Sunday, February 28, 2010

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

I did it!

I ventured to the Arthur Ave. Market and bought some amazing freshly sliced prosciutto. I just didn't know what I was going to do with it right away. Luckily, I was with my mom. She is an amazing chef, most of my inspiration for wanting to learn how to cook. She reminded me of an appetizer that she makes for parties all the time and it's soooo simple.

It's Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus and it only takes about 15 minutes to make it.
If you want to try it, you'll need:

-A batch of fresh asparagus
-1/2 lb of prosciutto
-cream cheese, or any spreadable, soft cheese
-1 lemon
-parmesan cheese ( for sprinkling )

First you'll want to blanch the asparagus. Cut off the tips of the asparagus. Put your asparagus into a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. You want to make sure they are still firm and didn't get soggy. Immediately transfer the asparagus to a bowl of cold water to "shock" them. Pat asparagus dry. Take a small strip of the prosciutto and spread a tiny bit of the cream cheese onto it. Next, grate some lemon zest onto the prosciutto (my mom told me this is the secret ingredient). Wrap the prosciutto around the center of the asparagus and repeat!

This really does make a delicious snack. I made it for my friends and they all approved!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oms/B Rice Balls

After starting my internship at Women's Health, it has been a goal of mine to find delicious, yet inexpensive places to eat lunch near my office. Luckily, I work in midtown two blocks away from Grand Central so it's really easy to get down there from the Bronx and there are plenty of places to have a decent lunch.

I work Tuesdays and Thursdays. Last Thursday was the treacherous blizzard and I had to work. I didn't remember to bring my own lunch and was not happy. My little cubicle is right next to the window so all morning I was glaring out into the dark and stormy streets, dreading to ever leave the office. But by 12:45 my stomach was begging me for something, anything. So I ventured out. I didn't have an umbrella or anything so I literally ran into the first little place I saw, on the corner of 45th and 3rd.

The place I stumbled into is called Oms/B Rice Ball Cafe and I am so happy I found it. I love love love sushi so this was a perfect spot in my eyes. It's a tiny place with only a few tables and they sell sushi and little rice balls a la carte. Their menu is reasonably priced and they have some pretty interesting things on the menu. When I ate there, I had a spicy tuna roll, a shrimp popcorn riceball (which is shrimp tempura with chili mayonnaise sauce on top of rice mixed with chives, wrapped in green lettuce) and a lobster salad rice ball (lobster salad on top of sliced cucumber and rice mixed with chives). It sounds like a lot, and it is. All of this cost me $9 and it was definitely worth it. Everything was fresh and delicious. I will definitely be heading back here for lunch, next time hopefully not in the middle of a blizzard.

Oms/B Cafe

156 East 45th St. btw 3rd and Lex

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fresh & Local

One thing that I feel guilty about as my time living in the Bronx comes to an end is not taking enough advantage of the fresh produce that is available on Arthur Ave. Shopping at specialty stores for individual ingredients does take more effort, but buying things fresh makes a difference. We are so lucky to have amazing butcheries, a fish market, a cheese shop, a bakery and so many other stores that value their products with extreme pride.

One thing I love about shopping on Arthur Ave is stopping at the oyster bar next to Umberto's to have a few oysters or clams with hot sauce. So delicious!

In the spring, when it gets warmer, I'm planning to utilize my neighborhood for cooking ingredients instead of heading to the grocery store to buy things in bulk and watch as they quickly go bad after a week in the fridge.

Last year, I bought my dad the Arthur Ave Cookbook for Father's Day and I think its about time that I steal it for a little while. Not only does it have great Italian recipes straight from the restaurants in the Belmont community, but it also has a little history about each place and biographies about the families that have owned these places for generations. I recommend checking it out, you can find it at the Arthur Ave. Market

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hype Machine

A bit of an off subject post... but if you've never experienced Hype Machine, go there now!
Hype is a website that takes all of the most talked about songs & artists from thousands of music blogs and compiles them onto this site, where you can listen to all of the tracks for free. It's a great way to hear new music that is popular among bloggers and the music scene in general. If you sign up (for free) you can "favorite" songs that you like and they get sent to your "loved history" so you can listen to them again or download them later. My favorite thing about Hype is finding remixes that you can't really find anywhere else. I just found a cover of the Kid Cudi song "Pursuit of Happiness" by a band called Barbara and I'm in love! You'll find some unexpected treausures on Hype, I promise.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Belmont Living

Last week, our little neighborhood in the Bronx was featured in the NY Times Real Estate section. We should be proud to live here! Check out the article...

A lovely view of Hoffman!

