While this blog post of the Jackson Heights $1 Eating Tour may occur over two separate posts on two different days, the eating was a one time occurrence, we basically walked and noshed for 4 hours.....So where did we leave off? Oh yes, the delicious spinach empanadas from El Chivito d'Oro. Next up was mini empanadas. Mini potato empanadas. The restaurant Seba Seba (79-28 37th Ave, between 79th and 80th Street) had mini empanadas for $0.40 each. Our team got 8 and plenty of the small free containers of salsa. These bite size potato empanadas were yummy but they did us over the edge with fried foods. After these little guys we took a break to peruse the Indian grocery stores for hard-to-find spices and took a food-coma-esque break in the shade on the stoop. Here is a picture of Katie and Jon:
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Last Sunday I went with three friends on a self guided $1 eating tour of Jackson Heights. It was our first time in Jackson Heights and we are all food enthusiasts. My good friend, Katie, and her boyfriend, John, are also from California so we were excited to see what Mexican food offering Jackson Heights could serve up. We got the idea for the $1 eating tour from an article in a recent TimeOut New York magazine. Our tour began just outside the subway stop with a Chinese bakery that is not worth mentioning as it was nothing compared to the Chinese bakeries of Flushing and Chinatown, Manhattan. The second stop was when the real Jackson Heights eating tour began...We tucked into a Columbian bakery called Mira Cali II Panaderia Y Pasteleria(76-04 Roosevelt Ave between 76th and 77th Sts, 718-779-7175) and shared two delicious pandebonos. They are slightly sweet Columbian cheese bread made with yucca flour and mild farmer's cheese. We had them warm and they have a slightly thicker crust with a perfectly moist and soft inside. This picture does not do the pandebono justice and I unfortuntately didn't get a picture of the inside of the roll.
Next stop was one of the best of all the $1 eating stops. We had incredible tacos and sopres out of a little easy-to-miss taco truck. The Tacos Mi Mexico Lindo truck (Roosevelt Ave at Gleane Street and Baxter Ave) is becoming somewhat of an institution, serving up delicious and fresh sopres, tacos and quesadillas. The sopres were thick, soft Mexican corn cakes with a large variation of toppings. We tried the Al Pastor and the Chicken. Then on the counter of the truck, is a ledge with many additional toppings such as pickled jalapenos, fresh cut radishes, cilantro, salsa verde and spicy regular salsa. Here is a picture of the sopre:And here are the best tacos I've had in New York from the Tacos mi Mexico Lindo truck:
Next up we were headed for a place that a coworker of mine, Will, recommended. When I told him I was going on a dollar eating tour of Jackson Heights, he shared his personal favorite place for empanadas that are only $1.50. As we walked over to Will's fav, El Chivito d'Oro (84-02 37th Ave at 84th Street) we stopped for a $2 bag of freshly cut mangos! I honestly have not tasted mangos so sweet and fresh since Thailand. the atmosphere at El Chivito d'Oro is lively and boisterous. The tables have large baskets of freshly baked bread and trays of delicious looking meats next to large bowls of chopped salads. Needless to say, had we not been on a 'walking tour" this would definitely have been the restaurant to stay a while and eat. We ordered one spinach empanada and one beef empanada. The spinach empanada was definitely my favorite. It had a delicious flaky crust and a lot of filling. A little reminescent of a spanikopita with a Latin flare.
Friday, May 28, 2010
This first time I made and ate chicken marbella was with my cousin, Megan, and friend, Sarah. However since we were just getting together in the evening we hadn't marinated the chicken overnight. The chicken was still so delicious that I couldn't imagine how it would taste had it been marinated overnight so I had been eager to try it! For Andy's birthday dinner, since I knew of it a day in advance, I was able to prepare the chicken the night before and let it marinate over night. This recipe is right out of the Sliver Palate Cookbook and the only modifications I made were increasing the olives and prunes. After reading many reviews on this recipe I have learned that if you don't have all night, it's fine to marinate the chicken for 5 hours. I served this with cumin curry popovers and a fennel and apple salad. This dish is really easy to pull together and is great for dinner parties, enjoy!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
As part of a birthday dinner for Andy I decided to make a raspberry tart for dessert. This is one of my favorite desserts to date. It's very delicious and I think I definitely ended up eating most of this extra large tart! I would love to make this again and use blackberries, blueberries or even sliced strawberries or cherries! I served this with vanilla frozen yogurt however I believe it would be quite delicious with whipped cream or French vanilla ice cream. Since butter is a key ingredient in this, it's important to use good butter. I used the Trader Joe's organic unsalted butter.
