Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts


Try This to Eliminate Garlic Smell from Your Fingers

 Photos: Alexandra Cooks

The benefits of garlic are abundant, known as a superfood, this potent spice has the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease, cholesterol and even cancer. However, the smell of garlic leaves a lot to be desired. The compound responsible for that distinctive aroma we all have come to know and love/hate is called allicin.

As many of you might already know, water and soap just isn't enough to remove the smell of garlic from your fingers. But here's what you should do: just rub a slice of lemon or lime on your fingers and wash any remnants off with water (you might want to rethink this method if you have any nicks or cuts on your hands). This little trick will completely eliminate any traces of garlic. What's more, it's chemical free.


Midnight Dark Chocolate Stout Cake

The addition of a dark stout is the perfect way to elevate a classic chocolate cake recipe. Not only does the stout perfectly offset the sweetness of the batter, but it also imparts a deeper more complex chocolate flavor. A sprinkle of lime zest also adds a much-needed brightness, which would be missed if omitted from the recipe.


2 cups of Guinness stout
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1/ 1/2 cups of quality dark cocoa powder
1 dark chocolate bar (Hershey's)
2 large eggs
1tsp. of lime zest
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 of sour cream
1/2 of cream cheese
1/2 cup of carnation cooking milk
2 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp. of salt
1tbsp. of baking soda
1 tbsp. of vanilla extract

For cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter cake pans and set aside. Bring stout and butter to a boil in a large saucepan. Lower the temperature and whisk in dark cocoa powder, dark chocolate bar, and sugar until smooth. Set the mixture aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Using an electric mixture, add eggs, lime zest, vanilla extract, salt, cayenne pepper, sour cream, cream cheese, and carnation cooking milk and blend until well incorporated. Then slowly add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and blend to combine. Add flour and baking soda and beat until desired batter consistency is reached. Pour batter into cake pans and bake for 30-50 minutes depending on your oven.


Pour 1 cup of sugar into a small saucepan, add 3 or 4 tbsps of water and allow mixture to bubble. Next, pour 1/2 cup of Guinness stout to the saucepan and cook until you've achieved a syrupy glaze. Drizzle glaze on top of cake and enjoy!


French Girls Swear By the De-Bloating Power of This Drink

Every culture has one. A drink or some type of diuretic dedicated to whittling the waistline. For the French, that miracle elixir is tisane (pronounced ti-zahn), a caffeine-free herbal drink. The most common type of tisane consists of mint, chamomile, verbena and rooibos.

Tisanes are often referred to as herbal teas, but in actuality, they're herbal infusions made from roots, berries and spices. Whereas real teas derive from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, an evergreen shrub native to Asia.

While teas usually take anywhere from two-to-three minutes to steep, tisanes could take upwards of 10 minutes to develop peak flavor. I'd take those few extra minutes over a bloated tummy, any day!


Boozy Ice Cream 'Barlour' Coming to NYC!

Are you ready to get ice cream wasted?

You can thank Melissa Tavss, ice cream sommelier and founder of Tipsy Scoop, for infusing your favorite wholesome treat with vodka, bourbon, tequila and other intoxicants like stouts and wines. Tipsy Scoop is a compound venue, featuring a bar and ice cream counter (barlour). Expect sinful flavors ranging from dark chocolate whiskey caramel and cake batter vodka martini to strawberry rhubarb bourbon and spiked hazelnut coffee.

Customers can choose from 15 classic flavors, including seasonal options that have yet to be determined. They can also get their buzz from ice cream sandwiches and an assortment of cakes and pies.

According to Tavss, each pint of her handmade artisanal ice cream contains five percent alcohol, so customers will need to show photo ID to make a purchase. Sorry kiddos! Each scoop will set you back $4.50, but you will be able to get discounted prices for double scoops at $6.50 — and four flavors for $10.50.

Currently, you can place an order on the Tipsy Scoop website or at retailers like Morton Williams, City Fresh Market and Whole Foods. They also sell to Sedutto NYC, an ice cream and yogurt shop on the upper east side. For her next project, Tavss is working on boozy toppings. Seems appropriate!

The barlour will be open for business May 7th from noon to 9:00 p.m. Hours of operations will be noon to 10:00 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 9:00 p.m on Sundays. The first 25 patrons on opening day will receive $1 ice cream scoops and the first 50 will be gifted with either free tank tops or tote bags.

