Monthly Archives: November 2011

Not Your Average Joe

I don’t know about you, but if I don’t start my morning with a cup of coffee, my morning doesn’t really start at all.   It’s like my brain protests proper thoughts when I’m without caffeine.  Some may call it an addiction; I just call it a delicious routine.

If you are a coffee drinker, then you know not every cup is the same, or even similar.  And the power of a great cup of coffee is like the power of a great kiss.  It has the ability to change an entire day for the better.  That’s the way it goes, and don’t forget it goes the other way too.  A bad cup of coffee, almost worse than no cup at all, is enough to turn me into a Bite-Sized B*tch.

Fear not because I have found the place where good moods are born and it’s called Blue Bottle.   This coffee shop is not your average Starbucks coffee shop.  Coffee at Blue Bottle is prepared meticulously.  They have several methods of preparing coffee, including siphon, drip, French press and espresso, but no matter the preparation, the end result is liquid happiness.

A siphon coffee maker, which is also called a vacuum coffee maker uses two chambers to brew coffee. Not only do they look seriously impressive, they brew a mean cup coffee.

If you are looking for something a little more low key, but still dramatic, you can order a drip.  Each cup of coffee is individually made to order, so it’s kind of like  a present.  Of course, I love presents, and I love coffee, so I had to have a drip.

The coffee was strong and complex with earthy notes.  With a little raw sugar and whole milk, it was a rich and creamy delight.

At a place with so many options, it’s hard to just pick one thing.  So naturally, I didn’t.  I also had a latte, which was smooth as silk.

The only downside to Blue Bottle? The line is out the door.  I went at 5:00 pm on a Friday and I waited about 15 minutes for my coffee.  Totally worth the wait, but totally annoying.   Also, you’ll have to go to San Francisco or Brooklyn to get this tasty treat, so I chose Brooklyn.  A trip to Brooklyn wouldn’t be complete without a hipster spotting, and this spot was worth mentioning.  A hipster who kind of looked like Robinhood, hat and all, ordered a cup of coffee after I did.  He had the good sense to order a drip as well.  But, this sneaky son of a gun took my coffee instead of his.  Robinhood lives up to his name, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, if by rich I mean well dress and poor I mean wears a funny looking hat.

Oh yea, can’t forget to mention that Coolhaus sells Blue Bottle iced coffee, and you know how much I love Coolhaus.

Blue Bottle Coffee
160 Berry Street
Brooklyn, NY
718.387.4160

Foto Friday

Ughh, that’s the only sound I can make right now.  Probably because I am still so full.  Oh, the beauty of stuffing your face for 3 straight hours.  Well, one more thing I’m thankful for this year, is that this feast only happens but once a year.

I have been promising you photos all week, and boy do I have a lot of them! I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as  I did.  And if you are still hungry for more, I have serious leftovers.

Thanksgiving Photo Recap…it’s right about now I wish this was a slideshow…

Baked Brie 

Autumnal Salad

Turkey Breast 

Drunken Cranberry Sauce

Coconut Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Apple Pie

Brownie S’mores Pie

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!! Or in Turkey speak…Gobble Gobble! Ironic that we gobble up the one thing that says gobble gobble? Not to get all existential on you or anything.  But today is the time to reflect, and say thanks for all the things we are grateful for.  Here’s a brief list of the things I am especially thankful for this year:

Family – and the fact that I got to spend this week with the people I love most
Friends – I am a lucky girl to have such great friends
The health and happiness of my family and friends
Cookies
My grandma
- 86 and still the smartest person I know
Glitter
- especially the edible kind
My new niece – I miss you already Arli Dylan
Puppies – all of them everywhere
My Bite-Sized readers – my love for you is anything but Bite-Sized

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for…drumroll please…

Turkey Breast
Ingredients
1 bone-in turkey breast
4 Bay leaves
1/8 cup of Black Peppercorns
½ head of garlic, smashed
¾ cup of sugar
¾ cup of Kosher salt
Sage
Rosemary
1 Apple (preferably reddish and sweet)
Butter, and lots of it, at room temperature
1 bag of large carrots, cut into big pieces
3 onions, quartered
2 parsnips

Directions
The first thing you have to do to ensure a tasty turkey is brine, brine, brine! To make your brine, add 8 cups of water to a stockpot.  Then add ½ head of garlic, 1/8 of a cup of black peppercorns and 4 bay leaves.  Bring this toa boil.  Once the mixtures boils, turn off the heat and add ¾ cup of kosher salt and ¾ cup of sugar.  Remove from the heat and let cool completely.  Add your turkey breast to a brining bag and place the bag in a baking dish.  This will prevent any bring leaking in your refrigerator.  Once the brine has completely cooled, add it to the brining bag with the turkey.  Make sure the entire breast is submerged and then tie to seal.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.

