Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pleasantville Farmer's Market And A Picnic

I love farmer's markets. I don't go to them enough. But I think they are great! Saturday, I went to my first farmer's market of the season in Pleasantville. It closes at 1 PM so when I got there at 12:30-ish, some vendors were already leaving! But here are the things I got:

Bread Alone Bakery's Semolina Sesame Bread

Tierra Farm's Nuts (Roasted Curry Cashews, Dry Roasted Sea Salt and Onion Cashew, and Maple Glazed Mixed Nuts)

Bobolink Dairy's Jean-Louis Cheese

Pickle Licious' Hot and Spicy Pickles

So, after shopping here and being inspired by the beautiful fresh foods, me and Ed decided on an impromptu picnic (and tanning!) in a little grassy area in Tuckahoe :-)

Look at this.... crusty on the outside, so very soft on the inside.

My prepared plate of veggies, bread, nuts...

Bread + Cheese = The Best

Dessert was strawberries (3 1-pound boxes for $5.00 at A&P!) and cherries from Nancy! I actually did not get to eat these because I was so full from the other goodies!

I will make it a priority to make it to more farmer's markets! The bread was amazing, and even better with the Jean Louis cheese smeared on it! The nuts were seriously addictive! They were so unique! I really recommend the Sea Salt and Onion... they taste just like sour cream and onion chips, and even Ed liked them (he usually HATES onions with a passion)! The pickles, which I forgot to bring to the picnic were awesome... super spicy! I would really like to get to some other Westchester Farmer's Markets.

Pleasantville Farmers' Market

Sponsor: Community Markets / Village of Pleasantville
Location: Parking lot at the intersection of Manville Rd. and Wheeler Avenue
Times of Operation: Saturdays, 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Season: Late May through Mid December

Contact: Miriam Haas
Phone: (914) 923-4837

Here are the other Westchester Farmer's Markets:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Le Bernardin

The first thing I did when we were sat down at our table was ask our waiter, "How do you pronounce the name of this restaurant?" And our very classy, French-accented waiter said "Luh-Behr-Nah-Deh" ... and I tried. And he kept telling me "The "N" is silent!" and I sounded silly.

I was very excited to try this restaurant because it is French and it is alllllll seafood! I love how on the menu the meat is "by request" only :-)

The space is quite small.... well, I guess I pictured a big space likeDaniel. The windows were covered by a thin curtain and you could see the chaos of the Midtown Manhattanites. The inside, however, was quiet and serene. Even before we ordered, one of the waiters brought us Salmon Tartare:

So.. I really wanted to eat this as soon as it came, but I felt really uneasy not know what I was going to get. You can either order the Prix Fixe, Le Bernardin Tasting Menu, or the Chef's Tasting Menu. After looking over the menu a few thousand times, my mom and I decided on Le Bernardin Tasting Menu. Why? Well, all of the dishes on the Tasting Menus are on the A La Carte menu. Therefore, we would clearly pick the menu that had more of the dishes that we wanted to try. Le Bernardin Tasting Menu had more of my favorite fishes and flavors.

After we told the waiter our decision, I happily pounced on the salmon. Yum! Fresh, just enough saltiness, and refreshing!
Then the bread guy came over with about 5 different choices. I couldn't pick one so I asked for the Rosemary Olive stick and the Raisin bread. They were just ok. The olive one was very chewy. I wanted a crusty bread.

The Feast Begins!

Very similar in presentation to the Amuse Bouche, we were presented with the Kampachi Tartare. This one was definitely much better than the salmon. It was very summery because of the heavy use of vinegar. The pickled cucumbers were not only beautiful, but also the perfect accompaniment to the plump kampachi.

Next up was the Curried Crab. This was really the decision maker for ordering this tasting menu instead of the Chef's Tasting Menu. I love "curried" food. And this one was did not disappoint. The flavor of curry was not prominent but the aroma was plentiful. And that is all that this delicate dish needed. The broth was also delicious.

Next was the Bread Crusted Snapper. This one was great! I love red snapper, and the bread was like a thin, crispy cracker with butter. This one also had a broth that the waiter poured after the dish was presented.

More crispiness with the Crispy Black Bass. This one also had a broth... notice the pattern? The fish was delicious, but I wish the skin was even CRISPIER! The highlight of this dish was definitely the Ham and Green Peppercorn sauce. Oh, and I almost forgot! They bring a little glass of Parsnip Custard. OMG this sweet, creamy custard was amazing to eat between the salty bites of fish!

