Monthly Archives: February 2011

Meat the Weekend

Happy weekend, kids! I’m seeing this monstrosity in concert this weekend with my fabulous cousin, Casey. I’m so stoked! I’ve heard she puts on quite a show. Judging from this picture… I’d say those rumors are true.

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This dish is Asian because I added soy sauce

Hello friends! This has been a particularly busy week for some reason, but a little birdie told me that a loyal reader really missed my posts (hi Ron!). This dish seems mundane to me, but if I can spark an idea in just one brain for an easy and delicious dinner that travels easily to work the next day for lunch, well… then I think it’s worth it.

On the menu:
Chicken stir fry

1 large chicken breast, diced
2 cups vegetables*
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic salt
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp unsalted peanuts

Heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Add vegetables to the pan along with 2 Tbsp of water and cover. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove cover. Add brown sugar and garlic salt and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add soy sauce and peanuts and toss until everything until coated. Serve over cooked white rice.

*Note: I took a short cut (so SUE me) and bought a bag of “Oriental Vegetables” (hey Krasdale: it’s 2011, time to update) frozen and then threw them into the pan. It was easy as pie. You can surely add raw vegetables to this, though, and as many or as few as you like. This tasted delicious with broccoli, green beans, mushrooms, and onions.

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REEEMIX! Onion dip and potato chips

My lovely friend Molly has this really brilliant feature on her blog where she includes a song she’d play while making the recipe she’s blogging about. I love it. I think it’s genius. And who doesn’t listen to music while they cook? So today you can scroll down and listen to the same song I played whilst making this fatty delicious dish.

My mom calls this one “dad’s famous onion dip” because apparently when he was a bachelor he used to bring it to parties and everyone would RAVE and it was his little secret that it is literally the easiest dish in the world to create. But I had a thought. I love all the ingredients. So I will turn it into a fatty delicious sandwich. Try it both ways, kids! You will not be disappointed.

On the menu:
Chuck’s Famous Onion Dip

2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups yellow onion, diced
2 cups swiss cheese, diced (why doesn’t anyone ever shred swiss cheese? why don’t they sell it pre-shredded in the grocery store alongside the cheddar and the mozzarella? the world may never know.)

Throw ingredients in a big bowl. Stir. Microwave for 10 – 15 minutes or until melted into one beautiful mixture. Stir. Serve with Ritz. Be as popular as Chuck.

To make the sandwich: thinly slice 1/4 of a yellow onion and sautee with butter until the onions are gently browned. Build a sandwich with turkey, swiss cheese, a healthy slathering of mayo, and the sauteed onions. Grill over medium heat until the bread is browned and cheese is melted.

On the menu:
Homemade potato chips

3 Tbsp canola oil
2 large potatoes (I think any kind will work here, but I used standard Idaho)
Seasoning*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices, using a mandolin or a sharp knife. Toss with oil. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until the slices are dark brown, just short of burnt. Immediately after removing from the oven, toss with salt and pepper or seasoning of your choice.

*Be creative! How delicious does shredded parmesan and parsley sound on these? Or a little cayenne pepper? Or just a healthy dose of freshly cracked black pepper? Or you could get REALLY crazy and sprinkle a little sugar and sea salt on them. The possibilities are endless. And if you mess up… well, you just wasted a couple potatoes. Call me. I’ll send you the $.65.

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Prune

I have a lot of opinions. If you know me in real life, this is not news to you. Some opinions are totally founded, others… not so much. I’ll admit it either way. One opinion that I think is completely justified is the aversion to trendy restaurants. If the chef is incredible, the food the best you’ve ever tasted, the ambience outstanding, then great. I want to eat there. If the food is mediocre but no one is willing to say it because the backer is a Vanity Fair editor and Jerry Seinfeld dines with Brooke Shields at this place on the regular… I just can’t buy it.

Enter Prune. Anthony Bourdain endorsed. Frequented by celebrities. And wholly worth the money.

photo c/o Foodie in Denial

Prune 54 East 1st St, New York, NY. Prune is a teeny, tiny American restaurant with an open kitchen, bright lights, and zero pretension. The menu is small but hearty, the wine list extensive, and each bite worthy of a “wow.” Reservations must be made at least a couple days in advance for weekend spots but it is so very worth it.

On the menu:
Roasted marrow bones with parsley salad and sea salt
Pork braised in octopus broth with clams, kale, and beans
Lamb blade chop with potatoes skordalia and dandelion greens
Cornmeal poundcake with poached pears, whipped ricotta, and rosemary syrup
Candied pumpkin with sugared “hay” with greek yogurt and honey

Verdict: Oh mama. This is one of those meals where in two weeks I’ll probably forget what I had for my main course because the starters and desserts were so incredibly out of this world. I had a slight apprehension when my dining partner suggested the bone marrow. It literally showed up on the table looking like the picture above, and all I could think of was, “My dog chewed on bones like that.” But friends… oh, friends. You dig out the roasted marrow with a little spoon and spread it on oiled toast, top it with the crunchy greens, sprinkle a little sea salt on top and inhale. If you can get past the consistency of the marrow, you will LOVE this dish.

