Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

All-Pie Thanksgiving: I'm in heaven

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Jade sent me this article over at Serious Eats about the All-Pie Thanksgiving feast they had. On the menu:

Turkey and Cranberry Pie » like a regular turkey pot pie but with a layer of cranberries at the bottom

  • Green Bean Casserole Pie » like the infamous green bean casserole, with the fried shallots worked into the crust
  • Mashed Potato and Gravy Pie » mounds of mashed potatoes with little pools of gravy baked with a crust on top - carb heaven
  • Stuffing Pie » stuffing with sausage
  • and they had their favorite sweet pies shipped from all over the country: Cherry Crumble from Grand Traverse Pie Co. in Michigan, Triple Coconut Pie from Tom Douglas in Seattle, Apple-Rhubarb Pie from Coffee Cup Cafe in Sully, Iowa, and a Pear-Apple with Pecan Streusel from Hoosier Mama (Chicago).

    I didn't know that Ed Levine, the Serious Eats founder, was such a pie fanatic. It makes me like the website that much more. I am tempted to order these pies that he thinks are the best in the country, and to make that turkey pie.


    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    A Brief History of Food Blogs

    There's an interesting small timeline over at Saveur on the history of food blogs. (I tried to post this the other night but Blogger, ironically, was unavailable).

    What are the food blogs that you read? Ever since scouring the comments section on A Cup of Jo post, I've been reading The Wednesday Chef, 101 Cookbooks, Kitchenist, Orangette and Lottie and Doof. Before I had only been reading Smitten Kitchen and occasionally Chocolate and Zucchini. All of these blogs have such beautiful pictures. The Wednesday Chef inspired me to make bagels a few weeks back!

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    If you want breakfast in bed...

    A poster I saw over at Keep Calm Gallery. Made me laugh.

    Kings County Jerky Co.

    image courtesy of Kings County Jerky Co.

    I picked up a pack of Kings County Jerky Co. Classic jerky this weekend at Brooklyn Flea. It is really good jerky. You can really taste the difference that grass-fed beef and freshly ground spices make!

    I've been eating jerky for as long as I can remember. I have these memories of my parents bringing back jerky (in both strips and crumbly bits form) from their New York day trips because they were of better quality than Boston's. (No, my parents did not travel four hours just for jerky. I'm sure they stuck around for dim sum as well).

    And lately, I've been enjoying South African jerky, biltong, that my South African friend's friend is smoking in his hand-built smoke house outside of LA and shipping over to us. I bought this Classic pack for my South African friend, who said today, "This is the best American jerky I've had." This is a huge compliment coming from someone who's serious about meat.

    You can buy Kings County jerky at the Brooklyn Flea on Saturdays, at the New Amsterdam market on Sundays, and online. The other flavors include Korean BBQ, Orange Ginger, and the vegan Portobello (not so sure about his one...).

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    Gina's Half Birthday: Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie

    Yes, it does sound silly. Half Birthday celebration? It's just that neither Gina and I can wait a whole year for each other's baked goods so we celebrate half way in between as well. Sadly though, I missed Gina's salted caramel apple pie since I was stuck late at work, but she did get to enjoy my creation: peanut butter banana cream pie.

    When I asked her what she wanted, she said something with peanut butter and bananas (typical), so I went to Epicurious and found this recipe, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, the guys who run Baked (which I still have yet to go to). I like going to Epicurious for recipes because they get rated and I can read others' comments to see if I need to adjust anything to it.

    A lot of the comments seemed to say that the crust was too thick or they had to increase the amount of filling. I didn't find this at all when I made it. In fact, I pretty much followed the recipe to a T (except adding some orange zest and used vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean), and it came out perfectly.

    The peanut butter whipped topping is divine. I'm not a huge peanut butter fan, but it wasn't too peanut-buttery at all. It was light and fluffy and perfect. I would use this recipe if I had to make a peanut butter frosting for a cake. I also bought Whole Foods' 365 organic vanilla wafer cookies

    Bravo to the Baked Boys! The recipe if below (with my modifications).

    Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie
    Vanilla wafer crust:
    • 6 ounces vanilla wafer cookies
    • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 2 tablespoons sugar

    Vanilla pudding filling:
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (I used 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • 4 firm but ripe bananas, peeled, divided
    • 3 tablespoons orange juice, divided
    • zest of half an orange

    Peanut butter layer:
    • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
    • 2/3 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
    • Purchased peanut brittle, coarsely chopped (optional)

    • For vanilla wafer crust:
    • Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in processor; blend until mixture resembles moist crumbs, about 1 minute. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish and press mixture onto bottom and up sides (not rim) of dish. Bake crust until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven; press crust with back of spoon if puffed. Cool crust completely.

