Monday, March 31, 2008


A friend tipped me off to the recent issue of Saveur magazine that has several Ragu recipes. I have always wanted to try to make homemade Ragu Bolognese since one of my favorite dishes at the local Fragole is just that. This recipe is really easy (and it doesn't need to necessarily simmer for the 1.5 hours they suggest below). I also added a bit more tomato paste. There are several other great recipes in this month's Saveur worth trying.

'Classic' Ragù alla Bolognese

1 5-oz. piece pancetta, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1⁄2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3⁄4 lb. ground skirt steak
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp. Homemade Tomato Paste
1 1⁄2 cups milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste
2 tbsp. heavy cream
Homemade Tagliatelle

1. Put the pancetta into a heavy-bottomed medium pot (preferably terra-cotta) over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until its fat has rendered, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the celery, carrots, and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

3. Add the skirt steak and cook, stirring occasionally, until broken up and lightly browned and beginning to sizzle, about 5 minutes. Add the wine to the pot; cook until evaporated, about 4 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the tomato paste and 2 tbsp. water; add to the pot and stir well to combine. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally and adding some of the milk, little by little, until all the milk is added and the sauce is very thick, about 1 1⁄2 hours.

4. Season the ragù with salt and pepper and stir in the cream. Toss with farfalle, fresh tagliatelle, or the pasta of your choice. Serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Coming Soon

I have been hearing a lot about the new bar in Prospect Heights called Weather Up on Vanderbilt (the bartenders were trained by Milk and Honey’s Sasha Petraske) and now comes news that there will be another new spot in that area called Abigail which will be a cafe and wine bar. It is owned by the same people that own Camaje in the West Village. They are calling it the sister restaurant so I am assuming it could potentially be a similar menu of small plates, salads, paninis, etc


Bday Cupcakes

This weekend was an extension of my birthday with a mini bar gathering. I decided to bring cupcakes along for the occasion. I didn't have a ton of time so I decided to doctor up standard cake mix from the box and make my own frosting. I made red velvet with cream cheese frosting, yellow cake with vanilla frosting and yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
1 (18 1/4 ounce) package yellow cake mix
2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
5 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 (1 ounce) bottles red food coloring
  1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 24 regular-size muffin tins with paper or foil liners.
  3. In a large bowl beat the cake mix with baking cocoa, eggs, oil, buttermilk and food colouring for about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly between the muffin tins about two-thirds full.
  5. Bake according to package directions.
  6. Remove from the pans immediately and cool on wire racks.
  7. Spread tops with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature (no subs!)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla (if possible use clear vanilla)
2 tablespoons whipping cream (unwhipped MUST be whipping cream)
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (more if needed)

food coloring (optional)
1-2 cup cool whip frozen whipped topping, thawed (optional)
  1. Cream the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and the whipping cream until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  2. Add in the confectioners sugar; beat until frosting consistancy, (adding more icing sugar or whipping cream if needed until the right consistancy is achieved).
  3. Add in food colouring if using.
  4. OPTIONAL; add in 1 cup of Cool Whip frozen topping and beat on low speed with an electric mixer until just blended (add in more Cool Whip until desired texture is acheived).


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Odds and Ends

- The burgeoning Atlantic Avenue gets it day in the sun with a three page spread in the NY Post
- Lost City confirms (happily) that the neighborhood staple, The Donut House is staying put.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

NEW: Reds Produce

While walking home from my lovely bday dinner on Tuesday, we noticed a new place near Moonshine that had a chalk board outside. It was late so it was just closing so we were only able to peer thru the window and see they were projecting Volver. Today Gothamist reports it's "a new tapas bar and grocer called Reds Produce." They go on to say "Breakfast pastries are supplied by Margaret Palca Bakes, and the restaurant uses coffee beans roasted on Court Street by D’Amico. Come warmer weather, Reds Produce will live up to its name and sell vegetables supplied through Urban Organic... The menu is simple: Tortilla Española ($4), Boquerones ($4), assorted olives ($3), bocadillos, and a dozen meat and cheese choices. " The sign last night said it is BYOB right now but we hear wine and beer is on its way. Phew.


