Tag Archives: Tasty

Recipe: Basil Salt

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basilsalt

Last week, my garden was overrun with basil.  I didn’t know what to do, as the space was competing with tomatoes, and the tomatoes were quickly winning.  It’s a massacre out there for all the other veggies.

my garden

I can hardly tell what is what over there.

I have been doing everything I can to preserve the beautiful basil my garden produced, and this recipe is no different.  Easy and super fast, you can add this salt from everything to tomato and corn salad or cheeses, to pasta dishes and desserts. Basil salt is awesome! It adds just that beautiful freshness to anything it touches, and is beautiful and bright green like the herb that produced it.

It lasts for six months too, so there is plenty of time to taste summer long into winter.

Ingredients

1/2 C tightly packed basil leaves

1/2 C kosher salt

Method

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.  Pulse basil and salt in blender until incorporated.  Mixture will be clumpy.  Spread onto baking sheet lined with parchment or tin foil and bake until dried, about 30 minutes.

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basil salt after drying but before blending for a second time

Take dried salt and pulse again in blender until powder.  Store in airtight container for six months or more.

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Used the salt to top this dish of tomatoes and ricotta cheese. Perfect basil flavor and nice hit of salt

 

-L

 

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My Top 10 in New York City

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This summer, differing from my normal intentions of plenty of beach time and music, I spent my summer working hard during an internship, a taste of what my life is to become in the coming years post culinary school. I was lucky enough to land an internship at Gramercy Tavern, a New York institution as far as classic American fare is concerned. I was incredibly lucky to work there, and learned an incredible amount and was inspired every day, something for which I am very grateful.

I used my time in New York as wisely as I could, and tried to eat out as much and as often as I could, so I could get a feel for what the scene is like in New York.  I complied this list out of the places I’ve eaten in New York- my favorite 10- as a suggestion for those looking for places to eat during the colder and slower winter season, or even to save for the (thankfully) upcoming spring season. There are some standby spots and some newer places, so try and enjoy!

Any thoughts on those places? Suggestions for other places I MUST try?? I am SO willing to hear all about it in the comments.

 

Riverpark

Tom Colicchio’s East River hub has stellar views- and incredible food to boot. It was seasonal, fresh, and eclectic;  I loved the Burrata with tomatoes (classic, I know, but still delicious).  I had my first experience trying corn ice cream here, and throughly enjoyed it.  I can see what all the hype was about last summer (and probably this one as well).  Riverpark is also home to one of the smallest but most adorable farms, or outdoor large gardens– which supplements the restaurant.  Talk about local, and definitely a feat in any city, but especially New York City.

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450 E. 29th street

(212) 729-9790

 

 Upland

California–Inspired and incredibly chic, Upland has dishes with bold flavors inspired by the seasons. The decor is awesome, I spotted a few celebs while at the bar (if you’re into that sorta thing), but it still felt causal enough that I could roll through in jeans. The Beef tartare is a must, as well as the crispy duck wings. The pasta estrella was to die for, with chicken livers and sherry.

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345 Park Ave South

(212) 686-1006

 

Buvette

Probably the most adorable place I’ve eaten at in New York.  A tiny hole in the wall, food is prepared and served right at the counter, and menus are printed daily on small little booklets.  An outdoor patio also is available when the season is right, but watching the bustle behind the counter and their incredible practice of putting together dishes right in front of you was a treat.  A little slice of Paris in the big city; the sister restaurant is actually located in the city of lights (or romance? Not sure what the kids are calling Paris these days).  The menu is simple, homey French, done very well. Brunch is sublime. The wine, of course, is French and excellent.

Breakfast done right at Buvette

Breakfast done right at Buvette

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42 Grove Street

 

Virginia’s

Cozy and upscale, the food was so good here my group ordered the menu twice.  Although the menu has changed since I’ve been, their attention to detail and flavor profiles would get me in the door again.  Try the toast, which changes frequently but was a memorable moment when I went.

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647 East 11th street

(212) 658-0182

 

Burke & Wills

Australian themed restaurant in New York, which is awesome, as I’ve had a little obsession with Australia since visiting last summer.  Housed in an absolutely gorgeous space with windowed roof, intimate feeling and lovely decor that harkens of Australia, the food was awesome as well.  The kangaroo loin was delicious, as was the roo burger.  Opt for the cheese plate to finish, then head upstairs to their private cocktail bar with one of the most knowledgeable barkeeps in Manhattan.

Octopus and Kangaroo at Burke and Wills

Octopus and Kangaroo at Burke and Wills

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226  West 79th Street

(646) 823-9251

 

Momofuku Noodle Bar

The ultimate in tasty, David Chang’s ode to ramen is always busy for a reason.  They don’t take reservations, but if you can grab a seat, try the steamed buns with various fillings and don’t skip the Momofuku Ramen, in all of its porky glory. My only regret was not trying their fried chicken, which needs an advance order of at least 48 hours.  Now I know.

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171 1st Avenue

(212) 777-7773

 

Root +Bone

Tasty southern fare done right, by two Top Chef alums.  Adorable decor. The biscuits are wonderful, as are the dishes that come to mind when you think of southern food: the shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and strawberry shortcake are all incredible choices. Comfort food at its best.

