You have been reviewed: Posto 22, NR NY

so we wanted something to eat on my weekend off-the stage is set 🙂
It is not often that we get the evening to do whatever, as I have class on the weekends so cannot partake in late night activities.
Today however, we decided to either do Indian food or Italian food, locally.
I called ahead but had passed this place a few times on the way to the supermarket. If they were crowded it would be fine.
We entered and it was a long skinny room with dimmed lighting but bright enough to see your food. The lights were on top, hidden so not directly on you–glowing almost. Mild date like..
We got stuck, guess where, against the wall in the walking lane, our luck!
We got to watch all the food come out, though we were not the closest to the kitchen, someone else had that joy.
I ordered pan seared scallops on top of risotto, or maybe bulgur and asparagus.
My other half go some funky butterfly pasta with sausage.
My meal was filling and we shared. His was good and a nice detour from my occasionally sea salt taste.
Our waitress was attentive even after I tried to pay with my gift card,that had not been activated.
I even got dessert. I was fully but needed my sugar fill so asked the waitress what kind of cookies were only platter. She went to the pasty chef and got all the names–bravo to her. The cookies were good and a nice end to a nice dinner.

I would give is a 6. I was a little taken aback that I was on the wall again, in the walking path. Also this chick was talking one table behind me, and I wanted her to stop.

The funny thing was watching the two French men across from us murder some meat and then obliterate a bowl of pasta. Oh by the way, they appetizer-ed with pizza. Balsy is all I can say.

If you are in the area–when ever that may be, and you need some simple Italian, hit this place. It will set you back about 80 bucks once you order dessert. If you get two separate ones and you order two separate appetizers, I would say 100 bucks is the minimum. It’s up to you. You will spend at least 40 bucks though.

Later for now.

You have been reviewed: Candle Cafe

So with my crazy busy schedule I finally had a day off and could meet up with one of my girlfriends. She was vegetarian/vegan (who knows) so we looked for a place that had good food for both of us. We took a trip to the Upper East-oh yeah.

So it took us a while to actually get in. I thought it was diner-ish so I was pacing around and kept myself busy by going to Citeralla. All the wholesome goodness without the overkill of Wholefoods. When I came back I realized that there was an actual waiting list, so we had to wait about 10 more minutes. We pre-viewed the menu and I found a bunch of meatless items I would indulge in.

I ended up getting this dish with 3 layers, top layer pureed sweet potato, middle, beans and then the bottom bulgur wheat. This all sat on some bitter greens–yeah not tossed with butter or salt or anything. The whole was so tasty and we were chatting along. It looked like a lot but guess what, I ate 95% and then felt like a whale. It was good though.

The place was somewhat bright in the front and darker towards the back. If you get stuck on the side-meant to be the walking path–then you better be small, be able to deal with people maybe rubbing up against your chair and the pain of watching all the dishes past by you. We were 5 feet from the kitchen and I could see partly into it. Usually I never want to see inside a kitchen but it was okay this time. It was tidy though.

Try it out-it is interesting. I would say that I give it a 6.5. I would do it again and I want to try the lasagna–sounds marvelous.

Until then-eat well, enjoy life!

Class 24: A Sandwich for you, A Sandwich for me–

sandwich buffet-

Man it was like a gourmet deli in my class, we even had “guests” and visitors with plates ready to pounce on all our creative work.

I voiced to the Chef that they could not come in till we had had our fill. How messed up would that be–you make something and you are excited to taste and, and some grubby, eagles want to dive in and steal your bounty. I felt like I had to protect the food–all the animals: salmon, shrimp, chicken, pig, and tuna.

Check out the pictures. It took me like 1 hour to do mine, 10 minutes for the actual making of the devilled ham and then 1/2 and hour to fill the sandwiches and little pastry dishes. Some people had these complicated sandwiches like Reubens, Chicken Clubs, Chicken and Mushrooms burgers (chx and mushrooms food processed together). I helped everyone else out when I was done.

The tuna was my favorite with the curry a close second. I had the burger and it melted in my mouth. I dipped mine in ketchup. I am a ketchup fanatic by the way. For the people who live back home, ketchup on pizza is normal–here I met with resistance. I like ketchup on my fries and with some things, not eggs actually, which is a favorite among some people. Any kind of burger, load on the ketchup and if you have bbq sauce, even better.

So I took no sandwiches home. There was just not enough left over. Also sandwich holds well for a few hours and then it is like mush, and if you carry it in a bag and it falls apart, the magic is lost. I did take some tuna and curry salads though. That will be my lunch. YUUUMMMYYY.

Until next time.
Eat Well & Enjoy Life!!

Class 23: Breakfast for Lunch and Salad Mahem

french toasts, pancakes, crepes, waffles,

There is nothing like breakfast and a lot of it for lunch. There were even vultures waiting outside our door. I almost had to tell someone about himself. I had just made a waffle and he was already in our classroom. I put it down and as I started to turned my head he motioned to pick it up. I told him, I need to taste it. He seemed unaffected–I call it greediness. I just looked at him stupefied.

The crepes we made had an apple filling to go along with it–all this good food can never be good for you. I had one of those. The teacher said that I needed to make two more crepes to get a better color and so I made two others. For my second one I put goat cheese in it-interesting taste as I usually have goat cheese in salad or with wine.

The pancakes surprised me. I thought we had to have light pancakes, perfectly golden brown. Chef was saying excellent for all kinds of colors. This is good for me. I was trying to have IHOP quality pancakes. 🙂 Funny I thought that as I mentioned to the Chef that I, like him, make pancakes from scratch. He said that his family likes to go to IHOP and he has to take them, fortunately and unfortunately.

Grits-well that is another story. My teammate tasked with this, well lets just say, the grits were still on
the fire after to hours. I am not sure how long grits are supposed to cook but I am pretty sure that 2 hours is too much time. At the end we just tossed it in the garbage.

Another team made yummy granola. I had that in my hand I was like a little pig. It had apricots and some other things. It was delicious-a very dark flavor, but it just made me feel like I was in Germany on a cold morning.

I got the chance to make muselix with cream and fruit (banana, grapes, apples and pears). I had that when I went to Germany actually. If you want the recipe, let me know. It is good breakfast food (finally right :)) and very filling.

In the evening we ran the salad gamut.

Our team made parsons salad. It had all this crap. We put almonds, frisee, radicchio, romaine lettuce, fried veggies, quail eggs and some peas. We do this thing called blanching, I mentioned previously. That is putting the vegetable into a pot of boiling. Then we put in cold iced water to stop the cooking and to save the color. I have been doing that with my green beans and broccoli at home. It really keeps the vegetable from being soggy.

Other teams made taboulleh, which looks like colored caviar. Then there was the crazy Cobb salad. There was also the Caesar salad-such a classic. Then there was one other salad with almost everything-string beans, anchovies, carrots, chicken, tuna and a bunch of other things. Check out the pictures. It was like the salad bowl squared.

Enjoy your greens and live well!!

I took home salad to balance out the breakfast food.

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Class 22 Rabbit and Eggs–yummy

hide your furry little friends

I got to tackle the rabbit again–I am always lucky. I cracked the ribs, then opened the flaps and seasoned, then tied with string and put in a “waste of time” marinade. Why do I say that, b/c I cannot understand how that marinade works. We put big cloves of garlic and then thyme sprigs and parsley sprigs. We also added black peppercorn and olive oil. So how did the sprigs marinade the meat–I am still trying to guess. In the beginning I thought that we would enclose these things in the flaps and cook. Even if we had the meat untied and all in a pot sitting in half the height in oil, it would have been more effective.

The other time was spent doing chicken stew, couscous, and penne w sun dried tomatoes and chanterelle shrooms. I have come to like shrooms in small doses. When we make our pan sauces and add shrooms in the end, it is lovely. We also did Israeli couscous.

The chicken stew was from South America so it had chipotle, ancho peppers, and pasilla pepper. The penne was a cheese fest and as I think about it, thought it as great, it was a lactose intolerant person’s nightmare. I liked it. Lastly, the couscous looked like extra large coriander, softened. That was made in a sauce pan and was lovely.

In the evening we did eggs: poached, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, scrambled, omelets and frittatas. We also made hash browns and cooked some bacon n sausage. The hash brown was a like a large patty in a frying pan. You could wedge it and serve 12 people for sure. It did not look that appetizing but I guess on a plate it would be okay. On an eggs note, eggs would seem like an easy thing, but there are a million ways to mess that up. Too hard, to runny, yolk breaks in pot, in poaching liquid, soft egg becomes hard egg, French omelet browns or you drop or crack the egg by accident.

So to all my egg fans–know that you can put eggs on a steak, on rice, on chili, on toast, and on fries.

Eat well! Enjoy life!

Class 21: some stuff to keep us busy aka Review

mackerel–finally a good cut

So it was my job to take apart the mackerel and grill it. Well I must let you know that my grill skills are not so “ill”. It was nice enough though. My favorite part was toasting the coriander, fennel and cumin seeds. It smelled so good. Toasted spices gets a nice smoky full taste. I felt like emptying the whole tray into my mouth and swirling around to capture the flavors and aromas.

BBQ baby back ribs–smooth, with a great rich sauce, That took a while: the normal boil, then rub, then cook in the oven. They were not greasy looking and regular barbecue sauce covered. The sauce was a slightly thick, heavily spiced red paste-paste, like kids paste. When it hit the taste buds, it was like a smooth cordial. People dived for that and no matter how messy, they took it to the head. 🙂

Braised Sweetbreads-lets just say it is good fried. It was blanched ( par boiled and then shocked to stop the cooking) then it was dredged in flour and fried to a golden crisp–not burned of course. It is ashamed that in order to get someone to really enjoy that or accept it -sweatbreads, you have to deep fry and not let the nature flavors dominate. I did not need natural on that one, by the way. (I stayed away.)

Supreme of Chicken w/white wine reduction-Well of course if you have been following, I always get stuck with the chicken or the rabbit. Luckily this was a review so I ran through this, except in the beginning. I forgot to take the bone out normally, so I had to carve it out of the breast.

Baked Stuffed Potatoes-twice baked–scoop out the potatoes, mash, add milk and butter and then refill skins. I took the liberty of adding cheese in the middle of the potato as well as the top. That went good with the ribs.

Sauteed Wild Mushrooms- 3 types of shrooms-someone cooked them in separate pans, I did one. I am getting to like the smell of cooking mushrooms.

Grilled Hanger Steak w/teriyaki marinade–the joke about the marinade is that we had to help this guy redo the sauce. Funny thing is that when we redid the sauce I forgot to read across so I missed the honey, ginger and the lemon zest. I think that even though the sauce was originally burned and had the most bitter taste, when we did it, if we had added all the ingredients, it would have not been too different. We added soy sauce, dry sherry, sugar and garlic. Well I added brown and white sugar after, but it still tasted somewhat bitter–it could pass however. Luckily Chef was not tasting the sauces–he might have choked. 🙂

Grilled Hamburger-These came out good. I even took one home for my boy. I did not have one but I had a taste of another guy’s one. He made this melted blue cheese combination–and also added some other things–amazing. He is actually pretty creative and knows a lot about flavor–he will be great no matter what he does.

Buffalo Chili–this was fun. It looks like ground meat and has a slightly different taste but that is covered but the chili sauce. We were able to make tortilla chips to go with this. We were offered the liberty to do that.

I even got to use one of the Chef’s recipes and so I made cornbread. It was nice and light. I added a table spoon of honey and then nutmeg and cinnamon. Nice breakfast food or accompaniment to ribs–you agree?

If you would like the recipe of any of the above, let me know. Also, tell me what meats you have used and in what dishes, outside of the normal cooking realm. I look forward to your responses.

For now, eat well, lay off the eggs (last class), enjoy your meats and try something new!

SPARRING IN A SORTS WITH THE TEAM FROM SPIAGGIA

april 13

So I met with some people from a place called Spiaggia. It is a popular restaurant in Chicago.
Apparently the Obamas have eaten there a few times.
The stories of the owner and the Executive Purchasing chef are really interesting. The owner opened it up 26 years ago–when he was 26–way to date yourself my friend. He just started. Man–that is ballsy. I need to grow a set, but I need to figure out exactly what I like, and then run with it.
The executive chef was a young girl who manned the kitchen. I was a little unsure who she was when I first saw her. She was hitting those guys hard. I though she was the head chef. Head Chef was sitting back and letting the young-ins work their magic.

The group was fun and I hope to deal with another great group the next time I volunteer.

Check out my pic.

Class 20: Beans and Grains Bachanalia

Today was beans and grains day. The day also required a double band aid treatment as I sliced the tops of my fingers. The leeks turned while I was about to cut and I stop mentally but not physically fast enough to halt the knife. That is always fun.

I like beans and this could lead to a few days of intense passing of gas.

My favorite dishes of the day: the falafel, the farro with sausage, the baked beans and the risotto. I am attaching pics of all. (including the black beans and excluding the risotto) We also tackled Quinoa and wheat-berry.
Well the risotto is takes the longest to cook in terms of constant attention being needed. There is a lot of dairy so if you are intolerant, you can never eat this. We put marscapone cheese, butter (of course), and cheese. It took about 20-25 minutes at the stove to cook this. As we have learned, most restaurants cook this partially and let is rest and then when someone orders it, they finish it. That is all good and well but it is stored outside for hours and it is actually something the Health Dept frowns upon. It is a creamy, but has distinguishable rice like pieces.

The baked beans were slamming. I guess that is what brown sugar in excess does. All the other foods were salty in comparison to the strong sweet taste. It had molasses as well. It was basically bbq beans. (ketchup, molasses, sugar, Dijon mustard, vinegar) When it is hot–you can eat a whole bowl with a spoon and spend a whole week trying to remove it. ‘;)

I made Cuban black beans. I have not cooked beans from the dry state so I did not realize how long it took. My mom makes it but it is part of a pilau (rice n peas n chicken) dish and so I never paid attention as it was long cooking for the rice. I tried to spice up the Cuban black beans but did not get enough heat. I wanted a sweet n sour taste, 20/80 split respectively.

I took home a little bit of all. We shall see during the week.

So if you want any of the recipes let me know. I will scan them.

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Till then, Enjoy Life n Eat Well!!

Class 19: A Fish Feast

For all the fish lovers, this one was for you. I even got to cut up a whole sole. My skills are getting better but I “zogged” it up good enough. (zog -a word we use in our culture to describe making a mess of a cutting job, sewing job–it just looks untidy, uneven, meat left on the fish) Well there was enough to make our dishes so no bother. Plus when it is cooked u can hardly tell as long as the mess ups are small.

So we covered Paupiettes of Sole.

This is the fish I cut up. We stuffed it with a leek blend (leeks, butter and orange zest), then we put it in some stock w heavy cream. That was the best fish I ever tasted. I am not a fan of fish and only eat certain types. It was good, believe me. If you want the recipe let me know.

We did a white poached fish. When it was cooking the fins stood up. It was a weird thing to see. We had 2 fish poaching in the same pot and I felt like I was seeing a show from Sea World. 🙂 That dish was kind of bland when we presented. It looked like fish floating in milk–unnatural. Milk n fish–yuk.

I did the poached salmon and that was the same process as the poached fish. I put some additional seasoning as the water was pretty bland. I think that the spices were not enough or not too strong.

One of the team members did Cauliflower Al a Grecque–this dish had a very strong acidic like taste–good though. It was a nice contrast to some of the dishes. We used saffron and a bunch of other spices with seeds.

So the king of the day was artichoke w vinaigrette. I totally think this food is a waste. Here is why. You spend about 1 hour preparing it and then when you go to eat it, it is like a tiny egg cream amount. All that work and that is the reward. I skipped the taste test. In this case, to get my money’s worth I would have eaten the leaves.

In the evening we played with potatoes. We made potato gratin-basically fancy scalloped potatoes. We made potato puree, with both regular and sweet potatoes. I got to make the sweet potatoes and then later I did the glazed carrots. I let it cook a little too much by itself so it browned-with the sugar and all. So next time, full glazed and constant flipping. We almost ran out of time and so we set our carrot timbales for the next day. It had eggs, heavy cream, Parmesan and butter. I am not sure what it was supposed to taste like.

The last thing in our book was broccoli souffle. Our chef changed it up a bit and made it chocolate souffle. I think that was a good choice. We made 2 each and then some non chocolate fans asked if people wanted to taste theirs. I am like a sugar baby so I tasted one that had a nice crust on top. I am not sure it is supposed to come out that way, but I liked it actually.

I did not take home any fish from the morning, just the sweet potato, gratin, carrots and souffle. The carrots glazed are so delicious. Carrots have a nice sweet taste on their own so a little glaze makes them a good contrast food.

Next weekend we have a quiz and then we get into making eggs-the wonderful world of eggs.

Till then, Eat Well n Enjoy Life!!!!