October 30, 2014

Spicy Carrot Soup

Our office LOVES to eat cook. Every so often, we take on a cooking challenge that focuses on one ingredient. In the past, we've featured lemon, pumpkin, and apple, in sweet and savory forms. This time, the lowly carrot, so often pushed aside as an overlooked, overcooked side, too center stage.

I decided to make a harissa-spiked soup I made years ago for a dinner party. It struck me as something different, a new mix of flavors for our group. And it couldn't be easier!

Okay, there is peeling and chopping to do with those carrots, but I find chopping to be very relaxing. You might disagree, and that's cool. Takes all kinds, right?
It's basically sautéed carrots & leeks, stock, and harissa. So dead simple! Once the carrots of softened, you put half of the soup in a blender and purée it, then add it back to the soup. Adds a nice texture and heft to it.
The original recipe calls for chicken stock, but we have a few vegetarians at work, so I switched to vegetable stock. I've never really used veggie stock before, but it turned out to be just fine. It was a different flavor, but it was still delicious, and some of the vegetarians thought the stock's richness gave the dish a meaty taste, anyway!

Harissa, a spicy pepper sauce popular in Northern African cuisine, is the magic ingredient. But a little goes a long, long way. I ended up adding an extra teaspoon, and it was deemed too spicy for some. I'd stick with just the recommended two!
Carrot hummus!
Carrot ring: EPIC

The next morning, I put the soup in a Thermos and carried it off to our Carrot Gathering. We had a delicious variety of sweet and savory dishes (Carrot ring! Carrot juice! Carrot hummus! Carrot-feta dip! Carrot CAKE!!!), and will be adding some of those recipes to my own repertoire! This outing also solidified this spicy soup as a favorite of mine.
You can put it together in less than 20 minutes, and yet the flavor of this dish is surprisingly complex!
You can get the easy-as-all-getout-recipe here!

October 17, 2014

Eggs-cellent Eats (Morrell Wine Bar)

I had a bit of a dental emergency recently. If you know me, you know how uptight I am about my teeth. It turns out that I grit my teeth so hard that I actually CRACKED one. Yep. I'm THAT strong. Well, it made eating a bit of a challenge, especially on the right side of my mouth. I wasn't sure what was going to happen at the dentist's office (this was a first for me), so I decided to have lunch BEFORE the appointment. 
Pre-dental work wine

I popped into Morrell's Wine Bar, which at 2pm was pretty empty, and took a seat at the bar. Morrell's is in the heart of Rockefeller Center, a certified tourist destination and a convenient location for many of us working New Yorkers. 

The deviled eggs sounded delicious AND easy to eat, so I ordered them and had a glass of Chardonnay.

They also brought me some delicious bread (I stuck to the softer, oniony kind) and very cold, very hard butter. The bread was chewy and flavorful, and I made sure to keep chewing only on the left side.

The deviled eggs were truffle-scented with fried, crispy chicken skins. Soft, salty, fatty, and a teeny bit of crunch at the end (just enough for a sensitive tooth). 
How are these eggs so gorgeous?? Smooth, perfectly filled, and every bite was a delight. 
The wine was a One Rock Chardonnay from Long Island's North Fork (#drink local), and while I'm not overall a "Chardonnay person," this was great. Light and crisp and lovely.
I loved the wine with the eggs! Why don't I make deviled eggs at home? They are so delicious! Granted, they are not cheap-- Morrell is not a Cheap Eats place, but it is always well-done and satisfying. 

PS: For those of you wondering, it turned out I didn't need a crown after all, just a deep filling. And it hardly even hurt! My teeth and I are doing much better now.

Morrell Cafe & Wine Bar
1 Rockefeller Plaza  
NY NY 10020 
(212) 262-7700  

October 01, 2014

British Breakfast (London)

For someone who's not a fan of flying, I sure am learning to suck it up and do it anyway. It helps when something as delicious as a British breakfast is waiting on the other side.

I took a girls' trip last month with my good friend LaShauna-- her fantastic idea, and my absolute delight to join her. We started early on a Thursday morning, looking for a breakfast spot even though it was nearly lunch time. The Gallery Pub was just the spot!

It's a dozen or so steps from the Pimlico tube stop, mere minutes from the place we were staying, and thankfully, was still serving breakfast at nearly noon!

We each got the Light Breakfast (£7.50, or about 12 dollars at the time): 2 eggs (LOOK AT THOSE GORGEOUS YOLKS), Irish back bacon (soooooo good), sausage, the requisite broiled tomato, and toast. It might be the American in me, but I just don't get the mushy tomato. Don't like it, don't get it. If any of you out there are UK citizens, please enlighten me on the appeal of it. I'm also sure there are many American bites that are equally confounding to you!

The breakfast was stomach-filling and heartwarming. The pub was quiet, relaxing, and the perfect start to our stay. You can see why I'm a bit smitten with British eggs, can't you? And a hot cup of tea is always a delight.
English Breakfast, of course!
The Gallery was also a delight-- beautiful interior, helpful staff, a leisurely place to start your day (and a hopping one to end your night, if you're around at that time)! You can get a fantastic, solid British breakfast here for a song!
The Gallery
1 Lupus Street
London SW1V 3AS, United Kingdom
+44 20 7821 7573

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