Tag Archives: chicken

Guest Blog: Mas (Farmhouse)

1 Feb

I work in a field where I get to meet a lot of really great people. It isn’t rare that I find someone who loves food as much as I do, but to find a kindred spirit who thinks about it night and day and loves nothing more than talking about it is unique.  When I sat down next to Alexis at a lunch, we were excitedly chatting about her recent meal at Mas (Farmhouse) almost immediately, with her showing me pictures on her phone.  Kindred spirit… check!

It has come to my attention that, disappointingly, I cannot visit every great restaurant in the world, let alone in NYC on my own.  So I am thrilled that Alexis agreed to guest blog about her Mas (Farmhouse) dining experience.

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From Alexis:

I recently started working closer with Sara and when we recently dined together at Millesime, we quickly realized we shared two major passions in life; food and Words with Friends.  I actually mentioned to my husband that these are the only two things I needed in life, he was a bit taken back that I didn’t include him in my list, but hey, I thought that was a given.  My passion for food has transpired over the last few years and I am known to be eating lunch while reading menus for dinner, tomorrow’s dinner, next week’s dinner, you get the point!  I have a self proclaimed eating disorder, where I go to sleep dreaming of food and wake up the same way.  Harnessing this issue has been a problem, so when I was given the opportunity to guest blog, I realized that this may be the perfect outlet for my infatuation. Here goes it…

Mas (Farmhouse)

This past weekend my husband and I went for dinner with another couple.  Of course I read the menu in advance, but I must say the menu doesn’t read as well as the food looks and tastes. Also, despite the waiter’s best effort to showcase the culinary offerings as “custom”, we were a bit overwhelmed by the variations in which you can order; 4 course tasting; 7 course tasting; create your own tasting; a la carte.  We decided to order a la carte but collaborated and shared so we could taste more dishes.  This is always the way I (try to) order despite some people not always in agreement. There’s always that stinker who “doesn’t like to share”… Hate those kinds of people….

Diving right into it…. We were greeted with an amuse-bouche – I didn’t get the exact description, my first blogging error, but don’t hold it against me! – Goat cheese tartlet with caramelized onion and some kind of gelee and micro greens?!

It was truly fantastic and a perfect bite to get our palates going.  I could have easily eaten at least three more of these little tastes of heaven …

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For our Appetizer course, I rallied up the troops to each get something different… I love duck, especially confit style, so I was excited about my selection: Duck Confit Tart with Espresso Gastrique; Apple Butter, Sliced Pears & Mâche Lettuce. The portion size was really nice for one, and actually just enough to give everyone at the table a taste, albeit a small taste as I realized quickly how delicious this sucker was after my first bite ;). The blend of flavors and ingredients in this dish were incredible, and again I would’ve loved to supersize it into an entrée!

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My husband ordered the Yellowfin Tuna l’Occidental; Flashed with Beurre Noisette & Crispy Shallots. Despite him not knowing what half of the ingredients were or knowing what the “flashed” methodology of cooking is, he’s a sure thing when it comes to Tuna with any semblance of tartare-y style. The crispy shallots were a really nice addition, adding texture to the dish and breaking up the typical tuna tartare flavors you usually see.  Very refreshing dish…

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My girlfriend ordered the Shrimp Crusted with Spaghetti Squash; Salad of Frisée & Marcona Almonds with a Horseradish Dressing which was actually on the special tasting menu, but they were flexible to allow her to order it as her app. Although it was certainly a unique presentation, I felt the frisée salad overwhelmed the plate and drowned out the beautiful look of a dish as unique as this one.  Despite the amass of greens, this was another superb dish with unique flavors and texture. I would have gone in for seconds if I wasn’t so wrapped up in hoarding my Duck confit.

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Lastly, my friend’s husband ordered the Brussels Sprouts Roasted with House- Cured Lamb Bacon; Deviled Quail Egg, Butternut Squash Confit & Shaved Pecorino. This is the only dish I did not try. Brussels Sprouts aren’t really my thing, but the rest of the table seemed to enjoy it.

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New blogger mistake #2  = missing a photo-op of our pseudo third course.  The Ricotta- Lemon Tortellini; Wild Mushroom Stew, Sunchoke Purée & Parmesan Foam was actually an entrée, but we concurrently decided that we all would like to try it and share it as a table.  This pasta was amazing.  I would have licked the plate and scarfed this dish down if it was just mine, but I tried my hardest to be polite and somewhat refined. This stacks up with the Duck Confit as my favorite dishes of the night. Also, I am a self proclaimed pasta addict, so I may be a tad biased.  I also love mushrooms, ricotta, and I mean you can’t go wrong with parmesan foam, can you? I wish I had a picture to share of this dish… sorry!

