Thursday, September 30, 2010

Forbidden Pleasure

Pork in Israel is considered tref or forbidden. A cookbook about it is not only forbidden more or less but also controversial. Yet one has just been published and by an Israeli who grew up eating black market sausages. It's full of delicious recipes and makes good use of every part of the pig.

I read about the author Dr Eli Landau in yesterday;s Dining section of The New York Times. The interview was conducted by Jeffrey Yoskowitz and it;s an interesting one. The cookbook is called "The White Book" a reference to pork;s code name "white steak ".The phrase is used in restaurants throughout Israel because there are laws restricting the sales of it. Pigs can be raised in non secular communities thanks to legal loopholes citing that it's done in the name of science.

The recipes are wonderful . The Times published a great spaghetti sauce that features pork loin. As anyone knows sauce made with pork is much more fragrant and tastier than beef based ones.There are also ones that feature pork and polenta stuffed cabbage along with pork meatballs with fennel seeds.It mostly a Mediterranean based book save for one good weiner schnitzel recipe.

Pork recipes are rarely controversial. yet Dr, Landau created a stir by compiling this fascinating cookbook. It's a salute to a great meat , tref or not.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is Your Kitchen Clean Enough?

Is your kitchen clean enough to cook in?Is your table sanitary enough to eat off of? Bring in a health inspector to find out.Today's New York Times' Dining section had an interesting article about bringing health inspectors in to rate your kitchen. It's a scary thought albeit a helpful idea.

The author, Henry Alford had an actual inspector come in and rate his kitchen. He received many points off , five off for having cats, then for having nicks (which cause bacteria) in his cutting board and a fridge leaking condensation. He also got points off for having a broken meat thermometer and not having a thermometer in his refrigerator. He did receive a thumbs up for having a covered garbage can.

I don;t know if I want my kitchen evaluated and rated. I know I've broken a ton of violations such as having cats or dust in my cabinets along with not having the appropriate thermometers. I do have clean dish towels which I just found out that damp dirty ones are bacterial breeding grounds. I do clean my kitchen, dust and scrub it twice a week. Personally that's enough.No one in my family has had any kind of food poisoning. I guess we're safe.

Would I want my kitchen rated and compared to restaurant kitchens? Heck no!!!! I'm happy with it the way it is even if I have cats in it. At least they keep the mice out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Snacking On The Go

It's a well known fact . Man or woman can not live by three meals alone. W e have to snack. It's just that simple. Meals just don't hold us til the next one. Our stomachs just won't stand for it. Unfortunately snacking can mean devouring anything tasty within in reach. We don't think about what's good for us. We think about what's near by.

Any one can snack healthy. It's just a matter of bringing good stuff with us. There are some schools across the US that are now installing veggie venders in their cafeterias. These are vending machines that dispense containers of baby carrots and broccoli florets. These are the perfect treats, full of good for you vitamins and low in calories. Unfortunately not every place has these. You can pack your own crudites, adding bell pepper strips along with a low cal dressing. Another idea is fresh fruit. Take advantage of this season's abundance of apples and pears. These are a great mid afternoon pick me up with a cup of coffee.

There are some of us who can't help but want junk food to keep those mid afternoon munchies at bay. If that's the case then try plain tortillas with a jar of easy to store salsa. These satisfy the crunch and desire for salt. Another healthy snack food are pretzels. Store a bag of these in the car or at your desk for some healthy eating. They're also good with peanut butter or mustard as well.

Snacking on the go can be rough. However always have healthy choices on the ready. These not only stops hunger but also those extra , empty calories. Reach for something that not only will satisfy but will help.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Comfort Food Classics

There's nothing like classic comfort food on a damp autumn day. There's something comforting about a meal from our childhoods. It brings about Proustian memories of soothing aromas and tastes. It 's like a security blanket protecting us from bad days and bad bosses. Who cares about calories and the amount of fat it has. It's comfort food, enough said!

