Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Love for New York: Rekindled

I'm one for simplicity when it comes to food. And I don't like Kitsch or Hype. If I know that wherever I'm going is sure to flavor combine in insulting ways or have a long line of people dressed for a "night on the town", chances are you won't find me wanting to be there.



After living in the East Village, I became overwhelmed with both Kitsch and Hype, with the Momofuku empire reigning surpeme on both accounts. I stopped writing in this blog, and I stopped going out to eat.



I've since moved.



And I've sinced remembered why New York is such a great place to eat.


Perpetual Hunger usually focuses on home cooked food, but there are a few recent dining adventures I'd like to point out:

1. Spicy Mina: This Bangladeshi (Bengali??) restaurant in Woodside/Jackson Heights, Queens is everything you hope for. Cheesy, small, and run by one older woman named Mina who makes everything herself. Get the Shrimp Dopeaja and the Lamb Curry.

http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/spicy-mina/

2. Kanoyama: Here's an East Village restaurant worth checking out. Best Sushi I've had in New York, and the best bang for your buck as well. Go with someone else and get the sushi for two.

3. Primorski's: Take the trek to Brighton Beach to go to this place. Bring a crowd. Bring an even number. This Soviet dance hall/restaurant serves awesome Georgian/Russian food and if you go during a specific time (look it up I'm too lazy!), you can get a Prix Fixe dinner for two that will blow your mind. You each pay 15 bucks. 15 bucks. That includes: getting the vegetable appetizer platter which features a GIANT platter of various pickles, salads, and other ways of preparing vegetables. I specifically recall a delicious chickpea and breadcrumb salad that made my evening. Then, if you happen to get the fried trout, expect an entire whole trout, deep fried to perfection, eyeballs and all, with tartar sauce, and the rest of the plate piled with perfectly fried potatoes. Then, you get a pastry for dessert. It's ridic.

TBContinued..

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Favorite Meal











Moules Marinières. Eaten on Suzanne's roof.


-R

Iceland





































Monday, March 29, 2010

Jeffrey and a Communal Dinner





So, who is my second cousin once removed, you might be wondering? None other than New York's rock star butcher, Jeffrey Ruhalter. That's right. My great-grandma was his grandfather's sister. Obviously.

I'd be meaning to head down to the Essex St. Market to introduce myself to Jeffrey for awhile, but shyness got the best of me, until this past Saturday. With a spurt of bravado, and a little moral support from Suzanne, I trekked down to the LES, and found the man ready to help me himself, ponytail and all.

I met his lady-friend, and ended up with a giant gorgeous steak and a beautiful second cut brisket, at a VERY family-friendly price. Thanks Jeffrey!!!!

I had every intention of Jew-ing that brisket up with some red wine. That is, until Suzanne took me to the GIANT BEER WHOLESALE WAREHOUSE on Chrystie St. After that, the meat had a lot of beer in its future.

I slow cooked that sucker in a bottle of beer and some broth, chili peppers, tomato paste, 1 turkish bay leaf, thyme, and black peppercorns. Everything eventually melted and broke down into a thick, spicy sauce. The beef was super moist, and I even attempted to do things right and cut it against the grain with my shittay knife. If there were any of this brisket left (of course, the five of us around ate it all), it would have been prime stacked high on a toasted bun. Slow cooked beef sandwich, oh yes...

We made sage corn bread in my cast iron skillet to accompany.

In conclusion: Jeffrey rocks.

In other news, NYU paid for me to cook a communal dinner at my dorm yet again.

What I made:

-Swiss Chard lasagna featuring fresh pasta and Grana Padano cheese

-Poached Bosc pears in red wine, vanilla, and ginger served with the wine sauce reduced, and fresh Whipped Cream with cardamom, cinnamon, and rose water

-Raw radishes served French style: with room temp butter and sea salt

The joy I get from the frivolous spending with these dinners is remarkable. One of my key pointless buys was Burro di Parma. This is a super expensive Italian butter from the Parma region that is a by-product of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese making. It actually smells like the cheese. It's super crazy. And NYU paid for it.

NEXT POST WILL BE THE FOOD I ATE IN ICELAND SO STAY TUNED, SUCKAHS!

-R

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Taste of 7th St. plus another Gem worth noting...

READ: Click the names of places for links!