Incredible biscuits and the grilled peach salad at Root and Bone

Incredible biscuits and the grilled peach salad at Root and Bone

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200 East 3rd Street

(646) 682-7076

The Finch

This newcomer is the brainchild of Gabe McMackin, an alum of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Gramercy Tavern.  Although being open for less than a year at the time, the spot won their first Michelin star last year, quite a feat for any well-known establishment, but a testament to the incredible food being pumped out of the open kitchen.  The atmosphere is open and beautiful, and the food is thoughtful yet innovative.  Smoked egg yolks, a component of one of their summer dishes last year, are an incredible thing, and introduced to be at this establishment.  It is always refreshing to see avant-garde cooking styles, flavors, and techniques, while still maintaining the natural beauty of the ingredients. A must see for any New Yorker, and especially those in Brooklyn looking for a new and invigorating spot.

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smoked egg yolk, puree of “green things”, and pasta

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212 Greene Avenue

(718) 218-4444

Mialino

What an incredible restaurant.  If you enjoy pasta and Italian cuisine (and who doesn’t?) then this is the place for you.  But I wouldn’t expect Chicken Parmesan.  Mialino does beautiful rustic Italian, what I imagine people in Italy actually eat.  They are inspired by classic Roman cuisine, and claim to be a “modern trattoria.” While I’m not sure if this is the case, I can be sure of the food.  A truly incredible meal, I had cheeses, cured meats, tomato salad and grape bruchetta, and of course pasta.  homemade and beautiful, this is how I want every pasta meal to be.  Malfatti with duck ragu was to die for, as well as garganelli with a tomato and olive sauce.  I would highly recommend this spot to anyone looking for an incredible environment and even better food.

Incredible pasta and, salads, and cured meats

Incredible pasta, salads, and cured meats

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2 Lexington Avenue

Inside Gramercy Park Hotel

(212) 777-2410

Gramercy Tavern

I will always love this place.  There is a reason why this restaurant has been a New York institution for over 20 years.  Having worked there (more on that later), I can say that every person in the kitchen– from the Chefs to the prep cooks– cares about the integrity of ingredients.  It is inspiring as a young chef to be exposed to such talent, and it is clear on the plate, whether of not you have culinary experience. I included so many photos because I couldn’t choose which was my favorite– this place was responsible for one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.  House–cured meats, homemade pastas, and beautifully composed salads are just a taste of what is going on there.  The menu is constantly changing due to seasonality, so these photos are out of date, but the attention to detail in not only the flavors but the presentation will remain the same.  While it is pricey, sometimes it is understandable to spend a great deal if you are receiving an incredible experience.  Sit in the tavern if you cannot make a reservation or would like a more relaxed experience, or sit in the dining room for more special occasions.  Either way, make your way here and prepare to be blown away.

One of the best meals in recent memory

One of the best meals in recent memory

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42 E 20th Street

(212) 477-0777

Cheap Eats: @Union

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Who doesn’t love brunch? No one, that’s who. I personally love breakfast foods without having to wake up at breakfast times (read: before noon). That’s why I’m happy to live in a college town; I’m not alone in these beliefs. I’m also not alone in being frugal (read: broke), and when I heard about @Union, a great spot for breakfast foods that won’t break the bank, I was sold.
So The Russian and I rolled in around 1:30 and I was instantly giddy that they offer Earl Grey lattes. I love those (I’m not a big coffee drinker, which is probably why I sleep til noon).

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The menu @Union (at @Union?) is extensive. They offer so many options, I obviously have to go back and try more. For the time, however, I couldn’t decide, so I ordered the country Benedict, which is a Benedict with sausage patties, The Russian ordered the lobster Benedict, and we got some chocolate chip pancakes and bacon to share. It was a full table.

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So how was the food? It was glorious. I loved the country Benedict, how have I not seen this on more menus? It was genius and delicious and simple and so filling, I needed to be rolled home. It would be so embarrassing how much (and how fast) I ate if I wasn’t so shameless. Worth it.

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The Russian’s dish was equally as amazing. The lobster was delicate, the hollandaise rich, and the spinach was a nice touch.

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Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. We barely finished our food, took some pancakes home to snack on later, and when it was all said and done, the bill was $35. Impossible you say?
Go try this place for yourself.
-L
@Union
174 Harvard ave, Allston

Cheap Eats: Fried Scallop Sandwich @ Bento

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It’s a lazy Friday kinda day, at least for me, and I’ve needed one. I’ve been working myself crazy in the kitchen, and loving every second (not the same can be said for my feet, however). On my days off, I get a little lazy, because I’m pretty active on the days I work. Sometimes I don’t even set foot in my kitchen except to get chips (and maybe the wine opener). So what’s to eat? Well, The Russian and I moved recently, not too far from our old place but closer to a different set of stores and little eateries, and with new restaurants brings more opportunity to try more of what this city has to offer. I’ve found some of the best food in very unlikely places. Take Bento, this adorable little Asian fusion place down the street from my new place, and take their fried scallop sandwich, which isn’t adorable at all. It’s serious, and its seriously large and filling.

