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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Review: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

After her husband leaves her for a man he met on, Rhoda takes a sabbatical to spend some time with the Mennonite family she had broken away from.  It's not that she's anti-Menno, she is just an academic who doesn't live and breathe the Mennonite lifestyle like the rest of her family.  However, she has spent her whole life at least somewhat connected to the community and can therefore provide some interesting insight into their practices and quirks.

As a memoir, it was cute but not spectacular.  She really hammers in the fact that her husband was a bipolar, violent man who left her for a dude.  What I don't get is why she let the marriage continue for 15 years.  She also talks about all the frowned upon actions in the Mennonite culture (dancing - gasp!) but doesn't explain why the religion forbids such activity.  Instead of being a religious choice, it ends up sounding like she just had kinda strict parents.  I picked up the book because I thought I was getting a peek into a religion I knew nothing about, but I ended up feeling a little let down.  Thankfully, she includes a Mennonite handbook of sorts in the appendix.  It was a big help, but the information should have been incorporated into the book.

Rhoda Janzen's brash voice is fun - "ooh such a rebel Mennonite," I thought.  But that voice doesn't help the fact that she never explains what she learned from any of the experiences she shares with us readers.  It was a fine book that will take you no time to read, but it's not truly special.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, January 30, 2012

JBird Brings Mixology to the UES

I love my Upper East Side bar scene.  It consists of dive bars and wine bars, which are my kinda watering holes.  However, every once in a while it's nice to do something different, which is why I'm glad JBird Cocktails opened on Thursday night.  As an opening night special, they offered two-for-one drinks, a special too good for Lindsay and I to pass up.

The walls are dark brick and subway tile and the seating is a mix of huge round booths, two-tops, and a high, long, communal table.  We were seated at this long table where we befriended our neighbors and tried each others' drinks.  I tried the JBird Swizzle, which I think sounds like a dance from the 50s, and Lindsay ordered the Thornybush.  I can't remember what came in each of the cocktails (mine had a splash of pineapple juice, Lindsay's had kaffir lime and a bay leaf), but I can tell you that there was a nice eye for detail in each of the drinks, like the metal straw in mine.

Neither of us had eaten so we decided to split a small entree and a meat and cheese plate.  There are about  seven cheeses and just as many meats on the menu.  You can choose any combination for a total of 5 for $15, 7 for $17, or 9 for $19.  The price was reasonable and I liked that you were able to mix meats and cheeses.  For the entree, we ordered cheesy polenta with wild mushrooms, fingerling potatos, and a poached egg.  Since it was the vegetarian entree, it was priced at only $14, but I don't think they're giving this meat-free dish enough credit.  It was creamy and delicious.  I've seen poached eggs make their way into plenty of dishes lately, but polenta is not one of them.  Once again, it worked.

A bar that focuses on mixology is a new concept to an area of Manhattan that usually falls into one of two categories: old school or fratty.  I'm glad we can now add trendy to the list.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: The Sense of an Ending

I started to give this book 3 stars (out of 5) but bumped it up to 4 when I realized how badly I wanted to discuss it with people.  It's always a good sign when you can't get a story out of your head.  Perhaps that's why it's called The Sense of an Ending - there are no more pages to be read, but I feel there is more story to be told.

Julian Barnes' novella is narrated by Tony Webster who proves that memory is a tricky thing.  I don't think Tony is the only one who remembers only what is convenient, but he seems to take it to the next level.  Even when evidence points to the fact that his actions have had a huge impact on several lives, he trivializes them.  It is only as his memories come back in pieces that you realize how he non-nonchalantly looks at things that deserve a more thoughtful approach.  He is a frustrating character because you watch as he continues to make assumptions because he doesn't care to ask the right questions, even though history should have taught him better.   

I don't want to give anything away, so I won't pose any of my questions to you, but I will ask that you read it so we can partake in book club-like discussions.  It's only 163 small pages that you'll breeze through in two sittings max.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bridesmaid Brunch

Last weekend, Karina planned a lovely Sunday brunch to officially ask myself and six other girls to share in her big day as bridesmaids.  I was touched.  Karina's best gals all live in NYC but are from all different walks of life so brunch at her apartment was a great way for everyone to get to know each other.  Karina is a wonderful cook and prepared a delicious spinach and goat cheese frittata that she served with fruit, bagels, and some great Trader Joe's nibbles.  It's hard to believe frozen food can stand up to the real thing, but Trader Joe's mac and cheese balls and mini éclairs were perfect brunch fare.  The girls bonded over bridesmaid dresses (which thanks to Karina's keen fashion sense will not look too bridesmaid-y) and bachelorette party plans while sipping mimosas and joining in a rousing game of Taboo.

