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Archive for June, 2010

Thai Basil Mojito

I wish I could take credit for the idea of this drink, but I can’t. My dad dreamt it up after tasting the thai basil I had growing in my garden. The thai basil has a subtle anise flavor and is very different from Italian basil. This was a refreshing summer drink, that was perfect for a hot day and grilling out.

Thai Basil Mojito
serves 1

1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
a small handful of fresh thai basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon organic pure cane sugar (or 2 oz of simple syrup)
2 oz white rum
ice cubes
club soda

Place the lemon wedges at the bottom of a tall glass along with the basil leaves. Add sugar or simple syrup and muddle the mixture. Stir in the rum and top with ice. Top off with club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge and couple thai basil leaves.

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Potato Salad with Yogurt Cheese Dressing

I usually am not a fan of mayo based potato salad, something about most of them just never seems very appetizing to me. However, I had been meaning to experiment with a yogurt-based dressing as an alternative. I had bought some great yogurt cheese from White Cow Dairy at the farmer’s market and I thought that would be perfect for a potato salad dressing. White Cow Dairy is located in East Otto, NY where all of their cows enjoy a life full of grazing on their lush pastures. They make a variety of artisan products including custards, crème bulgares, thick yogurts, whey drinks, sauces and more. When sweetening is required, their products are flavored with maple found right on their own land, additionally they use wild leeks, onions, blueberries and apples all from the land on or surrounding their farm. I love that.

I really don’t know much about yogurt cheese, just that it is the creamy white cheese you get when liquid whey drains from yogurt. It has a great thick and rich consistency without the fat and it really gives a nice tang to all kinds of dishes. I have put it on everything from veggie burgers to fresh berries. It is quite versatile with either sweet or savory items. I will definitely be buying it again. I have also seen recipes for making your own yogurt cheese at home, though I am not sure I would bother considering the perfection that White Cow Dairy has achieved with theirs.

As usual, I threw this recipe together by taste, so I am not exactly sure on the measurements. I had a small bushel of baby potatoes from the market last week that needed to get eaten up, so I just pulled this together on the fly.

Potato Salad with Yogurt Cheese Dressing
serves 4

1 cup yogurt cheese
approx 1/4 cup organic milk to thin the cheese
approx 30 or so baby potatoes, (red or otherwise)
half of a medium-sized red onion, chopped
fresh herbs, dill, chives, etc (dried will work as well)
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

In salty water, boil the potatoes, cook until soft. Drain and allow to cool. Once cooled, you can peel and half them. I leave the peels on myself. Put the halved potatoes in a large serving bowl, add the chopped red onion, chopped fresh chives and dill (I went with dried dill as that was all I had). To prepare the dressing, take 1 cup of the yogurt and slowly add the milk, one tablespoon at a time, whisking. Add milk until the yogurt is thinned to your desired consistency. I left mine fairly thick, but not chunky. Add the dressing to the potato salad and season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine and coat, being careful not to mash the potatoes. Taste and add more seasonings as needed. Chill until you are ready to serve. Allowing this to chill for a good couple of hours really brings all the flavors together and all the ingredients get nice and cold. Serve with fresh chives and fresh ground pepper on top. Enjoy.

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Sun Dried Tomato, Mozzarella & Arugula Pizza (gluten-free)

I am a big fan of homemade pizza, my Mom always made it when we were kids, with homemade pizza dough and all. I love how much fun you could have with toppings. This pizza turned out perfectly, it had so many lovely subtle flavors and the arugula finished it off nicely with a little bite. I used the same pizza dough recipe from my Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Pizza, but I am going to include it again here so you don’t have to look it up. Since I made this recipe up on the fly and also was making a second non-gluten-free pizza for Mark, my measurements may not be exact, so feel free to just improvise and go with what you think on the toppings. The only thing I would like to find a way to change is, some of the sun-dried tomatoes started to really blacken up as the pizza baked, it seemed to only be the ones not covered by cheese, so maybe I just need to add more cheese next time (oh darn!).

I took one leftover piece of this pizza this morning, toasted it up in the toaster oven and topped it with one fried egg. Oh my gosh was that amazing. The perfect breakfast to start a very busy day.

Sun-Dried Tomato, Mozzarella, Fontina & Arugula Pizza (Gluten-Free)
serves 2-3

Gluten-free Pizza Crust

1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp quick-rising yeast
3/4 cup warm water (about 110° F)
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp fresh rosemary, basil or oregano (I went with basil and oregano)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease.

