The Diva That Ate New York
Write on the blackboard 1,000 times: Food Gifts Do No Save You Money. Drill it into your head and give up this crazy notion. Labor + ingredients + packaging + delivery all come with a dollar value.
Don’t get me wrong, I love giving food gifts, but I never pretend that it’s less expensive than buying a gift. I just give them freely because that how I roll.
Ahhh, memories… the year my mom decided to sponsor a Save-the-Children child and not buy Christmas gifts for anyone, except her kids. Rather than give them a handwritten note with the simple explanation that their gift went to feeding a starving child, she decided it would be nice it give them something homemade as well. Think of the money we’d save!
We made gifts. We made pumpkin bread baked in coffee cans, rugelach, almond crescents, brownies and sugar cookies galore. For some reason, she decided that she would make her famous Cheese, Onion, and Tomato Pies based on Anna Thomas’s recipe in The Vegetarian Epicure (Random House) as well. I can still picture her crazed eyes as she stabbed pounds and pounds of onions and grated “all that goddamned cheese”, by hand. This was in the pre-food processor days. (Do you remember where you were when you got your first food processor?)
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When someone says turkey meatloaf or turkey meatballs, I swear I can see a little puff of sawdust fly out of their mouth. Ground turkey is lean people! LEAN = DRY. Yeah, yeah… it’s supposedly good for you… whatever! But it’s no fun to eat if you have guzzle a can of lube to get it down your throat before eating it—that’s disgusting! Did I write that?
You have to add moisture back into ground turkey and that’s what I did by adding apples, cheddar cheese, and sautéed vegetables in my gluten-free turkey meatballs aka Fall Fowl Balls. I rolled them in crushed nuts for extra texture.
I was riffing off the classic pork sausage cheddar balls which I learned about a few years ago when I was looking for round food for my International Men With Balls brunch that I hosted when Obama was inaugurated for the second time. They’re normally made with Bisquick, but I made them gluten-free then and continued the theme here. Here’s the recipe for my Gluten Free Sausage, Cheddar & Chive Balls.You can substitute flour for potato starch if you want in this recipe. You could also use turkey sausage for this recipe and skip the spices depending on how delicious the turkey sausage meat you get is.
The only thing that’s better than the smell of freshly baked pie is the smell of eighty freshly baked pies. If you can see, smell, and eat one pie and describe that experience as great, orgasmic, heavenly, etc, then what are the words you would use to describe being able to see, smell, and eat eighty pies? I’m asking you because I really don’t have the words, but I do have the experience.
Ken and I hosted our most delicious event, Pie Party Potluck LIVE!, for the fourth year on October 3rd, 2015. It was held at the new campus of the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in Brookfield Place. The concept is simple. Food bloggers and food professionals all make and bring pies and we eat as much as we possibly can. We pack up the leftovers and take them home and continue to eat pie as long as our pie stash lasts. I made two pies, one savory and one sweet for pie party.
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It’s not often that a person shimmies up to the barbecue buffet table and exclaims, “My that’s a might pretty cole slaw you’re serving today!”. This Pistachio Cherry Red Cabbage Slaw is a head turner. It also makes the transition from a summer grill side dish to a fall grill side dish, nicely. Slaw is for summer and red cabbage is for cozier times. Put some sparkle in your coleslaw. The green of the pistachios bounces against the purple slaw and catches your eye. The tangy of the slaw bounces against the tart dried cherries and catches your tongue.
I call my Southern-style potato salad, confetti because it’s colorful and tastes like a parade is happening in my mouth! My taste buds are like little cheerleaders marching, screaming with delight and doing cartwheels with every bite! There’s something about the combo of potato chunks, mayo, American mustard, sweet relish and hard boiled eggs that comforts me and makes me feel cozy and loved. Plus, you get a good dose of veggies, so it must be healthy-ish.