Moral of the story: I highly recommend frittatas for brunch since it's a "set it and forget it" type dish and can feed a crowd.  Then just round out the menu with some of those cheesy mac balls and you're set.  Throw Taboo and mimosas into the mix and it turns into a party. 
The bride-to-be and her sister/matron of honor reading Taboo clues

Friday, January 20, 2012

Amazing is Amazing

 Last night, a couple different groups of media folk got together with one of our reps to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  No, it's not one of the major American holidays, but I think it's a great excuse for a fun and different celebration.  Our rep is Chinese and has lived his whole life in Manhattan, growing up in the LES so he knew his way around the menu at Amazing 66.  We ordered so. much. food.  I have a feeling you'll get the best food if you come with someone who really knows this type of cuisine, preferably someone who speaks Cantonese.  We let our rep go hog wild and said we would eat anything and he accepted the challenge:
  • Soup with vegetables and pork - very light not a ton of flavor, but I liked starting with something simpler
  • Fried pork ribs
  • Fried rice
  • Fried oysters
  • Fried shrimp and squid - each piece was huge
  • Pea shoots
  • Roast beef
  • Steamed duck buns
  • Braised pork belly - the sauce was sweet and garlicy and the pork belly almost fell apart when I grabbed it with the chopsticks
  • Lobster in a butter sauce
  •  Honey bar b que something (beef?)
  • Crispy skin chicken stuffed with sticky rice - I have no idea how they keep the rice so sticky and get the skin so crackly, but this dish was unlike any chicken dish I've ever seen.  It has to be ordered a day in advance, but it's worth it.
  • Fried Milk - yes, fried milk.  This needs to come to street fairs.  The gooey center is only slightly sweet so it's not too rich.  I loved it and wonder why it's so rarely seen.

Fried Milk

Crispy Skin Sticky Rice Chicken

After all that food and too many bottles of wine to count, we headed to Winny's a Chinatown bar that I will have to keep in mind.  Winny's is a low-ceiling'd dive that primarily services Chinatown locals.  Everyone in the family run business is nice and actually wants to talk to the patrons.  Every once in a while they even sang along to whatever karaoke song was playing.  If you end up eating in the Chinatown area, don't assume your only bar options are the fancier Apothèque or a bar in a different, trendier nearby neighborhood.  Winny's is a great dive to stumble into.  If last night was any indication, the year of the dragon is going to be solid.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

3 on Thursday

I feel like I've been cranking the work out this week - a pretty good feeling.  I've been busy enough at the office to be extra thankful that it was a short week thanks to MLK day. 

I spent my day off work at the movies, watching an indie flick and eating lots of buttery popcorn.  Jen is my partner in crime when it comes to the weirder, character study-type movies so we saw Martha Marcy May Marlene, which is about a girl attempting to re-acclimate to normal life after escaping a cult.  I was intrigued by this film for two reasons 1) I don't understand how people get sucked into the cult world and 2) the star is Elizabeth Olsen, sister of the Olsen twins.  Turns out, Miss. Olsen is quite the actress and gave a profound performance.  I really enjoyed the movie but was upset that there was a loose end they didn't tie up.  It didn't take away from the film's central themes, but I just wanted to know how Olsen's character ended up in the cult in the first place.

One of my friends recently visited Buffalo where she discovered Fowler's Chocolates and their specialty, chocolate sponge candy.  Thankfully, she was willing to share while we watched the Giant's game on Sunday.  I'm not sure what the crunchy, aerated sponge filling is made out of, but it was sort of like a sugary honeycomb enrobed in chocolate.  Yum. 

