Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eating Out In New York

Let me preface this story by stating that I just adore Cathy Erway's blog Cathy is a smart and young New York urbanite whose claim to fame is the fact that she volunteered to not eat out in New York for two years and documented the process. Having traveled to New York several times ever since I've been married, to visit my husband's sisters and attend the occasional wedding, I understand the absolute primal need one has for eating out while in the city.
So hats off to you're a better woman than I am.

Here's a little taste of some incredible food I  experienced while in the city...hope you like it!
Pause Cafe:

Cute little soup, sandwich, smoothie and coffee shop. I ordered a Ginger Carrot soup which made me feel fantastic.  I also had a great Ginger, Green Apple, Wheat Grass, Beet, Kale juice to follow-up the soup.  The soup was $5 and the smoothie was $4.50

3 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002
Phone: 212-677-5415

The Fat Radish:

On the advice of my future brother-in-law, we visited this great little gem of a restaurant on Lower East Side.  Beautiful airy white room dotted with rustic picnic tables and plenty of seating along the walls.  This place is defined as a British Modern Gastropub that distinguishes itself by getting most of its food locally...and I verified this by asking the kitchen staff in Spanish. I know, I know, I'm a Noisy Nelly but inquiring minds...Anyhow, I got the Kale Caesar Salad and Oysters.  Both where delicious though the oysters were a bit small for my taste.  As for my husband Kris, he enjoyed the Bacon Cheese Burger immensely.  He said the inside was juicy, outside was crispy and the meat was locally sourced and cooked to perfection.The burger also came with an order of potato wedges fried in rendered duck fat...the dish was so delicious that I didn't give Kris a hard time about ordering, what appeared to be, the least adventurous item on the menu. 

17 Orchard St, New York NY10002
(Between Hester and Canal)

Call ahead and make a reservation or else just relax at the bar and enjoy one of their many fantastic British beers and the company of a very friendly bartender.   

 Last, but not at all least.....

                                Roberta's Pizzeria:

 Tucked away in Bushwick, just off the Morgan Ave stop on the L train, is one of the most authentic and beloved spots for pizza in Brooklyn.  Like Gainesville's much acclaimed venue/restaurant/junk shop/bocce spot Satchel's, Roberta's is a destination, not just a place to chow.  Roberta's not only houses the most stellar piece of pizza making equipment I've ever's imported wood burning Italian oven...they also source locally through Heritage Foods and have a rooftop garden.   

Just in case all this draw isn't enough to get you on down to Bushwick, the back of Roberta's is home to the Heritage Radio Network.  Remember the blogger/food writer I mentioned earlier, Cathy Erway?  Well, Cathy hosts a show out of the station called "Let's Eat In". During the show Cathy usually interviews local food artists, entertainers, food personalities, advocates and even the occasional sexologist about their creations.  Tune in Monday at 1pm or listen to her podcast whenever your little heart desires. 

Now about the food...on the advice of our friends Marco and Sarah, we ordered the Calzon, a simple Margherita and a ham and pineapple pizza.  All of the above were delicious and perfectly crispy.  My favorite among them was quite surely the Margherita...thank you Sarah for making that suggestion.       

 If beer's your thing, I highly suggest the Blue Point RastafaRye, a sweet and satisfying rye with an alcohol content of 7.5...this beer packs a pretty big punch for $7. Kris got the Smuttyhouse Porter, slightly lower in it's alcohol content, but quite comparable in flavor. We ate at about 3pm which seemed like the perfect time since we didn't have to fight for a table and eating early gave us ample time to walk off the calories around the city before hopping in the cab and heading to JFK. 

Special thanks to our extraordinary tour guides and amazing hosts...Candace, Cameron, Corinne, Sarah, Tommy and Marco for showing us around town and helping me to explore New York like a native and bring something back for the rest of you all to enjoy.   Also, a very special thanks to Vivian from Roberta's for allowing me to interview her about the restaurant and touring me through the rooftop garden. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

               Pizza – In Search of the Ultimate Crust!                              By Inge Jaffe, MS, RN

I found the one, the one that crunches and bubbles and is oh, so yummy.  I’ve been making my own pizza dough for years and am always looking for new ways of perfecting my crust.  What I love about this recipe is its simplicity.   If you’re in the mood for a pizza party, it’s best to prep your toppings before guests arrive.  Let your creative juices flow:  meatballs, caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, fresh basil, oregano, sun dried tomatoes, anchovies, thinly sliced garlic, goat cheese, sea salt … the possibilities are endless.   If it’s family pizza night,  halve the recipe and call it a day.

                                            No-Knead Pizza Dough
                                                        Makes Six 10”-12” Pizzas
                                                                                           Inspired by Bon Apetit April, 2012 Issue

                                                   7 ½ cups all-purpose flour (1000 grams)
                                                   4 tsp. fine salt
                                                   ½ tsp. active dry yeast
                                                   3 cups water

Mix flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl.  While using a wooden spoon gradually add the water; stir until well integrated.  Bring it together with your hands to form a rough ball.  Transfer to a large bowel and cover.   Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size about 18 hrs.  Time will vary depending on the room temperature but it’s my experience the longer the better.  

On a floured surface shape the dough into a rough rectangle and divide it into 6 equal portions.  Gently mold each portion into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap for about 1 hr.  

During that last hour that the dough is resting place the pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to the hottest setting, 500-550 degrees.  Gently shape each dough into a 10”-12” disk.  Sprinkle pizza peel with flour, place the disk on it, drizzle with olive oil and place toppings.

When your ready to bake, increase the oven to broil.  Getting the pizza off the peel onto the stone can be tricky, use small, rapid back-and-forth movements.  Broil the pizza for about 5-7 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining pizzas.   Enjoy your bubbly pizza with the yummy crunchy crust!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Ceviche @ 235 Washington, South Beach


By Inge Jaffee, MS, RD

A recent family vacation to South Beach brought me to this small, low key, 240-square-foot space, where co-owner Roger Duarte, of George Stone Crab, greeted us.  The tiny take-out and delivery hub was bustling and I could see why!

The seafood is amazingly fresh, apparently less than 24-hours off the boat.  Chef Sam Gorstein, nominated twice as Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation, and partner Duarte serve up a delightful array of seafood tacos and burritos, offered with shrimp, octopus, raw yellow fin tuna or the fresh catch of the day.  Also on the menu, ceviche, of course, stone crab claws, an assortment of salads and salsitas.  Sides include crispy plantains, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob served with queso fresco and hash browns with a mustard sauce.  Leave room for dessert, there is key lime pie and chocolate fudge brownie.

Having, what seems to be the most finicky 4-year-old twin girls, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but was pleasantly pleased when they devoured the fish and crispy corn chips.  My husband enjoyed a grilled octopus burrito and I, a couple of fish tacos.  The “latin-fusion” flavors were fresh, tangy, spicy and exotic.  I will definitely make my way to My Ceviche next time I wander down south.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Miriam's Dominican Poached Egg and Garlic Soup

Wednesday afternoon lunch holds a special place in my heart.  My friend Miriam is the originator of this ritual and deserves full credit for inspiring me to create some fun and unique Dominican menu items. For example, it was not till several months ago that Miriam introduced me to Mangu (boiled, mashed green plantains topped with sauteed garlic).  Due to her Dominican heritage, Miriam's food has a simple and unassuming quality.  Her regional delights are brought to life by her charming personality, generous spirit and genuine hospitality.

One afternoon, after some cocktails and a very satisfying lunch, we got on the subject of eggs.  Being a self-proclaimed egg-a-holic, I began to run down a list of favorite egg dishes. My Abuela's Tortilla, a simple fried egg over a bed of rice accompanied by a sliced banana or fried plantains, Eggs Florentine, Spanish Chorizo Golden Potato Bake and the list goes on...It was at this point that Miriam looked at me very intently and said, "I have to make you my grandmother's garlic and egg soup. You would love it!" I agreed, and in typical Latin fashion we set it as a tentative goal without a specific date or time in mind.  The understanding between us was would happen.  Maybe not next Wednesday, but some time in the future.

