Posts Tagged ‘food’

My friend and gourmet cook (and food photographer), Grace Gotham, has lately been posting yummy photos of her culinary creations.  She cooks healthy, light and delicious dishes and has given me permission to post her tuna salad roll.  Seriously her photos practically make you want to lick the computer screen!! I know that sounds gross but you’ll see for yourself!

Here’s is Grace’s quick and easy recipe:

Tuna served lobster roll style! Tuna salad made with @fage 2% Greek yogurt, fresh dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, finely chopped celery and onion, diced kosher dill pickles, and a smidge of Sir Kensington mayonnaise. @gothamgreens Bloomin Brooklyn iceberg lettuce adds fresh crunch. All on a classic Martin’s potato roll. ‪#‎gracegothamgourmet‬ ‪#‎tasseltotable‬

Tuna Served Lobster Roll Style

Tuna Served Lobster Roll Style

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Recently, I wrote how stressed I’ve been over a few things!  Tia, who is actually Juanita, my sister-in-law arranged a special fun day this past Saturday for both of us.  It was guaranteed to be fun and stress-free!  We were going to spend the day at Sakura Matsuri or Cherry Blossom Festival viewing the beautiful cherry trees, drinking Sakura tea, watching some Japanese flower arranging and maybe catch a Tea Ceremony.  I would be Juanita’s guest as she belongs to BAM (Brooklyn Art Museum) which is adjacent to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and where there are over 200 cherry trees of different varieties! She brewed some sakura tea which we enjoyed in a shady spot mid-afternoon.

Real China Cups

Real China Cups

And how did my sister-in-law come to be such a fan of the cherry trees?  Well, to begin with, she informed that she’s sure she was Japanese in another lifetime and one can’t really argue with that!  Her son, (my nephew by marriage) lives and works in Japan and is fluent in the language (I am so impressed with that)!  Juanita goes to Japan once a year to visit Justin and tries to time her visit to see the cherry blossoms. She came home this year with a beautiful kimono which she wore while we were at the Gardens.

Tia's Cherry Blossom and Butterfly Kimono

Tia’s Cherry Blossom and Butterfly Kimono

Viewing the cherry blossoms in Japan is an amazing experience;  In Japan this annual celebration is about appreciating the temporal beauty of nature.  Friends and families gather under the cherry trees for a picnic or hanami for food and drink, songs and to enjoy the beauty of the sakura (cherry blossoms).  Celebrations begin in the day and often last into the night.  The viewing of the trees begins the buds bursting into bloom and ends with the colorful pink and white carpet of petals on the ground.

Bursting to Bloom

Bursting to Bloom

Pink, Pink and Pink

Pink, Pink and Pink

Typical of the American way of life, I walked around the 42+acres of trees, seeing them, enjoying  them but never sitting still long enough to really, really appreciating their beauty, their delicate color… No we were off to see the flower arranging and the library and the vintage kimonos.  Well, actually in all honesty, we only had a couple of hours, it was hot and we saw as much as we could.

The Art of Japanese Flower Arrangements

The Art of Japanese Flower Arrangements

The Botanical Gardens are not only splendid with Cherry Blossoms, there are gorgeous Magnolia trees all around the Library.

Deep Pink Magnolias

Deep Pink Magnolias

Juanita suggested we return to Manhattan and board a bus to New Jersey where she would take me to a huge Japanese food market where we could have a late lunch and I would get to see a store full of exotic Japanese food products.  I love to go to ethnic markets, checking out items I never heard of and admiring the packaging and labeling.  I could have wandered around that store for hours.  We were ravenous and ordered A LOT; Most of it was gone by the time we decided to take a photo.

Ramen, Rice, Salmon and a Hard-Boiled Egg

Ramen, Rice, Salmon and a Hard-Boiled Egg

I had such a great time checking out the Saki, the Daikon, the various Teas and then best of all, it was time for sweets!  Tia bought a dish of Japanese soft ice cream in the exotic flavors of Black Sesame (which tasted like peanut butter), Matcha Green tea and Madagascar Vanilla.  If you are a follower of this blog, you know I was in bliss!  And then we had a big fat cream puff filled with Green Tea cream.  I brought home an Ichigo Daifuku for my husband who I had abandoned for the entire day.  This Japanese delicacy is a strawberry wrapped in red bean paste and mochi and he loved it.  I hate to admit this but at the check-out counter where impulse purchases are the same in every market, we bought yeast cakes, one filled with cream and one with red bean paste.  I thought I would not eat another morsel when I got home but sometime around 8:00pm I heard the yeast cake calling my name! 

