Tag Archives: meringue

Aureole

19 Jul

I ate at Aureole once for a work function, but since I was presenting and keeping clients happy, the food was not on my mind. I had been meaning to go back every since and finally made it there with a fellow foodie friend. It is very centrally located in a place where you just don’t expect great restaurants: 42nd Street right off of Times Square.  

I’m pretty sure we went with the $89 prix fixe. They have a pre-Broadway prix fixe that seems like a steal for 3 courses at $55 (5-6pm).

We started with an amuse bouche that I cannot recall the exact details on.

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My choice to start was the chestnut papparedelle with slow roasted veal breast, wild mushrooms, and pecorino.  This tasted like the earth and I absolutely loved it.  I have a special place in my heart for chestnut, and I kind of wished there were pieces (only because I’m selfish), but it was a very good dish.

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We also tried the wagyu beef carpaccio with shiitake, scallions, taro root, ponzo, and lavash.  This was perfectly complimentary in flavors, with the nice richness of the meat cut but the sweetness of the ponzo and with added depth from the shiitake.  Very nice.

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We also tried the branzino (my favorite fish) with fennel, dandelion, red onion, cashew, and citrus.  It was all sorts of perfection.  Cooked incredibly well and balances of flavors that were just fabulous.

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And we tried the prime ribyeye steak with roasted root vegetables, brussels sprouts, horseradish, and natural beef jus. It was cooked just right and the horseradish was faint enough that I hardly noticed it.

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A palate cleanser soon arrived and it was a nice little burst of fruit to get us ready for dessert.

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The desserts came out and they were pieces of artwork. Sadly, I didn’t write them down, so I can only guess.

This was something chocolate (I’m going to guess a lava cake) with delicious strands of pulled sugar on top. I remember this being rich but balanced.

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I know I ordered something with meringue (another one of my favorite things).  I remember really enjoying the flavors of this, but missing the firm crisp of the type of meringue I enjoy so much.

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And then out came petit fours.  Each was delicious in their own right, but I remember thinking extra fondly of the macaron and the watermelon thing. 

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I was really impressed by our meal at Aureole, not only because it was just that good, but also because it’s somewhat unassuming. It’s not a place I’ve heard talked about much, yet it’s right in the heart of the theatre district (a place I live near, work near, and play near often).  If you are looking for a pre-theatre meal, I think that $55 prix fixe is a great deal!

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

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Michael White’s Ai Fiori for Valentine’s Day Part Deux

15 May

Michael White is one of those “celebrity” chefs that I have long heard about but never tried.  Enter Ai Fiori, Michael White’s newest restaurant, centered around pasta, that happens to be just a few blocks from the apartment (400 5th Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets, in the Setai Hotel).  We were looking for another lovely dinner to surround Valentine’s Day to compliment our meal the weekend before at Annisa (since I was away on business on the actual day), and Ai Fiori couldn’t have been more perfect.

We went for an early dinner and found ourselves alone (but not for long) in the tastefully decorated 2nd floor restaurant.

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Even the table settings were quite lovely.  A waiter confused our table with the one next door and accidentally delivered us glasses of champagne.  I wasn’t sure if it was free (for Valentine’s Day) so there was some confusion.  We sent the champagne back to the table that ordered it, but our waiter wound up bringing us a glass each, on the house, for the confusion.  A lovely touch.

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The crusty, soft, warm bread came out with delicious salted butter and well flavored olive oil.

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Our amuse bouche was small shot of a fruity smoothie.  I cannot remember if this was mango or passion fruit, but it was a nice way to start the meal.

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We chose to do the prix fixe of 4 courses (cominciare / pasta or risotto / pesce or carne / dolce) for $89.

Mike chose to start with the Animelle which was crispy sweetbreads, pomme purée, truffle vinaigrette, and pancetta. It was delicious, delicate, and just the right amount of crisp. It was a $5 supplement charge, and well worth it.

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I chose the Mare e Monte (which, sadly, does not currently appear to be on the menu).  This had a $15 supplemental charge… but hey, it was Valentine’s Day!

