Tag Archives: Vegetable

Mandoo the Damn Thing

Mandoo
It’s not often that I am impressed. Not just by food, but by the food suggestions of others. Excited? Always. One well written food description on a menu and I am so excited that I am salivating. But impressed? Eh, it's a rarity. But today, I was thoroughly impressed, both with the food and with the suggestion of two great friends.

I have been hearing about Mandoo Bar for a while. And now that I have been, I cannot for the life of me figure out why it took me so long to get my Bite-Sized butt down to Korea Town for this tasty treat. Mandoo Bar is a small restaurant that leaves a big impression. This namesake eatery has a laundry list of dumplings to choose from. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with Korean, or the art of google translate, Mandoo means dumpling.) Dumplings aren’t the only option at Mandoo, but not ordering dumplings would be like going to the gym and not exercising. Sure, you can do it. But the experts, well, they frown upon that.

While the restaurant considers itself “vegetarian friendly” they serve some of the best Pork Dumplings I have ever eaten. The dumplings are made in the front window of the restaurant. Which is a foodie’s version of the red-light district, or at least mine. Yes, I said it. Red-light district and food. Now you know what I think about.

You will be drawn in by the ladies in the window rolling out dough, and then ever so gently stuffing the dumplings with a heaping amount of pork, veggies, seafood, tofu and kimchi. And if that isn’t enough for you, cause it wasn’t enough for me, you can watch the dumplings get fried and plated too. That, is the Art of Seduction, in its truest form.

If you weren’t hungry before arriving at Mandoo, you can be sure you will be starving by the time you are seated. They don’t take reservations. So while you are patiently waiting for a table, in this small and oh so casual dumpling bar, you get to watch this enticing show, on repeat. So, while you are watching, and waiting, you can take comfort in the fact that you are witness to the art that is dumpling making – and then eating. Cause let’s be real, you came here to eat, and eat is what you will Mandoo.

Oh, and click HERE for the best Vine Video, well, EVER.

Mandoo Bar
2 West 32nd Street
New York, NY
212.279.3075

A Side that Won’t Hurt Your Sides

Faux is not a word I generally include in my vocabulary.  Let’s be real, this Bite-Sized Blonde keeps it real, and that’s the way I like my fur and my food.  Faux-fur…more like faux-pas.  But there is one faux that is definitely more friend than foe and that’s faux fat.  Faux fat – as defined by the Bite-Sized dictionary is a term used to describe something luscious but low-cal; also see deceivingly distending.

I’ve been known to throw caution my waistline to the wind and eat what I want when I want.  You only live once to me really just means you eat what you want.  See here, here and here.

But sometimes, as luck will have it, some of the most dynamic recipes end up being figure friendly and seriously kind to your behind.  Case in point, Banging Brussels sprouts.  Brussels sprouts are trendy these days, probably because they are hearty and filling but light and leafy, not to mention de-li-cious.  The short, but impactful, recipe below is approachable and totally unexpected, and what you’re left with is a dish that is familiar but extraordinary.

Apple cider vinegar is an underrated ingredient.  It adds an element of tanginess that will keep your taste buds on their toes.   The crème fraiche and mustard mixture adds an element of creaminess that screams fat; but it’s faux! One tablespoon of crème fraiche is about 55 calories. Mixed with 1 tablespoon of mustard, only 30 calories, this dish is low cal – high taste that is sure to impress.

Banging Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients
16 ounces of Brussels Sprouts
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbs. Crème Fraiche
1 tbs . Grained Dijon Mustard
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Wash the Brussels Sprouts. Some of them might have a long stem, so trim the sprouts that do. Make sure not to cut the stem off entirely, or the sprout will fall apart! Cut the Brussels Sprouts in half. And place in a plastic Ziploc bag with the apple cider vinegar and let sit for approximately 10 minutes. Place the Brussels Sprouts on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt. Place in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until they look well done. They should be dark brown and crispy. When they are completely cooked, remove from the oven. In a medium bowl, combine the crème fraiche and Dijon mustard and mix well. Add the Brussels Sprouts to the mixture and toss. Coat the Brussels Sprouts well.  Serve, enjoy, grab a fork and let the guilt be gone!

Mmm Noodle Soup

Ohh you know that feeling when you are full? Like really, full. Make that really, really full.  But you know it’s all worth it because your belly is happy.  Truly happy.  Like I just won the lotto, never need to work again, going to travel the world and have a million puppies happy.  Yea, that’s what I feel right now.  And it’s all because of Udon West.

