Thursday, October 29, 2009


My parents dropped off some of their famous grass fed beef when they came to drive me to NH. My Mom mentioned that the butcher had included some Oxtail - did I want some? Hell yeah! Must be something cool to do with it, right? I'm on the look out for an interesting braise or soup recipe for this special cut. If you have any pointers, please do leave a comment :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Last Trip to NH before TX

It was so nice to see everyone on this visit! It was too quick, as usual, but I had enough time that Jilly could teach me how to make Princess Tissue Squares. She is a pro :) She also showed Uncle George and Aunt Lu when we went over for happy hour. They seemed to be doing well, and had a good summer.

The next day I needed to do "stock up" shopping, and Jilly was sweet to agree to come play with us. Of course we tried to make it fun for her too.

She had fun riding the fire truck at WalMart with Bert and Ernie :)

After dragging Jilly to lots of stores, we finally took her to the park at South Mill Pond in Portsmouth. She rode the teeter totter with Grammy and with Auntie Suzee, and ran around. We were the only ones there, but it was still fun to run off the excess energy!

We decided to have lunch at the Rusty Hammer - it was so nice to be in downtown Portsmouth. We walked across the street to the Stonewall Kitchen, and I told Jilly I'd buy her a lobster lolly pop if she was very good and didn't touch anything. She was a little princess :) She also tried the caramel apple butter and liked it (on the second try). She had 2 pieces of toast with it when she got home. But on the ride home, she enjoyed that lobster lolly pop :)

We relaxed a bit back and Jim and Lynn's, and after some rest, we made our way over to Newick's seafood restaurant. We got together with Cindy, her friend Terry, Buddy and Shelby. Food was good, and company was entertaining :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Murray Hill Pub Crawl

We were shopping, and Ann was thirsty. We decided to find lunch around 1:30 or so. I hadn't been to Rattle 'n Hum yet, but thought the numerous beer taps would make Ann happy :) While looking for this locale that I had passed numerous times, I struggled a bit to find it. Ann stopped and made a call to her son Matt who was returning home from environmental camp.
We found the place and met Andy at the bar, and told him that we were going to a show the next day. He lives in Hell's Kitchen (more thoughtfully called Chelsea now), and made suggestions of places to go after the show :) We had a Rogue Brewing Imperial Red - it was happy hour so we got $1 off. We realized half way through the beer that it was 9% alcohol. Hmmm....that's not a good way to start. It was stinky here, so I really wanted to eat someplace else.

We went to Slattery's Mid Town Pub next, and had some Yuengling. We were going to order an appetizer or some nibblies, but then decided to order a burger and share it. Yum. VGB (very good burger!!).

The bartender comped us these baby shots - orange kamakazis. Yum!

Next we went across the street to The Gingerman. We ordered some nice lager, and perused the menu of 137 beers on tap. This is a serious beer drinking joint.
We noticed a group of guys drinking a lighter colored beer from brandy snifters. It was N'ice Chouffe - very smooooooth and delish! Unfortunately, it was 10% alcohol. How can they still call it beer with such high alcohol content??? Off to the next place.

We made our way to 3rd Ave, and popped into Third and Long. We are pretty chit chatty at this point. I switched to Bud Light knowing I was nearing the end of my capacity. Ann soldered on with something richer.

We were chatting with this guy, and he decided it would be a good idea if Ann had a shot of Patron, so he bought her one. Had to get a photo after that!
Next we went to the 515. I thought maybe we could dance here. Ann thought she lost her camera, and we looked everywhere for it. I went back to Third and Long and looked and couldn't find it. Then she went over. She finally found it in her pocket! Now we knew it was time to go home.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Suzee's Sopa de Pollo y Chile

I was in a creative mood yesterday, and wanted to make a healthy mexican chicken soup. I made stock the previous day from a roast chicken, so I figured, what can I add to this?? It ended up being the hugest pot of soup - we will be eating it all week! Here are the ingredients for half the pot I made:

3 cups chicken stock
1 can black beans, rinsed
1.5 cups corn (I used frozen)
2 carrots, chopped, sauteed
1 large sweet onion, chopped, sauteed
1 4oz can chopped chiles
2 cups chopped chicken
juice of 1 large lime
1 T cumin
1 T smoked chipotle (yes, really!)
1 T chili pepper
1 t garlic powder

This easy, healthy soup is thick. If you want more broth, add a can of chicken broth or water. I like serving it topped with a couple of crushed tortilla chips - good salt and a new dimention to the corn flavor!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lighter Potato Leek Soup with Turkey Breast

I got another one of those turkey breast roasts, and cooked it up plain with potatoes, onions and garlic. I used the leftovers in this yummy soup.

