A Sarcastic Appetite

Curried Chicken Salad
October 31, 2009, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


I know, I know. Curried chicken salad? I can even hear your eyes rolling: “Way to go, Emily. You’re really making it rain out here with recipes I’ve….actually been making myself for the last ten years, and I don’t even know where my own oven is.”

You’re unimpressed. I get it. And look, you don’t even need to say anything – I went ahead and filled in the dialogue for you. But the other day I read this little number and figured it would be best for all involved if I at least made a fighting effort to ward off dementia, though it appears to be a battle I am already losing.

So I made curried chicken salad for the second time in two weeks, a classic recipe courtesy of my mother (not that the citation really matters, since she recently revealed that she doesn’t have time to read my blog. Thanks, Mom). I may have gone overboard in the curry department, but I’m not really sure….since I forgot how much I put in. Oh, well. I live to fight another day.

Curried Chicken Salad

Serves 2 with a little leftover

1/2 c. salted peanuts

2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked however you like (I typically poach them)

2-3 ribs of celery

2-3 scallions

1/2 c. or so of raisins

roughly 1/4 c. mayo, or to taste (just add it by the spoonful and mix to taste, since you don’t want to overdo it)

lots of salt and freshy ground pepper

several tbsp. of curry powder…I think

First, toast the peanuts in a skillet for a few minutes, until they start to smell nice and develop a little color. Dice the celery and scallions; toss into a large bowl. Make sure those peanuts aren’t burning. Chop the chicken in nice, even chunks and toss into the bowl. Add the raisins and the peanuts, once they’re finshed toasting and have cooled just slightly. Add the mayo little by little (you can always add more….but you can’t take it away). Add lots of salt and pepper, and as much curry powder as you like/whatever will ward off Alzheimer’s. Hey, don’t say I never gave you anything.

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of October 29
October 29, 2009, 7:47 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I know you’ve been waiting all week for this. You don’t need to lie to me. Say it with me: I’m here to canvass the food blogs, so you don’t have to. A few highlights this week:

The Martignetti brothers, who brought you Bar Martignetti in all its WASP-y glory, have revamped the space and rechristened it Brinkley’s. I never darkened the doorway of the former iteration, but will happily check it out now, especially if indeedy they’re serving deep fried Mars bars.

The generally genial Sam Sifton gets everyone’s panties in a twist when he heads to – gasp – Flushing and bestows all of – wait for it – one star on Imperial Palace.

From “Off the Menu”: Accademia di Vino slips across the Park and opens up shop on Broadway and 89th St.; Tipsy Parson now serving Southern-style comfort food, and the Highlands serving no food at all, thanks to kitchen delays.

The good people at ‘inoteca formally announced the opening of their latest venture, corsino cantina italiana, on Hudson Street. (Yes, really all lowercase. Perhaps owner Jason Denton is related to one e e cummings? I shudder to think.)

Bill’s Burger and Bar’s recent opening is still causing a ruckus; The Feedbag’s Josh Ozersky basically had a coronary when he waxed poetic about its sublime burgers, but GQ‘s Alan Richman is having none of it. I have to say I agree with Richman; I ate there close to 11pm on a Friday night and was underwhelmed, given the hype. But, you know, it may just require a second trip….to be certain, of course.

Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup
October 28, 2009, 8:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Usually, October 1 rolls around and I go haywire: I buy those little pumpkins that aren’t even actually pumpkins (but in fact boring gourds) and arrange them all around the apartment, often forgetting where I’ve put some of them so in several months an odd smell will begin to waft from somewhere unexpected, like the hall closet. (Seemed like a good idea at the time?) I fill vases with cranberries and shove pillar candles in there, channeling Martha Stewart even though I know she’s trying to kill me.

I also tend to get a little riled up in the kitchen, baking pumpkin bread and acorn squash with cinnamon and maple syrup, roasting chickens and making stews. The weather’s getting colder, so I might as well give my metabolism a run for its money, and hey why don’t we go ahead and make four batches of cornbread while we’re at it?

Not this year. I guess I got a little distracted, because I turned around and October had basically ended. But I had a craving for some butternut squash soup and in a surprising turn of events, I actually went out and bought what I needed and made it that same night. And it’s pretty good. A little on the healthy side for my liking – where is the cream? Wine? Onions sauteed in copious amounts of butter? No? Well, I suppose it’s for the best. My cholesterol levels will thank me, I guess. Just this once.


Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup

Adapted from this recipe, courtesy of Tartelette. Serves about 4.

Several tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 tsp. or more of crushed red pepper flakes

1 smallish butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1 inch cubes

1 smallish acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1 inch cubes

3 cloves of garlic, smashed

4 c. chicken stock, preferably homemade (and don’t give me that look – it’s easy.)

1-2 tsp. thyme

lots of salt, pepper


Heat the oil on medium heat in a large stock pot; add the red pepper flakes (add more, if you want more of a kick). Throw the squash in and let it caramelize for 5-7 minutes, stirring as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and keep stirring; add the chicken stock and thyme, bring to a boil and then let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Let the soup cool (overnight in the fridge is fine), then puree it in a food processor or blender. Or if you’re one of those cool cats with an immersion blender, you can do that right away. Serve with a dollop of creme fraîche and some thyme on top, or crumbled bacon, or whatever the heck else you want to throw on there.

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of October 22
October 22, 2009, 8:09 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s a quick one this week – I’ve got stuff to do! Here are some highlights from the food blogs these days:

It’s official: Sam Sifton is a kinder, gentler Pete Wells. Marea gets three stars.

Motorino in the East Village is officially open, having taken over the old Una Pizza Napoletana space. If you can’t stand the thought of fighting the crowds to get in there, Tasting Table’s got you covered on how to get your pizza a libretto – to go.

Steve Hanson took over that bastion of class and sophistication, the Hog Pit, and turned it into Bill’s Bar and Burger, which opened last week to an absurd amount of press. “Another burger joint?” you say suspiciously? Oh, no, dear friends. This is apparently the burger of your dreams. Or Josh Ozersky’s dreams, anyway.

If you’re into secret sushi, check out Uo, now open on the LES. 151 Rivington, to be precise. Second floor.

Since it’s supposed to be in the seventies here in New York today, why don’t you go ahead and check out one of these restaurant gardens, created specifically for your bingeing and boozing pleasure? It is Thirsty Thursday after all….

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of October 15
October 15, 2009, 8:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

You know the drill: I’m here to canvass the food blogs, so you don’t have to. A few highlights this week:

The restaurant of this five minutes that everyone’s wetting themselves over? The Breslin, brought to you by the peeps behind The Spotted Pig (April Bloomfield, also of the now shuttered John Dory, and Ken Friedman, in case you’re keeping score), in the relatively recently opened Ace Hotel. It’s set for soft open this weekend. Uh-oh, you’re looking faint. Do you need a paper bag?

A thing or two from the Eater NY Wire: DB Bistro Moderne’s doing a 3 course dinner with wine pairing for $65, and Ed of Ed’s Lobster Bar fame has revamped his wine list. (In case you’re wondering, his lobster roll makes it to Citysearch’s Top Ten List, but fans seem to prefer the original, at Pearl Oyster Bar.)

Sam Sifton, the new restaurant critic for the NY Times, weighs in on DBGB and gives it a warm 2 spot. After Pete Wells’ aggressive interim run, I think it’s safe to say everyone’s breathing a sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, Robert Sietsema’s busy bringing the smackdown to the Village Voice; commenters took issue with his omitting Terroir from the recent Top Ten Wine Bars…and it just gets uglier from there. Boozy NYC has the highlights.

Oh, no, my pirate-midget-loving friends. Oh. No. It appears Champagne Tuesdays at Superdive are not the bubbly-fueled revelry we had all hoped and wished for. Consider yourself warned.

Ardesia, from Mandy Oser (Director of Strategic Partnerships at Le Bernardin, thankyouverymuch), just opened with a pretty straight-forward menu: pork belly bites, duck banh mi, pretzels….it’s on Tenth Avenue, but should be worth the hike.

And…BOOM: David Chang’s newest iteration of Momofuku in Midtown has officially been christened Ma Pêche.

The Fig and Stilton Tart that Almost Wasn’t
October 13, 2009, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Alternatively, I was thinking of titling this one “Figs, Halved Lengthwise and Early Onset Alzheimers.” The tart that was supposed to take an hour and a half took more than three. Why? Because I  1) forgot about the puff pastry, so it thawed all the way until it was completely useless, thereby requiring that I open another package of (frozen) puff pastry and wait 45 minutes for that to warm up and  2) also waited until the last minute to throw together the egg and milk mixture…before realizing that I did not have any eggs. Gristede’s, take two.

