Monday, December 21, 2009

Hot Chocolate

I attended my first NYC Food Crawl: The December Hot Chocolate Crawl. The pictures speak for themselves... For more information, click on the title of this post or visit

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


A simple dish to start out the morning. Looking in the refrigerator I spot a pot of leftover risotto. Leftover risotto is a wonderful thing - sticky and moist, it can stand up to a good pan fry. [Rice is always a good leftover staple, think fried rice.] The original swiss chard risotto was very basic, made with Arborio rice, swiss chard from the garden, and (store bought) vegetable stock. This morning, I formed small patties of risotto, dipped them into an egg wash, then into breadcrumbs slightly seasoned with parmigiano reggiano, salt, and pepper. The patties were then pan fried in olive oil. Slightly crunchy on the outside, warm and still moist on the inside.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer BBQ

I can’t remember where we heard of barbequing pizza - I know we didn’t invent this, yet many (most?) have never made their own, let alone tasted grilled pizza. Since I am not a baker and am fortunate to live close to Arthur Avenue, I buy my dough at Madonia Brothers Bakery. For $1.50, you can make 3 pies that fit on a Webber grill. No mess, no fuss, and absolutely delicious. Although we cheat and buy our dough, we go all out with the toppings. Often times, we BBQ for a small group of friends. The beauty of this is that everyone creates their own. It is then cut into pieces and we all get to taste each other’s masterpieces. We recently had a friend visiting from Japan. During his visit, our toppings included: fresh mozzarella cheese (from Casa Della Mozzarella on 187th); sautéed broccoli rabe, capers, fresh tomatoes, arugula, and sautéed mushrooms (all vegetables are from the Arthur Avenue Market, the capers from Fairway’s famous olive bar). This time, we rolled the dough on semolina flower (from Teitel Brothers). The result was a much crisper dough and it was easier to handle. We surprised our guest during this, as he thought that when we said we would have pizza for lunch we would be getting it delivered. I feel obligated to share pizza when guests from out of town come to visit, usually opting for Lombardi’s. However, we only had 24 hours with our dear friend. And honestly, you can’t get more authentic NYC pizza then grilling it in the backyard. Our good friend just celebrated her birthday out on the North Fork of Long Island. We were honored to be selected to cook Sunday’s lunch and assembled “Team Pizza”. A wonderful challenge, as all cooking must be done outdoors and for a large, hungry, demographically awesome crew. Part of the team made the dough, while one member rolled out the dough (with semolina flower), and one grilled up the pies. We all participated in the selection of toppings and made various combinations. Unfortunately, we were so busy cooking that we did not take any photographs. Hopefully, someone did who is reading this and will forward them to me so I can post them. In the case that we have no pictures to share, please let your imagination run wild… We cooked 24 pies for 20 people – something we have never done before! Toppings were as follows: fresh heirloom tomato slices and fresh arugula (all from Sang Lee Farms, Long Island); grilled potato slices in olive oil, garlic, and rosemary (potatoes and rosemary also from Sang Lee Farms); fresh garlic; fresh red onion slices; grilled red onion slices; capers; fresh mozzarella and ricotta salata (from The Village Cheese Shop, on Love Lane in Long Island); tomato sauce; and finally, some leftover “vegetarian sausage” from breakfast. Readers, if I am missing any toppings please let me know! This was a well-oiled pizza cooking team (pun intended)! We made too many combinations to list here. And, to my understanding, none of the omnivores complained that it was a vegetarian meal.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Post-Elopement Celebration(s)

Our post-elopement cake was made by Luci Pina of Fashionably Cake. I was turned onto Luci's work after tasting a delicious wedding cake she made for my cousin. She was wonderfully accommodating to our desires - we wanted a tropical theme to match our wedding in Hawai'i. The result was a Puerto Rican Rum pound cake with a large mango filled layer, a guava filled layer, and a small pineapple layer. We were able to have the guava layer made without rum to allow those who do not partake in alcohol to indulge as well. I am not much of a dessert person (I will almost always go towards the savory, spicy, and salty over the sweet). But as you can see, this cake can change your mind too. cake is also featured on the interactive feature from "With This Burger, I Thee Wed" Reader's Wedding Food interactive