For my entrée, I actually sprang for the chicken. For me, I almost never order chicken in a restaurant, but since I tend to put more emphasis on the ingredients and preparation than I do on the actual protein – I just had to try this.  The chicken was good, but I wasn’t overly impressed.  I found myself forking under the chicken for the escargot and the butternut squash risotto, which were two major elements that elevated this dish.

Chicken Breast Roasted with a Black Trumpet Mousse; Hen of the Woods Stewed with Escargots, Butternut Squash Risotto & Fennel

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I also found myself wishing I ordered my husband’s entrée – Butter Poached Lobster with Hon Shimeji Mushrooms; Huitlacoche Purée & Ricotta Spaetzle with Baby Arugula- The ricotta spatezle were so interesting and different, they tasted like a mini ricotta gnocchi and were super light and airy. These morsels mixed with lobster and a mushroom like puree created for literally the perfect bite….

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We were too full for dessert, but the restaurant provided us with Lemon Marshmallow’s that hit the spot.

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Overall, I would rate mas (Farmhouse) very high – a solid 9.  I definitely recommend this place to anyone that is looking for a unique meal with a French flair. This spot is pretty pricy so it may be best suited for a special occasion, dinner with rents or if you have the luxury of a business expense account, snag some foodie client’s and enjoy!

Restaurant Week Summer 2011: 10 Downing

22 Jul

I try to blog about Restaurant Week here in New York each season.  For my previous NYC Restaurant Week adventures, check out this link.

Our first stop for Summer 2011 was to 10 Downing.  I had heard very mixed reviews.  I felt like a few years ago, everyone said this was one of their top places… but recently there were a number of people who called it a “let down.” I figured Restaurant Week was a good time to try it out.

When we arrived, we noticed that tucked in the corner, chatting away, sat Emma Stone and Kieran Culkin. Pretty cool sighting!

The Restaurant Week menu included a choice of 3 apps (chilled pea soup, sweet shrimp with grits, and heirloom tomato & watermelon salad), 3 entrees (sauteed wild striped bass, chicken with summer squash, and braised short ribs), and 2 desserts (spiced chocolate torte or almond & pecan panna cotta).

Mike chose the sweet shrimp and Anson Mills cheddar grits, which came with garlic, jalapeno, and fried leeks.  He very much enjoyed it.

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I went with the chilled English pea soup with buttermilk ice, summer fruits, and puffed barley.  It also had beautiful orchids floating on top.  It was refreshing and the fruit was an awesome pair with the soup.  Perfect for summer.

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Mike went with Hudson Valley Farms chicken with summer squash, eggplant, fingerling, and pistou (which is a cold sauce made from cloves of garlic, fresh basil, and olive oil).  It was filled with flavor and surprisingly not “boring” for chicken.

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I wanted the short ribs, but was disappointed to hear that they were still 2 hours from being done with the slow cooking (which I found especially strange since our dinner reservation was at 7pm, and while I know people eat late in NYC on a Friday, 9pm to START serving a dish seemed weird).  But they were doing the same preparation (broccoli, bearnaise sauce, and shallot confit) with skirt steak.  So I went for it.  It was delicious and tender, with a great sauce… but…

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…There were a number of inedible things on the plate.  From a gob of fat on the steak to a shallot and garlic still in the peel, I found it weird that they didn’t seem to have completed the prep and just threw things on the plate that were supposed to be there but someone didn’t know what to do with them.

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Mike went with the spiced chocolate torte with muscato reduction and chipotle cream.  It sounded good, but I couldn’t have it.  Mike said it was “just okay.”

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I chose the almond and pecan panna cotta with roasted cherries and madeira.  Now this was AWESOME.  This is how panna cotta is supposed to taste. I have had a lot of panna cottas over the years, and always found it just… eh… But this was a fantastic texture, flavor, and rich in goodness. And the cherries were mmm mmm good!

