Weekend Eats 6/12 – 6/14

1 Jul

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Will travel for food…one of my mottos in life. I am so lucky to have friends who live by the same creed. Ha! I read reviews about MP Taverna in Astoria, Queens and decided to use my summer Friday to take the hour plus trip from East Harlem in order to explore Michael Psilakis’ take on traditional Greek fare.

We started with a warm octopus salad, grandmas meatballs and chickpea dip. The octopus was grilled to perfection and the combination of the charred bits, dill, lemon and onion was delicious. Grandmas meatballs were the lightest meatballs I have ever had. It was as if someone filled them with air. The dip was good, nothing to rave about but solid. We stayed with the seafood theme for our mains and ordered the dourade and the grilled prawns. Both were amazing!

At first I wondered if I should have opted for a hole in the wall Astoria restaurant versus the fancier place, but my taste buds were so happy that we went with MP Taverna. I will be back!

P.S. I made a summer corn salsa with red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, the juice of 2 limes and salt. Yum!

Street Eats: Free Coolhaus!

20 Jun

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I got an email today about free Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches on Broadway between 50th and 51st, just a block away from my job. I gathered my team and waited on line for about 40 minutes (no shame) for double chocolate and snickerdoodle cookies with Tahitian vanilla bean and cherry swirl ice cream.

Luckily I made it back in time for my meeting, with melting ice cream in hand.

Definitely worth the wait.

Carb-less Meals: Spaghetti Squash

4 Jun

I walked into a co-worker’s office during lunch and smelled something delicious. Laura told me that she made spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, ground turkey, onions and a little greek yogurt. Hmmm…the wheels started turning.

I decided to put my own twist on it by attempting to make a ground turkey and chicken sausage bolognese. I kept my fingers crossed that I would enjoy the spaghetti squash because I heard that it was a little sweet, had a bit of a bite to it and it’s obviously not pasta.

Result, YUM! Pasta who?

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I first rinsed and cut the squash in half. Then I used a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds. Next, I rubbed the insides with olive oil and sprinkled it with salt and pepper.

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Then put it face down on a foil lined pan and roasted it in the oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

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While waiting for the squash to roast, I started my bolognese. I first like to sweat my chopped onion, garlic and spices in olive oil. My spice blend included oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and lemon pepper.

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I added the ground turkey meat and chicken sausage, which I took out of the casing. It cooks pretty quickly but note that the ground turkey produces a lot of liquid. Once it is all browned I set it aside in a bowl.

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Then I deglazed the pan with a little white wine and let it come to a slow simmer.

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At this point I added a big can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and added the meat back into the sauce.

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Here comes the “change your life” moment…plain green yogurt! It gives the sauce great depth of flavor and mellows out the acidity of the tomatoes.

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Voilà!

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I let my sauce continue to simmer while I pulled out the squash. If you put a knife through the middle it should slide out easily. Once the squash was cool enough to handle I flipped both halves over and used a fork to scrape out the “spaghetti.”

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Scraped clean!

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Mix the sauce together with the squash and add a little parmesan.

Carb-less Meals: Mock Mashed Potatoes

11 May

I am a pretty active person but wanted to try and make some sustainable and realistic changes in order to be healthier and slim down for summer.

For the past 3 weeks I have made a change to what I eat for breakfast and dinner each day. First, I substituted my oatmeal or bacon egg and cheese sandwich (after a long night out) with a green smoothie made in my blender. Just 1 ripe banana, 2 big handfuls of spinach or kale, 2 large scoops of plain Greek yogurt, 1 spoon of chia seeds and a few pieces of cut pineapple = a delicious and filling green drink. At first I wasn’t sure that it would sustain me throughout the morning, but I felt full and energized.

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Lunch was usually leftovers of some sort and dinner was carb-less…carb-less. I never thought I would utter those words but I have lost 6lbs with my make shift eating plan which forced me to find some creative alternatives…

Mock Mashed Potatoes
My cousin Chelsea has a gluten allergy and worked to perfect mashed cauliflower that tastes just like potatoes. My first attempt at the recipe was tasty but the consistency was too thin. Only boil the cauliflower for 6 min to the second and quickly press out as much of the absorbed water as possible. Then pulse the hot cauliflower with cream cheese, grated parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, fresh garlic, and a little chicken stock. I left out the butter and didn’t miss it at all. Make sure to check the consistency in between pulses so it’s to your liking. Find the recipe here.

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My next carb-less meal will be spaghetti squash. Stay tuned!

Pancakes…with Vinegar?!

11 May

Pancakes are by far my favorite sweet breakfast food. I am always on the hunt for a perfectly cooked, fluffy, buttery pancake and have found some great ones (Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn or Prune on the LES) but haven’t been able to replicate it at home…until today.

I woke up craving pancakes and went on the hunt for a recipe from scratch. The recipe that I found “sours” the milk with white vinegar (sounds strange but works!). Soured, not spoiled milk is more acidic, adds more flavor and great texture. I doubled the recipe and added vanilla extract. Result, best I’ve ever made!

You can find the recipe here.

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Weekend Eats 3/22 – 3/24

30 Mar

I started off eating my way through Brooklyn last weekend and had a refreshing blood orange margarita from Colonie in Brooklyn Heights. Al di la trattoria in Park Slope serves an amazing pot of mussels with a thick slice of bread at the bottom which soaks up all of the delicious broth. On Sunday I fell in love with a new brunch spot on the lower east side…Peels! I got the cob salad and split a “build a biscuit” with fried chicken and avocado. I was in food heaven but my wallet sure did hurt. Image

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Say It Ain’t so Ina Garten!

25 Feb

Say It Ain’t so Ina Garten!

This article has an obvious slant, but I agree with it. Everything that Ina has stood for in my mind (classic dishes, empowering the home chef, being fabulous) is completely lost on a line of frozen meals at Walmart and Safeway.