinegar and next 4 ingredients; set aside.
2. Combine radicchio, romaine, arugula, apples, walnuts, cranberries and pomegranate seeds in a large salad bowl. Top Blue cheese and toss with dressing.
The main dish was fettuccine with shrimp and lobster Fra Diablo sauce. This came out amazing! I bought fresh fettuccine, so that didn’t take long to cook. The sauce was made from scratch. I’ve made this sauce in the past and it’s always been a hit. There’s a little kick to it but so fresh and rich. The shrimp and lobster was cooked perfectly and went great with the pasta. Here is the original recipe.
2 packages fresh fettuccine
extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 dried red chiles (or equivalent in crushed red chile flakes)
1 can (28 oz) san marzano tomatoes
1/2 cup torn fresh basil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup assorted pitted olives
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salst and freshly ground black pepper
salata ricotta for garnish
1. Begin with the sauce. Take a large skillet and add a 2-count of olive oil over medium heat. Once you get a shimmer, add the minced garlic and dried red chiles and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add the chopped onion, pitted olives, torn basil leaves, thyme and bay leaf then cook until translucent — about 2-3 minutes. Strain the san marzano tomatoes and hand crush into a separate bowl, than add to skillet. Bring to boil, turn heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to cook the pasta. The salted water should taste like the sea. Cook the fettuccini al dente then drain and dump directly into the diablo sauce. a ladle and add some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce if necessary. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with basil leaves and some shaved salata ricotta.
3. For the seafood, I boiled 2 pounds large shrimp and sauteed 3 lobster tails in butter. When the seafood is almost cooked all the way, throw the seafood in the sauce and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
For dessert, I made strawberry italian ice. It was a great coolant after the spicy pasta. I love fruit and frozen treats, so this was definitely in my alley. I loved how the italian ice had so many different fruit flavors (strawberry, orange, lemon, and lime). The ice was so fresh and not that sweet. My only complaint was the strawberry seeds got stuck in my teeth but I wouldn’t let that stop me from having some of it. Here is the original recipe.
Strawberry Italian Ice
Makes: 8 servings
Prep: 25 mins Freeze: 6 hours overnight Stand: 20 mins
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons finely shredded lime peel
1/3 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, water, and peels. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Strain and discard peels. Stir in orange, lemon, and lime juices.
2. In a blender container or food processor bowl combine half of the juice mixture and half of the strawberries. Cover and blend or process with several on/off turns or until nearly smooth (leave some small chunks of strawberries). Transfer to a 2-quart freezer container. Repeat with remaining juice mixture and strawberries. Cover and freeze 6 hours or overnight, stirring once after freezing for 3 hours.
3. To serve, scrape across frozen mixture with a large spoon and place into individual serving dishes (if mixture is too firm, let stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes). Makes 8 servings.
Our last dessert was Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cakes. This was such a cute little dessert, more like cupcakes. I just don’t know how they decorated the cupcakes so nicely. The chocolate on my cupcakes were so messy. The cupcake itself was rich and chocolately but not very sweet. The strawberry jam added a nice fruity sweetness. The ganache was overly sweet and it was fun dipping the strawberry in leftover ganache! Here is the original recipe.
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cakes
Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes
Prep: 50 mins
Bake: 15 mins
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup strawberry jam
1 recipe Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
12 medium strawberries
3 ounces bittersweet and/or milk chocolate curls
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour or line with paper bake cups twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups; set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and cocoa powder until combined. Add egg and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, beat lightly just until combined.
3. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to chocolate mixture, beating by hand after each addition. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full.
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the edges; carefully remove cupcakes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
5. If cupcakes don’t have paper liners, trim a thin slice from top of each cupcake so they will sit flat. Turn bottom side up. Place cupcakes 2 inches apart on wire rack set over waxed paper. (For cupcakes in liners, peel liners down but do not remove.) Spread 1 teaspoon of the strawberry jam over each cupcake.
6. Prepare Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache. (below) Spoon ganache over cupcakes, making sure to coat all sides. Place a strawberry on top of each cake. Drizzle each strawberry lightly with ganache, letting the strawberry show through. Top cupcakes with chocolate curls. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Make Ahead Tip To Bake Ahead:Prepare as directed through step 4. Place cooled cupcakes in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw cupcakes, if frozen. Continue as directed in step 5.
Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
1 cup whipping cream
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add the bittersweet chocolate, chopped (do not stir). Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until ganache is smooth.
On a chilly day, I decided to make winter squash soup. We still had some chinese winter squash from the summer (even though we harvested them from our garden in August, the squash surprisingly stay firm until the winter or even longer). I used a medium sized squash and adapted this recipe to whatever ingredients I had on hand.
Roasted Winter Squash Soup
2 tablespoon butter
2 cups raw winter squash
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (32 ounce) carton chicken broth
- To make roasted winter squash: Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat butter over medium-high heat in an ovenproof saute pan; add diced squash, salt and pepper. When squash begins to brown, place pan in oven. Roast for 15 minutes or until medium-brown on all sides. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Puree in food processor, or mash with potato masher or ricer. Measure 1 1/2 cups squash; reserve.
- To make soup: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, carrot and bell pepper; saute until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for several minutes. Stir in reserved squash until smooth; simmer gently to let the flavors meld, about 10 minutes.
- Puree the soup using an immersion blender or in a blender until smooth. (The soup can be made ahead to this point, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for several days or frozen for about 1 month. It will thicken as it cools and may need thinning with broth or water when reheating.)
- Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
*Optional: you can add shredded cheese for a nice mild cheesy taste (Danny and I did and it was yummy!)
As part of the Campbell’s Eat Drink & Be Merry Community, I was able to participate in their V8 project. They sent a few of us V8 V-Fusion Sparkling juice. New V8 V-Fusion Sparkling is a new kind of carbonated drink that is refreshing, delicious AND nutritious. V8 V-Fusion Sparkling has 60 calories and no added sugar. And since it’s from V8, each bubbly serving of V8 V-Fusion Sparkling has one combined serving of vegetables and fruit. V8 V-Fusion Sparkling is available in unique flavors such as Tangerine Raspberry, Black Cherry Pomegranate and Strawberry Lemonade.
I received the Tangerine Raspberry one. It was so refreshing and yummy! It tasted like juice that was carbonated. It didn’t taste like those generic carbonated drinks. The fruit juice was tangy and full of flavor. I wish they sent more!