Wednesday, December 16, 2009

M Shanghai noodle shop

M. Shanghai opened a new little noodle shop on Metropolitan Ave. we checked it out before Priya, Katie, and Lena went to Spa Castle...

it's got an almost identical menu to the million lunch shops where I eat in Chinatown--down to the sometimes awkward wording--but has higher prices (pork chop over rice at Hua Ji on Allen St. is $4.00; at M it's $9.00). That's to be expected, and it's still inexpensive for the area, so I'm not complaining. Overall, the food is decent but not must-have. I would eat here from time to time if 1) I lived within a block, and 2) I didn't work in Chinatown.

ho fun noodle with beef and tomato

beef with chili peppers over rice

steamed pork buns. these bugged me. I kind of expected the feathery white bun you get a bag of on the corner in Chinatown for $1.25, but this bun was almost exactly like a less-crusty dinner roll.

den-den mein. extremely spicy, which is why I ordered it, but not much depth to the flavor. yeah it looks like that shitty ohio chili or whatever (spaghetti and chili), but I think those are hand-pulled Lanzhou noodles (from Flushing, not made on-site).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Beef stew

Jenna & Rob had a dinner party last week, which featured Jenna's famed beef stew. I'd heard tales of its deliciousness for the past decade and a half, but somehow I'd always been out of town when she made it. And Priya's not much of a beef eater (despite the past couple of food blog entries), so it was a perfect meal to give someone who may not be totally on board with beef--something you know is good.

dessert was blueberry pie, homemade whipped cream, and a cheese babka from Rzeszowska Bakery near my house (I had to wait in line for a half hour and fight with old Polish ladies for it).

fantastic! delicious!

Steak tips with mushroom gravy

I got a subscription to Cook's Illustrated for my birthday from Katie and this recipe was in the last issue; I've never made steak tips before (I rarely make steak) but I wanted to try this. It came out fantastic; I followed the recipe pretty much exactly and the gravy was perfect, the steak was cooked just right, etc. Here are the key things they suggested that made it good:

1) Marinate steak pieces in a mixture of sugar and soy sauce before anything else
2) Soak some dried porcinis in beef broth for soem time, then mince them and mix them into the gravy when you add the sliced white mushrooms--adds a much deeper mushroom flavor
3) Fond, fond, fond. keep building it, keep scraping it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving in Virginia, plus Indian dinner

instead of the usual visit to the folks in CT, this year I went to Virginia with Priya for Thanksgiving at her parents' home.

we had a fairly nontraditional but still delicious Thanksgiving, which I unfortunately did not photograph. On the following evening, Priya's mom made Indian dinner (and--best of all--showed us how to make it!).

we had beef seekh kebabs (which Priya's dad helped me make), sarson ki saag (spinach and mustard greens, with garlic-onion chaunk), aloo pyaaz (ptoatoes and onions), and makki ki roti (which we made ourselves, from corn flour).

on the side was also a bowl of big chunks of gur (jaggery), which we ate with buttered roti. I also had a glass of buttermilk with cumin and mint and salt, which I did not especially take to.

Priya's mom walked me through the roti-making steps, so we should be able to have rotis of our own soon!

I wish I had taken more photos...for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, we had halwa (kind of like a porridge with raisins, pistachios, etc.) and aloo tikkia (spicy pan-fried potato cakes). for the next morning's breakfast, we had poha (which Priya has made for me before, but her mom's was even spicier, which of course I liked). Thanksgiving itself was American-style ham chicken rolls, baked stuffing and mashed potatoes, toasted-almond green beans, and Brussels sprouts browned in guanciale fat (which Priya and I kind of pushed on everyone else, and I think they all liked it--Priya's dad even asked for more).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Butternut squash soup

butternut squash soup with a side salad of Bibb lettuce, pea shoots, toasted walnuts, and maple viniagrette.

really easy to make--I just used chicken stock I made earlier in the week, roasted butternut squash, sauteed some onions, and pureed it all together. no dairy.

then a couple of days ago, we made a second version, with a vegetable stock we made, and some coconut milk instead of some of the broth. plus some curry powder. still good, but not as good as the chicken broth one.