Brown Butter Raspberry Tart
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
2 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries
1. To prepare the crust, position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees. Using a rubber spatula mix the melted butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the flour and salt and stir until incorporated. You may need to use your hands to form it into a giant dough ball.
2. Transfer dough to a 9 inch diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Use your finger tips to press the dough evenly onto the bottom and sides of the pan.
3. Bake the crust until it is golden, about18 minutes. The crust will puff a little bit while baking. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool. Maintain the oven on 375 degrees.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, and salt. Add the flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter until it is a deep nutty brown, do not burn. You will need to stir the butter often and it should take about 6-8 minutes. Immediately pour the butter into a glass measuring cup, gradually whisk the butter into the sugar and egg mixture, whisking until smooth.
5. Arrange the raspberries, pointed side up and close together in circles on the cooled crust.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The first time I ever experienced a popover was with my mom at a cafe in Union Square, San Francisco. I remember loving their light fluffiness on the inside and the slight crispiness on the outside. I believe they are called "popovers" because of the way they pop over the sides of the muffin tins. Last Wednesday evening was a special occasion: we were having a small belated Birthday dinner for Andy. He just returned from Chicago the night before and I wanted to make a nice, healthy and tasty dinner meal to celebrate his birthday. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to bust out with some popovers. These are super easy to make and very tasty. Since the popovers were going to have Indian spice flavors I decided to serve these with hot mango chutney. The sweetness and mango chunks of the chutney were the perfect compliment to the subtle spice and fluffiness of the popovers. These are easy and delicious and sort of elegant - perfect for a weeknight meal.
Curry Cumin Popovers
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 large eggs
3/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray nine cups in a muffin tin.
2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and water. Add the butter in a stream, whisking. Add the flour and salt and whisk until the mixture is slightly lumpy, then add the curry and cumin powder.
3. Divide the batter evenly among tins and sprinkle the fennel seeds over the popovers. Bake on the lower third rack of the oven for 40 minutes. Cut a slit on top of each popover with a small sharp knife and bake for 5 minutes more.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
There is nothing like a mountain of cookies to get you excited. On Sunday evening I decided to use up my box of Irish oatmeal to make some good'ol oatmeal cookies, loaded with extra goodies. I also tried to make the cookies a little more healthy that your usual buttery ball. I prefer to use chopped dark chocolate pieces than mini chocolate chips because I have found that the dark chocolate pieces are more fun to eat and they have a much stronger taste than their little mini chip counterparts. With a cold glass of milk or a warm cup of tea, these cookies are a prime dessert. In an effort to make them healthier I switched butter with olive oil. The challenge was then keeping the batter together to make nice round balls. They don't have that comforting buttery taste that most cookies have, but are packed with flavor and taste great!Oatmeal Cookies with Dark Chocolate Chunks
(Makes 36 cookies)
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup regular sugar
1/4 cup fake eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dark chocolate pieces
1 cup raisins
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the butter, olive oil, and fake eggs in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add in the flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Mix until everything is incorporated. Add in the oats, walnuts, raisins and dark chocolate pieces.
4. Roll heaping tablespoons of the batter into balls and place them 12 to a sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and then cool on a rack for a few minutes. Enjoy!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Last month my roommate, Celadon, loves deviled eggs and after tasting the ones she made, I can understand why they are so addictive. I have been meaning to write this post however I haven't had a chance to ask her about the secrets to making these eggs. Celadon has been making deviled eggs since she was a kid growing up in Georgia, making them into little sailboats with a tooth pick and torn piece of lettuce as the sail. While she doesn't follow a specific recipe she was able to estimate her measurements so you can make these too! She used a zip lock bag to pipe the filling into the eggs so each egg looks perfectly even and elegant. These delicious deviled eggs were completely finished before we even started dinner!
Celadon's Carolina Deviled Eggs
(Makes 24 deviled eggs)
12 hard boiled eggs
4 ounces mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Just another Pad Thai dish, made with slight variations. I used whole chilies this time, rather than chopping them up. I used green cabbage, instead of red. I scrambled the egg in the wok with everything else, rather than doing it in a separate pan. And I omitted the lime wedges...because my friend forgot to pick them up. There are other small changes I made in my constant quest to get the perfect Pad Thai that is still low sodium.