For our last dish, we substituted the Bass and Langoustine for the Escolar. When making this substitution I forgot that there was already a Bass dish!! But the Bass and Langoustine was the one dish that I really wanted to try from the A La Carte Menu so I do not regret my decision. Plus, it had a curry emulsion so I had to try it :-)
The fish was topped with what the waiter said was candied ginger, but it didn't taste anything like ginger. Also on the side was a Sundried Tomato Agnolotto which was so tiny and cute and delicious! This one also had the fancy broth presentation... by this time it was getting old!

Then came the Fromage Blanc with Strawberry Coulis. OMG so good! It reminded me of thick greek yogurt and my favorite Japanese yogurt, Bulgaria.

For dessert was a Hazelnut Gianduja Mousse topped with 2 Hazelnuts, with (a slice of) Caramelized Banana and Brown Butter Ice Cream. This was good but nothing spectacular, but actually what I really wanted was this egg shell dessert that I had read about in a bunch of reviews. I had to ask the waiter for it, and it was an extra $8.00 but I had to try it!

Ok ... it was layered with Milk Chocolate Custard topped with Caramel foam, drizzled with Maple Syrup, and topped with Sea Salt... Decadent and an amazing combo of flavors! The waiter told us that we have to eat it by dipping the spoon down to the bottom and scooping it and not mix it. Perfect :-)

And to finish off our meal, Petit Fours. It was really petite... how do you make such beautiful, tiny tiny tiny desserts?!

Here's my thing. All the dishes were really delicious. The guy (chef) really knows how to prepare fish. But I wanted more variety. I felt like the majority of the meal was fish in a broth. It was getting boring towards the end! It was really impressive though how well all this fish dishes were prepared. I love fish!

Le Bernardin
155 West 51 Street
New York, N.Y. 10019
Phone: 212-554-1515

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mom's Tomato Soup... The Best Kind + My Avocado Obsession

So, to celebrate my blog's birthday, I will blog about my favorite food... food made by my very own Mommy!

Yesterday, she had a little wine tasting party and she asked her guests to bring one bottle of wine and one dish. My mom made this Tomato Vegetable Soup. So random, because I don't think she ever made a tomato soup when I was growing up!

I wouldn't call this a tomato soup. It is the "Find Every Vegetable, Even Lotus Root and Black Beans" soup. I think she was just too lazy to explain to me what was in it, so she handed me the tupperwear and gave me the "Tomato Soup". Actually, there were still some pieces of shredded chicken too (she usually puts the chicken into stews and soups only for flavor). The other veggies were cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and onion.

I of course added some hot sauce and sliced avocados. Rich and creamy. The meal was delicious and satisfying.

Which brings me to my next point.

My Current Obsession: Avocados... Kabocha is so last month.

This was a simple dinner I had a few nights ago....
Salmon with Sautéed Japanese Vegetables, Avocados, and Shiso

I simply sautéed the onions, red peppers, tomatoes, corn, and enoki mushrooms with fresh garlic and ginger. I seasoned it with Trader Joe's Lemon-Pepper and dashi powder. The salmon was only salted and peppered. Top it off with chopped shiso leaves and sliced avocados...

An easy, 10 minute, super-delicious dinner. Half-assed cooking is the way to go!

1 Year Old

Happy First Birthday to SmilesSugarAndSunshine!

I can't believe I kept up this blog for a whole year! Now, let's see if I have an actual post for this special day...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Roughin' It With Rugelach

Thursday was rough. My oven broke. I was devastated :-(

But the fact that my oven broke wasn't really what pissed me off. It was that I had these gorgeous looking, unbaked rugelach set up on a baking sheet, refrigerated for 1 hour, ready to be baked! I had my oven "pre-heated" at 350 degrees. And when the hour of chilling the dough was over and I was super excited to pop them in the oven, I open the oven to discover that it... wasn't hot! WTF!?

Angry, anxious (I promised the little children I work with some cookies!), and hopeless, I decided I needed to take a little walk. So I went to Borders Bookstore to enjoy my favorite Iced Coffee and go on with my day.

That night, after dinner, I decided I needed to keep my promise of bringing them cookies and put on my thinking cap. And then it came to me... TOASTER OVEN!

My day can turn around at any moment... Even if it's 1 hour before I go to bed!

Raspberry-Peach Champagne Jam, Peacans, White Chocolate


Cocoa, Brown Sugar, Hazelnuts, Chocolate Chips


Peanut Butter, Raspberry-Peach Champagne Jam, Chocolate, Pecans


Top it off with Brown Sugar and Cinnamon

The Lifesaver

It looked OK coming out of the oven...

And the taste?

Very impressed! The dough was nice and flakey! My favorite filling was definitely the Hazelnut and Chocolate Chips :-) My first attempt at making Rugelach was a success... even without a real oven, so HA!

