Monthly Archives: May 2008

Sunrise Mart

Today, just before the torrential downpour, I walked through Soho to Sunrise Mart on Broome Street to stock up on my favorite Japanese foods.  There’s a little Japanese store in Astoria, too, but I had other errands in Soho.  I’ve decided to start making my own sushi rolls for weekday lunches to save time, especially since if I don’t bring lunch, there’s no guarantee I’ll make an effort to eat at work.

I bought:

Nori sheets to make sushi to take to work

Bamboo sushi-rolling mat

Matcha for drinks and desserts

Seaweed salad

A huge pickled daikon, shown above after I sliced it

Wheat-free low-sodium Tamari

A red bean cake I ate in the store’s cafe section

Detox foot pads (not convinced they’ll do anything, but they were there and I’m curious)

Dried anchovies as a snack, and possible lunchbox treat when dressed with chili and sesame oil

Mmm.  But even after all that shopping, I got home and realized I was down to 1/2 cup sushi rice and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar.  I used them to make one asparagus and radish roll, and now I need to re-stock.  Which is fine – I love grocery shopping!

Sunrise Mart

494 Broome Street

New York, NY 10013

212-219-0033

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Filed under Pantry, review, Things I Did Not Cook

The Long Goodbye, part 2

Last Saturday, some friends were visiting the city and charged me with making dinner plans . After they’d seen Rent, I met Elena and Kalyn outside the theaer and led them to Florent for dinner. I told them what I knew of the restaurant’s history and it’s foreshortened future on the way downtown. by the time we got to the West Village, Florent was packed and the maitre told us there’d be at least half an hour’s wait. I asked if we needed to put a name on a list, but he said, “No, I’ll remember who you are.” So we stood near the window and chatted, and soon enough he led us to a table. As we walked back, I noticed that all of the framed maps on the wall were marked “for sale on Ebay.” I was a bit conflicted about that, thinking at the same time, “It won’t be the same without the maps,” and “Maybe I should buy one.” (I didn’t win, though I bid on two.)

I finally got to try the boudin noir with apples and sautéed onions. I chose the appetizer size since I wasn’t very hungry, and it was just enough. I cut away the casing and scraped velvety bits of sausage onto the apple slices. This particular boudin was rich and flavorful without verging into fatty or gamy territory. Elena and Kalyn both had cheeseburgers, and proclaimed them delicious. They’re even thinking about making one more visit before Florent closes June 29th.

After dinner, I went to the bathroom, and when I came back Elena presented me with my very own Florent t-shirt. “Because you love this place and it’s closing,” she said. And it was the one I’d been secretly planning to get for myself! I love Florent’s cheeky designs – there’s been a stomach postcard on my wall for a few years now.

So I have about a month left to get back and try the paté and maybe something from the breakfast or daily special menus. I’ll report back.

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Filed under Main Dish, Meat & Fish, review, Things I Did Not Cook

Pink Pink Pink

Hi there. This site is about a month old now, and I think we’re entering a new stage of its development. When I first started writing here, I had a million ideas in my head of things I could cook, photograph, review, taste. I still do, only all those things have taken a backseat to working most of the time and sleeping when I’m done. I’ve been trying to cook and shop and photograph like I usually do, but since I started this new job (a good opportunity, just with so much catch-up work to do), I haven’t had time for cooking. Unless you count the rice and greens I’ve been making in large batches to bring in for lunch, or the oatmeal with leftover rhubarb compote I have for breakfast.

But maybe I’m finally getting the rhythm of my new schedule, or adjusting to the reduced amount of free time, because tonight, I wanted to cook something new and exciting, despite getting in after 8pm. On the way to the office this morning, I walked through the Union Square Greenmarket and practically pounced on the sweet New Jersey strawberries the vendors were just putting out. The little green basket sat on my desk all day, smelling sweet and no doubt ripening further.

It’s always a special treat for me, the first really good strawberry of summer. A few weeks ago I saw the little pale berries at the market, but they weren’t ready. Now we’re only a week away from a mid-season glut of berries. When the time comes, I’ve already decided to buy enough to make a big batch of jam, maybe with a sprinkling of pink peppercorns.

So when I finally arrived home with my basket of berries, I needed some protein and minerals, and I wanted to let the strawberries in on the dinner fun. Luckily, I had some salmon in the refrigerator and pink mustard greens from a previous greenmarket run. I made some of the strawberries into salsa, wilted the greens with olive oil and garlic, and served that with pistachio and pink peppercorn-crusted salmon. The combination of the pink and green tastes is fresh and warm and summery, with the peppercorns picking up the fruity taste of the strawberries and the floral notes in the greens. The salmon’s briny, oily, rich taste complements the fresh berries and greens, and the toasty pistachio crust. I always feel like I should pair ingredients that look alike, have the same shape or color, and in this instance, it works out perfectly. Now that I’ve had this dinner, I’m energized enough to put in a day of work tomorrow, and maybe even cook dinner again.

