Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Chip Shop

My dad was in town for a visit this last weekend. This was his first time visiting us since we moved to Brooklyn, and we had a great time walking around exploring our new surrounds and eating lots of delicious food. On Saturday he requested fish and chips for lunch. We knew that The Chip Shop would be a good spot to satisfy his craving and it was right on the way for our walk to Prospect Park. His visit conveniently coincided with restaurant week here in Brooklyn, and once we arrived at the Chip Shop we learned that they were participating in Dine In Brooklyn. The special at The Chip Shop was for 2 three course lunches for $20.11. Dad and I ordered twin lunches. We each got the salad, fish and chips and the rhubarb crumble with custard sauce. My husband ordered the deep fried haggis with salad.

Dad and I were very pleased with our lunches. The salad was simple with nicely dressed greens; the fish had a crispy shell of batter with tender, flaky cod; and the chips were full of potato flavor. The portion was quite large and I couldn't finish mine. I think they could make it smaller for the three course special. Because we were already so full, we decided to ask to take one dessert to go. The rhubarb crumble was good. I could have gone for even more custard sauce and less crumble, but that's just my personal preference.

My husband was a bit disappointed with his lunch. We had visited The Chip Shop once before about a year ago and he ordered the haggis that time too. He thought it wasn't as good this time around. Last time we visited their Atlantic Avenue location. Maybe the haggis is just better there, but he decided he would order something different next time.

Dine In Brooklyn continues until March 31st. It's a great opportunity to try some local restaurants.

This post is part of Works-for-me-Wednesday, Let's Do Brunch, and Welcome Wednesday.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Versatile Mustard Sauce

We have fallen into a dinner rut since we moved to Brooklyn last October. I think there are a few factors that have contributed. Our move coincided with the time our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm share came to an end. The CSA delivery each week forced us to get creative to find new and delicious ways to eat up all of the vegetables. We also found out right before we moved that we were expecting our first child. Soon after, the fatigue and nausea of the first trimester set in and ruined most plans for dinner preparation. Finally, our commutes both got a little longer. It's amazing how getting home 30 minutes later can make such a difference. We arrive home tired and starving and it's hard to get motivated to make anything exciting for dinner. I keep telling myself that a meal plan and some slow cooker dinners will help, but I haven't been very good about following through on either front.

What to do? Well, we do have a very easy sauce that helps dress up our standard meat, vegetable and starch dinner. It's a delicious mustard sauce with only two ingredients. We tend to serve it over pork, but it would be great on chicken too.

We cooked our pork chops with some onions in a cast iron pan. Once they were done, we removed them from the pan and prepared the sauce in the same pan with the pork juices. We served it over some orzo with a side of broccoli and salad.

Mustard Sauce
2 T butter
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 C white wine (optional - we left this out)

Melt the butter over medium low heat and stir in the mustard (and wine if using it). Whisk until combined and then serve.

This post is part of Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Alphabe-Thursday, Tip Day Thursday Carnival, Frugal Fridays, Creative Girls Blog Hop, Foodie Friday, and I'm Lovin' It.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tandoori Chicken with Lemon Rice

My husband and I both really enjoy Indian food. Our old apartment was within walking distance of curry row, and we loved walking over to try all of the different regional specialties. Those dining experiences inspired us to try many of the dishes at home including Tandoori Chicken. It requires just a bit of hands-on time and planning ahead, and the results are full of flavor and spice. It does require quite a few spices. I recommend looking for them at an ethnic market where spices tend to be more affordable than at the grocery store and you can often purchase smaller quantities.

We served the chicken with some lemon rice. The the tartness of the lemon in the rice is balanced by the cashews, and it's always a big hit. Marinating the chicken in the yogurt and lemon spice mixture keeps it nice and moist and tender. We served this to company so we adjusted the quantities to make sure there would be enough for our guest and some leftovers. Both recipes can easily be adjusted up or down to accommodate your numbers.

