Monthly Archives: May 2011

Some Like It Hot

Happy Belated Memorial Day!! Memorial Day signifies a couple things….the most important being the unofficial start to summer.  Did you think I was going to say that I can finally wear my white pants again? Come on now…I was only half thinking it.  I feel like I have been waiting for Memorial Day since Labor Day last year, which is totally appropriate for this summer-minded Foodie.

I spent the weekend in the Hamptons doing what I do best, eating of course. While I’m a girl who prefers the comforts of driving, I opted for the train this weekend to avoid traffic.  The train actually proved to be quite rewarding; I was able to catch up on a lot of recipe research!

I’ll admit, I didn’t do much cooking this weekend, but I did a whole lot of eating.  If summer had a mascot, and that mascot was food, it would totally be a lobster roll.  So, guess what I ate this weekend…a lobster roll from where else but The Lobster Roll in Amagansett.  Their claim to fame is that they invented the lobster roll that we all know and love today.  I don’t know if it’s factual, but it’s pretty delicious.

The Lobster Roll is a glorified seafood shack on Montauk Highway.   They offer several lobster rolls, including the cold version you are all familiar with, and a hot version.  Well this Bite-Sized Blonde likes her food like she likes her men, HOT.  The hot lobster roll starts with a warm bun, toasted to perfection.  It’s then topped with succulent lobster meat that is tossed in a warm butter sauce that has you forgetting how to spell mayonnaise.   The bun gets a little soggy from all the butter, so to maintain that all-important crunch, I topped the lobster roll with sweet and crunchy cole slaw.  Mmm mmmm mmmm.

We also ordered popcorn shrimp and clam strips for the table. But quite honestly, I was disappointed in both.  The shrimp weren’t deveined, and that’s not even the worse offense.  Both the shrimp and clams were covered in so much batter; the taste of the seafood was lost.  The service was better than average though, especially for a holiday weekend.  So, a thumbs up to TLR.

If you are out east, and craving a lobster roll, you now know where to go….

The Lobster Roll
1980 Montauk Highway
Amagansett, NY
631.267.3740

Please sir, I want S’more!

Ah, Memorial Day, the official start to summer, or at least summer hours. By now, I’m sure most of your plans are in order.  If you are anything like me, your packing list is ready and waiting to be checked off.  All that’s left to do is actually pack and pick up a nice bottle of wine for the friends that are so graciously hosting you this weekend.

Summer means a couple of things for me, sun, s’mores and sombreros.  Aright, you caught me, I couldn’t think of a third “S” and sombrero is just kind of funny.  But I am dead serious about s’mores.  S’mores are the quintessential summer dessert.  Graham crackers, good, chocolate, good, marshmallows, good.  I can just hear Joey now.   But, it’s not always easy to get everyone around the fire. Fear not, I have a solution! Brownie S’mores Pie.  This pie is so easy it’s almost stupid, which is the best kind dessert of course.

Ingredients
1 box of brownie mix
water
vegetable oil
eggs
1 pre-made graham crack piecrust
1 bag of mini marshmallows

You can find pre-made graham cracker piecrust in many supermarkets.  Hey, if Sandra Lee can appreciate the power of pre-made ingredients, so can I.  Of course, if you want to make your own graham cracker piecrust, who am I to tell you not to.  Go for it, knock ya socks off.  But I’ll just kick back and let the little Elves at Keebler do the dirty work for me on this one.    The next thing you’ll need is a  box of brownie mix and whatever ingredients the box calls for (usually vegetable oil and eggs).  And don’t forget the best part, marshmallows!!

Directions
Follow the recipe of the box of brownie mix and combine off all of the ingredients.  Pour the brownie batter into the piecrust and bake for approximately 45 minutes.  The pie is finished when you poke it with a  toothpick and it comes out clean.  While the pie is still warm, top it with lots of marshmallows! Wait to toast the marshmallows until you are going to serve the pie so they are warm and gooey.  To toast the marshmallows, you can use a small kitchen torch.  No torch? No problem.  Stick the pie in the toaster oven on broiler for about a minute.  Keep your eye on it though; the marshmallows burn quickly.  Slice and Enjoy!!