Another good thing about comfort food is that it's relatively easy to make. I've just recently rediscovered Swanson's Chicken A la King. It's just heat up and pour over toast or rolls. It's a simple mix of white gravy , chicken chunks and red peppers. Yet it;s a complex blend of memories and comfort, recalling cozy dinners or Saturday lunches from the Madman Era.Another easy to make comfort food is grilled cheese. It's a slice of cheddar over white bread.It can call on some fancy twists, like adding a tomato slice or bacon or both. Fry it with a slice of ham and you have that French classic., the croque monsieur.

Of course you can make the more complicated classics. Everyone loves baked mac. It is somewhat labor intensive but well worth it. It does take time so it's best made on a Saturday or a Sunday. The same thing goes for roasts. Yes, it's wonderful to have a turkey or roast beef dinner with all the trimmings, yet they can't be made on a busy weekday night- unless you ave a lot of help or head over to Boston Market.

There's nothing like classic comfort food. They're the perfect way to end the day or celebrate a big weekend. Their aromas, their tastes all as soothing as a security blanket!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Food Shopping 101

We've all been doing since our earliest years. In fact some of our oldest memories may be about it - food shopping. Yet does anyone really know how to food shop? It's not just heading into our local super market or farmers'; market and picking up anything. It's a science.Not rocket yet there is a certain way to it .

Of course the biggest rule for food shopping is to go after 'you've eaten. Go hungry and you'll wind up bringing a whole slew of unnecessary stuff home.It pays to go in the morning, preferably on a Saturday or Sunday. Unfortunately this is the worst time because this is when everyone food shops. Yet it beats going after a work day when you;re liable to throw anything in your cart. Another thing is make lists. Shopping lists may seem quaint but they direct you to where you want to go. They also help you keep stock and keep aware of what you do and do not need. You can veer off them form time to time (Like I do- hey , those candy apples are tempting) . Stick to what you have to get and you won't wind up with a huge shopping bill later on.

Another good rule is shop the basics. Heaven forbid something happens or you get sick and can't go to the store. I always feel that people should have a good supply of rice pasta and canned goods to fall back on.If you have kids stock up on milk, bread and eggs At least they or the other parent can make a simple French toast if they have to fend for themselves. Another idea is always have fresh fruit and veg in the house. make sure that almost every grocery run you pick up either apples or carrots, bananas or broccoli.Frozen foods are also good to have - in case of an emergency.

Food shopping is not rocket science but it is a study of sorts. Do it right and you'll wind up with a healthier kitchen and a cheaper food bill. Easy stuff. As easy as going to the store and picking up a loaf of bread.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Getting Crabby

Even though summer is officially over there;s no reason not to go for something as summery as crab. You can still catch it in some areas and most fish stores still carry it. It's a versatile meat that can go well in salads and grilled. It;s also good with a variety of sauces but stands up by itself with just some melted butter or hot sauce.

Crabs are hard shell crustaceans belonging to the decapod or ten footed family. They have a hard exo skeleton and soft tender meat underneath that. They're very low in calories about 130 altogether for an entire crab steamed which makes them perfect for diets. Eating crabs meat has been around since ancient times. It was the early Britons that impressed the Romans with their catches. Crab was very popular during Britain's medieval period and then Renaissance where they were served boiled, cold and dipped in vinegar. The English love of them came to the New World where it's still seen today in Maryland. The state is known for its' blue crabs and of course there is the very popular Maryland crab cake.

How should you serve crab meat? I just prefer the simplest , boiled and shelled with drawn or melted butter on the side. You can also season crab with the famed Old Bay Seasoning , a fiery blend of spices. The meat is also good in a simple salad with just a vinaigrette dressing and maybe a few grape tomatoes added in. If you want something heartier then try crabcakes. This is mor e involved, kind of like making hamburgers from scratch. Still the result is a tasty treat, good on its own or served with on a soft bun.

Crab meat is a summery treat that you can enjoy all year round. You don't have to be at a resort to indulge in crab cakes or crab salad. You can make it for yourself and your family at home any time of the year.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Boozy Fruit

Yesterday's New York Times Dining section had an interesting article about macerated fruit. This is when you take your faves and preserve them longer in any kind of alcohol. It's a great way of making the summer harvest last.It's also a great way of using the new fall season's bounty. Either way you wound up with something that 's sweet, heady and fun.