Monday, November 16, 2009


for her birthday (in January, I know, but things came up...!), I got Priya a cooking class at ICE. we chose pizza-making! from 6-10 on a Friday night, we assembled in an ICE kitchen and made pizzas.

it was like a grown-up play-date thing. we'd spill and assistants would clean it. we'd screw up and they'd step in and fix it. many of our classmates were high-heeled Manhattanites who didn't seem especially interested in knowing how to make dough from scratch, and they took off at 8:30 and seemed shocked that we stayed. we were the last two there--for the last hour, just us and the cooks! took home a ton of stuff (11 pizzas, 13 balls of dough, huge containers of sauce, ricotta, gorgonzola, prosciutto, pancetta, and more...)

anyway, we don't have pictures of all 11 of our pizzas, but here are three:

focaccia with potatoes, bacon, rosemary...

goat cheese with caramelized onions, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms...

pepperoni, asparagus, fresh mozzerella...

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Orleans

went to NOLA for a conference. learned about teaching graphic novels, walked around Frenchmen & (ugh) the Quarter, but mostly ate.

debris and egg biscuit at Mother's:
American-cheese grits on the side, but nothing special.

for dinner on Friday, we went to Emeril's.

Octopus bruschetta:

Spicy Cajun/Portagee calamari:

Fried baby artichokes:

Double-cut pork chop with tamarind glaze and green chile mole sauce:

Clam and shrimp carbonara bucatini with pancetta and tobiko:

Cornmeal-crusted scallops and oysters:

Sticky toffee bread pudding:

amazing banana cream pie:

Beignets and frozen coffee slush at Cafe du Monde:

Muffuletta from Central Market (even splitting one, Sowiski and I couldn't finish it):

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Garlic fried chicken at Congee Village

PD day for Election Day today, and Tiffany suggested we try Congee Village's special fried chicken, which was recently written up in the Times.

I'll reproduce their description here:

At Congee Village, Mr. Yee and the chef Yong Quan Yang have spent years developing their recipe, which now involves rubbing a whole chicken with white vinegar and malt syrup; seasoning the inside of the bird -- this, Mr. Yee says, is essential -- with five-spice powder, poultry seasoning, ginger and garlic; then hanging it in front of a fan to dry the skin (as is done for Peking duck), for about five hours. Then it's deep-fried whole, while a glaze of sugar, Thai fish sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and soy sauce is combined with slices of deep-fried garlic. The whole bird is hacked into pieces and the garlic glaze poured on top, where it slides off the crisp skin and saturates the meat.

After frightening Lauren & co. with it for awhile, Stan ate the head.

delicious, delicious salty garlicky chicken. we had some vegetables and noodles on the side, but it all kind of faded into the dimness next to the chicken. we ordered 1.5 chickens for 5 people and, with the veg & noodle dishes, paid about $10-$11 each. not bad!

Monday, October 12, 2009

lobster mushrooms et al

saw some lobster mushrooms at the co-op and, having never made them before, bought a couple to give 'em a go. I sliced them into slabs, browned them in butter with shallots and salt/pepper, then added chicken broth and braised them until done.

we also roasted some Brussels sprouts (olive oil, salt, pepper; when done, tossed with balsamic vinegar) and dragged some frozen garlic-scapes pesto I made months ago out of the back of the freezer and put it on some tortellini.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


made some salsa with fire-roasted tomatoes, dried red chilis, garlic, etc. sauteed together & then pureed. then we ate it for dinner (baked a casserole, of sorts, with layered corn tortillas, cheese, salsa, and shredded chicken leftover from chicken-soup-making):

then we ate it for breakfast, with eggs:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

$3.50 Chinese buffet

50 feet from my school, a new "4 items for $3.50" buffet opened up. They have a lot of weird, creepy-looking seafood I can't wait to try. I took it easy my first trip and got eggplant (good, except for one not-quite-cooked piece), long beans in black bean sauce, fried tofu triangles, and slabs of pork fat.

brunch at Egg

seared duck breast on a baguette with mustard, onion jam, and greens. was supposed to have duck liver pate, but I couldn't discern it, so I asked--sure enough, they were out. kind of annoying they didn't tell me that beforehand and/or charge me less.