I make the soup lighter by mixing in mashed cauliflower with the potato. I doubt anyone would even notice a difference in the flavor - it's very convincing!

1 very large cauliflower or 2 small ones
1 lb potatoes cubed
1 lb new potatoes quartered
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
1 head of garlic, roasted
2 cans of chicken stock
1 T tarragon
1 t garlic powder
salt to taste
3 cups cooked cubed turkey or chicken

Break the cauliflower into florettes, and slice the stem. Simmer the cauliflower and cubed potatoes together in the chicken stock for 20 or 30 minutes so it's very soft. Use a potato masher to mash the cauliflower together with the potato. Toss in the roasted garlic and mash it a bit too.
Add water to make it a little soupy and add the leeks and spices. Simmer for another 15 or 20 minutes for the flavors to marry. Add the cooked turkey at the end, and simmer just to warm it up.

Yum yum!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Insider Information

So - I've finally pulled the trigger. Our realtor (Karen Shenker at Corcoran Realty - highly recommend her!) mentioned that she had heard about this web site where you can get event tickets for $4 after a $99 annual fee. After attending the dance event at the Alvin Alley Theater, I figured there are lots of cool things to do in the city that would need to have butts in the seats. So why not? Plus my friend Ann is coming, and I wanted to take her to something while she was here :) I'm looking forward to catching some of the more esoteric performances in town. I'm hoping to see Colbie Callait this weekend ;)

Another web site I've found that had a great special this weekend - I bought a number of $25 gift certificates for $2 each - you just can't beat that! Some of the options were places we already know we like :) I did a search for Portsmouth, too, and they had local restaurants there too. Normally you can get a $25 gift certificate for $10 - If I were home, I'd buy one for Four in downtown - I heard good things about it :)

I'll blog about the shows and restaurants as we try them :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wolfgangs on Park Ave

Wolfgang's Steak House on Park is a very relaxing neighborhood steakhouse. We decided to go there last minute tonight. I was in the mood for a nice cosmo, and some beef. Not sure why, since I don't cook fish at home and I love fish, but there you go.
We walked in and it was that strange time between lunch and dinner (you know - 6:00 pm) and service was a little spotty. We were rushed through our drink orders, and ordering dinner. We received our drinks, and then our salads. Not too long later we got the bread basket and butter. We enjoyed our cocktails and salads. I thought yeah - we should have waited to order. Rick asked for the wine list. Rick asked for a Sterling Cabernet and the waiter noted there were 2 Sterling Cabernets - he offered the nicer one for $20 less. We decided on that wine and it was just delish! We had the house specialty - a steak for 2. We ordered it medium rare, and it came medium well. There are little tags in the meat that tell you what it is - but I guess we had a miss communication. The steak is a porterhouse, and even at medium well, the filet has a pink color. I enjoyed it but would have enjoyed it more cooked to order.
We added mashed potatoes (meh) and sauteed spinach with sliced garlic (yum!). Next time I'd skip the potatoes.
We left without dessert or coffee as at home we had freshly made apple crisp at home :)
I'd come again - the bar area is cute too.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Joel's Amazing Asian Beef Marinade

I met Joel a long time ago ... we really got to know each other well in the ski house in North Conway, NH. We all went North on Friday evenings and tried one of the many fine eating and drinking establishments in the Mount Washington Valley. Saturdays and Sundays were devoted to skiing. If we were so lucky to have it snow late Friday night or Saturday night, we enjoyed the "freshies" the following morning :) Apres ski was enjoyed by all.

Through the years he lived in NH, we were often blessed with Joel's fabulous BBQ's and dinner parties. He'd try new recipes on us, and make tried and true dishes as well. Some of the fabulous successful new dishes were chicken sauteed with apples and apple brandy cream sauce (omg that was amazing), and also he tried a stuffed crown roast of pork for New Year's at the ski house (oh man - it was beautiful and *so* delicious!). This marinade is one of the tried and true recipes. It makes me wish I had a grill here in NYC. Since I don't, I'm recording the recipe here so it doesn't get lost :) Thanks Joel for the great food and great company!

¼ cup soy sauce
3 TBL honey
2 TBL vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T freshly grated ginger
3 green onions, tops included, chopped
¾ cup vegetable oil

Marinate beef tips up to 8 hours. Grill and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Eryc Taylor Dance at the Ailey Citigroup Theater

Yesterday my friend Jessie asked me to join her at the Eryc Taylor Dance premier - she had asked me weeks ago, but I'm not really in to dance, so I had declined. A mutual friend was going to go, but at the last minute was unable, so Jessie offered me the ticket again. I figured - what the heck?

I met Jessie when she exited the Path - it took about a half hour for her from Journal Square to reach Herald Sq. We took the R up to 47th and 6th and walked to Posh to meet her friend John Wilson. John was able to secure discounted tickets through his myriad of connections and we like discounts :) We got a couple of strange looks as we entered the bar, but ordered some cosmos and were thrilled that at happy hour a cosmo is only $4! Woo! I can't think of another single solitary place where you can get a cosmo for $4 - in Manhattan or out!

The group of 8 or 9 folks gathered and had cocktails, and talked about what we were about to experience. None of us were familiar with the group or it's work. If you are interested, I found this you tube clip that is a great example. We gathered ourselves and made our way to the theater on 55th and 9th.

The show was a compilation of 4 premier pieces and 2 previews. The show was about 40 minutes long (perfect for me) and it was a nice variety of music, group dance, duets and solo pieces. There was a reception after the show with nibbles and prosecco where we got to meet some of the patrons of show. Everyone seemed to enjoy the show very much. The choreography was intriguing, and the costumes simple but well thought out. Ah - to look fabulous in whisps of red chiffon ;)

After the reception, Jessie and I stopped at a little noodle shop she knew of - Mee on 53rd and 9th. We got an order of chicken fried rice and steamed dumplings to share. The fried rice was salty, and the dumplings were made with a thick dough rather than the thin which I prefer, but we got to sit and talk and visit. And we didn't have a problem eating it all. Another bonus - I picked up the check which was $11.40. I left a good tip since the waitress filled our water glasses frequently.

We walked back to the train station and took the N back to 33rd Street. I walked home and was surprised that Rick was waiting up for me :) We crawled into bed way too late for a school night, but boy - that was a lot of fun!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Final Concerts at Giant Stadium - Bruce Springsteen

Rick's boss's boss gave us tickets to see The Boss last night at Giants Stadium. Bruce Springsteen was saying goodbye to his home town stadium before they demolish it, and he even wrote a special song for the occasion :) In addition to being an amazing artist, Bruce has quite virulent fans! The parking lot opened for tailgating at 1:00, and people took advantage of it! This made for very disgusting port-o-potties (I mean much more disgusting than usual). Although the parking lot did not appear as party-centric as a Jimmy Buffet concert (nothing resembling a Springsteen version of a tiki bar or shark fin in sight), inside was an entirely different story.
We walked in to the field as we had general admission tickets, and since we had just seen the Patriots play 2 weeks ago, it was really cool to be on the field where they just played! Looking up into the stands was surreal! While we were meandering around the field, I serenaded Rick with a version of the Star Spangled Banner only he could hear - but now I've sung in Giants Stadium too :) I think that general admission is the best way to go to one of these concerts if you can - yes you stand for the concert, but you'd stand if you were in the seating area too. And there is so much room to dance and run around, and the concessions are right there with you, so you don't miss anything if you go get a beer or a water. We did sit on the ground for a while - you could still see the huge screens from the floor so it worked :)
Bruce gives an amazing show - though I'm really surprised he doesn't have nodes on his vocal chords by now. He sang, and played and danced his heart out - he ran down into the "pit" (the area in the very front of the stage where some general admission winners are allowed) and he was interacting with the fans. They must have been *thrilled* to have his so close! I know I would have been ;) And some of his songs he just held the mic up to the crowd and the ENTIRE stadium was singing the song, and you could even understand them! It was amazing!! I guess that's how you avoid the nodes - have the fans sing :) It really did make for an incredible experience.
While the concert was going on, I was really surprised to hear all these BOOOOOOOOO's in between the songs. I was like - what the heck? How can they Boo the Boss? Isn't he the home town hero? Let the guy breathe for a sec while the band transitions. While in line for a beer, I asked the chick behind me - Are you from around here? Why are they boo'ing??? And she laughed - Oh you aren't a *real* fan 'eh? They are saying Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuce. Oh. Hmmm. Well that makes sense I guess!
On the way home, I was very much looking forward to PIZZA! Some late night food was in order - we hadn't eaten since 4:00. I was so disappointed when we got home - the city that doesn't sleep actually does sleep. Our favorite pizza places closed at 10, and the chinese place closed at 11:00. Damn. I made some fried egg sandwiches, but would have really liked pizza. I'm going to have to scope out which places are open late night so we are ready for our next adventure :)