The piece was written by Dining regular , Melissa Clark, goes on about this new trend. It's an easy way of canning because it's just preserving fruit but without all the canning headaches. Locavores and gardeners love it because it;s using local, straight from your yard fruit. Pickled fruit has been around for ages. The Germans make a wonderful one called rumtopf that starts off with the first strawberries of the season and rum. As the year and harvest progresses other fruits such as peaches and apples are added. It is then opened at Christmas for a wonderful holiday treat.

You can basically mix any kind of liquor with fruit. Most go for rum or vodka. You can also use brandy and gin , depending on the fruit. Brandy and plums work well together. Imagine a winter's night with a decadent treat of vanilla ice cream and well soaked slows. Or blackberries and gin for a cool holiday party dessert. You can also add the "soused" fruit into muffins, cakes and trifles. They'll add kick even if they're spooned over simple butter and vanilla pound cakes.

There's nothing like the fruit of the season. However imagine it pickled in your favorite liquor. It;s a fun , heady treat that's something to look forward to this winter. It's a good for you sweet with a fun bad for you buzz.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mmm , Crispy Critters

Bugs are always fascinating however do I want a few live ones on my plate. I don;t mind a butterfly or two if I'm eating outside or even an ant or a lady bug. There are some people who like eating them. Live. Like Uncle Fester from "The Adams. Family" Even stranger - there are restaurants who serve them up - just like fries.

Today's New York Times Dining section had a huge article devoted to those who love their food squiggly and wiggly. The piece written by Jeff Gardinier tells about various Mexican restaurants that serve up live worms and moths. It's part of the indigenous culture a sit is in China and in parts of Africa. Most diners describe the bugs as crunchy like potato chips or chewy and soft like tender bacon bits. Insects can be serve din almost any medium from appetizer to even dessert.Most insects used are grubs or silkworm larvae.

What's fascinating to me is that people actually like them. I guess, as a foodie, I have a lot of growing to do. However I just can't wrap my head around chowing down on bugs , especially works. Some people have no qualms doing so and these are getting an excellent source of protein. An interesting note - if you have shellfish allergies two to one you're also allergic to insect meat.

Would I ever eat any bugs? No,. Sorry , I'm not that adventurous. I'm sure they're delicious and fun but they just still - well - creepy crawlers.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Goodness Of A Fall Harvest

Fall is officially here and with it a dearth of good for you veggies and fruits. This is the season to take advantage of some of the vitamin rich bounties that our orchards and gardens are yielding. Start eating them now and you and your family will feel better during the months ahead.

Pumpkins and squash are a big part of the seasonal diet. Both are high in iron and beta carotene. They are also high in Vitamin A and magnesium too. Kale, another fall favorite is a good source of Vitamin A. If your kids aren't big on it consider making kale chips. Wash the leaves , then put on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and season with sea salt. Bake in a low oven for half an hour. Cabbage , which is great for dieters makes its' entrance now too. There''s nothing like stuffed cabbage filled with tofu and brown rice for an uber healthy dinner.

Of course there are apples and pears. These are rich in a number of vitamins and antioxidants. Luckily you can tum both into caramel coated treats on a stick so the kids will gobble them up. You can also think about making baked apples or poached pears in wine. You can also add the fruit , cut up in chunks to salad for crunch and taste too.

The fall brings a harvest of good fruits and vegetables. Yet they're also good for your body too. Celebrate this autumn with them!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A North Jersey Classic

New Jersey is full of iconic eating places. There's the Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, the Galloping Hill Grill in Union and of course Pizza Town USA in Elmwood Park, right on another NJ icon Rte 46. This last has been turning out crispy crust pizzas for over fifty years. The best part is they haven't changed any of their recipes. This is what has earned them the title of "New Jersey's Best Pizza" in NJ Monthly.

Pizza Town USA started out as a roadside stand right off the Parkway North Exit. Its' original structure hasn't changed It's basically an stand with a screened outer wall. The tables are basic , just a few picnic style ones set out. Pizza Town has been owned by the Tomo family since 1958. What is great is that the Tomos keep the same recipes and they have plain old pizza - nothing fancy or yuppie influenced. This is what I like about the food. It;s simple .Pizza calzones, zeppolis and heroes. Typical Friday night meal or weekend with friends fare.

