Thursday, July 31, 2008

Suzee's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks salted butter (1 C) room temp
3/4 C white sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
1T good vanilla
2 jumbo eggs, room temp
2 1/4 C all purpose flour
1t baking soda
12 oz pkg guirardelli chocolate chips
1 C chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cream together the butter and sugars until the mixture becomes light in color (about 5 min).
Beat in vanilla and eggs one at a time.
Stir in baking soda, flour.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Place 1" drops of cookie dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 - 12 minutes. Makes about 75 cookies. These freeze well, but Rick sneaks them from the freezer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Surprise Fireworks

Last night Rick came home late from work (working hard to get ready for vacation), so we ate dinner later than usual. Afterward, we were puttering around, and I happened to glance up through the window - we had a pleasant surprise!
This one below is a firework that is heart shaped!

Yes - quite a treat to be able to watch from the barcalounger :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

NYC Waterfalls

Saturday was a gorgeous day - 90 degrees, not too humid, and as predicted, today is filled with thunderstorms. I'm glad we got out of the house yesterday :)

We made our way to Fulton Street via the 4/5 subway - there must have been a problem as it took about 4 trains from the other direction to come by before a train came for us, but we made it! We walked the 10 or so blocks from the subway toward Water Street and the Seaport area. There was a gorgeous breeze - a wind actually - and it made the air feel nice and cool. We came to see the public art installation - the waterfalls - and to have lunch at a new spot.

Since it was Saturday, there were a lot of people. We kept walking looking for pier 17 as I had read on another blog that it's a nice place to eat. I didn't realize that Pier 17 is actually the tired mall there I wrote about earlier (see Grease). As we got closer to the end, there were fewer people (though still plenty) and we were able to get through a little more easily. There must be about a dozen restaurants on Pier 17 - we selected to eat at Harbor Lights on the third floor. They had a beautiful deck area overlooking the East River.

We could see two of the 4 waterfalls from this location.

And we enjoyed the breeze and the food here on the deck.

The restaurant was located on the backside of the pier, so it was pretty quiet compared to the front. Rick had a cheeseburger and fries, and I had seared scallops with rosoto. I'd say the food was very much secondary to the view and location, but we enjoyed our lunch, and moved back toward the front side of the pier. Here are some photos.

On the front side of the pier, you are able to see the other two waterfalls (there are a total of 4). I thought they were a nice summertime art installation, but I'm a big waterfall fan.

There were quite a few cruise operators on the pier and the water taxi too, if you'd like to do a boat ride. There were also bikes to rent. We made our way back after lunch as it was threatening to rain and the wind had picked up enough that the sidewalk vendors were closing down their booths. When we got back to the upper east side, the sun was shining. Must have just been a passing cloud.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hemmingway Daquiri

I had this cocktail at Brazo on Pleasant Steet in Portsmouth - served in a martini glass, it's not all alcohol like a martini, yet very interestingly flavored. I've been working to figure out a way to make it without the usual bar ingredients (like sour mix and simple syrup - who needs that around for just 1 cocktail?). I think I've found a way.

In a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, add
- shot of captain morgan
- shot of grapefruit juice
- a splash of lime juice
- 1/2 splenda packet

Shake it all up, and serve either straight up in a martini glass or on the rocks in an old fashioned. If you like garnish, a marachino cherry is pretty. Nice and fresh for summer :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Floating Art Over the City

Today was a really nice day - summer warm with out that unbelievable humidity that seems to always hang over the island of Manhattan. I wanted to go do something outdoors, and read about the Jeff Koons exhibit at the Met in the NY Times.

The Met has been on our list as this summer there is a special exhibit about superhero costumes.
Rick loves to play City Of Heros ( ) and he spends quite a bit of time designing the costumes for the heros he creates. Currently he's playing Swordmaster. I thought he'd enjoy seeing the superhero exhibition, and we both did. They had the original costumes from Superman (a la Christopher Reeve), and Wonder Woman (a la Lynda Carter), and 2 Spiderman costumes (Tobey McGuire) and even the Batman costume from the recently released Dark Knight movie. These costumes were interspersed with fashion which was inspired by the character's costumes - some from the 60's, 70's, 80's and even current. Interestingly, some pairings were reverse - maybe the hero's costume was inspired by the previous couture.

Rick's feet were killing him after working all day (not mine since I live a life of leisure these days) so we went to the roof for the Jeff Koons display.

The dog is the first thing you see when you come out on to the deck - this was in the ad on the website and in the paper. Kinda cool to see it with the tops of buildings and trees in the background.

There were 3 pieces displayed on the roof, along with a martini bar on a Friday night. Quite a few folks were up here, but still plenty of room to take pictures and mill about. We got ourselves some very overpriced Coronas (who can drink a martini when it's 90 degrees out?), and milled about.

This piece looks like one of those Italian chococlate Easter eggs - that's alotta chocolate!!

I think there was only 1 bench on the entire deck on which to sit, and it was taken. Nice view of the park and the skyline though....

We made our way back to the apartment to put up our feet :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

White Trash Wednesday

On Wednesday nights, Rick and I traditionally go out for happy hour and grab some dinner. Lately we've been going to the UpTown on 3rd Ave.