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Overall, 10 Downing was pretty good, and we enjoyed their Restaurant Week selection.  Some things felt just a bit “off” about the service and the prep, but it was quite good food and I’d return for a non-RW meal without hesitation.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

Florida Noms: Stonewood Grill and Tavern (Wellington)

1 Jun

 

 

For a dinner with Mike’s family, we went to Stonewood Grill and Tavern in Wellington, Florida.  It’s a small chain across Florida with one location in North Carolina.

It reminded me of an Outback but without the Australian theme.  The salmon looked great and was enjoyed by all who ordered it.

 

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A few of us got steaks, and all were quite tasty with good char.

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Char is key in my opinion.  A good char can lift the quality of even a bad steak, and these were quite good.

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The baked potato came with a lovely set of fixins.

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The lamb chops were also artfully plated and delicious.

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Overall, I thought this was a very good dinner for a “chain”-type place.  I would prefer Outback, simply for the sweet potatoes, but this was still tasty and had a big enough menu for everyone to find something they liked.

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10

 

 

 

 

Tuity Fruity Chicken and Corn Fritters

1 Sep

It is no secret that I love fruit paired with chicken/turkey/pork/scallops. We happened to have a lot of fruit that needed to be used, so we made up a Tuity Fruity Chicken and paired it with a great Weight Watchers recipe for corn fritters.

We cut up some plums, peaches, and sections of clementines and combined it with some Diet Sunkist, garlic, apricot preserves, salt, and pepper.

I didn’t have a broiler pan, so I tried to put a baker’s rack upside down… It actually didn’t work really, however, it was just fine.  Then… we broiled. That’s it!

As for the corn fritters, it was a bit more complex… but ENTIRELY worth it!  The directions were to beat egg whites until they were stiff but not glossy.  Meh? 

As someone that has made many a meringue, I wasn’t sure I had ever seen eggs glossy… so I just went until it peaked.

Then you mix together corn, tomatoes (we substituted these for the peppers), scallions, salt, pepper, and flour.  Then you fold in the egg whites.

Then after you spray down a pan, you scoop a dollop of the mixture onto a heated pan.  I was concerned that they wouldn’t stick together, but oh…

They did.

And they were amazing!

And the fruity chicken was pretty damn good, too.

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RECIPES
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Fruity Chicken (5 points for 1 1/4 pound chicken breast)

Ingredients:

·         1 tsp olive oil   

·         1 medium garlic clove(s), minced   

·         1/8 tsp table salt   

·         1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground   

·         1/2 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast   

·         2 medium peach(es), sliced   

·         1 cup(s) Sunkist Diet Orange Soda   

·         1 small plum(s)   

·         2 small clementine   

·         2 Tbsp Polaner Sugar Free Apricot   

Directions:

1.       In a shallow bowl, mix the orange soda, preserves, oil, garlic, salt and pepper; set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade for basting.

2.       Add the chicken and peaches; refrigerate, covered at least 1 hour.

3.       Preheat the broiler; spray rack with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the chicken and peaches to the rack.

4.       Broil 6 inches from heat until cooked through and peaches begin to brown, basting with reserved marinade,

5.       7-8 minutes on each side (ours were thick, so it took longer)

6.       Cool slightly; spoon fruit over chicken

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Corn Fritters (3 points for a quarter of the recipe)

Ingredients

·         2 large egg(s), separated (keep egg whites only)   

·         4 medium corn on the cob, kernels removed with a knife*   

·         1 medium sweet red pepper(s), diced the size of corn kernels   

·         1/3 cup(s) scallion(s), diced   

·         1/2 tsp table salt, or more to taste   

·         1/4 tsp black pepper, or more to taste   

·         2 Tbsp all-purpose flour   

·         2 spray(s) cooking spray, butter-flavored   

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not glossy; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Add corn, red pepper (or tomatoes), scallions, salt, black pepper and flour; thoroughly combine and then fold in egg whites.
  3. Coat skillet with cooking spray and warm over high heat; when skillet is hot, reduce heat to medium.
  4. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter onto skillet to make each fritter. (Do not press fritters down with your spatula since they are meant to be fluffy.)
  5. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes; carefully flip and cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
  6. Remove cooked fritters to a serving plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat until all batter is used and then serve immediately. Yields about 4 fritters per serving.

*Frozen corn can be used instead. Thoroughly thaw before using.

