Monday, November 3, 2008

What is this gadget?

On Saturday, after my pasta class was over, I went to see DH in his class, The Art of Artisan Bread, Part 2, at Johnson and Wales. I noticed the above apparatus on one of the benches and picked it up. DH asked me if I had any idea what it was. I was completely puzzled. He gave me a clue: it can only be purchased in Mexico. I still didn't know. He told me to think of pan dulce (pastries). Then I realized it is a press for making the distinctive designs on conchas, a very common pastry made in Mexico.

His class made conchas! What a splendid surprise! DH had been talking to the Chef about Mexican pastries, and it turns out that the Chef worked in a bakery in Mexico for a while. So, the Chef gave the students the option of using some of the batch of brioche dough they had made to form some conchas, using the presses he had purchased in Mexico. Everyone in the class decided to try making conchas.

They were quite a hit with the class! One student jumped at the chance to get some cafe con leche (coffee with milk) to drink with his concha. Great idea! Conchas are also excellent with hot chocolate.

The topping is a mixture of flour, sugar and fat. It is definitely decadent. Often the sugar is colored bright yellow or bright pink. The topping is also sometimes flavored with chocolate.

The crispy, crumbly topping crunches a bit in your mouth but soon melts. And the pastry itself, when made well, is moist and soft. The topping adds the sweetness, and the bread is buttery.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chef's Choice Pasta Class, part 2

Here are more photos from the Chef's Choice Pastabilities class at Johnson & Wales this weekend. When I enrolled in the class, I wasn't sure if it would be vegetarian friendly but took a chance. It didn't turn out to be a problem at all. In fact, there were others in the class who also did not want meat in their sauces, so we teamed up to make our own pomodoro sauce and vegetarian lasagna. We received so many compliments on them! Above you can see a plate of the food we made in class, which we ate for lunch. There is a vegetable salad with house-made balsamic vinaigrette, wild mushroom filled ravioli and vegetarian lasagna. The next time I make the mushroom filled ravioli I will put a simple butter sauce on them so that I can taste the mushroom flavor better. We used such excellent mushrooms in the class, and I was disappointed that I didn't get to fully experience their flavors. Below are some of the gorgeous mushrooms we used.

Here is a plate of tomato flavored pasta topped with Salsa di Creme E Formaggio, Parmesan Cheese Cream Sauce. Different groups assembled different combinations of the ingredients, so it was possible to try different variations.

Here are the pots of sauces simmering in a water bath. Our vegetarian Sugo di Pomodoro is the one of the far right, it is darker red than the Bolognese Ragu sauces that the other groups made. One of the groups also made a pesto.

For our vegetarian lasagna, we alternated layers of tomato flavored pasta and regular semolina pasta. The dollops are cream cheese.

Chef's Choice Pasta Class, part 1

At Johnson and Wales in Charlotte NC, as a part of their Chef's Choice series, I took the Pastabilities class this weekend. Previously I have taken bread baking classes there. We learned to make pasta dough (including flavored pasta), how to roll it out using a hand-cranked pasta rolling machine, and how to shape a few different stuffed pastas. We also learned how to make a few sauces, which I will write about in part 2.

Above, the instructor has rolled out the dough to a long length and is about to pass it through the machine another time.

Here the instructor is passing the dough through a fettuccine attachment. In the foreground you can see the ravioli moulds and a few ravioli.

Below are some fettuccine, ravioli and tortellini awaiting being boiled.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pan de Muerto in Charlotte, NC

In Charlotte, we visited Panaderia Odalys, a Mexican bakery there, because we had read that they were selling Pan de Muerto. And indeed they were! Pan de muerto means bread of the dead. In Mexico it is made to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead (known in the US as All Saints Day). The bread above is supposed to look like it has bones on top. The bread is similar to brioche in texture, with either an orange or an anise flavor and it is commonly covered with sugar, but not always. However Panaderia Odalys also offered pan de muerto in an alternative shape that we had never seen before, shown below.

Rather morbid looking, isn't it? Either style was 85 cents each.