When you are ready to cook your bird, preheat the oven to 380 degrees.  Remove the turkey from the brine and pat completely dry.  Place the sage and rosemary under the skin, stems removed, just leaves.

Place the carrots, turnips and onions in the bottom of your baking dish and place the bird on top of the vegetables.  Place the apple in the cavity and then cover the turkey in a very generous amount of butter.  Think Paula Deen.  Add the leftover herbs to the turkey breast as well.

Place the bird in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, remove the baking dish from the over and cover with foil.  Return to the oven and cook for about an hour or until the bird is 160 degrees.  This may vary depending on the size of your bird.  Once it reaches 160 degrees, remove the foil and let the bird cook until it is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let sit for about 20 minutes before carving.

While the turkey is resting, it’s time to make the gravy.  Remove the veggies from the baking dish and place on the tray you will use to serve the turkey, making sure to preserve the drippings in the pan.  In a small saucepan, make a roux.  A roux is a combination of flour and fat, which will help to thicken the gravy.  Combine 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of butter in the small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook for a minute or two until the flour has been completely incorporated into the butter.  Once the roux is finished, pour in the drippings from the turkey pan.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth and warm.  Serve with your turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving!!  And remember, there will be pictures tomorrow!!

As Feast Week Continues…

Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the house,  were scents of sweet dishes that were sure to arouse…Seriously though, my apartment smells fantastic!! Today was my first official day of cooking and baking in preparation of the feast, excluding the ice cream making I did last week.  And man, am I ready for tomorrow or what.  I mean mentally ready, cause damn I’m tired.  But I still have a few more dishes to finish off tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are a few more recipes to get your juices flowing…

Cranberry sauce is a staple at the Thanksgiving table.  But, it can be kind of boring.  So, I put a Bite-Sized spin on this classic dish and added alcohol.   Now the dish is delish and has it’s own catch phrase: “Cranberry sauce you can get sauced from.”  Okay, I’ll work on the catch phrase, but this cranberry sauce really is spectacular.

Drunken Cranberry Sauce
Ingredients
1 12 ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup of orange juice
¼ cup of water
1 shot of orange liquor (Grand Marnier)
1 orange

Directions
Place all of the ingredients, except the orange, in a sauce pan and cook on medium – high heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced, stirring occasionally. You will hear the cranberries pop, which is a good thing! Once most of the liquid has been reduced, remove from the heat and let cool.  While the cranberry sauce is cooling, segment 1 orange.   To segment the orange, slice off the top and bottom of the orange.   This will give you an even surface for cutting.  Cut off the peel, including the white pith.  Try not to remove too much of the orange along the way! Cut the orange between the membranes and remove the fruit.  Then, cut into quarters and add to the now cool sauce.  Cool the sauce in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve.

Presentation is 9/10ths of the law, the law of eating that is.  So to make this sauce look even better, I brulee a couple orange slices to add to it.   First, thinly slice half an orange.  Lay out a few slices on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle liberally with sugar.  Using your kitchen torch, brulee those babies and add them to your sauce as a garnish!

Another Thanksgiving staple, that is totally one of my favorites, is Sweet Potatoes.  But like I told you before, I’m not adding any marshmallows to this dish.  Instead, I’m making Coconut Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  Sounds a little funky, but I promise this dish will be huge hit around the dinner table.  Trust me, and if you don’t trust me, then trust Heidi Swanson, author of www.101cookbooks.com, where I found this intriguing recipe.

Coconut Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes (serves 6)
Ingredients
2 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup raw, unsweetened grated coconut
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Pierce each sweet potato numerous times with the tines of a fork and wrap in foil.  Place in the oven for somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half, until each is baked through. Times vary greatly depending on the size of your sweet potatoes – in the end you should be able to cut through the center flesh as if it were soft butter. Remove the potatoes from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes, and cut each sweet potato in half. Scrape the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. You should have about three cups of sweet potatoes. In a large bowl mash the sweet potatoes with the coconut milk. Stir in the ginger, maple syrup and salt. Let it sit for a few minutes, stir again and taste – adjust the seasoning if you need to.

