December 16, 2013

Pumpkin Un-Cocoa

Tired of tea? Can't even consider another cup of cocoa? Or maybe you just want something a little different to warm you up in this cold weather? Here's an easy recipe that takes almost no time at all in the kitchen.

Gothamist featured this un-cocoa a while back-- originally from the Hungry Mouse blog (visit here!), and I made it recently. HOLY goodness. Try it. Takes all of 5 minutes to put together: milk, pumpkin purée, vanilla, spices, and the sweetener of your choice (I used Splenda, the original recipe calls for sugar).

In my world, whipped cream makes everything better (I also lightly sweetened this with a bit of Splenda) and topped with with a dash or two of freshly-shaved nutmeg. The Hungry Mouse author suggests spiced rum as well, but this is also delicious as is. Deeeelicious.

And kitty approved!

Original recipe here at The Hungry Mouse!

December 13, 2013

Food Truck Friday: More Crêpes!

A different crêpe truck was outside my office the other day. Normally The Crêpes Truck is my go-to, but I'm always up for trying something new. The Craffles (crêpes + waffles, I assume) truck makes Belgian style waffles AND sweet or savoury crêpes.

I went for savory this time, ordering the chicken-pesto crêpe. I enjoyed watching the effortless work by the man running the truck, and the smells were making me even more hungry.

The inside of the truck is sparkling clean, and my server used gloves while making my food, and removed them to handle money. (Drives me crazy when people touch my food with the same gloves they just used to accept money-- which is normally filthy!)

The crepe itself was flawless-- crispy on the edges, spongy but not too thick in the middle. The fresh basil was a bit overpowering, so I took about half of it out, but I appreciated the generosity with the fillings.

I saw they also offer hot chocolate, sweet crêpes and Belgian-style waffles, but I was out of cash that day. I'll be back soon to try something sweet from them.

As with most food trucks, the Craffles NYC cart is always on the move! If you want to try their deliciousness, track them on Twitter @crafflesnyc or on their FB page.

December 11, 2013

Downton Abbey-- in Midtown Manhattan!

Are you a fan of Downton Abbey, the delightfully soapy PBS series? If you're anywhere in NYC, there's a fun little tea truck making stops all this week, offering tea, biscuits, and peeks into the series!

My fabulous coworkers & I walked a block away from our office to have some hot tea and a biscuit (what we Yanks call cookies) with a little British touch.

Servers dressed in period garb (okay, covered up in modern coats- it's COLD out this week) were there to serve us hot tea and Biscoff biscuits (have you had these? They're SO GOOD), and they all seemed to be having a grand old time.
All of this fun fuss is to remind fans (as if we actually NEED reminding!) that the fourth season of Downton Abbey airs in the US on January 5th. Set your DVRs, people! This is British entertainment at its most genteel, and genuinely entertaining.

I believe this tea is the English Rose Tea, sold just for Downton Abbey and described by the Republic of tea thusly: "This vibrant, ruby-red infusion of rose, raspberry and hibiscus has fruity, floral notes and a touch of sweetness. Inspired by traditional British desserts, this caffeine-free, luscious tea is perfect as an afternoon treat." (You can order it here!) It is very fruity, and we drank it plain, no sugar needed. I'm still more of a black tea person, but this was fun.. and free!
Do I look proper yet??
There was, shockingly, no real line. We got our tea in seconds, and had a few minutes to linger and pose for cheeky pics and whatnot. Is it high tea, with finger sandwiches and sweets and cloth napkins? Of course not-- but it certainly was a fun break in our day, as we are all quite excited about the upcoming premiere!
Hang in there, fans-- not much longer until we find out what happens with Mary and the rest of the Downton clan!
Thursday, December 12th
The New York Times Center, 41st St. between 7th & 8th Avenue

Friday, December 13
Broadway between 66th and 67th Street

December 02, 2013

Chilmark Chocolates (Martha's Vineyard)

On our yearly trip to MV, ABF & I met his family for a quick trip to Chilmark Chocolates. It was our first time there, but the rest of the clan had already discovered the delicious bites and was going back for Round Two!

It's a tight fit inside, with room for a quick single file pass by the glass cases. There wasn't too much time to linger, but there were so many possible choices!

I ended up picking a few random bites that sounded good, starting with the dark chocolate/GrapeNuts combo. My mom used to make this crazy-good GrapeNuts pudding when I was a kid (note to self-- make that pudding soon!) and I figured it was probably a great crunchy add to chocolate. I figured right. This was one of my favorites, and I didn't even stop to take a picture.