Tandoori Chicken
serves 6

2 lbs cut up chicken (we just used chicken legs)
2 T garlic, roughly chopped
2 T ginger, peeled and chopped
2 T cumin seeds, or ground cumin
2 t ground coriander
1 t cayenne
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t pepper
2 t salt
1 C yogurt
4 T lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
2 T coconut oil
1-2 onions, cut into thick slices
cilantro, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the skin from the chicken, rinse and place in a bowl. Combine the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cardamom, cloves and pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse the spice mixture until the garlic and ginger are integrated. Add the yogurt and lemon, and pulse to combine. Pour the yogurt spice mixture over the chicken. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least an hour, but up to 24 hours. Coat the bottom of a casserole pan with the oil, and place the sliced onions and chicken in a single layer. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Lemon Rice
inspired by The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi

1 1/2 C rice
3 C water
1 t salt
3 T butter
1/2 C raw cashews
1 T mustard seeds
1/3 t turmeric
1/3 C lemon (juice of 2 lemons)
3 T cilantro

Add the rice, water, salt and 1 T butter to a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Follow the cooking directions for your rice. While the rice is cooking, melt the remaining butter in a small skillet and add the cashews. Cook until they are starting to turn golden. Add the mustard seeds and cook 2 more minutes. Once the rice is finished cooking, add the mustard seed, cashew and butter combination plus the lemon juice, turmeric and cilantro and fold together. Garnish with some extra cilantro.

This post is part of Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Delectable Tuesday Blog Hop, Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Tuesdays at the Table, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Tasty Tuesdays, Works-for-me Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Let's Do Brunch, Welcomne Wednesday, and Real Food Wednesdays.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Anniversary Desserts

When we went out for our anniversary dinner at L'Ecole, the desserts were really over the top. We went into a bit of sugar coma after all the delicious sweet treats.

Here is a photo tour of all of the treats (for some reason the photos turned out really gray - sorry):

The first dessert we ordered was the Chocolate Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Chestnut Ice Cream. Although when it came out, we both thought the ice cream tasted more like banana than chestnuts. We are not big on banana flavor, so this wasn't a positive development for us. But even with the banana ice cream, this dessert was delicious. The rich chocolate flavor of the bread pudding was really decadent.

The second dessert we ordered was the waffle with pomegranate gelato and Thai basil and grapefruit sauces. This was a bit disappointing. The waffle was a bit blah. I always like waffles with a crispy edge, and these were just bready. The pomegranate ice cream and sauces were delicious. Nice and tangy and not too sweet.

This was an extra little plate of treats that came out. My husband popped the chocolate in his mouth and declared that they tasted like miniature lava cakes. I think they were macaroons with a chocolate and raspberry filling. They were accompanied by miniature lemon cupcakes with whipped cream and raspberries.

We were already in dessert overload when the waiter brought us an extra dessert with the beautiful "Happy Anniversary" inscription. This Apple Brown Butter Cake with Apple Compote and Pomegranate Ice Cream was actually my favorite. Not too sweet, really buttery and full of apple and pomegranate flavor. This would be my recommendation for the dessert to order.

To top it all off they sent us home with brownies from the baking program in cute little mylar bags.

We really enjoyed our experience at L'Ecole and highly recommend it for a special occasion. While it is not cheap, it is good value for a prix fixe menu in New York City.

This post is part of Meatless Mondays, Mouthwatering Mondays, and Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Anniversary Dinner

We generally are pretty low key about meals. Lately we have been focusing more on quality ingredients than fancy cooking techniques or exotic flavor combinations. When we go out to eat, we usually frequent locally owned neighbor joints, but we decided to step away from the ordinary to celebrate our anniversary. We went to L'ecole last night for their four course prix fixe menu. It's the restaurant of the French Culinary Institute, but we learned it was actually professional chefs preparing the meals for our dinner seating. The meal was fabulous and we highly recommend it for your next special occasion.