Brian and I split the Taste of 7th St. food tour offered by Scoop St. It was 18 dollars and included the following:

1. An Arepa from Caracas Arepa Bar . They gave everyone a regular sized "De Pabellón" Arepa which is a doughy disc thing stuffed with shredded beef, queso fresco-y cheese, sweet plantains and some black beans. It comes with spicy creamy sauce. Honestly, kids, this is about as ridiculously great as great can be. If this makes you hot, check out the end of my post, where I dote on the Pupusa (Salvadoran), which I bought for much cheaper (normally) in Brooklyn, and is basically the same thing.

2. A giant smoothie from Xoom. We chose the "Paint It Blackberry", but could have opted for something more interesting and fun. I would recommend that. Our choice was perfect for the Arepa, but if you're there only for a smoothie mission there were some crazy options on the menu that would probably be more fun. However, I still assert that anyone can make good smoothies at home.

3. 2 Butter Lane Cupcakes. Butter Lane seems to think their cupcakes aren't as "sweet" as others, according to their website. This is entirely untrue. The icing was so sweet is was almost TOO sweet. From me, this is even surprising. The cake itself wasn't anything to speak for, either, although it certainly was enjoyable. It's a cupcake, after all. Again, I would say that this establishment wins for fun-factor. The "Elvis" cupcake is a banana variety with peanut butter frosting.

4. Luke's Lobster Roll. This was the most visually disappointing, and therefore the most rewarding in the end. When we went to Luke's, we had been granted giant portions of the afore-mentioned items, and so when the palm-sized half-roll with a bit of pink and white falling out of it came into our hands, it was a bit of a let down. That is, until we tried it. EAT THIS LOBSTER ROLL! It was light, buttery, super juicy, and really really yummy. This guy is crave-worthy. So great. I want another one right now.

5. And finally, the 7th St. pig maker we all know and love, Porchetta. My secret? This was my first taste of Porchetta! Brian's description of "Roast Pork that tastes like Stuffing" is entirely accurate. There's a sage disposition here, and the meat is so tender that it really does have a stuffing-like quality. Brian was sad there were no crispy bits on our sandwich, but I enjoyed it VERY much even just being melty and tender. Better yet, they serve it on a Sullivan St. Ciabatta. YOM.


So there was the food tour. So worth it. I'd never heard of Scoop St. until I did this, and now they are offering some 160 buck Yoga crap that I would never buy, but maybe one day they will bring me a Flushing Queens food tour or something else that I'd fall to my knees for.

As an ender, I'd like to introduce everyone to Bahia Restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a Salvadoran establishment which specializes in the "Pupusa", which is basically the same thing as an "Arepa", although I'm sure there are differences that I don't feel like looking up. Basically, if you're in to a corn/wheat flour dough stuffed with Latin American Things, this is your place.

For two, that's right, TWO DOLLARS, you can get one. My group ordered... well, a lot more than one. Luckily a time constraint prevented all of us from hurting ourselves. I'll save a long discussion and just tell you what to order there now:

Jalapeno con Queso Pupusa (Pupusas come with a cabbage slaw you eat on top)
Queso con Loroco Pupusa
Revueltas Pupusa
Fried Sweet Plantains con Crema
Sweet Empanada de Leche
Horchata

Thank me later. Also try the ten thousand other things on the menu that all look delicious and incredible. Cheap beers.

-R

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Healthy Whole Wheat and Flax Scone Recipe


from the original post at http://perpetualhunger.echoz.com/


Makes 2 Large Scones, Serves 1

1/2 cup White Whole Wheat Flour (essential! This is a whole wheat flour ground from a White Wheat, rather than Red, so it is lighter and has the mouth feel of processed white flour, but IS WHOLE GRAIN)
2 Tablespoons Golden Ground Flax Seed (optional? You don't have to, and I don't think it will affect the recipe, but I've never left them out, so be wary)
1 Tablespoon Aluminum Free Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons good cold unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup cold Buttermilk OR regular Milk with a few splashes of light (rice, white, apple cider) vinegar mixed in
A splash of Vanilla Extract
Large Crystal Sugar to top (quite optional)