The pizzas are phenomenal.Their crust is the best I've tasted. Crispy and dry with that just out of the oven taste. I love the fact that you can still get anchovies as a topping. No other pizzeria offers that choice these days. I didn't order that but got one covered in chewy mushrooms and extra sauce - which again is fantastic, It's what pizza sauce should taste like with a tang. They also serve birch beer - again perfect with pizza. My next trip back will definitely be to get that classic calzone pizza dough filled with ricotta and ham. Of course I'm also going to get the freshly fried zeppoli too.

If you're in the Elmwood Park area some night , stop off at Pizza Town USA.It's a trip back to the past but also to when fast food was genuinely good. You'll enjoy it, from a slice of fresh made pizza to a gooey calzone.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


There's nothing like jam on a warm English muffin or well buttered toast. Even bette r is when you make it. Now that the summer harvest is done with it's time to try jam making. With the right equipment, It's relatively easy and;s also a great Saturday afternoon activity the whole family can profit from.

I know everyone has qualms about jam making. After all it does come with a bad rap.preserve the wrong way and you've got problems namely a deadly botulism. However if don e the right way you have homemade jams that can be enjoyed whether in crepes or on muffins. You do need th e right equipment though such as sterilized jars, paraffin for sealing and two piece metal lids. You'll also need a kettle or large pot for cooking along with pectins for preserving Pectins are thickening agents derived from fruit. This is what holds the mixture together and give jams and jellies their texture.

What kind of jams to make? Apples are big right now along with pears. You can make either a n apple butter (sooo good on fresh made bread or some kind of apple chutney. Pears lend themselves to some wonderful jams too. You can also make a spicy butter from them too using nutmeg. The English go for blackberries this time of year and English kitchen are full of jars of the stuff freshly made into jam. There;s a wonderful site that has dozens upon dozens of ideas . Go to it if you want just simple recipes or looking for more adventurous ones.

Takes your harvests and turn them into jams. There's nothing like waking up on a cool morning to a cup of coffee and homemade jam spread on buttered toast or English muffin! better yet you have your favorite fruit flavors to choose from

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Lovely Fall Picnic

Now that the weather is changing it;s possible to go on a decent picnic without getting heat stroke. Eating outside in cooler weather means a whole list of good foods to make You can enjoy fresh picked apples or some salsa made with the summer's tomatoes and pepper crops. it also means just enjoying a lazy Saturday or Sunday with nothing to do but rest and relax.

What makes a good autumn picnic. Well you can now bring any kin d of food without having to worry about it turning recommendations would be a cold whole roast chicken or sliced roast beef. These make for excellent sandwiches tor stand up well on their own. You can add a fresh green salad or finger foods such as olives grape tomatoes, sweet gherkins and broccoli florets. You can also bring other salads .Try making coleslaw with a dash or horse radish for added zip.Another good thing. Nix the soda and bottled water . bring the season appropriate apple cider with you.

Cooler weather picnics mean you can bring creamy desserts. You don't have to worry about intense heat melting them or turning them sour. You can make apple gallettes and serve them with fresh whipped cream.Both will be easy to store in a cooler. Another idea is bringing any kind of turnover.Fresh fruit such as the apples and now pears are also a good way to end an outdoor picnic. You can also bring cake slices to end a meal too. With dropped temps you don;t have to worry about the icing getting gooey on you or melting off the cake.

A fall picnic is a great way of appreciating the changing scenery and weather. It;s also one of the best ways to enjoy a Saturday or Sunday lunch with family and friends. The weather will be perfect and so will the food!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Feast of San Gennaro

If you're lucky to be in Manhattan this week then stop in and visit the Hallmark San Gennaro Festival. This is a time when the residents of Little Italy. it;s a time when what's left of th e old neighborhood come s out and celebrates. it is full of tradition and feasting.

Yesterday's Mew York Times Dining had an interesting article that ties in the feast with Lower Manhattan;s and a kind of renegade restaurant Torisi's Italian Specialties run by Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone. They are known not just for tweaking and rethinking Italian recipes but for doing the same wit American ones too. They're best known for doing a terrine in croute in the shape if a giant pretzel and filling it with a pate spiced with what;s found in a hot dog. it;s an interesting spin on a New York street vendor classic.