Ichigo Daifuku

Ichigo Daifuku

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Braising Pan by Schulte-Ufer

Braising Pan by

As I said in an earlier post, there’s a whole lot of cooking is going on this weekend.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s been raining for most of the time.

I had had some chicken thighs in the freezer for a while and thought I should  use them so I looked through my recipes to see what I could make.  Two caught my eye and ultimately I opted for the quick and simpler version. You will note that in this recipe and many others, that I use a braising pan.  I never owned one until a couple of years ago and now I can’t imagine cooking without one.  I use it all the time and if you want to cook or like to cook, I suggest you invest in one.  Actually the one I have in my cottage is more the perfect size  (11 1/2 “) than the larger one in NYC.  I always forget to mention that I use the braising pan as the serving dish/bowl for my meal.  That could be because although the cottage is filled with kitchenware and dish ware, I don’t have that medium size shallow bowl in which to serve my dish.  Maybe, BUT it sure makes cleaning up easier and keeps the food hot right from the stove to the table.

Balsamic Orange Chicken

Balsamic Orange Chicken – courtesy Martha Stewart


4 bone- in, skin-on chicken thighs

1 TBS olive oil

2 TBS Balsamic vinegar

1 orange cut into 8 wedges

1 TS unsalted butter


Pre-heat oven to 450 °

Heat oil on med-high in oven proof skillet ( I used a braising pan) and brown chicken skin side down till golden crispy, about 7 minutes.  Remove from pan to plate and pour off fat from skillet.  Return chicken to pan skin side up and put in oven for 10 minutes (I checked the temperature of the meat with my thermometer). Return chicken to plate.

Heat skillet over medium  and add vinegar and orange wedges to pan.  Scrape up any bits stuck to bottom of pan.  Cook till oranges get soft, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

To serve, return chicken to pan and toss pieces around in the sauce.  Squeeze the oranges over the chicken and serve with crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food – November 2010

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A cooked rasher. Raw bacon rashers are an esse...

Bring On The Bacon

It’s FAT TUESDAY and I for one am planning on indulging…for tomorrow brings on a more than a month of deprivation.      For years I had the habit of NOT giving up any food that I particularly loved but rather DOING something(s) good for others.  Now I’m back to giving up sweets because, well for my own health and well-being and vanity the mirror and my jeans are yelling at me to say no to chocolate, ice cream, cookies and maybe almost everything white.  OK, so for selfish reasons I will deprive myself with an eye to a slimmer me by Easter Sunday.

BUT today is a very different story…tonight I’ve been invited to be a guest at the Annual Tasting Event sponsored  by    C-CAP-Careers through Culinary Arts Program.  WOW!! New York’s Top Chefs will be gathered at Pier 60 tonight offering up tasty tidbits so tonight I feast and tomorrow I fast!

Here’s a tasty tidbit you can make yourself and feel like a million bucks.


1 lb thick cut bacon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup brown sugar

coarse ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a roasting rack.  Spray the rack with a non-stick spray.  Place the bacon in strips on the rack.  Brush the bacon with the maple syrup.  Sprinkle brown sugar over bacon and then grind some black pepper.

Bake in oven till sugar begins to melt, about 15-17 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes.


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a slow cooker Oval Crock Pot

A Slow Cooker Oval Crock Pot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blessed are the meals made in crockpots for those are the days free to go and do and not worry about getting home to make dinner.

Today was a lovely sunny Saturday;  Just the kind of day to clean up the rest of the snow on the walkways, to throw peanuts out to the squirrels and of course with the bright sunshine, I was able to see some more of winter/old radiator  dust!  It was also warm enough for Peter to put the sensor light we bought a couple of weeks ago. The days are growing noticeably longer and so when we went shopping this afternoon to pick up this and exchange that, we stayed out quite late.  Then we stopped by to see our friends Joe and Michael and have a pre-dinner cocktail.  Soooo relaxing and WHY?