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It’s fresh scallops battered and fried, which may not be great for the arteries but this isn’t a health blog, with wasabi mayo and seaweed strips. Serious.
It was so simple and the bread was the perfect amount of crispy and chewy, I pretty much inhaled it. It’s under 9 bucks, so I seriously recommend this to anyone just walking by and in need of a filling but light seafood lunch.

Bento
160 Chestnut Hill Ave, Brighton
617 782 5800

Recipe: Classic Greek Salad with Steak

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Who doesn’t love a Greek salad? No one, that’s who. I personally like mine without lettuce, a simpler salad that lets the veggies shine (and the traditional salad is without lettuce also, so it’s more accurate). Thanks to Food Network for inspiring the dressing, but you can really use any dressing you choose (or just a simple oil and vinegar). You can also change up the protein to a healthier one, or none at all and use the salad as a starter for dinner. I used steak cause, well, I love steak. There’s no right way to have this salad, though. I just love Greek salads so much I had to share.

Ingredients
1 cucumber [$2]
3 tomatoes [$3]
1 small jar Kalamata olives (the most expensive on this list) [$6]
1 small package feta cheese [$3]
1 small red onion [$1]
1 lemon [.50 cents]
Fresh oregano [$2]
1 small package steak [$4]
Honey, olive oil, and red wine vinegar ( I had these on hand but they’ll run about $7 for everything, depending on how big of bottles you get)

Directions
Thinly slice the red onion and place in a bowl with ice and salt water. This will get rid of some of the onions aggressive bite.
Whisk 1/4 each cup vinegar and olive oil with a few teaspoons honey, fresh chopped oregano, and the zest and juice of the lemon in a bowl.
Chop the veggies and crumble the feta and place in the bowl. Add the red onion. Mix very well.
Heat a small pan over medium heat. Rub the steak with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and sear until medium rare (about 3 or 4 minutes per side). Let rest and slice meat and place on the salad.
It’s that simple.

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Enjoy!
-L

Cheap Eats: Shake Shack

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First off, today is Frugal Foodie’s one–year anniversary! Super exciting, and the year has gone by super–fast. I certainly have a lot more to do in the kitchen so here’s to many more!

Let's rewind the clock a year, remember baby Ajax? One of the best things about this bog, I'm sure.

Let’s rewind the clock a year, remember baby Ajax? One of the best things about this bog, I’m sure.

Speaking of stuff to say about food, The Russian and I went to Shake Shack, finally, last week.  Everybody lost their minds when it came to Boston from my hometown of New York City, and I waited to go (since I’ve been to the one back home, it wasn’t as exciting), and I finally got my butt over there.  It was delicious, just what I needed (though I have to say, Tasty Burger is still my #1).

It's a close second, though.

It’s a close second, though.

We got a couple burgers, some fries, and a peanut butter shake and the ShackMiester Ale, the signature beer made by Brooklyn Brewery. We got a little of everything, and man, it was awesome.

So awesome.

So awesome.

The burgers were super juicy, the fries were crispy (and crinkle cut, which rock when done right), and the shake was so thick we needed a spoon.  Everything in you want in a lunch, at a causal spot with a lot of sass.

These let you know when your meal is ready

These cuties let you know when your meal is ready

It cost about $15 a person, and we went all out, so it’s definitely worth a trek up to Chestnut Hill.

-L

 

Welcome 2014!

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It’s been a while, guys. It’s been a crazy new year.  I hope it’s been awesome for everyone, and I’m back now, and have plenty more food–related fun to share.

For New Years, The Russian and I traveled to Maine for some serious R&R.  We rented a small cabin in the middle of nowhere..

Pictured here.

Pictured here.

(middle of nowhere pictured here)

(middle of nowhere pictured here)

..and enjoyed the sounds of the crackling fire.

Pictured here.

Pictured here.

The cabin we stayed at (thanks, Airbnb!) was on the property of a farm, and I was able to buy farm fresh meats, eggs, and maple syrup.

CRW_7752It was incredible, as I have never had farm fresh products like this before.  I needed to make something simple to showcase the beautiful meat, so I decided to make some tasty pork burgers. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

Ground pork [$5]

Buns [$3]

Cole Slaw mix [$2]

Milk [$1.50]

Mayo [$2]

Apples [.50 cents]

BBQ sauce [$3]

Directions:

Form the pork into patties and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  I put the patties in a pan with some leftover compound butter I had made the night before, so there was a lemony flavor and some parsley on the patties.  I also threw some garlic cloves in the pan also to just lend some flavor to the meat. These items are not necessary, but they add some flavor.

It really makes a difference, folks.

It really makes a difference, folks.

While the patties are cooking (they take about 5 or 6 minutes per side for a 1/2 lb patty), I made some simple cole slaw by taking about a 1/4 cup each of mayo and milk and a dash of vinegar and whisking it with the mix and some julienned apple.

To make the burgers, I topped each with some BBQ sauce and some of the slaw. The crunch of the slaw with the juicy burger is a good flavor combo, and the BBQ adds just enough smokiness.

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Sorry this isn’t the best picture, but you get the idea.

-L