Friday, February 29, 2008

Pomme de Terre

As previously posted, Jimmy Mammary of Patois and Pacifico is opening a new place in Ditmas Park, where the confusion came in is that the people who own Farm on Adderley are also opening a new place. I thought they were two different places but as Gothamist is reporting today, they are one in the same and it is called Pomme de Terre. Doors will be open soon!


Monday, February 25, 2008

More Chain Stores :(

The NY Post reports this morning that in addition to the an already operating IHOP and Target (both reporting sales as some of the highest in the country) and the mid construction Ikea, chain restaurants, Morton's Steakhouse and Amy Ruth's will be opening in downtown Brooklyn this year. Apple is also looking to open a location in the area and Target is honing in on additional location as is IHOP.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Clementine and Olive Oil Cake

Now Playing: Feel It All- Feist

I have been reading a lot of recipes for olive oil cake so I decided to try it. I found a recipe on Cafe Fernando for a clementine and olive oil cake and decided to try my hand at it. The recipe itself was super easy and I found some good variations on it as well like a Lemon/Thyme Olive Oil Cake. I learned from the latter that using extra-virgin results in a fruitier, more pronounced olive-oil flavor, while regular olive oil yields a lighter taste. I wanted to stay true to the recipe for my first try so I used EVOO. The other thing to note about this recipe as it takes quite a few clementines to come up with 1 cup of juice, far more then the 2 or 3 they suggest, for me, it was more like a dozen. Also, I cooked it for 50 minutes but next time, I would probably cook it for about ten minutes less.


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1+1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp clementine zest*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup clementine juice*

* Depending on size, 2-3 clementines would be enough for the zest and juice.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease and flour one 12 x 4 inch loaf pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and clementine zest and rub together to extract the fragrant oil from the zest.
  4. Add olive oil and mix on high speed until completely combined (preferably with the whisk attachment).
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on slow speed.
  7. Add half of the clementine juice and continue mixing.
  8. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the clementine juice and the remaining flour mixture and beat until combined between each addition.
  9. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  10. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Remove the cake from the oven, wait 10 minutes for it to cool down and then remove from the pan.
I served this as dessert to a meal of sweet potato and fig ravioli with browned butter and the simple green salad I have posted about before with the homemade vinaigrette.


Bar Tabac

Bar Tabac is a staple in the hood and I revisited it this weekend. Five of us were able to get right in at about 3pm on a Sunday although it was a full house otherwise. We quickly ordered one of my favorite drinks on the menu, a Monaco which is Stella beer, sprite and grenadine. Four people got the burger which is always really great and the fries are just as delicious. I got the Croque Madame which was also really good but quite rich, almost too much so to completely finish. This is one of the best places in the summer where outside tables line the outside walls. Worth repeat visits!


Saturday, February 23, 2008


A little birdie has filled us in a bit more on our previous post, the wine bar that the owners of Stinkys/Smith & Vine are starting is called JakeWalk. Plus there is another cocktail bar hitting the neighborhood next to Cafe LuLu called CloverClub. And on a sadder note, Magnetic Fields on Atlantic is closing after 5 years.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Odds and Ends

I haven't been doing as much cooking or baking lately so I figure I would post about some of the recent developments in the area, some new things I tried and one I want to try...

  • The bar, Quench on the corner of Sackett and Smith has shuttered and in it's place the owners of Smith & Vine and Stinky's are putting in a wine bar. Construction seems to be moving quickly so it looks like it might be open sooner then later. I also heard rumors while having breakfast at Naidre's (my new favorite weekend hang) of a wine bar going in where the oddly abandoned Vermont Pharmacy on Henry is but I haven't seen any movement on that corner.
  • One of my recent favorite visits is Black Mountain Wine Bar. It sounds like the owners are looking to expand and create an Oyster Bar in the same area but are running into disputes with local residents on Hoyt (Gowanus Lounge)
  • This weekend, I finally tried Salvatore Bklyn Ricotta Cheese. Edible Brooklyn recently had an article on the pair and the process they have perfected to make the cheese. Significantly, creamier and smoother then regular ricotta, this version uses whole cow's milk and lemon juice instead of whey and citric acid.
  • This is the next recipe I want to try from the NYT Dining Section: Broiled Feta with Roasted Peppers and Olive Salad

    Time: 15 minutes

    10 ounces fresh feta cheese

    1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced

    1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced

    1/4 cup thinly sliced sweet onion, such as Vidalia or red

    1 tablespoon capers, drained

    12 caperberries (optional)

    12 Kalamata or other black, brined olives, pitted and halved

    12 Tsakistes or other green, brined olives, pitted and halved

    8 white or other good-quality anchovies, soaked in milk for 30 minutes and drained (optional)

    12 cloves garlic confit (optional; see recipe)

    1/2 cup freshly chopped herbs, such as parsley, dill, mint or chives, or a combination

    1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste

    Juice of 1 or 2 lemons

    Salt and black pepper

    Toasted or grilled pita bread, cut into wedges, for serving.