They also are putting an Asian fusion spin on their food for this week. Both chefs are offering wok fried mozzarella sticks. They will fry it on a light oil as opposed to deep frying which is a standard method of cooking at any street fair. They are also creating a version of a steamed pork bun but using Italian semolina rolls and filled with glazed pork. it will have a topping of peppers and will be a take on the classic sausage and peppers sandwich San Gennaro is known for.

San Gennaro's is a fun time for all sorts of feasting from the savory to the sweet. however if you get the chance stop in for a variation of it at Torrisi's Italian Specialties. Then go back out and get yourself a bag o f fresh made zeppolis and Italian ice.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happiness Is A Food Proccessor

Food processors used to be a vital way of American culinary life. They wer e on every bride to be's must have list. People raved about them. in those ealry big kitchen gadget days. Now they've kind of lost favor . I don't know why . They're still as handy and as useful as ever.

They're also the subject of a huge article in today's Dining section of The New York Times. it was written by - of course - the brilliant Mark Bittman. He has a number of good point about why people should use their processors. The machines are excellent for chopping and grating as well as for kneading. Did you also know that you can use it to turn regular granuated sugar into super fine or to grind whole spices along with sea salt into dusts . Also a processor is good ofr turning any nut into a smooth creamy butter. You don't have to use your processort for the usual processing. Think outside the recipe box.

Bittman also has a number of good recipe ideas too. A typical food processor recipe is carrot cake because it makes it easier to grate up large quantities of carrots. However he has an excellent apple tart that is worth making. This calls for using your processor twice : first for kneading the tart's dough,the second for slicing apples. He also throws in a chicken meatball recipe that sounds yummy.I can see adding these to a side of spaghetti orr serving them at a cocktail party. there's also a recipe for stir fried sweet potatoes that involves them being processed into chunks along with scallions.

If you have a food processor, then think about suing it again. there are so many things you can make with it. it;s great for everything form chopping fruit to kneading all sorts of dough. It's not a dinosaur. Itcan still be an active part of a 21st Century kitchen.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Versatility Of Pasta

Pasta just isn't for meatballs and sauce. .It's actually a versatile base like polenta or rice. You can use it for almost anything and make some interesting and tasty dishes. What's best is unlike the other two it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The possibilities are endless for what you can do with it.

The most popular dishes are the salads. There's the ever present picnic staple macaroni salad .Of course there's the tastier tricolore made with three flavors for rotelli and some chopped salami. However you can also use spaghetti and even angel hair for Thai sesame noodle salad This takes boiled spaghetti which is then cooled, sesame peanut butter along with red bell peppers and snow peas. You could also whip up a quick orzo salad which involves boiling the miniature pasta bits in chicken broth , letting cool and adding tomatoes and chopped onion.

Hot pasta dishes are many. One of my faves is lo mein, You can create a hearty one using the thick bucatini, along with chicken or beef strips. Or you can try a seafood one, employing the very fine angel hair, with shrimp and crab meat. This is a great idea for leftover seafood. Another is using pasta in soup. You can do a variation of noodle using regular spaghetti. Buttered spaghetti makes a great side for goulash too.

Pasta isn't just for marinara or pesto sauce. It's versatile to use in a variety of ways for a variety of cuisines. Try to break away from the traditional kind and create your own unique dish!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Snacking Healthy

The beginning of the school year just doesn't symbolize another year of learning and growth. it also means bad eating. Kids with uber busy schedules would rather grab chips and a soda or some Red Bull and a doughnut to keep them sated. This is far from good. it;s up to parents to break them of unhealthy eating habits.

Kids, especially those with working moms and dads, have a tendency to raid the icebox in search of food. Instead of healthy they go for salty, sweet and fatty. Fill them with good for them(and you) snacks. Have precut apple and even pear slices that can be spread with any kind of nut butter. (peanut butter is the most accepted). Also a sliced banana is good . They could add antioxidant cinnamon to flavor it . Another fun idea is taking low cal tortilla chips and salsa (homemade would be the best because you can put all fresh ingredients into it). A snack they can make themselves is toasted pita drizzled with fresh tomatoes olive oil and mozzarella cheese. this is a quick low cal pizza that can satisfy those hunger pangs.

