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Archive for October, 2008

Pumpkin Day poll

In honor of Halloween and the Great Pumpkin, I wanted to pose a question to my readers.  We are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time, and I will be making pumpkin cheesecake, a favorite dessert in our apartment.  Pumpkin cheesecake was one of the first “complicated” recipes that I tackled (when my baking repertoire consisted primarily of cookies and boxed mixes and my kitchen wasn’t decked out with fancy gadgets and electronics).  My faithful pumpkin cheesecake recipe is from Bon Appétit and available on epicurious – Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl.  This recipe has been a hit time and again.  But I am considering cheating on my pumpkin cheesecake recipe and making a new recipe that caught my attention in the November issue of Food & Wine – Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Topping.  I am only human…could you have resisted this beauty?!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Topping - Food & Wine

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Topping - Food & Wine

I’d like to open up my dilemma to you for input.  Out with the old and in with the new or stick with old faithful?  Please comment and let me know which recipe looks tastier.  Thank you and Happy Halloween!

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My husband visited the UWS Shake Shake again over the weekend.  I stayed home and waited for the goods to arrive.  Apparently, the line moved quickly (10 minutes wait) and the order took 3-4 minutes to arrive.  My husband found that the ordering process was more efficient than on his previous visit.  As expected, the burger was fantastic.  I read recently that SS uses a 50:25:25 combo of sirloin:ground chuck:brisket in their burgers.  There seem to be a few theories floating around about the composition of SS burgers, but who cares how they’re made…I am not try to recreate this burger at home with the burger mecca two blocks away.  One pleasant surprise was the UWS-friendly Natural History “Crunch-stellation” made of vanilla custard, malt, Valrhona chocolate crunchies, caramel and hot fudge.  In previous SS visits, I have stuck with the shakes (custard just doesn’t sound appealing to me; sorry, Kohr Brothers), but the “Crunch-stellation” was a revelation.  The texture was incredible – so smooth, so creamy, so dangerous for our waistlines!  I stand corrected and look forward to the imminent release of the November custard calendar.

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I wanted to highlight the impending arrival of my favorite culinary event of the year, the Chocolate Show.  I look forward to the Chocolate Show with giddy anticipation all year and this year’s event is almost upon us.  The 11th Annual New York Chocolate Show will be held November 7-9.  For the price of your entry to the show (tickets are $28 this year), you can sample chocolate to your heart’s (if not your stomach’s) delight.  We are not talking about Hershey’s chocolate, but 50+ boutique chocolatiers from around the country and, in some cases, around the world.  The event can get crowded so I recommend trying to go at off hours.  Bring an empty stomach and some spending money – you won’t be able to resist bringing home some of the divine treats that you try.  I will come back with a full report after my visit on November 7 (approximately 215 hours from now).

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New look!

The List has a new and (I hope) improved look.  I will work on getting a better banner picture, but this picture will do for now.  If you are wondering, the picture is from our wedding.  Enjoy!

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yo corazón Casa Mono

We snagged a last-minute reservation to Casa Mono, Mario Batali’s nod to Spanish cuisine, last week when my father-in-law was visiting.  This was my second visit to Casa Mono and I’ve been extremely impressed on both visits.  The food is excellent, the ambiance is inviting and the prices are reasonable (extremely reasonable given the quality of the food…I find the same to be true of Babbo).  The downside of Casa Mono is that it’s nearly impossible to get a reservation because the restaurant is so tiny.  We stayed on the straight and narrow with our orders (in contrast to our last visit when we were dining with more adventurous friends…bone marrow, anyone?). Highlights included Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Croquetas, Ensalada Mono with Manchego (a sleeper order), Patatas Bravas (rivaling those at Tía Pol!), and Skirt Steak with Onion Mermelada.  The wine list is dear, but we enjoyed a reasonably-priced tempranillo – Atalayas de Golban 2005 – that I recommend.  If you can get a reservation at Casa Mono, you will not be disappointed.

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Cheese & Wine 101

A friend and I attended Cheese & Wine 101 at the Artisanal Cheese Center last week, and I recommend the class highly.  Before class started, we were treated to a delightful spread of cheeses, fondue, flatbreads, nuts, spreads and bubbly (along the lines of the collection for sale here if you are looking to recreate this smorgasbord at home…for $185!).  My favorite cheese offered before class was Robiola Bosina, a creamy blend of cow’s and sheep’s milk. 

During class, we tasted four wines – Hiedler Kamptal Grüner Veltliner 2007, Cavallotto d’Alba Vigna Scot 2006, Vizcarra Ribera Del Duero Roble 2006, Château Couronneau 2007 – with seven cheeses – Ibores, Amarelo da Beira Baixa, Peña Blanca, Dorset, Pecorino Maschio, Comte Fort des Rousses, Harbourne Blue.  I enjoyed all of the wines except for the last one (although it paired well with several cheeses) and each of the cheeses was interesting and unique.  My friend and I particularly enjoyed the Ibores (a warm-flavored goat’s milk cheese, which is rubbed with paprika and olive oil during the two-month aging process), Amarelo da Beira Baixa (a raw sheep and goat milk cheese from Portugal), and Comte Fort des Rousses (a raw milk cheese made from red and white Montbeliard cows in the Jura Mountains of France and matured for 18 months).  Class ended with slivers of Artisanal’s delicious cheesecake (boxed cheesecake…who knew?) and a gift bag that included a container of Affidelice, a washed-rind cow’s milk cheese from Chablis, which my husband and I enjoyed over the weekend. (more…)

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With much fanfare, the new Shake Shack opened earlier this week in our neighborhood (a mere two blocks – short blocks, that is – from our apartment).  My husband went on Wednesday and we’re planning to go together this weekend.  For a field report on the new Shake Shack, I have asked my husband to comment on his experience….

I’m a huge burger lover and before Shake Shack moved into our hood, I’d considered it to be in my top five burgers in the city (other notables: Market Table, Little Owl sliders, Burger Joint and JG Melon).  My feeling with Shake Shack has always been: great burger, not worth the time investment.  Needless to say, I’ve been pretty excited for the new location because a) yes, it’s a great burger and b) shorter lines.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I went on Wednesday so I arrived a little on the early side.  Here is my detailed report: (more…)

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