Market Cafe

26 Jun

Right around the corner is a brightly lit place called Market Cafe (9th Ave between 37th and 38th) that looks slightly out of place below the Port Authority area.  Hopefully, for those of us in the neighborhood, places like this will continue to pop up and take over some of the abandoned and not-so-desirable store fronts in the neighborhood.  Don’t get me wrong, I love authentic, old New York, however, this area is still a bit more run down and loaded with the homeless population to be counted as a “desirable neighborhood” to live in.  I have never exactly been one to flock to the hot neighborhoods, however, and much prefer these “up and commers.” 

Anyway… Market has been a place we have been meaning to try since moving in, but it took us about 6 months to get there with dad and Maggie.  I started with sangria… which wasn’t great, but thirst quenching at least.

Maggie went with the salad… which I cannot remember.

Mike went with… shocker… the burger.  He was a good boy and got veggies instead of fries. Bravo Mike!  He liked it.

Dad chose the grilled shrimp with stewed lentils and and parsley oil.  The shrimp were delicious.  Mmmm char.

I chose the (“crisped”) roast garlic chicken with creamed potatoes, spinach, and roast garlic sauce.  It was nice and juicy, but I expected it to be crispier since it did say it was crispy in the description.  The garlic sauce was perfectly sweet.  Quite enjoyable.

Overall, Market is a nice part of the neighborhood and while not outstanding, it seems like an easy, reliable place to grab a meal.  Entrees are a little on the pricey side for a place that is a bit off the grid, but it matches the effort that the place is trying to make by being modern in the neighborhood.  All entrees were less than $20, but even the burger was $14.

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10

Zuni Chicken & Bread Salad Recipe

7 May

For all the cooking I’ve done recently, a full chicken was new to me… and quite intimidating.  Not to mention I have a childhood fear of raw food… especially chicken.  Remember that commercial where they made the contaminating bacteria glow green? Yeh… scarred for life! 

ANYWAY… Whole chickens were on sale at Fresh Direct so I went for it.  While looking for recipes, I happened upon the recipe for the Zuni chicken and bread salad.  We enjoyed this very much when we ate at Zuni in December, so I thought it would be fun to try.  I read a few versions (here is and 2… and turns out the original “real” recipe is insanely long) and combined a few ideas to make a simpler version (see recipe at the end of this post).

We started with the intimidating raw bird and Mike was nice enough to do most of the handling.

The recipe called for finding “pockets” near the tail under the skin.  I didn’t even know these existed, but turns out they make perfect little pockets for spices.

We went with kosher salt and made a mix of rosemary, thyme, and sage (no parsley this time).

We actually “found” a few more pockets than probably were normal… but why not?


After making sure the chicken was fully herbed, we coated the entire thing in kosher salt. 

Then we put the chicken in the fridge for 2 days to season.  The salt brined the chicken and made it SUPER moist.  I’m still not positive on the science, but I can tell you that it certainly works! (And no… it doesn’t make the chicken taste super salty at all)

I took my awesome Lodge Logic Double Dutch Oven (where the lid doubles as a skillet!) and browned the chicken on both sides over high heat.

Then it went into the oven.

While the chicken cooked, I started on the bread salad.  I had bought some whole grain peasant bread from FreshDirect a few days prior and left it on the counter to get nice and stale.  You were supposed to carve most of the crust off, however, I think my bread was extra crusty and made this difficult… so I just left some of it on and tore it up.

I then tossed them with some olive oil and put them under the broiler to brown.  It then got tossed with some garlic, shallots, white raisins, pine nuts, scallions, and dressing.

Then tossed with some arugula.

After some flipping of the chicken, it came out beautifully.

With crispy skin and juicy meat, I was so impressed with how beautiful this looked!

And it tasted damn good too.

The bread salad was good… but no where near the Zuni salad.  I thought our chicken could have been in competition though!

I was impressed at how easy this chicken was to make for the impressive end result.  The bread salad? I’ll probably skip that myself from now on.

This was all done prior to Weight Watchers (I somehow forgot to post this months ago!)  Though we did the chicken again (sans bread salad) recently and, of course, the bulk of the points come from the skin.  I saved up my points, however, and 1/4 chicken comes to about 9 points. Not terrible!