Spoon the sweet potato mixture into a large baking dish, sprinkle with coconut, drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered until warm and the coconut golden roughly 30 – 40 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with the toasted macadamia nuts.

To see the recipe by www.101cookbooks.com, click here:

http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/nikkis-sweet-potatoes-recipe.html

Still waiting on that Turkey recipe, huh? Well, guess what? You are going to have to wait one more day! Tomorrow wouldn’t be Turkey day without a Turkey, now would it?

Feast Week – Day 2

As feast week continues, I bet you’re wondering what Bite-Sized recipes are headed your way today.   You know I love to keep you on your toes, so I’m switching up the order of things.  Watch out now!  Yesterday we did dessert, today we are starting back at the beginning.

The beginning for me is when my guests first arrive.  And since the football starts before the feast, I can’t expect my guests to be anything but early.  Good thing for this Bite-Sized Blonde, and my family, that basketball isn’t normally on Thanksgiving day.  Otherwise, we would all be eating Chinese takeout, lockout aside.

So, the eating starts early on Thursday and you betta believe I have something up my sleeve for an appetizer,  something that’s not lackluster like crudités, or too filling like devils on horseback.  While delicious, these little guys pack a deadly, and by deadly I mean filling punch from the combination of a little protein and fiber.  So, what’s left to serve?  Baked brie and crackers.  This sweet, salty and savory treat will leave my guests satisfied but not full, which is a very important, and thin line to be aware of on Thanksgiving.

Baked Brie is another one of those dishes that is impossibly easy.  There’s just so much to do on T-day, so much cooking, so much baking, so much eating, why make any more work for yourself than you already have?  I know I make a good point, which is why I make a good Baked Brie.

Ingredients
1 wheel of Brie (2 lbs)
1 cup of peach apricot preserves

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cheese on the parchment paper and cover with the preserves.   Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the cheese looks like it’s softening.   Remove from the heat and let cool.  Once cool enough to handle, place the cheese on a plate and serve with crackers, veggies or nuts!

How easy was that? I know, totally awesomely easy.  Now, onto the next step, salad.   I know you are probably not expecting fireworks here.  Wait, who am I kidding?  I know you are expecting fireworks here, and here you have them.  This Autumnal Salad is a recipe inspired by a recipe by Chef April Bloomfield for New York Magazine.  One look at this salad, and I knew this is what I had to serve at Thanksgiving.  The colors scream fall and the flavors and textures will have your feathers flustered.

Autumnal Salad
Ingredients
2 packages of organic baby lettuce mix
20 ounces of butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 cup of pomegranate seeds
1 cup of shaved parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Smash 2 garlic cloves with the flat side of your knife, then chop the garlic until it is very fine. Combine with olive oil and salt.  Place the butternut squash in the bowl and coat with the oil mixture. Put the butternut squash in a baking dish, drizzling any leftover oil over the squash and pop in the oven. Roast the squash until it is tender and slightly brown, about 30 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Lightly drizzle with 1 tbs. of olive oil and a splash of lemon, and place on platter. Put market greens in large bowl, and gently toss with salt, 2 tbs. of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon. Sprinkle the greens in and around the butternut squash, and finish with a drizzle of balsamic, a hearty handful of pomegranate seeds, Parmesan shavings, and pine nuts.

This recipe was interpreted from a recipe by Chef April Bloomfield  which you can see by clicking HERE.

Also, there will be more recipes to relish at tomorrow, so come back and see me soon!

Feast Week

Today begins Feast Week, like Fleet Week – but think less sailors, more stuffing – face stuffing to be exact.  The eating doesn’t start today, but the preparation sure does.  And since it would be totally selfish to prep my feast and not help you prep yours, I’m going to share my Thanksgiving menu with you.

The Bite-Sized Thanksgiving Menu, which is anything but Bite-Sized includes… in serving order:
Baked Brie
Autumnal  Salad
Turkey Breast
Drunken Cranberry Sauce
Coconut Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Apple Pie
Brownie S’mores Pie
Vanilla Gelato

I’ll start by sharing my dessert recipes, partly because I have already shared these recipes and partly because pies can be made in advanced…like the day before.  Any earlier and you risk having a stale pie – uncool, totally uncool.

