Jump to content

Nina C.

participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Nina C.

  1. For the past few years, I've hosted a NYE pre-party. It started because I was feeling torn between spending the evening with folks who wanted to drink and dance the night away, and folks who wanted a quieter or asleep midnight. Instead everyone gathers at my house for dinner before heading out for other plans. This year, I seem to have overextended my guest list. Based on previous years acceptance rates, I'm guessing we'll end up around 30-35 people which is a lot for our apartment. (previous years have been around 20 people.) Thankfully, my group of friends are not at all fancy - they're artists and writers and food-makers, and are happy to sit on the floor or perch throughout the apartment with a plate of food. There are many vegetarians, at least one vegan, and many Jews who won't eat pork or mix meat/dairy. I'm also trying to keep my costs down as much as possible. I did a french menu last year, and southern food and mexican food recently, so I've settled on an Italian menu for this year. This is my current thinking: Antipasto Polenta with Mushrooms OR some sort of baked pasta. The polenta is a la Scott Conant and is incredible, but is probably not the best for eating spread throughout the apartment. Still, I'm having trouble cutting it from the menu since it's so good. I was thinking I'd keep it warm in the crock pot. I'll swap the chix stock for veg. Lentils braised in red wine Lentils are good luck on NYE as they are reminiscent of money and abundance. I'll put out a pot, and keep the rest warm in the oven. Italian Sausages - leaving the lentils vegetarian, but meat eaters can have some meat. Pigs are considered good luck since they root forward, rather than scratching backwards like chickens. Farro salad http://www.marthastewart.com/893274/farro-salad-brussels-sprouts-radicchio-and-ricotta-salata or http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/farro-salad-with-turnips-and-greens or my old standby with dried cherries, rosemary, and hazelnuts. this feels slightly redundant, but I adore farro, it's cheap, can be done in advance, and I don't have to worry about temperature. Baked Spinach from Julia Child - this is French, but it feels like it will go with the rest of the menu. Also, many cultures consider greens good luck on NY because they resemble money. I'd probably make two or three big dishes, and keep the others warm in the oven to replenish as needed. tiramisu chocolate walnut cake OR store-bought panetone grapes Questions: Is this too heavy? Should I do an arugula salad with roasted grapes instead of the baked spinach? If I want to cut one or two things to simplify, which should they be? I usually do a punch - any good recipes that would work with this menu? Any incredible recipes that you think I should serve instead? Thank you for any advice you can give!
  2. Nina C.

    Easter Menus

    Oh no Panaderia! That's terrible. Chicken is a poor substitute for rabbit. You'll have to have a do-over. Since I used this thread for inspiration, I thought I'd post my notes on my first Easter dinner! Deviled Eggs - 2 kinds. The first, horseradish, butter, mayo, mustard, paprika. The second was capered deviled eggs mentioned in the eG deviled eggs thread, and found via Google Books I eye-balled the mayo so it could have been my error, but this was a very wet filling. Still, delicious though. When I make them again, I'll chop the capers and add a few extra to boost their presence. Sardine Tonnato - So easy and incredibly delicious. I served this with matzoh since I had Jewish guests at the table, and it turned out to be a perfect accompaniment. Salad with strawberries and pine nuts Braised artichokes in lemon and olive oil I rushed this to the table and didn't taste it first. A mistake! It needed more salt and more acid to finish. Roasted leg of lamb with potatoes -mmmmm roasted root vegetables creamed spinach the mark bittman way olive rosemary bread carrot cake roulade matzah crack - i think there were something like 8 flavors. I tend to go a little nutty when I make matzah candy. doughnuts (brought by a guest) rainbow cookies (brought by a guest) easter candy, of course
  3. Thanks so much for this peek into your world! I'm really enjoying the blog so far, especially seeing what one does with a passion for pastry and baking when it hasn't been your career. You do such a nice job of showing a relaxed approach to enjoying great food without pretension. I think I would rather have had the foie and the chips separately (although leave on that delicious looking garlic sauce please!) especially in a situation where one lacks a proper table or utensils. What did you think of how the combo worked together?
  4. Jacques Torres' Dessert Circus at Home is (annoyingly) sponsored by Mars company, so there are several recipes in there that incorporate M&Ms, if you are looking for something fancier.
  5. Though I'm normally a sweets person, my pie didn't turn out as perfectly as I'd like. So instead I had leftover brussel sprout hash with big chunks of bacon for breakfast. I had a thought of heating it up, but it was so good cold that I couldn't stop.
  6. Randy - That looks so incredibly amazing that I'm tempted to go make it right now, even with a fridge full of Thanksgiving leftovers.
  7. This thread has sat in my bookmarks for the past year an a half. I keep saying to myself, I should make marshmallows! Well, I finally did - marshmallow peeps! All the details, and more pictures are on my blog, TheKitchn.com
  8. Ronnie - I and my +1 are a tentative for both Thursday night events (although more likely to attend the Violet Hour than Blackbird.) Thanks! Edited to add that our hosts in Chicago would also like to come to the Violet Hour. So that's Nina C. + 3. Thanks!
  9. I never have, but was just considering it today as I read the latest Bon Appetit. They have instructions, along with a few recipes to make with the corned beef: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/241623
  10. Mickey (my sweetheart) and I are definitely in for the dinner! Now we just have to figure out how to get there/where to stay.
  11. I've long followed the Heartland gathering threads, jealously. The Chicago location has convinced my baseball-loving sweetheart that this is the year to try our best to join in. Can you put me +1 as possible attendees? We have to work out logistics. Thanks so much for all your hard work organizing this! Nina
  12. And you didn't say anything???? I would have politely advised the "gentleman" that removing articles of clothing in a restaurant is extremely inappropriate and to please take himself and his smelly feet to the restroom immediately. Seriously. ← I could have, I should have. My only defense is that it had already been a hard visit, and I was hoping not to draw the attention of other patrons. Fortunately, it didn't last too long.
  13. Not exactly a soup, but close enough - what about cherry dumplings? Like a play on a chicken and dumplings soup.
  14. Dianabanana - I keep trying to decide which is worse - the corn-pad adjusting or the hand on the ass. I think I have to hand it to you. I can't imagine how one would react to their parent's indiscretions. The nail clippers at the table would have me making snide comments of "Thank you, we've really had enough calcium in our food today."
  15. The scene was already set for the visit from hell. For the past week, my dad and his partner have been staying on our pullout couch. My fiance's teeth stayed clenched as we dealt with an oven that broke in the middle of making Christmas dinner, the tension of in-laws bickering, and the passive-aggressive hell that only family can create. The last time they visited, they told us they didn't want to spend a lot of money, so it was casual spots and dinner at home. But this time, my dad has been reading New York magazine, and the Time Out NY dining book, and had more of an eating agenda. The first day, that agenda was lunch at Jean Georges, an afternoon of shopping, drinks at Pegu and dinner at P*ong. Not too shabby. Except at JG when my dad's partner proceeded to regularly leave the table for a cigarette right as the next course should have been served, and then during dessert, his cell phone rang *at top volume* and he answered it *at top volume*. Fortunately, my dad shooed him outside, but I still wanted to dive under the table as other diners shot him looks of death. I thought I had survived the worst, until we were at Pegu Club, where I looked over and realized Dad's partner had removed both his socks and his shoes and was adjusting his corn pads. Need I even add that his feet are the smelliest I have ever encountered? I have never before drunk a Pegu cocktail so quickly. What's the worst your guests have ever subjected you to?
  16. I was a vegetarian for many years, and it wasn't bacon that did me in. On a business trip to the bahamas, (hard life) many of the meals were preordered by our hosts. The vegetables were pathetic (browned iceberg lettuce, anyone?) but the seafood spreads were plentiful. I chose scallops and shrimps, thinking they were the least sentient beings. When I got home, I went back to vegetarianism for a few months, but I couldn't get those delicate pillowy scallops out of my mind. It was a slippery slope after that. Bacon on the other hand, is good, but not nearly as good as: pork belly, braised pork, carnitas, and the many other applications of the pork.
  17. I thought that others might appreciate this warming holiday gift. Chef Achatz released this statement through his publicist today: via Diner's Journal
  18. Mmmm I wish I had some of those mushrooms right now! I love the rice cakes - They are soft and chewy and add heft to the soup. Do you know how to store them? How long will they keep?
  19. Good morning - This is the sight that greeted me today: It's 20 degrees outside, and the forecast calls for the snow to change into delightful "wintery mix" of rain and snow by the afternoon. and so I'm eating breakfast and pondering what to do with the day. I think that rather than treking around the city, it might be a nice day for a baking project and/or an elaborate soup. (it feels silly to take a picture of an english muffin with peanut butter and banana. But there it is.)
  20. If you've ever walked through Manattan's Chinatown, you know the assault of the senses can be overwhelming -- millions of products with bright colors (many of which make noises or flash lights,) thousands of pounds of foodstuffs, shopkeepers shouting, trying to lure in customers, cars honking and traffic bustling, and above all, the swarms of tourists reaching for a cheap knockoff Fendi bag. While one would hardly call Brooklyn's Chinatown quiet, the lack of tourists, the more contained sidewalks, and wider streets mean that a foodie on a mission has a little more elbow room to squeeze the persimmons and smell the durian. Chinatown stretches for almost 20 blocks along 8th avenue, but fortunately, my favorite Vietnamese sandwich shop is near the start. .Fortified with a thick litchee shake and a half a banh mi, I poke through almost every shop, my bag gaining weight every few steps. I seem to be planning for a starch-a-thon, as the bakeries and dumpling houses keep tempting. The old axiom of "no recommendations? Look for the most popular spot" doesn't work; every place is full of people seemingly having an afternoon snack and chatting up a storm. So what's a girl to do, but keep pointing to ambiguously-filled soft golden buns, waiting for a reaction from the non-English speaking workers? When they make a face, I assume they are saying "White girl, you don't want that. That's hard core." But if they just nonchalantly put it in a bag, charging me 80 cents, it gets added to the pastry Russian Roulette that awaits me. - the best Banh Mi In the grocers, fish tanks of lobsters and large mouthed fish swim along, stupefied, on their way to becoming tonight's dinner. Piles of brightly shined fruit, each more impossibly cheap than the next sit to gardens of bok choy in every size, and mountains of dried mushrooms and herbs. The items I can't identify far outnumber those I can. People around me motion for the workers to given them small dried brown things from one jar, and bright orange jellies from another. The color is pretty accurate Rachel Perlow would be proud. I start to worry at having to tell my sweetheart, "We're having cold bahn mi and an assortment of sweet pastries for dinner." Will he be ready for a carbo joy ride, punctuated with rich pork products? Perhaps we need a soup – a simple, healthful, brothy vegetable soup to counteract the damage I'm doing. In my bag, a few vegetables make friends with the piles of baked dough – bok choy, garlic scapes, carrot, scallions. Then I grab what I assume are rice cakes along with a huge bag of dried black mushrooms. I don't think too much about authenticity – I couldn't even begin to. I consider piles of shrimp, glistening in their beds of ice, but decide instead that simple is better. However, Chinese hot sauce, unusual snacks, lap xuong (sausage) and more bakery buns come home with me. Those devious words "it's research!" keep looping through my head. Later that night, I soak the mushrooms to make a rich broth, add soy sauce and sesame oil, then simmer the vegetables and rice cakes briefly. To liven up all the moody browns, I slice the carrots into pretty little flowers. The pastries are nice, but it is the soup that deeply satisfies. Don't worry - we didn't begin to finish all of these. This one we did finish - the inside was an intense coconut paste that was awesome with the flaky and soft pastry
  21. I reacted poorly as well - I should have discounted the notion that the places I shop aren't as sanitary. But an attempted sentence to that effect sounded sanctimonious, so I deleted it rather than work on it further. A quick digression: Because of my mother's work as an art historian, I spent several years as a child in Oaxaca, Mexico. My nervous mother brought suitcases full of board games, peanut butter, and breakfast cereal, and plenty of iodine to wash the vegetables and fruits. We were strictly forbidden to eat any street food, as she couldn't be sure that it was safe for us unless she had cooked it herself. Little did I listen. Since she was working most days, my brother and I were left on our own, or with a babysitter. We had money for shopping – with the old peso of the 80s, fifty cents meant we were the richest kids anywhere. My brother spent his money on soccer balls, which quickly sailed over fences or popped on the shards of glass that guarded compounds. I spent mine on art supplies and food. Most of it was sweet – packs of chicles, fruit on sticks, sticky bunelos in the middle of the zocalo. But my child-size sweet tooth was most sated by pan dulce - a soft white bread decorated with a thick layer of sugar, often in tempting colors. Unfortunately, the idyllic memory of pan dulce means that what I've found in this country has a hard time measuring up. I keep buying it, content for the first few bites at the simple sweetness, but then the bread tastes fake, not what I know bread to taste like. I suspect it is because most pan dulce here is coming from a central supplier, or uses vegetable shortening, but I'm not certain. I suppose the same instinct that leads me to be what you call an "adventurous shopper" is what brought me to New York. Plenty of people ask me how I can live in NYC's dirt/crime/bustle, but the truth is that none of that is as extreme as it seems and what's left has more charm than negativity for me. Then again, I don't think of myself as that "adventurous" - you'll notice that none of the tripe made its way into my basket.
  22. Not really. The one time I've had food poisoning, I got it from a vegetarian restaurant. And it was terrible, awful food poisoning. Also, I lived in Mexico as a child (where I did have Montezuma's curse but that's different) so I probably got any fears out of my system quickly. It's possible I'll get sick, but it's certain that I'll get to try new and/or satisfying foods. I am kind of creeped out by freegans. Or just eating any of their food. But that's neither here nor there.
  23. It's funny how the neighborhood names change, don't you think? Honestly, the entirety of Park Slope has such shifting borders. Real Estate agents seem to push the southern border ever southward. Sometimes areas far too western are called Park Slope. There's a new neighborhood called "Greenwood Heights" and I know that since I've only been here 8 years, I probably don't call neighborhoods the same thing as old timers. I don't know if I'm going to get to Carroll Gardens really. I was there briefly tonight for dinner, but I wasn't really in food blog mode. My best friend got some scary medical news today so this was Be cheerful! Hang out! Drink wine! Oh that's right, I should take some pictures mode. Park Slope I have one or two pictures of. It's changed so much - you should see 5th avenue. Hot restaurant central. When I lived in the slope it was boarded up storefronts, the odd video store, and El Salvadorian restaurants. Unfortunately that's not where I was yesterday, so no pictures of that.
  24. Oh for a bigger stomach! Oh for expanding pants! Such is the lament of a writer visiting Sunset Park. This neighborhood.south of Park Slope is home to two great eating areas – a cluster of Mexican groceries, taco spots, and churro sellers on 5th avenue, and Brooklyn's Chinatown on 8th Avenue. These are areas that I have yet to explore as thoroughly as I would like – partially because it's a multi-transfer train ride from my house, partially because I'm lazy, partially because I don't have enough eating buddies who think a Saturday spent eating tacos is a fantastic Saturday. But all this means is that when I do make it here, around every corner is a new surprise, a new gamble to take. Will this place sell better dumplings than the other? Will this sweet bread contain a great filling or a terrible one? And of course, how bad will my indigestion be? The place I've liked before, Tacos Matamoros, was strangely closed but I wasn't too worried. At Ricos Tacos: one taco al pastor, one taco carnitas. I stay away from the tortas, thinking I should keep things light, save room. At the last minute, my mouth defies my brain, and adds on a spicy chicken tostada. I can take things home, I reason. As I open these babies up and snap their picture, I think to myself that I should analyze them so I can report back to you all. But as soon as I've tasted a bite, all pretentious food babble goes out the window. I'm hungry, the receptors in my brain recognize GOOD FOOD IN MOUTH and before I know it, the carnitas taco is gone, my stained fingers their only legacy. This isn't food for pretension anyway – it's simple, it's spicy, it's hot and it's good. The al pastor was even better than the carnitas – less about heavy handed spice, and more about flavor. But that's all I can tell you for now. More research is necessary. I did try a few bites of the tostada, but my mouth was ready to move on to new adventures. Around the corner, and a few doors north, the smell of baking breads lures me into a tiny bakery. Their small shelves are full of my manna – pan dulce. When I take out my camera, it turns into a photo shoot as an owner eagerly asks me to take pictures of the men working, the many breads and sweets, and even himself eating dinner. My bag grows fuller with 2 kinds of pan dulce. (above: pyramid of manteca aka lard, tripe, pig trotters, charcuterie of a different sort, piloncillo sugar, I forget the name of these, bags of chilis, fried churros and treats, pinatas.) Reason starts to win over desire as I walk further. I have chili peppers and Ibarra and even some jarred mole already at home. I don't stop in any grocery stores, although another bakery causes me to buy a few more sweets. But there is no time for pausing now. It's on to Chinatown.
  25. Breakfast this morning: These are made by Baked, a chic little bakery in Red Hook. (Although I bought them yesterday at Blue Apron Foods in Park Slope.) You may have heard of Red Hook for its legendary Latin American foods at the ball fields or for it's history of shipbuilding and longshoremen. Right on the water, Red Hook isn't served by any subways, and it's geographically divided from the rest of Brooklyn by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. It has few grocery stores and it seems like it has been forgotten by those who maintain city infrastructure for far too long. (Potholes and burned out street-lights, for example) But the yuppies are moving in, slowly and a few intrepid businesses and restaurants are springing up. Baked is one of them. Baked has a young design sense, characterized by the faux-animal heads on the wall, and clean packaging look of lower-case letters. They got write-ups in all the important press, and hipsters decorate their lounge-like cafe. But far more important than any of the hype is that they make a great product. These are not quite as good as homemade but they're still light and fluffy and the cocoa flavor is rich. I wouldn't be surprised if they were using Valhrona cocoa. The only description I've found of them says that they are dusted with cocoa, but they've got a light-brown inside which makes me suspect that chocolate is also added at an earlier stage. They made a good and sugary breakfast, which I'll need to get through a long day!
  • Create New...