Priya got a fried chicken breast sandwich that also seemed to be missing something--the spicy cucumber relish. when she asked for it, they brought it out. again, kind of sloppy!

the duck sandwich was absolutely delicious, though.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

birthday dinner #3: sailing & Roberta's

on Sunday, Priya & I went sailing on the boat owned by Katie & Chris. It was a wonderful day (maybe the last good day of the season) and very exhausting, and when we were done we went to Chris' restaurant Roberta's for dinner. As usual, the meal was outstanding. Roberta's has really moved past just having great fancy pizza, and there were half a dozen menu items I was itching to try. I settled on the orechiette with duck ragu, while Priya had Carolyn Bane's fried chicken (reportedly, with Pies 'n' Thighs opening soon on S.4th & Driggs, her chicken will soon vanish from Roberta's). We split a Good Girl for the table (pizza with taleggio, sausage, and crispy kale), and I had a nibble of Matt's lamb and Dave's skate wing (both superb).

A+ duck ragu! I detected a bit of citrus--lemon zest, possibly?--that gave it a delicate flavor, balanced with the dark fatty meatiness of the duck. And I was glad to get one last bite of the fried chicken before it went away for a while.

birthday dinner #2: Delhi Palace

we headed out to Jackson Heights on Saturday night for some Indian food. I had never been to Delhi Palace but had read some positive things about it, and I didn't want to hit the usual Jackson Diner.

it wound up being a great choice! the food was delicious and plentiful (they hooked us up with some extra appetizers and such, and the seekh kababs came with a surprise order of dal makhani), the lamb vindaloo was good and hot and not rubbery and cheap (like some of the 6th street Indian places...)...overall I was very happy with it and have an eye toward returning for a buffet.

I had one thing I'd never had before--paneer-stuffed chili peppers deep-fried in chickpea batter, almost like chile rellenos samosas. Jason ordered them and let me try one...delicious!

one downside to the restaurant...the lightning was SUPER weird. our order of mango chutney came and Priya was like, "Why is it GREEN?" Then I realized that our skin was greenish, too. Just very strange lighting that gave all the (delicious) food an unappetizing color...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

birthday brunch: PRUNE

Prune in the East Village. hourlong wait. not inexpensive, but quite good.

huevos rancheros:

croque monsieur, custard-style, with red current jelly:

potato rosti:

the waitress didn't bring my "prune juice" (meyer lemon juice, orange juice, lime juice, etc. all mixed together) for like a half hour, and never brought Priya's. oh well.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

birthday dinner #1: Ichi Umi sushi buffet

all you can eat sushi on 32nd street...$31.95 for an adult on a weekend. I definitely ate my fill. the buffet was like 150 feet long and included every kind of sushi imaginable + lots of delicious hot items, a gyoza cabinet, a crepe station...

I fulfilled my desire to eat something absolutely horrible by eating a sea squirt. It tasted like the bottom of an aquarium, complete with chemicals.

P.S. one of these pictures was stolen from someone who is actually good at composing pictures. guess which one.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

poached salmon with dill

getting used to the new kitchen, so sorry for the lack of recent updates.

really simple dinner: poached salmon with dill, red potatoes with butter and dill, peas with Golden Mountain sauce. Pillsbury croissants :P.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


my family rented an amazing house in Maine (this year, Fortune's Rocks) and, of course, we ate a lot of delicious food. To celebrate my uncle John's 50th birthday, we had a mussels-and-lobsters fest that was amazing.

Thai mussels (made by my mom):

me eating lobster:

We all know what cooked lobster looks like, so I didn't really photograph it. Also, I was kind of predatory the moment it came out and didn't really have the wits about me to snap a picture. In Maine, we get the lobsters right from a lobsterman for $7.50 each ($5 per lb, 1.5 lbers). Even better, out of the 22 lobsters we bought, I got to eat at least eight bodies, because most of my family doesn't go for the delicious body meat. My sister does, though, and we had to fight over carcasses).