In a small bowl, combine warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir until just dissolved. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside in warm are for 10 minutes. Mixture will form a foam head of about 3/4″.

Using your food processor (which is how I did it and it worked surprisingly well), add all dry ingredients: flours, potato starch, xanthan gum and salt, directly into the processor bowl. Blend in the processor, about 1 minute. If using a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients, and whisk together until well combined.

In another small bowl, whisk olive oil, eggs, and vinegar until blended. Add egg mixture and yeast mixture to dry ingredients, mix until combined.

Blend dough in the food processor for 2-3 minutes. Dough will be sticky and soft, it doesn’t seem much like dough at all. Add in the herbs and gently pulse or mix to combine.

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Dip your hands in water or olive oil and shape the dough into a round shape about 1/4″ thick. Place in a warm, draft-free area and let rise 40 minutes. Dough should double in size.

Brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of course salt.
This recipe can also be used to make gluten-free focaccia if you spread it to 1″ instead of 1/4″.

Toppings

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs, I went with basil and oregano from my garden
2 ounces of sun-dried tomatoes, sliced very thin
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella (I used organic)
1/2 cup of shredded fontina
red pepper flakes
2 cups of fresh baby arugula
fresh parmigiano-reggiano

Preheat the oven to 400° F

After you have brushed a bit of olive oil on the crust and sprinkled with a bit of salt (see above), sprinkle the minced garlic all over the crust. Next, evenly sprinkle the fresh herbs and sun-dried tomatoes all over the crust. Add both cheeses and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Bake the pizza. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is a golden brown and the cheese is melted. After you pull the pizza out, top the entire pizza with the baby arugula. Lightly grate fresh parmigiano-reggiano on top. Cut pizza into wedges, serve immediately.

Sun Dried Tomato, Mozzarella & Arugula Pizza (gluten-free)

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I have never been a huge fan of ice cream, until I tasted fresh homemade ice cream made from scratch with fresh ingredients. It is so insanely delicious and it has so much more flavor than the store-bought stuff. I had been talking about buying the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer for some time now and finally got around to it last week. I knew before I even bought the attachment what flavor my first batch was gonna be. Mint Chocolate Chunk! We have so much mint growing wild in our yard that I couldn’t wait to snip some off and bring it in to make fresh ice cream. If you can’t get your hands on fresh mint you can use mint extract, but there is no comparing to the fresh mint. So much so that I added chopped fresh mint back in at the end, since I love the little bits of flavor.

Making ice cream from scratch, cooking down and making the custard first definitely is a lot of work, but it is absolutely worth it and is so gratifying in the end. The only thing I wished is that I could have found some place locally to buy fresh milk and cream, instead I bought organic milk and cream from the grocery store. I have searched high and low to find somewhere locally to buy dairy (preferably pasture-fed), but with no results yet, so if you know of a place in the Western New York area, please share.

This ice cream really is to die for. So rich, a small scoop is all you need. I cannot wait to experiment with other flavors.

Mint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
yields 1 quart
adapted from Simply Recipes

3 cups of fresh mint leaves (not stems), rinsed, drained, packed
extra fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 cup organic whole milk
2 cups organic heavy cream (divided, 1 cup and 1 cup)
2/3 cup organic pure cane sugar
A pinch of salt
6 egg yolks (we prefer brown eggs from local, organic, free-range chickens)
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
6 ounces semisweet chocolate or dark chocolate, chopped fine, keep in the freezer until used

1. Put the mint leaves in a heavy saucepan with the 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of the cream. Heat until just steaming (do not let boil), remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Reheat the mixture until steaming, remove from heat and let stand for 15 more minutes.

2.While the mint is infusing in step 1, prepare the remaining cream over an ice bath. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set in ice water (with lots of ice) over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.

3. Strain the milk cream mixture into a separate bowl, pressing against the mint leaves with a rubber spatula in the sieve to get the most liquid out of them. Return the milk cream mixture to the saucepan. Add sugar and salt to the mixture. Heat until just steaming again, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.

4. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

5. Return the saucepan to the stove, stirring the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.

6. Pour the custard through the strainer (from step 2) and stir into the cold cream to stop the cooking, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

7. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least a couple of hours) or stir the mixture in the bowl placed over the ice bath until thoroughly chilled (20 minutes or so). Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

8. Once the ice cream has been made in the ice cream maker it should be pretty soft. Gently fold in the finely chopped chocolate and chopped fresh mint. Put in an airtight container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.

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This is a lovely Spring/Summer pasta dish that was the perfect way to use some of the delicious bacon we got from Sojourner Farms last week. The bacon from Sojourner is the tastiest bacon I can ever recall eating, there is a sweetness to it that I have never tasted before and the perfect amount of smokiness. Since there is a very small amount included in this recipe, it isn’t overpowering or greasy in the least (which is something I dislike sometimes about bacon).

I bought some beautiful bunches of asparagus at the market as well as some fresh sugar snap peas. When I got to shelling the peas, I noticed the peas inside were super tiny and delicate and there just wasn’t enough considering I needed 2 cups for the recipe. So, I decided to go ahead and use some frozen organic peas I had on hand, instead. They worked out perfect, though I really would have preferred the fresh, had they been a bit bigger.

This dish has the perfect amount of creaminess without being heavy and the crunch from the fresh asparagus and bacon is wonderful. The brightness from the lemon is really a great compliment to the salty bacon and creamy sauce. I did however, realize after we ate, that the original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of olive oil when mixing the pasta at the end, I accidentally omitted it. I didn’t miss it a bit and honestly, I personally don’t think it needs it. It definitely needed a decent amount of black pepper when serving to give it a bit more punch, so I think next time I may consider adding crushed red pepper as well.

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Pasta with Peas, Asparagus and Bacon
adapted from Bon Appétit, May 2010
serves 4

12 ounces gluten-free organic brown rice penne (any pasta will do however)
3 ounces bacon, chopped (we prefer fresh from the farm, humanely raised, hormone and antibiotic free)
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
2 cups shelled fresh green peas, blanched 1 minute in boiling water, drained, or organic frozen peas (do not thaw)
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, white and pale green parts separated from dark green parts
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons of olive oil (I omitted this)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
salt
fresh ground black pepper

Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon drippings from skillet. Add asparagus to drippings in skillet; sauté 3 minutes. Add peas, white and pale green parts of green onions, and garlic; sprinkle with a bit of salt and black pepper; sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add vegetable mixture, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, dark green parts of green onions, 1/2 cup Parmesan, cream, olive oil (if you wish), lemon juice, lemon peel, half of parsley, and half of basil to pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if needed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle bacon, remaining parsley, and basil over. Serve, topped with additional Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.

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The mojito is one of my go to summer cocktails. But, as with everything, I love all the variations on the classic. This is one of my favorites and considering we had grabbed some fresh picked strawberries while we were out in the country and my herbs are growing out of control in our yard, this was a no brainer.

I love the sweetness from the strawberries and the spiciness from the basil. It is perfectly light and refreshing, the perfect Springtime twist on an old classic.

Strawberry Basil Mojito
serves 1

5 strawberries, hulled
5 fresh basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon organic pure cane sugar (or 2 oz of simple syrup)
2 oz white rum
ice cubes
club soda

Slice the strawberries and place at the bottom of a tall glass along with the basil leaves. Add sugar or simple syrup and muddle the mixture. Stir in the rum and top with ice. Top off with club soda and garnish with strawberry slices and basil leaves.

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There is something about stuffed peppers that is always good, no matter what’s inside. I have been wanting to make quinoa stuffed peppers for sometime now and when I came up with the idea to add goat cheese, I figured I couldn’t go wrong. These peppers were so delicious and had the perfect balance of crunch and creaminess. The fresh mint from our herb garden, was the perfect compliment to the tangy goat cheese. These would be great as a entrée or as a side dish. We served these on the side with some fresh Italian sausage patties from Sojourner Farms that we picked up on Friday (which by the way, was better than any Italian sausage I have ever tasted).

Quinoa and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers
serves 4

4 organic bell peppers (green, red, orange or yellow, any will do)
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup frozen organic corn kernels
salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 475º.

Cut off top of peppers and remove seeds. Set aside.

Rinse 1 cup of quinoa thoroughly. In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water and 1 cup of quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes; fluff with a fork. (I refrigerated the leftover quinoa for a salad tomorrow after yoga.)

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chopped mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender; add corn and 1 tablespoon of fresh mint. Cook until heated.

In a large mixing bowl, add cooked quinoa, mushroom mixture, 4 ounces of goat cheese, remaining 1 tablespoon of fresh mint, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

Arrange peppers in a small glass baking pan, brush skins with a small amount of olive oil. Stuff peppers with filling, top each pepper with the remaining crumbled goat cheese. Bake until peppers are slightly blackened and the filling top is golden and crispy, 30-35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes,

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After a few weeks of travel, events and lots of work, life is finally getting a bit closer to normal for us. I have still been eating well and fresh, just a bit more rushed and with no time for blogging. I planned some great meals for the next week or so, and I cannot wait to share them with you.