On a lighter note, we were quite pleased to find some fall colors in Charlotte this trip. Last year we were here the same time of year, but didn't see nearly as vibrant of colors as we saw this year. The colors weren't everywhere, but there was enough to make us feel like we had experienced a bit of autumn.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mexican Food in Charlotte, NC

We are in Charlotte, North Carolina for the weekend to take more culinary classes at Johnson & Wales. For an early dinner today, we were extremely delighted that we stumbled upon Taqueria Guadalajara. We had never heard of it, but just had a gut feeling passing it that we needed to stop. We are glad we did!

This is the food we wish we were served at more Mexican restaurants in the United States. This is the real deal. I enjoy Tex Mex food once in a while. But usually when I want Mexican food, this is what I want. It is so simple, yet it is fresh and made with care. A bonus was that nothing came from a can, everything was made from scratch.

Look at all the salsas and condiments were were provided with, in the above photo. We were automatically served four of them with a basket of chips: the tomatillo salsa (green), the salsa made from chiles (dark red), the pico de gallo (the minced veggies) and a tomato sauce. We were also automatically given the bowl of lime wedges. Lime wedges!! I know I am in Mexico when I don't have to ask for lime. I asked for the chopped onion and the chopped cilantro. And the guacamole was a side dish we ordered.

Above is another side dish we ordered. It is such a typical dish in Mexico, and we rarely have seen it served in the US. Cebollinas. Roasted green onions.

Look, tacos with no cheese! Blessed delicious tacos! Most tacos in Mexico don't have cheese. I wanted mine with pinto beans, a slice of avocado, minced onion, minced cilantro, and some freshly made salsa on a corn tortilla. Was this exact taco on the menu? No! All I had to do was ask for what I wanted. No eyebrows were raised. This is a very normal thing to do, at least for me!

These are bean enchiladas rojas. The are topped with Cotija cheese and some cream. DH ended up pushing aside the cream, since he wasn't expecting it. But they were very good, the enchilada sauce was excellent.

Apple Snack

I babysit a kinder gardener last week and he asked me to make this specific snack for him. I had never had this before, but I followed his very clear instructions. I am sure there must some cute name for this snack, like Ants on a Rock or something. But he didn't call it anything special. Anyway it was a delicious snack and I have since made it for myself at home!

It needs no recipe. Just slice and apple, spread on some peanut butter or other nut butter, and then press chocolate chips into the nut butter. They stay in place nicely! You could use raisins or other dried fruit instead of the chocolate chips. Or you could dip them into chopped nuts. Really, there are lots of possibilities. It's less sweet than caramel apples, which I really appreciate. Happy Halloween!
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins

Hello! I know I have not been posting many recipes lately! I truly have been cooking, I just keep forgetting to blog! I have posted a recipe for Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins in the past, but here is another recipe. I like having choices! Pumpkin muffins are so delicious! They really help me feel like it is autumn, despite living in Florida and not having the spectacular seasonal colors like I used to experience when I lived in Michigan.

I like this recipe because it suggests topping the muffins with pepitas, pumpkin seeds. I think it makes them look very cute. Plus it makes it more obvious they are pumpkin muffins as opposed to carrot, etc.

The recipe was published in the Washington Post blog a few years ago and can be found at this link. But I will post the recipe showing my alterations. I tend to like my baked goods to be less sweet than traditional recipes. I found that honey worked beautifully with this recipe, complimenting the natural sweetness of pumpkin very nicely. They turned out splendidly moist.

Pumpkin Muffins, double batch (made about 16 small, would make at least 8 large)

2 cups all purpose flour (I didn't have white flour, so I used a mixture of whole wheat and oat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
optional up to 1 teaspoon nutmeg
optional dash of ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey, plus a tablespoon or two if you want it sweeter
2 eggs
2/3 cup plain yogurt (i used Greek style, but any would work)
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (I used homemade, but you could use canned)
optional: up to one cup raisins or walnuts or combo of other chopped nuts or dried fruit (I used about 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots)
optional garnish: raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease muffin tins including the tops. Optionally line with paper muffin cups.

1. Stir together the dry ingredients into one mixing bowl (the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt).
2. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and add the oil, honey, yogurt, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Stir until combined. Fold in the dry fruit or nuts.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring and folding gently. Mix until just blended.
4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling to the top. Garnish each with some pepitas, if desired.
5. Bake for about 25 minutes, testing the center with a toothpick. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan. Then remove them from the pan to finish cooling on cooling racks.
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Queso Fundido

This is so easy. Is it even a recipe? It's a very typical snack served at parties in Mexico. Queso Fundido is melted cheese. It is eaten with soft, warm tortillas. Use the tortillas or a fork to scoop the cheese.