GREAT Birthday Dinner Out

NP: Emmy The Great

I had a really great birthday night that took me to The Good Fork in Red Hook. I had been before there but it had been a while and the food was just as delicious, in fact, even more so then I remembered. We started with sea scallops that had a citrus sauce over quinoa and the pork dumplings. Both were amazing especially the dumplings. Then as entrees, we got the Pork Stew that was on top of creamy grits and the Steak and Eggs Korean style with kimchee rice (what I ordered). I was over the moon about my dish, the flavors of the dish worked so well together and the meat was perfectly tender. I was able to dig up the recipe for it on Epicurious, see below. We finished the meal with Red Hook's own Steve's Key Lime pie (with a candle in it). Seriously between this and Po, I have been eating well (and happily)!

1/4 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*
2 tablespoons finely grated cored peeled Granny Smith apple
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion (white and pale green parts)
1 tablespoon (scant) Korean hot pepper paste
1 tablespoon (scant) minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
4 5-ounce pieces skirt steak

Kimchi rice:
2 cups water
1 cup sushi rice (or other short-grain rice)
1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
1 1/2 cups Napa cabbage kimchi, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

4 large eggs

Chopped green onions

For steaks:
Whisk first 10 ingredients in bowl. Add steaks. Cover; chill overnight.

For Kimchi rice:
Bring 2 cups water to boil in small saucepan. Add rice and 1 teaspoon salt. Return to boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until water is absorbed, about 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill steaks until slightly charred but still pink in center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Let stand 5 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add kimchi and vinegar. Stir until heated. Fold in rice. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack eggs into skillet, being careful not to break yolk. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until whites are set, about 3 minutes.

Divide kimchi rice among 4 plates. Slice steaks thinly across grain; arrange over rice. Top each with egg; sprinkle with green onions and serve.


Monday, March 24, 2008

More Hood Updates

- What was once Bouillabaisse 126 on Union Street is now called Korhogo 126. The new menu is French African fare. The menu sounds interesting. This change happened at the beginning of the year but I just noticed it this weekend. The kitchen is manned by former Les Enfants Terribles chef Abdhul Traore. The drama behind the change is detailed here.
- Sugar Lounge on Columbia Street was recommended to me this weekend. I have gone by there many times but never realized it was a restaurant and not just a bar. Also looks like they have a big patio space which will be nice as the weather warms. I still want to try Pit Stop too which it close to.
- A Middle Eastern restaurant is going in next to Scotto's Wine (which is getting an exterior make over) on Court Street called Olive Vine (they have two other Slope locales).
- This has nothing to do with food but I use to love rollerskating as a kid so I want to add that Dreamland Roller Rink opened this weekend in the landmarked Childs Building at Coney Island.
- NYT has a quick rundown of their favorite spots in the area for restaurant week. All pretty safe choices!
- Hope to do more cooking/baking soon so I can post more about that.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday Afternoon News

Pictures and more info on Building on Bond from Eater. "During the day, the front of the place is going to be cafe. For dinner, they're gonna open up the back part for dinner. The cafe is going to open in April."

They are also reporting that Sweet Melissa's is expanding which makes sense since the ethnic store next to them went out and their space is pretty tiny. With the expansion they will add wine and beer to their menu.


