June 30, 2010

Roasted Tomatoes

Normally I avoid using my oven as much as possible in this blasted heat, but when I saw grape tomatoes last week, looking all shiny and delicious at Trader Joe's, I had to try this recipe I've been saving for a while. It was featured in a Martha Stewart living; chef Tony Esnault roasts the tomatoes simply and then puts them on zucchini rounds (I can't find the link anywhere online, but you'll soon see how dead simple this is!)

Take the (washed and patted dry) tomatoes, scatter them in an oven-proof skillet (such as my kick-butt cast iron baby). Place 3-4 garlic cloves throughout the dish, drizzle with a little olive oil, then sprinkle on a light dash of salt. The original recipe calls for fresh thyme and marjoram, but I had neither, and a quick run to the corner store proved fruitless, so I used dried marjoram. Still tasty.

Pop these ruby beauties in a 400 degree oven until the tomatoes start to burst, which will be about 25-30 minutes. I opened the oven about halfway through and gave the skillet a good shake, making sure the tomatoes all got covered evenly in the olive oil. Your kitchen, hot as it might be on a warm summer evening, will smell divine.

Shockingly, I had no zucchini on hand this week, so I served them on their own. I had a half cup with dinner last night, and then reheated some more this morning with my breakfast omelet and avocado salad (just a few slices of avocado drizzled with lime juice and diced red onion-YUM). Delicious--and so good for you!!!!And I KNOW I don't have to tell you how amazing the roasted garlic is. Deeeelish!

June 27, 2010

Have Burger, Will Travel

Holey moley I have a new favorite burger. I've had it two weekends in a row, and just thinking about how good it is makes me want to hop on the LIRR again. Rockville Centre's Golden Reef Diner does a lot of things well, but right now, nothing beats their Fiesta Burger. I'm trying to be healthier these days so I opted not to get the fries. They're not that good for you, but fries are also a food I can easily skip without feeling deprived.

You know I have that thing with mushrooms, still a little afraid of them and whatnot (fungus!) But I dared to 'when in Rome' it, and it was a delicious payoff. What looks like an INSANE amount of mushrooms for one burger is actually perfect. The burger comes with bed of sautéed (but not burned) onions, Monterey Jack cheese, and I plunked a hefty portion of the chunky, surprisingly flavorful salsa on top. Freaking yum.

ABF tried a bite and liked it so much, I was happy to share even more of my burger. I'm nice like that. ;) Juicy, flavorful, perfectly cooked. This is burger perfection! It was just as good a week later when I went back (though that time they'd sautéed the mushrooms WITH the onions, and it might have been even BETTER!) This is one messy meal, but it is oh-so-freaking-worth it. It's even steps from the Rockville Centre train station (about 30 minutes from Penn Station in NYC), so it's easy access! Win, win, win, win, WIN!

Golden Reef Diner
329 Sunrise Highway
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
(516) 764-9274

June 26, 2010


You don't go to Chevy's for the best Mexican food ever. You go to Chevy's (at least the one in Times Square) because it's connected to the movie theater where certain people (LKP, Melanie & Patty) may have just seen a certain movie (MACGRUBER! [explosion sounds]) and found themselves quite hungry.

Our friend Mel had to head back to Jersey, but Patty & I were not going to make it home without sustenance. We walked in, still giggling over the silliness of the film (if you're not a Macgruber fan you will NOT like it, I assure you) and found out we could sit down right away.

Our server brought us each a margarita; I ordered watermelon, Patty ordered lime. We soon realized the flavoring, however, was all in the sugar rimming the glass. Otherwise it was a plain old margarita. Hmm...

We were crazy hungry, but this place is a chain, meaning it's required by NY law to post calorie counts. Few things will halt your dining plans like the number "2,095" next to a former favorite dish. We opted to split a fajita entrée that came with beef, chicken, and shrimp. The word 'pounced' comes to mind when I think of how we acted when the plate arrived.

It was good, and we were ravenous: such a winning combo! I had the shrimp first before moving on to the steak and chicken. The shrimp was actually my favorite!! Not dried out or chewy at all--perfectly juicy and delish.

We had a great, quick server who did not rush us, our food was hot and tasty, and our drinks were ice cold and lip-smacking (though a bit sweet). Not bad! It's definitely not a place I go out of my way to hit, but if you're at the INSANELY huge AMC or Loews on 42nd, it's a safe, affordable bet!

259 W 42nd St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 302-4010

June 25, 2010

Banc Burger

Banc Cafe is just a block away from our studio at work, so yeah, we gals have popped in there from time to time. On one particularly sunny but cool day, a coworker and I grabbed some outdoor seating and enjoyed a nice, leisurely meal. I ordered the sirloin burger. YUMNESS!

