Mar 29, 2012

The Friday Five

1. What I'm Reading: Third time’s a charm. I re-re-started The Hunger Games on the plane to NYC. I finally got into it. I wouldn’t say that I love it, or think it’s a well-written book, but I sort of understand the hype. Or maybe I’m just tricking myself into enjoying it so I can see the movie. Did any of you not like it? I can’t be alone.

2. What I’m Watching: Mad Men. I watched the premiere of Season 5 with Ben, then came home and watched the pilot episode. I’m hooked. I have 52 episodes to watch before I’m caught up with the rest of the world. I’m excited.

3. What I’m Eating: I finally bought a tub of Trader Joe’s Kalamata Olive hummus. It was the only one I hadn’t tried. All I can say is, if you like olives, you will love this.

Also, Hannah brought these to work yesterday for our girls’ picnic. I was surprised at how tasty they were and impressed by the ingredient list! 

4. What I’m Listening to:

5. What I’m Bookmarking:

Bonus. What I’m Wondering:



Tell me what you’re reading. Tell me what you’re watching. Tell me some new foods you like. Tell me your favorite song. Tell me what you recently bookmarked. Tell me I’m not going to die of heat exhaustion this Summer.

Mar 28, 2012

The Most Disgusting Blog Post I’ve Ever Written

As a food blogger, it should come as no surprise that I daydream about food. It will surprise you, though, that I often daydream about food that I cannot have. And by cannot, I mean should not ever. I see so many blog posts called “What I Ate Wednesday” but thought I’d twist that idea into something rather, well, disgusting.

Welcome to the inside of my (crazy) head. Here’s what I secretly would eat if nutrition wasn’t a concern.

1. Chef Boyardee Spaghetti & Meatballs.  I know. You just gagged, didn’t you? Growing up, I spent most weekends at my Grammy’s house. When we’d go grocery shopping, I always picked up a can of these. Ugh. 

2. Lucky Charms

And no, I wouldn’t just pick out the marshmallows. I love it all.

3. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

This is one of their best flavors. It’s a “collision of Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Creams with HEATH® Bar Chunks, White Chocolatey Chunks, Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolatey-Covered Almonds.” Cruel, just cruel.

4. Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion potato chipsThese things are so freaking good. You can find them at World Market.

5. Dunkaroos!

Remember when I found these at Wal-Mart last fall? Yeah, I almost peed my pants out of excitement. They were only $2 to boot.

6. Oatmeal Crème Pies and Cosmic Brownies by Little Debbie

These two are just shameful. In high school, Nancy and I would destroy a box of Cosmic Brownies. They’re so fudgey.

7. Ellio’s Pepperoni Pizza

I also ate this as a child. Something about the rectangular shape excites me.

8. Curly Fries…especially if they’re spicy.

Do I just love these for the curl? When I did eat these, I remember getting oh so excited for the ones that were super long. And of course I loved them because I could drown them in ketchup.

9. Cadbury Mini Eggs

Besides peanut and pretzel m&ms, this is my favorite candy. It’s not even quality chocolate but I love the taste of the candy shell. Plus, they make me happy because they’re pastel.

10. and my very favorite, Funfetti cake!!!

Well guys, now that I’ve disgusted you,  it’s time for me to go and eat my kale.


What would YOU eat if the nutrition/ingredients didn’t matter? Be honest! You know you want some boxed cake too.

Do you ever indulge in these taboo foods?

Mar 27, 2012

NYC Day 3

On Sunday, Lucy and I went to brunch with Courtney, my friend from Charleston who moved up to the city a couple years ago. As of couple months ago, Courtney and her husband are Vegan, as is Lucy. Courtney found us a cute little Vegan brunch spot called Blossom. For being strictly Vegan, they had a menu full of delicious sounding meals. I opted for the French Toast with fresh fruit and tempeh bacon. DSC00284

The French toast was crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. I was nervous to try the tempeh bacon, but I ended up liking it.