Photos: Tipsy Scoop
Tipsy Scoop
Where: 217 East 26th Street (near Third Avenue)


This Ingredient Yields the Tastiest Guacamole

Guacamole is one of my favorite spreads, and I've tasted my fair share of the mashed treat over the years — albeit, some tastier than others. I'm always looking for ways to add nuance and complexity to the classic recipe. So when I heard adding just a dab of mayonnaise yields a creamier batch, I just had to try it for myself. Try it, I did. I also find that the addition of mayo creates a more well-rounded flavor profile. Check out my revved up guacamole recipe below — trust me when I say, It's far from mediocre ;)

Photo: Epicurious
Recipe (2-4 servings)

You'll need:

2 ripe avocados — use this trick to determine overall ripeness
1 medium red or white diced onion (you can substitute shallots if you have them)
1 tsp. of black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, smashed (use mortar and pestle)
1/2 lime or lemon juice (I prefer lime)
2 tbsp. of chopped cilantro
1 scotch bonnet pepper, finely diced (you can use serrano or jalapeno peppers if you prefer)
2 tsp. of salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tbsp. of mayonnaise
Tortilla chips, to serve


Use a fork to mash avocados in a large bowl. Add lime juice first to keep avocados from turning brown (note: in my experience, lime juice will keep avocados vibrant for maybe and hour or two). Incorporate diced onions, peppers, garlic, cilantro, salt and mayonnaise into the batch. Mix well and enjoy with tortilla chips.

Check out my previous post about how to keep guacamole green, longer.

Also, did you know guacamole dates back to the 1500s?


Get Creamier Scrambled Eggs With This Trick!

No cheese? No problem! You can now create the creamiest, silkiest scrambled eggs by using this common household appliance: a blender!

According to Tyler Kord, Chef at No.7, just crack the eggs into a blender and puree the mixture on a low setting until the egg whites and yolks are well incorporated.
...your scrambled eggs will taste better than if they are only partially mixed with a fork. I think it's that the uniformity in the protein composition allows the eggs to cook more evenly and gives you a much smoother texture [...]. They are so delicious that people will ask you if you put milk or cheese in them, and you will say, 'No,' and they will respect you for it but will still be a little dubious.
I tested out the method this morning and it yielded one of the most luscious scrambled egg dishes I've ever had. It truly works you guys.

Another way to make creamy eggs is by continuously stirring them on low heat. Do you have any clever cooking tricks? Share them in the comments below!


The Best Spiked Pumpkin Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie You'll Ever Have!

Over the years, I've repeatedly tweaked my pumpkin cheesecake pie recipe, and not to tune my own horn—but I think it has finally reached ultimate status. Whoop, whoop!

So without further ado, here's my updated and foolproof spiked pumpkin cheesecake pie recipe. I Hope you enjoy some version of it this upcoming Thanksgiving!

Ingredients (for two pies)

2 cans of pumpkin purée 
2 pounds of cream cheese
1 cup of sour cream
1 stick of butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 cup of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of honey
or granulated sugar
Pinch of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 teaspoon of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
3 eggs
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of coconut milk
Splash of quality dark rum 
Pre-made pie dough


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prick pre-made pie dough with a fork and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is brown in color. Remove and set aside.

For the filling:

Whisk heavy cream, coconut milk, rum, lemon zest, eggs, butter and vanilla extract together in a large bowl until well blended. Combine pumpkin puree, cream cheese, sour cream, baking powder, flour, sugar, honey, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a pan and cook on low heat for 10 minutes or until thickened.  

Remove pan from the heat and slowly incorporate cream mixture with a hand whisk.

Optional: transfer mixture into food processor for smoother consistency.
Pour mixture into pre-made pie crust and bake for 55 minutes or until the center is set. Cool at room temperature and serve warm with whipped cream. 

Bon appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!


My Ultimate Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

For some, the turkey is the star of Thanksgiving dinner. It inspires speculation and awe, but most often than not, it can be a complete letdown. There's nothing worse than gazing ravenously at a golden brown turkey only to have that anticipation peter out as you bite into something that mimics the texture of cardboard.

