Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Newest Obsession

No recipe this time, but I felt the need to share with you my newest foodie obsession; Beef Carpaccio. Carpaccio is paper thin slices of raw beef (usually.) It can also be made by pounding beef into thin strips. It is up for debate as to who exactly invented Carpaccio, but some say it was Harry's Bar in Venice. Harry's also claims to have invented the Bellini (another favorite of mine.)

Over the past few months I have had the pleasure to try out two fine restaurant's Carpaccio. The first was The Barrel at 10 Stuyvesant St, between 11th St. and 12th St. It has quickly become my sister and my favorite Tapas restaurant. It is mildly pricey but cheap compared to other tapas places we have tried. Their menu is solid but it was the Carpaccio that had Lizzie and I rolling on the floor with delight. It is pounded beef tenderloin Carpaccio served with fresh greens, herbs, and an aioli sauce. The textures in this dish are AMAZING! Crispy, smooth, buttery, and delicious! (

The second restaurant which I w
as lucky enough to dine at with my sister and our good friend Amber was the rather well known Market Table, at 54 Carmine Street. The Market Table is a restaurant in the Village specializing in seasonal ingredients and seafood. The food was all around good if a little heavy in the seasoning department. Their version of Carpaccio was a salad that paired the meat (which I think was sliced not pounded) with greens, crisp french fries, Parmesan cheese and a Dijon aioli. The pairing of the soft Carpaccio with the crisp salty french fries was a brilliant idea if a little over powering of the delicate beef flavor (

Overall I think I like The Barrels offering a little more. The simplicity of the presentation highlighted the flavor of the meat perfectly and the pounded beef was melt in your mouth soft. And in the bang for your buck department The Barrel also wins. Their plate, which was the larger of the two, costs you $9 while Market table charges $12. Either way they were both delicious and I can't wait to try this beefy delicacy again. Let the craving begin!

Please note: The images are not mine. The first is from Boca Dorada and the others from the respective websites.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

For Mikey! spooooon!

So for those who don't live in Washington Heights or have Hispanic friends, Flan is an AMAZINGLY delicious egg custard. Flan originated in Spain but was so tasty it spread to France, England, Latin America, and even South East Asia. My mother used to make it growing up and her recipe yielded a much smaller version, so there were generally no second helpings. A good friend of the family Michael loved my moms Flan more than anyone I know and she made it whenever he came to dinner. Mikey was the only one allowed seconds!

Spanish Flan
-1 cup sugar
-1 can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
-1 can (12 oz) Evaporated Milk
-3 to 5 Eggs (you can decide how eggy you want it. I used 4 eggs and it turned out NOMMY!!)
-1 TBS Vanilla
-A few pieces of cinnamon bark.

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set up a water bath by doing the following. Place a round glass pie tin in a large sheet cake pan with edges at least 2-3 inches high. Fill the cake pan with warm water and put the bath into the oven while it preheats. Keeping the pan warm will help keep the sugar from hardening.

2. In a large bowl add eggs, milks, and vanilla. Mix well!

3. In a small saucepan, melt the sugar. Do this on a low heat and stir often. Melt until the sugar is a nice golden liquid. Try not to cook too long or it will burn.

4. Remove bath from oven and pour caramel into the pie tin, completely coating the bottom. Pour custard on top of the caramel. Place as many pieces of whole Cinnamon as you would like on the top. I used 2 split into 4 parts. Cover with tin foil. Bake for 1 hour.

5. Remove from heat and cool completely. When cooled, flip the pan over onto a plate with sides. Ladle all remaining caramel over the top of the custard.


Friday, February 19, 2010


Many of you know that I am in the midst of rehearsals for a new musical on Broadway. It's called American Idiot and features the music of Green Day. Its freaking awesome and when you combine a lovely cast and over-ripe bananas, what else CAN you get but Banana Nut Muffins!? The recipe is my sisters and I have no idea where she got it. So apologies if someone is not getting their deserved credit! The recipe calls for Walnuts but as I had none and grocery stores aren't open at 2am, I used Almonds. For fun I also added a splash of Almond Extract and the smell was AMAZING!

Banana Nut Muffins
3 or 4 Very Ripe Bananas-Mashed
1/3 cup Butter-Melted
3/4 cup Sugar
1 Egg-Beaten
1 tsp Vanilla
1 TBS Espresso or strong brewed coffee
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 -1/2 cups Flour
1 cup Walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine Butter and Bananas. Mix well. Add Sugar, Egg, Vanilla, and Espresso. Mix.

2. Sprinkle in Baking Soda, Flour, and Nuts. Mix well.

3. Ladle into greased or papered muffin tins. Fill 2/3 of the way. Bake 25-30 minutes or until top is browned and firm.

Super easy. Super moist. Super tasty!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


So this is not a recipe really but more of a love letter to the Reuben. I woke up yesterday with a killer craving for a Reuben. It could not be ignored! However, my lovely NYC-Dominican-land grocery store decided to fail me for the first time ever. The only Reuben-esque (lol) meat they had was Turkey Pastrami. FAIL! What was there left for me to do but to buy a whole Corned Beef Brisket and boil it up? For those of you how aren't Irish or have never cooked Corn Beef, this meant waiting, at the very least, 3 hours before I would be able to sink my teeth into a luscious pile of fatty meat. Undeterred, I bought it and took it home. As much as I love the taste of Corn Beef the smell of it cooking really gacks me out. Somehow I suffered through and was able to make a pile of deliciously greasy and completely unhealthy sandwiches for my fantastically receptive family.

