Seared Tuna with Ginger Shiitake Sauce

Seared Tuna with Mushroom Packets I’m still sick today but definitely on the mend but since I still not up to snuff I’m posting about another dish that I cooked last week before I came down with the flu. Tuna with mushrooms: to me that sounds like a weird combination but I’ve come across fish and mushroom dishes on several menus lately so I’m sure all those chefs can’t be wrong.Grilled AsparagusGrilled Artichoke

So when I saw Grilled Tuna with Mushroom Packets at the Pelican Grill I thought it was time to man up and try this combo. I’ve been told its good to try new foods when your hungry and after a long day of traveling, starting with a 7:00 am flight to sunny California, I was starving.  We proceeded to order way too much food.

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Chicken with Bacon & Pine Nut Sauce

chicken with garlic and lemon, served with bacon sauce and roasted potatoesReed and I recently went to the Greenwich Grill in Tribeca which is an unusual mix of Japanese and Italian cooking. When you enter its set up a sushi bar but in the back room there’s a lovely Italian restaurant. I ordered the tasting menu which was hit and miss but my main course the chicken with bacon sauce which was spiked with garlic, lemon, and rosemary had a great combination of flavors. The bacon sauce also incorporated pine nuts and pine nuts always remind me of my first encounter with pine nuts in nature: Four years ago I met up with my friend Jenna in Moscow where we hopped on the Trans-Siberian Railroad bound for Beijing.  During our stop over in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, we were excited to do some hiking after being cooped up in a small train compartment for four days .

Lonely Planet recommended an outfitter for hiking trips around the capital. They weren’t running any trips while we were in town but the expat who ran the place was happy to sell us a map and recommend some short hikes that would be suited for our fitness level, moderate to solid, and hiking experience, novice. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Ulaanbaatar’s markets looking for cashmere accessories and hiking supplies: gloves (its still pretty chilly in Mongolia in June), nuts, dried fruit, and bottled water but it was only a 3-4 hour hike so we weren’t worried but its always better to be prepared.

Setting off on an extremely long hike back to Ulaanbaater

Setting off on an extremely long hike back to Ulaanbaater

Early the next morning the driver we hired took us to an outlying area from which we were going hike back to Ulaanbaatar. As we drove out, I got a concerned at how long the drive was taking but I told myself it was slow going because the road was rough and winding. We planned to take a trail through the hills and forest to lead us to a nice hotel in the Ulaanbaatar suburbs where we’d have lunch before continuing on to the capital.

Semi-lost in the Mongolian wilderness but still having a good time

Semi-lost in the Mongolian wilderness but still having a good time

After we’d been hiking for two hours and were still far away from the hills that marked the half way point, I could tell that we were on a much longer hike than we’d planned. That’s when I realized we really should have held out for a map milage scale. We started to ration our water and really picked up our pace. Through the plains, forests and scrambling over rocky hill tops we kept up our pace. A month ago Jenna and I had hiked in and out of the Grand Canyon in an afternoon so we were in reasonably good shape but we didn’t want to be out in the Mongolian wilderness overnight. Continue reading

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Fried Rice, Chinese Take Out Style

Chinese Take Out Who doesn’t love to order Chinese take out from that spot around the corner?  But sometimes when I’m feeling healthy and/or motivated to use up various leftovers, I make my own.

The nice thing about making your own fried rice is you can cut back on the oil, use lean meats & brown rice, and load up on the vegetables. All of a sudden it goes from a greasy, take out, indulgence to a healthy one dish meal that you can whip up in no time.   Fried Rice Ingredients

Chopped Ginger for Fried RiceAfter a big Easter lunch this past Sunday, my parents sent me home with eggs (from my mom’s chicken, more on them later), ham, peas, cake, extra frosting, orange juice, deviled eggs, and scallions. My mother is incapable of letting me leave the house without loading me up with foodstuffs.