I've come to think of myself as the turkey whisperer! But I didn't get this sure of my gobble-gobble skills without a lot of trial and error, and deep frustration. It took me years to master my ultimate turkey recipe and it has been a staple on my family's Thanksgiving table ever since.

 Photos: Honestly Yum

I've gotten so many inquiries from family members and friends alike about how I manage to get such a flavorful bird each year. My secret weapon is so simple; I brine it. Brining is a process in which you steep poultry into seasoned water before cooking. If you've never brined your turkey before, I encourage you to give it a try this year. I promise you won't regret it.  Let's get started!

Ingredients (for a 16 pound turkey)

For the brine:
2 cups of salt
4 gallons of water
Black peppercorns
1 head of garlic
Scotch bonnet peppers (use your desired amount)
6 Carrots
2 large onions
6 celery stems
One clean 5-gallon bucket

For the aromatics:

*Thaw the turkey a day before making the brine.

At least two days before Thanksgiving, combine water, salt, peppercorns, garlic, scotch bonnet peppers, carrots, onions and celery in a large pot—boil the solution over medium heat. Cook until all the flavors are well incorporated into the water. Note: the water should be salty. Remove the solution from the heat and cool it down to room temperature.

Next, remove the innards and place the turkey into the 5-gallon bucket. Pour the brine solution over the turkey making sure that it's fully immersed. Place a lid over the bucket and store it in a cool, dry place until Thanksgiving morning. Note: The salt will keep the turkey from spoiling. 

On Thanksgiving morning:

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees farenheint.

Remove the turkey from the brine, pat it dry and place it into a roasting pan. Carefully lift the skin with your index fingers and distribute a healthy amount of room temperature butter throughout. Repeat the same process over the skin. Add aromatics into the turkey's cavity and tuck the wings underneath it.

Cover the turkey with the lid from the roasting pan or aluminum foil and roast for 1 hour. Next, remove the lid and reduce the oven's temperature to 350 degrees F. Then, cook for an additional hour.

Optional: after the last step, remove the turkey from the oven and use a basting brush to coat the skin with canola oil—this step ensures a crispier, golden brown skin.

If you plan to use a meat thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the bird—be sure to avoid making contact with a bone for a more accurate reading. According to experts, a 16 pound turkey should be done cooking once the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. But from my experience, 165 degrees F ensures you'll end up with a dry bird. Opt for 161 degrees F instead.

Tip: make sure to let the turkey rest for a minimum of 15 minutes before carving. And, speaking of carving, here's a thorough lesson on how to carve a turkey! 

Bon appetit!


The Best Butter Cookies You'll Ever Have—With a Twist!

I'm drawn to simplicity and when I'm in the mood for something sweet and delicious, I always turn to these crumbly, buttery cookies. They are simply divine and so easy to make. Let's get started!

Recipe: Butter Cookies


1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of salted or unsalted butter
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 splashes of vanilla extract
Special twist: lemon zest
Decorating sugar or sprinkles


1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt in a bowl. Sprinkle lemon zest and incorporate specks into flour mixture

2. Using an electric mixer, whisk together butter, granulated sugar for 1 minute or until fluffy and light in color. Incorporate egg yolk, vanilla extract and blend for five-to-six minutes. Switch mixer on low and slowly add flour until dough is formed

3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Take small pieces of dough, roll them into balls and flatten them with a spoon or your thumb. Distribute decorating sugar or sprinkles on top of each cookie. Then refrigerate for one hour or overnight.

4. When you're ready for a snack: heat your oven to 325F and bake cookies for 15-20 minutes. Let cookies cool for five minutes then store them in a container at room temperature.



BOO! 6 Spooky Halloween Dinner Ideas

I've never been a huge fan of Halloween. However, my little brother, Alex, was always buzzing with excitement as the holiday neared, so my mother and I would always do our best to sate his appetite for all things ghoulish. I can't tell you how many eyeballs I've unsuccessfully molded over the years.

Hopefully, these spooky treats will put a smile on your little ones faces after a long night of trick-or-treating— especially when you deny them that second helping of their favorite sweets :)

Spirited Pizza

No ouija board required, but you will need many hands to assemble this spirited pie  

Spider Web Soup

This mini arachnid is the perfect crunchy topping for this pumpkin soup. You can use coconut or greek yogurt to create the web!