Wednesday nights the Uptown has a martini special, and they offer about 20 different types of martinis to try. On top of that, they have about 20 different types of yummy appetizers. So this is really a great place to go after work for good gossiping I'd imagine.

Last night it was kind of loud, and we wanted more than just nibbles, so we started walking to find some real dinner. We started north on 3rd Ave and came upon Brother Jimmy's BBQ.

A sandwich board on the way in announced that tonight was White Trash Wednesday. Tall Buds were $3.50 and regular Pabst Blue Ribbon were $2. And for 12.95 they had all you can eat fried chicken, meatloaf, rib tips, corn dogs, mac and cheese, tuna casserole, potato salad and hush puppies. Not exactly health food, but we were up for something warm and it sounded strangely fetching. The waitress described how we would order 3 items, and she would bring it out, and and then when we were ready, she would bring more of which ever thing we'd like.

We ordered a couple of Bud Lights, expecting a 16 oz can. I realize that there are only 8 ounces between 16 and 24, but those 24 oz cans she brought looked REALLY BIG. I could almost imagine the couch on the front lawn, and the ice in the dead washing machine. The old time country music was playing - we even heard a little Johnny Cash.

Rick ordered some fried chicken, some meatloaf and a corn dog, and I tried the fried chicken, some rib tips and some mac and cheese. The fried chicken was really good - we both liked that. Rick really liked the corn dog - I thought it was kind of weird to have the sweet corn bread with the salty hot dog, but maybe I just needed more than one bite. The other stuff was fine, but definitely white trash.

I could see going back to White Trash Wednesday, but I think I'll order a salad!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ladies who Lunch

OK - I don't have any lady friends here in NYC with whom I can lunch yet, but occasionally, when I find myself near Grand Central Station at lunch time, I'll call Rick and he'll happen to have some time to take me to lunch :)

Rick works in the Graybar Building attached to Grand Central Terminal.

Grand Central Terminal is so much prettier than the Graybar building I took a couple pictures of that instead :) But essentially, this is where Rick goes to work.

After I arrived and easily wrangled my inviation, I met Rick on the corner of 42nd and Lex. He and folks in his office had recently discovered a little diner he was anxious to share with me. We walked to 37th and 3rd, and paused to decide - should we sit inside or out? Although the outside tables are near the street, they are protected by bushes and plants and you actually step down away from the hustle and bustle. Today was pretty warm, so we elected to eat with a little a/c. After sitting there for a few minutes, we decided the temp was about the same in both places :)

Duke's ( is a real retro place with kitchy decor - kind of like the Friendly Toast in Portsmouth, minus the tattoos and piercings. Duke's serves southern comfort food, and they have lots of options. Rick ordered the pulled pork sandwich and I ordered the po-boy. Rick's sandwich had a sweet smoky bbq sauce mixed right into the meat and it was piled on a soft homemade white roll. My po-boy was made with blackened red snapper - the grilled fish was amazing. The sandwich was made with a nice soft white bread shaped like a baguette, but not crusty like one. It had a sweet spicy sauce that was not unlike tartar sauce along with lettuce and tomato. Heavenly. Our sandwiches came with a big pile of very crunchy shoestring french fries and a small container of cole slaw.

We enjoyed our lunch and it was good to get out and enjoy the day!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bastille Day

One of the street fairs I was anxious to attend was Bastille Day. I'll admit - I saw it on "Cookin in Brooklyn" a few years ago, and it looked like fun. Plus, since we are French, it seemed like the thing to do.

As with most street fairs, there was lots of food and entertainment. The Tres Bon Crepes looked pretty good...

We decided we should check it all out and then make a decision, or we could end up eating a lot of french food :) We heard what sounded like some French gospel or R&B from the main stage, and on the next block we heard this nice accordian player.

I wasn't kidding about all the food - there were trays and trays of French pastries...

I lost count of the creperies....

We decided to try an apple crepe - here is the crepe being made!

We also tried a wonderful ham and brie sandwich - really good bread, and I got a strawberry pastry to take home for later. I also tried some wine cellar sorbet - the rose flavor - it was amazing.

On the way out I saw these beautiful arrangements.

And a funny pantomime...

And more pastries....

We were done ... The fair was on 60th street between Lexington and Park - three long blocks - just enough to get out of the house and enjoy the beautiful day.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Professional Shopping with Kathy

My friend Kathy comes to NYC occasionally for work, and I've been hoping she will come to visit when her incredibly busy schedule allows. Kathy is always dressed to the 9's, and I know when she comes that we will be POWER SHOPPING!

I've been watching Clinton and Stacey on TLC's What Not To Wear - actually watching them a lot since I'm between jobs - and getting the scoop on good places to SHOP! I visited a couple when Ann came to visit in June, but I continue to work hard to find the best shopping locales :)

This past week I visited Saks Fifth Avenue - they were having the end of season sale with 50% off the ticketed prices. I will note that in this store I found my first $1650.00 blazer - not 50% off the ticketed price. I did find other things that were quite reasonable once on sale - and frankly there are times I would pay full price, but not today and not while I don't have a paycheck.