Both Lucy and Courtney had the Tofu Scramble  with sautéed onion, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, and soy sausage. DSC00285

I wish we had more Vegan restaurants in Charleston. There were a lot of menu items I’d like to try and ultimately experiment with in my kitchen. Maybe I’ll use the menu as inspiration. Thanks, Courtney, for picking out a great spot and meeting us! :)Blossom on Urbanspoon

We also took Courtney’s recommendation to walk through Chelsea Market and pick up a cherry cream scone at Amy’s Bread.IMAG2041

I had just eaten breakfast, but couldn’t resist digging into this soft, buttery scone. It was incredible. Scones aren’t my typical go-to baked good, but I’m so glad I listened to Courtney. The girl is smart. I want to make these at home, too!IMAG2043

Amy's Bread in Chelsea Market on Urbanspoon

Sunday evening, Ben and I had a really fun dinner at Mario Batali’s restaurant, Casa Mono. First, while waiting for a table, we had a glass of wine at Bar Jamon, which is adjacent to Casa Mono. We both had the Nita, a blend of Cariñena, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. I liked it a lot.

Dinner was so exciting. We sat at the bar that overlooked the kitchen. Watching the chefs prepare everyone’s food was quite a show. They were quick, yet so particular about plating, and it showed in each dish.

Casa Mono is a Spanish tapas restaurant so we ordered several different plates.

Round 1:

Bacalao Croquetas with Orange AlioliIMG_2372

Razor Clams a la PlanchaIMG_2371

Sepia with Salsa VerdeIMG_2385

Of these three, I liked the croquetas best. They were glorified fish sticks – so light and the orange zest really added to it. The razor clams were garlicky and in a delicious olive oil. The sepia, a cuttlefish, had a chewy texture but were great.

Round 2:

Mussels with Cava and Chorizo - $15IMG_2378

Lobster with Spicy Sweet Potato and Agua de CocoIMG_2377

Seared scallops with a cherry parsnip pureeIMG_2383

Each of these plates were amazing. I avoided the chorizo in the mussels and, even without it, the broth had so much flavor. The cherry parsnip puree with the scallops was one of the best flavors I’ve had in a while. I really enjoyed the fruit + seafood pairing. This was definitely a memorable dinner, both for the incredible food and the entertainment. I so badly wanted to jump over the counter into the kitchen with the chefs. Casa Mono is a must for your (and my!) next visit to NYC.Casa Mono on Urbanspoon

Dinner would not be complete without dessert. Both of us were in the mood for cookies, so we headed over to Momofuku Milk Bar. They have some crazy desserts, including cookies, pies, ice cream, truffles, milkshakes and more. We stuck with cookies and brought home 3 types:

  • the famous Compost Cookie (pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch, chocolate chips)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Blueberry & Cream (dried blueberries, milk crumbs, white chocolate)

The PB cookie was pretty standard, and while the Compost Cookie was good, it wasn’t as earth-shaking as the reviews I’d previously read. There weren’t any pretzels in it and it mostly tasted like coffee! I really liked, no loved, the Blueberry & Cream cookie.

Momofuku Milk Bar on Urbanspoon

What’s your favorite type of baked good?

Do you like tapas style restaurants?

Mar 26, 2012

NYC Days 1 & 2

So, last week I told you I was going on a little vacation, but couldn’t tell you where. My reasoning for this was that I was surprising my bestie Lucy. For over 3 weeks, I managed to keep it a secret that I was coming. She had no idea…until I walked into the bar where she and Kaye were “waiting.” It was absolutely hilarious and she was in shock for a good 3 hours.

On Friday, before she knew I had arrived, I spent the day frolicking while my friends were at work.  I walked all around Soho, then travelled back up to the NYU campus for one reason in : Chick-fil-A! The last two times I’ve been in the city, it was closed, but today it was actually open. Finally!IMAG2020Unfortunately they didn’t have anything I could eat (limited menu), so I walked a block over to Space Market, a grocery store/deli. I picked up a wrap full of roasted veggies, hummus, and fresh mozzarella. It was so good.IMAG2025

My fun purchase of the day was at C. Wonder. Oh my gosh, I am in love with that store. Bright colors and monograms everywhere! A Southern girl’s dream. I picked up the Easy Tote in orange. This picture doesn’t do it justice. It’s the cutest thing! It reminds me of my Longchamp totes but is better quality with more pockets. And less expensive at only $58.image

That evening was when I surprised Lucy at one of the bars we like, 10 Degrees in the East Village. Although she was the one in shock, I apparently was unable to focus on the camera.DSC00276

On Saturday, my friend Ben and I went for a 5 mile run along the East River running path. The weather was really nice and who doesn’t love running along the water? On the walk back, we stopped at One Lucky Duck for a cold-pressed juice. I had the Green Apple: apple, cucumber, celery, mint, lime, spinach. It was interesting, and now I want a juicer.IMAG2029

