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Thursday, July 31, 2014

DriveThru - Savoury NYC

A quick stop into where to eat with Pete!

Savoury is sweet! Chef/owner Lala Sharma (formerly of Surya, that I loved, in the West Village) presents a menu influenced by Western and Southern Indian cuisine. On August 15th, Savoury will commemorate Indian Independence Day with a $50 PP tasting menu (with both meat and vegetarian options) amid celebratory, flashy Bollywood music. Look for appetizers such as Palak Moong Chaat with spinach, sprouted lentils in onion, tamarind and mint sauce or be teased by the Tiranga Kebab with basil, chicken tikka and ginger kebabs, the colors of which represent the Indian flag.

Moving on to mains, Chettinad, a dish prepared with either lamb or goat is served in a nostril-tingling sauce of black pepper, curry leaves, tamarind and coconut milk; Chaana Masala is the classic dish composed of chickpeas, slow-cooked in onions and tomatoes. Gulab Jamun for dessert comes in the form of small dried milk spheres, gently cooked and boiled in a sugary syrup. All of the mains come with naan, Basmati rice, daal, raita and mango chutney--and there's a complimentary glass of wine or Indian beer in it for you too!

And P.S. The party continues on over the weekend through August 17th, with 1947 beer for three bucks.

Savoury is located at 489 Columbus Ave. btwn 83rd/84th Sts, New York, NY, 212-875-1400,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wango La Tango Mango Smoothie

My Vitamix and I have become rather refreshing friends this summer while I sipped smoothies. Although I haven't quite figured out my ideal vegetable mix--I've kibitzed with kale, cabbage, yellow beets and lemon combos--I'm quite taken with this fruity fix that I created!

Wango La Tango
1 banana
1/4 sweet, ripe honeydew melon, scooped out (pour in the melon juice too!)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 cup Vita Coco coconut water
1 cup Naked Mighty Mango juice
Plenty of ice, at least six cubes

Put ice in mixer or blender first, probably. Throw in all the rest and press play.

Do enjoy!

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Friend Writes...

If you don't know about it already, I'd like to give a warm welcome to Celebrity Chef Connection hosted and produced by Barbara J. Nosek, who was kind enough to invite me to share blog posts with her. Today I present some celebrity news bites from Celebrity Chef Connection that include news of Mario Batali's new book as well as the crackling The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman...well, what are you waiting for? Dig in!

Thanks to  for the snap.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ladies in Lavender...and Lemonade!

My folks used to have a little cottage in Friendship, Maine. I spent many summers there growing up and subsequent visits have always included a road trip (only about an hour's drive) to gorgeous Camden, Maine on the bay filled with sailboats. I recently discovered the fragrant Glendarragh Lavender Farm on the main street. Yes, all things lavender--from soaps to sachets and lotions as well as all-natural goods such as pillows and scarves! I picked up a packet of lavender recipes there, courtesy of Jadyne Reichner and Lynette Brown from Purple Haze Farm, out of Washington State. The packet contained a little bag of organic dried lavender, which I delighted in, when making Lavender Lemonade this summer. Also included was a bag of Herbs de Provence, for roasting potatoes. I have yet to delve into the recipe for grilled salmon with lavender and basil or the garden greens mixed with lavender-ginger dressing. So look into lavender and do enjoy!

Lavender Lemonade
1 qt lemonade
1 TB dried lavender
1 cup boiling water

Pour boiling water over lavender, steep 20 minutes, strain, add to lemonade, serve chilled, garnish with lemon slices and lavender.

Roasted Potatoes with Herbs de Provence
6 medium baking potatoes, peeled
1 TB Herbs de Provence
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potatoes into 1" wedges. Place the cut potatoes into a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.
Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle herbs and salt, then toss mixture with your hands to coat evenly.
Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned.
Options: Mix in root vegetables such as parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes, yams and carrots!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Perfect Picnic!

A perfectly splendid sun rose up to create a wonderful picnic on a careless afternoon for my dear old friend and her son, visiting from Norway. I had only seen her once or twice in the last thirty years since we were in high school together and had never met her charming, buoyant boy, who is soon looking to hit the ripe old age of thirteen. We sat at an appropriately picnicky red-and-white checkered table on the Sun Deck of my building under a cloudless sky, with impish breezes at times attempting to whisk our paper plates away. Our merry trio unpacked our basket as well as a lot of memories, even as we were creating new ones. Bellinis with chilled Spanish cava and peach juice filled our flutes and were readily poured (the young man only had the peach juice and bottled water, of course). I set out "everything" spelt bagels on a platter of slivered yellow onions, thick slices of screamingly ripe red summer tomatoes, Irish smoked salmon, herring in sauce, and creamy French Neufchatel cheese to slather over the whole lot. Popsicles (pulled from a cooler) and brownie minis (allowed to bake in the sun) were a treat to finish while we discussed the ages...

