Monthly Archives: December 2012

Peace Out, 2012!

It seems as if whenever December 31st rolls around, my friends and I all say, “Ugh, GOOD RIDDANCE! Next year will be so much better!” But you know what? This year I truly believe it. In 2012 I lost my job, and I’m already starting out 2013 knowing I have a new one (heyooooo). And it’s way better. Just saying.

So thank you for all of your kindness, readership, and support this past year! Here’s to a bigger, better (lucky) 2013!

photo

A light spring risotto with shrimp

 

 

Pancakes with bacon hidden inside, topped with apples

Still the most popular post on Food E.: pancakes!

 

meal

A delicious summer meal, totally vegetarian

 

558349_10101359547422869_85665938_n

My second favorite restaurant meal of the year: Red Rooster Harlem

 

The only picture we snapped at Per Se (I didn't want to be that annoying girl with a flash going off at every course): Mignarises

The most amazing meal I’ve ever had: Per Se

 

20121205143341

A Christmas cocktail not to be missed: cranberry pomegranate bellinis

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Miscellaneous, Recipes

Studio Diner in San Diego, CA

20121224011554
I spent last week in San Diego, CA with The BF and his amazing family, and in between Christmas feasts I ate a whole lot of junk food. There’s just something about this time of year that makes me want to fill my face with everything fattening, filling, sugar-coated, and greasy.

That’s normal, right?

Anyway, I thought I’d pick one meal out of many to highlight a new spot I’d never heard of in San Diego. If you’re in the area and looking for something delicious late night (or any time, really) this is the SPOT.

Studio Diner, 4701 Ruffin Road, San Diego, CA (Kearny Mesa neighborhood). The diner is a 1940s throwback, decorated with movie memorabilia and set just outside Stu Segall Productions, a working TV and movie set (Silk Stalkings and Renegades were filmed here). Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives filmed an episode here and it’s been bustling 24/7 ever since. The menu is chock-full of diner favorites, and breakfast is served all day (and night) long.

On the menu:
Chili “Crew” Burger with coleslaw
Monte Cristo
Black and white shake

Verdict: I died and went to diner heaven! Truth be told, I have yet to find a really great old school diner in New York City. They’re all Greek, or giant portioned, or overpriced and underwhelming. But this place hit the spot. The burger was open faced and covered in chili, red onions, and cheese and resting on a toasted bun. The coleslaw was creamy and clearly freshly made, the milkshakes were super thick and come half in the fountain glass and half in the tall silver shake cup, and the Monte Cristo was fried to perfection. I highly recommend this spot at any time of the day, but specifically in the wee hours of the morning. Just be forewarned: it’ll be packed.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel

Happy Christmas!

This is in my very near future...

This is in my very near future…

Ladies and gents, I’m taking off. I considered scheduling filler blog posts while I’m away but I just didn’t want to keep posting random stuff, so I’ll just say I’m off to Rochester and then San Diego for the holidays and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I’ll spend my time in Roch drinking too much wine with my mom, laughing my butt off with dance girls, and getting lost in the town I lived in for 20 years. You know how it goes. In SD I’ll be wearing shorts with sweaters (I’ve always wanted to do that!), spending my first warm weather Christmas with The BF’s amazing family, and eating buckets of seafood at Rockin’ Baja Coastal Cantina. It’s going to be a magical vacation and I hope to come back 5 pounds heavier.

Merry Christmas, friends!

Leave a comment

Filed under Miscellaneous

Red Velvet Christmas Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes
Red velvet cupcakes are a mystery to me… there is nothing really special about them aside from their color. They’re basically barely-chocolate flavored cake with cream cheese frosting. But when I was trying to come up with a special little dessert for mine and The BF’s honorary Christmas celebration (traveling on Christmas doesn’t really lend itself to hauling around loads of gifts, ya know?), I couldn’t think of anything more perfect than little red colored cakes. And besides that, The BF loves red velvet. So I took a crack at it, threw caution to the wind and added the ENTIRE little bottle of red food coloring, and kind of loved it. Here’s to red velvet. I saw its face, now I’m a believer.

On the menu:
Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp liquid red food coloring
1/2 tsp white distilled vinegar
1/2 tsp baking soda

In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder together.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until it’s soft. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the egg and beat until combined, and then add the vanilla and cream the mixture together.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk with the red food coloring. Beat together on low speed the flour mixture, the butter mixture, and the red food coloring mixture, alternating the flour and food coloring in three separate pours, ending with the flour (i.e.: Add 1/3 of the flour, half the red, 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 the red, then the rest of the flour).

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and the baking soda. Quickly fold the liquid into your batter and then divide into 12 muffin tin tups until each cup is half full (don’t worry, this batter rises a lot).