Kids love sweets and a sugary snack is always a fun. Instead of cookies and cakes though, think a slice of whole wheat with margarine and jam and ten heated in the toasted oven. Also home made Popsicles are fun especially for those humid Indian summer days when it;s a return to summery heat. Jello is another fun snack that's low calorie , sweet and tasty all in one shot.
yogurt is also a good after school nosh. Try the lower calorie Greek one which is made wit ewe's milk. Buy the plain and your own fresh flavorings.

It's tough to get kids to ea t healthy meals let alone healthy snacks. Yet they can . Get rid of all that represents sweet , fatty and salty. Replace it with healthy and good for healthy and good kids.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Patriotic Bake Sales and Dinners

Today is Patriot‘s Day, September 11th and it’s time to honor our troops. People always wonder how they can help? Should they send home cooked dishes or favorite snacks. Yes, there are some organizations that have that. You could also think about having bake sales and dinners. The proceeds can be donated to the local veterans or even to the troops thanks to a help of your local officials or local newspaper.
If you plan on a bake sales make sure you alert the media . The more people know the more money you’ll make. You can even have tie in goods such as yellow ribbon cupcakes or slices of red white and blue decorated sheet cake. Of course you want to sell apple pie as well (and other American classics such as chocolate chip, raisin oatmeal and snicker doodle cookies) /Remember to have a separate table set up with coffee. Tea bags instant hot cocoa and milk. You can also include juice boxes and water too,. Local stores may want to contribute some things such as the drinks or some of the ingredients.
Dinners are always fun because they don’t have to be formal. You can have all you can eat fish and chips or barbecued chicken. Also everyone can chip in for a massive pot luck buffet. Everyone can bring in their specialty form salads to dessert and have it open to the public. Remember to have in in a place with a kitchen like your local schools or Elk’s Hall. Again you could also have entertainment and door prizes to raise more money. Again try to get local merchants involved to help defray the costs.
The war in Afghanistan is not over. Our troops need all the support they can get. If they can donate their time and effort then so can we , no matter how small the contribution. The money can go for good things for them. Think about having a bake sale or a dinner . The proceed s would be really needed and appreciated.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Foods For The New Year

It's the start of Rosh hasanah, the start of the Jewish new year. Like other holidays, it has a rich culinary tradition that goes back millenniums. Most relate to the new harvest since it;s , in essence, a harvest festival. Fresh fruit is featured heavily in the various rituals.

For a sweet new year , the Jews eat something sweet. This usually means egg rich challah bread and freshly harvested apples dipped in honey. The last is a bi g favorite with children and is served quite often during these times. dates are also popular, probably due to the fact that they are grown in Israel. Another Middle Easter fruit, the pomegranate is also used. This has been cultivated in the area since the Old Testament.

Fish also plays an important part in Rosh Hashanah meals. Usually the head is only eaten to Black eyed peas, and gourds along with spinach round out the plate.. Honey cake is eaten as desseert, again to symbolize hopes for a sweet year.

Rosh Hasanah isa time for renweal and contemplations. it;s also a time to celebrate a new year.with good foods and culinary traditions.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New York Restaurants' Fall Season

Just as the fashion industry is gearing up for the Spring 2011 shows, Manhattan's restaurant industry is preparing for the fall season. Some new restaurants by well known chefs will be making their debuts. This means a wonderful autumn of trying out new places and sampling different spins of classics.

This was the lead article in yesterday's New York Times Dining section. There were several different key pieces written by different writers One was an interview with Marcus Samuelsson, the famed Ethiopian born Swedish raised chef. Samuelsson is a celebrity here. He is opening up Red Rooster named for the legendary Harlem restaurant. However his will not just be soul food There will be dishes that trace the cuisine back to its; African roots and Samuelsson's own heritage. It seems like it will be more expensive that Sylvia; the Harlem soul food staple. Another chef interviewed was the equally famous Shea Gallante known for his airy and sometimes strange creations at Cru. He now is opening up Ciani, an Italian hybrid of home style and haute cuisine Italian cooking.