I know what you’re thinking: who has two packages of puff pastry and zero eggs? Yeah, I know. No comment.

Anyway, once again, despite my best efforts, the tart somehow baked completely and I managed not to break anything. Yet. And it’s actually really good. Just don’t forget to finish it off with some rosemary and hone—damn. Definitely forgot that.


Fig Tart with Caramelized Onions and Stilton

From this recipe in the New York Times, courtesy of Melissa Clark

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 large onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly

1 sprig rosemary, plus extra for garnish

1 tbsp. sherry or red wine vinegar

1/4 c. milk

1 egg

1 sheet prepared puff pastry

1 pint fresh figs, stemmed and halved lengthwise

1 1/2 oz. Stilton cheese

honey, for drizzling

In a large skillet, melt the oil and butter; add the sprig of rosemary and the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, about 35 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir.

Preheat the oven to 400º. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk together, then stir in the onions. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 9 x 12″ rectangle, or some kind of shape vaguely resembling a rectangle, and throw it on the baking sheet.

With a fork, spread the onion mixture onto the pastry, reserving some of the egg mixture. Arrange figs, cut side up, in neat rows, then sprinkle the Stilton on top. Use a pastry brush to brush the edges of the tart with the leftover egg mixture; fold the edges over to form a lip and brush with more egg mixture.

Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the extra rosemary and then drizzle with honey. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of October 8
October 7, 2009, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m back to my usual Thursday antics – here to canvass the food blogs so you don’t have to. Some highlights:

So it’s not a restaurant, and it’s not even a recipe, but that doesn’t matter because now it’s dead: 68 year old Gourmet hit the chopping block, in case you’ve been living in a cave. Luckily, there’s a silver lining to everything: at least former editor in chief Ruth Reichl got a free lunch out of it….

If we drink wine together, and you have an iPhone, kindly get the WineChap app, which takes the guessing game out of restaurant wine lists. Supposedly, it’ll tell you what’s good, what’s offbeat, what’s overpriced. Get it and let me know!

Gael Greene hits up A Voce in Columbus Circle, and while she admits the kitchen’s got “some work to do,” she somehow missed the taleggio-filled ravioli with chanterelles and brown butter which is so delicious you can’t even imagine. So go, and eat it – sit at the bar if you don’t want to get too involved.

Eric Asimov shines a little light on The Ten Bells, what was formerly an under-the-radar wine bar on the LES but will now, obviously, be jam packed with the hoi polloi. I guess the word was already out; Robert Sietsema put it at the top of his Top Ten list of best wine bars in the city last week. Just go early to beat the crowds.

Restaurant Girl checks in on the LES’s Bia Garden, giving it 3 stars, while Eater NY checks in with Casa Lever, the new place from the guys behind Sant Ambroeus in the old Lever House space, set to open next week.

Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Frosting
October 6, 2009, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


This. was. a. production. Also, I am pretty sure Martha Stewart is trying to kill me, but of course I didn’t realize this until halfway through the frosting part of things, when I read “Four and a half sticks of butter,” choked a little, and tried to come up with a viable Plan B. Four and a half sticks!?! Are you mad, woman?

But it was too late: the rest of the frosting (a pound and a half of chocolate, thankyouverymuch) had already been melted and cooled, and the cakes themselves had already been baked. So I had no choice but to soldier on, throw everything together and say a little prayer for my arteries – which, as we know, already get a workout around here.

And, okay, to be perfectly honest, it was partly a production because I tried to put the vanilla extract in the cupboard without looking, and of course it fell off the shelf and smashed into a million pieces, so I had to stop everything and clean it all up and would you believe how tiny shards of glass can be? And maybe if I had given myself a Saturday afternoon to bake this, as opposed to a harried several hours on a Monday night, I might not have felt so rushed that as I was shoving the cake into the fridge so the frosting would set, the plate slid off the shelf and the whole thing collapsed into my lap and onto the floor?

Yeah, that happened. It really, really did. Had I the wherewithal to take a picture of the frosting that completely covered my jeans, and a surprising amount of the shelf in the fridge, and maybe also so I could stand back and laugh at the hilarity of the situation, I would have…but I was too angry. And flabbergasted. And really just beside myself.

Luckily, I was able to salvage the top layer of the cake, with almost all of the frosting somehow still fully intact. (It was either that or throw the whole mess at the wall….which seemed ill-advised.) And then, I cleaned the kitchen. For the fourth time.

Despite my best efforts, the cake is actually pretty good. Just make your own favorite chocolate frosting – maybe one that’s a little more subtle in its threat to your arteries. Be careful when you put the vanilla extract away, and please for the sweet love of all that is holy in this world, pay attention when you’re putting the damn thing in the fridge. Or you know what, maybe just leave it there on the counter. Hmmph.


Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes. Makes 2 9 inch cakes…or 30 cupcakes, supposedly.

3 1/4 c. cake flour

4 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1 c. + 2 tbsp. milk

1 stick + 6 tbsp. butter (1 3/4 sticks)

1 3/4 c. sugar

5 large egg whites at room temperature

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

1 tbsp. cake flour

Preheat the oven to 325º and butter two 9″ cake pans. In a small bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the vanilla extract into the milk to combine.

Cream the butter, adding the sugar little by little until it’s pale and fluffy. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 batches. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (this will take several minutes). Fold one third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold the rest in.

Toss the chocolate chips with the tbsp. of flour and gently fold those into the batter. Divide evenly among the cake pans and bake for about 23-25 minutes (be vigilant!) – the cakes are done when a toothpick comes out just clean. Once cool, frost with Dark Chocolate Frosting.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

Makes about 5 cups.

1 1/2 lbs. best quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1/2 c. plus 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 c. boiling water

4 1/2 sticks (!!!) butter, room temperature

3/4 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted if you can be bothered

1/4 tsp. salt

(Now would be the time to melt and cool that damn chocolate.) Then, combine the boiling water and unsweetened cocoa, dissolving the cocoa completely. Cream the butter, sugar and salt until pale and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate; beat until combined, then add the cocoa mixture. It can go in the fridge to set a little if need be.

Ten Restaurants
October 4, 2009, 5:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

People often ask me for restaurant recommendations – poor souls, most of them, since they’re usually just looking for a quick answer, a suggestion or two, and instead they get a monologue on the state of New York’s restaurant world in the midst of this recession, and here’s a list of places going neighborhood by neighborhood, or did you want only ones that have some kind of dining deal? Or happy hour? Or celebrity chef?

At this point, their eyes sort of glaze over, and I can see the resignation set in: we’re going to be at this for awhile, apparently, because I’ve never seen someone get so riled up about a simple ‘Where should we eat?’, it was like shooting a clown out of a cannon or something, and I needed to be somewhere twenty minutes ago but she’s showing no signs of slowing down so I guess I’ll just let her do her thing.

I, meanwhile, continue to chatter on about this place or that place, or perhaps you should have dinner here and dessert there, but if you really wanted to do it up right, you’d have drinks here and then dinner there, and tell me again which neighborhood did you want to stay in?

Whew. So, uh, for those of you who haven’t yet asked me for a restaurant recommendation….consider yourself warned. But if you are actually looking for a couple new places to try, and don’t want to hear my sermon on the subject, here’s a fairly condensed list. Some are old, some are new, but all are worth a try (or a repeat visit).

Continue reading

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of October 1
October 2, 2009, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

You know the drill: I’m here to canvass the food blogs, so you don’t have to. Yeah, yeah, it’s a day late and a dollar short. Whatever – I know you’re still into it. So, some highlights:

Carnival, above Bowlmor Lanes, is set to open October 8. What little I’ve read about the place sounds so absurd, I think I should just leave it at that and let you find out for yourself.  As far as I know there won’t be midgets dressed as pirates serving Champagne…but that could change.

Pete Wells gives a lonely onesie to The Standard Grill, and Serious Eaters get up in arms about it.

Joseph Leonard just opened on Waverly Place – by the guy who used to run Market Table and Little Owl. The food’s still a bit uneven, but maybe we’ll just let it slide.

Michelin just came out with its list of “Bib Gourmand” – Cheap Eats – and it appears the Frogs haven’t been asleep at the wheel. Ok, ok, so maybe a lot of them will look pretty familiar, and maybe we could have come up with this list ourselves, but still – it’s a good effort.

Best review I’ve read all week: the boys over at Immaculate Infatuation love what Jonathan Waxman’s doing at Barbuto. So what are you waiting for? Get after it!