This trio of pinks is headed off to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week at Wandering Chopsticks.

Pink Peppercorn and Pistachio-Crusted Salmon with Strawberry Salsa and Pink Mustard Greens

For the salsa:

  • 1/2 c strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 1 small red hot pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • Juice of 1/4 lime

Mince the pepper and garlic. Mice the strawberries, mix with pepper, garlic, lime juice, and salt. Transfer to small bowl to macerate.

For the greens:

  • 3 cups pink mustard greens, loosely packed, chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced

Heat the oil on medium, add garlic and cook 1 minute while stirring. Stir in the greens a handful at a time, then cook just until wilted.

For the salmon

  • 2 Tbs pistachios
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 8-oz salmon fillet
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • 1 Tbs olive oil

Rub both sides of the salmon with lime juice. Grind the pistachios and peppercorns in a spice grinder. Mix with salt and sprinkle half on the flatter side of the salmon fillet. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium, then place the salmon in the skillet, crust side down. Sprinkle other side with remaining crust mixture. Cook 4 mintues, then turn and cook 4 minutes more. Cook up to 2 more minutes per side if you like your salmon well-done. Cut in half and serve each on a bed of mustard greens and topped with salsa.

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Filed under Main Dish, Meat & Fish, Recipe, Vegetables

Lime Frozen Yogurt

This frozen yogurt is possibly the most refreshing frozen treat I’ve ever made.  It’s going on the list of foods to get me through the dog days of summer, and I’m already planning to bring it to some outdoor parties this weekend.

I love it when a dessert captures the triple crown of cooking: delicious, easy, and healthy.  I tossed it together while the rest of dinner was cooking, let it firm in the freezer while we ate, and it was ready by the time we needed a movie-watching snack after dinner.

I’m sending this to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Cate of Sweetnicks.

Lime Frozen Yogurt

  • 2 limes’ zest (I used a microplane)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 lime’s juice
  • 1 32 oz container yogurt, chilled (I used fat free organic)

In a medium bowl, rub the lime zest and sugar together until the zest is broken up and the sugar is green and fragrant.  Stir in the lime juice.  Stir this mixture into a container of cold yogurt.  Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Scoop into freezer-safe containers and chill about 1 hour before eating.

This concoction becomes an unscoopable mass when frozen overnight, so leave it on the counter for 10 or so minutes before scooping.

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Turkey Meatballs

Sometimes I crave spicy Italian sausage. And in the interest of full disclosure, “sometimes” means at least once a week. But I can rarely bring myself to gamble the high caloric intake and possible fat-ingestion bellyache for the elusive rewards of sausage. Especially if I happen to choose a sausage that’s just ok, but not mind-alteringly delicious. Then I’m feeling heavy and disappointed, which I can’t recommend to anyone.

Thank goodness for ground turkey. I just get a pound of it, season it with lots of fennel, red pepper, rosemary, and garlic, and form it into little balls. I usually brown the meatballs then simmer them gently in sauce to finish cooking. This whole meal takes less than an hour to make and eat, which is perfect for the middle of a workweek. Ian and I made these a few days ago to go with our pasta and garlic bread, and we’ve been taking the leftovers to work ever since. I can’t say they satisfied my spicy sausage craving, exactly, because (again, full disclosure) when I know they’re waiting in the fridge, I want them even more.

Turkey Meatballs with Pasta and Sauce (and garlic – basil bread!):

  • 1 pound ground turkey (if you can only find the pre-packaged 1.3 pound turkey, just use the whole thing.)
  • 6 small garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs oil (for browning)

Basil-Garlic Bread

  • 1/2 loaf Italian Bread
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 c basil leaves
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbs olive oil

Pasta and Sauce

  • 1 pound pasta (we used fusilli)
  • 1 jar tomato sauce (we used 365 Organic Tomato & Basil – it was just ok, so we added basil leaves and chopped garlic)

Mix meat and spices thoroughly but gently with your hands. If you over mix, your meatballs will be tough. Roll into 24 balls.

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350. Slice Italian loaf in half, then split lengthwise (like you would if you were making a sub). Drizzle olive oil all over the inside. Spread garlic on one half, sprinkle with salt, and cover with basil leaves. Close bread, wrap in foil, and put into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until warm and fragrant.

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Put the sauce in a medium pot and heat on low. Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet on medium. Brown the balls in two batches, 2 minutes per side, turning so three sides are browned. Once browned, add the meatballs to the tomato sauce. When the pasta water boils, add the pasta and cook until al dente, usually 10-13 minutes. Drain the pasta, but not too thoroughly. You need a little bit of water clinging to the strands to help distribute the sauce. Mix pasta, meatballs, and sauce, and serve with warm garlic bread.

