Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Devouring NYC!

It’s been about a month now since my trip to NYC to visit my bestie Stephanie for her birthday!
But I thought before heading off into Memorial Day weekend I’d share a few of the delights I got to taste during my stay:

(Friday)Once I was shuttled into the city and onto the doorstep of Steph’s apartment, I was greeted with my first New York bagel (of the trip) from H&H bagels. So fresh, and warm, right out of the toasting necessary, just slice and eat!

For lunch we headed into Brooklyn to meet up with my buddy Bronson. He took us to lunch at DuMont’s, on Union Ave. in the Willamsburg area. this place is cute with a classic look to it. They are known for their burger, however I had the grilled eggplant and artichoke sandwich; Steph had the huevos rancheros, and Bronson had the pulled pork tacos!:

For dinner we had reservations at The Stanton Social.
We arrived an hour beforehand, to chat and sip on their marvelous martinis...literally went down in 3 sips : ) 
A few bites we dined on at the social:
Maryland Jumbo Lump Crabcake 'Corn Dogs’ (pictured); pulled pork sliders;
Red Snapper Tacos - creamy avocado & spicy mango
French Onion Soup Dumplings;
Old School Meatballs; Chicken N Waffles (pictured); Mac N Cheese (pictured); and of course doughnuts for dessert!

(Saturday)A cure for the martinis, wine and champagne the night before, lunch at The Burger Joint..hidden in the swanky Le Parker Meridien.
Perfectly cooked burgers; no substitutions or exceptions-served on fluffy buns with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles and, of course, ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise. Slim fries, that taste like McDonald’s fries..mmmm mmmm!

A few hours later…time to stop for a snack... where else would one go..other than-Magnolia Bakery of course!

Dinner with friends at Punch-amazing sangria

Sunday morning we headed up to the Essex’s area early, to find the infamous Doughnut Plant:

As you could the looks of this picture..I never got my donut from there. The line wasn’t moving an inch..we hung around for about 20 minutes or so..but we had to jet off to Essex’s restaurant for Steph’s birthday Sunday Funday brunch! (pictured) Crab Cake Benedict:
potato pancake topped with house cured salmon gravlax, salmon caviar & poached eggs:
Brunch wasn’t until 330pm…so late night New York pizza by the slice was the perfect thing to have for a late dinner.. in the midst of traipsing around the city bar hopping!

And last but not least late night bingo party at the Standard hotel in the meatpacking district…champagne/vodka punch bowl!!!!
Needless to say…sweets come in all different shapes, sizes, and consistencies! ; )

Have a great and safe weekend!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Low-fat Lemon Yogurt Cake

For my California Mother's Day (for Tyler’s mother) the entire family gathered at his parent’s house for a bagel & lox brunch! (one of my favorite things)
Although I was told not to bring anything, I planned on doing so anyway : )

Since summer is in the air, and everyone always has a tendency to say they are trying to be a bit healthier this time of year, I thought I’d make something a bit lighter than say a coffee cake.  Something light, fresh, and fruity!
I remembered my friend Heith sent me an email a while back regarding an episode of the Ina Garten cooking show he watched. He said the cake looked magnificent on the episode and that she served it with a blueberry reduction sauce. 
Knowing that everything Ina Garten makes on her show is exquisite, and the fact that it was a cake made with lemon’s and yogurt...I thought I would revisit the email he sent me with the recipe.

As I stated that I wanted to keep it on the lighter side, since I’d be serving it along with the bagels, I decided to adjust her recipe a bit and make it low-fat!

Low-Fat Lemon Yogurt Cake
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake
Makes one 8 by 4 inch loaf cake
The texture of this cake is somewhat dense like a pound cake, but also super moist. Also, the original recipe calls for ½ cup of vegetable oil. I ended up using a little less, about ⅓ cup, and the cake came out just fine. Feel free to adjust the amount of oil to your liking.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt or lemon yogurt
1 cup sugar
1 whole large egg, 3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅓ to ½ cup vegetable oil
For the glaze:  
1 cup confectioners’ sugar 
Freshly squeezed lemon juice 

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour an 8½ by 4¼ by 2½-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and whisk until combined. In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and slowly whisk together. Fold the vegetable oil into the batter until it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40-60 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. If the glaze is still too thick, continue adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until it’s runny enough to pour.
Carefully place on the cake a baking rack over a sheet pan or a sheet of parchment paper. While the cake is still warm (but not hot!), pour the glaze over, allowing it to drip down the sides

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!!!

I know we just had a chocolate chip cookie entry, but I’d like to say a quick thank you to my Mom!
For Mother’s day I baked her the first recipe she ever taught me how to make; a recipe I am sure was a first for a few of us!
Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies...the infamous recipe on the back of the bag! : )

(My favorite part..eating the cookie dough by the spoonful, as you add them to the cookie sheet of course!) 

My mother and I live very far away from each other. I would have preferred to have made her an entire meal. Perhaps the first entrĂ©e dish/meal she ever taught me how to make; my favorite: Tuna Casserole! …(or tuna nuna casserole, as I use to call it!)...
However I do not believe that tuna would have shipped very nicely, even as an overnight package! : )
So mom, Happy Mother’s day! I hope you enjoyed your cookies, and thanks for introducing me to the world of baking!!!!!!!
I love you!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Alas, I had another nephew birthday to attend! Tyler has 5 nephews all under the age of 5!..yes I know.. Oh my!
(I actually made these about a month ½ I apologize in the delay of getting this up!)
We were thinking about bringing over a toy, since I didn’t think I would have time to bake for the occasion.

That same weekend I was flying back from a work conference, and I didn’t land until around 10pm the night before the birthday party.
I was hesitant to bring a gift, since we had just attended another nephew party, and we didn’t bring a toy, we brought muffins instead!

Tyler didn’t really want me to stress out about the issue..but Derek, Ty ‘s brother and father of the birthday boy seems to be one of my #1 fans. Every time Derek calls Tyler he asks “when am I getting more of Marge’s cookies!?”.. . therefore I HAD to deliver! Luckily I still had a Christmas gift sealed and stored in my pantry.

I know you must be thinking Christmas was almost 5 months ago..what could you possibly have from 5 months ago that is still good? Edible or not!
I give you not only the recipe for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie…but yet the ultimate Christmas gift!
A dear family friend of ours, ML, gave me such a fitting Christmas gift when I went back home.
Not only was it so very thoughtful, it is a time and life saver.
These cookies took me 15 mins to make (this is including the bake time!)
I definitely plan on giving this out as a gift as well!

Prep 15 mins
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup semisweet chocolate morsels
½ cup white chocolate morsels
½ cup milk chocolate morsels
½ cup light brown sugar

Layer all ingredients in order listed above in a 1-qt. clear container with an airtight lid. (Pack each layer before adding another by lightly tapping bottom of container on countertop.) Seal; store in a cool, dry place. Yield 1 gift.

Attach these directions:
Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
Beat ½ cup softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
Add 1 large egg and 1 tsp. vanilla extract, beating until blended. Add Ultimate
Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, and stir with a spoon. Drop by tablespoonful onto
baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on baking sheets 1 min. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely.
Makes 2 ½ dozen