I got a green salad on the side instead of fries, and holy moley was it delicious, coated ever-so-lightly with my favorite dressing, red wine vinaigrette. The burger was perfectly medium rare, as I requested, and I ate every delicious, juicy bite of it. And yes, you are seeing sautéed white onion AND fresh, crisp, raw red onion in one fell swoop. I heart onions.

My coworker got the salad with grilled shrimp--doesn't it look marvelous? She was quite happy with it. We both enjoyed the thoughtful presentation of the lemon, wrapped in a sachet/cheesecloth type fabric so you could avoid getting any loose seeds in the salad. I love stuff like that!

Dessert came a-callin' our names in the form of an apple-walnut tart. Yes, please! We split it, and it was more than enough. I love apples, walnuts, and buttery goodness all mixed together. Holy yum..it tasted just as good as it looks. The berries were wonderful, too: juicy, bright, and just tart enough. Another win at Banc!

Banc Cafe
431 3rd Avenue
New York, NY
(212) 252-0146

June 23, 2010

Raspberry Yogurt Cheesy Awesomeness

Foodbuzz.com's theme this month is smart snacking, and I knew exactly which recipe I'd share. It's not heavy on the pictures, but trust me--this is deeeeelicious!

All you need are fresh raspberries, strained plain yogurt (I took Greek yogurt and strained it overnight anyway), honey, and gingersnaps. I bought the gingersnaps at Trader Joe's (oh, I love thee....)

While you do drain the yogurt overnight, this is an otherwise quick dish. Mix in the raspberries and honey to the yogurt, spread on zingy gingersnaps, and just try to control the urge to eat the entire bowl! Then it's not so much snacking as snarfing. But still, enjoy!

June 21, 2010

Corner Bistro

This is where I wish I were right now. Juicy burgers, toasted buns, crispy fries, and maybe an ice cold root beer to wash it down my happy gullet.

It's a no frills, no fuss, all worth the wait place.

I hope your week has some equally delicious moments!

Corner Bistro
331 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 242-9502

June 19, 2010

Sausage Balls

While my roots and heart are in New England (I grew up in Massachusetts & Rhode Island before moving to the middle of America), there are some tasty takeaways I got from Oklahoma that I still love to this day. Sausage balls definitely qualify as a keeper!

This is a recipe I got from Jenezuela's mom on my most recent visit there (for Jenezuela's wedding). It couldn't be simpler! These savory bites are great for breakfast, brunch, parties, snacks, anytime! I like them best with the spicy sausage, but you could use mild/sweet just as easily. And no, I don't want to know how many calories/carbs/fat grams are in these babies!

12 oz packaged sausage (ie the late, great Jimmy Dean's brand)

10 oz packaged Cheddar cheese

¼ c. water

2½ c. Bisquick mix

Brown sausage, but don’t fry until crisp. Chop cheese and melt into sausage in skillet. Add water and mix well. Pour into mixing bowl, then add Bisquick. Roll into balls, place on cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from sheet, sprinkle with paprika or fresh chopped parsley if desired.

June 17, 2010

Brinner = Awesome!

A good while back now, I got the hankering for breakfast for dinner. My friends Inger & Rick call it 'brinner,' which I enjoy saying as much as possible now. I texted Kelli & Kwame and they were both game.
Kwame & I set to making the French toast while Kel made up the scrambled eggs. So. Good. It all came together in mere minutes....for pennies a serving!

For the French toast, I just tossed in a hefty dose of cinnamon (next time I want to try nutmeg!), real vanilla extract, and a super big splash of milk, which I mixed into 3 or 4 eggs. I sautéed the toast in my awesome cast iron skillet while Kel scrambled the buttery, soft eggs. I should have put the toast in the oven for a few minutes...next time! And oh, there will be a next time. Brinner is one of my favorite meals.

and it was delicious! Of course we added some bacon ;).

Are you a Brinner fan, too? I just love it....

and yes, that is raspberry syrup on my pancakes. Ohhhh sacrilicious....

June 14, 2010

Low-Carb Cheesecake Bites

While trying to avoid sugar as much as possible, at least at the start of my lower-carb livin', I still had a craving for something desserty. I turned again to George Stella for some help, and his Pecan bon bons recipe caught my eye. They're essentially bitesize cheesecake noms!

These tasty bites are scrumptious and SO easy to make. I was out of pecans, so I used chopped walnuts instead. The nuts, splenda, and vanilla came together before I added the cream cheese. Get your (clean) hands in there and start mooshing it together!

Then you put these babies on a cookie sheet and pop them in the freezer. While the freezer does its job, you make the ganache with baking chocolate, a bit more splenda, and some heavy cream or butter. I opted for butter (yum). I dipped the now-frozen bites in the ganache and put them back in the freezer for another 20 minutes (while I washed up the dishes I'd used). Pop them out, pop them in your mouth, and enjoy!

These are not calorie-free, but they're so rich that there's no way I could eat more than the three-serving size the recipe dictates. They're about the size of a marble, maybe slightly bigger, but so rich and filling that you'll take the edge off your dessert craving without derailing yourself!