Apple Pie is a classic Thanksgiving dessert, and the classics are classics for a reason.  This is the pie that the phrase easy as pie was born from.

Click here to see the recipe for Easy Apple Pie.

Brownie S’mores Pie is another dessert I’m serving for Thanksgiving this year for a couple reasons.  This pie was a big hit at last year’s Thanksgiving, and it’s a perfect use for marshmallows, since I’m not using them on the sweet potatoes.

Click here to see the recipe for Brownie S’mores Pie.

The only dessert recipe you haven’t seen from the Bite-Sized Blonde yet is Vanilla Gelato.  Sure, you’ve seen Ice Cream recipes, but we all know Ice Cream is not the same as Gelato the same way College Ball is not the same as the NBA.  So, without further ado, I give you…

Vanilla Gelato*
Ingredients
1 ¼ cup of whole milk
1 ¼ cup of heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
½ cup sugar

Directions
Whip the heavy cream until it becomes whipped cream.  Then, place in the refrigerator.  Add the milk and vanilla bean to a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Heat the mixture until it starts to bubble along the edges.  Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down for approximately 10 minutes.  Once cool, remove the vanilla bean.  Cut the bean in half lengthwise and scrap out the black seeds using the back of a knife.  Add the seeds back into the milk mixture and discard the now empty vanilla bean shell.

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  You will be using this to heat the custard mixture you are about to make.  Make sure the water does not come up too high, because it cannot touch the bottom of the bowl.   In a large, heatproof bowl (typically glass), whisk the egg yolks and sugar until creamy.  Once the pot of water is boiling, place the bowl on top of the pot.  Add the now cool milk and vanilla mixture to this bowl and continue to whisk.  Once the mixture is incorporated, stop whisking and begin stirring with a wooden spoon.  Stir this mixture until it becomes a custard – which means that it should be thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.  Be careful with the heat as this custard should not simmer! Once the mixture is thick enough, remove from the heat and let cool.  Once cool, fold in the whipped cream.  Transfer to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Still craving more dish on Bite-Sized Thanksgiving dishes? Check in each day of Feast Week for more recipes.

*Pictures will be displayed at the end of the week, so stay tuned my Bite-Sized readers…

Recipe by:
Alex Barker, 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets & Gelatos

I’m Famous like Amos

I’m famous!! Okay, not famous like Food Network famous yet, but I’m totally famous! Can you hear the excitement in my voice? Oh right, you can’t hear me. Damn it.  Anyway, there is extreme excitement in my voice and hands, since I am typing.  Sorry keyboard for the inevitable beating but I just cannot contain my joy.  An adorable blogger from London blogged about yours truly! That’s right, she blogged about me!

Sure, I’m adorable too, but what would possess someone else to write about me?  My halloween costume, that’s what.  It’s award winning – and I didn’t even make this award up.  Laura, aka Tinkerbelle, writes a cute blog where she shares stories about life and her awesome opinions.  Sure, I might be biased, since her opinion is that I had an award winning Halloween costume, but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!

Check out the post HERE.

Thank you again Tinkerbelle.  With New York and London under my belt, all that’s left to do is take over the world make it to the Food Network!

B is for Bad

Unless you are out to lunch, figuratively, not literally, you’ve probably noticed the grades being posted in restaurants all over NYC…because literally you would have to be blind not to notice.  The grades are seemingly meaningless as they don’t appear to have affected business at all, probably because diners are in the dark as to what these grades mean.  Eaters, it’s time to get educated, before you wake up and realize one of your favorite lunch time spots has a B for all the wrong reasons!

The Health Department is rating restaurants based on sanitary conditions to help consumers make better decisions.  It’s also kind of genius as it works to
incentivize restaurants to keep it clean. Looks like someone is looking out for us, so thank you to the HD of NYC.  But what do these grades actually mean? Grades are given out based on the number of violations a restaurant receives.  Unlike basketball, points are the enemy here, not the goal, but what does the NBA know about points these days anyway?  The more violations you have, the more points you get.  Points are based on just how gross bad the violation is; expect a violation such as mice or roaches to carry more than let’s say, not properly sanitizing utensils.

Taking a note from Tosh.O, in this week’s breakdown, here’s how the grades work:

Grade A. 0 to 13 points for sanitary violations.

Grade B. 14 to 27 points for sanitary violations.