Every bite was delicious-- their toffee was crunchy, sweet, and just salty enough.

I was planning to bring back a bunch of chocolates for my coworkers, but Chilmark was closed that Tuesday, so we'll have to wait until our next visit. We know better-- this is the time of year when most places are shutting down for the season! Either way, we know now that Chilmark Chocolates is a must-stop the next time we come visit the Island.

Chilmark Chocolates

19 State Road

Chilmark, MA 02535

(508) 645-3013

November 29, 2013

Offshore Ale Company (Martha's Vineyard)

ABF got a lovely present from a colleague this year-- Deb knew of Kevin's & my love for New England and gave him a gift certificate valid at numerous merchants on Martha's Vineyard! We decided to use this at a restaurant we hadn't tried before-- Offshore Ale Company, in Oak Bluffs.

You can help yourself to bunches of raw peanuts while you wait, and the floor is littered with shattered shells. I never really got the appeal of that, personally, but people seem to love it. To each his/her own!

We started with a bowl of chowdah for ABF, and he generously shared with me. This was tangy, creamy, and the perfect start to a meal on a cold winter's night.

I ordered a glass of Malbec, one of my go-to wines when it comes to reds. I wasn't sure yet what I'd order, but I usually enjoy Malbecs.

Offshore Ale Company brews their own beer (and offers tours!), and ABF tried one of their stouts. He really liked his stout, and thought it went perfectly with the chowder. I tried a sip of the stout and liked it okay, but still prefer wine. I'm just not a beer person, remember?

ABF's main was the Italian Sausage Alfredo pizza, with a white sauce base, slightly spicy sausage, caramelized onions, and spinach. I had a bite and this was delicious! Offshore makes their pizzas in a wood-fired brick oven, and this pizza was excellent. Chewy but crisp crust, not the least bit greasy, and everything tasted delightfully fresh.

I felt a little overwhelmed with all of the options, but ended up picking fried chicken. I can count on one hand the times I've eaten fried chicken over the past few years, but I got roped in by the promise of a fluffy biscuit and some mashed potatoes.

The biscuit was fantastic, the mashed potatoes were perfect, and the chicken was crunchy, crispy, and very well-seasoned. There was also a HUGE amount of it. We both took home leftovers, and both dishes got even tastier over time.

We made sure to save room for dessert (which is why we packed up about five pounds' worth of leftovers!) and ABF's brother and his family had raved about the warm chocolate chip cookies that come with ice cream. One serving comes with 3 cookies, each about the size of my head, and a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

These were good, but I would skip these next time. If you have little ones with you, I think they'd love the wow factor of gigantic cookies, though.

Service was excellent, the mood was upbeat and energetic (a bit loud but in a fun way), and they have so many options you'll have a tough time settling on just one thing--what a delicious dilemma! I would definitely return here--and thanks again to ABF's colleague, Deb-- we quite enjoyed your gift!

Offshore Ale Company

30 Kennebec Ave

Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

(508) 693-2626

November 27, 2013

Thanksgivukkah side dish!

We have a delicious pre-Thanksgiving potluck every year at my office, and every year we are so excited to show off our cooking skills and enjoy everyone's awesome dishes. This year I went out on a limb with an interesting combo, brought to me by Chow: roasted butternut squash and pears. Pears? Yes, pears.

I was skeptical, especially when I saw the recipe also called for onions, but Chow has never led me astray. This recipe is dead simple, even though the idea of all the peeling might make you delay it until it's 10pm the night before your party (or was that just me?)
Seriously, though-- you can have this all peeled, chopped, and cooking away in no time. It took me about 10 minutes total prep time to peel and chop the squash and pears, dice the onions, and get everything going.

I deviated slightly from the Chow recipe. I don't really like rosemary. Little bits are okay, perhaps in breads or side dishes, but too much and I feel as though I'm snacking on a pine cone. So I used whole cardamom pods-- I thought they'd be a nice partner with the squash.

While the roast butternut squash is baking, you can start sautéeing the onions. Once they're clear, bring in the pears! The whole time I made this, I was thinking "This is weird. This is not going to work." I totally intended to pick up a backup pumpkin pie if this dish didn't work out the way I hoped.
However, all of those fears went away with my first bite. The roasted squash is delightful, of course, but the sweetness of the pears, along with the slightly sweet/salty bite of the onions, those extras take this dish up another notch.

