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

Soup Solution of Delicious Proportions

That feeling when you know you are about to get a cold can be one of the worst feelings.   It can be so much worse than actually having a cold. When you have a cold, there are medicines you can take to make yourself better.  When you are about to get a cold, you can feel like getting sick is pretty much inevitable, no matter what you do.  But, it doesn’t have to be.

Any Jewish mom will tell you to have a bowl of matzo ball soup; it is known as the Jewish penicillin for a reason.  But this Bite-Sized Blonde has another soup solution for your sniffles.  Carrot Ginger Soup is a not so obvious remedy of delicious proportions.

Most people know that carrots are high in vitamin a, but did you also know they are chock full of vitamin C, which is why they make such a great base for a get-well soup. Ginger is antimicrobial, which means it kills bacteria.   It also helps eliminate congestion, eases throat pain and has been known to combat chills and fever.   Sounds like a winning combo if you ask me.  This soup is even more delicious than it is beneficial, if you can believe it.  This is such a great make-ahead soup to keep in yourfreezer for a rainy day or an unexpected cold.

Carrot Ginger Soup
Ingredients
1 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup of peeled and finely chopped ginger*
1 ½ pounds of carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
4 cups of vegetable stock
2 cups of water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Blender (regular or handheld)

Directions
Heat 3 tbs. of olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions, ginger and garlic and sauté for approximately 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent.  Add the stock, water and carrots.  Turn the heat up to medium high and bring the pot to a boil.  Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered over medium heat until the carrots are very tender.  This will take approximately 30 minutes.  If you have an immersion blender, as shown in the pictures above, use this to puree the soup to your desired consistency.  If you have a regular blender, puree the soup in batches by adding portions of the soup into the blender at a time.  Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

*Ginger can be tricky to peel because it is so misshapen.  An easy way to peel ginger is to actually forgo the peeler altogether! Use a spoon to peel the skin away; it helps with all the nooks and crannies!

Recipe Inspired by:
http://whippedtheblog.com/2009/12/01/simple-carrot-ginger-soup/

Post inspired by:
http://cravingsgoneclean.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/get-well-ginger-butternut-squash-soup/

Skinny Spaghetti

There’s only one thing this girly girl likes to twirl more than a giant party skirt, and that’s a fork full of spaghetti.  If I could have one wish granted from a genie it would be that all carbs would be calorie free, and if the genie told me that was greedy, I would happily accept pasta as my calorie free carb of choice.  Or pizza? No, I’m gonna stick with pasta.  But alas, I don’t have a magic lamp to rub, so it looks like I am sh*t outta luck.

There is nothing comparable to a big old bowl of starchy spaghetti, but there are alternatives.  Don’t worry; I’m not getting all “hippie dippie tofu fake spaghetti” on you.  Yes, that is a real term.  But, I am forgoing the flour for something a little more figure friendly.  Zucchini, if cut properly can transform into silky strands of spaghetti.  How you ask? Let me tell you – the solution is simple and it’s just one word – Julienne.  Julienne is a type of knife cut in which the food is cut into long thing strips.  These thin strips usually resemble shoe strings.  But if you ask me, spaghetti sounds way more desirable than shoe strings any day of the week.  The easiest way to julienne cut your zucchini is to use a mandolin.  But since the good ones are really expensive and slightly dangerous, they aren’t the most popular kitchen appliance for the average Joe.  Of course, I have another solution for you – a julienne peeler.  Not only is this little tool effective, it is totally reasonable.  At $8, it would be silly not to buy this easy to use utensil.  And of course, there is always the option of practicing your knife skills and cutting these bad boys by hand.

No matter the tool to get the job done, the once average zucchini is now spaghetti, and that’s seriously magical.  If you thought skinny and spaghetti didn’t go together before, think again.  This recipe will fill you up and trim you down.

Skinny Spaghetti (serves 2)
Ingredients
4 medium-large zucchini
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of tomato sauce

Directions
Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  (Once the zucchini is cooked, it will need to be cooled down immediately to stop the cooking process.)  Boil a large pot of heavily salted water.  When the water is boiling, add the julienne cut zucchini for 1 minute.   Remove immediately and place into the ice bath for 1 minute.  While the zucchini is cooling off in the ice bath, heat 1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce.  You can use my recipe for a chunky tomato sauce, or use a jar of your favorite! Once the zucchini is cool and the sauce is hot, add the zucchini to the pot and toss in the sauce.  Serve with some grated parmesan or mozzarella.

Mother Shucker

My favorite summer activities include going to the beach, rollerblading and shucking corn.  Yes, I just said shucking corn.  You know why? Because summer corn is the sweetest and cause I find it relaxing.  What can I say? I’m a quirky chick. But I also love shucking corn because I make a damn good Summer Corn Salad, and I would NEVER use anything but the sweetest, freshest corn for this refreshing salad. By the way, I am a terrible rollerblader.  Watch out now.

I could eat a big bowl of this salad all by itself, and, in fact I usually do.  But, it’s really more of a side-dish, like a great accessory.  It is the cognac colored wedges to any summer outfit.  Although this Bite-Sized Blonde likes to walk around in shoes, and only shoes, sometimes an outfit is not only necessary but desired. Queue the main dish…Chicken Paillard.  So, here’s to a well-rounded meal in a well-rounded outfit.

Chicken Paillard and Summer Corn Salad (serves 4)

Summer Corn Salad
Ingredients
6 ears of corn
6 oz. Baby heirloom tomatoes
2 Shallots
4 oz. Feta Cheese
3 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbs. Rice Wine Vinegar
Basil
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions
To make the summer corn salad, shuck the corns! Add the corn to a pot of bowling water.  Cook for approximately 7 minutes, or until the color of the corn brightens.  Remove from the boiling water and add to an ice bath to chill.  This will stop the cooking process so the corn doesn’t overcook.  Remove from the ice bath after 1 minute.  Cut the kernels off and add them to a large bowl.  Cut the tomatoes depending on size.  If they are big, you may want to cut them in quarters.  Add the tomatoes to the bowl of corn.  Mince the shallots and add them to the bowl as well.  Crumble the feta cheese and sprinkle on top of the salad.  Toss with the extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Season with pepper. Set in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.  Garnish with basil before serving.

Chicken Paillard
Ingredients
4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
All purpose flour
1½ tbs. butter
1½ Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry.  Season with salt and pepper, and then dust with flour to coat lightly.  Make sure there is no excess flour!! Melt butter with oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken to skillet and sauté until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate.

Once the salad is chilled, add it to the Chicken Paillard to a sweet and healthy summer meal.