I want these

If I could be teleported to anywhere in the city right now in this snowy weather, it would be Mee Noodle Shop on 9th Ave. Their soups & ramens are completely authentic and even though the decor is sparse, it doesn't even matter because the food more than makes up for it. When I'm in the city for work or class, I often meet up with a friend here for an enormous bowl of Cantonese Wonton Soup (only about $5!). Mee is a cozy place to catch up with a friend and if you've walked down 9th ave, I'm sure you've walked by this place a thousand times without even realizing it. It's the kind of place that frequents people who come here all the time, who know the owners' names and have a "regular" on the menu. These are the places in NY that get over looked. There's nothing fancy about Mee, just a big bowl of noodles and the company of friends makes the perfect lunch spot on a winter day. If you have class at Lincoln Center, or you just happen to find yourself in Hell's Kitchen, you should definitely check it out. I would recommend the Wonton Soup or Curry Noodle Soup...both are delicious. But, because I'm stuck in the Bronx doing homework and craving soup, I guess I'll just have to settle for Campbell's today.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rainbow Cupcakes

One of my favorite favorite things is cupcakes. Since I was little it was always my favorite treat and I would beg my mom to make them with me. By far, she has the perfect cupcake recipe which I've been meaning to ask her the recipe for. On Valentine's Day I was downtown and made the terrible decision to stop by the best cupcake shop in the city, Magnolia Bakery to pick up a Valentine's Day treat for me & my roommates. Yeah, bad idea. There was a line around the block just to get inside. I decided to wait. Now THAT'S cupcake devotion. But totally worth it. Magnolia made special Valentine's cupcakes that were red velvet and had pink frosting. AMAZING. I actually think I'm going to go eat one right now....But my friend Steph just sent me this link she found on StumbleUpon for making rainbow cupcakes.
These look delicious and so much fun to make. If you're feeling ambitious, here is the recipe. ENJOY

Judge a wine by it's label?

Choosing a good wine is a serious feat. When you're browsing through the aisles and you aren't a wine connoisseur, how do you pick the right one? It's not like you can open up the bottle and try it in the shop. My friends and I were debating whether or not it's okay to pick a wine bottle based on the attractiveness of the label. When I can't decide on a bottle or don't have any particular ones in mind, I will admit that I absolutely pick a bottle that looks pretty. Call me superficial but I don't exactly know the difference between a cabernet and a pinot noir! (Even though I am trying to become more wine-educated). Maybe this method doesn't always work out but it got me looking at some creative labels today...the quality of these wines are probably not all great but aren't they fun anyway?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New Brunch Spot

So I just wanted to quickly share yet another brunch spot that I discovered today. The place is called The Double Crown and the food is so good. The best part about this one is the DIY Bloody Mary station. Very creative and very delicious. Go check it out! It's on the corner of Bleecker and Bowery.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Healthy Start

This week, I started an internship at Women's Health Magazine. So far I LOVE it. And I'm also secretly hoping that it will kick my ass into shape because I am surrounded by beautiful, fit people who care a lot about being healthy. (this is what I'm telling myself anyway). So, tonight in honor of my new job and to start being a little healthier, I am going to try the "Eat Smart" recipe from the latest issue of WH. Spring break is about a month away and not to mention my overall eating habits as of late are pretty terrible...(Maybe those hot wings & cheese fries from Howl were a bad idea yesterday). But it's never too late to start! And from now on, I'm going to try and cook some healthier meals...without losing any flavor of course. Here's the recipe I'm going for.

Grilled Salmon with Red Wine Butter
You'll need:
-1 shallot, minced
-1/2 cup red wine
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-1/2 stick salted butter, softened
-1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
-salt & pepper
-2 fillets of salmon
-olive oil

Combine the shallot, wine, and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
Allow the wine reduction to cool and then add the butter, along with the thyme and a few pinches of fresh cracked pepper. Use a spatula to thoroughly mix the ingredients, and then scoop the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll it up, twist the ends to form a log, and store that in the freezer while you cook the fish. (You can do these first steps ahead of time. The wine butter will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.)
Preheat a grill or grill pan on medium high. Rub the salmon with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and lay the fish, skin side down, on the grill. Cook it for 4 to 5 minutes, flip, and cook it 2 to 3 minutes longer for medium.
Serve the hot salmon with a slice of the red wine butter melted on top

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ed's Chowder House

On Thursday night, my two roommates and I made the impromptu decision to take advantage of Restaurant Week one last time before it ended this past Sunday, so sad! We all got out of class at 5:15 p.m after a long day and were craving a little indulgence. After reading reviews of a few restaurants and seeing which of these restaurants would actually take us with only a 2 hour notice, we found Ed's Chowder House. If you are a frequent Ram Van rider, you might have noticed this restaurant on 63rd and Columbus. It sits on the second floor above P.J Clarke's and next to Rosa Mexicano (which was actually our first choice).