June 12, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad

It's going to be a long, long time before I eat regular chicken salad again. It took my tastebuds actual DECADES to come to love curry, but the love is here to stay. I'd had curried chicken salad at a friend's bridal luncheon a good 10 years ago, but it's only been in the past few years that I've decided I really enjoy that tang. And not for nothing, but curry is pretty darn good for you!

After ABF's sandwich at Fika, I determined to make this, but I realized I have never owned a jar of curry. Ever! In my life! Until now (thank you, FreshDirect.com!)

It doesn't get much simpler than this: 3 boiled chicken breasts shredded with 2 forks, 3 stalks of celery, a few tablespoons of mayo, and 2 teaspoons of curry! I added the curry one tsp at a time to be safe. Next time, I just might add three. The curry gives it an amazing depth, a warm heat that is NOT spicy, and brings a lunch (and low-carb) favorite to new heights. In a word: YUM.

June 11, 2010

Vegging Out

I'll take just a moment to clarify my low-carb stance...I don't mean to suggest I'm sitting down every day to 3 steaks and a stick of butter. That's not my new awesome plan. I'm basically replacing starches and what I call the 'crap carbs' (white bread, flour, sugar), you know, stuff that doesn't really GIVE your body stuff it needs, and putting more veggies there. People with PCOS and/or insulin resistance (like yours truly) do not respond well to big insulin spikes, and the whole idea is to keep your body on a healthy, even keel. So...where I might have had a roll or some chips or even hash browns, I now have veggies. Lots and lots of fresh veggies.

I have even started working extra veggies into breakfast time. Not just in the omelet..but as side dishes. Why I didn't think of this before, I'll never know. But now my morning eggs, whether poached, over easy, or awesomely scrambled, come with a hefty dose of sautéed zucchini and onions. I love zucchini.. I love it raw, roasted, shredded, baked, sauteed, you name it.

What are some other ways YOU squeeze veggies into your meals?

June 10, 2010

Yakkety Yak (Burger)

I was looking for a lunch spot a while back with 2 of my lovely coworkers. We were on our way to a usual place when we came near Waterfront Ale House. We decided to take a chance on a new place.

It was just after three when we arrived, so the place was almost empty. We took a seat next to the popcorn machine (you can help yourself while you wait) and persued the menu, which boasts a lot of wild game, including ostrich, bison, and of course, yak.

There were so many choices on that menu that it took us a while to sort it all out for ourselves. Thankfully, we had a patient server.

By the way, if your are a condiment fiend, you are in the right place. More mustards than you can muster to eat, hot sauces of all levels of caliente, and scads o' ketchup and BBQ sauce (they make their own).

Honestly, the yak burger intrigued me, but the actual word 'yak' almost turned my stomach. I had to think about it for a few minutes, that whole mind over matter war I often fight. I mean, seriously, how often do you get the chance to eat yak. Outside of say, Mongolia? I decided to be brave and ordered the yak burger, and I opted for waffle fries.

I asked our server how the kitchen recommends it be cooked, and she said medium-rare (a touch more rare than I normally get my burgers). I dug deep, powered through, and said go for it!

That is one piiiiiiiiink burger. I took a deep breath before taking a big bite. The meat tasted almost, well, slightly sweet at first. The consistency was a little smoother than ground beef, and frankly, it was tasty. And somehow, I managed not to imagine this guy too much while chewing.

P ordered the Texas dip, which was sliced brisket with a heaping cup o' BBQ sauce, and sweet potato fries. I dipped a fry into the BBQ sauce and it was quite tasty. The fries were great on their own, but the spicy, earthy, not-sicky-sweet sauce was a delicious addition.

J ordered the chicken club and very happy with it. Her only complaint (and a mild one at that) was that the sandwich was so tall it was tough to take a decent bite. It looked sooo good, and for a second I wondered if I should have gotten that. Looking back, though, I'm happy with my choice!

The two things I didn't like from our visit: the waffle fries and one thing our server did. J ordered a glass of wine and thought it tasted 'off.' We both tried a sip and agreed it was not good. She returned it and got another glass--didn't drink another sip of the one she didn't like. When we got the bill, we saw the server left the returned wine on there. Really? I think we all felt that one should not have been on the final count. By the time we were ready to leave, though, it was getting quite hectic there and we just figured we'd tip less. We still left a decent tip, but we would have left a MUCH bigger one if she'd taken the returned glass off the bill. Oh yeah.. and the waffle fries were terrible--dry, nothing to them, and a waste of your time--skip these! Yak burger, yes, waffle fries, no!

All in all, the extra wine wasn't that big a deal--we never felt rushed and we all enjoyed our food. I think we'll hit this place again down the road for sure--if you're in the mood for something different, hit up Waterfront Ale House!

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