A classic Reuben is a warm sandwich that, for those unfortunate enough never to have tasted the loveliness, consists of these 5 important ingredients:
-Corned Beef
-Sauer Kraut
-Russian or 1000 Island Dressing
-Swiss Cheese
-Rye Bread
The Rye bread should be toasted and the Beef and Cheese stuck under the broiler to get it sufficiently gooey. The dressing should be generous and the Kraut nice a crisp!

After I have said all this I must admit to a small lie...I'm not a huge Reuben fan in its entirety. I don't like Sauer Kraut. I prefer a version, which at Ella's Deli ( a truly sorry excuse for a NY deli by the way) they call a Slush. A Slush is basically the same except Coleslaw is substituted for Sauer Kraut. Try it! Its AMAZING!

And while I'm busy getting sacrilegious, I should also tell you that I am a HUGE fan of Pastrami and would take a Pastrami Slush over a Corned Beef Reuben any day. BUT in a pinch Corned Beef just HITS THE SPOT!!

Super Easy Marzipan.

For me Marzipan is a memory taste. My mother used to get Dark Chocolate Marzipan eggs from Clausen's bakery every Easter. On Easter morning, my sister and I would find them, as well as intensely rich peanut butter eggs and your standard foil wrapped milk chocolates, in our Easter baskets. We were always warned that we were to save the Marzipan for Granny. Granny loved Marzipan and would always get the first bite and it was not uncommon to come back and find that the second and following bites had mysteriously disappeared.

Since then, I have always associated Marzipan as a homey, happy taste that brings back so many amazing memories of my loving and surprisingly naughty grandmother. I find that Marzipan in stores is fairly expensive or painted oddly bright colors and disturbingly void of chocolate. The other day while trolling my favorite recipe sites I stumbled upon a recipe and decided to try it out. The original source is the Blue Ridge Baker, who seems to have consistently tasty offerings. Sorry the pictures are so terrible.

Chocolate Covered Marzipan

8 oz Slivered Almonds

1 1/2 cups Powdered or Confectioners Sugar

1 TBS Almond Extract

5 TBS Corn Syrup (my sister suggested honey...probably would be tasty...haven't tried it though.)

4 oz Chocolate melted (tempered if you want to be crazy)

1. Grind Almonds in a food processor until a very fine powder. Mine doesn't so that great of a job but I actually like having some small nut pieces in my Marzipan. It definitely does not effect the taste.

2. Add Sugar and Almond Extract. Blend until smooth. Add Corn Syrup and mix thoroughly. The mixture should bind together.

3. Knead the dough until nice and smooth. It can be SUPER sticky so you may need to powder your surface. I used more Powdered Sugar. Form a log, wrap in Saran wrap, and stick it in the freezer.

4. Melt chocolate. Like I said if you want to go crazy you can temper the chocolate which is a lot of temperature watching and time. Tempering the chocolate will create the nice hard chocolate shell you think of when you buy candy from a store. So if you want really authentic beautiful chocolates you really should temper the chocolate. Personally its just a step that is delaying me from putting it in my mouth. I'm impatient. But I also have to keep mine in the fridge after I make it to keep the chocolate hard. If you want to temper it here's a good link

5. Take dough out of the fridge and cut, roll, or form the Marzipan into whatever shape you would like, the simplest being nice little round balls. Dip your shapes into the chocolate and place on a piece of parchment to set. Like I said, I'm impatient so I throw it in the freezer! (: After about an hour take them out and eat them! Simple and Tasty!



Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day Quiche.

So this Valentine's Day I decided that it is far more annoying to be in a long distance relationship where your partner is far away, than to be single. I missed my boy very much and made the biscuits in the above picture in his honor (he loves biscuits.) So in order to distract myself, I decided to try out a quiche recipe I have been eyeballing for a while now.

All Things Tasty Quiche- Makes 2
1/2 lbs Bacon cooked and crumbled
1 Onion chopped
2 cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 lbs Mushrooms sliced
2 Cups Smoked Ham cut into small cubes
10 oz Spinach (frozen is easiest but fresh is tastier)
8 oz Sour Cream
8 oz Monterrey Jack Cheese shredded
8 oz Cheddar Cheese shredded
4-6 oz Parmesan Cheese shredded
8 Eggs
1 -1/2 cups Half and Half
Green Onions
2 Deep Dish Pie Crusts
Salt and Pepper

I tweaked a recipe by Clark Hamblen.

1. Preheat oven to 375. Fry up Bacon in Skillet. Crumble and set aside.

2. In frying pan saute Onions and Garlic until soft and translucent. If you are feeling feisty try sauteing with the bacon grease. Add Mushrooms and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add Bacon and Ham, remove from heat.

3.Combine Sour Cream and Spinach in a bowl. Salt and Pepper to taste. Divide and spread mixture into the two crusts.

4. Divide and spread the Bacon, Ham mixture in the crusts on top of the Spinach mixture.

5. Mix together Cheeses, divide and sprinkle over pies.

6. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together Eggs, Half and Half, season with Salt and Pepper, a handful of Green Onions, and Parsley.

7. CAREFULLY ladle eggs on top of pies. The egg mixture is in great danger of going everywhere if you are not slow and careful here!!

8. Put pies on cookie sheet to help with overflow and place in the center of your heated oven. Bake 40 minutes or until top is puffy and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve!