Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Homemade Gatorade

July 6, 2010

We’re having the kind of weather in New York where it seems like a breeze from an active volcano might cool us off. It was over 100˚ today, and that would be bad enough even if I weren’t training for The Boilermaker, a 15k race in Utica, NY.

I’ve been running 6+ miles in the heat to train, and hydration has been a major issue. Water alone is good, but sports drinks like Gatorade have electrolytes (salt) and sugar in them, both of which are depleted during exercise. Being the houseboy, however, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something with mysterious red dyes in it. I did a little research and cobbled together my own recipe for a sports drink, and it’s been keeping me going:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved completely. Remove from heat and add the next three ingredients

From here, you have two options. You could use this syrup to make individual servings (2 tbsp per cup of water), or you can put the syrup in a pitcher and fill it with water to 2 liters. I prefer the latter, so I can always have a cold pitcher ready to go in the fridge.

The other thing is the sweetness. This makes a tart drink, which I like, but you could double the sugar, and it would still work.

Stay cool this summer, and wish me luck this Sunday, as I run 9.3 miles to the finish line!

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Croquettes Revisited

June 11, 2010

The other night I had a couple people over for dinner and decided to make an old standby, the Salmon Croquettes. I served them with a salad again, and I made a couple adjustments to the croquettes themselves: panko instead of Saltines and minced shallot in lieu of onion (why not?). I decided to serve them with a Spicy Lemon and Paprika Aïoli from Bon Appétit.

The first ingredient in the aïoli is mayonnaise. Feeling ambitious, I decided to make the mayo myself using this recipe from Gourmet. The ingredients and process are simple enough, but the whisking is exhausting. I had a buddy, and we switched off.

The panko and shallots worked beautifully in the croquettes, and the aïoli was a bit of a show-stopper. This will not be my last experiment with homemade mayo!

Montréal

June 10, 2010

Last week my friend and I went on a mini road trip to Montréal via Portland, ME. Not to knock the duck gravy poutine at Duck Fat, which was delicious, but the gustatory highlight of the trip was probably the wild versions of Eggs Benedict at Restaurant l’Avenue in the Plateau area of Montréal.

Sucré-Salé

You are looking at two hefty pieces of French toast topped with Black Forest ham, gruyère, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce, sitting in a bath of maple syrup.

Yes, it was mind-blowingly good. And those breakfast potatos: superb.

This review accurately sums it up:

Montreal restaurant L’Avenue reminds me of a fat American boy named Billy whose father took a 3 year sabbatical in France, moved to Montreal, and opened up a restaurant to support Billy’s eating habit.

If you ever find yourself in Montréal, check it out. Be warned, the portions are enormous. My friend and I are famously good eaters, but neither of us could clean our plates.

Austin ctd.

March 16, 2010

Last night before seeing the World Premiere of MacGruber, we got dinner at Moonshine. Billed as innovative comfort food, this restaurant delivered. We started with some delicious (and reasonably priced) margaritas at the bar, then took our seats and started in on some serious eating.

PECAN CRUSTED CATFISH with Crawfish Tails

This pecan crusted catfish blew my mind a little: I didn’t know nut encrusted fish was an option. The sweet pecans were a nice complement to the homemade hot sauce that covered the filet—plus, who can argue with crawfish tails?

The other entrée we tried was a truly massive bowl of Green Chile Macaroni. The dish is served with grilled chicken and corn relish mixed in, and the end result is much lighter than your average mac & cheese. It was almost like a corn chowder with with green chile (mmm I’m getting ideas for summer!). With the margaritas, the beer battered asparagus we had to start, and these two dishes, we all left Moonshine smiling and satisfied.

GREEN CHILE MACARONI with Grilled Chicken, Corn Relish & Green Chile Cream

Don’t Mess with Texas

March 15, 2010

As many of you know, I am in Austin, Texas for the film portion of South by Southwest. Between mingling with celebs and watching cutting edge films (such as a documentary on bears—and I don’t mean Smokey) I’ve been eating! Check out this Tex-Mex brunch we had at Z’Tejas

You’re looking at barbacoa beef breakfast enchiladas: slow cooked beef sandwiched between two tortillas, topped with cheese and two eggs over easy. It may be that it tasted even better than it looks. Also worth mentioning, the $3.50 bloody mary, rimmed with celery salt. This meal alone ensured the day was a success.

Quiche Me!

February 8, 2010

Winter break is over, and I finally have my houseboy back. It’s cold outside, so I want something warm and filling, but ideally still healthy. A perfect solution is this Broccoli Garlic Quiche from my dear departed Gourmet.

The recipe is pretty straight-forward, and it really is very easy to throw together on a weeknight. When I’m feeling lazy and/or carbo-phobic, I leave the crust out and pour the eggs straight into the pie dish. I also rarely have a 1-1/2 cups of half and half on hand, so I make it with whatever milk is in the fridge. Don’t worry, with a whopping 2-1/4 cups of cheese in this quiche, it will still be plenty rich.

I just had a piece for dinner, and I am totally sated.

Moules Frites!

September 3, 2009

My friend Michael was in town. Last time he visited, we made those wonderful ribs, so we had to think of something equally special, and we settled on mussels.

Moules 4

I had always been afraid to make mussels. I had also assumed that they would be expensive, but when I read Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, I learned that they are cheap and easy. Reichl’s book includes a recipe for moules marinière that I’ve made a couple times. I have added celery here, because that’s how I had it at Léon de Bruxelles, and it’s tasty.

Houseboy’s Mussels from Brussels, Serves 8

Ingredients:

6 pounds mussels, rinsed and bearded *see note
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
3 celery stalks
black pepper
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Preparation:

Put the mussels, wine, onion, garlic and celery in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, covered. Shake the pot occasionally and cook until the mussels all open, then for another minute. This should just take a few minutes total.

Sprinkle them with the pepper and parsley, and discard any mussels that did not open. Next, portion them out among your guests, pouring the cooking juices over each portion at the end.

*Note: This was the one part of the process that scared me a little. Mussels have beards?! Most farmed mussels do not, or they have tiny beards. It’s just a little tuft that comes out of the shell. Grab it firmly and yank it out. No big whoop. If any of the mussels you buy are open, give them a firm tap and let them sit for a minute. If they don’t close, discard.

Serve with baguette or, as we chose to do, frites:

Moules 5

Nothing fancy, just the frozen kind from the supermarket, but rather than bake them, we fried them in vegetable oil. It makes a huge difference, plenty of fat. Don’t be stingy with the salt either!

You can see that this made for an elegant, engaging meal—as fun to eat as it was delicious.

MoulesCo copy

Pie in the Park 2009

August 26, 2009

Two years ago, my dear friend Lauren decided to invite all her friends to Prospect Park for “Pie in the Park.” Everyone brought a pie, and despite a little rain, we all had a great time. It was such a success, that Lauren decided to do it again last year and make it a pie baking contest. This year, the Third Annual Pie in the Park was also a fundraiser for Hot Bread Kitchen, and the rain didn’t start until we were already on our way home.

Last year I made a key lime pie, and this year I decided to up the ante and make a tarte au citron that they serve at Bouchon, French Laundry and Per Se. I found the recipe on Epicurious. One of the more intriguing elements is the pine nut crust. In addition to being delicious and unusual, it is easier to make and work with than pastry dough. You press it into the pie plate and bake it while you’re whipping up the sabayon filling. After pouring the custard into the crust, I made a little addition:

Pie 3

Blueberries! I tossed them with some sugar and plopped them on top. After a minute of broiling, we had this rustic beauty.

Pie 2

Though the pie did not win the contest, I was very happy with the result. It was fresh, light and full of summer flavors, with the berries adding sweet and colorful bursts. It was not long before it was all gobbled up.

Pie 1

Fortunately, before it was all gone, the Metromix photographer who came to cover the event got a great picture. You can see the article and slideshow here. It was so much fun; I can’t wait for next year!