By the way, I found this recipe for what are apparently called Rugelach Pinwheels on Smitten Kitchen... they were supposed to be cut much thinner... But being used to the ginormous Rugelach at Lulu's, I wanted mine big too!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sushi At Home

OMG so extravagant of me! I went all out and bought myself a little container of Ikura (Salmon Roe) at Daido in White Plains. I'm on this avocado kick right now and I've been doing lots of Mexican/Southwestern foods, so I was craving something like a California Roll but a little more jazzed up.

I had some leftover brown rice, so I came up with this Mixed Sushi Rice . It's basically like a fried rice, but more refreshing, served cold, and is meant to be topped with sashimi and all that sushi jazz.

Here's what I did:
1. In a frying pan, I cooked some chopped up onions and shiitake mushrooms with chopped garlic and chopped ginger. Season it with Dashi Stock Powder (just a little bit! Lots of MSG! In Japanese cuisine, they use this ingredient a lot. It just makes everything taste better :-D.) Take it off the heat, and let it cool.
2. I microwaved the leftover rice with Sushi Rice Vinegar (about a tablespoon), only until luke warm, about 20 seconds. (If you are making fresh rice, after the rice is cooked, mix the Rice Vinegar until well incorporated and let it cool.)
3. Mix in the onions and shiitake into the rice.
4. Add chopped up Shiso Leaves and chopped up scallions.

For tonight's dinner, I topped this rice with Ikura and Avocado.

I ate it by making little rolls with Nori (seaweed sheets)! OMG it was one of the best meals I've had at home in a while!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday America @ X20

Yaaaaayyyy.... American Pride Day! I didn't see as many American Flag apparel as I was fearing I would see :-) J.K... I love it when my man wears his American Flag bandana like a true American!

Tonight (yes I rushed home to blog about it), Ed, my mom, my brother, his girlfriend, and I spend the night at X20 in the Y.O. OMG... please take my advice and NEVER miss a fun event that Peter Kelly is hosting! Remember the Christmas Dinner and Holiday Cabaret?

So this one was very different. The seats weren't assigned by groups... you just had to find a table and claim it with your life. It was so packed! The appetizers were passed by their waiters. However, there was no sit-down dinner. Instead, there were food stations (buffet style) for the "Salad and Pasta" and the "Meat". There was also the bar and the Sushi Bar.

Let me just start off by saying that I literally tried every item that was being passed around/served. Including the 9382409284203 desserts! Unless of course they ran out. I really tried my best to "pace" myself but there was no point because I had to try everything and there was just so much food! I was in heaven... literally.

Here it goessssssss!

Fresh Mozzarella with Basil Leaf & Roasted Red Pepper

Lobster Canapé

Fresh Mozzarella with Beefsteak Tomatoes & Basil, Classic Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons & Parmigiano, Tortellini with Pecans & Prosciutto, Farfalle with Sundried Tomatoes & Chestnuts

Mini Brioche Sliders

Jumbo Coconut Shrimp

Braised Short Ribs “Wellington”

Herb Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Haricot Vert Vinaigrette with Walnuts

Filet Mignon with Sauce Choron, Breast of Capon with Watercress Dressing, Berkshire Pork Loin with Spicy Yuzu Compote, Roast Rack of Baby Lamb

Kobe Beef Hot Dog "Sausage and Peppers"

Asparagus, Prosciutto & Phyllo

Chocolate "Thing" filled with Caramel (Kinda like a brownie base with a chocolate ganache dome topping...)

Panna Cotta

Happy Birthday America Cake

Raspberry Sorbet, White Peach Sorbet

Chocolate Sorbet... OK I don't think this was sorbet. It was not cold, and it was like mousse! DELISH!

Coconut Panna Cotta

Toasted Almond Truffle

Carrot Cake

Lemon Tart

Are we done yet? Haha, ok so I did miss out on the Pistachio Ice Cream and another flavor ice cream. Plus, I didn't have the Vegetable Dumplings and Shrimp Tempura because I didn't wanna waste stomach space on just plain old Japanese food! My favorites of the night were the Sliders, the pork, Lobster Canapé... I also had the Phyllo Turnover with Smoked Chicken & Goat Cheese but I don't have a picture of it. Maybe I was too excited and forgot to take one before I ate it. It was that good. OH and of course the Beef Wellingtons!

After the sorbet, I thought the night of food was coming close to an end. But it really didn't. They kept bringing me food and I accepted graciously!

And the view? Perfect. I just realized tonight that I had never been to X20 while it was still light out and it was absolutely STUNNING! Here are some pics:

The Band

The Family

The Extended Family

Me and Honey Bunny

I kinda love America a little bit more now :-)

71 Water Grant Street
Yonkers, NY 10701
Phone: 914-965-1111