    1. Preheat broiler. Crumble cheese into an ovenproof baking dish; cheese should be about 1/2 inch deep. Slide dish under broiler and cook until molten and bubbly, about 2 minutes.

    2. In a large bowl, combine bell peppers, onion, capers, caperberries if using, olives, anchovies if using, garlic confit if using and herbs. Drizzle with olive oil, tossing with hands until evenly coated. Squeeze in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Toss and taste, adjusting seasonings.

    3. Lightly place salad on top of hot cheese. Drizzle olive oil around and over salad. Serve immediately with pita bread.

    Yield: 4 to 6 servings.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is sweet tooth's holiday!


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Quick Meal on the Fly

Now Playing (watching): The Grammys

I have been a bit under the weather recently so not up for much cooking but I started to feel a bit better by Sunday so a friend came to visit. I wasn't quite sure what to make and I wasn't up for going all out so I grabbed some cheese and olives and after reading a rave review of Amy's cornmeal crust pizza, doctored one of those up and put together a salad. The pizza was great (I know, a bit of a cop out but easy was key) but the salad was even better. I took some grape tomatoes I had and quickly roasted them and threw them in with some romaine and parmesan. I then made up a quick and easy dressing that was balsamic, EVOO, one garlic glove minced, salt and pepper, oregano and some grey poupon mustard. Sometimes we do the best with what we have and it actually all turns out pretty good!



Not until moving to NY, did I realize that Fat Tuesday and the food associated with them, paczkis are a regional thing. A paczki is a fried piece of dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with plums or other sweet filling, much like a jelly filled dough nut. Traditionally, the reason for making paczkis has been to use up all the lard, sugar eggs and fruit in the house, which are forbidden during Lent. I have vivid memories of my parent bringing home paczkis and my brother and I splitting them in half to examine the flavor and digging in.

Recipe: Authentic Polish Paczki


Friday, February 8, 2008

Ditmas Park- I Owe You a Visit

Mr. Jim Mamary, proprietor of many great places amongst the Brooklyn landscape; Carroll Gardens (Uncle Pho, the Red Rail, the Gowanus Yacht Club and Beer Garden, Pacifico), Williamsburg (Sweetwater), and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens (Enduro), is opening a new french bistro in Ditmas Park. Scheduled to open in mid Feb, the NY Times has a full scoop on the storied details. Another restaurant in Ditmas Park that is I have longed to try but have yet to motivate is the much talked about Farm on Adderley and their soon to be open off shoot French Farm on Adderley (don't know if that is the official name). Look for the latter towards the end of March.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

From Grub Street: Schnack

Per Grub Street, Schnack, the hamburger/hot dog place on Union is set to close shortly. Never a huge fan myself due to the just okay food and awful service although I know a lot of others who will miss this spot.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Cubano Cafe

I can't believe I haven't written about Cubano Cafe on Smith Street before but I was reminded of this neighborhood gem when I visited there last night. I use to live right next to it but it was only in the last year or so that it has become more a staple for me. The prices are very reasonable (cash only tho) and everything from their dinner to their brunch is really good. Some of my favorite things on the menu are the sweet plantains, the chicken quesadilla with black beans, the chickpea salad and the corn with aioli and cheese. I think my only complaint about this place is the size of the tables barely have enough room for two dishes and the actual size of the restaurant is so tiny that to maneuver around takes a bit of effort. Yet its size is also part of its charm and while always busy, the wait is never too bad. Definitely one to keep going back to...


No Chips and Dip for Me on Superbowl Sunday

Now Playing: Panda Bear album

With today being Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday nonetheless, I should be eating all the yummy junk food this day gives you an excuse to consume but with me not being much of a football fan, I just decided to make an Eggplant Ricotta Bake for the week. I have made this at least a couple times before and got the recipe originally from a friend when we both attempted the South Beach diet (who am I kidding to think I could do without carbs for any length of time). The recipe is basically eggplant lasagna without the noodles but it's still way tasty and quite filling. The skin of eggplant can be a bit bitter, the first time I made this I left the skin on and it was a bit tough. The second time I made it I tried to soak the bitterness out by putting salt on the sliced eggplant beforehand but without thinking I forgot to wipe the salty sweat from the eggplant and it was awful and made the whole dish taste metallic like. So this time, I cut most of the skin off but for a few strips and that seemed to do the trick. This dish is good warm and sometimes even better, cold a day later!

Eggplant Ricotta Bake


  • 2 large eggplants (1 to 1 1/4 pounds each), sliced lengthwise 3/4 inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese (1 2/3 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) store-bought marinara sauce (2 cups)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets. Brush lightly on both sides with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until eggplant is tender and golden, turning halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with oil.
  3. Lay a fourth of eggplant slices in bottom of prepared dish; spread with half of marinara sauce. Top with another fourth of eggplant; spread with half of ricotta; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.