New restaurants also are mentioned and the city seems teeming with them,.The former and very famous Empire Diner (it was featured in the Men In Black movies) will become The Highliner. The menu sounds more southern back county with duck bacon and homemade biscuits. There is Mary Queen of Scots a French Scottish fusion place that I'd like to try, Also is Porsena, which features a variety of pastas and Red Farm that has an American nouvelle cuisine take on Chinese food.

New York in the fall is always buzzing with excitement. there's the fall theater season opening as well as film festivals and fashion shows. it also means the city is humming with new restaurants and new dishes, They're the perfect accompaniments to this season of endless activities.,

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Milkshakes With A Kick

Today's Times Dining section has an interesting article about milkshakes . These aren't your average Dairy Queen chocs and vanillas. These are laced with all sorts of booze which makes for a fun drink at the bar or even at home.

Steven Stern wrote this piece and he must have had fun with his research. He mentions the famed Brooklyn Bowl shakes which are laced with bourbon and also the innocuous Nutella. This i give it the flavor of a kicky Southern praline.Another bar , Manhattan;s famed Momufuku uses a butterscotch schnappes to offset a pistachio milkshake;s saltiness. The bar also produces a one that requires Kahlua and milk along with vanilla soft serve. Imagine a more wholesome version of a White Russian and this is it.

You can also make boozy shakes at home. After all that's what a mudslide is Thsi si ablend of Kahlua, vodak(any kind) and Bailey's Irish cream along with chocolate syrup and vanilla or chocolate ice cram. You can get also think about adding Godiva's Chocolate liquor to any kind of basic milk shake or even malt. I can see maybe adding that and a jigger of peppermint schnappes to a chocolate shake for a fun dessert. Most restaurants serve their spiked shakes with a glorified burger and fries. i think is is abit much . I would save these concoctions for a Saturday night dessert. You can kick back with a tall glass and watch a movie.

Spiked shakes are a neat innovation. You can get them out at certain bars however you can also make your own. be creative with some flavored liquor and just simple dashes of milk ice cream and maybe chocolate sauce. Then enjoy this decadent treat!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Homemade Goodness

Now with school starting and summer hours over and done with , it's time to treat the family to a hearty dinner. The problem is you just don't have enough time. This is the busiest season and it will only get worse right up to the holidays. Yet you can still give your family that home made goodness.


Frozen foods.

Yup, there's nothing wrong with defrosting and nuking. There are many frozen food companies that provide your family with the type of meal your granny used to cook. Check out Marie Callendar's pot pies. There's this thick gravy smothering the best veggies and thick meat chunks along with a flaky crust. This is the perfect meal for those long days of endless reports , soccer try outs and endless midterms. Other companies such as Swanson's and Weavers offer up such homey main courses such as fried chicken and mashed potatoes along with beef goulash . Add on some salad and hot rolls for more sustenance.

You can still give your family home cooked goodness even if you have no time. Frozen foods make it all possible. It just takes a few minutes for a satisfying , old fashioned dinner,

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Good Labor Day

It's Labor Day here in the States, a day off to remember all our work force who keep both the national and international economies afloat.

I'd like to thanks some of the workers that I rely on. They're the cashiers and managers, along with the butchers and bakers in my local supermarkets. They're the farmers who grow my veggies and fruits as well as the pickers who pick the harvests. These people all work hard to make sure that I have good ingredients for my meals.

I also want to thank the service people, the waiters and cooks in my favorite restaurants. These people work very hard and get paid very little. They create my favorite dishes from shrimp toast to old fashioned pizza, from my fave chicken tacos to my beloved hot dogs and Hawaiian shaved ice.

Take this day and thank the people who make your eating the best. It's only fair.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Don't Put Away That Grill

Even though it's the Labor Day weekend, it's not time to put away your grill . You can still have some amazing barbecues right until the first big snow. However be prepared. Supermarkets have another view of outdoor cooking as soon as summer is officially over.

Now is the time to stock up on charcoal if you plan on any fall grilling. Some stores will have the briquettes half priced .It's also good to have some order extra propane for gas grills (just don't over order. you may have the potential for an explosion if you do). Another thing is clean your grills now that the leaves are starting to fall. You may have a few stray ones falling between the bars.