The 4th of July screams potato salad, but did I make it this year? No. My host and co-party chair made German potato salad for our Independence Day 2015 barbecue. I shelved this recipe until our Labor Day “End Of Summer” celebration. We threw a small shindig for eighty guests. We had so many people we made two different potato salads because we could!
I’ll admit I felt a twinge of sadness as I prepped this salad. I hate summer so I was not verklempt over the end of the hot, humid weather because I HATE IT. GOOD RIDDANCE! I had a bit of a pang over the tater salad. When you live in a place that has four clear seasons like New York, the end of summer means the end of making potato salad at what some might call a sensible, reasonable time of year. It’s the end of the time when making and eating potato salad with abandon goes unquestioned, unchecked. People might look at you funny if you make potato salad in the dead of winter, but if I ate it every day in the summer, nary an eyelash would flutter.
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Leave your skinny jeans at home, it’s time to eat pie!
When I saw the slew of pies at the first Pie Party Potluck LIVE! we hosted back in 2011, I thought to myself, “This is the BEST EVENT EVER!”. Now, four years later, I love it when the food bloggers say it’s the best event ever. What’s not to love about making, bringing and eating pie with fellow pie enthusiasts? Feast your eyes on the pies we’ll be eating at Pie Party Potluck LIVE! 2015.
Pie Party Potluck LIVE! is an exclusive event for food bloggers and culinary professionals only. Each attendee will bring a homemade pie to share. If you fit this category and would like to come to Pie Party Potluck LIVE! please get on the waitlist for this sold out event.
We are especially excited to be hosted and sponsored by the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) at their brand new facility. The sea of pies will sparkle in the gorgeous, sunlit event space overlooking the Hudson River. We want to thank ICE and our other sponsors: WÜSTHOF, Anolon, Cabot Creamery, King Arthur Flour, Dub Pies, and Tovolo for supporting this event where food bloggers and food professionals come together for the simple joy of STUFFING our faces full of pie!
Cocktail sponsors are Reyka Vodka, Tromba Tequila and Mizu Shochu.
The Parade Of Pies
Mississippi Hazelmud Pie (sweet) Mont Blanc Tart (sweet) - Ken / Hungry Rabbit NYC
Cupboard Harvest Pie (sweet) One Meat & Three Veg Whole 30 Pie (savory) - Jackie / The Diva That Ate New York
Baked Brie Apple Pie (sweet) Blueberry Cardamom Galette (sweet) - Kate / Food Babbles
Roasted Tomato and Parmesan Cheese Pie (savory) Pumpkin Cheesecake (sweet) - Melanie / Melanie Underwood
Peking Duck Pie (savory) - Kathy / The Experimental Gourmand
Spicy Chicken Empanadas (savory) - Rodney / Rodney Bedsole
Atlantic Beach Pie (sweet) - Emily / Emily Hanhan Nomnivorous
Heirloom Tomato Pie (savory) - Judy / The Judy Lab
Key Lime Gimlet Pie (sweet) Rogan Josh Pot Pie (savory) - Renee & Aaron / Kitchen Conundrum
Rosehip Pie In A Ginger Crust (sweet) - Lora / Diary Of A Mad Hausfrau
S’more Pie (sweet) - Ellie / The Hobo Kitchen
Asparagus Gruyere Tart (savory) - Jenn / Jennifer Baker
Leek and Bacon Pie (savory) - June / Feastivals
Caribbean Cattle Tail Tatin (savory) - Margaret / Savory Sweet Living
Earl Grey Chocolate Pie with Caramel Drizzle (sweet) - Tracey / The NYC Kitchen