Bar Tano

I posted earlier about a new spot called Bar Tano on 3rd Ave and 9th St but didn't know much beyond that is existed. Per the Brooklyn Paper, it is owned by Peter Sclafani (Bar Toto, Luce) and is a "12-table boite that is serving food (specializing in small plates of Italian food, pizzas and paninis — under $15) and drink seven days a week, with brunch and late night bar hours on the weekends." I have one friend who checked it out and enjoyed his experience there. The NY Times also had an article last week (while I was in TX) about the Gowanus and the coming changes in the hood. Eater has photos, looks nice!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Morning Start

- Ditmas Park Blog has the scoop on the open house at Pomme de Terre
- Cobble Hill Blog has 5 Questions with the owner of Sweet Melissa's on Court, who apparently also has baking book out.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Brooklyn/Fort Greene Flea Market

I am so excited for the new flea market coming to Fort Greene in April, not only for the opportunity to shop but to eat! A recent entry in the blog about the flea market listed the many food vendors that will be coming to the market including Salvatore Bklyn Ricotta, Wafels & Dinges, Brown Bag Industries (baked goods), Three Birds Bakery (more baked goods), Brooklyn Cookie and more! The first market is on April 6th and is located at the space outside of Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School on Lafayette Avenue between Clermont and Vanderbilt Avenues.



For a place I have yet to check out, I have been posting a lot about it but maybe this weekend I will try to hit it on the early side to avoid the crowds. Anyways, there is a big article on the owners of Stinkys/JakeWalks/Smith & Vine in the NY Observer.


Garden Patch Cakelet Pan

I am pretty much a sucker for all the cute William Sonoma pans in obscure shapes and this Garden Patch Cakelet Pan is no exception. The only problem is, it never looks like the picture once I make it so I think instead of buying it I will just post about it.


Candied Oranges

While on my plane to Austin, the TV didn't work so I kept seeing the same 5 segments on NYT TV that they show on JetBlue. One segment was Mark Bittman, The Minimalist making Orange Confit (video). I am definitely going to try this recipe, its super easy, it just takes a lot of time but I love citrus so it might be worth it. I also love Mark Bittman's segments.


Monday, March 17, 2008


I went to Po for the first time last night and loved it. I was slightly skeptical of the hype and the fact that it is always so busy whenever I walked by but I was able to easily make reservations so I gave it a shot and I am glad I did. We ordered a great bottle of red wine (Bacaro something, I wish I would have wrote it down) that was great especially with the food because it had a bit of a bite to it. They start you off with white bean bruschetta and bread with olive oil. Then we ordered the tasting menu which was definitely the right choice although looking at everyone else's meals in the restaurant, I don't know how wrong I could have gone. The first course was an antipasto/salad, the second was a spinach ravioli with a chai butter sauce (yum!), the third course was a gnocchi bolognese (super homemade tasting, melt in your mouth stuff), the fourth and main entree was grilled salmon on a bed of ratatouille-like squash with balsamic glaze. Next up was three cheeses and then dessert which was an amazing tiramisu (and I don't even like tiramisu) and a panna cotta with cherries (a big hit). I can honestly say everything was delicious and the service was equally good.


Neighbor News

- The new French Bistro, Pomme de Terre in Ditmas Park is officially open as of Friday but there is an open house from 6-8pm on Tuesday
- New spot on 3rd Ave and 9th called Tanno I want to check out (anyone been there yet?)


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Trip away from the Borough

I am in Austin, TX for SXSW this week and I thought I would share with you day one's big meal, Texas BBQ. We almost tried the infamous Salt Lick but since it is a bit of a hike and we had some other places to hit downtown, a friend and I decided on Lamberts. It's definitely not paper plate bbq, far more upscale but just as, if not more delicious. We started with spicy deviled eggs that was garnished with caviar and pickled veggies.

We both ordered the brown sugar and coffee rubbed brisket and shared the sides of roasted cauliflower gratin and 3 cheese mac n' cheese. Needless to say, it was great. Not something I could eat frequently but for a once a year trip, I couldn't be happier.

Day Two I didn't get to eat much but I did stop by Las Manitas, a lunch counter top kind of place, people rave about it but I thought it was just okay.