Eyeball Meatballs

In my experience, eyeballs inspire two reactions: giggles or disgust. Whichever one you get, you'll definitely get their attention! Hint: You can either use squid ink or soy sauce to give the pasta its signature black hue

Jack-O-Lantern Quesadillas 

These cheesy, chicken and pumpkin-filled quesadillas will be an instant crowd pleaser. You might want to make a few batches!

Spooky Fingers

Dip pretzel sticks into dark or white chocalate and use pumpkin seeds to mimic devilish looking fingernails. I dare you not to take a bite!

Blood Drip Cupcakes

No one can resist sinking their fangs into these sinfully delicious bloody treats

Photos: Delish and Red Tricycle 


This is Why You Can't Stop Eating Bread and Pasta

Do you know of anyone who hates bread or pasta? I sure don't. A study from Oregon State University in Corvallis suggests that "starchy" might be the sixth flavor,  joining primary tastes salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami (savory).

According to researcher Juyun Lim, every culture has a major source of complex carbohydrate, and the idea that we can't taste what we're eating doesn't make sense.

"Complex carbohydrates such as starch are made of chains of sugar molecules and are an important source of energy in our diets. However, food scientists have tended to ignore the idea that we might be able to specifically taste them," says Lim. "Because enzymes in our saliva break starch down into shorter chains and simple sugars, many assumed we detect starch by tasting these sweet molecules."

For the study, researchers gave participants a range of different carbohydrate solutions containing long and short carbohydrate chains. As it turns out, the subjects were able to detect "starchy" flavors, even when they were given compounds that block the receptors on the tongue for making out sweet tastes.

However, starch does not meet all the requirements to be classified as a primary taste because researchers have yet to identify specific starch receptors on the tongue.


Have a Happy, Healthy and Safe 4th of July

Get ready to celebrate your 4th of July with these healthy and delicious twists on your favorite summer foods.

It’s no secret that the 4th of July can make or break a diet because it includes everything necessary for a great celebration: family and friends, delicious barbecue and refreshing cocktails. When the good times start rolling, chances are you’ll end up reaching for whatever food that’s around — and at a 4th of July cookout, hot dogs, burgers and ice cream are never in short supply. So when you get hungry today, remember not to let all of your healthy eating habits fall by the wayside— because you can eat healthy and still enjoy the holiday to its fullest.
Photos: Honestly Yum

Reinvent the Burger
Like apple-pies, burgers are a 4th of July party staple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try something a little different that’s just as flavorful as what you’re used to. Swap high fat meats with lower fat ingredients like turkey, fresh salmon and even lentils. Instead of white bread, try a whole-wheat bun — or ditch the bun altogether for a lettuce wrap topped with avocadoes, caramelized onions and tomatoes.

Choose Better Sides
When it’s time to hit the buffet line, you’re better off skimping on high-calorie side dishes like potato salad and loading up on brown rice, squash and beans. They’ll make you feel fuller longer and they pack serious amounts of fiber — and they can even help lower the “bad” cholesterol LDL.

Stay Off the Sauce
Barbecue sauces, salad dressings and gravies are notorious for being high in fat— and fat-free options aren’t any better because they substitute fat with lots of carbohydrates. If you’re looking to add a punch of flavor to your meal this weekend, your best bet is to use spices like garlic, cumin, oregano —and if you want a kick, chili pepper.

Stir-Up Your Own Drinks
You don’t want the majority of your calories to come from your drinks. So skip sugary sodas and lemonades, and try making your own drink by infusing seltzer water with lemon wedges, blueberries and raspberries— you can even add herbs for a different flavor profile — and your batch will be just as refreshing and delicious as high-calorie cocktails. If homemade drinks aren’t an option, and if you’re planning on having a cocktail or two, try alternating them with water.

Stick to Guilt-Free Desserts
You can still satisfy your sweet tooth without torpedoing your diet. Treat yourself to a parfait with low-fat yogurt and a drizzle of honey, a fruit-infused popsicle or simply munch on some dark chocolate squares (don’t go overboard). Remember, there’s no harm in having a piece of chocolate cake. But if you’re having a big piece, be sure to use the buddy system and share some with a friend. Then sit back and enjoy the fireworks!