Blueberry-Purple Yam Pie (sweet) Buko-Coconut Custard Tarts (sweet) - Betty Ann & Elphi / Asian In America
Blueberry Pie (sweet) Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart (sweet) - Colleen / Souffle Bombay
Chocolate Scotch Pecan Pie (sweet) - Beth / Highbrow Magazine - Food
Fresh Strawberry Tart with Vanilla Pastry Cream (savory) - Daisy / Cool Cook Style
Spicy Mala Chicken Hand Pies (savory) Apple Pie (sweet) - Kian & Warren / The Red Cook
4 Cheese Tomato Basil Pie (savory) - Lisa / Jersey Girl Cooks
Beef & Chorizo Empanadas (savory) - Susan / Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Chicken Curry Pot Pie (savory) Aloo Gobhi Pie (savory) - Malini / Restaurant Fairy’s Kitchen
Uncle Simon’s Meat Pie (savory) - Simon
Fall Fruit Cheesecake Pie (sweet) - Renee / Flavors Of Light
Passion Fruit Guava Pie (sweet) - Sonya / Bacchanal Sauce
Grape Pie (sweet) - Sunny / For Your Pies Only
Cottage Pie (sweet) - Yvo / Feisty Foodie
Piggy Pot Pie (savory) - Stephen
Lobster Pot Pie (savory) - Ron
Cauliflower Gruyere with Potato Crust & Parmesan-Bacon Breadcrumbs (savory) - Lisa / Panning The Globe
Pear Crumb Pie (sweet) - Anita / Hungry Couple
Mango Mousse Pie (sweet) - Sonali / Leaf And Lemon IG
Tourtière (French Canadian Meat Pie) (savory) - Keith
So Close to Losing It- Shiitake Quiche (savory) - Vicki / Vicki Winters
Cinnamon Maple Pumpkin Pie (sweet) - Irene
Bourbon Pumpkin Pie (sweet) - Carrie / Poet In The Pantry
Italian Easter Pie (savory) - Renee
Salted Caramel Pear Galette with Pecan Streusel (sweet) Empanadas (savory) - Abby / Abby Dodge
Wild Mushroom Empanadas (savory) - Nancy / Elements For Kitchens
Short Rib Pie (sweet) - Mariko
Chocolate Caramel Mousse Pie (sweet) - Angela / Mind Over Batter
Chocolate Truffle Mixed Nut Pie (sweet) - Gwynn / Swirls Of Flavor
Pear Bacon Pie with Pecan Blue Cheese Streusel (savory) - Michael / The Kitchen Gaily
Kabocha Squash Pie (sweet) Roasted Tomato, Zucchini Blossom & Cheddar Galette with a Buckwheat Crust (savory) - Roopa & Matt / Raspberry Eggplant
Salty Honey Pie (sweet) Aged White Cheddar, Rosamary Potato Pie (savory) - Joanne / Fifteen Spatulas
Beef and Guinness Pie (savory) - Kristen / The Artful Gourmet
Pecan Pie (sweet) - Wendy / La Phemme Phoodie
Shoshi’s Magick Pie (sweet) - Yolanda / Bruja’s Blog
Lemon-Pistachio Tart (sweet) - Jeff / Foodmento
Spicy Cubanita Cottage Pie (savory) - Irina / Healthy Latin Food
Raw Chocolate Truffle Tart (sweet) - Brian
Caramel Apple Galette (sweet) - Lara / The Tasteful Scribe
Caramelized Garlic Spinach and Cheddar Tart (savory) - Jackie / Jackie Ourman
Maple Bourbon Custard Pie (sweet) - Kelly / Kelly Bakes
Jersey Girl Apple Pie (sweet) - Justine / Little Miss Local
Crunchy Caramel Nut Pumpkin Pie (sweet) - Urvashee / Dessarts
Fresh Coconut Tart (sweet) - Dana / Dana Jacobi
Apple Hand Pies (sweet) - Trevor
Ellen Gray (sweet) - Concord Grape Pie w Peanut Butter Crust / No More Mr. Nice Pie
Chocolate Coconut Banoffee Pie (sweet) - Katherine / The Cake Dealer
Mama’s Plum Smash (Whisky) (sweet) - Matt / Joios
Pissaladiere Verde (savory) - Ruth / Alegria in Mexico
Tuscan Kale Pancetta Pie (savory) - Ronnie / The Burrell Group
PHOTO CREDIT: KEN LEUNG
The lyric for the song “Cry Me A River” should be, “Cry Me A Liver”? “I cried a ‘liver’ over you.” I have shed a tear over a big bowl of raw chicken livers because, let’s face it, chicken livers are pretty gross to touch and deal with. Yet, they are delicious. So delicious that I must delve into the bloody, gooey bits and prepare them.
Faced with a hankering and a need to make chopped liver for my nephew, Kaden’s baptism party, I decided to devise a recipe where I handled the chicken livers the least.
I skipped the deveining and defatting of the raw livers. I find it’s much less off-putting to sink my hands into cooked livers. After slow cooking the onions, I removed them from the pan and cooked off the chicken livers. Once they cooled, I pulled them apart and removed the grisly bits. Then, I chucked them in the food processor with the other ingredients, seasoned them to taste and it was done. The garnish of gribenes, chopped hard boiled egg and dill makes for a striking presentation on an otherwise unattractive dish, but you could skip them.
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Since my Trinidadian sister-in-law was amongst the family visiting sweltering New York City this week for my nephew Kaden’s baptism, I decided to make her favorite beverage, Sorrel. It’s an iced tea made from hibiscus flowers. I added mint and lime to give a bit of a mojito treatment and am now calling it Hibiscus Mint Limeade.
Depending on where you are from the name changes. According to Wikipedia, the drink is called Rosella in Australia, Agua de Jamaica and/or Flor de Jamaica in Latin America, Arhul ka phool in India Karkadé in Egypt, Sudan, Italy and Russia, Chai Kujarat in Iraq, Chai Torsh in Iran, Gumamela in the Philipines, Bissap, Tsoborodo or Wonjo in West Africa, Sorrel in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, Red Sorrel in the wider Caribbean, and other names in other regions, including the U.S., where it is sometimes known as simply Jamaica.
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Is it lazier to use dried split chickpeas to make hummus so you don’t have to slip the skins off each whole chickpea? Or is having to soak and boil the split chickpeas considered more work? What if you have a pressure cooker?
Whatever method you use to get skinned chickpeas, do it. Your hummus becomes downright sexy when you do.
Lora Wiley inspired this recipe when we had caramelized onion hummus at her place. Here is her recipe. Paul fell in love. She uses butter to caramelize the onions, he said it tasted like meat. Meat dip is dude heaven.
I made mine with crisped onions instead so it’s a little less rich, but quite tasty and vegan. I added fried sage on top and some sumac powder to add color and a citrusy zing!
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“Stuff ‘em” is my usual stance when I invite guests over to a meal at my house. You will never leave hungry. You will be fed to the point of bursting. You may need to nap between the meal and the dessert. Lately, I’ve been easing up at tad when it comes to dessert. My guests are usually ready-to-explode from the appetizers and main course. To keep them from running, screaming, “I can’t! I just can’t!”, from my house, I’ve been making much lighter desserts.
This past Saturday, Marlena Spieler and I whipped up a brunch of epic proportions. The menu is below. A couple of guests took between-courses naps. They woke up to this ethereal and light Pudim Molotov with Matcha (Green Tea) Cream and Caramelized Black Sesame Almonds. I’d had a version of this dessert for the first time at a Meyer Corporation press dinner at the new, hot Portuguese restaurant, Lupulo, that Julia Stambules invited me to. It was love at first bite. I’d never heard of an egg white flan! So lovely and light. It reminded me of Ile Flottante, but baked in a mold as opposed to in freely formed shapes or quenelles.
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Do Indians host BBQ’s like Americans do? I feel like I should know the answer to this question, but I honestly don’t know. I will find out and give you an update.