Grade C. 28 or more points for sanitary violations.

If a restaurant has a sign that says “grade pending”, that means they didn’t get an A the first time around.  So, the restaurant is contesting the violations, aka stay tuned…

Of course, the Health Department wouldn’t let a restaurant operate if the violations were fatal.  But, do you really want to knowingly eat at a restaurant that has a mouse problem? Unless I’m visiting Disney, I don’t need to eat lunch with Mickey.

Not only does this post serves as a little nip of knowledge, it’s also my official declaration of a lockout.  A lockout from what you say? Glaze, a former favorite lunch spot.  After further inspection, I learned the reason for their B rating was live roaches and mice.  So, Glaze, unless you can give me what I want, a clean restaurant, I’m walking out.

Wanna know how you can check your favorite restaurants? Click here.  Be forewarned, you might be upset with the results, since it’s basically the same as Facebook stalking your boyfriend to find out if he is cheating on you.

Sunday Lazy Sunday

I love waking up on a Sunday knowing that I have nothing to do but go to brunch. This hybrid meal takes on activity status for a reason.  If done correctly, brunch can last the whole day.  Whether you spend the entire day eating and drinking or spend the entire day in a food coma slash drunken stupor is entirely up to you. We all know who the Bite-Sized Blonde in the food coma is…

One of my favorite places to brunch is Peels in the East Village.  This adorably quaint restaurant is totally unassuming.  Don’t get me wrong, this place exudes that cool factor.  Case in point: the heaps of hipster customers.  But, that’s not why this place is cool.  This restaurant, known for their baked goods, turns out amazing breakfast, lunch and their love child, brunch.

Peels is as popular as it is delicious and cool.  So, you should expect a wait. But, it’s well worth it.  The baked goods sell quickly, so make sure to order them as soon as you sit down! I made the mistake of waiting to order the monkey bread until after we ate brunch, and I was SOL when I was told they were sold out!

Here are some things you shouldn’t miss:  The Fried Chicken Sandwich and The Roasted Tomato Benedict.   The Fried Chicken has a crunchy and salty exterior. Cushioned by a soft potato roll and complimented by tangy pickles and shredded lettuce, this sandwich is irresistible.

If the words Roasted Tomato Benedict don’t turn you on, then maybe it’s time to do a little soul searching.  These beautifully cooked eggs sit on top of homemade biscuits.  These doughy biscuits are still warm when they are covered in basil and roasted tomato hollandaise.  So simple, yet to elegant.

And now for the money shot…

oh yea…that’s good.

Food is everything to me, but a close second is caffeine.  A great cup of coffee has the potential to change a day, just like a bad cup of coffee is essentially a recipe for a bad mood.  The cappucinno at Peels is rich and earthy.  Better just tell the waitress to keep em coming.  Like I said, brunch is an all day activity and you’re going to need your strength.

Peels
325 Bowery (Corner of 2nd St.)
New York City, NY 10003
646.602.7015

The Crème de la Crème

Have you ever thought about having crème brulee for breakfast? And I don’t mean have you ever dreamt about it, because that’s an obvious YES.  I mean, have you ever really thought about it?  I have.  And what I have decided is this: it’s totally a reasonable breakfast, and I’m not currently high on sugar.

Here’s my rationale.  Yogurt is kind of similar to the crème in crème brulee.  Sure, it’s a stretch, but the truth is, it’s creamy.  Greek yogurt is tangy though, not sweet, which is why it’s the perfect base for this breakfast.  Combined with the sugar that gets bruleed, it’s a marriage made in heaven.  By adding fruit to this dish, it’s also a well balanced meal.   Dessert for breakfast that can also be breakfast for dessert.  Brilliant!  This is so good, easy and quick, you will be wondering why you never made this before.  Did I mention that you use a torch to make it? Awesome, right? I know.  Oh, and the best part, this is under 300 calories!

Breakfast Crème Brulee
Ingredients
1 6 oz. cup of Greek Yogurt 0%
2 strawberries, sliced
1 tbsp. strawberry preserves
1/4 cup of light brown sugar

Directions
Add the strawberry preserves to the bottom of a 3 inch ramekin. Place the strawberries in an layer on top of the preserves. Add the yogurt and top with the sugar.  Then, bust out your awesome torch and carefully burn the sugar so it melts to form a sweet, crunchy layer.  Serve and enjoy!