Saturday, June 6, 2009

home cooking

As many novice bloggers, I have yet to learn the art of regular postings. However, I hope to gather much data for a upcoming post. Today we will feast on home cooking, a fine blend of Filipino, Pakistani, & Western foods created by myself, my father (labeled as a frustrated farmer and cook by some), and my mother. While I am vegetarian, there will be traditional (non-veg) foods and some vegetarian adaptations. Plenty of desserts, including a "wedding" cake that features a halal tier. I'm getting hungrier as I type. Looking forward to eating and sharing the results soon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dave's Spanish style rice

I grew up eating basmati rice. The rice cooker was used at least once a day and when the smell of rice was present, you knew a meal was soon to be ready. After living in Japan, I was exposed to Japanese style rice and their amazing rice cookers. As a result, my kitchen now must house both basmati and Japanese rice at all times, utilizing the most appropriate one depending on the accompanying dish. And yes, I use the Japanese rice cooker for both types of rice. This rice dish was actually made with jasmine rice. The Korean grocer in our neighborhood does not carry basmati, so I bought this bag when in a pinch. The size of the grain and its texture worked out perfectly for Dave’s Spanish style rice. I love this dish - I associate non-plain rice with special occasions. Maybe because I remember my father telling me that the yellow, sweet saffron rice that he would cook was traditionally only eaten at weddings and other special occasions due to the cost of saffron and the resulting color of the dish. Briyani was also cooked only on occasions in our home [however, he now cooks it more frequently than when I was younger. Could it be because it is a special occasion when I visit the home? I will have to ask]. In Japan, azuki bean rice is also reserved celebrations. Wonderfully salty, this rice dish packs a punch with beans, cayenne pepper, and other lovely spices. This time, when cooking the spices we included Thai basil seeds.

prep work for Dave's Spanish Rice

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

broccoli and chickpeas

Pasta has always held a special place in my heart. As a youngster experimenting in my parents’ kitchen, I wanted to try something exotic. Something my parents didn’t cook. Definitely not rice. Italian to me was exotic. However, what could a young cook do when instead of basil or parsley there was only fresh coriander in the fridge? And, although I did want to eat something different, it was (and still is) very difficult for me to ingest anything that wasn’t spicy. Well, one doesn’t question and just cooks. I made many a too-spicy marinara sauce in my younger years consisting of chilies, coriander, and tomatoes (home grown in the summertime). I had the opportunity to live in the Perugia, in the Umbria region of Italy, for a summer in 1996. The food was unlike any “Italian” food I had up to that point. Everything was simple and fresh. And I never once wished I were eating meat. Today I wanted to make a quick meal utilizing pasta and veggies. The result – broccoli and chickpeas with garlic and dried chilies. Although a bit of a challenge to eat (chickpeas roll around and don’t like to be fork-stabbed), it was all worth it in the end.

Friday, February 20, 2009

not halo halo, but dessert.

halo halo

I’ve always wanted to do something that marries my love of food (eating it, cooking it, reading about it, and thinking about it) – however; nothing has ever materialized until now. Anthony Bourdain aired an episode on The Philippines on 2/16/09! Much excitement and some criticism on this episode. Even Tony himself notes that the archipelago involves over 7000 islands and that he only visited two. I was so moved by this episode that I posted a topic entitled “what about desserts?” on the discussion board of “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain”. A bit hasty, with some typos (corrected in the cut-and-paste below):
“what about desserts?” I too am happy that tony went to the philippines - especially the fact that he explored some of the cultural identity politics. A bit disappointed that he focused so much on pork - I know that I am one of the rare vegetarian pinois out there. Also, I find it IMPOSSIBLE that he was in the philippines and did have or report on one dessert! At the very least, he should have discussed the intriguing halo halo - most non-filipinos have never had such a treat and all love it!
So, it would only be natural to begin this blog with a few desserts straight from the Philippines. Enjoy.