We hopped on the 6.30 Ram Van and made it just in time for our 7.30 reservation. When we walked in the door, the place was PACKED. Even though we had a reservation, we still had to wait a half hour so we headed over to the bar for a cocktail. I tried one of their "antioxidant martinis" ($9, a little bit of a splurge). It had acai berry extract in it and was actually pretty delicious.

When we were finally seated and our waitress had read over all the specials that we knew we weren't going to order, we were famished. We immediately pointed at the Restaurant Week menu and it was decided. We all started with the New England Clam Chowder well, because this place DOES classify itself as a "chowder house". We were not disappointed. This chowder was AMAZING I mean, really really good. And they gave us a huge portion, a lot more than at One If By Land. Probably a bad idea though, because after an entire bowl of that, we were all quite full.

Before we were even served our main course, our waitress was asking us if we wanted "coffee or anything" and she did that a couple of times. We had to break it to her that we hadn't even eaten our entrees yet. She was pretty flustered and embarrassed but we were so full from the chowder that we didn't mind waiting. I tried the Grilled Skate with lentils & pearl onions. It was also very tasty and a generous portion for Restaurant Week. I'm glad we fed into our indulgent side and ventured out into the restaurant world one more time. Overall-Ed's is a fun place, but way too expensive for college students. So, when your birthday comes around, remember to mention this place to your parents because it's definitely worth a visit!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Super Bowl Goodies

I just found the most amazing Super Bowl recipe to try on Noble Pig's blog. I think my friends will thank me. It's the Buffalo Chicken Dip which would probably taste delicious with some toasted bread. It's a fun spin off of the traditional hot wings and if we're trying to order them from Howl, let's face it, we'll probably get them by the end of the game. Not that I really follow football, but now I can't wait for Sunday. Click here if you want to try this recipe for yourself. I'll definitely keep you updated on how it turns out.

Monday, February 1, 2010

One If By Land, Two If By Sea, Three's a Crowd?

Voted "the most romantic restaurant in NYC" by Open Table's Diner's Choice, One If By Land, Two If By Sea doesn't let down this reputation. The lighting in the restaurant is soft & seductive. The tables are small and cozy. There is a single red rose placed in the middle of each table. On Valentine's Day in a couple of weeks, this place will be overflowing with couples in love, that were smart enough to book a reservation about 10 months ago.

I had the privilege to experience dinner at this legendary establishment last night...with my parents.

How romantic. As I looked around the dining room, I noticed that we were surrounded by couples of all ages. I can't really complain though, we were celebrating my mom's birthday and honestly I'm lucky that my parents decided to drag me along with them. I might have been a bit of a third wheel, but who really cares when you're at one of the top restaurants in New York?

I should have prefaced this by saying that One If By Land is one of the many restaurants participating in this year's NYC Restaurant Week. (for a full list of participating restaurants, visit If you don't know this already, (because you should!) each season, some of the best and most expensive restaurants in NYC take place in a two week event that offers a prix fixe menu for lunch and dinner. Lunches are $25 and dinners are $35, both meals are three courses. This is an amazing opportunity to experience some restaurants in New York that would usually never be affordable, especially to college students! This season's Restaurant Week ends on February 7th (but excludes Saturday) so make it a point to see how the other half of NY wines and dines.

The food was pretty amazing, even if the portions were skimpy...and that might be an overstatement. When you open the menu, there is a poem on the inside flap, after which this restaurant was named:

"Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

I found this poem kind of charming and the whole restaurant had a old time feel to it; the townhouse itself is over a hundred years old. Not to mention it's located in Greenwich Village which is one of the neighborhoods in Manhattan that I have not spent nearly enough time exploring. If I was going to act like a real food critic, I would say that the ambiance of the restaurant outshines the actual food.

If you're thinking of visiting One If By Land, I can make a few recommendations. For a starter, I had the Tuscan Bean Soup which was delicious. The ingredients were all fresh and the soup was topped with thick chunks of parmigiano-reggiano cheese...yum. For my main course, I had the Grilled Bavette Steak, but I would have rather had what my parents chose; the Red Snapper with Pesto Ristotto. My portion was scarce and had me raiding the pantry for a snack as soon as we got home. The red snapper was definitely tastier and more bang for your buck. All of the desserts were impressive so you can't go wrong there. If you have a free afternoon or night this week, you should really check out this spot (which might be best enjoyed on a date) or any of the other restaurants participating. But make your reservation asap because these places fill up fast.