Thursday, April 24, 2014

Everything I Ate For My 30th Birthday

On Wednesday I turned 30.  I'm really not too torn up about it though because 30 is going to be a pretty incredible year for me, buying a home and getting married!

I celebrated my birthday the only way I know how....lots of FOOD!

To begin with I had an apple fritter at Dean and Deluca that basically blew my mind.  I could have had nothing else the whole day and still been in a happy place from this fritter.  It's totally packed with nutrients because it has apples in it and they cancel out all the sugar and deep-fried bad stuff.

For lunch I dined at the famed Ippudo. I had the akamaru modern which is described as "a more bold, modern translation of the original pork broth; thin noodles topped with Ippudo's secret "umami dama" miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil."  It most definitely lived up to all the hype I had been hearing.  And I surprised even myself with my chopstick noodle skills!

After a total mind-blowing Aladdin experience, we got dinner and craft beers at Tink's.  This little lower east side restaurant serves comfort food style tapas.  It was pretty damn incredible for my introduction to the world of tapas, as nontraditional as it may have been.

We had the chocolate pig sliders with cabbage slaw.  These might have been the winner of the evening: braised pork butt, chocolate mole sauce, brioche bun, cabbage slaw.

These are the pretzel crusted chicken fingers served with a chipotle honey dipping sauce and cornichons. Loved them.

This won the most challenging to eat award, making it no less delicious I assure you.  "A lotta buratta"  consisted of buratta, sliced baguettes, tapenade, chili honey oil, balsamic vinegar, and sliced tomato.

I think this was my favorite of the night. The naan pizza was topped with goat cheese, red wine braised figs, bacon and arugula.  Surprise, it was fantastic!

To top the night off right I had my long standing birthday cake flavor: strawberry shortcake.  We went to this little Asian bakery, Panya, and you guessed was delicious!

So there you have it folks, my 30th birthday food fest.  I hope you were able to live vicariously through me a bit here.  If you weren't then I highly recommend you eat at each and every one of these restaurants I visited.

P.S. Did anyone know they sell 32oz beers in Penn Station, and they have 20 different kinds!  That was the real finale of the evening and it was a welcome surprise.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Shortbread Crust

I whipped up this baby for Easter this year.  It's pretty simple and packed with spring-time flavor.  Need an added bonus?  It's damn good lookin' too.

Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Shortbread Crust
Adapted from Closet Kitchen


for the crust:
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour

for the cheesecake:
1 cup ricotta
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
sliced strawberries for garnishing

1. Preheat oven to 400.  Cream butter and sugar until smooth.  Mix in zest, salt, and flour until crumbly. Press mixture, using your hands, into 9 inch tart pan. Bake 15 minutes, crust will be lightly golden brown. Let cool before topping with cheesecake.
2. Mix ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and zest.  Spread on cooled crust.  Garnish with sliced strawberries.

The cheesecake portion is no-bake, making it really easy to whip up!

Behold the beauty of sliced strawberries!  I am so happy there is new fruit at the supermarket.  I've been eating strawberries non-stop.

I really liked the freshness of the strawberries and the lemon in this recipe.  I will note that this recipe should not be made in advance.  The shortbread crust gets soggy the next day so make it the day you intend to eat it for the best results.  Happy spring!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Parmesan Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza

It seems like an eternity since I've cooked dinner so it felt great to cook up something super tasty tonight.  This pizza has all the right ingredients: Parmesan cheese, bacon, and brussels sprouts.  The sauce is a cinch to make and there's very little prep work otherwise.

I may or may not have accidentally over-crisped the bacon, but never fear it still tasted great.

I felt the toppings order here is fairly important.  Sauce first, of course, then bacon, cheese, and finish with brussels sprouts.  I ended with the brussels sprouts so they would brown nicely.

Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Bacon Pizza
Adapted from Picky Palate

pizza dough
6 bussels sprouts, sliced
4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup milk
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried thyme

1. Preheat oven to 500.  To make the parmesan sauce: melt butter in a small saucepan.  Whisk in flour then milk, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
2.  Spread sauce onto prepared pizza dough.  Top with cooked bacon, cheese, and sliced brussels sprouts in that order. Cook 20 minutes, until dough has browned.

Is that not a beautiful pizza?  All your food groups are getting along so nicely together.

Ok, for realz, you need to go make this pizza. Look at that picture!  It's just asking you to take a bite.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Coconut Macaroons

Looking for the perfect addition to your Easter dessert tray? Look no further folks because you are not going to find a simpler recipe around.  These coconut macaroons take about 30 minutes to bake up and you probably have all the ingredients in your cabinet right now.

Coconut Macaroons

1 1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 egg whites

1.  Preheat oven to 325. Toss ingredients in a bowl and mix it until batter comes together.  
2. Drop rounded teaspoons of batter on to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Cook for 20 minutes, coconut will be slightly browned. 

How easy does that sound guys?  This recipe makes about 18 tiny cookies, so if you are cooking for a crowd you might want to double it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cinnamon Streusel Chocolate Chip Muffins

I apologize for my lack of posting lately.  I can list off some excuses, but then again I can also say I really don't have a valid excuse.  I wanted post number 400 to be some-what of a show-stopper, but I clearly wasn't putting forth any effort since it's been over a week since my last post.

Ok, now that I got all that off my chest... on to some muffins!  These babies are an original creation and they came out pretty darn wonderfully so I really shouldn't be too down about them being my 400th post.

Cinnamon Streusel Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 cups Bisquick
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips
For topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a 12 cup muffin tin.
2. Mix Bisquick, sugar, egg, cinnamon, and milk until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared muffin pan, cups will be about 2/3 of the way filled.
3. In a small bowl mix together sugar, butter, cinnamon and flour until mixture is crumble. Top each muffin with mixture.
4. Cook for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Brown sugar might also be nice for the streusel topping; feel free to give it a whirl.

And there ya have it folks, post number 4-0-0.  Super easy delicious muffins to brighten any morning.