    • For vanilla pudding filling:
    • Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy medium saucepan until no lumps remain. Gradually whisk in cream, then milk. Add yolks and scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (or add 1 tsp of vanilla extract); whisk to blend. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until pudding thickens and boils, about 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Spread warm pudding in cooled crust. Chill until filling is cool, about 1 hour.

    • Thinly slice 3 bananas on diagonal. Combine banana slices and 2 tablespoons orange juice and the zest of half an oragne in medium bowl; toss to coat. Transfer banana slices to paper towels and pat dry. Arrange enough banana slices in single layer over vanilla custard filling to cover completely.

    • For peanut butter layer:
    • Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla, then peanut butter. Beat cream in another medium bowl until firm peaks form. Fold large spoonful of whipped cream into peanut mixture to loosen, then fold in remaining cream in 2 additions. Spread peanut butter layer evenly over bananas. Chill at least 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

    Thinly slice remaining banana on diagonal. Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon orange juice, then pat dry with paper towels. Arrange banana slices around top edge of pie. Sprinkle peanut brittle over bananas, if desired, and serve.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Dim Sum Treat

    I had this at Dim Sum when I was back in Boston. A never seen before treat! Tasted like light yellow cake. Delicious.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    New Favorite Snack

    I first came across these when I went to Madison Square Garden to see the Agassi vs. Sampras match a few weeks back. Of course I had to get a hotdog (it being one of my favorite foods), but couldn't decide what side snack to get that wasn't also unhealthy until I saw Pretzel Crisps on the menu board. Pretzels are healthy-ish, right?

    The thing is, I've always wanted to like pretzels as a chip-like snack, but the allure of Lays sour cream and onion potato chips or Cheetos or Doritos always won. Pretzels. whether in its normal shape or stick form, always tasted a bit mealy to me, like there was too much pretzel matter in the pretzel. I tended to like really thin pretzels since they had more of a crunch to them, but then they were so thin that they seemed insubstantial.

    This is where the Pretzel Crisp comes in, a cross between a pretzel and a cracker. I ended up buying the Classic kind, and was instantly amazed at my find. Really crisp, nice light crunch and ample in its surface area. How perfect. I immediately shared them with my friends, who also approved.

    I didn't think much about them until I saw them at my local Duane Reade this past week, and thought, this must be a sign. So I bought the Supreme kind (flavored with garlic, onion, and poppy, caraway and sesame seeds), whose spices don't overwhelm the pretzel at all, but complement it quite nicely.

    I have found my new favorite snack, and it's not terrible for me!

    Thursday, February 24, 2011


    An article in the NY Times and slideshow of doughnuts made me remember that I had gone to Dough, the fairly new doughnut shop that opened down the street from me, back in December. Dough is the new venture by Choice Market (the cafe/bakery also by my house). When we visited we saw cooks preparing food and baked goods for the other Choice locations in the large kitchen area; it almost seems like Choice rented the location for more kitchen space and then decided to make a doughnut shop of it as well. The front part of the shop has only a few stools and a bar counter for seating.

    Here are some pictures of the doughnuts that we ate:

    Cafe au Lait

    Dulce de Leche with pumpkin seeds


    Dough makes yeast doughnuts, all of which have the same doughnut base, but the glazes are different and change on a daily basis (I went back for the Dulce de Leche with pumpkin seeds and they were replaced with almonds the second time I went; also, the New York Times article mentioned an Earl Grey doughnut, one I haven't seen yet).

    If you look closely at the top picture of the case of doughnuts, there are also smaller filled doughnuts on the bottom, which I'm excited to try but haven't yet. The doughnuts that we ate were soft and fluffy, but had a nice bite to it, and extremely fresh. The Cafe au Lait has a hint of vanilla; the Dulce de Leche one was simply divine (I preferred the pumpkin seeds, which had a better crunch to softness ratio than the almonds which I tried later); the Hibiscus was promising-looking (look at that color!), but the chewiness of the dried petals and the oversweetness made it my least favorite.

    I really enjoyed the doughnuts at Dough (even better that it is close to my house!). I would like them to try putting fillings into their large round doughnuts or somehow incorporate the glaze more so that each doughnut doesn't seem like the same base with a glaze. I keep thinking of Doughnut Plant's doughnuts, which have more complex flavors than Dough's, but I'm sure, based on Choice's previous baked goods, that it will get there.

    305 Franklin Avenue @ Lafayette Avenue
    Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
    (347) 533-7544