Wednesday, August 22, 2007


"The site, a former OTB that nobody (save the invererate gamblers) was sorry to see go, has been a hive of activity for some time. It's pretty well boarded up right now, but when you could peer in, some red-brick archways were visible. Word is the restaurant will be run by the same guys who own P.J. Hanley's, the venerable, century-old tavern further down Court, so the development is a neighborhood affair." A friend peered in the window and said it looked like it might be a brick oven pizza place...?


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Oooey Gooey

Now Playing: Elvis Perkins- Ash Wednesday

"It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it." ~Julia Childs

I hosted another brunch this weekend, a bit bigger but basically the same menu since I had left over ingredients from last weekend. I tweaked the quiche a bit (added more gouda, caramelized onions and tomatoes), got greens for the salad from the green market, bought bagels, someone brought fruit salad and I made monkey bread.

I was first introduced to oooey gooey yummy monkey bread by my little cousins who told me that "it is so easy to make even a monkey could do it." No matter who makes it, it's heavenly.
There are several variations on general recipe which is sugar, cinnamon, butter, dough and more sugar. mmm...

3 packages of buttermilk biscuit tubes
1 cup sugar (divided)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

Take 3 packages of buttermilk biscuit tubes (10 per roll) and cut each roll into 4 pieces. Drop roll pieces into 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Drop sugar-coated pieces into a well buttered Bundt pan (don't squish roll pieces when placing them in the Bundt pan, I didn't have a Bundt pan so I used a cake pan).

Put 1/2 cup of the left-over sugar/cinnamon mix and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and 1 cup of butter (2 sticks) into a small saucepan.

Bring this mixture just to a boil; remove from heat immediately. Carefully drizzle over the roll pieces.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Cool slightly in an upright position, then tip pan over onto a plate to remove monkey pull-apart bread. The fun starts!


Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Additions to the Neighborhood (Well, Fort Greene)

LITTLE PIGGY MARKET- The much anticipated little sister restaurant to Fort Greene's The Smoke Joint. Southern fare. 64 Lafayette Ave., at S. Elliott Pl.,

IL TORCHIO- Italian, small plates and entrees. Pastas, risotto, paninis, salads, and grilled fish and meat. 458 Myrtle Ave. between Waverly and Washington Aves.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Sad News on the Red Hook front ...

"In June, Pioneer Bar-B-Q was closed by the city and put up for sale. And top-rated French restaurant 360 shut down, reportedly while its owner takes a hiatus in Africa. Meanwhile, popular wine and bourbon shop LeNell's has been given a year to find a new home after being ousted by a new building owner."


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Homemade Brunch

Now Playing: American Life Podcast- Road Trips
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf

I made a trip to the greenmarket on 1st place and picked up a bouquet of lavender, daisies and snap dragons as well as some fresh tomatoes (for 70 cents!), garlic and onions for my meal.

I had a friend coming out for brunch and decided to make raspberry muffins and tomato, caramelized onions & gouda quiche. The raspberry muffins turned out well consistency and size wise but something was lacking from the batter, next time I might try adding some agave nectar (a good suggestion from my guest) or possibly making them lemon raspberry muffins or strudel muffins?

The quiche on the other hand was better than I expected. I made a hash brown crust beforehand, using mashed frozen potato latkes after being unable to find shredded frozen potatoes at the store. Then I added the fillings (caramelized onions, tomatoes, gouda, garlic, salt and pepper) with three eggs and a cup of half and half. You could add meat as well if you want or any type of vegetable (peppers and spinach would be yummy). Baked it for 40 mins, served with some salad and complete!


I Didn't Know I Loved Empanadas So Much

Now Playing: Blonde Redhead- 23

The Red Hook Ballfields, the worst kept secret in all of Brooklyn, is the best summer place to be on a Saturday afternoon. Still full from Frankies the night before and blurry eyed from a long night of sleep, we made our way down Court Street to the tents. After our last trip with where we got all the food at one time and ate it collectively, we tried to be more strategic this time and move in shifts. First the best empanadas ever (raisin, olives, meat and egg) then Pupasas (meat and cheese with cabbage on the side), plantains with sour cream, then steak tacos and corn with chili seasoning and cheese. Plus a light breeze under a shady tree. Kind of perfect.


More Frankies 457...

Big News... Beyond the fact that I finally tried the linguine, fava beans, garlic and breadcrumb dish at Frankies and my dining partner and I mixed it with the pork braciola and found heaven... there is a new Frankies off shoot in the works per the fantastic quarterly magazine Edible Brooklyn. In an interview with The Franks of Frankies, the publication writes "a new restaurant in under way, and that a much larger kitchen, currently under construction on Luquer, will even have gas burners, allowing for a full service catering branch this fall--- food to be delivered with a vintage Mercedes truck. There's also talk of a forthcoming cookbook."


Friday, August 10, 2007

What is Lard Bread?

Now Playing: Bat For Lashes cover of Bruce's "I'm On Fire"

Caputo's (460 Court St) is the go to Italian deli in the neighborhood and with good reason. Their grilled artichokes and red peppers, salty mozzarella, olives and well, basically everything in the store, is quite delicious. Apparently and unbeknownst to me, they are also considered to have the best lard bread in New York. I am not really sure what lard bread is or for that matter, what it tastes like but my curiosity is piqued. I was able to find a recipe and have posted below. It sounds pretty good but think I might skip the long process of bread making and skip down to Caputo's again this weekend.

Neapolitan Lard Bread ( Casatiello )
1 pound 5 ounces all-purpose flour
8 ounces lard
1.8 ounces active yeast
6 large whole eggs, unshelled
1 tablespoon Pecorino Romano
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano
3 ounces diced salame
  1. Combine the lard, yeast, and salt with the flour, adding as much water as necessary to get a rather soft dough. Work it steadily for about 10 minutes. Place it into a bowl previously sprinkled with flour, cover with a woolen cloth and leave it to raise in a lukewarm place.
  2. After about 1 1/2 hours, when the dough has leavened, place it on a pastry board, punch it with your hands to stop it swelling and flatten it out in a 0.3-in.-high rectangle shape. Grease it with lard, add the diced salame and sprinkle with a little pepper, Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano. Fold the dough in two, grease the top with some more lard, and sprinkle with more Parmigiano and pepper. Fold in two again, flatten out and grease some more. Repeat until you have used up all the lard. Now take a small piece of dough the size of a bun, grease the outside with lard, and place it to leaven separately in a bowl. This will help you place the eggs onto the top of the casatiello. Fold the dough onto itself to make a stick. Grease a round baking pan with a hole in the middle (8 to12-inches diameter). Place the dough stick inside it joining the ends and squeezing them so they adhere well to each other. Put the dough away to leaven for another 3 hours.
  3. Gently wash the shells of the raw eggs in lukewarm water and dry them. When the dough has risen, place 6 eggs on top of it arranging them at even distances from each other and with the tips pointing toward the center of the mold. Take the small piece of dough you kept aside and make a stick as thin as a pencil. Chop the stick into 12 small bits and arrange them in 2 at a time cross-like on the eggs making the ends stick to the dough.
  4. The casatiello is now ready. Put it in an almost cold oven and bake over a medium heat for about one hour. When it has turned an even color, take it out of the oven and let it cool before serving.

Makes 12 servings.


Monday, August 6, 2007

Black Mountain Wine Bar :: Guest Contributor:: Fellow Brooklynite and All Around Good Guy, Jim D.

(Brunch Anytime's very first contributor- yay!!!)

*** R E V I E W ***

BLACK MOUNTAIN WINE BAR – So I journeyed over to the corner of Hoyt and Union to see if I could find another day of the week in which to put money in the pocket of Alan Harding, Brooklyn’s restaurant magnate and part time TV celeb. Just like all of Alan’s places it had a definite theme – a BK version of a Vienna wine bar – the kind of place you would go after seeing an opera on the Gowanus. The rough hewn Adirondack chairs and tables out front seem to be an homage to either the Alps or the Catskills, but are probably the most oddball thing about the place – inside it's a bit restrained and actually un-kitschy – subdued colors, wainscoting, couple of benches, tiny cafĂ© tables, and a corner fireplace. It was packed on a Thursday night and the beautiful people factor was high. And - like all of his places, Alan was ubiquitous behind the open air kitchen, except that we were informed that he was just stopping by to help his friend, the real owner, come up with some daily specials – this was one new Brooklyn restaurant that Alan Harding doesn’t own. Who knew.

