Monthly Archives: July 2010

A Smashing Chickpea and Olive Salad

I’ve been spending $7 at least once a week for Tom Colicchio’s chickpea sandwich at ‘wichcraft. I’ve already waxed poetic about my love for the sandwich, and as my dad helpfully pointed out, this is not a sustainable addiction, at least for a soon-to-be-unemployed intern.

Since I can’t buy one every day, I decided to try to make one of my own. Of course I’ve been thinking about it for weeks, but I finally bit the bullet this afternoon. Sadly, Smitten Kitchen beat me to the recipe, though as it turns out, my chickpea salad is pretty different from both hers and Tom’s (we’re on a first-name basis). Part of the reason is that I didn’t want to buy parsley or roasted red peppers, and part of the reason is that as I tasted while making (which I’m very prone to do), I realized that I didn’t really miss the olive oil or the salt. Continue reading

Micheladas: Mexico’s Answer to Summer

Micheladas seem ubiquitous this summer. They showed up in the New York Times magazine last week and quickly appeared on the Huffington Post’s food blog soon after. They were on the menu at my graduation dinner at Rosa Mexicano and have been a part of the brunch deal at Roots & Vines, the coffee shop around the corner from Keith’s apartment, for as long as I’ve gotten my iced coffees there.

The michelada’s omnipresence makes sense: a spicy beer cocktail is a great way to cool off when it’s hot. Traditionally, micheladas consist of some form of beer (to keep it traditional, the Mexican Tecate), tomato juice, a few drops of Worcestershire or Tabasco, lime juice and some mix of cayenne or jalapeño powder, with a seasoned-salt rim. There’s a million ways to make it, which makes it all the more perfect for a sweltering summer day. Continue reading

Heaven, in Pie Form

Allison Kave, founder and head baker of First Prize Pies, has been getting a lot of buzz this summer. She was featured in T Magazine and in NY Mag’s list of this year’s Cheap Eats.

I met Allison when the Hester Street Fair first opened. Drawn to her table by mom Rhonda Kave’s Roni-Sue’s Chocolate’s (I still have to try that chocolate-covered bacon!), I noticed Allison’s bourbon ginger pecan pie displayed on the table. She mentioned that she had a root beer cream pie as well, but that the heat prevented her from selling those at the fair.

“Root beer cream pie” remained rooted in my brain, stubbornly taking up space where I needed to remember interview tips and editors’ names and email etiquette. I ran into Allison again when buying bacon buttercrunch from Roni-Sue’s and couldn’t shake the idea of a root beer float with a pie crust out of my mind. Finally, one frustrated afternoon, I decided to just go for it. Continue reading

My New Food-session

I’ve been in a job hunt since April. It’s frustrating, to say the least. I feel like I’ve sent out thousands of resumes and received a handful of “Thanks but no thanks” emails back — and those are the nice ones. Most people don’t even bother to respond.

The only thing keeping me mildly sane through this time has been food (of course). What better to do than munch while writing yet another cover letter, filling out yet another electronic job form? A few weeks ago, my go-to brain food was roasted almonds: they were a little salty, a little sweet and had the perfect crunch. Then it was summer berries, juicy and tart. Now, it’s ricotta, specifically the Salvatore Ricotta I bought from Saxelby Cheesemongers this morning.

Saxelby is a tiny stall at the Essex Market, which houses another recent favorite, Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, and First Prize Pies (more to come on that later). The cheese comes from upstate New York and Vermont, with the sole exception of Parmagiano Reggiano, because, well, no one makes Parmesan like the Italians.

The Salvatore Ricotta is made in Brooklyn from whole cow’s milk. It’s strained with cheesecloth after it is made, creating a thick and rich cheese with a slightly lemony finish. For breakfast this morning, it served as an excellent accompaniment to leftover clafoutis (in lieu of whipped cream, for instance), and would be simply delicious with berries or honey or even a little truffle oil and baguette. At a price of $15 a pound, it’s expensive for sure, but Salvatore Ricotta is on my shopping list for the time being.

Plenty of Good Food at Po

For my first go-round with Restaurant Week Summer 2010, Keith and I picked Po, a teeny-tiny former Mario Batali restaurant in the West Village. Our reservations were for 11 p.m. on Friday, which is usually my bedtime, but the menu looked so good that I decided it was well worth the wait.

Verdict? There was plenty of good food to go around. The white bean bruschetta was delicious, a light and refreshing start to our meal. For the Antipasti, Keith ordered the white bean ravioli with a delicious balsamic brown butter sauce, while I got the spinach tagliatelle with ragu Bolognese. It was a nice contrast of sweet tomato, spicy red chili and rich meaty-ness. Perhaps I should have gone with a salad though – there was much more pasta than I could handle for a starter course.

For the Secondi course, I tried the Guinea Hen with roasted corn. The hen’s salty, crispy skin contrasted nicely with the sweet corn, which was my favorite part of the dish. Keith’s skirt steak with green beans, roasted peppers and Gorgonzola butter was a little on the rare side of medium rare for me, but the piece I did have was pretty good. I was tuckered out by the time dessert came around, and poor Keith, who had been looking forward to ricotta cheesecake with Vermont maple sauce, was disappointed to hear that the kitchen was out of it. Instead, he ordered the panna cotta with amarena cherries, while I got the chocolate terrine with espresso caramel sauce. Keith’s panna cotta was light and airy, though the cherries tasted slightly like Robitussin. My chocolate was too much for me (did you ever think I’d say “too much chocolate”? Neither did I). Continue reading