To be authentic, melt the cheese in a terracotta dish called a cazuela, shown in picture. We melted slices of Fontina cheese, but any cheese that melts well can be used, such as Mozzarella, Chihuahua, Manchego, etc. If plain cheese seems too boring, other ingredients can be added too. In the photo, we added strips of roasted poblano pepper. Other vegetarian versions could include sauteed mushrooms and onions with oregano, for instance.

Just melt it in a hot oven until the cheese gets bubbly and golden on top. It takes just a few minutes if the oven is really hot, around 400F.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Spanish Fideos

Yet again I am drawing on my memories of my visit to Barcelona. We ate fideos there that were similar to the way I made them at home this week. I hadn't made them in a long time, so I can't remember exactly how they were in Barcelona. But I think I did remember some of the key ingredients for making this vegetarian fideo dish. So I must confess that this recipe is in no way authentic. But it certainly turned out delicious! The ingredient that makes these fideos Spanish is pimenton dulce, mild Spanish paprika. I have seen it sold at the chain store World Market in the US.

Fideos are vermicelli pasta, otherwise known as angel hair. It comes in nests or in small pieces (like the version I used) or in long noodles that are a very thin version of spaghetti. They are fried first until they become golden and then liquid is added so they can finish cooking.

I added crushed Fire Roasted tomatoes and a bit of water. It's a very thick sauce, so I added a little water at at time as needed for the pasta to finish cooking.

The end result is referred to as a sopa seca or a dry soup. Instead of ending with a dry soup, it's also possible to add some vegetable broth to the same recipe to end up with a liquid soup.

Spanish Fideos

  • 1 small package of fideos, vermicelli pasta, angel hair nests or angel hair pasta (I used 7 ounces)
  • approximately 2 tablespoons oil or as needed
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (I used red onion)
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons of pimenton dulce
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes (I prefer fire roasted)*
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • about 1/2 to 1 cup water (or as needed - adding a bit at a time as the sauce gets too thick)
  • optionally add 1 to 2 cups of vegetable broth for a liquid soup instead of a dry soup
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • shredded cheese

Heat the oil a large skillet. Add the onion and crushed garlic cloves. (I don't even bother peeling the garlic, the skins fall off by themselves when they fry, and then the peels can be easily picked out). Season with salt and pepper. When soft, either remove of the onions and set them aside or leave them in the pan, depending on how big your pan is. You want there to be plenty of surface area to fry the pasta.

Add the pasta to the hot pan with a bit more oil, if needed. Fry the pasta, stirring constantly so that it doesn't burn. First it will turn a lighter white shade, then it will turn golden brown. When most of the pasta is golden brown, add the pimenton dulce, the onions (if they had been set aside), the can of crushed tomatoes and some olive oil. When the sauce is hot and simmering, lower the heat to simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent burning and sticking. Add water a bit at a time as the pasta absorbs the liquid to end up with a sopa seca.

For a liquid soup, add vegetable broth. Simmer uncovered until the pasta is the desired tenderness.

Season with more salt and pepper as needed and possibly more pimenton dulce, depending on desired spice level. When the pasta is the desired tenderness, you can remove the garlic cloves and chop into smaller pieces or leave them as they are, depending on your preference.

If desired, add a bit more extra virgin olive oil at the end and garnish with some shredded cheese.

*Note: you don't have to use canned tomatoes. You can add one or two chopped fresh tomatoes or chopped roasted fresh tomatoes and then add water or broth as needed for the pasta to have enough liquid to absorb.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vegetarian Fiction

I have had this book since 1998, and I don't know how many times I have read it. It's actually a Young Adults book. During Tropical Storm Fay, we lost power several times, never knowing for how long each outage would last. So, I found myself in front of our bookcase looking for entertainment. This is the book that called to me.