I decided on this dish because the thai basil I planted in my herb garden has been growing wonderfully and I couldn’t wait to use it in something. It is so fragrant and has a hint of anise flavor. If you don’t have access to thai basil, you can use regular sweet basil, as well. But I recommend trying to get thai basil if you can.

I personally recommend pre-baking tofu when using it in stir fries and the like. The tofu keeps that crunch and has a much better texture than just cooking it up in the wok. The tofu made with recipe I included below can also be used over rice, in soups, salads and just as a snack. You can also add soy sauce, citrus juice, play with spices, etc.

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Crispy Baked Tofu
1 – 14-16 ounce package of extra-firm tofu drained, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 450ºF. Arrange tofu cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle over sesame oil and lightly toss to coat, sprinkle with salt. Bake 30-35 minutes, turning with a spatula every 10 minutes to get a good crunch on all sides.

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Spicy Thai Tofu and Peppers with Peanuts

4 servings
adapted from Bon Appétit June 2008

1/3 cup olive oil
2 large bell peppers, seeded, thinly sliced (I used 1 red and 1 orange)
3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
14-16 ounces of crispy baked tofu cubes
3 tablespoons low sodium gluten-free tamari soy sauce (regular soy will do)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
6-ounces organic baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup chopped fresh thai basil (you can use regular sweet basil, also)
1/3 cup lightly salted roasted peanuts

Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add bell peppers, ginger, and garlic; sauté until peppers just begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add green onions; toss 2 minutes. Add next 4 ingredients. Toss to blend, about 1 minute. Add spinach in 3 additions, tossing until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute for each addition. Mix in basil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle peanuts over. Serve.

Can be served over brown rice, thin rice noodles, or alone.

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I am very excited to tell you about this great farm we took a trip to this past Friday. It was just over an hour drive from Downtown Buffalo and worth every minute of it. Sojourner Farms is located in Olean, NY, run by Pierre and Lesa Dionne.

From their website:

Having both grown up on commercial (i.e. chemical and fertilizer-intensive) potato farms, Lesa and I for several reasons, had no interest what-so-ever in that type of food production. Serendipity would have it that we would become owners of an abandoned dairy farm and the question was what to do with all that fallow land. We sure didn’t want to go into the type of farming we had grown up with but again, fate stepped in and a few years ago Cornell Co-op extension brought a gentleman by the name of Joel Salatin as a guest speaker at an alternative-farming seminar in Alfred and he planted the seed in me to seek further information about this up and coming “radical” approach to farming called pastured meat production.

This type of farming seemed much more user-friendly and sustainable ecologically, and as a practicing Physician, it was obvious to me that this was a much healthier way to raise meat both for the consumer and the farmer.  Not knowing if this was something we wanted to pursue in a big way, we followed Mr. Salatin’s suggestion and began with pastured poultry since it was seasonal and not capital intensive to get into.

IMG_3281The laying hens

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The moveable, open-air, chicken houses, which allow them plenty of room and constant fresh pasture to feed on.

I did a lot of research on what I was looking for in a farm, I knew that although we really didn’t eat meat often, when we did, I wanted to know where it came from and how it was raised. I want the meat I eat to be without hormones and antibiotics (or any chemicals for that matter), I want to know that the animals are raised humanely and given room to roam and fresh grass to eat. Having learned about Sojourner Farms a few months back, exchanging many emails with Pierre and subsequently placing an order for four chickens and 1/5 of a pig, this brought us on the journey to see the farm and to pick up our food this past Friday afternoon. What a fabulous and life-changing, short trip we were lucky enough to take. It is so incredibly refreshing to see the happy animals roaming the many acres of grassy farmland and to know that they are all well-treated and living the lives they deserve to live. We were able to speak at great length with Pierre about how he acquired the 260 acres of land he owns, how he got into farming in this manner, which (as you would guess) it isn’t easy and it is very costly to run. Pierre is still a practicing physician in town (two days a week) and has a full-time daily farm hand on staff. Lesa is a full time school teacher. Pierre and Lesa feel “…that if more people knew how most of our food is produced commercially, they would demand significant paradigm shifts. We, as a society, have delegated the task of monitoring food quality to others and they may not always have the consumer’s best interest at heart.”

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Happy cows, grazing on delicious pasture at Sojourner

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One of the very many beautiful views.

