Archive for the ‘NYC’ Category

La Mangeoire – Under the Radar

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Where should you eat French food in NYC? Well, all the buzz today is about Lafayette, Andrew Carmellini’s place that will open in a couple weeks. Calliope, Le Philosophe, or a classic like Baltazar also are quite admired, but are very hard to get into. Isn’t there a restaurant that serves good food and that you don’t need to wait 4 weeks for a reservation? Yes, thankfully there are restaurants under the radar.

La Mangeoire is a real gem located on 2nd Avenue and 53rd Street.

La Mangeoire Restaurant

Remember in 1998 the NY Times awarded Christian Delouvrier of Lespinasse 4 Stars? Well, Chef Delouvrier is at the helm at La Mangeoire, and he is turning out some stellar food. This charming restaurant has been around since 1975, and the quaint atmosphere makes you feel like you are eating in Provence. The food is simple, but superbly prepared. Mussels, Roast Chicken, or Coq au Vin all rock. The dish that really captured my attention was the Frisee Salad…the poached egg was breaded and fried and was paired with delicious lardons….heaven.

La Mangeoire was a great every time that I visited it, and I can’t wait to go back. I will seek out other restaurants under the radar and keep you posted.

 

 

Carrots – Boil, Steam or Roast?

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

While we are all anticipating the arrival of Spring vegetables, I think we still have a few more weeks. I suggest that we stick to the classics like carrots. But should we boil, steam or roast them?

Carrots

I prefer roasted carrots because the caramelization heightens the flavor. Usually I just add olive oil, dill, salt and pepper and roast the carrots at a high temperature. But I have 2 other variations that you might find interesting.

To brighten the flavor of the carrots, while also adding a touch of sweetness, I add a few splashes of pear or fig vinegar (Il Fustino is a good for vinegars)to the above mixture.

Another way to roast your carrots is to add spices; which will  add more complexity. I add cumin, coriander, paprika, and a touch cayenne pepper. These Turkish seasonings add an earthiness and a bit of zip.

Enjoy!

L. Simchick – A Sutton Place Gem

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

It’s our last 2 weeks in Sutton Place before we move uptown. Sutton is a nice quiet section of the city, but it’s certainly not a foodie destination. There were very few foodie highlights, but one exception was the butcher…one of the best in NYC.

Leonard “Lenny” Simchick opened L. Simchick in the early ’90s, and after all these years it continues to excel. This is an old school butcher shop that cuts each piece of meat to order. Lenny recently added prepacked meals for his customers that have little time on their hands; but his selection and quality of the meat has changed little over the last 20 years.

Butcher Shop

Want a ribeye? They will ask how thick. Want ground lamb? They will grind it, but first ask how much fat.

Grilling season is coming, and if I need a killer steak I’m going to Simchick.

Restocking the Pantry

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

I will be moving to a new apartment in a couple weeks, and that’s the perfect excuse to restock the pantry. Although there is no perfect rule on when you should toss out your old herbs and spices, most sources say every 1 -2 years. The bottom line is that if the herb or spice still has good flavor then it’s fine. But we are all guilty of having things sit around for years.

Moving has peaked my interest into tossing out some of the older items; but perhaps Spring cleaning or just needing to add a little spice into your life will get you motivated. There is an upside…you get to buy new herbs and spices, and your meals will come to life!

Have you ever been to Kalustyans on Lex and 28th Street in NYC? It’s amazing. It started in 1944 selling Indian spices, and now it’s a cornucopia of flavors. We are lucky because today there are hundreds of good places around the world to buy herbs and spices, including many Outdoor Food Markets.

With the upcoming move, I’m too busy to shop at specialty stores, so I am going to rely on Penzeys Spices. I have ordered from them for years.

Penzeys Spices Catalog

You can order online or by telephone (800-741-7787).  Their 60 page catalog has a huge selection, and I’ve always been impressed with their quality.

I’m going to order: Adobe Seasoning, Aleppo Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon, Cumin, Herbes de Provence, Oregano, Sage, Tellicherry Peppercorns, Thyme and Turmeric.

Let’s start cooking!

 

Cooking with Mike Colameco

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Chef Mike Colameco taught a cooking class last night at the Viking showroom in NYC. This class is part of a series sponsored by the 92nd Street Y. Last night’s focus was on One Pot Winter Dinners.

Chef Mike Colameco

Mike started his career as a chef in the ’70’s, and his first job was at The Four Seasons restaurant in NYC. Currently he is hosting “Mike Colameco’s Real Food”  on PBS, “Food Talk” on WOR Radio, and is the author of “Mike Colameco’s Food Lover’s Guide to New York City”. He certainly has a few years of cooking under his belt, but that’s not why he is such a good teacher. He has the perfect temperament with such a warm conversational manner. He intentionally does not hand out recipes because he prefers that the class focuses on technique. He wants everybody to understand how to make substitutions based on what is available at the market, and not follow a fixed recipe.

There were about 40 students in class, and it was a demonstration rather than a hands-on class. At first I thought that this would not be very effective, but in hindsight I think you can learn more. In a hands-on class you are too busy peeling carrots and focusing on just one aspect of the meal, rather than seeing the big picture. I thoroughly enjoyed the class; and learned a few things.

He prepared two dishes last night. The first was lentils with root vegetables and merguez sausage.  Merguez is a spicy sausage that can be found at Pino’s Prime Meats on Sullivan Street and occasionally at the Union Square Farmers market.The lentil dish included celeriac, carrots, onions and turnips. So simple. Start by sauteing the onions for a few minutes and then add the root vegetables. After 5 minutes or so he added lentils and water (use twice as much water as lentils). Cover and cook for 35 minutes. After the first 25 minutes, add the sausage on top of the vegetables to steam (sauteing the sausage would add more flavor, but that’s one more pot). When almost finished add chopped parsley on  top. The dish was both healthy and hearty, and got a big kick of spice from the sausage.

Hearty Lentil Dish

 

The second dish was cod over a bed of steamed vegetables. You could substitute any white flaky fish like halibut or hake. The key is to saute some vegetables like onions and bok choy.You can substitute other watery vegetables like Napa cabbage. Add garlic, ginger, and soy sauce to give the dish an Asian flair. For the last 10 minutes of steaming, add the fish on top of the vegetables (the cooking time of the fish will vary depending on the thickness). Add chopped cilantro just before serving.

The class last night was fun. Everyone enjoying drinking wine and sampling the tasty two dishes. I certainly recommend these classes with Mike; and I will take another class in a couple of months. There are 5 more classes this Spring, held the last Thursday of the month. Here is a link to the class schedule.