*Be sure to keep many of these ingredients on hand for quick tweaking before baking. The dough texture and dryness are what make a good scone.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare yourself for the best breakfast experience ever. Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Have cold buttermilk or milk/vinegar mixture prepared and in the fridge. You can add the vanilla to the milk to make everything quicker. Add cold butter to the bowl. With a long pronged fork, smash the butter into the dry ingredients, until the bowl is filled with little flakes of butter. To be honest, I never measure the butter, I just take a few huge chunks and start going at it. (By the way, butter is good for you. These scones are still healthy.)To scrape fork while mixing, use a knife, not your hands. This does not have to be precise, and while it should be incorporated, bigger flakes of butter mean a flakier scone. After this is completed, quickly make a well in the center of the flour/butter, and add the milk and vanilla. Use fork to gently combine ingredients. The dough should be quite dry, and getting the last bits of flour to pull together should be a small battle. Give the dough a few pushes and squeezes with your hand just to smooth it out and place on the center of a quickly buttered sheet pan. Make a square-ish shape, and then cut in half with a pastry cutter (great investment), or knife to make a classic scone triangle. Top with the sugar if desired, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until just golden brown all over the top. Enjoy warm with clotted Devonshire cream (or lightly sweetened whipped cream) and jam, or just jam, but definitely include coffee or tea.

I've been enjoying these every morning. They make a really great breakfast, and can be spiced up any way. The ones above have added cinnamon, and I've recently been doing them with tons of huge frozen blueberries. Make them as savory or sweet as you like, but either way it's really fruity jam that gets them going. Just make them. Okay?

-R

Friday, January 15, 2010

Staples

(Photo above from sometime last year featuring numbers 6, 7, and 10)

People complain because they are poor and can't afford food that tastes good at home.


I resent this!


Here's how you do it:




1. Toasted Sesame Oil: for about three dollars you will buy a bottle of "why everything Korean/Chinese tastes so good". Put it on everything, mix it into a simple bowl of rice (and add a few of some things later on this list), and you're golden. This is the stuff of heaven. A little goes a very long way.



2. Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: Go to the Goya section of your supermarket. You'll find these here. They are in little cans and cost you about a dollar. In one can lies about 4-5 chipotle (smoked jalapeno) peppers in a thick spicy sauce. Scrape away the seeds and one of these babies + a spoonful of sauce can jazz up anything.


3. Dried Red Pepper Flakes. They'll last forever and just a pinch-full will make pasta and rice and anything suddenly better.


4. Garlic salt. Don't knock it 'til you try it. On that note: create your own seasoning salt. You won't regret it.


5. Seasoned Rice Vinegar. A bottle of this stuff will allow you to make bowls of sushi rice at home, which is a staple for me, not to mention ccountless dressings. A little sesame oil and red pepper flakes and an egg on top and you're gold.


6. Fresh Flat-Leaf Italian Parsley: If you keep it from bruising, a bunch of this will last a long time, and some chopped leaves as a finishing touch will consistently make anything you cook better. Promise.


7. One block of good European-style butter. It might seem pricier, but it WILL be worth it. Make it last: just stir a little chunk into your food. Quality of life will suddenly increase ten-fold. And it won't go bad.


8. Canned tomatoes/tomato paste. Buy the cheap store brand and you have homemade pasta sauce, braising liquid, spanish rice base, etc at your disposal.


9. Decent Olive Oil. Try Whole Foods over Trader Joe's. The difference in color is remarkable. Just a drizzle over pasta and soup works wonders. Whole Foods 365 brand has a beautiful green hue and a huge bottle is $7.00.


10. Eggs. Keep good eggs around and you have the basis for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A poached egg on top of anything basically is just awesome.


On the same thought track, Whole Foods now has a bulk section (read: cheap) for dried rice, beans, fruit, cereal, nuts, etc, and the 4th St. Co-op always did, so no more excuses, k?! Also, Raffetto's on Houston sells hand-cut fresh pasta for 2.50/LB.


-R


Monday, January 11, 2010

Homemade Pizza







You need:






1 Pizza Stone



Bread Flour



Yeast



NYC Tap Water



Salt



Sugar



Extra Virgin Olive Oil



Crushed Tomatoes



Fresh Mozzarella



Oregano



Basil
Attempts at creating an authentic New York pie at home went surprisingly well! Used Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough recipe which can be Googled easily. I used dry active instead of instant yeast so I did the prep-work in a little bowl with some sugar and warm water. Watch out, because you have to start it the day before, even though it's very easy. I also put some olive oil directly into the dough. Make sure you heat the pizza stone (mine was 12 bucks from Whole Foods ... and I feel like it will DEFINITELY be worth that price) with the oven or it might crack. Just turn your oven up as high as it can go. Then spread a thin layer of good olive oil on your VERY THIN dough before spreading a VERY THIN layer of crushed tomatoes (fresh out of the can, with some oregano and salt stirred in) on top. Finally, fresh slices of mozzarella and fresh basil (if it's in season, which it wasn't, and so I couldn't find it and even if I had it would have been off the wall expensive). Drizzle more olive oil, salt, and pepper on top. Then try and get that sucker onto the stone alive and without draining all the heat from the oven. Our method involved two spatulas and one corn meal dusted plate. Cook until done. Good luck.
-R

