Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our Own Middleton

While Catherine dropped the Middleton for her new royal life, we gained a Middleton in our family this year. We finally finished all the wedding celebrations this month with the celebratory party for friends and family in New Hampshire at the Three Chimneys Inn.

Once again, a great time was had by all. More cake, dancing, friends and memories.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Tulips have Sprung

It's a beautiful Easter Day.  The weather is warm (finally!) and people were out in Central Park in droves.  It's been a cold winter, and a long cold spring.  So it's about time the nice weather got here. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Even better: Lunch Followed By Macarons

Last Friday I caught up with and old friend from a past employer (who brings good things to life). I was coming from work, he was coming from an errand, and we happened up the Macaron Cafe somewhere in the middle.

It's a cute little spot on Madison and 59th Street. Totally delightful. They have a choice of sandwiches and you can grab an open table in the back. We both took the daily special (a great tuna with avocado on wheat bread, I'd go back!).

And then followed it up with a 6-pack of macarons. I'd have to say that my favorites were the almond and pistachio. The rose-lavendar was good in concept but not in reality. Bouchon might still be my favorite, so will have to keep on trying!

Macaron Cafe:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's Coming! Sullivan St. Bakery in Chelsea

There are signs of life! We had word that there would be another outpost of Sullivan St, Bakery after the little coffee shop closed in February 2010. I've been waiting for action.

Nestled between Txikito (a great tapas place) and Co. (Jim Lahey's pizza place), Sullivan will offer me bread and bread and more tasty bread. Yes, Jim already owns the place next door! Though, I'll admit, it's not my favorite pizza, the place is always busy.

There was a big uproar when the coffee shop guy was "being kicked out" of this little stretch that's gone a little more upscale. Even I signed the petition. Apparently, it was a little more involved than that and not such a sad story.

I'll welcome Jim. His other outpost is in Hell's Kitchen, though he sells his bread to several restaurants and other locations. This is straight from his website:

"Bread is more than bread. It reaches all the way from the belly to the soul."

I'm ready.
But September 2011? Yes, that's what the sign says, coming in September.

Sullivan St Bakery:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taim: My Favorite Falafal

There was a point about 2 years ago when we ate lunch here quite frequently. It would be a nice day, we'd look at one another, ask what was for lunch, and head here. It's tucked away on a side street in the West Village. It's a tiny little shop, but packed with flavor. Get here early to snag one of the 5 stools inside, or on the bench outside. Just don't sit on any of the steps of the surrounding buildings - the sign inside Taim will warn you it's frowned upon. I'm sure the neighbors hate it.

So the specialty is falafal (3 different kinds are offered) in a pita, but we've had the sabich sandwich, too. Instead of the light, fried-just-right balls of falafal, the pita is filled with grilled eggplant. All the sandwiches come with hummus, tahini and the Israeli salad. We typically go for a side of tabouli.

Oh, it's just so good. And do you know what else I appreciate? That they put falafal deep in the pocket of the pita. So when I get to the end it's not all bread and hummus. There are still falafal left. Yup, I appreciate that.

I'd have to say, some of the best falafal in the city. I've tried Mamoun's...I took an Arabic class at NYU and everyone kept raving about this place. So of course, I tried it. It was super cheap (I'm talking $2.50 for a falafal sandwich), and the sauce was super spicy. In fact, it was too spicy (and I like spice). So in the end, Taim is the winner.

They've got a mobile truck, so maybe I'll have more midweek lunches here!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

More S'mores, Please!

I was in need of a tasty bar recipe. And I knew my sister, A, would have a good recipe on hand. As a teacher and fellow baker, I knew she wouldn't fail me. Five minutes after my phone call, I have the emailed recipe and text with the picture from the cookbook.

S'mores Bars. That was the answer. Apparently they were a hit when she last made them.

It only took 3 grocery stores to collect all the ingredients. We were out walking around for the day and hit them on our way home.
  • Trader Joe's: chips and butter (no marshmallows or graham crackers or unsweetened chocolate)
  • Whole Foods: graham crackers, organic of course (gluten free and fat free marshmallows? can't do that so had to make that 3rd stop)
  • NSA: unsweetened chocolate and marshmallows.

And out of the oven. Baked goodness.

And they were a hit at the party. Graham cracker crust, fudgy brownie, chocolatey top. A bit of sweet and crunch. I'll be adding these to my make again list.

10 Honey Maid Grahams, broken in half (20 squares) divided
3/4 cup butter or margarine
4 squares Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate
2 Cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
2 1/2 cups- Jet Puffed miniature marshmallows
1 cup Baker's semi-sweet Chocolate Chunks
(aluminum foil and cooking spray)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line: 13x9 inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray. Place 15 squares in pan, with sides overlapping slightly. Break remaining grahams into pieces.

Microwave: Butter and chocolate squares in large microwavable bowl on high 2 min.; stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour. Pour over grahams in pan.

Bake: 30-32 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake). Sprinkle with marshmallows and chocolate chunks. Bake 3-5 min. or until marshmallows begin to puff. Press reserve graham pieces gently into marshmallows. Cool. Use foil to lift brownies from pan before cuting to serve.

How to easily cut brownies: dip knife in warm water and wipe dry between cuts.

I would definitely recommend this last step. Mine were still a bit warm, so I had to put them in the freezer for a quick cool down. But the marshmallows were a little gooey.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Top Chef

We are big Top Chef fans here. I love Gail, Padma and Tom (M isn't as big a fan of Gail or Padma), I love the challenges, and I especially love the All Star version.

But there aren't just 18 or so Top Chefs. I've got one living right here. And last night he came through with his BLT salad with homemade buttermilk dressing, a recipe we found earlier in the day at Barnes & Noble and which we just photographed with the iphone. While M was capturing recipes, I was taking pictures of books so I'd remember to add them to my list at home. Ahh, the beauty of technology.

Fresh dill really made the dressing. And then we followed it up with pasta.

Followed by dessert. My mom had given me a cake mix on one of my trips home (it's like grocery shopping, she's always passing off mixes). Since it's the weekend, we went all out with cake. We thought about going to Lulu, but I really was craving a moist box cake. I'll be totally honest. It's not fancy, but with a little doctoring care of the Cake Doctor cookbook, we had a classic yellow cake and homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Delicious. And I might have a piece for breakfast today.


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