Being able to shake the hand of the man that raised the food we would soon be eating, asking questions about how the animals are raised and fed, seeing the land they live on and feed off of, it is an experience that really cannot be put into words. I truly feel that if more people were aware of the foods they eat and where it comes from, more people would take action to ensure that same food is of the utmost quality, both ethically and otherwise. We owe it to ourselves to be educated about what we consume, what it is doing to us, the animals (if you choose to eat meat), and the environment. Your actions can speak louder than you know and supporting the places that share those beliefs is the only way to help make the changes you seek, a reality. The trip to Sojourner was probably the single most emotional food related experience I can ever recall from my lifetime. I feel so lucky to have found their farms and to be able to support them and what they are doing.

On the drive back to the city, we stopped at a farmer’s stand bought some tomatoes, baby potatoes, and fresh from the field, strawberries and lettuce. From those two stops we were able to make an amazing dinner. We butterflied and grilled a whole chicken along with some baby potatoes for grilled herb potato salad and I threw together a delicious green salad with tomatoes, walnuts and feta. Since, I know we will be making this exact meal again, I decided to forgo the photos and recipes this time. Mark and I were so happy to not be rushing off somewhere and to be together (alone), that we wanted to enjoy a beautiful dinner, slowly and quietly without interruption. That chicken was hands-down, THE best chicken we have ever eaten in my life. So fresh, so flavorful and I truly feel like you can taste the love and care taken every single step of the way. Thank you Pierre and Lesa, for all that you are doing.

Us at Sojourner Farms

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Life has been crazy!! We are well into our busy, travel season and work is really picking up. All great things, so no complaints here. However, the last two weeks have been so busy that planning meals, cooking and blogging has been near impossible.

We had a lovely trip to New York City where eating healthy was easier than anywhere else we travel to. I, of course, forgot to bring the nice camera to most restaurants we ate at (amateur), so you’ll just have to visualize all the yummies this time. I am still getting used to this blogging thing. A couple of tasty highlights from the trip are as follows: lunch at Risotteria, on Bleeker Street in the West Village, one of my all time favorite gluten-free restaurants that I always make a point to hit when I am in the city. Mark is always a trooper here and orders something gluten-free too, so we can split plates and try two different items from the menu. This time we had an olive puree pizza with soppressata, mozzarella and hot peppers and an oven dried tomato, arugala and pesto panini. Both were super fabulous and I literally was at the table moaning in complete contentment. It isn’t everyday that I can go to a restaurant and have basically whatever I want from the menu. I ate only a small piece of the pizza as it was a bit too salty for me, though very tasty. Between the huge list of gluten-free risottos, pizzas, paninis, their multiple gluten-free beers, a large list of gluten-free desserts and the fact that they bring gluten-free bread sticks to the table, this place is top-notch in my book.

Another great meal that I had was at the Roebling Tea Room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I am eating very little meat these days, and when I do, I prefer to eat grass-fed, antibiotic free, free range, (etc) local meat that came from a farm I can trust. This can, obviously, be very hard when traveling, so I tend to just avoid meat these days when I am out. Our friends Karen and Tabie from Two Arms Inc., suggested the Roebling Tea Room that was a short walk from McCarren Park, as they have always enjoyed their brunches. When we got there and I got to looking at their menu, I noticed at the bottom of the menu it said “Our meat is in the program”, when we asked our waitress what this meant, she explained that all of their meat was from local farms, was all grass-fed and free range. This made me so happy and I decided to order their Hangar Steak. This was an amazing decision as it was some of the best steak I have ever had and it was perfectly cooked. Another highlight of the Roebling Tea Room was their creative cocktails. I went with the Fresh Ginger Fizz which was darkrum, fresh ginger, lemon and for me, ginger ale (the original called for ginger beer, but they were unsure if it was gluten-free).

Our last night, we decided to celebrate a great weekend in NYC with our great friends, Allison and Craig from Strawberryluna, by heading to Tom Colicchio’s restaurant Colicchio & Sons in Chelsea. I had been there two years ago when it was CraftSteak and was ranting and raving about it to the rest of the crew. As a whole, we were all a bit let down, to be honest, though there were definitely highlights to the meal. The best dish being the Butter-Poached Oysters which were out of this world, a delicious bite of oyster like nothing I had ever tasted. Overall, I had missed the original menu from CraftSteak and we all felt that compared to all the other great meals we had while in the city, everything was a bit overpriced considering the quality. (Sad to say since I have a huge lady crush on Tom Colicchio.)

Though this post is short and not necessarily a great travel review, seeing as I forgot my camera at the few moments it would have been nice to have it, it was still a fabulous trip with some great meals that I wanted to share.

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