Monthly Archives: March 2010

Dolla Dolla Bill, Y’all

New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world. And my paycheck is sickeningly small. But every once in awhile, God smiles down upon me and offers up His greatest bounty (food, that is) for just a buck. There is dollar pizza on St. Mark’s Place. Dollar drafts on Mondays at Third and Long. And while you may end up splurging on everything from bacon wrapped dates to crispy calamari while you’re there, there are dollar oysters at Lure.

On the Menu:
Raw oysters
Raw clams
Lobster croutons
Crab cakes

Look at those beauties. Hello, little friends.

Verdict: If you are hell bent on making it a cheap night, then pay attention: this place is great for the raw oysters and clams and the house wine (which will set you back $6 a glass). If you venture outside of this bar menu, you’re looking at a hefty bill. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the slurpy little creatures on the half shell. And for a buck a piece, you can’t go wrong.

For a comprehensive look at dollar oysters in the city, check out My Salty Sweet.

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Filed under New York Restaurants

Primavera

Last Friday, as the snow pummeled Queens and I didn’t venture any further than my own block, Becca’s lovely husband, Giuseppe, whipped up a mushroom risotto that I want to eat every day for the rest of my life. Modeled on Giuseppe’s recipe, I created something similar tonight for dinner. And in light of the slightly warmer temperatures we’ve been having this week, I threw in a little green because I can not wait one more freaking day for spring to arrive.

P.S. Don’t let risotto scare you! It’s actually ridiculously easy.

On the menu: Giuseppe’s Mushroom Risotto with Asparagus
Serves 2 (I made this as a side dish with a lemon rosemary chicken that wasn’t super memorable, but risotto can totally take center stage in a meal if you so choose – just keep in mind, this might not be sufficient sustenance for 2 if it’s all you’re having)

1/2 cup arborio rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups chicken stock, simmering
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sized shallot, finely chopped
1 cup white mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 cup asparagus, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp butter*
3 Tbsp heavy cream*
3 Tbsp grated parmesan

Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat (keep in mind risotto triples in volume, so make sure your pan is big enough – I’ve made that unfortunate mistake before). Add mushrooms and let soften for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and shallots, constantly stirring for 3 minutes. Careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the rice, stirring so all the grains are coated in olive oil. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock at a time, adding more as the grains soak up the liquid, stirring occasionally. When adding the last half cup of chicken stock, also add asparagus. Once the risotto has soaked up all the stock, add the butter and cream and stir until blended. Plate, sprinkle with parmesan, and eat immediately (risotto turns into a gummy mess if you let it sit too long).

*Note that the butter and cream are optional. While this is not exactly a “healthy” dish (someday I’ll make something Dr. Oz would approve of…) it becomes infinitely more so without the addition of butter and cream, and you’re not really sacrificing that much. But I will tell you… everything is better with butter and cream. Everything.

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Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Holding Out for a Hero

I have a great aunt who lives in Arizona. And to put it nicely, she’s slowly losing it. Yesterday I received a “gift” from her.

My favorite is The Golden Boy: Serve him immediately or he’ll leave you flat.

And if you’re especially lost, read Dr. Friedman’s other book, Smart Cookies Never Crumble.

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Filed under Miscellaneous

Thick Chocolate Love

“She loves Nutella.” Google: Nutella cake. Nigella Lawson recipe. Done.

Nutella is like the magic spread. It’s good on Wonder bread. It’s better on a baguette. And it’s the best baked into a cake with chocolate and ground hazelnuts, topped with chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. I wanted to celebrate the engagement of my friend Nikki with a cake that celebrates all that is gooey and decadent and chocolate-hazelnut-spread.

I found this recipe on one of my absolute favorite kitchen blogs, TheKitchn. This is not your mom’s Betty Crocker box cake. It is flourless, it has six eggs, and it’s laden with melted chocolate and nuts. Melted chocolate + 6 eggs – flour = dense brownie like mass of deliciousness personified. I was never good at calculus, but that’s math I can do.

On the menu: Nutella Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache
Adapted from Nigella Lawson, very slightly adapted from The Painted Peach

Cake:
6 large eggs, separated
pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 13-ounce container Nutellla
1 tablespoon rum
1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Ganache:
4 ounces whole hazelnuts
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup Nutella

Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter a 9-inch springform pan. In a large bowl (preferably metal), whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff. In another bowl, cream the butter and Nutella, then add the rum, egg yolks, and ground hazelnuts. Fold in melted chocolate.

Add a blob of beaten egg whites to the chocolate batter, and mix gently until well-combined. Fold in the remaining whites, one-third at a time, very gently but thoroughly. Pour into springform and bake for 40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting toothpick, which should come out mostly clean; lightly pressing finger into top to check for a slight bouncing-back; and observing edges beginning to separate from pan. Let cool completely, in pan, on a rack.

Ganache:
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet shaking them around frequently. Do it for about 4 minutes, or until they are lightly browned, then let cool completely.

Chop chocolate and put in a heat-proof bowl. Heat cream over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edge. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for one minute. Add Nutella and stir until combined. Let cool. Remove the rim of the cake pan and pour the ganache over the cake. Spread for a glossy finish, letting the ganache drip over the edges of the cake. Sprinkle toasted hazelnuts over the top.

And then proceed to eat your face off.

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Filed under Cooking, Recipes