What to cook in the autumn? Try heartier meats such as pork and venison. A barbecued pork loin would go well with some fresh apple chutney. Venison is perfect too however you do need a meat thermometer. Deer meat has a tendency to become overcooked and dried out. Another fall staple , acorn squash can also be barbecued.Just cut the squash into quarters and brush both sides with melted butter before it goes over the flames.

Just because it's Labor Day doesn't mean you have to stop barbecuing. You can use your grill til December and up into the New Year. Summer may be waning but grilling sure isn't!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hurricane Essentials

Right now almost the entire East Coast is either experiencing or waiting for Hurricane Earl. Like any foodie I'm worried what's going to happen when he hits. It means stocking up(done) and cleaning out the fridge in case the electricity goes out (not done). Will you be ready for any kind of late summer weather problem.

You should always be ready for evacuation if you live in the hurricane zones,That means taking some kind of food with you. Try stocking up on crackers, peanut butter, juice boxes, water and boxed cereal. If you have babies make sure their food is also packed, preferably in a cooler. Ditto fo r the animals. Try to be prepared when you have to leave. The last thing you want to do is head into a mobbed grocery store only to find empty shelves.

If you decide to ride out the storm at home , then take into consideration your gas and electric may not be working. Have extra and dry charcoal around for grilling . Try not to have to many foodstuffs like milk,eggs and meat that will quickly spoil. If the fridge goes out eat these first. Sodas and condiments will be the last to spoil. Also have extra stuff you need like cereal and bread around in case your local market gets flooded or damaged.

Hurricane season is not pleasant. Be prepared to face the worst with a full stomach and an empty fridge.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Film Critics And Fishermen

Yesterday's New York Times Dining section was chock full of interesting articles. Regulars Kim Severson and Julia Moskin wrote interesting pieces respectively on film critic Roger Ebert and seafood chef Steve Johnson. Both were enlightening , bringing some new light into two very different lives.

Kim Severson interviewed Ebert who is the author of The Pot and How To Use It. Even though Mr Ebert doesn't eat by regular method anymore (He had his tongue and jaw removed due to cancer.He has no sense of taste or even smell) yet he loves to cook. His is about cooking with a crock pot and how he also uses fresh ingredients. Ebert may love film but I suspect his love of cooking comes a close second.

The second article, written by regular Julia Moskin is about Steve Johnson and his love of the Massachusetts coast. He was the chef of some notable Boston area restaurants, specializing in different seafood dishes, Johnson works with his loves, primarily bluefish ,clams and swordfish.he has taken advantage of the abundant New England waters and harvested them to create great dinners. I like that he uses his galley as a test kitchen for many dishes and puts spins on traditional seafood dishes like spaghetti with red clam sauce.

Two different men , two different lives yet they share a love a cooking. They're contributing to the modern landscape of 21st Century cooking.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Sweet Lure Of Rose Water

It's found in almost every garden yet ignored by most cooks and bakers. It creates a light sweet taste and it was the most popular flavor until vanilla stole its' thunder. It's rosewater, the fragrant flavoring that's been around for centuries. An article about it is featured in today's Dining section of The New York Times.If you haven't discovered it please do.

The article , written by John Willoughby (sounds like a character from Austen's Sense and Sensibility) is a loving paeon to rose water. Yes, he writes, it does smell like something our grandmothers used in their bureau but it's also a refreshing addition. It's one of the oldest flavorings made from steamed rose petals in water. The Arabs first created it form their
chemistry formulas. 18th Century bakers used it in their cakes and scones. Middle Eastern cultures still use it in their pastries and drinks.

Don't be put off by the initial aroma of rose water. Yes, it does smell like cologne but it's really a wonderful flavoring. It goes well either raw or uncooked and is best with cakes and fruits. It is best with strawberries, melons and peaches. It surprisingly goes well in salads too and grilled foods for a different taste . You can buy it at your local market or any Middle Eastern food store.

Don't be put off by the smell of rose water. It's the taste that's perfect for food. Sweet and exotic, refreshing and different, it;s the perfect foil for late summer fruit and cakes.