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This was diver scallops, celery root, black truffles, bone marrow, and thyme.

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It was rich in all the right ways with complex flavors and sprigs of green to spring it up a bit.  It was decadent and fantastic.

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For our pasta/risotto course, Mike chose the risotto with riso acquarello, duck confit, and hen of the woods mushrooms. This was a perfect blend of flavors. Very rich but not at all heavy.

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I went with the Agnolotti, which was braised veal parcels, butternut squash, and black truffle sugo.

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These were just perfect.  Great meaty flavor inside and the pasta was just thin enough to hold it together.  The bay leaf on top was crisped and slightly sweetened, and tasted great when broken up into the pasta and squash puree. Mmmm mmmm.

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For our carne/pesce course, Mike chose the Agnello, which was rack of lamb en crepinette, panisse, romanesco, and parmesan.  This was simply perfect. The lamb was cooked as well as you can cook a lamb and each piece on this dish was simply delicious, especially the sauce on the lamb.

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I chose the Astice, which was butter poached Nova Scotia lobster, root vegetable fondant, and chateau chalon sauce.  I always struggle when deciding to order lobster, as no matter how good it is, I never find it as good as the lobster pounds in Maine (I’m spoiled rotten… I know), but this one was right up there. All the pieces that came with it just added to a fantastic dish.

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Onto dolce!  Mike chose the Tartaletta which was dark chocolate, red grape, caramelized sherry, and walnut gelato.  I loved this dish, and the grape tasted like a fantastic grape jelly.  It all went together perfectly.

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I chose to go with the Buddino di Limone with hazelnut praline, toasted meringue, espresso gelee, and cinnamon gelato. I was impressed by how architecturally it was belt, with a sheet of caramelized sugar balanced on top of the meringue peaks.

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This was a perfect dessert with great, original flavors.  Really impressive.

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And then out came the petite fours! They were stunningly beautiful…

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… and very, very tasty.  I especially liked this jelly thing… though I have no idea what it was. 🙂

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I knew we were in for a treat when we finally decided to try a Michael White restaurant, but this was out of this world.  I was so impressed by every bite at Ai Fiori, from start to finish.  It’s also very hard to find food this good, with a well-known chef, on a tasting menu with 4 courses for less than $100 (yes… I know that’s crazy…)  I really loved everything we tried and find it very hard to ignore the fact that this restaurant is so close to home. I just want to go again and again.  I definitely want to go back for breakfast, and also try White’s other restaurants (Marea, Alto, Convivio, Osteria Morini and recently expanding to Bernardsville, NJ and many other locations coming soon).

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

Top Recipes of 2010

31 Dec

Before going into the Top Nom Restaurants of 2010, I wanted to share with you my favorite recipes that I discovered and came up with in 2010 (click on the links for the recipes):

Best Brunch Recipe: Crustless Ham & Egg Tarts

Best After Work Dinner: Chicken Stuffed with Grapes, Hazelnuts, and Parmesan Cheese

Best Weight Watchers Recipe: Weight Watchers – Chicken Tagine with Apricots

Best Seafood: Scallops Lime & Vine

Best Odd Protein: Ostrich Steak

Best Chicken Recipe: Zuni Chicken & Bread Salad

Best Side: Corn Fritters

Best Desserts (You know I couldn’t pick just ONE):

Homemade Crunchie Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Meringue Minis

Banana Faux Ice Cream

This year has taught me, above else, that the best cooking comes from reckless abandon.  Throw caution to the wind and spices in your pot.

Happy Nomming!

Meringue Minis

24 Dec

So… now you have mastered meringues after watching my first forray into vlogging.  And you’re ready to pump it up a bit?  Good.  here is an awesome thing to do with meringues that actually made the president of my company say it was the best dessert he has ever had.   

So how do you do it?  Well… if you won the first NYC Nom Nom giveaway, you can make them yourself in the non-stick baking cups that I am obsessed with.

You just use the same meringue recipe and pour it into the cups.

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 I used my fingers to spread the meringue up the sides of the cup.  I was hoping this would create a divot to fill with whipped cream and berries.

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 But a few minutes into cooking, I realized that just the opposite was happening.

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I wound up getting pretty little mounds of meringues that were perfectly fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. 

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 While the domes made them impossible to fill, they sure looked lovely. (I actually remade this a few days later and didn’t move the batter up the sides… it wound up flat on top.  Still delicious, but these look much more fun.)

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 I wound up having extra batter, so I took the extra and combined it with fall spices (cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg) and putting it into a separate dish.  It was delicious, but wouldn’t really come out of the dish.

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 The mounds wound up perfect perched in homemade schlag and some balsamic strawberries.

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Now that it’s winter and strawberries are about $100 per pint, I need to find some fruit to replace the berries.  But if you have access to berries, this is just perfect. 

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Trust me.  You and everyone else will LOVE this!

Merry Christmas Nom World.

The First NYC Nom Nom Vlog! (Part 3)

23 Dec

So how did it all turn out?  The conclusion of Part 1 and Part 2 of How to Make a Meringue:

(When posted, you can find the rest here:  Part 1 and Part 2)

____________________
RECIPE
____________________

Meringue Shell

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites, room temp.
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat to 275 degrees F
  2. Beat egg whites until frothy (using a standard mixer makes this much easier)
  3. Add cream of tartar and beat eggs untill very stiff
  4. Add sugar by the spoonful alternatingly slowly
  5. Very slowly add vanilla by hand by pouring it down the side of the bowl and slowly folding it in
  6. Pour into buttered spring form
  7. Bake at 275 for 1 and 1/2 hours
  8. Turn off oven, then open oven door slightly and let cool in oven over night
  9. Flip cooled meringue over to expose the concave bottom, which can be filled

_______________________

Balsamic Strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of strawberries, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Pour balsamic vinegar into a medium saucepan and place over a low flame
  2. Stir in sugar
  3. Add strawberries and cook under low heat until berries are soft, about 5-10 minutes
  4. Strain out extra juices (into bowl, so you can save it for delicious toppings!)

_______________________

Homemade Spiked Schlag (whipped cream)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flavored liquor of choice (such as amaretto)

Directions:

  1. Pour heavy cream into a stand mixer bowl
  2. Add sugar and vanilla extract
  3. Turn on mixer and beat until stiff (about 10 minutes)
  4. Fold in liquor
  5. Serve immediately

The First NYC Nom Nom Vlog! (Part 2)

22 Dec

I know… you are DYING to know what happened the next morning with the meringue.  (If you haven’t seen Part 1 yet, check it out). Here is Part 2:

(When posted, you can find the rest here:  Part 1 and Part 3)

____________________
RECIPE
____________________

Meringue Shell

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites, room temp.
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat to 275 degrees F
  2. Beat egg whites until frothy (using a standard mixer makes this much easier)
  3. Add cream of tartar and beat eggs untill very stiff
  4. Add sugar by the spoonful alternatingly slowly
  5. Very slowly add vanilla by hand by pouring it down the side of the bowl and slowly folding it in
  6. Pour into buttered spring form
  7. Bake at 275 for 1 and 1/2 hours
  8. Turn off oven, then open oven door slightly and let cool in oven over night
  9. Flip cooled meringue over to expose the concave bottom, which can be filled

_______________________

Balsamic Strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of strawberries, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Pour balsamic vinegar into a medium saucepan and place over a low flame
  2. Stir in sugar
  3. Add strawberries and cook under low heat until berries are soft, about 5-10 minutes
  4. Strain out extra juices (into bowl, so you can save it for delicious toppings!)

_______________________

Homemade Spiked Schlag (whipped cream)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flavored liquor of choice (such as amaretto)

Directions:

  1. Pour heavy cream into a stand mixer bowl
  2. Add sugar and vanilla extract
  3. Turn on mixer and beat until stiff (about 10 minutes)
  4. Fold in liquor
  5. Serve immediately

The First NYC Nom Nom Vlog! (Part 1)

21 Dec

I decided to do my first video blog about the first recipe I ever remember making, a meringue.  Meringues are notoriously hard to make since small things (like yolk and oil) can ruin it and it’s hard to tell when it’s right.  It turns out I had so much information to share that the blog wound up VERY long.  Therefore, I have split it into 3 parts.

The following is Part 1.  I can pick these videos apart (I am my own worst critic, afterall), however, for my first attempt, I think it turned out pretty well.  I learned a lot by doing this and I look forward to do more in the near future.  Special thanks to Mike for his awesome taping and editing!

So without further ado…

 

(When posted, you can find the rest here:  Part 2 and Part 3)

____________________
RECIPE
____________________

Meringue Shell

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites, room temp.
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat to 275 degrees F
  2. Beat egg whites until frothy (using a standard mixer makes this much easier)
  3. Add cream of tartar and beat eggs untill very stiff
  4. Add sugar by the spoonful alternatingly slowly
  5. Very slowly add vanilla by hand by pouring it down the side of the bowl and slowly folding it in
  6. Pour into buttered spring form
  7. Bake at 275 for 1 and 1/2 hours
  8. Turn off oven, then open oven door slightly and let cool in oven over night
  9. Flip cooled meringue over to expose the concave bottom, which can be filled

_______________________

Balsamic Strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of strawberries, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Pour balsamic vinegar into a medium saucepan and place over a low flame
  2. Stir in sugar
  3. Add strawberries and cook under low heat until berries are soft, about 5-10 minutes
  4. Strain out extra juices (into bowl, so you can save it for delicious toppings!)

_______________________

Homemade Spiked Schlag (whipped cream)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flavored liquor of choice (such as amaretto)

Directions:

  1. Pour heavy cream into a stand mixer bowl
  2. Add sugar and vanilla extract
  3. Turn on mixer and beat until stiff (about 10 minutes)
  4. Fold in liquor
  5. Serve immediately

Brunch at Bar Boulud

2 Dec

Mike and I have walked by Bar Boulud many times on the Upper West Side (Broadway between 63rd and 64th to be exact).  Mike and I were running some errands in the area and decided to grab brunch in the outdoor “patio” on a beautiful fall day.  I have realized that I LOVE to eat outside if not only for the fact that my photos turn out so much better in natural light.

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Right after our order was taken, we were presented with bread and pastry options.  Mike picked an impressive looking croissant.

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And I chose a cinnamon raison pastry (note: whenever faced with a choice of pastry, I will always choose something that looks like a cinnamon bun… always).  And it was gooooooood.

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Mike started with the Pâté Grand-mère, which I believe contained liver, pork, and something else… it was tasty, but I’m starting to discover that I may just not be a pâté person (not to mention the complexity in trying to type it in a blog with all those symbols!)

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I played a bit out of my usual sandbox and got the quiche of the day to start.

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It was very fresh with great flavors. Not too dense but not too light.  Great balance of flavors.

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Mike made a good choice with the Croque Madame. It was delish!

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I ordered the housemade tagliatelle pastacolorado lamb bolognese, because it just sounded too good to pass up.  It lived up to expectation!

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Even after all that food, we split the “floating island” which said it had praline rouge, crème anglaise.  I still don’t know what that is, and I still can’t tell you what we ate, other than it faintly resembled a meringue… but it was delicious.

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And quite beautiful to look at.

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AND we split my selection of the hazelnut chocolate torte (which I believe was their dessert of the day).  It came with cherries, pistacchio, almonds, and all sorts of other goodness that I can’t remember besides the fact that it was RICH and DELICIOUS.  Nom Nom Nom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Overall, I was very impressed by Bar Boulud.  This meal was $26 per person and included all 4 courses (bread & coffee were in there).  For a meal that counts as 2, I think that’s a steal for food this artfully prepared and with such fresh flavors.  Even if you don’t eat outside, the inside looked quite lovely.

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10