Sunday, March 23, 2008

EASTER FEAST (for two)

Today could have seemed like a typical New York (almost Spring!!) Sunday...

I walked around my neighborhood basking in the sun (yes, with my coat still on), went to Physique 57 to work out, met my friend Natalie at the Chelsea Market (I of course tasted the Fat Whitch brownie samples on my way in), picked up my friend's dog from Pup Culture...but it's actually Easter Sunday and all I could think about all day was FOOD.  I was anxious to get in the kitchen and cook up a flavorful feast for the holiday. The unfortunate thing was that I had to wait for dinner, so I literally spent my day wasting time trying to get my mind off of the juicy lamb chops that were marinating in my refrigerator. I had gone to my local butcher the day before, who had cut and prepared a rack of lamb for me, and stopped by the bodegas and shops in my hood for the rest of the fresh ingredients for my meal: Mouthwatering herb and garlic grilled lamb chops with roasted brussels sprouts and red potatoes. Homemade chocolate and raspberry sorbet eggs from Cones with crumbled freshly baked biscotti on top from Rocco's. Delightful. 

I used a Giada De Laurentiis recipe for the marinade on my lamb chops. I can always count on Giada!

Giada's Grilled Lamb Chops
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbls fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Pinch cayenne pepper
Coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 lamb chops

In a food precessor add garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste.  Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.  When ready to cook,  allow the chops to come to room temperature before cooking. 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Potatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
10 oz brussels sprouts, halved
10 oz red potatoes, quartered
Sprinkle of dried oregano
Sprinkle of dried basil
Sprinkle of fresh thyme
Sprinkle of fresh rosemary
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven at 400 degrees F.  Put parchment paper down in a baking dish. Place vegetables in the baking dish and add the olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Add more olive oil if the vegetables seem dry. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. 

In the mean time, heat a grill pan over high heat, add the lamb chops and sear for about 2 minutes.  Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare. 

Chocolate and Raspberry Sorbet Eggs with Crumbled Biscotti
Homemade Chocolate and Raspberry Sorbet
Freshly baked hazelnut biscotti

Place biscotti in plastic bag. Crush with a meat tenderizer. Scoop out sorbet and plate. Sprinkle with biscotti.

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Luck O' the Japanese?

My unfortunate St. Patty's Day...

After a long incredible wedding weekend with friends and family, I returned to the city late last night only to enter into a bustling Monday back to reality. I found myself wrestling the Saint Patrick's Day parade leaving work uptown, rather than joining in the festivities. With no time for meal preparations for the holiday and a cold that I brought back with me from the weekend, the only green drink I was craving tonight was green tea.  Hey, the Japanese celebrate the Irish! Heck, isn't everyone Irish on March 17th? So I picked up some green seaweed salad from Lobster Place on my way home that perfectly complimented my warm cup of miso soup. I do have to say that it was quite satisfying. And healthful! Perhaps it wasn't so unlucky after all.

Miso Soup

4 ounces vegetable stock
4 ounces yellow miso
2 ounces low-fat firm tofu, diced
2 scallions, sliced

Bring the vegetable stock to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Add miso and stir until heated. Pour into a bowl and add desired amount of tofu and sliced scallions. Serve immediately. 

 A common stylisation of Erin Go Bragh, in a pseudo-Celtic font.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Vino e Cucina

Nothing beats the winter blues more than flavorful food, a comfy ambiance, good company and...wines from every region of Italy?? Yes. That's because I am talking about 'inoteca- the reputable LES wine bar with the most surprisingly daring menu.  I recently spent an evening here chatting up with friends over a few bottles of vino. In the middle of a wound-up week, this was just the place to loosen up and savor down. Somehow rustic wood tables with a sleek bar in the same room work to create a neighborhood-y feel. I am thinking the enormous windows and the fact that 'inoteca is nestled on the corner of Rivington and Ludlow has something to do with it. Regardless, whether sophisticated or on the cheap- everyone feels at home. Think urban Tuscany.

They have a classic wine bar menu of small plates that includes insalate, panini, bruschette, affetati, and formaggi.  Guided by our waitress, we ordered a little of this and a little of that to be shared. It was the perfect amount of food. She seemed a bit overwhelmed by the buzzing upstairs scene but was more than helpful and led us in the right direction with everything we ordered- especially insisting on their truffled egg toast (bread with egg yolks, fontina cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil!). One word. Amazing. The best order was their insalta d'anatra. Mouth-watering tender duck salad. OMG. 

The generous pours of wine were flowing.  Good conversation.  Incredible food.  My idea of a Wednesday night.

Go early. Beat the crowds.