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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Radicchio Salad with Pear and Almonds

 

Radicchio Salad with Almonds, Chives, and Asian PearI spent this past St. Patty’s Day in Philadelphia. My boyfriend bought a car last week so we took it down to Philly for the day. My navigation wasn’t always on point and we got lost a few times (on the way home he picked up a navigation system). However, I totally blame the heated seats for my lack of focus. They’re so relaxing. They can lull me to sleep before we even pull out of a parking lot. After several wrong turns I did the responsible thing, hard as it was, and shut off the heated seat feature. After that I found our way into downtown Philadelphia no problem.Chestnut Risotto with Black Truffles and Mascarpone

Chicken with Sour Cherries, Fingerling Potatoes and Lardons

Initially, we were looking for a thrift store he’d read about near South Street when we stumbled upon a massive record store. Having recently purchased a record player, Reed was quiet excited to check out their selection. After I scoped out the place and saw how large and unorganized their jazz, soul, and opera sections were I knew he’d be there for a while. I left him sorting through dusty bins of records to wander around the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, I’ve recently been reintroducing myself to the weights at the gym. My legs were horribly sore from my workout on Friday so wandering around wasn’t good. With each step every muscle from my hips down to my calves cried out in pain. Maybe that was also part of the reason the heated seats felt so nice. Since it was St Patty’s day, I thought it would be a good time for an afternoon beer. I got an outside table at the corner bar near the record store.Ingredients for Bitter Greens Salad with Pear and Almonds

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Ricotta with Honey, Herbs & Orange Toast

Burnt Orange Toast with Fresh Ricotta and Truffle Honey

I was flipping through the pages of an old issue of New York Magazine at the gym. Generally, I greatly prefer US Weekly or InTouch when I’m on the stair master but my fellow gym goers had already taken all the good stuff.

Locanda Verde at Brunch

When my heart rate is up reading the caption, not even the article mind you, about Kim Kardashian’s latest exploits is all the mental stimulation I can take. Sometimes I pick up a gossip magazine that’s a few months old. Then my celebrity make up/break up knowledge is all messed up and I’m just shocked to learn Jen broke up with that guy she was dating a few months ago again…. when did they get back together?  When my pulse is three times its resting rate, my IQ drops at least as much.

Ingredients for ricotta with honey, herbs, and orange toast

Fresh Ricotta Cheese

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

The Chocolate Room's Flourless Chocolate Cake

When Lauren sent me a text asking if I could meet her at the Chocolate Room, I knew she’d had a rough day.  For some people comfort food is mac n’ cheese but for Lauren it was chocolate cake. Not fluffy little cupcakes that are fun & celebratory, but the comforting, melt-in-your mouth richness of flourless chocolate cake.

The Chocolate Room, 86 5th Ave, Brooklyn

My friend Lauren was breaking up with her boyfriend of two years, the guy she was engaged to and she needed moral support before doing the deed. The Chocolate Room was our local go-to spot for great desserts and a glass or two of wine. It had been in the neighborhood a long time and being the personable girl she is, Lauren is buddies with the manager and wait staff there. When we entered the manager came over to say hi and he wanted to hear if there were any updates to the Ramon situation.The Chocolate Room at Night

 

It became known as the ‘Ramon situation’ early in the relationship when Lauren concluded that Ramon wasn’t the right guy and maybe she should break up with him but before she did that she needed to talk about it a lot. Many, many hours had been logged discussing the Ramon situation. So one year and six months into it, I was skeptical that she would go through with it until she told me that that morning she’d signed a lease on an apartment upstate. She was moving out of the city at the end of the month and Ramon wasn’t coming with her.

I’ve lived within five blocks of Lauren for six years. She’s the person I text when I want a buddy to go running in the park or explore a new bar in the neighborhood. She has my extra set of keys and watches my cat when I’m away. I was going to need the comfort of the chocolate cake too.  I hate when friends move away.

Ingredients for Flourless Chocolate Cakes

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Soft Scrambled Egg Sandwich with Goat Cheese & Chives

 

Sarabeth's Scrambled Eggs with Cream Cheese and ScallionsLast Saturday morning when we getting ready for brunch and a full afternoon at Barney’s sample sale, I thought about the first time I entered that warehouse they take over on West 18th Street…. I’d only been in the city a few weeks and hadn’t even heard the term until my new boss showed me the cute shoes she’d just scored at a sample sale downtown. ‘Sample Sale?’ What sort of magical creature was this? A quick Google search elated me: Major designers 80% off?!? What could be wrong with that?

Sarabeth's bar during brunch

The first time I walked past security at the infamous sale, it never accorded to me to make a mental note of my undie situation. After wading through all the other eager young ladies and snatching one of the few dresses that didn’t look it came from Lady Gaga’s closet, I was crushed to learn there weren’t any fitting rooms. I’d assumed the girls who were stripping down among the racks just lacked impulse control in the face of such steep discounts. Neither my modesty nor my sensible bikini briefs were ready for that much exposure. I’d learned my first and most crucial sample sale rule: always wear good undies. I spent the rest of my lunch hour checking out the accessories.

Goat Cheese Scrambled Egg Sandwich Ingredients

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Braised Lamb Shanks with Moroccan Spices over Lentils

Kutsher's Lamb Shank

Kutsher's meatballs

Kutsher's Short Rib & Brisket Meatballs with caramelized onions and creamy horseradish sauce

Braising is my favorite cooking method for winter so when I saw braised lamb shanks on the menu at Kutsher’s Tribeca, I was excited. This was my first time eating at this modern Jewish American bistro which the recently opened at 186 Franklin Street in Tribeca. We went on a Sunday night and their soft white space, accented with natural wood gave the dining room a  mellow retro 60′s feeling which was just right for a quite Sunday dinner that was the bookend to a busy weekend up in Connecticut.

When my enormous lamb shank arrived it smelled of roasted tomatoes and Moroccan spices and it looked divine. When my fork touched the meat it fell into a softly shredded pile of glistening goodness. The braising process had infused the lamb with the sweetness of the currents and fresh parsley gremolata brightened the dish and provided a welcome counterpoint to the richness of the meat.

Lamb ShanksThe lamb shanks about to go in the oven Continue reading

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