One Lucky Duck on UrbanspoonTo refuel, we ordered a pizza from Naked Pizza. Their pizza contains less calories than typical fast food pizza places and does not contain added sugar, hydrogenated oils, or HFCS. Our pizza was topped with black beans, pineapple, tomatoes, spinach, and roasted red peppers.IMAG2032

Naked Pizza on Urbanspoon

Saturday evening, Lucy, her friend Shana, and I went to dinner and drinks at Room Service, a Thai restaurant in Chelsea. I had the Room Service Pad Thai: sautéed glass vermicelli with shrimps, mixed seafood, mangoes, brown tofu, bean sprouts, scallions, crushed peanuts,  wrapped in an egg white crepe. The presentation was so neat – once you break the egg layer, out pop the noodles and seafood. Fun stuff.DSC00280

Lucy had the Green Curry. Hers was also delicious.DSC00278

Room Service on Urbanspoon

After dinner we bar hopped in the West Village, making stops at Kingswood and Desantos. DSC00282

We had too much fun, as usual. Stay tuned for more on NYC tomorrow!

Mar 23, 2012

The Friday Five–Manly Style

Hello friends! I am off for a little vaca and have a guest post (of sorts) for you.

Meet my friend Eric. Eric works at Blackbaud with me and is also food critic for the Charleston City Paper. We met through our mutual friend Rachel and bonded over a love for all things related to food and cooking. The food bond is pretty strong as we both have a slight obsession with beets and pickles. Oh, and did I mention he’s a Chick-fil-A fan too? Now you know why we are friends.

I enjoy cooking and learning about different foods, but this is where Eric and I differ. He LOVES cooking. And is really good at it. In preparation for a catering gig he was doing, he offered to let me sample some of the veggie burgers he was going to be serving.IMG_0074 (683x1024)

As a new(ish) vegetarian, I was really excited to try homemade veggie burgers! Morning Star and Trader Joe’s veggie and black bean burgers have already been incorporated into my diet, but I knew it was only time before a homemade one made its way to my mouth.

While Eric played in the kitchen, I played with his pup, Copper. Look at this cutie!IMG_0067 (1024x683)

Though I don’t have an exact recipe, the burgers are essentially a mix of the following:

  • edamame
  • red pepper
  • red onion
  • corn
  • carrot
  • spinach
  • cayenne
  • lime juice
  • garlic
  • egg
  • bread crumbs
  • edamame pureed with water, lemon juice, and oil

The veggies and seasonings were chopped in tiny bits, then bound together with the egg, bread crumbs, and edamame puree. So colorful!IMG_0076 (1024x683)

He formed the patties,IMG_0077 (1024x683)

and pan fried them.IMG_0094 (1024x683)

For serving, Eric placed each burger on a mini Hawaiian sweet roll, topped them with tzatziki sauce, and garnished them with cilantro radish.IMG_0081 (1024x683)

How adorable is this! Be jealous. They were flipping fantastic.

I thought to myself, “How am I going to go another day without these?” My prayers were answered when Eric offered to let me take home the leftover mix so I could make some at home.

Hash tag awesome.

Now here’s where the guest post comes in. We have the usual Friday Five post, but written by the cook himself. Enjoy!

What I'm Reading: Charcuterie: The craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Brian Polcyn and Michael Ruhlman. Who doesn't love cured meats?  I'm seriously considering turning my spare walk-in closet into a meat  and beer locker. Sausages, hams, salumis, and aged beers.  Can you imagine staying in my spare room and smelling bacon?

What I'm Watching: American Idol. Don't judge me. I've never been into the show until this season. The only reason I'm watching is to support a someone I know from Charleston, Elise Testone. She's killing it right now and everyone should vote for her on Wednesday nights!

What I'm listening to: Atlas Genius – Trojans. I heard this song for the first time on Alt Nation and I'm hooked.

What I'm Bookmarking: 

I've been on a molecular gastronomy kick. Making balsamic caviar, foams, basil spaghetti, mojito spheres, bloody mary candies, and more.It's cool what you can do with food and chemistry.

What I'm Drinking: Bell's Hopslam. Hops, citrus, and honey - three of my favorite things all in one beer. This stuff doesn't sit on the shelf long so I get as much as I can as soon as it's released.

Hope you enjoyed the guest post. I will tell you where I am soon.. Smile