I was really digging the fashion at this year's Golden Globes [three faves shown above].  Yes, this is a silhouette Sophia Vergara wears often, but I thought the Vera Wang fit her figure perfectly.  Armor on the top, waves on the bottom in a gorgeous midnight blue.  I love the back and sleeves on Claire Danes' J. Mendel's dress and think this is a great way to do a black and white combo.  Finally, Shailene Woodley's dress was sophisticated and age appropriate.  The crystals over netting neckline was sweet and sexy at the same time. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

Tonight, my entire meal could have fit in a tea cup.  In this case, size doesn't matter because this was a full meal, even if the whole thing was encapsulated in a bell pepper.  In addition to looking adorable (before it was destroyed), it was incredibly tasty.  Not sure how to make stuffed peppers?  Don't worry, it doesn't require a real recipe.  Over the weekend, I grabbed whatever ingredients looked appealing at the grocery store and tonight I threw them into a pan in random quantities.  Basically, it's pretty tough to screw up.  If you're still concerned, feel free to do what I did.  Though, like I said, I didn't measure anything out, I can at least tell you what ingredients I used because I have a feeling you'll like the flavors.

While the rice was cooking, I started sauteing onions.  Once those had softened, I added ground buffalo meat to the pan and browned it.  Once the meat was mostly cooked through, I added garlic, diced tomatoes, and fresh spinach.  When the spinach had wilted, I seasoned the mixture with dried oregano, salt, and pepper.  In a lucky culinary moment, the rice finished cooking right when everything else did.  I mixed in the rice and grated fontina cheese and packed it into a hollowed out bell pepper.  A little extra fontina on the top is a must so you get that desired crust.  Everything is already cooked so stick it in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes or just long enough for that fontina to get browned and bubbly.

I'll be honest, I threw these ingredients together sort of willy nilly, but I am happy to say they worked.  Buffalo meat is leaner than ground beef, cost efficient, and tastes wonderful - a little sweeter than beef.  In this case, I think it was a better choice than beef - a nice little surprise.  And who doesn't love a full meal in a perfect little package like this?  It's sort of like Willy Wonka's 3-course dinner chewing gum only it won't turn you into a giant blueberry, which means you'll still be in the running to win the entire chocolate factory.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hot Chocolate Like No Other

Lindsay and I met at City Bakery for a sweet snack yesterday, and I can honestly say I've never had hot chocolate like that before.  It's basically a melted Hershey bar.  It was so unbelievably thick that I could barely put a dent in my small cup.  To be honest, it was too rich.  I couldn't come close to finishing it, and then I felt bad about wasting it because it's not a cheap cup.  The best part was the huge homemade marshmallow.  That's worth the extra dollar.  Next time, I'll get the shot size and one of those marshmallows.  Trust me, a shot is more than enough of the drink and then you still get to dunk the fluffy, gooey mallow.  They also have a bunch of sweet baked goods (I got a muffin; Lindsay got a cookie) that practically seem savory next to the hot chocolate.  If savory is what you want, I also spied salads and mac and cheese.  These normal lunch items looked good, but they won't bring out the kid in you like the hot chocolate.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Book Review: A Fine Balance

I love reading novels that center on Asian culture.  Most books I have read in this genre have centered around Chinese culture, so I was excited to find one set in India so I could learn about a new country.  Rohinton Mistry's novel centers around four people from three different communities who are brought together as a way to survive the difficult financial climate.  It is difficult for Dina, a woman raised in the city, to let the other three into her home and life but realizes it is necessary if she wants to maintain the independence she struggled to earn.  Eventually, Maneck, a college student from the mountains and Ishvar and Om, an uncle/nephew team from the slums, become Dina's family.

The story itself was interesting and introduced plenty of amusing characters like a hair collector and a beggarmaster, but it was the setting that i found most fascinating.  The novel takes place in 1975, but you would think it was the 1800s by the lack of modern conveniences.  The poverty is so out of control and the system so corrupt that it is hard to believe that by this point in history, it was commonplace to find a microwave oven in every American kitchen (and had been for 10 years).  I was most shocked and intrigued to read details of the slums.  What is technically uninhabitable is tolerated by millions.  In the middle of The Emergency period, which compromised civil liberties and included forced sterilization and destruction of slums, the four central characters find a way to settle their differences and live in harmony.  This equilibrium can't last forever, and eventually a sadness seeps in that I still can't shake after having finished the book.