Bake for 18 – 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one cake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

Cream cheese frosting:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar and vanilla until combined. Pipe onto cupcakes (or spread with a knife) and sprinkle with green sugar to finish.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Caesar Salad with homemade croutons

photo
Sometimes I try to imagine what I will be like as a pregnant lady. I’m YEARS away from finding out (PROMISSSSE) but the images still float through my brain when I think about my eating habits. When I made this dressing… I knew. It became crystal clear. I will not be one of those women who asks her husband to go out at 3am for McDonald’s or who starts to eat oranges with every meal. I will be the woman who can’t shake her need for homemade dressing, and who tiptoes to the kitchen at 1am when she can’t sleep to make a triple batch of caesar dressing and then proceeds to eat it with crackers/a loaf of bread/fingers.

I’m more THAT woman.

Even if you’re not a complete psychopath, you will love. this. dressing. I’m not kidding, The BF said this is the best thing I’ve ever made and that he could drink it with a straw. I’m not ashamed to say we ate 3 bunches of romaine and an entire loaf of white bread worth of croutons because of this dressing… it was straight out of National Geographic.

So… try it. That’s all.

On the menu:
Caesar dressing
Makes 2 cups

2 anchovy filets
2 garlic cloves
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup half and half
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (or the juice from half a lemon)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra milk for thinning

In a small food processor, blend together the anchovies and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the mixture is completely blended together. If it’s too thick for your taste, add milk a Tbsp at a time to thin it out. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. For best results, let refrigerate over night.

On the menu:
Garlic croutons
Makes approximately 3 cups

1 small loaf of freshly made bread (day old from a bakery is best)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, halved
2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice bread into one inch cubes (tip: freeze bread first to make it easier to cut and reduce crumbs). Melt butter and garlic cloves together in a small bowl in the microwave. In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the garlic butter until the bread is coated.

Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet. Sprinkle cubes with salt. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until croutons are browned on all sides (careful not to burn!)

To make the salad: Grill a plain chicken breast with plenty of salt and pepper, and once cooked slice into thin strips. Wash and chop romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces, top with chicken, fresh croutons, caesar dressing, and a grate of fresh parmesan cheese.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Tips for Throwing a Holiday Brunch (plus sweet fruit dip!)

BrunchToday’s post is the last in the holiday brunch series, and I thought I’d offer up just a few more tips on making your brunch a success.

1. Finger foods: Never have I ever seen a holiday home brunch where every single person sat down at a nice, long table complete with place settings and a solid surface to cut their food on. Where’s the fun in that? Keep your food small and finger-friendly, and if you must use utensils, limit it to forks. That way everyone can still eat even if they’re standing, and everyone has a free hand for a cocktail. Duh.

2. Keep it small: No one shows up to a holiday brunch ready to eat their faces off. Okay, MOST people don’t. During the holidays, everyone is up to their ears in cookies from co-workers, sweets at home, and candy cane colored everything. The last thing people want is to be force fed your giant culinary mess. I also like to keep things small so that it’s never apparent how much any one person has eaten. Maybe somebody wants only one slice of apple. Maybe somebody else wants eight pounds of hasbrown casserole. No judgment.

3. Balance the sweet and the savory: One year I attended an office potluck holiday party where someone brought chicken wings… they disappeared in about 3 minutes and at the end of the night there were more cookies and cakes leftover than you could shake a stick at (that’s how that saying goes… right?). The moral of the story is that one cannot live on sweets alone… trust me. I’ve tried. Make sure for every sweet dish, you have a savory.

4. Loosen up: No one cares if your plates match or your house is spotlessly clean. They care that they’re all together under one roof, oftentimes for the only time that year. Forgive the spills, laugh off the food flops, have another cocktail, and remember: brunch is an early meal so you can be asleep by 8. Amen.

The last dish on the brunch menu is one I am a tiny bit embarrassed about… it contains Fluff. That’s right. That disgusting, sticky, white spread that my mom wouldn’t let me have when I was a kid but I would sneak at friends’ houses (sorry, mom). It’s gross. But you know what? It makes a damn fine dip for fruit. And when I started researching “fruit dip” this one came up more than I care to mention. So should you dare to add one of those vintage-labeled jars to your cart at the supermarket, you won’t be disappointed. Cross my heart.

On the menu:
Sweet Fruit Dip
Makes 2 cups

1 7-oz jar of Fluff
1 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, optional

Add Fluff and cream cheese to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend the mixture together. Pour into a bowl and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon for decoration if you wish. Cut up fruit to serve alongside, such as pears, apples, and grapes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes, Tips

Mini Ham and Gruyere Frittatas

Mini frittatasEggs are by far one of the most difficult dishes to make for a brunch. Unless you hire someone to work an omelet station, you’re probably going to resort to a frittata or quiche to serve to a group. But even then, you have to slice and serve it… and I was kind of aiming for little to no work during this brunch, you get me? Enter personal sized frittatas.

These are hilariously easy, and although gruyere is on the pricey side, it has that decadent flavor that makes this dish taste way more high end than it actually is.

On the menu:
Mini ham and gruyere frittatas
Makes 12 frittatas

8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup grated gruyere
6 oz. smoked ham, diced into small chunks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pepper, and salt until foamy. Fold in the ham and gruyere. Pour into the muffin tins until the cups are almost full.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until the eggs are puffed up and slightly browned. Serve hot.

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes