Monday, September 29, 2008

Last Meal

If I was going to have my least meal tonight, and I could have anything in the world, what would it be? I've been thinking about this question a lot recently. This is probably my favorite question to ask somebody. It's so much deeper than "what is your favorite food." It really gives me a sense of their appreciation for food, and sometimes their personality. I find that my list changes slightly each time I answer this question, so I guess it's a good thing I don't really have to choose.

My last meal would be...
I would start with sparkling cider, and I would be brought cornbread with raw milk butter from a Pennsylvania cow. My first course would be a large portion of roast foie gras, next to an equally large portion of foie gras au torchon. With this there would be brioche and plenty of fleur de sel. The foie would be served with huckleberry jam. Next I would have toro, salmon and hamachi sashimi, served simply with some spicy mayonnaise and soy sauce. Third I would have homemade, egg yolk-rich tagliatelle, with just some Armando Manni olive oil and loads of white truffles. The meat courses would be braised pork belly with pork jus and duck confit with mixed green salad with sage-honey mustard vinaigrette. I would have a selection of different bleu cheeses with artisan eucalyptus honey and then for dessert I would have pumpkin doughnuts, magnolia bakery cupcakes, and some of grandma's apple pie. At the end, I'd probably have to ruin the meal with a few pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks but who cares. How would I eat all of that? I'd find a way.

Porch overlooking the beach during the sunset of a late august day. Jack Johnson would be playing softly in the background. I would be with about five friends who I know would appreciate the meal almost as much as me, and wouldn't complain when they weren't getting mac and cheese.

So there you have it. That would be my final meal. Maybe you'll e-mail me at and tell me about your final meal!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Huh? What? PB&B? Peanut butter and butter? Ewww.

I just replayed the conversation you had with yourself in your head while reading the title of this post. Maybe you didn't know I was psychic. We'll save that for another post, oh and, the B isn't butter.

I feel like I talk about my school lunches quite frequently on this blog, but I think it's pretty interesting, when I'm bringing in things like PB&B, instead of PB&J for lunch. So what is the B in PB&B? You're probably annoyed at me for not telling you already. I'll tell you after this picture.

The B, is balsamic reduction.

Huh? What? Balsamic on peanut butter? (told you I'm psychic). Yes, I did say balsamic on peanut butter. What makes me think it would be good? Well I was thinking what I could substitute for the average grape jelly, so I thought grapes and sweet, which led me to some balsamic reduction I had sitting in my fridge.

And so I tried it.
Seriously, I would love to tell you all that this was one incredible sandwich, that I've made it every day since then, and that these are better than sliced bread, since they are in fact, sliced bread and then some. Not everything however, turns out the way you want, and this was a prime example. I could barely taste the balsamic. The peanut flavor was overwhelming. Overall, it was fine, nothing to write home about, but definitely something to blog about.

My First attempt at a baguette

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vetri in the paper

If you didn't see the "Philadelphia Inquirer's" (newspapers in quotations right Ms. Roy) piece about Vetri this morning check it out, fo real. At the end is his famous pasta dough recipe- second only to an Eagles Super Bowl as Philly's most sought after commodity.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Great Restaurant

(yep that's me)

"How many restaurants in the city will serve you that" quoted one chef (yea take that Mrs. *** I started with a quote), "not many" I thought to myself, gazing down at the fermented black bean paste vinaigrette. I licked a spoon clean, savoring the salty, sweet, sour, and slightly bitter dressing, created by combining fermented black bean paste with lime and honey, among other ingredients. The question made me think about restaurants, and what determines their greatness.

We were in the process of determining what was to go in the salad for the night. Figs had been decided on- there was a surplus. I thought I was soooo smart when I voiced my idea of goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette to one of the chefs, yet received a verbal slap in the face when I was told something along the lines of "do you know how many restaurants in the city serve that" (obscenities removed for your reading pleasure)? What was I thinking? I had been thinking of a classic, no risk, sure to taste good combination. Was I an idiot? I was thinking far outside the lines of Lacroix's philosophy. People don't come to Lacroix for rare cooked tuna and wasabi mashed potatoes. They come for tuna carpaccio, sprinkled with Maldon sea salt and Chinese barbecue spice, topped with tangerine segments and fingerling potato chips, garnished with micro basil. Lacroix prides itself on ingenuity, not continuity.

(psst, I plated that)

Lacroix's greatness resides in its ability to wow you with new foods and flavor combinations, without forgoing importance of taste, whereas a bistro like Parc aims to wow you in its recreation of the classics. Both can be great, but they are in different realms of greatness. I would call Chipotle an incredible restaurant, but could I compare it to a restaurant with a completely different aim and philosophy? Absolutely not. Maybe all restaurants shouldn't be rated 1-30 on food by Zagat. Most restaurants aim for great food, yet there are definite sub-categories determining how they go about doing so. Can Qdoba really get a 17 while Le-Bec Fin gets a 27 (actual 2009 Zagat rankings)? Is their food even somewhat comparable. Both are great in their own sense (at least I think so, big greasy burritos, and roast rack of lamb both hit the spot at different times).

Ultimately, it seems restaurants become greater through improvement along the lines of its philosophy. Does that make sense? In other other words, whether it be wowing diners with flavors they won't get anywhere else, or impressing them with a perfectly crafted classic, it seems to all come down to refinement and delicacy, in performance, execution, and artisanship, or as Thomas Keller calls it, finesse.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Five Foods

Five foods I wish I had in front of me right now-
1. Duck Confit
2. Braised Pork Belly
3. Crispy Sweetbreads
4. Shropshire Bleu Cheese
5. Homemade Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts, with a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte.

One food I do have in front of me right now
-Perfectly braised short ribs

Pop Tarts

I'm kind of in love with pop-tarts. Ewww, no, gross, not that kind. Who do you think I am? My true lovers are the ones below. Feast your eyes.
Pim gave me the idea for these, and I used the Eggbeater, all-butter pie dough recipe for my crust. I filled mine with nutella or apple butter, but the range for fillings is unlimited, as you can see from the Kellog's Pop-Tart picture.I brought these into school for a snack, and by the end of first period, I had promised the majority of my history class one of their own (with demand outsourcing supply, I quickly promised free meals in my future restaurant and lots of hugs and kisses to the girls that wouldn't get one)Make these for your kids, and see why I'm about to add one more item to the list of things my sister will eat.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Woooo! Pizza Party

Ever aspire to be like Bruno or Tony at the local pizzeria? Well now you can!!! Read on, this is no annoying infomercial.

Pizza. Five year old's fantasy and the aficionado's affection. But both at the same time? I'm here to tell you, it can be done.

I was perusing the massive recipe index on 101 Cookbooks, as I frequently do, when "Best Pizza Dough Ever Recipe" caught my eye. Now when someone titles a post as such, you don't walk away from that opportunity without further inspection. It was still the summer when this happened, and what better opportunity to make pizza than a nice summer day. Margarita Pizza is summer food, with summer ingredients. I was going to make this pizza, and once I set my mind, I wasn't going back.

Honestly, after making them, these pizzas are incredible, loved by seven year old and senior alike. The crust makes the pizza, as was told to me by many a consumer. Topped simply with mozzarella, fine sea salt, a few squirts of olive oil, and basil, this pizza can't be beat for a summertime treat. Please wait outside my door if you want some more. Gaze at birds while you wait for thirds. I was taught by Emily Dickinson herself, seriously.

Look at that sticky glob of flour, water, olive oil and yeast.

Taking up the top shelf- the mother's worst nightmare.

Post proofing overnight in the fridge, these babies are ready to go.

Pshhhh. Of course I had to pick up the legendary San Marzano tomatoes.

Making the extremely easy tomato sauce.

Look at that well organized mise en place.

Handmade Vermont mozz on top of the dough.

For all you Rachel Ray fans, "YUM-O!!!" This pizza is simply topped with tomato sauce, mozz, salt, olive oil, and beautiful basil chiffonade from my garden,

Oh boy, look at this one with ham and a difficult to see fried egg on top.

Not me, that's my buddy. Best part of this pizza is, the recipe makes 6 pizzas, so whatever you don't use you throw in the freezer until you wanna use it. Slightly tired of the conventional microwave pizzas, my friend and I decided to defrost some dough during a sleepover. Look at that beauty, topped with feta, and some Kalamatas. Foodie at Fifteen, ousting Tombstone one pizza at a time (not really, but trying).


Ok finally I have an e-mail adress that's not my full name, so I don't have to worry about super creepy internet dudes knowing my identity and telling me things like "meet me at Vetri for a free dinner" (which I obviously wouldn't be able to resist).

So drop me an e-mail, tell me what you think of the blog, let me know if I'm baking bread completely wrong, tell me if my braises look like crap, or just say hi. I like to chat!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Butter Butter Butter

Butter Butter Butter, give me more butter! A little while ago, prolonged blog searching had led me to Bay Area Bites where I found the most peculiar recipe.Now on this website, I discovered that you don't have to have a butter churn, live in Lancaster, or even be Amish to make your own butter. All you need is some cream and a Cuisinart with the whisk attachment!
Begin by whisking the cream in your Cuisinart. Continue whisking past the soft and hard peak stages, until the buttermilk separates from the rest of the mixture.

At this point, combine your butter in a ball, pour off excess buttermilk, and knead your butter to remove more buttermilk (which will cause your butter to turn rancid quicker). Wash your butter, then place in the fridge, or return to the Cuisinart and whip, making it creamier.

At this point, add salt or herbs as you see fit. I added some Italian sea salt.

And enjoy! This butter is sweet and extra creamy. I can only imagine what it would taste like with raw cream. My favorite way to enjoy this is on top of toasted whole wheat bread with extra fleur de sel on top.

Fresh Figs

Boy, look at that. Freshly picked figs from my friend's backyard. He brought me over a bag, and I ruthlessly devoured each and every one, giving my mom just a small half. Wish they came this good at the store.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Banana Bread

By George!! I believe I've stumbled across some time where I'm not either in school, at cross country practice, or doing homework. That's not to say I shouldn't be doing homework, but nonetheless, I'm here with you.
Oh and by the way, check out this awesome, new way my English teacher showed me to start a story and grab the reader's attention.

Twas a dark and stormy night, and I was craving some cooking. My stomach grumbled slightly and my pregnant woman-esque cravings began to creep up on me. Chocolate was my calling, yet plain chocolate would not do it for me. I searched the kitchen for vehicles for my semisweet chocolate chips.
A wonderful cucumber from my garden caught my eye first, yet chocolate and vegetables are for the guilty chocoholics. I had no guilt. I was willing to splurge (as always) and allow my teenage metabolism to do its thang.I found waffles in the freezer, but choco-chip waffles? Too boring, too easy. I was on the hunt, and I needed a challenge. Forget the turkey, I want a game bird!
Something mushy, and black, no, yellow, caught my peripheral vision. My mom's not knowing that you can break bananas off from the bundle (and consequently getting too many) had left me with the perfect vehicle for my chocolate; old mushy bananas! I was gonna make chocolate chip banana bread!!!!!!

I quickly found a recipe and combined all my ingredients (you know, the basics, baking powder, eggs, flour etc.) eating half the batter as I went along. The remaining batter I poured into a loaf pan, and baked at 350 until done.

My inner pregnant woman was sated :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Dinner at Parc

French Bistro Food. My favorite. There are few things I like more than slowly braised, deeply flavored meats, or succulent, salty duck confit. But Stephen Starr? Could Stephen Starr, a man known for decoration and opulence, conquer the concept of casual and homey? I brought a few discerning diners with me to find out.
We took the bus into town and parqued our butts in seats with a beautiful view of the square. The restaurant is cute. Retro? yes. Homey? no. The more I think about it though, the less I believe Stephen Starr really wanted to duplicate a French Bistro. His aim was clearly to create a more Ritzy, jazzed up restaurant, reminiscent of his other restaurants, than a neighborhood bistro. But this was obvious. I'm an idiot if I expect a humble, traditional atmosphere in a Stephen Starr restaurant. The restaurant's got the big mirrors, its got the retro appeal, its even got some playboy models or whatever on the bathroom walls, but Parc is just Stephen Starr behind a mask, and that's exactly how he wants it to be.
Ok now the food! I started with a beet salad. It was composed of frisee so lightly dressed, it seemed they thought I needed to drop some pounds. I'm exaggerating. It was however, lightly dressed, and the beets at the bottom sat with no dressing at all, separating them from the rest of the salad. On the other hand, my buddy's steak tartare was quite delicious. The crunch of fleur de sel against raw beef, dressed with mustard, chives, egg yolk, and probably some other stuff, got my heart racing, the way no woman can. This friend also ordered steak frites. While the frites were typical and fine, the steak was incredibly chewy (no exaggeration). My other friend's strip steak was equally tough. A braised short rib was slightly chewy as well, but made up the slack with great, deep, flavor.

We contemplated sending over dessert to some ladies a few tables down, but realized we were out of money. We paid, and left, walking around the city a little bit before making the return trip. Parc is... I don't know. Make what you want of the review. Wouldn't say it's good, wouldn't say it's bad, of course, I couldn't really do that until I've tried their duck confit.