Monday, June 30, 2008

Raspberry Ricotta Babycakes

When I saw the recipe for Mixed Berry Ricotta Babycakes, I knew I had to make them. Since planning an event at Shutters on the Beach a couple years ago and experiencing their lemon ricotta pancakes with raspberries and syrup, I have yet to find a comparably delicious breakfast. My assumption was these muffins would replicate the experience without all the work involved in making pancakes.

They come pretty close!
I had to bake them for 25 minutes, slightly longer than suggested. They puffed up beautifully just out of the oven and are a beautiful golden brown. My muffins were not as light as a pancake, which could have been an over stirring issue, but they had the same texture with the hint of ricotta. The muffins feel substantial, but I suspect they won't hold me over until 1:00 pm for lunch as they do not contain any fiber or protein.

Regardless, I
can't wait to make other variations or to just add lemon to another raspberry batch.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cilantro Hummus

After purchasing the biggest bunch of cilantro ever for $1.50 at Green Market, I was forced to find a creative way to use a lot of it at once before it went bad. This simple recipe for Lime Cilantro Hummus was perfect.

I don't have a food processor, but my hand held blender wand worked fine to process the ingredients. My only other substitution was lime juice from a squeeze bottle instead of lime zest and fresh squeezed juice.

The resulting flavor was amazing (I LOVE cilantro) and the whole process took maybe 20 minutes. I will definitely revisit this and make my own hummus moving forward. To make the lime flavor more pronounced, I might even follow the directions next time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Last week Jaime and I met at Stand, a restaurant that has been on my list for a very long time. While I would have loved to try a burger, I mostly wanted to go for a milkshake. As I was too full from lunch at Michael Jordan's The Steakhouse N.Y.C., which I will write about eventually (maybe), to have anything else it was just as well.

Jaime, however, did have the house burger. The unique elements were the onion marmalade (really just grilled onions) and blue cheese house sauce. She said the burger was good, but I couldn't handle a bite. I did try a bit of the sauce with a fry or two and wasn't too impressed. Jaime loved it though. As for the fries they were quality - crispy and golden brown. Per the recommendation of the server, we went with the regular version instead of the shoestring.

I ordered the Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake, their most popular one, and was very impressed with the marshmallow/vanilla flavor and consistency. The presentation was adorable as you can see below and almost makes it trump the all natural (I think) milkshake at Caracas Arepas Bar. It can't actually win as I'm partial to fresh coconut over most things. They also had other flavors I would go back and try: honey lavendar, pistachio and ricotta, etc.

Location: 24 East 12th Street (between University Place and 5th Avenue)
Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00p-12:00a

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mini Spinach Frittatas / Egg Muffins

A few months ago I made these breakfast muffins, which in spite of what I said I haven't revisited. Having found a much better egg muffin, I no longer have any intention of revisiting the cottage cheese version.

The ingredient list is much shorter for these egg muffins and the texture doesn't leave me wondering what to think. They are basically personal mini-quiches; the possibilities are endless. I have made the spinach frittata version. I've made a cilantro, red onion, and cheddar cheese version (pictured below). The results are consistently good and eggs for breakfast are ideal.*

For reheating, I recommend toasting them in the toaster oven rather than microwaving or they seem wet.

*I still prefer standard muffins, breads, and even cake though.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Café Fiorello

Back on June 3rd, my former co-worker, Linda took me to see New York City Ballet and for dinner at Café Fiorello. She saved me from melting into a stressed out disaster in my last job and her generosity knows no end. An evening with good company, food, and ballet can't be topped for me.

I started with the Stracciatella (Italian Chicken Soup). It was my first time having this soup! I wasn't sure that I needed an appetizer, but I'm glad I tried it. The spinach and poached egg make for a nice presentation and the soup has a rich, unique flavor. I'm looking forward to replicating it at home when the cooler weather returns. If only I knew this existed during my trip to Italy...then again hot soup in July would have been a bit much.

For our entree, we shared the "F.Ill Luppi" Prosciutto di Parma Pizza. I don't know how they did it, but this pizza was unlike any other I have had. The crust was thinner than a cracker, soft, and yet firm. Though I was full I could not resist scooping up slice after slice. The aged bsalmic vinegar was a perfect complement to "fior di latte mozzarella, shaved parmigiano," and prosciutto.

I definitely would consider returning here pre-Lincoln Center events, if I felt like splurging and had remembered to make a reservation. The restaurant always seems packed!

Location: 1900 Broadway (between 63rd and 64th Streets)
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 a-1:00a, Sat 10:00a-1:00a, Sun 10:00a-11:30p

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella, Proscuitto, Basil, and Cherry Tomatoes

I was a little hesitant to tackle pizza from scratch after my struggles with this Pizza Bianca the other weekend. But a trip to Little Italy for fresh mozzarella, the greenmarket for basil and cherry tomatoes, and too many delicious food blog posts about pizza lately left me determined to try again.

I decided to try this recipe and to start *gasp* at the reasonable time of 4:30 pm. I actually had dinner done by 7:00 pm. The whole process could not have been easier and the resulting pizza was delicious. It didn't seem to be as filling as the $2.25 slices available all over though. Maybe my metabolism is up today?

Next time I will definitely use tomato sauce as a base and/or or more toppings. I needed more flavor. I can't wait to try other variations now that I have a "go to" recipe in my repertoire.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

When I made Apple Crumble a few months ago what I wanted, without knowing it, was this dish. As often is the case, good things are worth waiting for.

This my first experience with rhubarb and I wasn't sure what to expect. Raw it reminds me of something you could use to brush your teeth. I can't explain that. It is bitter and seems to have an astringent quality to it. When cooked it retains most of its shape, but breaks down into a stringy, soft texture.

When I took some of this Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble home for my parents to try, I insisted you couldn't taste the rhubarb in the final dish. My Mom who dislikes rhubarb did not agree. She did agree, however, that this was a great crumble recipe. I can't wait to make it with other fruits as they come into season.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Palak Paneer, Two Ways

In college Jim insisted we go for Indian food one night; I wrinkled my nose, protested lightly, and then sucked it up. I had experienced an Indian buffet in Arlington, Virginia toward the end of high school and was not impressed with the cumin and anise seeds I kept encountering. The flavors were too intense. Thank goodness for Jim though! That night I discovered one of my favorite dishes to date Palak Paneer (and Naan, of course).

When my Mom visited this Fall, we made Palak Paneer from scratch, even the paneer. Do you know how long it takes to bring milk to a boil?
I was proud of the accomplishment and it tasted good, but I will likely never do it again as savoring the dish in a restaurant with naan makes more sense. Then again I did discover pre-made paneer, unpriced, at Whole Foods. It might be worth checking out...

In the meantime, I will continue to make the version I discovered in college. It requires half the effort and produces similar results. Just be careful not to simmer out too much of the sauciness or you'll end up with the version depicted below - tasty and a little off.

This dish is very rich, pretty healthy because of all the spinach, and best served with rice to tone down the spiciness.

Carrot Soup from the 1977 edition of Moosewood Cookbook

I bought a bunch of fresh, sweet, orange carrots the other week with the goal of making soup. Unfortunately, it was a busy week and they became flaccid and inedible. I saved the bookmark for the Moosewood Cookbook's Carrot Soup for another day.

I'm really glad I did. This soup is easy to put together and the richest vegetable soup I have eaten to date. It ends up looking like an intense, cheddar cheese soup. The soup is great hot or cold too, which is handy as Summer has arrived. I stirred in sour cream and opted to add fresh ginger.

I love that the recipe is flexible, so you can use whatever add-in you have on hand. Definitely making this again.