Is this New York or Seattle?

It seems we have gotten a break from the rain this morning…but according to weather.com, we are looking at more rain this afternoon.  You know what Seth Meyers would say to this…Really?   Really, rain gods.  We get it; you are good at your job.  Now, really, take a leave of absence…go on vacation…do something, just get out of New York, really!

Spare me the lecture on how we need rain, blah blah blah.  I know the benefits of rain, but it has seriously been raining cats and dogs for months now.  I feel like I’m on the set of The Killing, which by the way, is a great new show on AMC that takes place in, you guessed it, Seattle.

On the bright side, because there is always a bright side with this Bite-Sized Blonde, the world is green again.  Let’s face it, green equals good.  As a new shade brightens our city, I am also using it to brighten my kitchen.  Peas have a bad reputation, and one that is quite undeserved if I do say so myself.  So, I am giving my peas a makeover with a hint of mint and a splash of love to accompany a delicious filet of halibut.

Halibut with Pea Puree (Serves 2)

Ingredients
Halibut
Two 6-ounce filets of halibut
2 tbsp. dry white wine
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper

Pea Puree
½ cup of peas
5 mint leaves
1 small shallot, minced
2 tbsp. water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mushrooms
1 cup of assorted mushrooms
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. water
½ tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper

Directions
Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Place the fish in a hot skillet with olive oil, skin side down. Move the fish around immediately after placing it in the skillet to make sure that it does not stick. After 3 minutes, add the white wine and cover the pan. In a small pan, sweat the shallots. Add the peas and cook until they are heated through, no more, no less! If you leave them in the pan too long, they will discolor. Once the peas are cooked, add the mixture to a blender with the mint leaves and water. Blend until smooth.  Add more water if you need to; the mixture should be smooth.  Season with salt and pepper. In another small pan, add the mushrooms,  water and butter. Partially cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and they have absorbed all the liquid. Add the pea puree to the plate first. Then, place the halibut on the puree and top with the mushrooms. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon.  Serve, enjoy, and wait for the compliments to roll in.

Best First Date Ever…Maybe?

I haven’t always been a Foodie. In fact, I didn’t eat anything but pasta and butter until I was thirteen. They say you officially become a woman at your bat mitzvah. Well this girl became a woman after her bat mitzvah. Yes, I finally developed….my taste buds.  Come on now, don’t be that guy…I know what you were thinking.  I don’t remember exactly what changed, but something did. I started to enjoy food, real food, and not just the kids’ menu. It wasn’t really until college that my love of going out to eat kicked in. You have to give credit where credit is due…and so the credit for loving to try every restaurant with a rousing menu came from someone I dated.

It was summer romance, you know, the kind that takes you back to your days at camp. Well, not exactly, but still, you get the point. We used to go to restaurants with menus that made my mouth water. Before the summer was over, I was reading menus before we went to dinner. Now that is some serious foreplay for a Foodie…metaphorical foreplay people.  Since that summer, I have been a full-time Foodie.

Now, let’s jump forward a couple years shall we. It was summer again, and I was stuck at a job I loathed, dreaming of all things food, aloud obviously. One of my colleagues, who is now one of my best friends, turns to me and says, “You should audition for the Food Network.” Now, I won’t tell you a story about how a light bulb went off in my head, cause it didn’t exactly work that way. At this point, I was barely cooking. I just enjoyed going out to eat and telling everyone what I thought.  Hey, with just the right angle,  that could make for an interesting show.  But, I knew I would have to win the casting director over with my golden locks and bright smile first. No problem, right? I am great at a first date if I do say so myself.

I completed the 10-page application, answering questions about ingredients and cooking tips. And then, like getting a question on a final exam that you know you forgot to study for, came the dreaded question, “Do you have any formal or professional training.” Now, not everyone on the Food Network has professional training. Even Rachel Ray is just a cook and not a chef. But I knew it put me at a disadvantage. Regardless, I walked into that audition confident. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I waited four hours to see the casting director, and when I finally did, it was like magic. I imagine K-Ci and JoJo “All My Life” was playing in the background and a fan was blowing my hair back as I walked into the room in slow motion. It totally could have happened. We spent five glorious minutes together, and they were really spectacular. We just connected. I left that audition feeling more confident than ever. It was like a great first date. And then, I waited by the phone, expecting a call. I waited and waited…I’m actually still waiting. So, I haven’t made it to the Food Network yet, but maybe someday.  Bob Tuschman, call me!

When You Need a Little Pick Me Up

Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts, but I don’t love to order it everywhere.  Food Snob alert! I like my recipe for tiramisu a lot, and sometimes a restaurant’s tiramisu just can’t hold a candle to mine.  Do I sound arrogant? Probably.  But after you try this recipe you’ll understand what I mean.

Fun fact! Tiramisu means “pick me up” in Italian.  I learned this from my two new friends on the Cooking Channel, Debi and Gabriele.  So, it’s true, I am addicted to the Food Network and more recently, the Cooking Channel.  And it’s also true that I auditioned to be on the Food Network.   Yes, this Bite-Sized Blonde has dreams of having her own cooking show.  But that’s another day…another post.

There is a cute show on the Cooking Channel called “Extra Virgin.”  I use the term cute loosely since I am still developing my opinion on it.  It’s entertaining, if you dig the adoring couple kind of a thing.  And the recipes are easy and relatable.  With that said, they are few and far between.  The majority of the show is really just the hosts, Debi Mazar, the actress who plays Shauna on Entourage, and her Italian husband, Gabriele Corcos, interacting.  It feels like a reality show with some cooking interjected.   It’s a good beginner show for those of you who are new to Food TV.   I digress, on a recent episode they made Tiramisu, which is when I heard my little fun fact.   So, when you need a little “pick me up” you know where to turn!

Ingredients
32 ounces of mascarpone cheese
½ cup heavy cream
8 ounces of grated bittersweet chocolate
24 ladyfingers (savoiardi)
2 cups of your favorite coffee
2 tables of Kahlua or coffee liqueur
4 eggs, separated
6 tbsp. of sugar
Pinch of salt

Directions
First, make the coffee, and make it strong!! Add the Kahlua and let it cool.  Lightly toast your ladyfingers.  Be very careful if they have sugar on them.  They will burn quickly.  Set them aside when they are all toasted.
Beat 4 tbsp. of sugar and eggs yolks in a mixer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture looks creamy.  The next step is to fold in the mascarpone cheese.  Make sure it is at room temperature so there are no lumps.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites, 2 tbsp. of sugar, and a pinch of salt until you have soft peaks.  You’ll know you have soft peaks when you turn your whisk upside down and the peaks are just starting to hold. They will be soft and melt back into themselves after a second.  Gently, fold this mixture into the mixture of egg yolks and sugar until combined.
Now it’s time to assemble this beauty! You can use a 7 x 11 Pyrex to show off the layers, or ramekins if you want to make individual servings (this is my preferred serving style).  Start by dipping the ladyfingers into the coffee and Kahlua mixture.  Do this very quickly; if the ladyfingers absorb too much liquid they will disintegrate.  Place the ladyfingers in an even layer in your serving dish, one by one.  Once you have an entire layer of ladyfingers in your dish, spread an even layer of the mascarpone mixture over them.  Dust this layer with the grated chocolate and start the process all over again until the serving dish is full.

Bohemian Rhapsody

I’m a sucker for an exclusive restaurant.  Hide the entrance and I am intrigued, but hide the phone number and I’m all yours.   Put down your psych book from freshman year…there are no deep-seated issues here to explore.  I just like to have a little fun with my food.  And boy is there a ton of fun to be found at Bohemian.  Well, maybe not fun, but certainly good food.