It's Sunshine Rider: The First Vegetarian Western by Ric Lynden Hardman. I suppose I should warn my vegetarian readers that it takes some time before the hero, Wylie Jackson, becomes a vegetarian, and even after his change of heart there are still some pretty graphic meat references. For example, at the very beginning of the book, there is a recipe for Porterhouse Steaks that starts with a LIVE cow.... Each chapter begins with a recipe, including a few vegetarian recipes. The humor in the book extends to some of its recipes. For instance, here is part of the recipe for Masoor Dal:

"Into this smoking cauldron pitch the peas; there will be a sound like a cow backfiring. This is to be expected."

The recipe ends: "It's a dandy surprise."

I love it! So if you can handle the occasional graphic meat reference, it's an amazing and fun journey of a young man becoming an adult in the Wild West.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Romesco Sauce

Salsa Romesco is an incredibly flavorful sauce that comes from Catalonia in Spain. I had it for the first time when we were in Barcelona, and I have not been able to forget it. Now when I eat at Spanish restaurants, I just have to order something that comes with this sauce. Then this week, I realized that it probably isn't hard to make, so why don't I make it at home?!

So, I made it for some friends who came over to play music with DH, and everyone loved it so much, I made it again, so that I could remember to photograph it. I am finding it is great on so many things: various vegetables, especially green beans and mushrooms, potatoes, bread, cheese and even hard-boiled eggs.

I looked at many recipes on the Internet, and then combined them to form this recipe using ingredients that I can find easily in Florida. I am sure I will experiment more with it. But, this is a great start.

Salsa Romesco

1 28oz can of Organic Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
1 small head of garlic, roasted then peeled*
1 chile ancho (stem and seeds removed), soaked in piping hot water for at least 10 minutes to soften
1/4 cup hazelnuts, peeled**
1/4 cup almonds, peeled**
1 large slice of rustic bread, toasted and crushed into large crumbs
salt and pepper
olive oil (approximately 1/2 cup)
optional: a dash of wine vinegar

Toast the nuts in a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium hot frying pan until they are golden and fragrant, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove and set aside. In the same hot pan, add a bit more oil if needed and fry the bread crumbs with the roasted garlic for a couple of minutes, until golden and fragrant.

Place the nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Do not blend to the point where they become a paste. Add the fried bread, the softened chile ancho (cut coarsely into pieces), the garlic, and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn on the blender or food processor, slowly pouring the olive oil through the opening in the lid while it is blending. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a dash of wine vinegar for extra tang, if desired.

This sauce gets even more flavorful after a day in the refrigerator.

*To see how to roast a whole head of garlic, check out this post on my friend Madelyn's blog, Karma-Free Cooking. Or to roast it on top of the stove, break the head into cloves. Then place the unpeeled cloves of garlic on a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and turn them every couple of minutes until the peels get black and the garlic gets very soft.

**To see how to peel almonds and hazelnuts, check out this post on my friend Madelyn's blog, Karma-Free Cooking.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vegetarian Tostadas

Last month we had a party at our house, where among the many dishes and snacks I served were tostadas. I was pretty surprised at how many of my guests had never before had a tostada. Usually I anticipate many questions when I serve things like tamales, but I never expected confusion over this. I thought tostadas were very common.

They are a very easy party snack. They can be assembled quickly using a variety of toppings. Above I topped them with refried pinto beans, chopped avocado, Salsa Xni Pec, cilantro and cheese (queso fresco).

Above I topped the tostada with refried black beans, tomatillo salsa, cilantro and shredded cheese (queso Chihuahua).

Tostadas can be made at home by either frying corn tortillas in oil or by baking them on an ungreased cookie sheet for a couple of minutes in the oven, until they become stiff. Incidentally, that is how freshly made tortilla chips are made at restaurants, by frying corn tortillas in oil. The only difference is that they cut the tortillas into triangles first. Anyway, for an easy option, the tostadas can also be purchased, as seen below:

Below is another easy thing to do with tostadas. Simply top them with shredded cheese and then melt the cheese either briefly in the oven or in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Where I grew up in Michigan, we called this snack Chips and Cheese. You can do the same thing using tortilla chips instead of tostadas. Pictured below, I also topped it with a bit of picante sauce.