The other standout of the meal was the dessert. After a full bottle of wine, I was feeling just adventurous enough to order something called “hay.” I am so very glad that I did. Little cubes of candied pumpkin are nestled in shredded wheat, with a dollop of greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey. I wanted to lick the plate. It was just that good.

For a take on Prune’s fabulous “hay” dessert, take a cup of greek yogurt, crunch up some shredded wheat cereal into the cup, and add a drizzle of honey. I don’t know if this dish is commonplace somewhere in the world, but if not… I’m patenting it right now. Hey breakfast.

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Bonjour, Tournesol

c/o Flickr

Greetings, readers! Apologies for the long hiatus. I bet you were sick of staring at that greasy pizza, eh? My new day job keeps me busy and I find at the end of the long day, all I want to do is read my trashy Glamour magazine and go to bed at 10:00. But I’ve been eating some incredible stuff lately, and it’s worth sharing.

I’m not ashamed to say that I have been single for most Valentine’s Days in my life. Ok… all of them. Every Valentine’s Day. I’m a nice girl! Seriously!

Anyway. This year, as I am finally not single anymore, I wanted to celebrate but also wanted to avoid spending $300 on prix-fixe menus set amid red balloons and roses. The Boyfriend and I decided we’d celebrate on Valentine’s Day Eve instead, when most restaurants are still serving their regular menus and half the amount of people are out foraging for romance in the form of eats.

Tournesol 5012 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY. Tournsesol is a tiny French restaurant settled in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens, just north of Brooklyn. With a kitchen headed by Christophe Morvan, this simple but well executed menu has something for every taste, at prices that allow you to come back again and again. It’s a special occasion restaurant without the special occasion price tag. The entire staff is fantastically and authentically French, and incredibly kind and helpful.

On the menu:
Tartelette of brie with caramelized figs
Bouillabaisse
Beef Bourguignon with tagliatelles
Bread pudding with raisins and crème anglais
New Orleans style beignets with orange rum sauce, vanilla ice cream, and mango

Verdict: Friends… I think I have a new favorite restaurant. Never mind that it’s in Queens and I have a deep and profound love of my borough, this place is everything. It’s small but not crowded, intimate but unassuming, delicious dishes but simple fare, and a quality, high-class dining experience without Manhattan price tags. The tartelette was a bit salty but sweet, almost mozzarella like in flavor and consistency and perfectly complemented by the juicy figs. I adored my bouillabaisse, and the bread pudding was out of this world. But the real meal winner was the simple beef and pasta with pearl onions that tasted like it had all been simmering together in red wine for days, and God’s egg timer went off and he reached down into the Tournesol kitchen and said “Now! Now the beef is DONE!”

Ahem. So… in other words… I liked it. It was pretty good. You should eat there. Amen.

Apologies for the lack of original pictures, or pictures in general. It was Valentine’s Day dinner and I felt like a goober pulling out my camera. Just go see for yourself!

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Where I Be

Dinner! Not every night. Don't worry, mom.

Dear readers,

You’ve probably noticed some radio silence lately. I haven’t been neglecting you on purpose… but mama’s been tired. Real tired. I started a brand spanking new job last week and I am totally in love with it, but it’s been kicking my butt a little. Dinners have been a lot of takeout, scrambled eggs, and apples and yogurt, and lunch has been quickly inhaled between conference calls and training sessions.

I plan on picking back up with posts VERY soon, and I’ll have many a delicious item for you beginning with a sweet Valentine’s Day post. But as for now… radio silence continues. Please excuse this interruption.

Love always,
Lauren E.

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Easy Like Sunday Morning

Confession: in the last six months, I’ve become a bit of a takeout queen. I blame the winter. Waking up on a cold Sunday morning, there is little I want to do besides lie in bed and watch TV, much less get out of the warm blankets and go out into the cold to get groceries or bagels. But then I looked at my checking account. Ouch.

Did you know a carton of eggs, a block of cheese, tomatoes, turkey, milk, toast, and butter costs about $12? And lasts for at least 3 meals? Sayonara, takeout.

On the menu:
Easy omelet

2 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp cheddar cheese, shredded
Any additional ingredients your heart desires (the pictured omelet has shredded cheddar, sliced cherry tomatoes, and turkey)

Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper, and the shredded cheddar. Spray cooking spray in a non-stick skillet and turn heat to medium/low. Pour in egg mixture. Rotate the skillet so a thin layer of egg coats the entire bottom of the skillet. Let cook until bubbles start to form. Rotate skillet again so the uncooked egg in the middle of the omelet slides to the outside to cook. Once center is almost firm, line up for omelet filling in one single line in the center of the egg. With a spatula, fold the edges of the egg toward the center, like a tri-fold letter. Cook for another 5 minutes and sprinkle with shredded cheddar.

Note: I did an omelet post awhile back, with the same technique, different filling.

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