I’ve only ever been invited to a BBQ where my hosts cooked on a tandoor once in my life. It was in the 90’s, in Australia. They were not of Indian descent or even Aussies. They were from New Zealand, but they loved to cook so they had a tandoor built in their backyard and their tandoori chicken was pretty damn good. They did not serve coleslaw of any kind.
Recently, I was looking for suggestions of dishes that work well at a BBQ and can sit outside in the heat. My taste buds perked up when my friend George told me about this Indian Spiced Coleslaw.
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Going to the Summer Fancy Food show is like taking your taste buds on Mr Toad’s Wild Ride—Tasting The Globe Edition. The Javits Center is packed with 2500 vendors from all over the world all vying for you to try and buy their specialty food wares. You can go from the finest Venezuelan chocolate to oddly delicious blue cheese infused salami to dried African baobab fruit to black garlic vinegar to camel milk. Yes, this year I had camel milk! You cannot taste everything or you’ll be disgusted, bloated and miserable in no time.
My system is to go all three days for a few hours and eat only savory things for first part of the day and then switch to only sweets. I don’t waste my limited stomach real estate on too many carbs either. This year, I ate my weight in fine pork and even finer cheese products. It was GLORIOUS! Often it’s the same old stuff from year to year, but there are always a few items that stand out:
Uh Oh the Ro Ro’s… The food snob in me did NOT want to even like Ro Ro’s Baking Company’s Cinn-A-Rolls, but D-Zamn!!! They were the cinnamon buns of my dreams. Often they’re too hard, too dry and made with cheap ingredients, but these were standouts especially for a frozen product. You pop them in the oven and you get soft, buttery, syrupy, divine cinnamon rolls. I understand they’re available at Whole Foods — we definitely did not need to know that… They also make dinner rolls that rocked too.
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Last Saturday’s weather report was not good. Rain was looming and I kept vacillating about what to cook for a friend’s birthday picnic in Riverside Park. I asked my Facebook hive for outdoor friendly portable dishes and upon seeing their suggestions and noting the contents of my fridge, I made a Potato, Cauliflower & Green Bean Salad. It wasn’t water-proof, but it would not be ruined by a few droplets of rain.
By the time I got to the upper west side, Momma Nature was already spitting. As I struggled to get all the food and rain gear out of the car, I dropped my cell phone, unbeknownst to me, in the street, face-down on the sidewalk. My daily paranoia of thinking I’d lost my phone or it’s been stolen at least ten times a day, finally paid off. I’d barely crossed the street when I stopped to frisk myself and found out this time I really was “phone-less”. WHAT??? I re-searched my four bags and roller cooler and yes, my phone was GONE! I left all my crap in the drizzle and retraced my steps or missteps as it turned out. Having a red case on my phone also paid off because I saw it immediately. I was very happy that it was raining and that I was on Riverside Drive because the street was deserted. I ran over, grabbed it, kissed it, thanked my lucky stars and went back to the picnic.
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I picked pickled beets. Finding the right savory picnic foods in summer is a challenge. It needs to be not-too-much work-to-make because it’s usually too hot to cook. It needs to be good “siege” food as in easy to serve and eat while sitting on the ground and being attacked by ants and wasps. It needs the resilience to hold up well in the heat. Pickled beets tick all the boxes and they may improve with heat. The only thing you have to watch out for is spillage and “splashage”. They are not forgiving if you wind up wearing them, but who wears nice clothes to a picnic?
Whenever I’m in Chinatown or in an Asian market, I take a grab a bunch of garlic chives now and ask questions later approach. The question is usually what am I going to do with all of these garlic chives? You can get a quite a decent sized bunch for just a buck. I snap them up because I can’t buy them in my neighborhood.
I love cooking with them since they are more substantial than traditional chives and can handle some heat. Gau choy fa, or Chinese flowering chives have a garlicky flavor that’s more powerful than chives, but not as powerful as actual garlic. My last bunch made it into two dishes recently, Garlic Chive & Chinese Mushroom Potatoes and a dish I’m calling Garlic Chive Garlic Chard.
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