Archive for January, 2011
I signed up for the winter share of our neighborhood CSA this year. I was a bit nervous about what I would get, but since it’s only once a month I figured what the hey? We’ve been getting lots of root vegetables and squashes, as well as tons of apples and sometimes pears. I’m not a huge raw apple eater so I have of course been baking with them. Two months ago I made this and it was delicious. This month I decided they should be incorporated into a breakfast dish and when I saw a recipe for apple pancakes from Smitten Kitchen (who adapted them from Joan Nathan) I was psyched.
Grating the apples and mixing them into the batter allows the pancakes to have an apple flavor through and through–different than dicing up some chunks of apples and adding them to a regular pancake batter. You don’t have to add the cinnamon but I find it gives the flavor a little more dimension. The recipe makes about 20 pancakes, but they are very dense and filling.There were three of us eating brunch that morning and we still had about 8 leftover. I stuck them in the fridge and found them to be surprisingly delicious a few days later, served at room temperature as a snack.
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (you can substitute milk)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
3 medium apples, peeled and coarsely grated (I used golden delicious)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
1. Mix the eggs with the yogurt in a large bowl.
2. In a smaller bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon (if using) together.
3. Combine the wet and the dry ingredients and stir in the apples.
4. Heat a thin layer of oil over low to medium heat in a cast iron skillet if you have one. Make sure it is well seasoned. Otherwise you can use a nonstick skillet. Drop large spoonfuls of batter into the pan and flatten them out a little (otherwise, the middle might not get fully cooked) and cook until golden brown underneath. Flip the pancakes and cook them for an additional two or three minutes.
5. Either dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately, or keep on a tray in a warmed oven until you are ready to serve them. They are also great with maple syrup or maple cream. What’s maple cream you ask? It’s just what it sounds like (similar to creamed honey) and it’s delicious. You can get some from Deep Mountain Maple who are at the Union Square Greenmarket on Fridays and Saturdays.
I’m feeling very optimistic about 2011. I’ve just got a hunch, and there seems to be a wealth of good music coming up. All signs point to good things. Here are my picks for (some of) the best “upcoming” albums:
La Sera– I posted a fun video a few weeks back and now it feels like an appropriate time to preview the self-titled full length, out officially on February 15th via Hardly Art. Katy Goodman, the bass player/vocalist from the Brooklyn-based group Vivian Girls, strikes out on her own with La Sera, and the results are very pleasing. Her sound is more toned down rock n roll, but the vocal harmonies are in full effect. Check out the song “Devil’s Hearts Grows Gold” here.
The Holidays– An Australian indie-rock group poised to make a big break at this year’s SXSW. Their album Post Paradise came out in Australia last year and is being given an US release. You can check out their song Broken Bones (remixed by CFCF) here.
Mister Heavenly – I am especially excited about this band because it is a super-group combining Honus Honus from Man Man, Nick Diamonds from Islands, and Joe Plummer from Modest Mouse. A mighty combination of great magnitude! And when they bring in Michael Cera, it’s indie-hip overload. Check out their songs via their page on SubPop.com.
Gang of Four’s latest is called Content (Yep Roc), and you can stream the entire thing on their website. Wire’s latest is titled Red Barked Tree (self-released), and you listen to songs from the record on their site as well.
Ducktails is the side project of Real Estate guitarist Matthew Mondanile, and the record takes a lighter tone though no less entrancing.
Some other releases out this week that I am psyched about: the new Cloud Nothings (1/24 via Car Park records) and the new John Vanderslice (1/25 via Dead Oceans). The new album from Toro Y Moi Underneath the Pine is out 2/22 via Car Park Records. Lykke Li‘s new album Wounded Rhymes is out on 2/28, and several songs are available to check out streaming on her website. You can buy it directly from her site as well.
There are rumors about new Beck, new Bon Iver, and new Radiohead albums, but so far, they are all TBA. I will keep everyone posted; also, if you’ve never been to Beck’s website, check out the mixes that he makes. They are excellent!
I was mildly obsessed with Lupe Fiasco‘s amazing song “Kick, Push” off his 2006 debut album Food & Liquor, as well as that album as a whole. But 2006 was a long time ago and I haven’t been excited about the rapper since then.
However, with his new single “The Show Goes On” he does something smart: samples from Modest Mouse’s 2004 smash hit “Float On.” The hook on that song is unforgettable and catchy and wonderful and Lupe puts it to good use. I can’t wait to see what else is on his next album Lasers, due out March 8. Check out the video here:
So, JudyJams and I have gotten to work crossing off some of the restaurants on my “Brunch in 2011” list and we started off with The Breslin. The Breslin is chef April Bloomfield’s restaurant inside the Ace Hotel, which is located on a pretty desolate area of the city: 29th and 5th Avenue in Manhattan–it’s surrounded by wholesale accessory stores and electronic outlets. But the Ace is as hip as ever; aside from The Breslin it is also home to Bloomfield’s John Dory Oyster Bar, the only Stumptown Coffee shop in NYC, an Opening Ceremony (an ultra-hip designer clothing store), and the coolest lobby to while away the hours in (complete with a full bar). And The Breslin fits right in.