Here are all the ingredients before I mix them with sauce:
(Serves 3 generously)
8 garlic cloves, minced
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 small head of greed cabbage, sliced
Pad Thai noodles
Small peeled carrots, cut into matchsticks
6 mini chilies
6 small chicken tenderloins, cut into bite size pieces
3/4 cup fake eggs
3/4 cup tofu, cut into cubes
3 1/2 tablespoons Pad Thai sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons canola oil
Chopped peanuts (for garnish)
1. Heat the canola oil in a wok over high heat until hot. Add the minced garlic and saute until brown and fragrant. Add the cut chicken pieces and saute until cooked through. Push the chicken to the side of the wok and add the fake eggs and scramble, once eggs are cooked, mix with the chicken. Add the tofu and noodles and pour the fish sauce and Pad Thai sauce over the mixture. Add the cabbage, chilies, carrots and green onions and using wooden utensils, mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.. Add more Pad Thai sauce if you want. Let all the ingredients cook together for a few minutes. Serve warm with chopped peanuts.
To my knowlegde there is usually a fairly lengthy wait, however you can have some cheap beer in line and the wait will just make your burger taste even more delicious. The atmosphere at Corner Bistro is laid back and unpretentious.
331 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10014
Labels: Restaurant Review NY
Monday, May 17, 2010
In 2007, I studied abroad in Singapore, and had the wonderful experience of traveling through South East Asia. While I was traveling on a shoe string, I had no problem trying all the delicious street food. In Vietnam, every corner had a little old lady making Vietnamese spring rolls. You could get them with shrimp or vegetarian and you had the option of fresh or fried. Since then, I have loved making Vietnamese spring rolls but I haven't posted about them because I have failed to take proper pictures. These were made by my good friend and we were in a bit of a rush so we weren't able to get pictures of the whole process. However, I promise that there will be many more Vietnamese spring roll postings as there are so many variations of this to be made. With this particular batch, I was limited to the contents of my refrigerator. I decided to make this batch fresh since it was a hot summer night that we had these. After we made the spring rolls, I noticed I was out of my Trader Joe's Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce (gasp!). But alas, I was able to improvise with some spicy peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Company and some other ingredients. Consider this recipe a great first time spring roll recipe. Here is a picture of our Vietnamese spring rolls and a heaping bowl of pad Thai.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Last week a friend from out of town, John, came for dinner. To go along with the stuffed artichokes and the fennel and cabbage salad, I made a main course of herb crusted salmon. With a hearty roll of whole wheat bread, this was the perfect combination. I am used to having salmon every Friday night growing up and now I crave it on Friday nights. This is one tradition I would like to keep. To keep things simples, I made the salmon in a pan and covered it and let it do its thing for about 15 minutes. When you remove the cover, the salmon continues to cook a little bit longer but it remains really delicious and flaky.
Herb Crusted Salmon
4 filets of salmon
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped
6 whole garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
For herb crust:
Ground coriandor seeds
Dried thyme leaves
1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Place the zucchini slices around the pan, making room in the center for the salmon fillets. Add the tomatoes around the pan and the garlic cloves. Place the salmon fillets in the center of the pan and generously lather the tops of the fillets with all the herbs so that it is completely covered. Drizzle the lemon juice over the whole lot.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The first time I had stuffed artichokes was at my cousin, Megan's, birthday dinner at this delicious Italian restaurant called Bacaro in the Lower East Side. Unfortunately, I have no recollection of what the artichoke was stuffed with, however I remember enjoying it very much! Other than that, my only experience with whole artichokes has been my mom boiling them and serving them up with mayonnaise. Artichoke hearts are always the tastiest part. A good friend, John, was in town for the night because he to do some work in lower Manhattan, so he came over for dinner and I thought this would be a nice appetizer. It went along quite well with the fennel and cabbage salad and a main dish of salmon. I got inspiration for this recipe on, you guessed it, Artichokes.org...When in doubt, just go to "Name of food".org or com and you should find some good stuff!
(Makes 4 servings)
2 large artichokes
1 cup herbed bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/8 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 cups water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash artichokes under cold running water. Cut off stems at base and remove small bottom leaves. Cut off top quarter of artichokes; discard. Spread leaves, remove center leaves and fuzzy centers with a spoon and discard.
2. Toss bread crumbs with cheese, olive oil, garlic, parsley, oregano, and pepper to taste. Stuff bread crumb mixture between leaves of artichokes and fill centers.