This exclusive restaurant, located in the heart of Noho, is for members only.  A members only restaurant, kind of pretentious right? Well, you can’t judge a book by its cover, which is true on so many levels for Bohemian.  The entrance is behind a butcher shop just before the corner of I might be lost and I’m not sure I am in the right place.  Once you make it past the entrance, which is a lot less confusing than you would think, you feel like you have walked into someone’s home, which is half true.  Bohemian is located in a loft that was formerly owned by Andy Warhol.

The members’ only policy is somewhat paradoxical; you become a member by making a reservation.  You can make a reservation by getting the phone number from a member, or by emailing the food savvy folks at Bohemian (ny-info@playearth.jp). Introduce yourself in the email and tell them why you want to dine there; don’t forget to put “Visit Enquiry” in the subject.   I actually know someone who this worked for so I can attest to the fact that it’s not a trick to embarrass you.  It’s not easy to get the reservation, but we all know the power of playing hard to get.

So the entrance that alluded to a smoke show was without, but did the food make up for it? You bet it did.  I started with an order of the cucumbers and jelly.   It sounds bizarre, but it was delicious.  The jelly, which was smoky yet light, added an unexpected depth to the common cucumber.

The wagyu beef sashimi was so tender and flavorful; it’s almost hard to imagine ordering cooked beef ever again, almost.  The miso cod was exactly what you expect miso cod to be.  However, it was ordered sans uni gratin so I can’t really pass judgment as the dish was not how the chef intended it to be.  The mushroom salad was enjoyable but totally forgettable, unlike the sweet potatoes.  They were crispy on the outside yet so delicate; what an anomaly Bohemian proved to be.

We all know dinner doesn’t end until the last spoonful of dessert is gone and the cocktails have run dry.  So, dessert was had and cocktails were enjoyed.  Why chose one dessert when you can have a taste of each? Spoken like a true Foodie.  I ordered the assortment of desserts, which included the green tea panna cotta, café latte flan, and sweet potato crème brulee.  The crème brulee was the star of the dessert tray.

I would be remiss not to mention the bartender, Toku, and his innate ability to recommend cocktails.  He suggested a slippery jaguar silk, which was a combination of whisky, among other things I can’t recall.  But, what I can’t forget was the finishing touch to this magnificent concoction: a dusting of toasted almond, which was torched and then shaved over the cocktail.

If I could pick one word to describe Bohemian it would be awesome.  Go to Bohemian for awesome food and an awesome atmosphere, that is if you can get your hands on the awesome phone number.

Bohemian
57 Great Jones Street
New York, NY

Pappardelle with a Side of Attitude

As New Yorkers, we are trained to be rude, inconsiderate, and untrusting of just about everyone.  But, of course, we expect everyone to be polite and considerate to us.   So when someone is nasty, we’re foolishly surprised.  But, there is one place in New York that we not only accept rudeness, we have learned to expect it, and that my dear friends, is Bar Pitti

Bar Pitti is the more casual, next-door neighbor to Da Silvano.   The sidewalk, and restaurant, is littered with artists, bankers, and celebs anxiously waiting for a table.  But, if you expect any sympathy from the host you are sadly mistaken.  You can wait and wait and wait for a table until you are blue in the face, but will that earn you any respect? Of course not! No matter what you do or who you are, you will get an attitude from the waiter.  Sorry Charlie.  

Expectations are everything.  You have to know what you are getting yourself into. Bar Pitti is not about service, it’s about good food.   So, if you go with that mindset, you will not be disappointed.  The Pappardelle Alla Fiesolana is a plate of heavenly goodness.  These large flat noodles are covered in tomatoes, cream and bacon. Yes, please! Plus, they are homemade.  The difference between homemade pasta and the pasta from a box is like the difference between fine Italian leather and well, not real leather; the homemade stuff is just better. Sometimes the simplest of dishes are the best, so don’t overlook the Penne Strascicate, covered in a hearty yet light meat sauce, that’s as baffling as it is delicious.  Bar Pitti is great spot not only for dinner, but for brunch as well.  Just don’t order the Rose, unless of course you are hoping to get something resembling cranberry juice. 

Bar Pitti
268 6th Ave
New York, NY
212.982.3300