This Ingredient Makes for the Creamiest Mac-and-Cheese

Want to learn my secret for the most satisfying, luxurious and creamy mac-and-cheese? Just add cream of mushroom soup! I learned about this nifty little trick in an episode of Tia Mowry at Home and rushed to the supermarket the next day to fetch the ingredients. I would have never thought of this addition, but it worked like a dream. Would you give it a try to rev up your mac-and-cheese recipe?


Potato Pizza!

Have you ever tried potato pizza? I only found out about it recently but apparently it has been a thing in Rome for quite some time. 

Potato is not the first topping I think of when I think of the ideal pie. Pepperoni and ham, yes, pineapple, maybe, but potatoes.... It sounds odd but I assure you, it's ridiculously delicious. Check out this potato pizza recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen. Bon Appetit! 


Using Filippo Berio's Extra Virgin Olive Oil to Create Healthy Twists to Traditional Comfort Foods

For the past six months, I ate anything and everything, mostly out of convenience. As a result,  I felt sluggish,  moody and less alert.  So two weeks ago, I made the choice to eat healthier and have been swapping full-fat ingredients with lower fat alternatives. I've been using extra virgin olive oil as a substitute for butter, and recently tried the Fillipo Berio brand. I tried both their "Robusto" and "Delicato" selections and prefer "Delicato" because of it's milder flavor.  I'll definitely continue using it in my dishes from now on. Check out these good-for-you twists of my favorite comfort foods.

Veggie-Loaded Pizza
The key to making a healthier pizza is to not go overboard with the toppings. However, if you feel like indulging, use full-fat ingredients sparingly but load-up on the veggies. Mushrooms would make a great addition because of their meaty texture. Try substituting cheeses that are high in saturated fat and sodium with low-fat and low-sodium alternatives. You can also opt for a whole-wheat crust to boost your fiber intake.

Creamy-But-Light Macaroni and Cheese
Cutting out fat does not mean you have to sacrifice on flavor. Reduce the amount of cheese you add into you mac-n-cheese by cracking two eggs into it. The eggs will make for a creamier texture, so creamy; you won't even miss the cheese. Here the trick: You have to slowly add the egg mixture into the dish and stir it constantly so it won't scramble. Eggs are an inexpensive high-quality protein, and are rich in other nutrients like vitamin D, B12, selenium and iron.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan
This classic comfort food is usually submerged under piles of cheese and tomato sauce, but you can significantly reduce its fat content by baking it. Lighten up even more by using whole-wheat breadcrumbs and "Filippo Berio's Extra Virgin Olive Oil." Sprinkle herbs like basil and thyme, and spices like garlic and chili peppers for an additional punch of flavor. Spicy peppers contain capsaicin, an active chemical, believed to help induce weight loss.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Rolls
Baking can be rewarding, especially if the dish is waistline-friendly. Swap refined flour with a combination of almond flower and oats, and butter with "Filippo Berio's Extra Virgin Olive Oil" for a vastly lighter version of this nostalgic fare. You can still keep the gooey factor by drizzling instead of dousing the rolls with icing. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which will help you eat less and stay fuller longer. It also has complex carbohydrates to help you stay energized throughout the day.

A big thank you to the @Influenster team for sending me a few Filipo Berio coupons! #OliveyouFB. The coupons were free and for testing purposes.

(Picture via here)


The Polo Bar

I know, I know, I've seriously been neglecting my blogging duties. The truth is I've been having a rather difficult time these past few months. The fact that I remained unemployed months after earning my master's degree was just one more thing that made me sink deeper into a depressive state. I lost interest in all of the things that brought me great pleasure, like writing to you, my darlings. But the fog has lifted, and I'm feeling much better now. Oh, I also joined the ranks of the employed. Whoop, Whoop!

Above are the pictures I took from the Polo Bar on Yves' birthday in May. Yves was actually impressed by their service, and he's a tough nut to crack. I'll talk to you soon. Enjoy!


Brunch at Sweet Chick

Yves and I ventured to Sweet Chick this afternoon to try their famous chicken & waffles and the dish did not disappoint. The waffles were crisp and airy, and the chicken was juicy, perfectly seasoned and oh-so crunchy. I think it may very well had been the best chicken & waffles dish I've ever had. The capstone of the meal were the trio of flavored butters that accompanied the dish, which I believe were raspberry, herb and candied lemon. Unfortunately, they don't offer their bacon & cheddar waffles for brunch, I definitely will have to try it next time.
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