Another variations is to top the tostadas or tortilla chips with beans or other toppings and cheese and then baking them for a few minutes in the oven to melt the cheese. I have heard people refer to that as Nachos or Mexican Pizza. I have found that throughout the US, people call variations of these snacks by all sorts of different names.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Salsa Xni Pec and Ceviche de San Felipe

Xni Pec is the Yucatecan version of the salsa known as Pico de Gallo that is prepared throughout Mexico. The recipe I am providing has an alternate ceviche variation that hails from the San Felipe area of Yucatan, an area on the Gulf Coast where fishing is the main industry. To make vegetarian ceviche, try adding some chopped zucchini or cucumber or experiment with other vegetables - just be sure to let it marinate before serving.

Xni Pec

  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped (I used orange tomatoes, any tomatoes work)
  • at least 2 tablespoons or up to a quarter of a minced onion* (I used red onion for the color)
  • a handful of fresh, chopped cilantro
  • the juice of one lime
  • 1/2 of an habanero chile, diced OR 1 serrano chile diced (habanero is more authentic to Yucatan - but be careful, habanero is extremely hot!)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Stir the ingredients and serve. Use as a dip with tortilla chips or as a salsa for tacos or other dishes.

*Note: this is not required, but I usually blanch the minced onion briefly in piping hot water before adding it. This ensures that the onion flavor doesn't dominate.

Ceviche de San Felipe

  • Add 2 or 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to the above recipe
  • Add extra onion, if desired, and extra vegetables (such as chopped zucchini or cucumber) for vegetarian ceviche, if desired. Let marinate before serving.

This also makes a nice side salad if you cut the vegetables into large pieces. I have seen on other blogs using sliced hearts of palm or mushrooms and other vegetables in vegetarian ceviche. It is worth experimenting.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Roasted Poblano Polenta

I wish I had remembered to photograph this dish right after I finished cooking it. This polenta was very creamy the first day and would have made a mouth-watering photo. But after the leftovers were put in the refrigerator, the polenta changed in consistency to become firmer, as shown in the photo. The leftovers may not have been quite as photogenic, but they were still delicious! This dish was a hit. The flavor of corn goes so well with poblano peppers, garlic and cheese. When you use quick-cooking polenta, this dish is finished in a flash and is so easy.

Roasted Poblano Polenta

1 cup of quick-cooking polenta
3 cups* of liquid (water or a combination of water and vegetable stock)
pinch of salt
1 poblano pepper, roasted, then seeded and cut into strips
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, roasted, then peeled and chopped
a handful of shredded cheese (I used cheddar) or more if you prefer it cheesier

Heat the liquid in a saucepan over high heat. When the water is just coming to a boil, lower the heat and pour in the polenta in slow stream, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and add a bit of salt, the poblano pepper and garlic. Stir constantly until most of the water is absorbed. Add the cheese and stir. Continue stirring and simmering until it is the consistency you desire, either creamy or firm. My polenta was done after 2 minutes total of stirring.

TIP: roast the pepper and the garlic cloves on a hot ungreased cast iron griddle on your stove top over medium-high heat, turning every couple of minutes until all sides are soft. It really doesn't take long at all, especially for the garlic. Set aside to cool so you don't burn yourself when you peel and cut them.

*Verify the amount of liquid that your package of quick cooking polenta suggests for one cup of dry polenta.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Spicy Greens

We love greens at our house. I didn't grow up eating them at all. Greens can be very strong and bitter tasting, so it seems they have a bad reputation. But, if they are prepared nicely, the bitterness subsides. Some of my favorite things to add to greens are: olive oil, lots of garlic, vinegar, and anything spicy.

Above is how I can often find greens sold at my local farmer's market. I can find people slicing them into strips right in their stalls, so I know they are very freshly chopped. I find it to be a real time saver, as bunches of greens otherwise come in huge bundles which can be hard to deal with. Just be sure to eat the chopped greens soon after buying them. Also, be sure to wash greens very thoroughly before preparing them. Place them in a sink full of water and swish them around at least three separate times, rinsing well.

Spicy Greens

  • Sliced, washed greens (I used collard greens)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sliced garlic (can you have too much garlic? I use at least 3 cloves, usually more)
  • salt and pepper
  • your favorite picante sauce, to taste OR red pepper flakes and a generous dash of your favorite vinegar

Boil a large pot of water. Add the washed greens and boil for about 5 minutes. You will see the color change a bit, becoming darker green. Rinse and spin in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Or once cool to touch, squeeze out the excess water using your hands.

