Last Nights Dinner: The Palm

Last night I had the pleasure of eating at one of my favorite restaurants, The Palm.   For those who are not familiar, The Palm is an amazing steakhouse with great seafood as well and an awesome atmosphere.  Located at 250 West 50th Street in the city.   http://www.thepalm.com

As always I had a terrific meal, perfectly cooked Filet Mignon in a Brandy Peppercorn sauce, with creamed spinach and 3 cheese potatoes au gratin.  We started with a mix of clams casino and calms oreganato.   My blue cheese stuffed olive martini was to die for, the Russian River Valley Pinot was outstanding and the conversation was hilarious.  Our waiter Dave was awesome and so attentive without being obtrusive.

 

I will forever recommend The Palm and look forward to many more amazing experiences!

 

ImageImage

 

Advertisements

Dans Le Noir: A Sensory Experience aka My Birthday Location

So this past weekend was my birthday party, I know I know Happy Birthday To Moi. I decided this year that I wanted something utterly random and unique and i found exactly that in Dans Le Noir.

 

The Concept

Dinner in the total darkness, guided and served by blind people, is a unique experience that changes our perception of the world by reversing points of view. A visit to Dans le Noir is not just dinner, it is a censorial, social, and human experience. First, your senses will be awakened, as you are allowed to completely re-evaluate your perception of taste, smell, and texture. It is a social experience, in which the darkness protects you from your inhibitions and frees you to experience relationships and interactions without prejudice or preconception. Finally, it is a richly human experience when the blind become your eyes, opening your mind to an intriguing new world of mystery and sensation.

This place is totally devoid of vanity and you will leave with a memorable experience to say the least!

 

How It Works

You have the choice between 4 different surprise menus:

White : No Restrictions. “the true Dans le Noir experience” ( I did this one)
Blue : Fish and Seafood . . . for the Little Mermaid in you
Red : Meat Lovers . . . the Carnivore’s delight
Green : Vegetarian . . . “eh, what’s up, doc

 

Upon making a reservation you are asked to complete an excel document alerting them of who wants which surprise menu, how many glasses of wine and any allergies.  I had initially thought this was utterly ridiculous and frankly an inconvenience. WRONG It was absolutely essential to the way they operate and run to have this done.   

There were 11 of us at dinner and my best guess is that we were seated at a long table. Everything is VERY specific and placed so that the waiter (Adam) could figure out who was in what location.   It is a 3 course meal, appetizers, entree and dessert.  While I can’t TELL you what I ate as it would ruin the seasonal menu for them.  I can tell you there was some game, there were some odd items and I know I ended up eating with my hands ( what a mess)

 

I’m huge on texture so I knew a fork and knife were simply not going to be an option for me.  All in all it was a good experience, a bit pricy for what it actually is.  Advertized at 60 a head it was more like 100 when you factored in tax/tip.  There was some competition between our table and what I assume was the only other table in there.  They were not amused that we were a louder and rowdier group of FUN individuals and kept shushing us. ( not productive- only made us louder)

I would recommend Dans Le Noir for an intimate 😉 date ( keep in mind everything is recorded with heat cameras- so no monkey business)  

 

 

Happy Eating!

 

Chocolate Caramel Tarts

Chocolate Caramel Tarts

These decadent chocolate and caramel tarts are no more difficult to pull off than a batch of your favorite cookies. Because they’re made with a slightly sturdier pastry than regular sweet dough, the shells are easy to remove from the molds once they’re baked. Since tartlet molds come in different sizes, use what you have on hand; even mini muffin tins work. Just measure the top of the tin and use a cookie cutter 1 inch bigger than the cup to cut out your circles of pastry.

Servings:24 tarts

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ready In: 3 hours(including cooling time)

Ingredients

Pastry

¾ cup unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cold water

Caramel

½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1/3 cup whipping cream

Chocolate

4 ounces dark (70 %) chocolate
½ cup whipping cream
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
 

Method

 
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Place butter, salt and sugar in food processor. Process until mixture is light and fluffy. Add flour and water and just combine. Remove from processor and shape into a flat disc. Chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out pastry about 1/8- inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut circles to fit your tartlet tins. Ease pastry into tins and, if it breaks, pat it together again. If there is enough pastry, make a rim around each tart. Freeze pastry for 30 minutes. (Any leftover pastry can also be frozen for another use.) Prick base of pastry with a fork.
 