Food is a priority, but on a rainy day, convenience can often trump deliciousness.  Sad but true.  But, today, I found my favorite rainy day spot for lunch, and not because it’s convenient, but because it is convenient and delicious.  Udon West is a Japanese Noodle Shop in Midtown.  It’s not hidden, but it’s certainly not a standout either.  Unless you know the awesomeness that awaits you, you are probably going to pass it by.  I know I have a million times.  But today, I changed what a rainy day work lunch means to me forever.

Udon West is all about the udon, a thick flour based noodle.  The noodles take on a form of noodle unknown to the Italians.  Udon noodles are thick and doughy and so silky they are almost sexy.   These sexy noodles are not so sexy to eat though, as they are usually served as a hot noodle soup.  But this is no ordinary soup; it’s a sea of complex flavors that is a salty and satisfying expression of comfort.  Topped with scallions and a thin slice of egg, this soup is a meal in itself.  But, you know there’s more right? Of course there is.  Udon is usually topped with tempura, vegetables or meat.  When it comes to soup, this Bite-Sized Blonde is all about the veggies.

The Vegetable Tempura Udon was everything I wanted it to be and more.  The hot soup was the perfect counterpoint to this dreary day.  One sip of the warm broth and I was an Udon lover.  The noodles were velvety and slurp-tastic and the crispy tempura was music to my ears and tastebuds.  Can you think of anything better on a cool, rainy afternoon? I can’t.   This namesake restaurant brought the heat on a cold day.  There’s really nothing left to say, so I’ll leave you with an all-important quote.  In the wise words of Joey Tribiani…”mmm noodle soup…”

Udon West
150 E 46th St
New York NY
(212) 922-9677

Where the Magic Happens

In true MTV cribs fashion, I’m going to let you in on where the magic happens…But not that kind of magic.  After all, a Bite-Sized lady doesn’t kiss and tell…My kind of magic is made in the kitchen.  And magic, is exactly what’s on the menu today.  Magic Sauce get its name because, well it’s really magical.  It has the ability to transform something boring into some seriously divine.  Think Fairy Godmother, but edible.  One day you’re Cinderella, the next day you are a princess.  And by you, I mean your food.

This sauce is great for dipping, think crunchy bread.  It’s also great for eggs, potatoes, shellfish, chicken, steak and vegetables.  Really, it’s good for anything and everything.  Which is why it’s magical.  The recipe makes about ½ a cup of Magic Sauce.  But the way I use it, and the way you are sure to use it, it’s best to double the recipe right away.  The sauce, like a fine wine, also gets better with age.  So, make a batch, or two, and let the magic happen.

Magic Sauce
Ingredients
½ cup of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 medium cloves of garlic, smashed into a paste
1 well-crumbled bay leaf
pinch of red pepper flakes
¼  teaspoon + fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions
Gently warm the olive oil over medium-low heat in a skillet or pan, until it is just hot. When hot remove from heat.

While the oil is heating, lightly pound the rosemary, thyme, and oregano in a mortar and pestle.  If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can chop all of the ingredients together.

Stir the paprika, garlic, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and salt into the oil. Then add the bruised herbs and lemon juice.

You can use this now, but know – the oil just gets better as it ages over a few days. Keep it in a refrigerator for up to a week/ten days-ish. It thickens up when cold, so if you need it in a liquid state, place it in the sun or in a warm place for a few minutes.

Recipe from: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/magic-sauce-recipe.html

101cookbooks.com is a great collection of recipes and beautiful food photography.   If you are ever looking for inspiration, make sure to visit this site!

Why Do You Build Me Up Butternut Baby

There are some things that are so obviously winter, like gloves and snow and dreams about warm weather.  I know, I just came back from vacation but this Bite-Sized Blonde still needs a tan.  So I’m a brat and a food snob.   There are worse things, right? Banter aside, winter is all about the butternut squash for this Foodie.  This winter squash is one of my favorites.  It’s sweet yet savory, and light yet totally filling which is why it’s the perfect filling for ravioli.  A filling filling?   Now that’s one delicious homonym.