A month ago, at around noon, I got a call from Miriam.  As usual we exchanged salutations in Spanish and Miriam went on to inform me that she had all the ingredients and would be making her grandmother's egg soup recipe this afternoon.  30 minutes later, I was standing over her stove typing some general notes on my iphone and hoping the mimosa she had just served me wasn't affecting my ability to reproduce this simple and beautiful dish.

My fears were confirmed when I read over the recipe last week in preparation for this blog post.  I had forgotten the most fundamental aspect of recipe writing...naming. Just a few weeks ago, in conversation with Miriam I confessed my mistake.  She giggled and said the reason the recipe title had not been recorded is because she had never given me a name.  "So, what's it called?", I asked. In typical Miriam fashion, she laughed again and it what you want. And so I did.  It's my pleasure to share with you, Miriam's Dominican Poached Egg and Garlic Soup...Here's to your health..or as Miriam would say, Salud!

        Miriam's Dominican Poached Egg and Garlic Soup

2 tbsp olive oil 
6 cloves of minced garlic
6 cups of water
*5 angel hair nests (optional)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 whole eggs
1 egg separated
1 large bunch of cilantro 
 salt and pepper to taste

1.  Heat olive oil in a medium sized soup pot and add minced garlic stirring frequently so as not to burn.  Saute for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a boil.

2. Add 5 angel hair nests(or one bunch of soba noodles, 1/2 a box of brown rice pasta) and cook down for 4 minutes.  If, like me, you prefer not to indulge in complex carbs, simply skip this step.

3.  Add vinegar to your boiling water and carefully crack open each individual egg into a ramican dish and gently drop into the water. Try not to take more than a minute depositing the eggs into the water, otherwise they will vary in their level of firmness. Poach eggs for 1-2 minutes.

4. Scramble an egg yolk and add it to the soup stirring gently and taking care not to break any of the eggs.  Cook for another minute. Turn off the heat, add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and enjoy!

*Although Miriam's original recipe calls for regular angel hair pasta nests, due to my family's sensitivity to wheat and my nutritional needs, I omit this ingredient when I make the soup.  If you would like a good substitute, you could use soba nooodles or brown rice pasta.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Citizen's Co-op Sunday Market

Ever since moving to Gainesville, my priorities have shifted from "being more" to doing more for my fellow man.  It may sound corny to those of you that have yet to experience Gainesville, but the culture of this city is deeply rooted in humanity.  That being the case, you would probably expect to find several businesses littering the streets that directly reflect Gainesville's principle of community.  As a 10 year resident of this tree city, I can certainly attest to the fact that such places do exist. Among my favorite 352 destinations is Citizen's Co-op.

The Co-op is a full service grocery store and as the website reads it is "owned and operated by and for the benefit of membership and the larger community."  This little treasure located on South Main Street, next door to the Civic Media Center offers Gainesville's citizens a great selection of locally grown produce and locally produced products...soaps, sauerkraut, fresh organic eggs and local goat cheese just to name a few.  My favorite Co-op guilty pleasure is the G'ville Sweets Caramels.
 Unlike the Co-op that Hank joins in King of the Hill, at Citizen's you need not be a member to shop...though membership does afford you a 5% discount at checkout.
 The best thing about this thriving and beautiful market is how it serves the local community by providing whole natural delicious foods while serving as a store front for local food artists to present their jams, cheeses, breads, stocks and sweets to Gainesville locals.  

The Sunday Local Market, located in the Co-op's cozy Courtyard, is a small weekly outdoor bazaar where vendors set up and sell...everything from vintage Pyrex to handmade pot scrubbers, home-made jams to mullet roe and fresh shrimp.  The Local Sunday Market runs from 2-5pm every Sunday and usually includes live performances by local musicians and some very yummy local fare.
If you do plan to come down, make sure to bring some cash and a reusable satchel to stash all your fantastic finds.

So wisen up and come down to the Sunday market for some spectacular local produce from Siembra and Swallowtail Farms, Illegal Jam from Stephanie and some fine Vine Bread from Dean and Teresa (not me)...and the occasional soup or hot dish by yours truly.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Start the Morning with a Ve-Green Monster!