Today I was at the preview day of Macy's One Day Sale (which ironically is 2 days - the preview day and the actual day). I went up to the 7th floor where all the good stuff is, and collected some good Jones New York and loved the Calvin Klien separates that can be suits. I tried on a bazillion things - the whole time I heard Kathy exclaiming over all the beautiful clothes, as well as Stacey and Clinton's commentary on what I was trying on...

I must have waited in line for 25 minutes - there were people in line who said it was worse than during the Christmas season. I'm thinking I'll be doing a lot of Christmas shopping on line.

Overall, the day was beautiful, not too humid, and it was good to pick up a few cheap shorts :) When Kathy comes to NYC, I'll have a few great places to take her that will enable her to add to her fabulous wardrobe :)

7/25/08 - Found a new store to explore - Lee Lee's Valise in Brooklyn. It has gotten rave reviews on the web - I'll bet it will have some pretty fabulous stuff in for Fall soon :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Suzee's Carrot Slaw

1 lb carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup tabboule
juice of 1 lemon
1T red wine vinegar
1T good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

mix it all up and you have a cool summer side that isn't too many calories :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Suzee's Chopped Salad

Rick sent me an email yesterday letting me know that there was going to be a potluck lunch at work on Thursday. He said it looked like they needed "snacks" and "desserts". He suggested that he could pick something up and "rebrand" it in tupperware. I'm thinking a) everything in NYC to pick up would result in $30 in cookies and b) no way are you taking my tupperware. I suggested that I could make oatmeal cookies or chocolate chip cookies - I wasn't really sure what he meant by "snacks", but figured for a potluck, a fresh salad might be appreciated. He agreed.

Today I went to U Don't Know Nothing Produce on 84th and York and picked up a few things for my contribution to Rick's potluck :) I really wish it was closer. My feet hurt. The good news is there is the Starbucks on 84th and 1st with a nice patio - that with an iced non-fat latte is a nice little break on the way home.

So - here is the recipe - cut everything to about the size of the black beans or a little smaller, except the onion (go a little smaller) and the cilantro (mince this).

Salad ingredients:
1 can black beans (well rinsed)
1 European cuke chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes quartered
1 yellow pepper chopped
1/2 red onion chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro minced

Dressing ingredients:
1T red wine vinegar
1T lime juice
1 packet of splenda (or substitute a teaspoon of sugar or honey - whatever sweetenter you like)
1/4 t ground smoked chipotle pepper (0r to taste - it's not that spicy)
mix all this
Add 1 T nice olive oil, mix again

Take all salad ingrediants and toss with the dressing.

I like the salad ingredients because they are all about the same density - if you had other veggies that were similar you could try that. If you like it, be sure to let me know!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fireworks in the City

Wow - it was so nice to have a long weekend, even if the weather was rather soupy. Rick got out of work early on Thursday, so it was really nice to have him around, and to be able to relax together. We did have some surprise fireworks to the North of the city over the George Washington bridge - we could see them from the window of the apartment on many nights of the weekend.

The highlight of course were the Macy's fireworks - they were very impressive, and even though we didn't see them from any of the "recommended" locales, we didn't have to fight too many crowds. We were at the Carl Schurz park along the water around 82nd street or so, and arrived only a few minutes before the show started. It had been raining pretty hard, and I didn't want to get the camera wet so I didn't bring it. We could see the northern most launch site, and could barely see the middle launch site.
I think next year maybe we'll do a cruise around the harbor to see the fireworks - that would limit the number of people, and we'd get back to land after all the crush of people have headed home with their rug rats :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Rick!

Rick asked me to make a carrot cake for his birthday. Funny how each time I make something for the first time in my new kitchen, I feel like it's a baptism by fire. I am very spoiled and I admit it. I got my delivery from Fresh Direct in the morning. It contained many ingredients for the special birthday dinner :) I started by making the cake - I used my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook (my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, all my dessert type cookbooks and the Cake Bible are all in storage in NH), and the smell was heavenly. The cream cheese frosting recipe was good too - though I could have done without the knowledge that 1/12th of the recipe (one serving) was 190 calories! Glad they didn't feel the need to tell me how many calories were in the cake part!

I made a crudite appetizer with cucumbers, radishes, celery, red and yellow peppers, and carrots. I figured it would be good to have lots of prepped veggies around this week. And a ranch dip with low fat sour cream - low fat tastes just as good to me, but the fat free is just yucky.I prepped the ingredients for dinner and then I was ready for Rick to come home.

When Rick got home, he got changed and had some crudite, and was pleased to open his present. I think he knew what it was when he saw it :) See below where he thinks about actually using it!

For dinner, I pan fried a couple of filets with fresh mushrooms, and finished it in the oven. I roasted some asparagus and vidalia onions in a little olive oil, and made some mashed potatoes as well. I finished the filets with a simple pan sauce which was a reduced red wine. I had forgotten just how tasty that pan sauce is :) We had a nice Sterling Cabernet that we had brought from the old wine cellar - it was absolutely wonderful with dinner if I do say so myself.

Rick's thinking about cutting the cake with his new Kintana Sword!