Heat the oil in the large pot. Add the garlic and a dash of your picante sauce (or some red pepper flakes) and then the greens. Sautee for several minutes, letting the flavors blend and the greens soften to the texture you desire. Some people like them on the crisp side while others like them practically soggy.

Serve with a dash of vinegar or more of your favorite picante sauce, to the spice level desired.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

It has been a very hot summer in Florida. And since we hadn't made any ice cream since the beginning of May, it was time! We made Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Ice Cream based on this recipe posted on Allrecipes. My version of the recipe is below.

We were inspired to make cinnamon ice cream because we enjoyed some in New York last month at a restaurant called Papatzul.

We couldn't resist going into this restaurant, since it is named after a very traditional Yucatecan Mayan dish. It didn't end up being a Yucatecan restaurant, but it we enjoyed it nonetheless.

Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, inspired by the recipe on Allrecipes

1/2 cup to 1 cup sugar or maple sugar (depending on sweetness preference)
1 1/2 cups half and half (or one cup of heavy cream and 1/2 cup of milk)
1/2 of vanilla bean
2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches long each)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
optionally up to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (the cinnamon sticks themselves might give enough of the cinnamon flavor, but I love cinnamon, so I also added a generous dash of the ground cinnamon to reinforce the flavor)

Place the half and half and the sugar in a saucepan with the cinnamon sticks. Cut 1/2 of a vanilla bean in half the long way to access the seeds inside. Scrape the seeds into the pan. Then place the bean pod to the pan as well. Heat over medium-low heat. When it begins to simmer, remove from heat.

In a metal bowl, whisk the eggs. While still whisking, add half of the warm mixture and continue to whisk to temper the eggs. The rapid whisking will help prevent the eggs from scrambling. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and return the heat to medium low. [Correction: I omitted this step when I first posted this recipe]: Add the final cup of the heavy cream. Stirring constantly, simmer until the mixture starts to thicken a bit. It should get to the point where it will coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean pod. Stir in the vanilla and ground cinnamon, if desired.

Set aside to cool. Then place in the refrigerator for a minimum of one hour, until thoroughly chilled, but overnight is even better. Pour into ice cream maker and churn according the directions of your machine. Mine churned for 25 minutes at high speed. Scoop the ice cream from the ice cream maker and place in a freezer safe bowl. Freeze thoroughly and then serve, if it is possible to wait that long!!
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More New York

I love this photograph. It captures the spirit of this intersection. The red awnings are over the windows of Balthazar restaurant at the corner of Spring and Crosby.

If atmosphere is what you are looking for in a restaurant, then Balthazar Restaurant fits the bill. That is actually the only reason we went. I was looking at restaurant reviews for another restaurant, and this restaurant was mentioned. So that lead me to their website, and we decided to go just based on the photo of the interior. We went for breakfast, as usually breakfast menus are vegetarian friendly. This proved to be the case.

Our table was well situated. We were in view of the rustic artisan breads. DH couldn't keep his eyes off the bread station activity. Bread is his latest passion, and New York does not disappoint.

Here I am enjoying my morning coffee. There were tourists, business people, and even celebrities there. We noticed Carmindy (of What Not To Wear) as we were leaving. I guess if we hadn't been so focused on the bread we might have noticed her earlier. Honestly, we aren't usually star spotters. We are especially clueless about all things Hollywood. And we don't watch nearly as much TV as it sounds like! We also saw a comedian strolling with his family near Union Square Market. But neither of us knows his name.

Speaking of Union Square Market, that is another place we can't resist visiting while in New York. I can't stop thinking about this scene I saw there:

I don't know if you can read the words on the closest blue cooler. Soup Meat, 75 cents a pound. Now, I haven't bought meat in about a dozen years, so I don't have any clue what the going rate is for ordinary meat, let alone soup meat. Soup Meat?? Now, the pheasant eggs I am totally understanding. I would actually buy some of those, although maybe not a dozen at $6. I LOVE farm fresh eggs.

And of course, we couldn't miss the breads for sale at Union Square Market. I love it: "We don't have scones on Sat any more. Don't ask why!!!" And there is even a smiley face underneath, so it doesn't sound rude!