4 out of 5 stars.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

3 on Thursday

Work-wise, it's been an interesting week.  Work finally slowed down, which has been nice and - dare I say it?! - a little boring.  The high ups in the company all went to CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Vegas and when the cat's away, the mice will play.  It's been nice having a little time to relax, but of course there is always a fire or two to put out, even during the slow times.  These mini work crises all popped up at about 5:30 so I bobbled back and forth between laid back and frantic.  Fun.  Now I just have one more day before I can enjoy a nice 3-day weekend in honor of MLK Jr.  
This past Sunday there was a great article in the Times about couples making their own wedding bands.  These ambitious spouses-to-be aren't just designing the rings, they are actually torching the metal.  It seems like a great way to add extra meaning to the symbol of your bond as a couple, though I don't know if I should ever be trusted with a blowtorch.
How cute are these iPhone cases?!  I love anything monogrammed and these patterns are so my style it's ridiculous.  I'm holding off in part because the $50 price tag seems steep, but mostly because I don't know which one I would choose.
By now, if you aren't aware of the "Shit Girls Say" phenomenon, it's safe to say you're a hermit.  The original video spawned TONS of spoofs that everyone seems to be over and done with.  These videos may be old news, but they're still hilarious.  My personal faves are "Shit Christians Say to Jews" (and yes, just about every one of these things has been said to me) and "Shit Girls Say to Gay Guys".

Inspiration Station: "Sixteen Candles"

It's a new year and I'm starting a new series on this blog called "Inspiration Station".  Basically, once a month (at minimum), I'll take a movie and show you how it influences me in two ways.  First I'll cook a recipe that relates in some way to the film (aka: "The Dish") and then I'll show you a bunch of non-food items (aka: "The Doodads") that are inspired by the flick.

First up is "Sixteen Candles".  Of all the "day in the life" high school movies that inevitably end in a major party, this is one of my absolute faves.  It makes you think that anything can happen and keeps every girl hoping that one day the sea of cars will part and you will be looking straight into the eyes of the dreamiest guy in school who is leaning against an equally dreamy car.

  1. The Dish: Samantha (Molly Ringwald) makes her mom pack carrots in her lunch every day because she thinks they'll help increase her bust.  As a painfully flat-chested high schooler myself, this piece of the movie and the burning desire to transition from girl to woman always stuck with me.  Since carrot was the most stand-out ingredient in the film, I decided to make a carrot ginger soup and found one on that looked both simple and flavorful (well, technically, I combined the best parts of two recipes).  I hauled out my soup pot and started sauteing onions in butter.  After a few minutes, I added garlic and ginger and let it go a few more minutes before I added chopped carrots, tomato, and lemon zest.  Once all the main ingredients were in the pot, I added chicken stock, brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes.  At that point, everything was properly cooked so I just blended it until smooth, adding in extra chicken stock until it was the right consistency.  I topped it with a dollop of sour cream and sliced almonds (pine nuts would have been better, but I had almonds on hand).  Ginger is usually spicy, but when combined with the sweet carrots and onions it just makes the soup a little zestier.  It's thick and rich without any cream, making it completely healthy.  If you want to be super good, use fat free greek yogurt instead of sour cream for that velvety tang.
  2. The Doodads: 
    • There's a lot of headgear action in this movie so it seemed only fitting to include bracelets made out of the brackets and bands from braces.  Love this idea from Braced-lets, especially with the $5 price tag.  They remind me of how much fun I used to have picking out my colors each month.
    • A big portion of the movie revolves around the high school dance and nobody does a high school party frock better than Betsey Johnson.  Her funky dresses have a little 80s flair and are just as rad as the movie.
    • Though I'm not sure why they sat on the table when there were six perfectly good chairs available, the last scene of the movie where they kiss over the cake is adorable.  Next time you're decorating a birthday cake, try some of these DIY glitter candles that I found on a blog.
    • I don't think I would ever be able to live down the embarrassment of a dork showing my panties to a bathroom of fellow nerds, but if it ever happened to me, I hope he would be showing these that I found at H&M.  A bra and panty set will only set you back about $20 and they are super cute.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Boy Talk at Boqueria

It had only been three weeks since I saw Marcy (aka: Brutus), but in that time enough transpired that we were in desperate need of some cocktails, a good meal, and some good old fashioned boy talk.  I was in the mood to check out someplace new so I sent Brutus a long list of restaurants I hadn't tried yet.  One of the places on my list was Boqueria, a tapas bar and restaurant that's been around for a while.  Brutus had been before and loved it so she immediately made it her top choice.  They don't take reservations so we decided to take our chances and meet at their Flatiron location at 8 PM.

