Sunday, November 27, 2011

Brunch and Stews

So Frankie's is one of many places to get a decent brunch in New York. It's a relatively new place, started in Brooklyn about 10 years ago. We went for a 'last date' out in New York day before the baby comes... Erin's getting pretty tired these days with carrying little Will/Atticus but we're living it up as much as we can before he arrives. We went to the West Village location and had a lovely meal - Erin had an omelette and I had an egg and cheese sandwich both of which were quite good - the sandwich was between pizza-dough as bread which turned out to be not only creative but delicious. We walked down to the Hudson and got some sunshine for a bit afterward...

We then went up to see the windows on 5th avenue which are decorated after Thanksgiving in New York. The air is thick with consumerism and we were in the thick of it - from the plastic pomp of Trump Towers with artificially inflated prices to make you feel that much more special to the fur-draped baronesses strutting down 5th avenue... though on the weekend after Thanksgiving, the fur was harder to spot amidst the maddening crowds of tourists.
My favorite windows were the UNHATE one for United Colors of Benetton (seen below), the Hollister window (shows a live shot of Huntington Beach surf), and one that I forgot the name of just south of Central Park with windows that tell a little story and are in 3D using perspective only. Beef Stew
We had a lovely stew this past week that I am going to write down here or it will be lost forever as it was a concoction of 3 different recipes:
Potatoes - about 6 chopped
Carrots - about 6-7 chopped
Beef chuck - 1 inch pieces (about 3 lbs)
Onion - 1 or 2
Garlic - 4-5 cloves
Red wine - 1/2 bottle
Balsamic vinegar - 1/4 cup or so
Thyme (dried or fresh)
Bay leaf - 2
Beef broth - 3 cups
Water - 3 cups
Tomato paste - 3 tablespoons

Basically, it's just a matter of in what order to add things to the pot... I've never just added everything together but I imagine that would also taste just fine. I added the beef first to brown for a couple of minutes, then took the beef out while I added garlic, onion, then carrot and potato waiting a bit between each so that everything gets a shot at browning... finally get the tomato paste in to the bottom of the pan so it cooks a bit and then add the wine, cook it by itself for a few minutes and then add everything else basically and simmer for 1-2hrs (flour if wanted for texture later). Splendid!!

Erin picked the menu this week as I was in the ER for the weekend... she has a lot of energy and still looks beautiful even though she's 11 months pregnant. Here's a couple of samples:

Roasted chicken + couscous + tomato/bean/fried basil salad
Paprika pork with bell peppers, rice, green beans

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dinners for week of Nov 6th and Harlem signage

I've been considering the environment that we're bringing little Atticus into recently. Harlem is a wonderful place to live in many ways - the people are friendlier than much of New York I think, and there is a lot of character just walking down the street.
On a recent morning walk with Erin, I took these two photos: the first is of a sign on one of the many churches in Harlem - this one has various messages basically denouncing President Obama as some sort of loon or with blood on his hands with some strange connections being made (a prior version connected him with Sadaam Hussein).
The second is of a little restaurant called 'No Swine on My Mind!' - there is an odd collection of non-pork restaurants that serve beef and chicken... it's not Halal food and it's not religious from what I can tell, and it's certainly not all that healthy for you otherwise, but these people really don't like pork! (Another is called 'No Pork on My Fork!')

Anyway, here's what we had to eat!

Spaghetti with meatballs
- simple enough in concept, but the key is in the meatballs... used a recipe off epicurious with a few alterations: basically mix 2 eggs, 1 lb ground beef, salt, pepper, parsley, 1 cup bread crumbs (pre-soaked in 1/3 cup milk) and whatever other spice you want - I used a bit of red pepper flakes and then cook in the tomato sauce for 20 mins - they were spectacular!!

Grilled swordfish with brussels and roasted potatoes

- swordfish grilled after marinating with lime and garlic for a bit, brussels in the usual fashion and good Yukon golds... see photo:
Sausage with kale, eggplant and carrot and couscous
- this ended up being much more of a last-minute throw together type thing that turned out pretty well... cooked the carrots with garlic and overcooked them because that's the way Erin likes them... grilled some eggplant and then threw in the kale at the end just because we had some...

Enchiladas with avocado and tortilla salad
- these enchiladas are wonderful; we've made them a few times and every time they are a hit. This time we went with just a veggie filling:
1. sauteed onion, squash, carrot and green chiles along with some cilantro and corn at the end
2. mix the filling with about 1/2-1 cup of sauce
3. sauce made with 4 tbsps butter in pan then add 3 tbsps chili powder, 2 tbsps flour, 1-2 tbsps cumin and mix for about 1 minute... then slowly add 2 and 1/2 cups of milk, bring to simmer and then add 1.5 cups of grated cheese until well mixed...
4. assemble with flour or corn tortillas layering first some sauce on the bottom of the pan and then the rest over the tortillas with some cheese and corn on top...

The avocado salad with boston lettuce and tortilla strips was quite good mainly due to the dressing:
- 1/4 cup lime juice mixed with honey, olive oil, salt, pepper and a little cayenne