The decor is British hunting lodge chic, with odd knicknacks and animals surrounded by dark wood. Bloomfield is known for her love of meat and pork, but we managed to easily keep our meal vegetarian. I had the Poached Eggs with Curried Lentils, Yogurt and Cilantro and JudyJams ordered the Grilled 3 Cheese Sandwich without ham and with an egg. We then ordered a side of their infamous Thrice Cooked Chips as well as the Fried Peanut and Banana Sandwich with Bourbon and Vanilla. I know, we are insane.
My poached eggs with lentils were very yummy. The eggs were perfectly cooked–is there anything better than a poached egg? I think not–and the curried lentils were very tasty and provided a nice crunch against the soft eggs. They were spiced very well but I wished there was a bit more yogurt to provide some tang. The dish came with two nicely toasted pieces of bread to sop up all the runny goodness.
This was definitely the best breakfast sandwich that I (JudyJams here) have had in a long time. The three cheeses were tangy and delicious, and the egg was perfectly cooked. It was the Breslin version of the famous “Egg in the Hole” sandwich, and it was a pleasing interpretation, to say the least. Everything, including the bread itself, was high quality, and you could tell. If I wasn’t inclined to care about my health, I would have one of these bad boys every single morning.
The Thrice Cooked Chips totally lived up to the hype–I’m not sure I have ever had french fries that good. They were supremely crunchy but you could still tell they were made out of potatoes. And the dip the came with, some kind of cumin-spiced aioli was so delicious I wanted to eat it plain. It also came with a serving of pickles that were deliciously spicy.
For “dessert” we had the Fried Peanut and Banana Sandwich with Bourbon and Vanilla. The waitress suggested we share it as a dessert rather than one of us get it as an entree, which was good advice. It is rather small, although it is extremely dense. It is also extremely boozy. It is less like a sandwich then a large sweet empanada and the banana and peanut flavors were tinged with bourbon in every bite. I didn’t really taste any vanilla, but it was still a yummy treat if you’re a fan of the peanut butter and banana combo.
Welcome to 2011! I am still gathering my picks for January, and since the music industry is just now waking up from the end-of-2010 slumber, this is a good time to highlight a fun music video. I mentioned Sam Prekop‘s recent album a few months back, and how we were big fans of his other group, The Sea and Cake. Old Punch Card is Sam Prekop’s third solo album, and it trends much more towards electronica than any of his other work. “The Silhouettes” is a beautiful song, and Jordan Kim (best known for his animation work on the Nick Jr. show Yo Gabba Gabba!, as well as earlier work for Adult Swim’s Tom Goes to the Mayor) made an equally enchanting video for it:
Just thinking about brunch makes my mouth water, even if I just ate! I ate brunch at a lot of awesome places in 2010, but I’m already thinking ahead…to where I want to eat in 2011! Because I live in NYC and I’m not sure where my travels will take me this year I’m going to limit this list to places based in New York. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. The Breslin
After eating lunch here in 2010 and checking out their brunch menu I’ve been dying to come back one weekend and try things like Pumpkin Pancakes with Spiced Butter and Pecan and Poached Eggs with Curried Lentils, Yogurt and Cilantro. Chef April Bloomfield is as inventive as one can be while still making yummy, soothing food.
2. Red Rooster
Star chef Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant finally opened in December 2010 to much fanfare. The dinner menu looks delicious and starting this weekend they will begin serving brunch. Count me in!
3. ABC Kitchen
2010 was a banner year for Jean Georges Vongerichten, with the opening of this restaurant inside ABC Home, as well as The Mark at the Mark Hotel. ABC Kitchen is his farm-to-table inspired restaurant, and I have been dying to try their brunch, which has items like Glazed Doughnuts with Housemade Jam and French Toast with Roasted Apples lurking on the menu, along with all of their lunch items.
This Southern-influenced newcomer was an instant hit last year, but was then sidelined by a fire for several months. But they are back in business, and their brunch menu is like a siren call to me. Their egg sandwich is described thusly: “croissant, manchego, brussels sprouts and sriracha” with an option to add bacon. Who can resist that? Other dishes include Smoked Trout and an Apple Salad with fuji apple, escarole, treviso, blue cheese, fennel and pecans. Hello!
5. Prime Meats
My husband is obsessed with soft boiled eggs and constantly bemoans the fact that they are so hard to find in restaurants. Well, Prime Meats has it on their menu and he will have to judge if it is done properly. This latest addition to the Frankie’s Spuntino family also has some delicious sounding baked goods on their menu, like Apricot Danish, Stout Cake, Olive Oil Cake, and Pretzel Braid. Hell yes.