The wait was only 30-45 minutes, so we put our names on the list and walked next door to Flatiron Lounge.  I have always loved the Art Deco aesthetic, so I like walking into this bar with it's arched ceiling, blue lights, and velvet booths.  This setting, with the soothing sounds of Jazz in the background, is perfect for enjoying a true cocktail just as they did back in the day.  There is a long list of drinks and each liquor seemed perfectly paired with fresh flavors to match the season.  I don't usually go in the gin direction, but there was a cocktail on the menu made with gin, ginger, cucumber, and a few other ingredients.  I wish I could fully remember it or at least find a menu, but trust when I say it was crisp and delicious.
Art Deco lights above the bar at Flatiron Lounge
We headed back to the restaurant and only had a few minutes to go before our table was ready.  Unfortunately, that additional time did not help us narrow down our choices because everything on the menu looked amazing.  We ended up ordering six dishes, including dessert and all but one came from the [long] specials menu.  Boqueria is named after a famous market in Spain where patrons can pick up the freshest of seasonal ingredients so it seemed only fitting that we order the special dishes that were of the season:  
  • Crostini of shredded salt cod with tomato, pickled shallots, and black olive oil: Wonderful, light, and not at all fishy
  • Pan roasted brussels sprouts with Hudson Valley braeburn apples, dijon mustard, pine nuts: The sweetness from the apples played well off the dijon - I wish they gave us a little more of those sweet braeburn slices
  • Housemade flatbread with sautéed wild mushrooms, serrano ham, idiazábal cheese, caramelized onions, and quail eggs: The quail egg is similar to a regular egg just tinier and seemed to me to have an even richer yolk.  In this case, richer = better.
  • Braised veal cheeks with potato purée, caramelized pearl onions, and red wine jus: Good, but probably the least memorable.  The flavors didn't jump off the plate like they did with the other dishes, though the fatty cheeks cut like butter.
  • Dates stuffed with almonds and valdeon, wrapped in bacon: This was the only regular menu item and it was delicious.  I loved the surprise crunch of the almond in the middle and the crispy bacon on the outside.  The dates were super sweet, so I wish the valdeon was a little stronger, but overall it was great.
  • Whipped fresh cow's milk ricotta cheese, honey, candied walnuts, berries, and strawberry coulis: Were they milking the cow while we were eating our dates?  This ricotta was thick and dreamy with just enough honey and coulis to sweeten it and plenty of berries to keep it light.
Now that I've [finally] been there, I can see why Boqueria is consistently filled with people and earned itself a 2-star review by the Times..  Everything we ordered elicited "mmm" noises and it came at a fair price.  The dishes range in price from $6 to $13 and having been to several tapas places recently where $13 is on the low end, this is a steal.  That price makes you believe you really are eating bar snacks in Spain.  And if the cost doesn't give you that authentic feeling, the seating will since every chair in the place is bar height.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Poppers and Pasta

Last night, two new recipes got the THK treatment, and I am happy to report they both came out well.

I first tried my hand at jalapeno poppers.  I only just tried this bar snack about 3 years ago - I was always pulled in the direction of mozzarella sticks or potato skins - but now I realize I had been missing out.  They're usually stuffed with cheese and fried which is why I never tried them at home.  My smoke alarm goes off at the faintest hint of smoke so deep frying isn't really an option.  Don't worry, I make up for the calories elsewhere.  However, last week I saw a version of a popper online that was easier on my temperamental smoke alarm.  Instead of frying, the poppers are wrapped in bacon and roasted.  Not only does this keep the smoke out of the kitchen, it keeps my counters cleaner because I'm not dealing with egg and breading spilling everywhere.  The trick to getting everything the right texture is to halve the jalapenos.  This will keep the bacon from sliding off and get the filling nice and bubbly.  Once you've cut your jalapenos in half and removed most of the ribs and seeds, fill your little pepper canoes with a mixture of cream cheese and shredded cheddar.  Wrap each one with bacon (a 1/2 strip will likely do ya) and put them into the oven at 375 for about 25 minutes to make them crispy and bubbly.  You won't be able to stop yourself from pop pop popping these suckers.  Superbowl Sunday, I got you covered.