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RECIPE
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Zuni Style Chicken (simplified)

Ingredients:

  • One small whole chicken- rinsed and thoroughly dried (inside and outside), innards and fat removed from neck
  • Springs of rosemary, sage, and thyme (~1 Tbl. of each)
  • Optional: Garlic Powder
  • Lots of kosher salt (~1 Tbl. for stuffing and then as much as you need for coating)
  • Black pepper (we used very little since I’m not a big fan)

Directions:

  1. About 2 days before you want to eat it, start with a very dry bird
  2. Mix spices and 1 Tbl. kosher salt in a small dish (we also added garlic powder on one occassion… damn good)
  3. Slide your finger into the pockets between the breast meat and the skin to open them for stuffing
  4. Season the outside of the chicken liberally with kosher salt and black pepper
  5. Sprinkle a little salt inside
  6. Cover loosely and refrigerate for 2 days
  7. When ready to start cooking, heat oven to 475 degrees
  8. Heat an oven proof skillet over medium/high heat
  9. Place chicken in skillet and brown on both sides for just a few minutes
  10. When oven is heated, place chicken breast side up in pan and place in oven for 25 minutes  (this is a good time to start the bread salad below)
  11. After 25 minutes of roasting, it should be starting to brown.  Flip the chicken oven (this is a moment where I wanted “food safe” oven mits!)
  12. Roast for another 15 minutes, then flip again (if you are also making the bread salad, you should be to step 11 where you can put the mixture into the oven with the chicken at this point)
  13. Roast another 10 minutes
  14. Chicken should be 180 degrees when a thermometer is stuck into a meaty part of the chicken
  15. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and allow to rest for at leat 30 minutes before serving

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Bread Salad

Ingredients:

  • Recipe called for “Generous 8 ounces slightly stale open-crumbed, chewy, peasant-style bread (not sourdough)” – I did my best and found whole grain parbaked bread from FreshDirect
  • ~2 tablespoons olive oil + 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried currants plumped in 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon warm water for ten minutes or so (we used golden raisins instead)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup slivered scallions (about 4 scallions), including a little of the green part
  • 2 tablespoons lightly salted chicken stock or lightly salted water
  • A few handfuls of arugula, washed and dried
  • Chicken drippings from roasted chicken

Directions:

  1. Carve crust off bread, leaving as much bread as possible (they called for 4 cups… but I got maybe 2 cups… it was fine though)
  2. Tear bread into pieces (a little bigger than bite sized works) and lightly coat with olive oil
  3. Heat broiler and broil the bread chunks for just a few minutes until they start to brown and a few char a bit
  4. Combine about 1/4 cup of olive oil with the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste
  5. Toss about 1/4 cup of this tart vinaigrette with the torn bread in a bowl; the bread will be unevenly dressed. Taste one of the more saturated pieces. If it is bland, add a little salt and pepper and toss again.
  6. Soften garlic, scallions, and olive oil in a pan and toss with bread chunks (don’t brown)
  7. Drain currants (or raisins) and toss with bread mixture
  8. Toss in pine nuts (can be browned quickly if desired, but careful… they brown fast!)
  9. Dribble some of the chicken drippings from your roasted chicken and toss all together
  10. Check for seasoning and taste and adjust accordingly (I wound up adding a lot more salt and some more vinegar)
  11. Put bread combination into a pan and put it into the oven with the chicken for the last 10 minutes to warm
  12. Just before serving, toss with arugula and serve alongside chicken (or underneath if you want to be more authentic to Zuni)

Cafe Charbon

30 Jun

I’m not overly familiar with the LES. Up until a few years ago, I had hardly ventured lower than 14th Street and streets with “names” always concerned me. A voyage into the LES, however, so my sister and I could get tattoos as a memorial for my Grandfather left us with a need for dinner.

I asked one of my trusty LES coworkers and he recommended we try Cafe Charbon. He said the brunch was great, but dinner was good too and very casual. We arrived and sat outside. Our waiter was very attentive and we received our food very quickly when we told him we had a bit of a time crunch.

My friend recommended the steak tartare, but I didn’t want to risk my stomach with raw food when I was already filled with butterflies, so I opted for the steak frites. The frites were quite good… crispy yet still tasted like potato. The shallot sauce was great and the steak had great flavor, but was a bit on the tough side.

Mike decided to go with the burger (which was of no surprise… he certainly loves his burgers!) and it was very good. Nice bun with a burger that tasted like burger.

My sister, Stacey, made the winning selection, however. She went with the Poulet Fermier Bio which consisted of roasted organic chicken served with fries and salad.  She exchanged the fries for the mashed potatoes (which were delish) but the chicken may  have been one of the best roasted chickens I have ever had.  Great texture and flavor to the sauce. 

While most of the meal was average, this deserved a full extra Nom Point just for the chicken alone.

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10