Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Giveaway? WOW!

Soooooo AlbanyJane has got some money to burn.  Or some gift certificates to give.  Or something like that.  So if you go here:  http://albanyeats.blogspot.com/2010/07/125-gift-certificate-to-csn-stores.html you can enter to win this boatload of goodness in the form of a CSN Gift Certificate.

Why am I advertising this?  Um.  Well.  If I tell two friends then...  you get the idea.

and so on, and so on, and so on.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Indian Market

Took a walk through today. Awesome and clean with some really cool looking Indian products. A whole insane spice aisle, refridge section and geezers section (one part dedicated to kulfi) and lots of other yummies.

Also- looks like the makings of a little cafe in back- not open yet.

Check it out! Go buy something! Extra points if you buy something that you've never had before!

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Location:Central Ave,Colonie,United States

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cooking with Spirit(s)!

Stephen (previously mentioned here), a cook for the Miss Albany Diner and I like to go on foodventures. 

Recently we went to Harvest Spirits and met Derek Grout the Owner/Distiller.  You can read about the interview I did on All Over Albany.  After we left, we ("we" meaning Stephen - I just watched) used some of the spirits we purchased in some recipes Stephen created.

The day we went out there for the interview was a long day.  We drove around afterwards looking for a place for lunch then by the time we got home and ready to cook it was 7 p.m.  Luckily Stephen had everything planned so we could get started right away.  He wanted to use two kinds of the spirits we had purchased, the Pear Brandy and the Cornelius Applejack.  He got started with the Applejack first.

Q:  What did he do with it?

A:  Bacon.

He created a cure from maple syrup, curing salt and Harvest Spirits Cornelius Applejack, threw it in a bag and is letting it age. 


His plan is to build a cold smoker and smoke the heck out of it (more when this happens).  But for now it sits curing in a bag, knowing its deliciousness is only compounding by the day.


After we (ha ha - HE) bagged it all up he started on the second project.  This was the one that he was really excited about.  He created a pear tart with a pear brandy caramel.

Take a breath and read again.  A PEAR TART with PEAR BRANDY CARAMEL.  You may pass out now.

OK - now wake up - because here is the part where I have no information.  I turned around for what I think was about SEVEN SECONDS and Stephen had created some ridiculous looking yummy crust on a cast iron pan he brought over from the flour, butter and black pepper we had sitting in bags and containers.  I don't know how it was possible to do it that fast but I looked and stuff was wrapped up on the counter, then next thing I knew it was like this:


then half a second later it was like this: 


HOW GORGEOUS IS THAT?  Oy.  It took a lot of self control to not just eat the stuff raw.

He then whipped up a caramel with brown sugar, butter...


and then added Harvest Spirits Pear Brandy...


He then spread some of the caramel on the crust.


Stephen happened to have a bunch of blanched pears just "laying around" (because, you know, don't we all?) so he brought them, cut them, tossed them in some flour and placed them artfully on the crust.


I want to insert here that it is NOT FAIR that he is this talented.  NOT FAIR I TELL YOU.  He made this like I make cereal.  Without a thought and effortlessly.  This is just another testament to his brilliance in the kitchen.

Anyway - finally we baked it.  By 11 p.m. it was ready to eat.  Almost too beautiful, really - but we managed.


And we ate the whole thing.  Do you see the burnt crust on the edges?  Yeah - we pried it off with butter knives.  It was insane and delicious and wonderful.

I look forward to more cooking (with or without spirits) and foodventures with Stephen.  And more caramel.  In my belly.

Bento Box Lunch

Layer 1:
-coconut rice
- curry grilled chicken
-cherry granola cookies

Layer 2:
-soy nuts
- chili lime mixed nuts
-gummi centipedes (shut up)
-spoonable dark chocolate

Layer 3:
-sliced red pepper
-fresh mozzarella
-parm cheese
- gruyere cheese
-soy mini rice crackers

To drink- lemon water

Wow. I probably won't finish it all but bento box eating is really fascinating. Little bites. Impossible to get bored with your meal.

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Location:Washington Park Rd,Albany,United States

Monday, July 19, 2010

Soupy Dumps!

OK OK OK EVERYONE seems to be writing about these things.  Soup Dumplings, I mean.  Or maybe just a few people, but I want in on the action.  I read on Tablehopping, THEN on Albany Eats! about these things, then Elizabeth started kind of stalking researching them, so we had to try.

Off we went to Ala Shanghai.  We just went to TRY the soup dumplings, and it took a large amount of self control to order only those, but we did a good job.  We did end up ordering some red bean pastry type thing (they were out of turnip) and it was a good starter snack for the other snack.  A pre snack, if you will. 

I have to say, they were unlike anything I have ever had.  I love me some steamed dumplings and these were like steamed dumplings filled with delicious, soupy goodness.  The Crab and Pork were the ones we went for, and they were a true tastesplosion - like nothing else I had ever eaten.  Because of E's stalking researching!!, we had an idea of how to eat them.  Delicately lift with chopsticks to the spoon without piercing, bite off the top, pour some black vinegar with ginger strips in and slurp the goodness (later E found some other ways to eat, but this is what we had to go on the first time).

Great snack!  Wow.  The soup was almost kind of thick and very full flavored and the meat dumpling was moist and awesome.  They are beautiful to look at and fun to eat.  And the wait staff was really nice (even though they thought it was kind of weird that those were all we ordered).

After we left we went to the Big Red Asian Market on Central to see if they had anything like them.  They did!  They have ONE KIND of soup dumplings in their freezer section.  We haven't tried them yet (and are willing to bet that they aren't quite as good as Ala Shanghai) - but in a pinch...


Elizabeth: oh by the way: soup dumplings in NYC.

me: yes?

Elizabeth: we stumbled across a 'famous' soup dumpling joint in our last hours there so went spontaneously and split an order of pork dumplings- a whole different league

me: no way!  howso?

Elizabeth: first... made fresh right there for you, def. not frozen

me: wow

Elizabeth: the wrappers were so thin they almost seemed translucent, dumplings were a wee bit bigger, it was like a very precarious water balloon, there was so much soup in them

me: holy moly. we had the albany version

Elizabeth: yes.  6.75 for an order of 6, btw.  i think crab and pork was a couple bucks more but we stuck with pork.  there was no way to bite the top off either. it was totally poke a hole in the side and slurp it out.  too much soup to let it drain into the spoon, too.  but they did have wee spoons in the vinegar so you could spoon some on to the drained dumpling

me: wowwwwwwwwwwwwwww  cool.

Yep.  E and I even googlechat about food.  I kind of think we might have been separated at birth sometimes.  While I am sure the NYC soup dumplings were amazing, the ones we had were very solidly good and worth a try.  The menu is pretty big so go with an appetite.  Or just go and just get those and watch the waiters shake their head at you. 

(picture from Tablehopping blog because I was too excited to take a picture when we ordered them...)

Excellent Birthday Gift 2

KitchenAid Pasta Extruder from C...

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Excellent Birthday Gift 1

Bento box from Lori...

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

sleek side shot

knife3, originally uploaded by poetnicole.

just so you can get the handle detail.

new knife

knife2, originally uploaded by poetnicole.

it is beautiful.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Apricots pretty much just want to get naked.

20 seconds in boiling water then submerge in cold water and peel. You don't even have to buy 'em a drink.

I'm thinking vanilla frozen yogurt with apricot swirl...

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Lime Basil Sorbet

A hundred and seventy thousand years ago Jaime Oliver did a Basil Lime sorbet and when I heard about it I was still kind of new to the foodie scene and was kind of weirded out by the idea of basil and limes and sugar together.  Aside:  Ugh.  The word "foodie" makes me think of the phrase "alternative music".  There seems to be no better phrase for it but I hate it all the same.  I wish there was a better word.

Moving on.

I MADE the sorbet eleventy thousand years ago and loved it.  Then I promptly forgot about it.  Until now.  Because I just made that sucker and I am not sure how I possibly could have forgotten about it.  What an amazing summer treat.  And NOTHING says "put booze in me and make me a basil lime slushy fulla booze" more than basil lime sorbet.

Original recipe and how to from here but I changed it up a bit below:

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup fresh lime juice (about 6 ish?)
Lime Zest
30 or so fresh basil leaves
-Dissolve sugar in water and throw in the zest of 4 of the limes , bring to a boil, lower heat, simmer for 5 minutes; remove from heat, cool.
-Put basil in a food processor with 1/2 the lime juice and pulverize until it is niiiice and pasty.
-Add basil lime paste and the rest of the lime juice to the simple syrup on the stove.  Bring to low boil for a second and stir.  Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a container.  Cover and put in fridge.
-One chilled pour in ice cream maker and spin.  Transfer frozen mixture to a container and freeze until firm.

Here it is spinning and looking all frozeny delicious:


TIP:  ALWAYS spin stuff cold.  The frozen base of the maker cannot stay cold enough to chill your ice cream/sorbet whatever if it is warm.
The flash is killing the color of it, but here it is out of the maker - and CHECK OUT THE BASIL FLECKS:
Aw man the stuff is good.  Cannot wait until it is all frozen hard scoopable.  And you can do this without an ice cream maker you know.  Just do the whole granita thing.  Google it if you have no clue what I mean.
More to come...