Bake tartlets 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Cool in tins.
 
Remove before filling them.
 
Combine sugar, water and corn syrup in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil and boil until sugar turns an amber color (about 4 to 5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cream until well incorporated. Stir occasionally as mixture cools. Chill until mixture hardens.
 
Break up chocolate and place in a heavy pot with 1/2 cup whipping cream. On low heat, slowly melt chocolate, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Stir in egg and vanilla and continue to stir together until mixture is slightly thickened (about 2 minutes).
 
Cool.
 
Place 1 teaspoon caramel in base of each tart. Top with 1 teaspoon chocolate mixture.

Refrigerate tarts until chocolate mixture is set

 

OPTIONAL Substitutions/Ad ins:

Peanuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts ( can be used in pastry or as a garnish on top)

For Chocolate Pastry add in 1/2 cup Diced and melted semi sweet or dark chocolate

 

CAN BE MADE AS ONE GIANT TART ( use a shallow pastry pan or pie pan and double/triple the recipe)

 

Image

Enjoy!

 Thanks for the recipe Aunt Carol!

Working Lunch: Mixed Green Salad with the works ( for me at least)

Image

 

1/2 Package Mixed Greens ( Baby Spinach & Arugula)

Jarlsberg Cheese -3 slices ( small cubes)

3 Cherry Tomatoes ( I’m not a big fan but I needed filler)

1 Roasted Red Pepper ( diced)

1 Egg ( whites only) diced

2 Baby Bell Peppers ( Orange) Diced

3 Spicy Green Olives Stuffed with Hot Pepper – Diced

 

Dressing:

1 Scoop Sabra Spinach & Artichoke Hummus

1/2 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Grind of Sea Salt

1 Grind of Black Pepper

1/4 Tsp Raspberry Jam

 

Combine & Shake in Container and Enjoy!

 

 

BEST SALAD I’VE MADE YET!

 

 

 

 

Easter Blog! Pastries, Cookies, Cakes & a Workout

Apologies for the MIA status over the weekend! So Happy Easter to All!  Happy Passover ( is that correct)  to my Jewish friends!   Hope everyone had a great weekend.  So being the big happy family my family is, there was certainly no shortage of food this year, but dessert certainly stole the show!   We usually have a few cookies, brownies, maybe a cake, but this year we went all out! 

 

There are traditional Italian cookies and pastries ( I myself am not a pastry fan but these are spectacular)

Easter Dessert Menu

Italian Pastries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Strawberry Shortcake

Muddy Buddies aka Puppy Chow

Brownies

Italian Cookies

Easter Basket Candy

 

 

ImageImageImage

 

ImageImage

Image

Another Great Salad: Park Avenue Deli in Rockville Centre NY

So I was working out of the Rockville Centre office yesterday and wanted a salad for lunch.  I’m on this protein shake kick so I’ve been subbing out either breakfast or lunch for a shake ( I doctor up my vanilla bean lean shake powder (GNC) with a tsp of sugar free chocolate syrup and a banana)    So a coworker suggested I check out this places create your own salad bar ( loved it)   Albeit it was slow as molasses in there ( great food= long wait)

I went a bit nuts with the add ins

Spinach

Beets

Carrots

Blue Cheese

Chick Peas

Avocado

Egg Whites

Dried Cranberries

Roasted Red Peppers

Artichoke Hearts

Balsamic Vinaigrette

It was AWESOME but way to much for one sitting!

Image

Worldly Wednesday: Chana Masala & Dosa Filling

I went to a good friends house for dinner last night and she made a wonderful Indian meal for us.   She made a Chana Masala and Dosa ( just the filling) we used the Dosa batter to make a bread similar to Ethiopian Injera ( since we were not about to start frying!) We omitted the spinach last night and added in some ginger.

Image

CHANA MASALA

 

  • 1 can chickpeas in water (also called garbanzo beans) or 1 1/2 cups precooked + 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • juice from one lemon (approx 2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 large bunch of spinach or two handfuls, rinsed

Preparation:

In a large skillet or frying pan, sautee onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.