Moxie Spot

Brownstoner is reporting that the new restaurant on Altantic, Moxie Spot is now open. Their thing is that they are super family/kid friendly, play areas, menus for kiddies and adults... I won't be going here anytime soon.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dine in Brooklyn Week is coming

March 24- 31 many of Brooklyn's yummiest restaurants will be serving $23 prix fixe dinners. Reservations go fast so check out the list today


Monday, March 10, 2008


Eater is reporting that the Red Hook Ballfields have received a 6 Year Permit. Looks like you will know where to find me on most weekends this summer.


NY Mag Vs The Guardian

New York Magazine recently came out with their much beloved (esp by foodies) Best of Issue, the Guardian disputes ten of the food categories, here's the face off:
NY Mag: Best Of vs.Guardian: No, You're Wrong article
Adam Platt's Defense


The Wire Series Finale deserves cupcakes

I had a viewing party this weekend in honor of The Wire series finale. I thought about serving dinner but since it was kind of late to eat on a Sunday, I decided to just do snacks. With a slight hangover and minimal time available, I needed something relatively easy so I baked pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon frosting, bought some bread, cheese, olives and meat and then baked spinach artichoke dip. The latter is a general crowd pleaser and super easy. We had whiskey and wine for drinks and voila.

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
1 (8 oz.) pkg Cream Cheese
1 can (14 oz.) Artichoke Hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Spinach frozen chopped, or steamed (drained)
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/4- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon dried Basil
* I also added a pinch of salt & pepper as well as red pepper flakes and a bit of garlic powder

Mix together and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Best served hot with toasted bread or crackers.


Friday, March 7, 2008

More Hood Updates

* Jake Walk, the new wine and cheese bar on Sackett and Smith is now open.
* Armando's on Atlantic to close after 70 years in business. Owner is retiring and said a Midwestern chain restaurant would be going into the space, although he declined to name the chain.(Brooklyn Paper)
* The long shuttered storefront on Bond and Pacific is turning into a bistro/bar to be called Building on Bond, construction under way
* Urban Outfitters on Atlantic opens Thurs, March 13th
* Tibetan restaurant is coming to Ditmas Park
* Pictures of the third Frankies outpost, raw space
* PJ Hanley's adds coal burning pizza oven
* On 5th Avenue, vegetarian restaurant, S'Nice is now open
* On 7th Avenue near Union, froyo shop YoGo Monster open on Saturday


Jolie on Altantic

I tried Jolie for brunch this past weekend for the first time and really enjoyed my experience. The food is good, not out of this world but with the great ambiance, it is well worth the visit. We got in right away (a plus in this hood lately) and were seated towards the back in their covered garden area. I had a great omelette that came with salad and fries and my friend got the french toast. Good coffee and service makes it someplace I will definitely hit again.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hood Updates

* The new St.Clair is now open. I still the miss the old one, the new owners also own the Carroll Gardens diner down the block that I don't love.
* The Urban Outfitters store is making significant developments, should be open in "a few weeks."


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Cookie Monster

Now Playing: The Foals

A friend was speaking about how she made Molasses cookies a couple weeks back and after hearing about them, I knew I had to give the recipe a try. She was nice enough to pass along and I tried my hand at them this weekend. They were delicious, the only issue is the having them in the a house because you just want to keep eating them until they're gone. The recipe was so easy!

Molasses Crinkles

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening at room temperature
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
About 1/3 cup sanding or granulated sugar* for tops of cookies

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and salt in a bowl until combined.
Beat together shortening, butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer (preferably fitted with paddle attachment) or 6 minutes with a handheld. Add egg and molasses, beating until combined. Reduce speed to low, then mix in flour mixture until combined.
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.
Roll 1 heaping teaspoon of dough into a 1-inch ball with wet hands, then dip 1 end of ball in sanding sugar. Make more cookies in same manner, arranging them, sugared side up, 2 inches apart on 2 ungreased baking sheets.
Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until undersides are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes total, then cool on sheets 1 minute. Transfer to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled baking sheets.