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chickpea Curry


Spices laid out for a tomato-based chickpea and chard curry. Although I don't think this kind of curry is supposed to have cream in it, I think it would have benefitted. Also, we had it with rice, but the sauciness would have really been prime with some ghee laden naan.
-R

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bleecker St. Pizza, Citrus Season, and more



Pictured above is the Nonna Maria slice, the award-winner from Bleecker Street Pizza. On the corner of Bleecker and 7th is this tiny place - just around the corner from John's, Joe's, and Keste if you want to take a pizza tour. For 3 bucks, it's a good size slice with a crisped crust, yet good foldability, and classic Margherita toppings. Sauce tasted fresh, tomato-y and not too sweet. And of course, it dripped with the essential grease drops, so grab some napkins. I think Brian put it best when he hailed it just a "great solid traditional slice of pizza". I may be a bit out of line quoting that, but it's pretty much what he said.
On other fronts, it is citrus season somewhere in the world, and although I do try and stick to local produce, I have a serious thing for oranges, so I take advantage of our country's expanse over many climates around this time of year and fill my fruit bowl with beauties.
I'm particulary fond this year of Cara Cara Oranges which have a pink-y grapefruit hue on the inside, but are very sweet. They have the easy peel and flesh firmness of a Navel, too, so no giant sticky mess on your hands after. I also have a love affair with Clementines, and the flavor of Tangerines really can't be beat for me if you can mind the seeds, which I don't have the patience for.
All good cooking greens (kale, swiss chard, etc) are prime right now (eat them every day!) and apparently so are pears, although I haven't really found a good pear at all this year, sadly. Know of one?
And finally, while on the subject of seasonality, turnips are so IN. I never ate turnips at home. They are pretty alien to me, to be honest. Must buy some - roast them or something. We'll see.
-R

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thanks, banana family.

Rum sauce! Heavy cream, brown sugar, molasses, and rum. What else?


(banana) Bread Pudding with rum sauce

I love bananas for many reasons: their undead-ness, savory to sweet versatility, strong texture, super healthness, attractive addition to every fruit bowl, the list goes on.

Even thought bananas are so lovable, we often find a pile of mushy brown ones sitting on the counter attracting delicate fruit flies. What to do when the garden variety banana bread loses its appeal?

In my questing, I found a few recipes for banana bread pudding. That's bread pudding of the banana persuasion, not bread pudding made with banana bread (although that would probably be delicious).

I used a recipe from epicurious and some homemade bread. Here's one wonderful thing about this recipe: you can use crappy bread, dead bananas, and even sour milk. Still tastes sa goodde!



Cookin' those bananas in butttter: 3 bananas to be exact, with 2 tbs butter and 2 tbs sugar


Ill-fated (depending on your perspective) too yeasty bread

I made some dinner rolls and they tasted way too yeasty, this was the extra dough. Lovely texture so perfect for bread pudding! All the extra crap you throw in masks any weird flavors so just use any random bread lying around.

Be sure to soak those raisins in rum and to let your concoction soak in the custard before baking.



Banana pancakes (cue Jack Johnson...OH DEAR). Secrets: separate your eggs

I'll put up this recipe soon. I got these tricks from Alice Waters' Art of Simple Food (great cookbook!). You get the pancakes nice and fluffy by separating the eggs and beating the whites (you know...stiff white peaks).

Continuing in the theme of bananas foster (of the rum sauce persuasion..which also goes QUITE well with these), place thinly sliced bananas on the pancake after flipping and sprinkle sugar. It gets nice and burned and crunchy.

Fried Plátanos


So facil and so tasty. My not so local CSA has plantains and I'm so glad. So far, I like to soften them by boiling, then fry in vegetable oil (peanut is yummy), smash and salt. Wikipedia of all places has a lovely summary of all the things you can do with this curious vegetable.