Sunday, April 4, 2010

Two new favorite restaurants in NYC

On my trips back to NYC over the past six months or so, I've tried several new restaurants but these two stand out in my mind: Hundred Acres in the West Village and Ippudo in the East Village.

Hundred Acres: was all-around fantastic. I made a reservation for 8 PM on a Friday night and we were taken to our table by 8:10, which is pretty good for New York. The atmosphere was warm, relaxing and casual. The tables were spaced far enough apart so that we didn't feel like we were sitting on top of the other diners and the noise level was just right. The wine & beer list was thoughtfully curated, with a focus on local brews. The butter that came with the bread was ridiculously good - we asked for two additional baskets of bread, just so we had an excuse to eat more of the butter. It was creamy, soft, with a slight sweet hint. Later, the waiter told us that the butter is made with honey. All of our entrees were delicious and appropriately portioned. I recommend everything. It's a great place to go to catch up with old friends!

Ippudo: hands down the best ramen shop in NYC. And everyone else in the city seems to think so because I went for lunch on a random Tuesday and the wait was 30 minutes! This place blows Ramen Setagaya out of the water. I finally figured out what it means to have a broth with depth and complexity, because Ippudo's ramen has both. After drinking a full bowl, I wanted more because with every sip, I tasted a new ingredient. The pork was tender and fatty, with just enough salt. The noodles were the perfect consistency, chewy but still tender. I had a truly delightful dining experience at Ippudo and left the restaurant with a full belly, runny nose, flushed cheeks and feeling like I had just eaten something really special.

Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers

I'd like to take a moment to praise the merits of Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers frozen meals. These things have pretty much gotten me through grad school. I've eaten my fair share of frozen meals over the past year and these by far are my favorite.

They are really easy to make, relatively low in calorie and sodium content and most important of all: tasty! I've seen them go for as low as $2.50 each at Target.

My favorites so far:
Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean
Grilled Basil Chicken
Chicken Red Pepper Alfredo
Grilled Chicken Marinara

Spinach Quiche

Ok it's been awhile since I last posted...and that's because school has been crazy hectic and I've been eating frozen meals for the past month. Pretty sad.

Anyway, I had a couple of friends over for dinner last night and I decided to make Spinach Quiche, mostly because I already had most of the ingredients in my pantry. It was very easy (took less than 1/2 hour of prep time) and a big hit, so I think I'll be making this more often. I cobbled this recipe together from a couple of other recipes I found online and added a couple of ingredients of my own:

1 9" pre-made pie crust
1 10 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 scallions, 1 thinly sliced and 1 cut into long pieces
1/2 cup of cottage cheese
1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of roasted chicken, chopped
4 eggs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Saute onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the thawed out spinach and saute for about 8 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add two liberal pinches of salt and a pinch of pepper.
While the spinach and onions are cooking, combine the eggs, various cheeses, chicken, 1 sliced scallion.
After the spinach and onions are cooked and have cooled down, add that in to the egg and cheese mixture.
Pour everything the pie crust, garnish with the long pieces of scallion
Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 40 minutes, or until the quiche has developed a golden brown color on top.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

America's Foodiest Small Town....

I came across this article while researching some new restaurants to try in the RTP area. I didn't realize there was so much good food in Durham!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chocolate Pudding Pie

I had to make a dessert for a potluck last night and only had 30 minutes or less to churn out something presentable. I always turn to Smitten Kitchen when I'm in need of a dessert recipe and this recipe for Chocolate Pudding Pie did not disappoint. A couple of time saving tips:
- use pre-made pie crust, pick it up in the frozen aisle of the grocery store
- canned whipped cream, definitely not as tasty as self whipped cream, but it'll look just as nice
The pudding itself only takes about 15 minutes to make and anything in the shape of a pie always looks impressive.

Remember to constantly stir the pudding while it's cooking over medium heat, otherwise the bottom will burn and your dessert might or might not taste like burnt chocolate.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chicken with peach salsa

It's been awhile since I last posted. Moving to Chapel Hill and starting grad school has kept me pretty busy! For the first few weeks right after I moved down here I was eating whatever I could scrape together - ramen, toast, canned soup. It was pretty crappy. I'm finally slowly getting back into the swing of cooking on a regular basis. I've got a much bigger kitchen to work in, plus a dishwasher, so it's pretty exciting! Amar came down for a quick visit this weekend and he cooked a delicious Sunday night meal. I wish I took a photo of the dish, it was bright and colorful.

I usually go into a grocery store with a meal in mind and buy the ingredients that I need. Amar likes to wander around the produce section until he's inspired by something that he sees. This time he was inspired by a package of store made peach salsa from Whole Foods:

3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 liberal splash of orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice from one lime
pinch of salt

Combine the marinade ingredients in a food processor
marinade 2-3 large chicken breasts for 3 hours
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Pan fry the chicken for 3 minutes on each side
Put the chicken in the oven, cover with aluminum foil, bake for 8-10 minutes
Meanwhile, cube one ripe avocado
combine with fresh peach salsa (or mango or pineapple salsa)
Take the chicken out of the oven, pour the chicken and juices over the salsa
combine so that the salsa is warmed

Serve with rice and beans