Add chickpeas straight from the can, including all the water. Add spices and lemon juice, cover, and simmer about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water if needed, until chickpeas are cooked and soft.

Reduce heat, add spinach and cover. Allow spinach to wilt for 2-4 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy your chana masala!

Makes 3 servings. Nutritional information, per serving:
Calories: 301, Calories from Fat: 148
% Daily Value: Total Fat: 16.4g, 25%; Saturated Fat: 1.9g, 10%
Cholesterol: 0mg, 0%; Sodium: 179mg, 7%
Total Carbohydrates: 32.6g, 11%
Dietary Fiber: 5.0g, 20%
Protein: 10.4g
Vitamin A 38%, Vitamin C 21%, Calcium 9%, Iron 19%

 

DOSA FILLING

Ingredients:

  • 4 nos – Potato, medium sized
  • 1 to 2 – Onion, medium sized long thinly sliced
  • 12 nos – Small green chilies, not to be chopped. Just split them at the center
  • 1/4 tsp – Turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp – Mustard ( we subbed mustard seeds)
  • 1 tsp – Urad dal (black gram)
  • 1 1/4 tsp – Chana dal (yellow split peas)
  • 10 nos – Curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp – Coriander leaves or Cilantro
  • 1 tbsp – Ghee
  • 2 tbsp – Oil
  • Chopped Ginger to taste ( we used about 2 inches worth)
Cut the potatoes each into 2 pieces with the skin intact and cook them in a cooker until one whistle. Then peel the skin of the potato and smash or squeeze them coarsely by hand and set aside.

 

Heat oil in a khadhai or a pan and toast all seeds and grains. Keep stirring for a minute and then add onion, curry leaves, green chilies and turmeric. Saute for around 10 minutes. Add Salt and 1/2 cup water and stir well. Add the mashed potato, coriander leaves, ghee and mix well. Now take the pan of the heat and the potato subji is done.
 
 
 
thank you to Jane Aldrick for an awesome meal! 

Traveling Tuesdays: Moroccan Chicken with Eggplants, Almonds & Tomatoes

Moroccan Chicken with Eggplant, Almonds & Tomatoes

 

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil , divided
  • 3 cups onions , sliced
  • 6 large garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed , ground
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes , drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more)
  • 8 chicken thighs (skinned, but bone-in)
  • 8 chicken drumsticks (skinned)
  • 1 large eggplant , unpeeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram , chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almond
  • fresh cilantro , chopped for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy large wide pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cover and cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add paprika, salt, turmeric, coriander, fennel, pepper, cumin, and ginger; stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes, water and 3 tablespoons lemon juice; bring to a boil. Arrange all chicken in a single layer in pot; spoon some sauce over. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 45 minutes. Turn chicken over, cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes longer.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Place eggplant and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl; toss to coat. Spread eggplant out on prepared baking sheet and bake until soft and brown, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. (Chicken and eggplant can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate separately until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated.).
  3. Stir eggplant and marjoram into chicken. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes to heat through and blend flavors. Season stew to taste with more lemon juice, if desired, and salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with almonds and cilantro.

 

One of my favorite Recipes ( Can be made with Lamb instead)

 

” Cooking for the troops” Bringing Jersey to El Paso Texas!

So I headed out to the great state of Texas this weekend to visit a friend down in El Paso at Ft. Bliss.  He and a few of his buddies had seen all the things I post on my blog and facebook and begged me to come down and cook.   Always loving to travel and “show off” my cooking skills I said sure! I decided to bring a little bit of Jersey Italian to Texas and go with a variation of my lasagna and sausage/peppers & onions.Safe to say it was a success and I left them with plenty of leftovers ( well for a day or two at least)

 

On the menu: 

6 cheese lasagna made with my homemade gravy ( with meat this time) & ground beef.  Typically I would use lamb but the stores out there didn’t have any!

My Gravy with Meat!

Image

Beef Shank prepped and ready to braise!  ( rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme & oregano) Image

6 Cheese Meat Lasagna ( Mozzarella, Asiago, Parmesan, Ricotta, Fontina & Provolone)

Image

Hot & Sweet Italian Sausage, Red & Green Peppers, Large Yellow Onions, Scoop of Gravy per each serving cooked

Image

Side by Side Finished Product!

Image