I’m sending this post to this week’s Presto Pasta Night, hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.

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Filed under Main Dish, Meat & Fish, Recipe, Side Dish

The Long Goodbye

Florent will only be around another month. Yes, it’s been all over the news lately, deservedly, because it’s been as much a cultural asset as a culinary one. Ian and I went there last week just to make sure we made it in to say goodbye before they close. We both had the excellent burger (on an english muffin!), and I need to go back at least twice before they close so I can try the boudin noir and pâté, maybe even the mussels. I’ve always thought about ordering those, but I end up with the burger every time. It’s just so satisfying to have a simple meal that’s made with care – familiar and unassuming, but special because of the feeling that goes into it. And that’s how I’d sum up the entire restaurant, if I had to. But I’m glad I don’t have to, because Florent is more than that sum. Everything in it – from the maps on the wall to the chilled beer glasses to the nubby rounds of butter – is done with taste, precision, and a sense of humor.

The staff go out of their way to make diners feel welcome. When Ian and I were there last week, we opted to sit at the counter rather than hold out for a table. The waiter brought us kid’s menus and a cup of crayons to share with the couple next to us. We were delighted – it’s not often a restaurant encourages play.

Since that dinner last week, I’ve been trying to write about Florent, but I can’t seem to do it without sounding sentimental (neither can any of the writers, either). So I’m just going to let it stand, this sentimental post. There’s a mystery about this place, I think, and it can’t be figured out even with repeat visits. But until it’s gone, I’ll keep going back to say goodbye.

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Filed under Main Dish, Meat & Fish, review, Side Dish, Things I Did Not Cook

Rhubarb Two Ways

I love rhubarb, always have. My grandmother has a prodigious rhubarb patch in her garden, and it was her excellent strawberry-rhubarb pie that made me love the sour stalks. Every spring I pounce as soon as I see it at the greenmarket, and keep buying it all season for cakes, compotes, chutneys, and other delights not brought to you by the letter C.

Last week I bought some rhubarb at the Union Square Greenmarket, thin stalks still mostly green. I wanted to cook it very simply to spoon over my morning yogurt, but I also wanted to make some spicy rhubarb chutney to stir into rice or use as a glaze for roasted meats and vegetables.

I also didn’t want to stir a pot of compote or a pot of chutney for hours, and I didn’t want to choose between the two recipes. I want everything, basically. So I employed my favorite baking dish, the pretty milk glass divided oval (also a preference I attribute to my grandmother), to cook a sweet compote and a spicy chutney at the same time. The compote is simple and delicate, perfect for breakfast (though I may blend it and make it into a sorbet), and the chutney is sour, spicy, sweet, and savory, all at once, with the flavors parading across the palate in that order. There’s no thickening starch in either side of this rhubarb dish because I like rhubarb compote to be just chunks in pink syrup, and the raisins and dry spices are thirsty enough to absorb most of the liquid in the chutney. And I didn’t add any sugar to the chutney because I don’t like eating a condiment that’s essentially a salty jam. Besides, the raisins provide little pops of sweetness that perfectly complement the sourness and spices. The sichuan peppercorns linger after a bite of the chutney, cooling the tongue, encouraging another bite.

Tonight I’m baking chutney-smothered tilapia on top of fava beans for a dinner to remind me it’s finally spring, despite the rain and chill. I can hardly wait – it’s in the oven right now. If only the lovely Nana weren’t 100 miles away, I could have an unlimited supply of garden-fresh rhubarb and spirited dinner conversation.

Rhubarb Two Ways

  • 1 1/4 pounds rhubarb, washed, trimmed, divided between baking dish sections (or two baking dishes)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, microplane-grated
  • 1 clove garlic, microplane-grated
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sichuan peppercorns, ground
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1/4 large onion, diced
  • 4 tsp cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs vanilla sugar

Preaheat oven to 350. Cut the rhubarb into 1/2-inch pieces, divide between two sections of one dish or two dishes. If you don’t have 2-section baking dish, start cruising thrift shops for a nice vintage one, like I did.

Sprinkle one half with raisins, salt, and spices. Heat olive oil in small skillet, add onion and cook until lightly browned. Spread over rhubarb and spices. Pour vinegar over rhubarb.

Sprinkle vanilla sugar over the other half of the rhubarb (or you can increase the sugar to 1/4 cup if you like it really sweet). Cover with foil, bake 30 minutes or until rhubarb is tender. Let cool, then stir the chutney to combine all the spices.

This post is headed over to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Gay of A Scientist in the Kitchen.

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Filed under Recipe, Sweets, Vegetables