Dajeh is a neighborhood Caribbean joint in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and is walking distance from my apartment–huzzah! Their authentic menu includes Latin Eggs (two scrambled eggs served with fried plantains, salad and spicy Chorizo sausage), The Tr’Indian Roti (roti skin stuffed with chicken or veggies & chickpeas), Bake & Buljol (marinated, chilled saltfish salsa, lightly spiced with sea salt, peppers and onions, drizzled with olive oil and served with fluffy coconut bake), and Bacalao Potato Cakes (Three cakes of salted bacalao, blended with potatoes and freshly chopped herbs & spices,deep-fried to a golden brown crisp, served with guacamole and fried green plantains). I’m looking forward to this when I want some ethnic comfort food close to home.
Anella opened last year in Greenpoint and has been getting some solid reviews. Their Tomato Omelet sounds delectable (“House Made Mozarella, Tomato Confit, Fresh Herbs, Crispy Potatoes”) as does their Ricotta Fritatta with “Creamy Ricotta Cheese, Wilted Spinach, and Black Pepper.” Plus their French toast is served with “Roasted Strawberries, Toasted Pecans, and Maple Syrup” and their Smoked White Fish Salad (“House Smoked Fish, Soft Boiled Egg, Capers and Shallots, Crispy Potatoes”) sounds truly special.
Kevin’s is a popular spot near the water in Red Hook, known for great seafood and a great brunch. Sounds perfect, right? Their menu changes with what’s available, but last week they had dishes like The Adirondack: poached eggs with hollandaise on challah, side of fresh trout or Max Creek smoked trout with horseradish cream and Cornflake-crusted Challah French Toast with maple syrup. I know, I can’t stop drooling either.
Jesse Schenker’s latest outpost, Recette, opened in the West Village in 2010 to rave reviews, including two stars from the New York Times, and it seems like a cozy and somewhat humble venture albeit one with delicious food. Schenker even hired Christina Lee, formerly of Per Se, to do the pastries. Therefore I assume one can’t go wrong with her Pecan Cocoa Nib Brownie, Carrot Cake, and Orange Almond Cake, which are all on the brunch menu, along with main dishes including Burrata Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Romesco & Basil and PB&J “Pain Perdue,” Earl Grey Milk Jam, Fresh Strawberries. Yum.
1o. Colicchio & Sons
Tom Colicchio converted his CraftSteak in the Meatpacking District to this new incarnation last year. The more casual Tap Room serves brunch and it sounds mighty satisfying: Carolina Rice Johnny Cake with Duck Confit Poached Eggs and Redeye Gravy, Ricotta Field Mushroom Frittata with Wildflower Honey and Arugula, and Toad in the Hole with Sweet Piperade and Spicy Tomatomaple Marmalade are just a few of the dishes I’d like to try.
It’s embarrassing that I’ve never been to this New York City institution, now located in the Essex Street Market, but I have to admit that I’m intimidated: by the tales of Kenny Shopsin’s moodiness and by the menu itself which has approximately 9,000 items on it. Seriously. There are whole articles trying to demystify it and help you figure out what to order, because if you don’t know, Shopsin won’t be happy. But I’m going to power through my fears this year because from what I’ve heard, the food is amazing. Bread Pudding French Toast, Mac & Cheese Pancakes, and Garden Crouton Country Scramble anyone?
Hung over? Feel like baking? Try this!
Gougéres are yummy savory French pastries, similar to popovers, but they usually have cheese in them. They use a choux pastry dough which allows them to be puffy and light. Sounds awesome, right? I made this recipe by none other than chef Daniel Boulud, which I found in Food & Wine magazine. According to the original recipe this is supposed to make 30 “gargantuan gougéres.” I came nowhere close to 30, and mine weren’t even that big. I don’t know if I missed something or what, but I only got about half that. That’s why 2 cups of cheese was way too much, as you only put the cheese on top. If you have enough dough for 30, let me know!
1 cup milk
1 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette (This is a fancy Basque pepper. I substituted regular fresh ground black pepper and it was delicious)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (original recipe called for 2 cups but I found this to be way too much–which is shocking because I love cheese)
Fleur de sel and cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large saucepan, combine the milk with the water, butter and salt; bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the flour all at once with the Piment d’Espelette or pepper and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the flour is thoroughly incorporated. Reduce the heat to low and cook the gougère dough, stirring constantly, until the dough pulls away from the side of the pan, about 3 minutes.The dough will kind of resemble lumpy mashed potatoes.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the dough cools slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring briskly between additions to thoroughly incorporate each egg. Now the dough resembles smooth and creamy mashed potatoes.
4. Drop 3-tablespoon mounds (this is where I think the recipe is off–I would say if you want 30 of these to use only 1-2 tablespoons worth of dough per gougére) of dough onto the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Top each round with 1 tablespoon of cheese; sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper.
5. Bake the gougères for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and bake for 30 minutes longer, switching the baking sheets halfway through for even cooking on both pans, until the gougères are puffed and browned. Turn off the oven, but leave the door slightly open. Let the gougères rest in the oven for about 30 minutes longer, until crisp on the outside but still steamy within. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I didn’t try this, but the recipe says the gougères can be frozen for up to 1 month. You just need to defrost them in a 350° oven for about 8 minutes.