3. Place stuffed artichokes in a 9-inch square baking dish. Pour 2 cups boiling water around the artichokes. Cover with lid or foil. Bake for 40 minutes or until artichokes are tender. Remove artichokes from baking dish and place on rack; cool to room temperature.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Fennel and Cabbage Salad with Dired Cranberries and Apples
1 large bulb fennel, roots trimmed and very thinly sliced
1/2 small head of green cabbage, very thinly sliced
1 apple, unpeeled, cored and cut into matchsticks
A generous 1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1. Combine the fennel, cabbage, apple and cranberries in a large salad bowl.
2. In a small glass, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, fennel sees and ground pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until incorporated. Refrigerate for 15 minutes and enjoy!
Monday, May 10, 2010
My good friends Andy and Jared were coming over for dinner and I wanted to make a good basic chicken dish. I've known Andy and Jared since the summer after freshman year of college and while I get the pleasure of seeing Andy frequently, Jared lives in Boston, so it was wonderful to have them both in the same room! Here is a picture of Andy and Jared with our dinner spread; chicken Marsala, couscous, veggies
I am pretty sure that I have only ever had chicken Marsala once in my life and that was while working at an Italian restaurant in the West Village. I decided to give it a shot and I looked up a ton of chicken marsala recipes to get a basic idea for the ingredients I needed. I adapted my version from Emeril Lagasse's Chicken Marsala recipe. We had our chicken Marsala over a bed of Israeli couscous and with spicy roasted cauliflower and yellow squash. I picked up a cheap bottle of Marsala wine on my way home and was surprised when I opened it up and it smelled and tasted like cheap Manischewitz! Maybe I just know nothing about wine... Anyways, was easy and tastes really rich and wonderful, hope you enjoy!
(Makes 4 large servings)
8 chicken breast cutlets, pounded
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne powder
2 pinches salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons dried lead oregano
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more
3 tablespoons butter
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup Marsla wine
1 cup chicken stock
Chopped chives for garnish
1. Prepare a shallow plate with the flour, cayenne powder, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano and thyme. Mix the seasonings together and add more if you want.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. When olive oil is hot, work quickly to dredge the cutlets in the seasoning mixture and then place them on the skillet with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. (You may need to do the chicken in multiple batches). Cook the chicken until it is brown on each side, 3 minutes per a side, set aside.
3. When all the chicken cutlets have been set aside, add the mushrooms and onion to the skillet and another 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms are golden brown around the edges.
4. Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil. When wine has been cut in half, add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
5. Lower the heat to medium and add all the chicken cutlets to the pan and cook them until the sauce has thickened and they are cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve immediately.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Inside the restaurant they had a little sign that read "Voted Best Donut in New York by New York Magazine." A young man sitting next to us said he came to the restaurant frequently and that the donuts are very good. We were convinced, so we ordered a donut and here it is:
Next we ordered the Fried Catfish Breakfast combo which included two eggs cooked to your choice and a side of grits. The whole lot was topped with their house made salsa. Here it is my friends:
Next up we have the fried chicken and waffles combo. Another generous serving of friend chicken, two grain waffles and some fresh blackberries.
Finally, since the word "Pies" is in the name of the restaurant we couldn't leave without trying some of the their pies. They are known for their apple pie with cheddar cheese. So we ordered one of those:
While this slice of pie was tasty, there is A LOT of room for improvement. First off, it was served cold. Second, the pie crust was too thick and much too dense. Third, they really just put a slice of cheddar under the pie slice. Andy liked this particular attribute because it offset the sweetness of the pie and gave an interesting after taste. I did not appreciate this because my mom used to make apple pie with cheddar cheese and she would grate the cheese into the dough so that it baked with the pie and it was a million times tastier.
After ordering the apple pie, we learned they had a rhubarb pie so we tried on of those too:
Would I go back to Pies-N-Thighs? Absolutely, but I would order a little differently and try some of their other pies. Stick to the fried chicken, have a biscuit for the buttery comfort, ignore the donuts, get the catfish if you are into fried fish, and have a great time!
Fried Chicken Fan
166 South 4th Street (at Driggs)
Labels: Restaurant Review NY
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Whole wheat penne
Frozen chopped spinach, thawed
Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Stuffed Spanish olives
Pitted kalamata olives
5 garlic cloves, minced
1. Bring pot of water to a boil and prepare the pasta.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and olives and let simmer for a few minutes. Add sun dried tomatoes, spinach, and chickpeas, drizzle with lemon juice and more olive oil if necessary and saute for about 4 minutes. Add pasta and then pour tahini paste over mixture and gently mix with a wooden spatula to incorporate. You want the pasta to be generously coated with the tahini.
3. Allow ingredients and flavors to sit for a little bit to heat the pasta through. Enjoy with some white wine.