Archives for August 2011

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The Meatball Shop, New York, NY

by TT August 31st, 2011| Restaurant Reviews
Have I mentioned that I love when travel, be it business or pleasure, brings me to Manhattan?  It really is an amazing place to be.  Earlier this month, I spent a few days there on business.  With perfectly aligned schedules, my husband was able to schedule his work travel to match mine, which meant that our evenings could be spent trying new restaurants.

This trip stretched into the weekend, which allowed for even more time to explore different neighborhoods.  After a multi-hour, 120 block walk during the midday, I found myself watching PBS in the late afternoon on Saturday.  What
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Buttercream Frosting

by TT August 29th, 2011| Desserts, Recipes
Last week I wrote about one of my favorite desserts, wedding cake.  In addition to enjoying the hint of almond in the cake, I love that there is a layer of fruit and a rich buttercream frosting.  Yes, I do know that some people prefer wedding cake with chocolate in place of fruit, but for me that is never an option.

The filling can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose.  You can use store-bought lemon curd or make your own; you can macerate berries with a little sugar; you can use preserves.  The options for the fruit
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Chef Juba Kali

by TT August 26th, 2011| Chef Interviews
Season 7 of Food Network Star may have ended, but our interviews of the contestants continue.  Although eliminated in the second episode, Juba Kali displayed fabulous knowledge of food and cooking.  We were able to speak with him and learn more about this fabulous chef.

TT:  As a chef, scientist and Food Network Star contestant, you have a vast amount of cooking knowledge and experience.  What is one simple food or cooking fact our readers should know that will improve their cooking?

JK:  One of my pet peeves that is EASILY avoidable is the overcooking of vegetables.  One can vastly improve
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The National, New York, NY

by TT August 25th, 2011| Restaurant Reviews
My husband travels more for business travel than I do.  While I understand that the days are long and lonely, some of the benefits, such as dining at great restaurants, make me a little envious.  For most of the last year, when he would travel to Manhattan, he would be situated somewhere in Midtown and managed to start his days with breakfast at The National.  When our business travel schedules were able to align this past June, I was eager to try breakfast here, as he had raved about short rib hash and other amazing options.

So, on a warm
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Wedding Cake

by TT August 22nd, 2011| Desserts, Recipes
There are two types of cake that vie for the position of favorite cake.  One of those is carrot cake, which I adore for its moist texture and sweet yet savory frosting.  The other is wedding cake, which I've enjoyed since I was a little girl who got to try a piece when my parents returned from a wedding.  For a long time I wondered exactly what it was about this cake that gave it a special taste.  In recent years, as I expanded my culinary experimentation, I discovered that almond extract gave the cake its je ne sais
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Cupcakes & Cake Slices in NYC

by TT August 17th, 2011| Desserts
During the summer, when our schedule allows, my husband and I schedule our business travel at the same time.  Although our days are filled with meetings, we have our evenings, and occasionally our weekends, to play.  What better way is there to spend a Saturday in Manhattan than walking through various sections of the city?  Over the last few trips, we have toured Fifth Avenue shops, Central Park, and Chelsea Market among other areas.

On each of these journeys, we have spent a good portion of the day walking several miles.  As these walks are purely for pleasure, we often stop
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Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

by TT August 16th, 2011| Healthy Cooking, Main Dishes, Recipes, Side Dishes, Tapas Monday
Zucchini is one of those vegetables that seems destined for filling with ingredients.  Growing up, my mom frequently stuffed zucchini with spinach, which made a delicious dish that could be served as an entrée or side.  This spring I created a tomato-stuffed zucchini topped with mozzarella.  As both of those are vegetarian dishes, it seemed to be time to create something for the carniverous crowd.

I made this dish as part of last night's Tapas Monday menu.  Served with crostini topped with tomatoes from our garden and fresh mozzarella, it made for a wonderful dinner of nibbling.  The only negative
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Chef Jyll Everman

by TT August 11th, 2011| Chef Interviews
With this season's Food Network Star nearing the end of the competition, it means that more chefs have been eliminated from the show.  Last week, we were able to speak with Justin Balmes.  This week, I was delighted to be able to speak with Jyll Everman, who was eliminated in week 8.

TT:  As a caterer and Food Network Star contestant, you have a vast amount of cooking experience.  What is one simple thing our readers can do to improve their cooking?

JE:  Focus on one technique at a time and master it! Spend a week braising different cuts of
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Blackberry Bruschetta

by TT August 10th, 2011| Appetizers, Recipes, Tapas Monday
We are fortunate to have wild blackberry bushes in our backyard.  However, most summers there aren't that many berries on the plants.  In fact, there usually are only enough for the kids to pick and eat.  Of course, I'm not going to complain about kids thinking that blackberries are a special treat.

This year was different.  Between finding a larger crop available, traveling for a week-long family vacation, and having kids who are busier this summer, there was a huge quantity to be picked this past Sunday.  So, it was with great delight that I realized not only would there be
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The Fiddlehead Restaurant, Bangor, ME

by TT August 8th, 2011| Restaurant Reviews
I love when I am amazed by a dining experience.  Over a month ago, my husband and I took a 10-day trip that was a mix of vacation and work.  We started with the vacation piece, during which we toured Maine and New Brunswick.  We chose Bangor, Maine, as our first night's stay, as it was more than halfway to our destination of Saint John.  While I had hopes for a solid dinner somewhere in Bangor, in no way did I imagine we would discover the restaurant that was the highlight our trip.

Based on recommendations from someone fellow foodies,
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Artichoke Salad

by TT August 4th, 2011| Recipes, Salads, Tapas Monday
On a recent Tapas Monday, I lacked creativity.  I had a meeting near a great Italian specialty shop, so I decided to seek inspiration there.  As I knew would happen, I wasn't disappointed.  I found more cheeses than one would need for a dinner for two, assorted cured meats, and interesting crackers.  However, cheese, charcuterie, and crackers don't necessarily make enough of a meal, at least when your dinner companion is a man with a hearty appetite.

As I was checking out their olives, I noticed that they also had roasted tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil.  While I normally
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Chef Justin Balmes

by TT August 1st, 2011| Chef Interviews
Watching television isn't one of my favorite pastimes, especially if it is a reality show.  Reality shows seem to include way too much drama.  However, a few years ago, Food Network introduced The Next Food Network Star, and I was intrigued.  Watching people with various food backgrounds compete as chefs and tv personalities for the chance to have their own show- I was hooked.

As of last night, the current season of Food Network Star, (apparently marketing decided to drop "Next") has reduced its group of  contenders from fifteen to four.  Among the original group of fifteen was Justin Balmes,
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