Here is a photographic tour of our meal:

An Amuse-Bouche of Spanish Tortilla with Fresh Salsa.

Charcuterie Plate with Foie Gras, Pâté, Fromage de Tête and Duck Rillette. I didn't really care for the head cheese, but everything else was delicious.

Grilled Fig-Glazed Pork Belly with Butternut Squash Purée and Crispy Shallots

Broiled Lamb T-Bone Steak with Seasonal Vegetables, Goat Cheese Polenta and Fig-Merlot Lamb Jus. The lamb was so tender and perfectly cooked.

Miso-Glazed Beef Short Ribs with Celery Root-Potato Purée, Warm Brussels Sprout Salad and Pomegranate-Lime Vinaigrette. This entree had really great flavor combinations playing off one another.

I will share dessert photos tomorrow. They really deserve their own post.

This post is part of Works-for-me-Wednesday, Real Food Wednesdays, and Welcome Wednesday.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Perfect Eggs

I have been trying to eat eggs on a regular basis because they are chock full of such a wonderful combination of nutrients and protein, but it's been tough getting them down while I have been pregnant. My fall back method for including them in my diet has been French Toast. I could eat French Toast every day and not get sick of it. I know that eggs are better for you when the yolks are still runny, so yesterday I ventured out of my comfort zone to try some soft cooked eggs. They were fabulous! In the past, I have often ended up with yolks that are mostly cooked, but I think I have found the key to the perfect soft cooked eggs. I didn't add the eggs until the water was already boiling, cooked them for five minutes, and plunged them in ice cold water. The yolks had a delicious, creamy texture, and tasted great on some toast.

Soft-Boiled Eggs

4 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil. Add the eggs and bring back to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce it to a simmer. Cook for a total of five minutes for large eggs. Remove eggs from the pot and add to ice cold water. Once the eggs are cool enough to hold, crack open with a knife, and scoop the egg out of the shell. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Unfortunately, we were too hungry and didn't take a photo of the perfect eggs. You will have to use your imagination to see the runny orange yolks and firm egg white over some toast. Delicious!

Our Meal Plan for the week:

Monday - Chicken, sausage and bean stew
Tuesday - Anniversary dinner at L'Ecole
Wednesday - Dinner out while running errands
Thursday - Leftover Indian style vegetables and lentils
Friday - Homemade pizza

This post is part of Meatless Mondays, Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Mouthwatering Mondays, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, and Menu Plan Monday.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Have you heard the term "babymoon?" I think it's a relatively new term to describe a trip you take before the baby comes. I know that some people head out to luxurious tropical location, but we are sticking a little closer to home. We are wanting to save our vacation time and just go away for a weekend, so we were looking for a place within 3 hours of New York City, a bit warmer than home and affordable. Just to further complicate things - we don't have a car. We landed on Baltimore. It's not exotic, but it is a change of scenery, and I have never stayed there before.

Here is my question: Do you have any suggestions for restaurants in Baltimore? We will probably hit at least one crab place for my husband, but I'm allergic to shellfish, so other suggestions would be great. Breakfast places? Local food?

Thanks in advance for the advice.

This post is part of Alphabe-Thursday, Tip Day Thursday, Pennywise PlatterThursday, and Frugal Food Thursday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Salmon Orzo Salad

We have a few favorite dishes that we have made repeatedly. Each one of them gets adjusted each time to account for what we have on hand and the season. Salmon Orzo Salad is one of these dishes. Here is a version I made last summer. This time around we were cleaning out the freezer and used salmon, peas, and dried cranberries we had on hand. It's a nice combination of the salmon, the creamy, tangy goat cheese, the sweetness of the dried cranberries and the vinegar and mustard dressing. I think the traditional version with asparagus and scallions is even better, and once spring arrives we will have to make it again. The leftovers are easy to pack and great to take for lunch.