I fell in love with my dear friend, was it 1983? 1984...? How the time passes since the moment I met her those years ago. I cherish it all; yes, friendship, memories, and the years spreading across the distance.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pinkies Up! - Solbeso Cacao Cocktails

Solbeso, roughly translated to "sun-kissed" I suppose, has recently launched the first spirit to have been distilled from the cacao fruit (hand-sourced from countries such as Peru and Ecuador), resulting in smooth, concentrated aromas and a refined flavor. Although currently only available in Miami and NYC during this preliminary phase, below are several cocktails to ask for by name--and to make in your own home soon!

The Birds & The Bees
2 parts Solbeso
.5 part lemon juice
.5 part honey syrup

Combine ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake, then strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel.

Solbeso + Iced Tea
2 parts Solbeso
2.75 parts iced tea
.75 part simple syrup

Build in a highball glass over cubed ice. Stir and garnish with a wheel of lemon. 

Cheers--and do enjoy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Agua de Valencia

After having encountered a dish or a drink that I wasn't satisfied with, something such as fried chicken soaked in peculiar pecan gravy or a miserable mai tai, what do I do when the thoughts niggle at me? I go home to make it myself, usually with better results. I'd heard about Valencia's historic, specialty cocktail, the Agua de Valencia, first crafted about 50 years ago, with gin, orange juice and Spanish cava. When Baby and I went off to Spain, I was excited to try one. I was left as flat as yesterday's cava. The campy, florid Cafe de las Horas (suitably suggested by our local friend) served a wonderful pitcher, I think with vodka, but I was still unsatisfied. I spotted the brittle, gruesome waitress at the popular Cafe Sant Jaume behind the bar attempting to pour the revered cocktail, premade and out of a plastic bottle! In a word, "no." When I returned to the states, I positioned myself behind our bar and set to work. A splash of rum did the trick and resulted in a deliciously refined, refreshing respite. The following recipe is courtesy of Saveur magazine.

Agua de Valencia
Serves One
1 oz gin
2 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
Splash dark rum
1-2 oz chilled cava, or similar fizzy white, such as prosecco

Fill shaker with ice. Add first three ingredients and shake with vigor. Strain into a stemmed glass (I used a beautiful, etched coupette from a collection that belonged to my Nana, used on her wedding day back in the 1920's--but you needn't perhaps go that far). Top off with the fizzy, sparkling goods and leave the aforementioned waitress out of it. Do enjoy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Fruitful Launch Party!

Red Jacket just launched their new cookbook Fruitful--Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes at The Johnson Room in the fabulously fantastic NoMad hotel and gratefully, I was in attendance with a pal of mine in tow. For over 50 years, Red Jacket has been the purveyor of carefully considered fruits and juices--now, Brian Nicholson (third-generation owner) and food writer Sarah Huck have sealed it all with a kiss with Fruitful. Masterly chef Daniel Humm (Chef/Owner, awe-inspiring Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad) is a contributor to the book and was gracious enough to pause as I took the photo, above! The book is gorgeous, bursting with recipes that I cannot wait to stick a fork into. Apart from summery, fruit-filled pies or cobblers, there are many other ruminations that include: a Rhubarb Tom Collins; duck breasts, pan-seared with honeyed gooseberries; pork chops with apricot-rosemary sauce; grilled shrimp skewers with prosciutto and peaches; and (insert gasp! here) vanilla cream cheese cupcakes with black raspberry buttercream.

As we pored over the pages at the event, there was Champagne on hand and a few exclusive cocktails that were passed around, namely the relieving Charlie Watts with Red Jacket Apricot Stomp, a potent blend of rums from Barbados, Guyana, and Batavia, spicy tellicherry black pepper and refreshing doses of pineapple and lemon. We snacked on a number of nibbles too: rounds of beets marinated in white vinegar, topped with goat cheese and caraway seeds; salted French breakfast radishes, some of which were wrapped in a delicate shawl of creamy butter; foie gras on brioche toasts dotted with a cherry and rhubarb coulis and what I believe was a slight sprig of tarragon, to further the effect.

Cheers to such a fruitful collaboration and thank you to Nancy and Pam at Trent & Company for the kind invite!