Le Weekend!

Happy Friday, friends! I’m ashamed at my week of blogging, or lack thereof. Sometimes you have big plans to make ground chicken tacos and you end up eating DiGiorno instead. Pretend I never said that.

I hope you all have magical weekends, and to get you in the autumn mood here are some things that are currently on my radar.

If you’re in New York City this weekend, go to New York Magazine’s Grub Street Festival! There are so many incredible vendors that will be there, you’re sure to get a jump start on packing on that holiday weight.

I’ve always had mixed feelings on Halloween because on the one hand, it is a holiday about ghosts, monsters, and being scared (none of which I have ever enjoyed) but on the other hand, it’s about CANDY. And sweets are something I can get on board with. Look at this cake! I want to make it. So, so very much.

Are you carving pumpkins this weekend? I am! And with all the beautiful leftover seeds, I’ll be making snacks. Roasted pumpkin seeds tossed with a little salt and oil are standard and delicious, but why not try something really tasty like rosemary/sea salt, brown sugar/bacon fat, or garlic/parmesan (for this last one, roast whole cloves of garlic on the baking sheet with the seeds and then toss with grated parmesan straight out of the oven).

Speaking of pumpkins, can you believe this? It’s a tiny pie inside a tiny cake topped with a tiny cookie! Did Jesus hear my inner most dreams?!

If you’re inclined to stay indoors this weekend, check out How to Cook Your Life (a documentary about Zen food master Edward Espe Brown) or Pressure Cooker (a documentary about three high schoolers from Philly fighting for spots in a citywide cooking competition), both streaming instantly from Netflix.

And lastly, if you’re really in the mood for fall food (and if you’re not then I don’t think we can be friends anymore) check out the newest issue of Food and Wine magazine. The cover alone will make you salivate. Not that I did. I’m just saying.

Have a beautiful weekend!

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Viva Italia!

 

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Joseph Bastianich, and Mario Batali: three of the brains behind Eataly (photo c/o Serious Eats)

 

On Monday, in honor of Columbus Day and being Italian and all, I finally made the trip to Eataly! I’ve been reading about it for months now and figured since I have my new camera and (I hoped) the crowds have died down a bit, I thought I’d make the trek.

Eataly is chef Mario Batali’s newest venture. It is essentially a mecca of Italian food, wine, and culture in the form of meats, seafood, cheeses, wine, gelato, espresso, homemade pasta, pastries, and even books. If it has something to do with Italy, you can find it at Eataly. Chefs and specialists prepare your food and answer any questions you could have about how to cook something, what to pair it with, and other details you never even knew you wanted to know.

Sounds pretty perfect, huh? Sure. Kind of. Uh huh. Every time I picked up a block of cheese or a slice of prosciutto I thought, “Yikes, that’s expensive.” Every time I walked by a table of people snacking on salami and sipping wine I thought, “Really? You like standing in this echoing warehouse packed with people trying to enjoy your twelve dollar glass of pinot noir?” Every time I smelled something delicious I was instantly distracted by the flashing flat screen TVs advertising trips to Italy and sponsors of the market.

I began to dream of the little Italian shop in Chelsea Market called Buon Italia with endless Italian cookie imports and meats and cheeses but at standard prices served by traditional little Italian men and women who barely speak English.

Call me a traditionalist (or maybe I’m just poor?) but Eataly struck me as a glorified Whole Foods, and I’m a simple girl myself. I think for now, I’ll keep my distance.

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Ahhhh Autumn

Oh friends. It’s fall. The season of sweaters, roast chicken, and snuggling up with blankets and mugs of apple cider. It is my FAVORITE season of all! And to celebrate the first few weeks of deliciously cool weather, I made risotto. Here tis.

On the menu:
Butternut squash, rosemary, and blue cheese risotto with chicken and pancetta
Adapted from Epicurious
Serves 3

3 1/2 – 4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp rosemary, diced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled
2 chicken breasts, diced into 1 inch cubes
4 oz pancetta, diced
1/4 cup mushrooms

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Cover and reduce heat to low.

Melt butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes, until pieces are tender. Add squash and rosemary; saute for 8 minutes. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 3 cups of broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until rice is tender and risotto is creamy and slightly soupy, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed to maintain consistency and stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Heat a small frying pan with the mushrooms in it. Once mushrooms have cooked down, around 5 minutes, add pancetta. Cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken. Cook until chicken is browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the spinach, cream, and both cheeses into the risotto. Plate and top with chicken/pancetta mixture.

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Burger Blitz

Is there anything better than a burger? Anytime I ever think I could become a vegetarian, I think of a hot, juicy, cheesy burger and the thought flies right out of my head. I just couldn’t give it up.

Gratuitous picture of delicious burger in 3… 2… 1…

Petey's! In Astoria, Queens

Luxury Travel Advisor just posted a story on New York’s 7 Best Burgers, as compiled by The Brooklyn Nomad.  While Petey’s is not on the list, it’s certainly my favorite burger spot in Queens. I guess I’m willing to try the 7 listed here. You know… so I can keep YOU informed. I’ll just keep telling myself that.

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Just a Nibble

Sometimes I read other food blogs and I feel inspired. And then there are times when I read food blogs and feel legitimately angry that I didn’t think of this first.

photo c/o Because I'm Addicted

Banana bites! Not healthy in the least, but what a delicious and adorable dessert. You could also roll the slices in caramel or toffee and sprinkle them with jimmies or Nerds or rice krispies. Good thing I have all the ingredients for this in my kitchen as we speak. Or maybe not a good thing at all.

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It was a dark day…

Dear friends,

My camera broke. I will spare you the sob story of how my bank account will not let me purchase another one, but the posts may be thin until this situation resolves itself. I have a lead on a loaner camera, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I give you this, the best picture ever taken by my crappy little camera. RIP Camera. It’s true what they say: you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.

From "One Meal Becomes Another"

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Free Sangria!

There’s a headline that’ll get your attention, am I right? This past weekend I went out for a delicious brunch with my lovely friend, Ben. When he sent me a list of possible new brunch spots, I saw the words “free sangria” and all other information was null and void. If there’s a better way to kick off your Sunday, I have never heard of it.

Combination plate with scrambled eggs, chorizo, and yuca frita

Agozar 326 Bowery and Bleecker St, New York, NY. Agozar is a Cuban-inspired restaurant positioned in a trendy neighborhood but with friendly prices. The brunch can not be beat! For around $15 – $17 you get an entree and two-hour unlimited free sangria.

On the menu:
Eggs benedict, Cuban style (Spanish ham, poached eggs, chipotle hollandaise, and Cuban toast) with salad
Combination plate: scrambled eggs, chorizo, yuca frita, and Cuban toast
Sangria!

Eggs benedict, Cuban style

Verdict: I don’t know, I’m still drunk.

Kidding! The food was DELICIOUS. An unlimited brunch drink special is no good if the food isn’t worth going for alone, and Agozar did not disappoint. Most would tell you I have an eggs benedict addiction and while they may be borderline correct, I just love trying out a new take on my favorite dish. My only criticism is that I like a thick slab of ham and you can see that this was sliced deli thin. In my opinion, when you have a hearty dish like eggs benedict you need the meat to stand out on its own. The chipotle hollandaise was a slightly spicy take on your standard hollandaise and while not a fan of anything spicy myself, I was putting this stuff on my lettuce and debating licking the plate clean. The chorizo was also perfectly done, crispy and hot off the grill and served in link form, which I prefer to the chorizo crumble you get in a lot of restaurants.

It should also be said that while the sangria was free, it was also very tasty. And they are not shy about refilling your glass! I highly recommend it.

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