This place has a great wine list –and a wait staff who really know their stuff and are full of opinions and suggestions. The menu is small – not the place to come for a full blown meal – think late night snacks, or first date grazing – cheese plates, charcuterie, a couple (literally) sandwiches and salads. The specials were unique and from looking around the room, the most popular options. There is a reason for this. While the house pressed sandwich was and salads were great, the cheese plates and charcuterie were so small, my dining companion remarked that they were "caviar portions." While the cheese list was great, each order (I got three) consisted of two small slices, accompanied by a few slices of bread and a really good fig chutney. In a neighborhood where you can get really great cheese or meat plates at Sample or Robin De Bois, it was really a ridiculous misstep. I mean, go to Fairway or join the Park Slope Co-Op if your wholesale cheese prices are that bad.

That said, the ambiance was great. The wine list is really the star, and while the beer list is small, it's considered. This is not a neighborhood watering hole – yet. It needs to get its groove, and frankly needs to let its hair down a little. But, it’s full of beautiful people, and really is there any other reason to go out in Brooklyn?


Cheap Eats (per NY Magazine)

Now Playing: My Morning Jacket- Okonokos (still)

The Cheap Eats issue of New York Magazine is just about leave stands so in an effort to make one of my personal favorite issues of the year stick around a bit longer, here is list of the ace places in the hood that made the ranks.
My Note: None of these are actually *that* cheap...

Bocca Lupo 391 Henry St., at Warren St., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (bottom left)
- Really yummy small plates and sandwiches. The meatballs alone are worth a visit.

Flatbush Farm7 6–78 St. Marks Ave., nr. Sixth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn (top left)
-Great bar and restaurant. Good, strong cocktails. Just tried brunch there for the first time recently and it too was scrumptious.

Hibino 333 Henry St., nr. Pacific St., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (top right)
- Still need to try but have heard good things. Whenever I run by there are people waiting outside.

Lucali 575 Henry St., nr. Carroll St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (bottom right)
- AMAZING. They only serve pies and calzones. Literally that is it but it is the best pizza I have ever had. Handcrafted by candlelight. BYOB. Very long wait time.

Petite Crevette 144 Union St., entrance on Hicks St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
- Dying to try as I have heard that the seafood is out of this world. Although Brooklyn Fish Camp is my current fav.


One of My Favorite Places on Planet Earth

Now Playing: My Morning Jacket- Okonokos

After a beach filled weekend in Fire Island that upped by freckle quotient substantially, I headed to one of my very favorite restaurants, Frankie's 457 on Court Street between 4th and Luquer (they also have a smaller Manhattan branch). This place is one of the best spots in the neighborhood: amazing outdoor space, friendly, great lighting and most all, delicious. The wait time here can be a bit off putting but it well worth it. I have yet to eat something there I didn't like. Last night, we drank Rose', ate the crostinis, the roasted vegetable salad (of which I could have had several more of), and ordered one of my favorite dishes, the cavatelli with sausage and sage butter. One friend tried the linguine with fava beans, garlic and bread crumbs which was also fantastic.


Thursday, August 2, 2007


Now Playing- M.I.A. $20
"A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand"

My love of gelatin jello will eventually get a separate post but in the meantime, I spent this evening baking chocolate pudding chocolate chip cookies to bring to Fire Island with me tomorrow. Baking tends to be a cathartic ritual for me but tonight it was a bit more of a chore at almost 10pm.

My great aunt makes these amazing cookies that her grandkids identify as "mom mom's cookies" that I believe follow the same recipe as I will provide below but somehow, as with all things made by someone else with love and care, hers always taste better than anything I could make.
Once you mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients , it will create a very stiff dough (it actually broke the motor in my cheap hand mixer). You can use any flavor of instant pudding. This recipe will create a moist, more cake-like cookie.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla, chocolate or butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Combine the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Mix the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, pudding mix, and vanilla. Beat until creamy. Add the eggs and mix well. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop from teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets about 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 8 to 10 minutes.