Salmon Orzo Salad
serves 6

8 oz orzo, uncooked
1 lb salmon
8 oz peas
4 oz goat cheese crumbles
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 T spicy brown mustard
2 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 C cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the orzo according to the package directions. Place the salmon fillets in an oven proof pan and cook for 20 minutes (or until the fish flakes easily with a fork). When the pasta is almost done, add the peas and drain it all together. Rinse with cold water to prevent over cooking and sticking. Add the flaked salmon, orzo, peas, goat cheese and garlic to a mixing bowl. Mix the olive oil, mustard and cider vinegar in a cup and drizzle over the mixture. Sprinle the cranberries over the top. Stir to combine. Cover and place in the fridge to let the flavors combine.

This post is part of Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Mouthwatering Mondays, and Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Delectable Tuesday Blog Hop, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tuesday Night Supper Club, and Works-for-Me-Wednesday.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mushroom Stuffed Turkey Breast

This last weekend we picked up a turkey breast at the farmers' market. We had never made just a turkey breast before, so we asked the farmer for some suggestions on how to prepare it. He recommended butterflying it and filling it with a stuffing of our choice. We decided to follow his advice and chose to make some mushroom stuffing.

We got half way through stuffing the turkey breast and realized that we were going to need something to hold it together. I should really invest in some kitchen twine for these types of situations, but we didn't have any handy, so we started hunting down something that could do the job. I have been working on a small rag rug out of some old cotton curtains, and decided to sacrifice a narrow strip of fabric to hold together our dinner. (I swear it's clean!) It worked like a charm.

Besides the hunt for a kitchen twine substitute, the stuffed turkey breast was really easy to prepare. I always feel that anything stuffed seems a little special, and this made for a mid-week treat dinner. The mushroom stuffing is full of flavor and quick to prepare. We served ours with quinoa and broccoli.

Butterfly the turkey breast. Because it is so much meat, we put half aside in the freezer to use later. Half the breast will still comfortably serve 4 people.

After placing the stuffing in the center of the butterflied breast, roll up the meat and fasten with twine.

We enjoyed our stuffed turkey breast with broccoli and quinoa.

Mushroom Stuffed Turkey Breast
serves 4

Half a turkey breast
2 T butter
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 t ground thyme
1/4 t garlic powder
a few shakes of oregano
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1/2 C chicken stock
kitchen twine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Butterfly the turkey breast. (We set aside half and put it in the freezer.) In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter and add the mushrooms and onions. Cook until the mushrooms are beginning to brown and the onions soften. Remove from the heat and add the thyme, garlic, oregano and Parmesan cheese. Place the stuffing in the center of the turkey breast. Roll it up and fasten with twine. Place the rolled turkey breast in the cast iron pan over high heat. Brown on each side, add the chicken stock, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes (or until it is cooked through). Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes and slice. Spoon some of the juice over the turkey.

This post is part of Alphabe-Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Full Plate Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, The Ultimate Recipe Swap, Tip Day Thursday, Fresh, Clean and Pure Friday, Foodie Friday, Fun with Food with Food, Fresh Bites Friday, and I'm Lovin' It.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

CSA Time

A sample haul from our CSA last summer.

I am really missing having a CSA (Community Supported Agricultural) Share. It's so nice getting a big delivery of fresh, local vegetables each week to guide our eating. I had intended to find a Winter CSA, but we were in England for a couple of weeks and then my first trimester nausea set in, so I missed the sign-up. We had a couple of warmer days last week, and it had me starting to think about Spring and CSA sign-up. We really enjoyed our Foodstockings CSA last summer, but we have since moved to Brooklyn and its Lower East Side location is too inconvenient. I went over to the trusty Local Harvest website to find some CSAs in our Brooklyn neighborhood. Can you believe that some of the groups already have a waiting list? The deliveries don't start until June here in NYC. I thought I was planning ahead, but I guess I'm not alone.

So this is my PSA: If you are thinking of joining a CSA, start researching your options.

Happy Eating!

This post is part of Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Delectable Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday at Beauty and Bedlam, Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, and Works-For-Me-Wednesday.
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