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Archive for November, 2008

I am still gathering my thoughts on last weekend’s culinary adventures.  In the meantime, Wine Spectator is releasing their Top 100 Wines of 2008 all week.  They have announced #7-10, #5-6 will be announced tomorrow, #2-4 on Thursday, and the wine of the year on Friday.  So far…

#10: Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County 2007 – 93 Points, $24
#9: Mollydooker Carnival of Love 2007 – 95 Points, $90
#8: Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005 – 96 points, $95
#7: Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac 2005 – 96 points, $100

We bought a bottle of the Seghesio Zinfandel (the only bottle in our price range!) so stay tuned for a report.

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Between going to the Chocolate Show and having dinner at Hearth (more on both topics coming) over the weekend, I took my first Thanksgiving grocery shopping trip (I am trying to avoid having to arm wrestle a little old lady at Fairwayfor the last bag of pecans).  My mother-in-law makes a delicious cornbread and sausage stuffing from The Silver Palate Cookbook that I will be trying to replicate this year.  Here’s the recipe with my mother-in-law’s notes. (more…)

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Last month, we went to The Harrison with our “go to” dinner couple, Mike & Caroline.  My husband and I ate at The Harrison in 2002 before we moved to NYC.  I don’t remember being wild about the place, but I was propelled to return by Frank Bruni’s recent review and our adoration of sister restaurant, The Red Cat.  The Red Cat is one of our favorite spots – reliably delicious (if not terribly creative) fare, a quaint “country in the city” setting, and excellent service.  We have visited The Red Cat many times…we have taken friends, we have taken family, and we have never been disappointed.  I expected the same of The Harrison, but I am sad to report that The Harrison is no Red Cat.  (more…)

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Another crazy day so another short post.  I went to BLT Steak for lunch with a client.  One of the highlights of BLT Steak is the gruyere popovers served before your meal (with butter and an oversized shaker of salt).  I’ve made the BLT popovers at home and they turned out very well (if not quite as good as at the restaurant).  Now you can make them at home….

BLT Steak Popovers
Makes 12 popovers

Ingredients:
4 cups milk
8 eggs
4 cups flour
1½ heaping tbsp salt
2¼ cups grated gruyere cheese
Popover pan (I’ve heard an oversized-muffin tin works, too)

Preparation:
Place popover pan in the oven.  Heat the oven and pan to 350°.  Gently warm the milk in a pan over low heat and set aside.  Whisk the eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in the milk (so as not to cook the eggs).  Set the mixture aside.  Sift the flour with the salt.  Slowly add this dry mixture to the egg mixture and gently combine until mostly smooth.

Remove the popover pan from the oven and spray with non-stick vegetable spray.  While the batter is still slightly warm or room temperature (definitely not cool), fill each popover cup ¾ full.  Top each popover with approximately 2½ tbsp of the grated gruyere.
 
Bake at 350° for 50 minutes, rotating popover pan half a turn after 15 minutes of baking.  Remove from the oven, remove from the pan and serve immediately.

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Upcoming rezzies

Today is hectic so I am taking the easy route and posting my upcoming reservations since there seems to be some interest in this information.  I am religious about making reservations, which is critical when trying to get in to hot new spots or perennial popular favorites.  If you plan your life 30 days in advance, you can get a reservation at most restaurants! 

November 6 – BLT Steak (business lunch)
November 8 – Hearth*
November 15 – Telepan (brunch)
November 22 – The Place* (alternatively considering walking in at Shorty’s 32*) 
November 25 – Market Table
November 26 – The Mermaid Inn (I made the reservation after reading that the restaurant is hosting a New England Fish Fry every Wednesday through the end of the year)

*Restaurants that I have not visited previously.

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In honor of Election Day, I wanted to share some thoughts on the great American tradition of barbeque.  Many outsiders (from “real America”…sorry, had to throw that in), do not realize that NYC is a barbeque hotspot.  My husband and I have visited most of the well-known barbeque spots in the city (Hill Country, Wildwood Barbeque, Spanky’s BBQ, Blue Smoke, Virgil’s Real Barbecue…and probably a few more I can’t recall).  Our top spots are listed below with a few menu items that you should seek out at each restaurant.  If pressed, I suppose that I would say that Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is my top pick overall, but you can’t go wrong with any of these spots. 

Daisy May’s – Golden Spicy Cornbread, Creamed Spinach, Pulled Chicken (best in the city)
R.U.B. – Pulled Pork (best in the city), Deep Fried Oreos (the sides are a bit lackluster, leaving more room for this dangerous dessert)
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que – Bar-B-Que Pork Ribs, any of the Homemade Sides, Peanut Butter Pie (not the exact name)

For cooking barbeque at home, I highly recommend Barefoot Contessa’s barbeque sauce.  This recipe is a staple in our apartment and one of my husband’s favorite dishes.  Since we don’t have a grill, here’s how I prepare pulled chicken (recipe courtesy of my friend Caroline):

Marinate chicken in sauce for two days (Barefoot Contessa recipe makes enough sauce for four pounds of chicken).  Bake at 350 for 1 hour 15 minutes (covered in aluminum foil) or until chicken is tender and flakes with fork; bake 15 additional minutes uncovered if needs more time.  Shred with fork and serve.

Now go vote if you haven’t done so yet!

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Secret cornbread recipe?

My husband and I were in North Carolina over the weekend for the lovely wedding of one of my business school friends.  For anyone who is planning a wedding (particularly one that I might attend), I highly recommend serving “midnight snacks.”  The trays of grilled cheese and milkshakes that were passed around the ballroom at 11:00 were a welcome sight!  While in NC, we split our time between Greensboro, where we stayed with another friend from business school (thank you, Amy!) and Winston-Salem, where the wedding was held.  One of the culinary highlights of the weekend was the cornbread at Lucky 32 in Greensboro, which was the best cornbread I’ve tasted (and I’ve eaten a lot of cornbread…).  Imagine my excitement when I visited the restaurant’s Website and discovered that there are recipes posted.  With great anticipation, I clicked on the link to the cornbread recipe and here’s what I found:

This is one house recipe that is difficult to translate to a home version. We suggest that you use your favorite basic cornbread recipe or mix and add the following ingredients: creamed corn, shredded cheddar cheese, and a little sugar.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until all ingredients are moist (there may be some lumps – this is okay). Avoid over-mixing. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in hot oven for one hour until golden brown and knife comes out clean when inserted in middle. Slice and serve warm.

My cornbread recipe uses all of these ingredients and the result, while quite good, is not nearly as impressive as what I tasted at Lucky 32.  *Sigh*  Happily, the other recipes are more instructive, and I look forward to making peanut butter pie, grit cakes and other delicacies.  Enjoy the recipes!

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