Butternut Squash Ravioli (makes approximately 40 ravioli)

Ingredients
20 ounces of peeled and diced butternut squash
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ medium white onion, diced
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Wonton wrappers
4 sticks of Butter
1 cup of walnuts

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the squash on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for approximately 45 minutes or until tender.  Remove from the oven and let cool. In the meantime, sauté the onions in olive oil with a generous pinch of salt until softened.  Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the garlic becomes fragrant.  Then, transfer the onions and garlic as well as the butternut squash to a food processor. Add the cinnamon and pulse until all of the ingredients are smooth.   If you don’t have a food processor, you can transfer all of the ingredients to a blender.  Taste the butternut squash mixture to make sure you’ve added an adequate amount of seasonings.  Add more salt, pepper or cinnamon as needed.   Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

The most efficient way to make ravioli is by setting up a workstation.  You’ll need the bowl of butternut squash mixture you just made, as well as a baking tray lined with parchment paper, a small bowl of water and the wonton wrappers. Using a teaspoon, scoop a small amount of butternut squash and place it into the center of the wonton wrapper.  Dip your fingers in the water and then trace the edges of the wonton wrapper.  Then fold the wonton wrapper in half  creating triangles.  Make sure the edges are sealed tightly and then fold the corners inward to create a pentagon.  Then place the ravioli on the parchment lined baking sheet and begin again.

If you are going to serve the ravioli the night you make them, place a pot of water on the stove and heat over high until it starts to boil.  Add the ravioli to the water one at a time.   At the same time, melt 1/2 stick of butter for every 5 ravioli over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted, add a small handful of walnuts to the butter. The ravioli will cook in a matter of seconds so make sure to take them out almost immediately after you place them in the water.  Place the cooked ravioli in the butter sauce and toss to coat.  Serve with a smile, and enjoy!

Recipe inspired by

http://iowagirleats.com/2009/11/06/how-to-bake-butternut-squash-butternut-squash-ravioli-recipe-2/

One Hell of a Chanukah Party

Last night, I had one hell of a Chanukah party.  The champagne was flowing, the caviar was chilled, the latkes were piled high.  It was a great night with great friends and family.  So great, in fact, that I dreamt about it.  So, when I awoke, I was still thinking about latkes.  But isn’t that truly the test of deliciousness? When you dream about your food.  Sure is.

Leftover latkes are incredible.  If you have a lot, you can pop them in the freezer and defrost at your leisure.  Or, if you are like me, and eat 15 at a time, you probably won’t have any latkes for the freezer.  I never do, because I eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.   Breakfast Latkes are some of my favorites.  The latke is like a hash brown, but better, because it’s a latke.  So, it’s an egg-cellent base  for eggs.  Get it? Happy Chanukah!

 

 

Menorah Blahnik

So, last night was the night, the big night. And by big night, I mean my big Chanukah party.  I’d prepped all week.  After you saw my Thanksgiving prep, did you really expect anything else? Right. So after a week of prep work, I was finally ready.  While there was lots of yummy stuff on the menu, there was clearly one leading lady and that leading lady was the Latke. 

Although I celebrate Chanukah with the 3 C’s, champagne, caviar and chocolate, none of these means of celebration would exist at my party without the latkes.  My latkes, like many of my other recipes are easy.  Well, easy with a food processor. If you are grating potatoes by hand, and make it through 10 lbs. without fainting, well that’s really a Chanukah miracle in itself. 

Latkes (10 servings)
Ingredients
5 lbs.of baking potatoes
5 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
15 tablespoons flour
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable Oil
Butter

Directions
Wash and then peel the potatoes.  Grate them lengthwise. Place the potatoes in a colander or kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. (Potatoes hold a lot of liquid!)

Combine the potatoes in a bowl with the egg, flour, salt, and pepper. Mix well.  I recommend using your hands.  It’s fun, it’s messy and it’s really the best way to get all the ingredients incorporated.  

Add oil and a little butter to a skillet over medium to high heat. Drop a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture into the sizzling butter and oil.  I like big, thick latkes while my Dad likes them to be thin and crispy.  So I change up the amount of potato mixture I add the pan to create different size latkes. Feel free to play around! 

Flatten the latke with a spatula and cook for approximately, 2 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Flip the latke and then flatten again. Cook for approximately another 2 minutes, until crisp on the outside and golden brown.

Remove from the pan and set aside on a paper towel absorb some of the excess oil.  Serve with apple sauce, or the Bite-Sized way, with a dollop of sour cream and a touch of caviar!

Happy Chanukah!

Recipe inspired by Ina Garten
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-pancakes-with-caviar-recipe2/index.html