Monday, November 23, 2009

Salad recipe from the French Laundry Cookbook

I started reading The French Laundry Cookbook last weekend and decided to make a loose version of one of the recipes yesterday. I know that it's something like 10 years after its publication, but it's really a great cookbook. I thought it would be all crazy complicated, but Keller walks you through basic techniques and fundamental concepts, and writes about things like what kind of kosher salt he likes (Crystal Diamond) to the best way to roll a torchon of foie gras.

Anyway, I wanted to eat fish last night and wanted to have a salad (trying to eat healthier nowadays) so I did a variant of his Salad of Haricot Vert, Tomato Tartare, and Chive Oil. I've also always wanted to work on making better composed salads. I replaced the haricot vert with regular green beans because they're cheaper, the tomato tartare with tuna because that was easier and I wanted fish, but I kept the chive oil. I haven't made anything with tuna for a long time and I saw some beautiful-looking tuna at the Lobster Place the day before, so I got a pound of it. I know it sounds like a weird substitution, but it worked. We used the leftover tuna for sashimi. Here's a picture of the final product.

From the bottom up, you've got chive oil; tuna with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and onion; green beans with cream and sherry vinagrette (he calls for red wine vinegar); and topped off with chicory dressed in olive oil and balsamic (he calls for frisee and I don't think uses balsamic). I didn't have the metal ring you need to plate the tuna, so I found a container of expired sundried tomatoes in the apartment, threw out the tomatoes, and cut out my own mold from the plastic container. The dish tasted very good. Not a perfect reproduction of the original recipe, but I picked up some new techniques and I think got into the spirit of things. Which is why I love this cookbook. I'm not going to be following the recipes to the letter, but he has got some clear principles and explains why he does things the way he does. I'm looking forward to the rest of the book.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


We just came back from brunch at Berimbau.

I've been wanting to try out this place since they opened up over the summer. It took over the space formerly occupied by Deborah which is a restaurant that I really liked. Brian and Jen took me to Deborah for my birthday the first or second year I was in New York, and I've had some good meals there. It turns out that the chef/owner had a stroke, and had to sell quickly, and now we have the Brazilian restaurant Berimbau.

It's a really friendly place, good music, good vibe, good value. They started us with bite-sized pieces of cheese bread which were really good. Mabel got a delicious chicken sandwich, and I got Brazilian-style Eggs Benedict. (They had Cod Hash on the menu as well.) We talked a bit with one of the partners, Sergio, who told us about how they got started with the restaurant and how they're making it work with the recession. We're planning on making it back for dinner soon.

On the way back we kept seeing these flyers on the street.

In front of the corner church we ran into a petition booth to keep Carmine St a two-way street. "Do you live in the neighborhood?" "Yeah, I live in the neighborhood." I signed it because we don't need to increase the parking in the neighborhood and it was going to mess up the bus drop off for the church school on the corner. The city gave them an ultimatum. Hopefully they'll be able to figure something out.

43 Carmine Street (btn Bedford & Bleecker)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 242-2606

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sunday, November 7, 2009

Mabel had been craving Home's Oyster Po' Boy, so we stopped by for lunch today. She feels guilty for feeling this way, but she likes their Po' Boy better than the ones she ate on her recent trip to New Orleans.

I got Duck and Butternut Squash Hash with two eggs which was good, but I don't understand why it's impossible to find "homemade" regular old corned beef hash in Manhattan like what I ate at Curly's Cafe in Signal Hill. It's always a fancy insert-meat-other-than-corned-beef hash that is made in house. I had something like that at the Spotted Pig once, I think it was steak hash, and now they have bacon hash. For once I'd like to see corned beef hash that's not out of the can (not that there's anything wrong with the stuff out of the can). But Home's duck hash was tasty, and I got a side of Fried Oysters which is one of my favorite things at the restaurant.

Anyway, service at Home was poor as usual (we're no longer in love with the place and are considering a break up). While we were waiting for our waiter to take our order, we read about City Bakery in the latest issue of Edible Manhattan that they had out for diners.

After lunch, we headed over to the Greenmarket to pick up Japanese Turnips that Mabel has been obsessing about all week.

She also got some grapes and Italian Plums (presumably not from Italy) for herself. The plums were exploding in the bag. And I got a bunch of my beloved radishes.

Then we walked to City Bakery, inspired by the Edible article praising their pretzel croissants and chocolate chip cookies. We'd never been there before.

We got everything to go and just ate one of the chocolate chip cookies. They are delicious. Chewy, salty, sweet, chocolatey, and there's a pretzel taste to it that I like. It's something special.

For dinner, I prepped the turnips by quartering the roots

then steaming them for 10 minutes, which I think may have been on the long side. They were a lot softer than I thought they would get, but they were surprisingly sweet and so good. We just sprinkled some salt on them.

The turnip greens are also fantastic, either fresh or sauteed.

The City Bakery
3 W 18th St (btn 5th and 6th Ave)
New York, NY 10011
(212) 366-1414