Tuesday, May 15, 2012

new beginnings: parmesan baked eggs

I have (finally!) finished my Master's degree, so now it's on to new frontiers.  Specifically, I will be a library media specialist in an elementary school this fall, and we're moving next month.  I'm also ready to reinvigorate this blog, if only to fill the gap in my time left by the absence of school work (good riddance!).

It's fitting that I'm thinking of new things at this time in the year, when farmer's markets are reopening and little green shoots are arriving in CSA boxes.  The best thing to do with those tender greens is to treat them very gently, if at all.  Better yet, pair them with a perfectly cooked egg.  I love this recipe for parmesan baked eggs from Pinch of Yum because it's simple and quick, yet it feels decadent to dip toasts into rich orange egg yolks.  All it needs are some lightly dressed spring greens for a well-rounded dinner.

Parmesan Baked Eggs

Pay close attention to the tops of the eggs and try to stick to the time recommendation.  They may not seem done, but don't overcook as you don't want the yolks to get hard.  The eggs will continue cooking a bit as they sit.

1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
6 eggs
1 tbsp heavy cream (or half and half)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan, heat butter and oil.  Add shallot and saute until soft and fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Add herbs and salt; remove from heat and stir to combine.  The mixture should be somewhat coarse and just a little buttery.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Place a small pat of butter (about 1 tsp) in the bottom of each of 3 ramekins.  Place in oven until butter is melted.

Remove ramekins from oven, add 1 tsp of cream to each, and crack 2 eggs into each ramekin without breaking the yolk.  Sprinkle the her mixture over the top of each ramekin and return to the oven.  Bake for about 7 minutes.

Turn up the heat to the broil setting and let the eggs broil for another 1-2 minutes.  Remove from oven when egg whites are just set and yolks are still soft.  Let stand for 3-5 minutes before serving.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cheese.  Serve with broiled hearty bread rubbed with a garlic clove on both sides.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

eating in manhattan

waiting feet at Russ & Daughters

I need to finally get around to finishing my NYC posts, since I've already been on another food-heavy trip in the meantime.  There are just so many photos of delicious foods backlogged in iPhoto that I get overwhelmed and keep putting it on the back burner!  It's gotten so that I have neglected photographing meals that I cook, since I haven't been posting them anyway.  I want that to change!  And maybe it will soon enough, since I am now in my final semester of grad school.  We shall see.

On our trip in August, we didn't even make it onto the island of Manhattan until the last two days, and then we had a lot of catching up to do, food-wise.

Lower East Side

We are always on the lookout for a good donut, so I knew we couldn't miss the Doughnut Plant.  To start off our day of devouring fried doughs from all over the world, we bought a half dozen donuts.  Besides the one you see below, we also enjoyed flavors such as oatmeal, fresh peach, salted peanut, blackout, and a creme brulee raised donut.  Man, my mouth is watering just typing this.

tres leches donut

Cocoron Soba came highly recommended from Serious Eats and provided one of the lighter options of our day--yes, noodles dipped in scalding pork and kimchi was light, relatively speaking.  And it was incredibly satisfying to boot.
pork kimchee dip soba

Apparently the LES location of BaoHaus has closed since we went there, but it would be worth seeking out their new location for the tender, flavorful pork belly they serve.  

the Chairman Bao: braised Berkshire pork belly, crushed peanuts, cilantro, Haus relish, and Taiwanese red sugar

After recommendations from our buddies Joey and Tony, we had to hit up Russ & Daughters for bagels and lox to eat on some park steps.  To be honest, it was my first experience with lox (I realized lox was really not the same thing as smoked salmon) and I'm not sure I want to have it anywhere else after this.  It was that good.

 everything bagel with lox, scallion cream cheese, red onion, and tomato

On the same park steps, we enjoyed our first knish.  Every little place on Coney Island sells knishes, but our traveling host let us know that those are typically just frozen, heavy prepackaged things that they reheat.  Although this knish from Yonah Schimmel Knishery was not exactly light (you should feel the heft of these things), the pastry was flaky and buttery and the potato filling well-seasoned.  Since we were amateurs at knish-eating, we got ours topped with cheese.  You can take the kids out of Wisconsin...anyway.

mozzarella knish 

Vanessa's Dumplings was just on the edge of Chinatown and on many lists of the best dumplings in the area.  I didn't have any other dumpling with which to compare, but I certainly wasn't complaining about these.  Be sure to find the Chinatown location, though, where dumplings come 5 for $1.  The newish midtown location gets away with charging $3 for the same number.  Please excuse the terrible photography as we were shooting in the low light of an apartment stoop.

pork dumplings

 steamed pork buns

sesame duck pancake - we were so stuffed by this point, but couldn't pass up the chance to try this


I don't know my New York geography all that well, so if I put a restaurant in the wrong neighborhood, please go easy on me.

One of my major goals in visiting NYC was to eat in Flushing.  The other was to eat at a Momofuku location.  Weird how I wanted to eat at the most authentic Asian restaurants and also one of the most popularized Asian chains.

Because we couldn't afford--or even get a spot in--the high-end Momofuku restaurant, we opted for the  Ssam Bar, with their delicious-sounding duck lunches.  Indeed, delicious they were.

rotisserie duck over rice with greens and many tasty sauces

 steamed bun with pulled duck, sauerkraut, and smoked mayo

Waddling across the street, we completed the Momofuku experience by visiting Milk Bar.  We had read some complaints that the quality was compromised when Milk Bar had recently centralized their baking operations and sent prepackaged sweets out to their several locations.  I couldn't say for sure, but I do wonder whether the cookies wouldn't have been better fresh.  However, we had no complaints about the pies...

 candy bar pie

aptly-named crack pie

compost cookie - not pictured: cornflake marshmallow and blueberry cream

We waited in line for an hour to get ice cream at the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck (since expanded into the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop), but it was worth it.  The line moves slowly because the proprietor does everything himself: he takes your order, pulls the soft serve, carefully injects it with dulce de leche, grinds sea salt over it, dips it in chocolate shell, and handles the money.  So good.

 the Salty Pimp

West Village

Our only foray into the West Village was motivated by--surprise--food.  We had read--and had it confirmed by a New Yorker--that Taim had the best falafel in the city.  I had not had a ton of falafel, and the falafel Matt had tasted he had not enjoyed.  We both loved this.  The green variety really is green, packed with herbs and flavor.  Coupled with a refreshing mint ginger limeade, the sandwich made me forget my tired feet for 20 minutes.

 green falafel sandwich with hummus, israeli salad, pickled cabbage, and tahini sauce

That's it (finally) for my New York photos!  Hope they were informative and inspiring.  Check back for pics from our recent Portland trip and (hopefully) more home-cooked meal posts!


Last night Matt and I had a great time at the Bookless Party inside the gutted Madison Central Library.  I wish it would stick around longer than one night.  Here's a gif I threw together of some cute pictures from the "photo booth" station.

librarians know how to party