Because my supper was already mostly made!  This morning I prepared  a recipe that I had never tried before.  I knew this would be a good night to try it out.  It turned out to be not only amazingly rich, but also economical.  

2 TBS vegetable oil

3 lbs. boneless short ribs cut into 3″ pieces

coarse salt and pepper

1 medium yellow onion diced small ( I used a good size Mayan onion)

1 large carrot diced small (I chopped up quite a few small ones) (the kind that come in a bag already peeled)

1 can (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes

2 sprigs of oregano or rosemary

Serve with pasta or soft polenta

In a large skillet, heat oil over med-hi.  Season short ribs with salt and pepper.  In batches, cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to ribs to slow-cooker.  Pour off all but 1 TBS of oil and add onion and carrot.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are soft, about 3-4 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of juice from tomatoes, stirring and scraping bits up with wooden spoon.  Transfer veggies and liquid to crockpot and add tomatoes, breaking up.  Add sprigs.  Cover and cook on high till fork tender – 6 hours.  *I only had rosemary and removed them after about 2 1/2 hours).  Skim fat off. Remove meat and shred with 2 forks and return to pot.

 I thought it didn’t look like enough sauce for 1 lb of pasta so I added about 1/2 to 1 cup of a tomato basil sauce and about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of red wine and heated it through in the slow cooker.  My intention was always to serve this Ragu over large shells pasta although I think the recipe may have been meant to be a main meat dish, served with sides of polenta or pasta and a vegetable.  We ate it as a pasta dish with Italian bread and a salad.  It was one of the richest sauces I have ever tasted.  And economical too.  

The costs were: Short ribs – $10.44

 Tomatoes – $1.49

                                      Bag of peeled carrots $1.29

                                      Box of large shells $1.29

                                     Mayan onion $1.00

                                    Italian bread – $1.39

                                   Half bag of salad mix w/dressing – $2.50

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Not all Foodies excel in the kitchen, some just love good food and they eat out all the time.  They love gourmet food, they  follow certain chefs but they may not do much cooking or baking at home.  However, if the Foodie on your list cooks and bakes, this handy-dandy little kitchen tool will make a great gift!  And inexpensive too – just $10.39!!

I know you’ve seen those famous chefs on television crack eggs with one hand swiftly and efficiently but how about the rest of us?  And what if you’re cooking for someone who is watching their cholesterol intake and wants only egg white omelets?  Or your recipe calls for eggs and then extra egg yolks?  

Well lookee here…You need to buy a PLUCK.  A PLUCK is a cleverly-designed egg separator. Think Sunny Side Out! Extracting the yolk from healthy egg whites can feel as tricky as pulling a rabbit from a hat. Pluck makes it easy by separating the two with a simple squeeze and release of its silicone chamber. Now everyone from bodybuilders to soccer moms can just pluck that caloric yellow stuff right out.  Pluck’s clear tip plastic and silicone bulb come apart for easy cleaning by either hand or machine.

Squeeze Me

Squeeze Me

Can you imagine how easy this makes separating a yolk from the white?  No more tiny bits of shell floating in the gooky yolk  or the sticky white!  I think this is a terrific kitchen toy for a Foodie.

Available online through Amazon and in stores such as Bed, Bath and Beyond.

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I’m a chocoholic, I admit it, however, I am particular.  I mean there’s chocolate and there’s chocolate! I like dark chocolate, bitter and at least 75% cacao.  You can keep the milky soft sweet stuff and the calories that go with it.  

I also collect some chocolate-related items and probably should do  a post featuring my collection of chocolate candy molds and vintage chocolate bar labels.  I have several chocolate cookbooks and few odd chocolate nostalgia pieces.  But I don’t have this – it isn’t quite my style.

However, you might have just the Foodie on your list who also appreciates funky gifts and loves chocolate too.  If so, check this out:

"ADD" Me to Your List

“ADD” Me to Your List

This is a big calculator that looks and *drumroll* .. smells, like chocolate! And it is solar powered. A great stocking filler.

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