I feel like pack mule returning to the city with bags full to bursting with leftovers, and other foods she doesn’t want to keep in the house. With the remnants of Easter supper taking over my refrigerator, it was time for me to make fried rice again.
Scrambling Eggs for Fried RiceScrambled Eggs and Chopped Ingredients

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Roast Monkfish over Pea & Prosciutto Risotto

Young Chicken with Peruvian Forbidden Rice

On the subway this past Friday night I noticed the smell of roast almonds.  ’That’s odd’ I thought.  The subway’s full of many smells, mainly urine and rotting trash but I don’t recall ever smelling roast almonds down there. As the smell became stronger, I started looking around at my fellow passengers to find the source.

Then I remembered I was carrying a bottle of almond oil, the very one I used to make the dressing for the radicchio salad.  I looked under the arugula and cilantro and there it was, tipped over, and leaking all over my shopping bag.

Roast Monkfish with mushroom risotto

Reed's Roast Monkfish with Mushroom Risotto

Rayuela's Sign

At the time I was on my way over to Reed’s toting the groceries to make dinner that night. But since my all ingredients were dosed in almond oil, we went out to dinner at Rayuela, a Latin American restaurant on the Lower East side.

I had a beautiful plate of young chicken with Peruvian forbidden rice. The rice was jet black and the cook had molded it into a perfect square. On top of this bed of rice my twice-cooked egg looked very dramatic. Rayuela had given my chicken and rice a top notch Hollywood makeover.

Prosciutto and Onion for Risotto

Sautéing barley before adding the broth

Adding the broth to the risotto

Mixing the cheese into the risotto

Unfortunately, the best thing about that dish was the aesthetics. Beyond that nothing really stood out.

Instead, Reed’s roast monkfish over mushroom risotto with foie gras was delicious even if it wasn’t quite as pretty as my dish. Since I couldn’t find black rice anywhere and the monkfish and risotto was better anyway, I’m going to work on Reed’s dish.  I have some ethical issues with foie gras so I’m going to opt for another ingredient to amp up the flavors: prosciutto.  Continue reading

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Creamy Mac & Cheese with Greens

Red Rooster's Mac & Greens

Red Rooster's Mac & Greens

Saturday night we had a festive dinner party for six. I haven’t hosted one for couple months so it was time to get back into practice. Also my cousin was in town so it was a good excuse to have him over and introduce him to some NYC friends. Having this dinner party instead of going out was a last minute decision so I was very pressed for time when I got home three hours before our guests were slated to arrive. The Red Rooster in Harlem

Sunday Brunch with Soul Music at the Red Rooster

Sunday Brunch with Soul Music at the Red Rooster

On the way home I decided to make: black pepper tofu, shrimp with mango and basil,  and sesame/peanut noodles with chicken and red peppers plus chocolate mousse (looking back on it the chocolate mousse was too ambitious).  Once we got back I quickly put together a grocery list and dashed off to the store (thankful the grocery store is only a block away).Creamy Mac, Cheese & Greens IngredientsChopped Swiss Chard for Mac, Cheese & GreensGrated Cheeses for Mac, Cheese & Greens

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Butter Poached Lobster with Lemongrass

Crab Dumplings and Butter Poached Lobster

A few weeks ago my boyfriend surprised me with tickets for a jazz concert. It was my first time experiencing live jazz and the band was great. My boyfriend loves jazz and was excited that venue is just blocks from his new apartment. Over the past few weeks he’d been getting more and more involved in his music.

Outside of the concerts we’d been going to, we’d spent hours at audio stores testing out different sound systems. Slowly but surely my boyfriend’s becoming something of an audiophile. Finally at Stereo Exchange, one of those only in New York specialty stores devoted to high-end sound equipment, he decided he had to move to vinyl. This won nods of approval from the sales guys at Stereo Exchange who will tell you that only records can give you the best listening experience. I’m a bit skeptical. I see the portability of MP3′s and convenience of iTunes and major pluses. Also I worry our future weekends will be taken up with trips to record stores all over town until he builds up his collection.

Perry Street booth

Last night we attended another concert and things got off to an awkward start when the performers took ten minutes to appear on stage after they were announced. Then the movie montage that opened the show didn’t sync correctly with the audio and things went down hill from there.

Perry Street

When they called intermission Reed looked over to ask if I wouldn’t mind leaving early. Problems with the microphones and sound system were ruining the performance for him. I was happy to leave but I just wanted to get to Perry Street, one of my favorite restaurants in the city. Continue reading

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