Pears AND onions?? Yes! 
It's simple and simply delicious-- the leftovers got better and better every week! If you're looking for a new way to dress up your side dishes, I highly recommend this recipe! Thanks again to Chow!!
Mmmm..roasted  veggies (I ate the brussels sprouts as a snack!)
Roasted Squash & Pears (adapted from this Chow recipe)

1 medium butternut squash (around 2 lbs)
2 Bosc pears (bought a few days ahead of time)
1 small yellow or white onion
Cardamom pods (I used a small handful, maybe 7-10, instead of rosemary)
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil

Wash, peel, and cut the squash and pears into cubes that are all about the same size. Dice your onion. Toss the squash and cardamom pods in a roasting pan with enough olive oil to coat, dash with salt & pepper, and baked about 25 minutes (until fork tender) at around 350.

While the squash is roasting, sauté the onions until clear (I used butter here), then add the pears. Sauté another 5-10 minutes, mixing well. Set aside.

Once squash is ready, toss all cooked ingredients together, put in serving dish. Let cool before refrigerating for later. Hint: this gets better overnight!

Happy Thanksgivukkah, Thanksgiving, or plain old Thursday-- however you spend it!

November 12, 2013


**Thanks to Brooklyn Heights Blog for posting this Queen review on their site! If you're new to Stuff I Ate, swing by my Facebook page (here!) and click 'like' to share your favorite Brooklyn, NYC, and other spots! Also, my linkwithin widget is funky today, so click  here to see my other Brooklyn Heights faves-- and leave a comment on YOURS!**
We have a new favorite restaurant in Brooklyn Heights: Queen!
This is especially delicious considering 2 of our favorites in that area closed (Ciao, La Traviata-- I miss your shrimp fra diavolo!)

That's just about all you need to know when it comes to Queen, a long-standing Italian restaurant on Brooklyn's busy Court Street. It's less than a 2 minute walk from a bevy of subway lines, so you really have no excuse for not trying it!
Right off the bat, you get this gorgeous, complimentary plate of carby delights, with a vinegar/olive oil combo on the side for dipping.
(Note--they make their own mozzarella-- and you can order a Caprese salad even though it's not on the menu-- notes for next time!)
Crispy flatbreads, crunchy breadsticks, fresh, fluffy Italian (white)bread, a darker version, and the star-- this delicious chewy and soft riff on bruschetta, crowned with a garlicky tomato sauce that just about sang. They offered us more, but we showed some restraint and demurred. I really wanted to have room for dessert, and I could easily make a meal out of that bruschetta.
We each had a glass of wine as well-- a fruity Merlot for ABF, a luscious Nero d'Avola (only $8!) for me. Perfect!
My friend J insisted that the eggplant parmigiana was the go-to dish. I don't normally order that, but on her recommendation I decided to give it a try. Holy deliciousness. Do you see that gorgeous dish? Tender, thin slices of eggplant-- not the thick, heavy,clunky versions you might have had elsewhere, cloaked in a thin, oozy layer of cheese, and of course, red sauce. I took home the leftovers for lunch the next day, and it was even better.
ABF ordered the chicken parmigiana. Why not go with some classic dishes to test this place's chops? His chicken was surprisingly juicy and tender, and I had at least two bites of this. It came with a side dish of perfectly-cooked penne with a different (yet even more delicious) red sauce. Both dishes-yum!
ABF had checked out pictures on the website that make the portions look teeny-tiny, precious, even, but we both saw for ourselves that they are huge!
The waiter told us they make their own desserts at Queen, so we both saved room. I went with the apple tart, which comes with cinnamon gelato. The tart was clearly homemade, light and delicious. The gelato was much milder than I expected- I wanted a little more cinnamon, but it was still creamy and tasty.

ABF went for the ricotta cheesecake, one of his favorite desserts overall. I've never been a fan of the texture-- I like my cheesecakes dense, heavy, and tangy. This, however, was great. I'm not saying I'd order it myself, but if you like ricotta cheesecake, you will LOVE theirs, which comes with a tangy zig zag of two fruit purées-- kiwi and strawberry this time.

We went all out on this meal, wrapping with cappuccinos (decaf for me). Everything about this meal was lovely from first bite to final sip. The staff were just as welcoming to us as to the many customers who were clearly regulars. I can't wait to go back-- and try the homemade mozzarella!

84 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 596-5955

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