I had a really fun time with my husband's cousin a few weekends ago.  Kim is a young, attractive newlywed just brimming with enthusiasm and joy.  While we were sitting down to dine at one of our favorite Japanese restaurants, she told me about a blog she follows called  I was immediately intrigued by the name and concept.  Also, one particular recipe that Kim mentioned sounded especially interesting.  The recipe is very simply called  "Green Monster" and it's essentially just a banana and protein shake with raw spinach.  As someone who adores simplicity, I made a few modifications to the recipe and resolved to try it out the following morning. 

 By eliminating the yogurt and substituting with some probiotic powder, I made the recipe vegan friendly and lactose-free.  Next, I subbed in almond butter for peanut.  During a holistic conference in Miami 15 years ago, I learned that peanuts affect the body's detoxification process by inhibiting liver function.  Since encountering this information, I've decided to scale down on my peanut butter intake(just in case).  Finally, I added some raw organic oats to the blender to increase fiber and add a little texture to the mix. Raw oats are also said to bind to bile acids and remove toxins from the body.

I recommend having this for breakfast when you're pressed for time.  The protein satiates your appetite, while the probiotic powder gets your system in order.  Also, the raw spinach is loaded with vitamins A, K, E, C and B6Spinach has a mild flavor, is only 7 calories a cup and is a excellent source of Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.

Finally, this shake will rock your socks kids ask for it as a dessert. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

                                                           Ve-Green Monster

1 cup of ice
1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 cups of raw organic spinach
2 tbsp almond butter  or peanut butter
2 tsp probiotic powder
1/4 cup raw organic oats
1 large banana
2 tbsp flax seed meal
2 heaping tbsp hemp powder protein 
2 tsp agave nectar 

*Makes 3-4 8 oz servings.

1. Pour ingredients into the blender, set blender to crush ice mode and pulse for 15 sec.  Change blender setting to stir and blend for 60 sec or until smooth. Pour and enjoy!

 *Please be responsible by sourcing your food from local farms, whenever possible. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Mom Inspired Post: Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

I like cabbage. So does my mom, which is the real reason I'm posting this recipe. Mom and I were discussing easy to prepare dishes that have assisted me in losing weight.  Just as I was telling her that I have finally dropped the 7 pounds of fat I put on during the holidays, it occurred to me that I should examine the last few meals I've had to determine which foods assisted me most in dropping this weight.  My conclusion was that the Stuffed Cabbage Casserole I had made my family earlier this week really helped me hit my weight mark.  Since she seemed eager to make this dish, I promised to post the recipe today, just in time for her trip to the grocery store.

If you're not a cabbage enthusiast, like mom and I, I'd like to take the time to tell you why I think you should reconsider. Cabbage is nutritious, full of fiber and contains vitamins C and B, which are essential for promoting weight-lossOne cup of cabbage equals only 15 calories which is why this ancient veggie is considered a great diet food.  Also, cabbage is said to have cancer-fighting properties.  The sulfuric properties of cabbage(which is what makes it so stinky) are said to assist the body in eliminating carcinogenic compounds. Finally, because cabbage is so easy to grow and can be grown nearly everywhere, it's one of the most inexpensive veggies at the market.  

Without further delay, here's the recipe my mom inspired me to post.  Hope you will enjoy the savory simplicity of this dish. 

                                            Easy Stuffed Cabbage Casserole 

1.5 lb ground beef (preferably organic)
1 large onion, diced
2 cups cooked bulgur wheat or quinoa
2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
2 large eggs
.5 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
2 lbs of cabbage (shredded, washed and dried in a salad spinner)
16 oz of tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes
Locatelli Romano Cheese for serving

1. Combine the first 7 ingredients by hand in a large bowl and set aside. Grease a 13x9 inch glass pan.
2. Spread 1/2 the cabbage on the bottom of the pan and follow with 1/2 the meat mixture.  Repeat and spread the tomato sauce over top the cassarole.
3.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 1 hour. Plate, top with cheese and enjoy!