Saturday, May 25, 2013

8 Kitchen Gadgets I Can't Believe I Don't Have

Why don't I have these things in my kitchen right now? Seriously, Green Army Man toothpicks? My parties just got so much more amazing.

1. Monkey Peeler - Buy it here.
2. Food Fighters Toothpicks - Buy them here.
3. Frog Head Oven Mitt - Buy it here.
4. Ninjabread Cookie Cutters(Disclaimer - I DO have these and they are awesome!) Buy them here.
5. Bomb Kitchen Timer - Buy it here.
6. Chimpsticks - Buy them here.
7. Dynamite Candles - Buy them here.
8. Constructive Eating Utensils - Buy them here.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Googa Mooga and Homemade Hummus

This weekend we ventured out to the Great Googa Mooga in Brooklyn. If you aren't familiar, it is a food and music festival that allows eateries around the city to showcase their finest eats while guests sway along to the tunes of up-and-coming bands. While there are some booths that cater specifically to foodies (Foie gras donut? Come on.), there was great representation of simple food done very well.

We started on the foodie end of the spectrum - Rabbit and Snail Paella from Toro. Set to open its doors in the Meatpacking District this fall, Toro is hoping to make a name for itself with standout dishes like this. Luckily, they have plenty of time to perfect this dish between now and then. The snails had a muddy taste that did not play nicely with the gamey rabbit.

Some NYC institutions like Big Gay Ice Cream and Blue Marble were representing but I ultimately went with a delicious ice cream cookie sandwich from Melt Bakery. Simple, well-made vanilla ice cream artfully sandwiched between two of the most lovely chocolate chip walnut cookies I've seen in a while.

Then we decided to go traditional and pick up chicken fingers at Dirty Bird. These folks are doing it right. Juicy, flavorful chicken with a light and savory crust. The honey mustard sauce was the perfect blend of sweet and punchy.

As we strolled along and sipped our overpriced Blue Moon, the unmistakable smell of lobster wafted our direction. Red Hook Lobster Pound and The Lobster Place were somewhere in the area, but I went straight to my favorite - Luke's Lobster. These people do a lobster roll right. There's no photo because I did not even care about getting a picture. I just wanted to devour that sweet, buttery piece of heaven.  Why even bother with the others? That would be like cheating on your perfect girlfriend with her evil twin. I'll never stray, Luke's Lobster. You're the only roll for me.

We had a good time eating our way through the grounds - or passing up things that were simply laughable. (Again, foie gras donut? Why?) But honestly, you could get an even better experience by creating your own food safari in the city. Prices at the festival were twice the in-house prices for these restaurants and you'll probably enjoy exploring the city. So make a list of the restaurants you've really been wanting to try and make a plan. Go out and share one thing at each place and enjoy good food and conversation with your best friend.

After leaving Googa Mooga, we decided we'd go exploring. We came upon a great specialty food shop called Sahadi's. They sold zataar bread, a wide variety of spices and some well-priced dried fruits and nuts. We snatched up a little bit of everything and were inspired to whip up some hummus today.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans (14 ounces), drained
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 medium roasted red pepper
1 large clove garlic
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend well. You can add more olive oil if you like a creamier texture. Garnish with some cilantro and a squeeze of lemon and it's time to eat!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tarragon Sweet Potato Chips

I've recently discovered that tarragon is an entirely underutilized herb. After having french fries with a tarragon seasoning, I knew I had to start using this more often.

This herb has a soft texture and a flavor that is like a mix between fennel and anise. In other words- it is heavenly. So pick some up and start experimenting! Chicken stock or roasted chicken with tarragon. Mashed potatoes with tarragon sauce. The possibilities are endless!

Tarragon Sweet Potato Chips

1 tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 tbsp fresh tarragon, minced
1 medium sweet potato, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Very lightly grease baking sheet with olive oil.

Place sweet potato slices on baking sheet in one layer. Melt butter in a small pan and remove from heat. Stir in tarragon and brush butter mixture lightly on top of potato slices.

Cover with aluminum foil. Leave a small part open to release steam. Place on middle rack in oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove foil, turn off oven and place baking sheet on highest rack in oven for 10 minutes. That's it! It's time to eat!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

3 Mother's Day Meal Ideas

Moms are special creatures. I work with children, so I see snippets of a mother's everyday life and I am awed by their superpowers. I'm sure you were the most perfect, well-behaved child in the world, but your mom probably deserves a nice meal anyway.

Here are three meal ideas to help you make up for your torturous youth:

For the Veggie Mama
These Grilled Cabbages from Breanna's Recipe Box may not stay around as long as a bouquet of flowers, but they look just as pretty.

For the Hot Mama
Steamy Kitchen's Coconut Curry Shrimp recipe is so easy, you literally have no excuse not to make this.

For the Foodie Mama
These Breakfast Stuffed Poblanos from A Spicy Perspective are chock full of delicious layers of flavor.

Feeling inspired? Go on! Get in the kitchen an make your mama feel loved. (And don't forget to do the dishes afterward.) It's time to eat!