Once my appetizer experiment was successful, I got to work on recipe number two.  I received a copy of Mario Batali's latest cookbook ("Simple Family Meals") in a gift bag and noticed several of the pasta recipes used fresh bread crumbs.  I am accustomed to seeing bread crumbs added to baked pasta dishes, but seeing them in regular pasta was new to me but looked like a good way to add texture so I decided to give it a go.  I took inspiration from one of Batali's recipes for a pasta with cauliflower and changed it to include some ingredients I was looking to use/had on hand.  While the pasta cooked, I pan roasted cauliflower and grape tomatoes with rosemary and garlic until the cauliflower was tender and the tomatoes were wrinkly and starting to burst.  I put them off to the side in a serving bowl and started toasting bread crumbs made from country bread that was conveniently going stale.  The crumbs soaked up the little bit of oil and garlic that had clung to the pan from the veggies.  I tossed the pasta with the veggies and reserved pasta water and then added the bread crumbs and fresh pecorino.  There is no need to add any additional sauce because while you're tossing, you can pop the tomatoes to release some their juice.  The cheese and pasta water get cozy with the juice from the tomatoes to create a nice light sauce.  The pasta was good, but the addition of bread crumbs made it better.  They gave the pasta some extra personality.  We all know I've got some personality and I like my food to match.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

3 on Thursday

Well, I haven't done a "3 on Thursday" post in a while because the holidays got in the way.  There weren't too many thrilling things to write about when I was doing nothing but relaxing during my time off work.  But now that I'm back in the real world and on a schedule, I can revive this weekly series:
One of my favorite gifts this holiday season came from Sasha - homemade kahlua.  I don't even know how you go about making kahlua, but I'm glad she figured it out.  I decided to use it for white russians but instead of milk, I used cereal milk from Momofuku Milk Bar.  It made the drink extra special - a little sweeter and even more of a holiday treat.
This is may not the best picture of me, but hopefully it shows what a great time I had on New Years Eve.  It was pretty much the best NYE in recent memory even though until 7 PM I thought it would be awful since we had no real plans.  Linds and I started with dinner at Nolita House and then Amanda met us downstairs at Botanica where we killed time before apartment party #1.  We ended up not making it to the first party because we were having so much fun with our new Australian friends.  We did end up leaving when Matt and Karina finished their fancy dinner and we all headed to apartment party #2 where we had a little dance party (pictured above).  We hit up WXOU Radio Bar after that and then capped the night off with some pizza because it's not a good night if it doesn't end with a slice.  I was also really feelin my outfit.  Nothing says NYE like sparkles so I wore a new sequined skirt that I came across just like everything else on New Years - last minute.  The best part about my outfit was that every piece was on super sale.  Those Bloomingdales sales are no joke.  If New Years Eve is any indication, 2012 is going to be a GREAT year!

As an avid reader, I love Goodreads.  I love how by saving my own reviews on this site I can remember exactly what it was I did or did not like about a book.  I also love any chance to organize and make lists so I'm a big fan of their virtual bookshelves.  Most importantly, the reviews from fellow bookworms and personalized recommendations from the site have helped me discover plenty of gems I may not have found on my own.  Another new thing I love: in the spirit of New Years Resolutions, Goodreads has launched the 2012 Reading Challenge.  It's nothing more than a personal goal of how many books you plan to read this year.  When signing up, they gave me the benchmark of how many books I read in 2011 (14) so this year I made my goal 20.  It's lofty since it means I'll need to read more than a book and a half each month when I'm a busy girl, but I figure I have several trips planned that will allow me ample reading time.  Plus, I'm already 2/3 of the way done with a book I started at the end of 2011 which may be cheating, but I'm letting it slide.  Sign up for the challenge - let me know what your goal is in the comments!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ricotta and Rosemary

Tonight I made three quick changes to my mashed potatoes:

  1. Instead of red potatoes, I used yukon gold.  I love the skin on the red ones, so they're great for smashed potatoes when the slightly tougher skin mixes in for extra texture.  Tonight, however, I wanted super smooth taters and the yukon golds break down easily.
  2. Instead of the several pounds of butter I usually use, I just used a teensy bit to get it going and then mixed in ricotta.  The ricotta made the potatoes nice and creamy and added just the slightest bit of sweetness.
  3. When it came to seasoning, I didn't just put in salt and pepper; I folded in chopped fresh rosemary.
I love my garlic smashed potatoes, but these were even more flavorful.  Rosemary is a fabulous herb for potatoes and ricotta will incorporate beautifully and help create the perfect texture.  I shouldn't have to tell you these mashed potatoes went perfectly with the flank steak and snow peas I made to round out the meal.


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