After 3.5 months of mostly working from home, I am officially returning to work on-site full time. This is going to be interesting. I have lots of reservations about taking the bus and subway once again despite reports that it’s immaculately clean. This is a four day week, so we have options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I absolutely did not prep anything, however, this week, I am going to finish my leftovers: Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding that I froze because I made surplus of it. I am also defrosting my homemade Beef Broth, shrimp and pork chops. I have lots of carbs including English muffins, whole wheat bread and rice along with eggs, cheese wraps, chicken sausage, garlic, ginger, lemon, tomato paste and mushroom stock. We also have pantry items like pasta sauces, sardines, canned tomatoes, pasta and chips.
This week I am going to tackle the freezer, which is filled with a bunch of frozen foods, making egg breakfast dishes and building my immune system as I will be hydrating myself to last 10 hours wearing a N-95 mask.
Stay tuned as I try to post this week’s meals on Instagram: tablespoonsandteaspoons.
Over the weekend, I decided to clean out the bulk of my refrigerator. What I came across were the following: Whole Wheat Bread, Mushrooms, Eggs, Milk, Thyme, Cream of Mushroom soup and White Cheddar Cheese. So it’s Sunday morning and I don’t want to waste food so I decided to create a family style portion of this comforting, hearty dish, which can also serve as a perfect potluck dish.
What is bread pudding?
Bread pudding is a dish that comprises of layering pieces of bread with a bunch of ingredients and mixing it with egg cream mixture prior to baking the concoction.
Where did bread pudding originate?
There are various version of where bread pudding originated from. The concept of this comforting dish came from the idea of utilizing leftovers while not wasting food. After reading the versions, I personally came to the conclusion that the bread pudding originated from the Egyptians. The Egyptians call their dish “Om Ali”, a dessert containing bread, milk or cream, almonds, and raisins. The Romans also created their version using stale bread, milk, fat and sweetener. In the Middle East, they create their own version called “Eish es Serny” which contains dried bread, sugar, honey syrup, rosewater and caramel. Currently, there is an Indian dish called “Shahi Tukra”, which is made from bread, ghee, saffron, sugar, rosewater and almonds. Of course, the real geniuses behind this comforting dessert do not get the proper recognition for creating bread pudding.
Now let’s get into on what food history has addressed the origins of bread pudding. Historians have stated that bread pudding originated in the Middle Ages with the invention of custard. By the 13th century the dish was labelled as a “poor man’s pudding” because it was made from leftover bread and was consumed by the lower classes. By the 18th century, the dish was served to people who were sick because the bread was easy to digest.
Over the last few centuries bread pudding has evolved to become a versatile dish where it can be made sweet, which popular in most high end restaurants (found in desserts) and savory.
A year ago during NYC restaurant week I had the privilege to eat the the Australian restaurant “Burke and Wills” located in the Upper West Side, which permanently closed early this year. They served an amazing dessert that was part of their three course prix fixe called “Bread and Butter Pudding” which was made with bread, toffee sauce, marscapone, and hazelnut.
Over the weekend, I purged the refrigerator by utilizing all of the Whole Wheat Bread, Mushrooms, Eggs, Milk, Thyme, Cream of Mushroom soup and White Cheddar Cheese to made a Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding .
The dish came out almost perfect because I used what I had leftover so this version had an unequal ratio. There was way more bread than there was mushroom and cheese. The cream of mushroom soup and thyme saved the day because the flavor of the dish was on point. In addition this dish serves six people and after consuming a third of what would be considered one slice was already filling. I had a lot of fun making this dish and would like to explore different variation of creating bread pudding. I definitely want to explore creating a different version that is gluten and dairy free.
It’s been almost a month since the lockdown due to this ongoing pandemic spread. The previous game plan was posted over two weeks ago. Good news was that most of the stuff listed in the ingredients section of the game plan lasted over two weeks which was why there was no game plan for Week 3.
I am slowly eating out again to fulfill my food cravings but most of time I am behind the kitchen experimenting with the food I have.
Below are the images I posted on Instagram: tablespoonsandteaspoons.
Moving forward to the present and the rest of the week here’s my game plan for the upcoming week(s). This week is going to be different because I decided to venture into the meal prep kit from Sunbasket and even support local businesses in the area.
Stay turned for posts on Instagram at tablespoonsandteaspoons.
Week three of COVID-19 began with a stay at home Easter meal for two which leftovers lasted for two days.
I spent hours and days reading various recipes about the French classic Beef Bourguignon. My father introduced me to this dish when I was a child and regretted not staying by his side taking mental notes on how to cook this dish.
Anyways, back to the history and origin of Beef Bourguignon. This French class dish originated from Bourgogne a regional section in Burgundy, France. Beef Bourguignon is a rich slow cooked dish made with beef braised in red wine with carrots, mushrooms, garlic, onions, parsley, bay leaf and thyme.
Beef Bourguignon was originally considered a meal for peasants during the Middle Ages. It was economically friendly, filling and perfect to feed a crowd. The meat used was the once that were not consumed by high class groups e.g. royalty. The dish initially took two days to cook as the longer the cook, the more flavorful the dish will be and the meat will be more tender.
The first recipe was published in the beginning of the 20th century. Chef Auguste Escoffier labelled as the “grandfather of classical French cuisine”. This chef presented this provincial peasant dish to a high society group. As a result this dish became a overnight success where it is now served in fine dining restaurants in Paris, London and New York. Beef Bourguignon was labelled a national dish in France and in 1961, Julia Child introduced this dish which made her famous to America.
There were some subtle differences between Chef Auguste Escoffier’s 1903 recipe and Julia Child’s 1961 recipe. First, Chef Escoffier used whole beef and it would take two days to make the dish while Chef Child’s recipe used diced or cubed beef. Chef Child also used bacon fat and dried each piece of of meat prior to searing in the pan.
Well, guess what, I combined the two recipes without mushrooms and committed the cardinal sin by cutting a rib roast into think half in slices instead of cubes.
Well to start I used healthy ingredients such as beef, garlic, onions, carrots, tomato paste, red wine and homemade beef broth using the bones of the rib roast and onions. The broth tooks 18-24 hours to make.
Working with the ingredients that available, I made a very modified version with no mushrooms.
Happy to say that Week 1 of the COVID-19 Lockdown was about 80% successful. I have been able to keep up with the steps which is essentially my meal schedule rather than food prep because my brain was not there to organize my meals. Part of that is just getting back into the groove and gaining momentum to eventually food prep for bigger and better meals.
Here are my pictures from last week’s game plan meals including the Rye French Toast:
We have entered week 2 of the COVID-19 Lockdown and things in New York City has gotten worse. The lock down has now extended to another two weeks. There will be no Holy Week services, which I look forward too. However, I have been spiritually more involved in watching live streaming services online.
Given all that is going on I feel lucky and blessed. I am very thankful to God and the good spirits that I have a roof over my head and a job at least for two months. So making every effort to work for the glory of God because HE controls our fate.
In order to stay in compliance, my other half went to the supermarket while I worked from home. This week’s game plan also has ingredients from last week because there were some changes to the steps from last week.
We would love to hear any feedback regarding this week’s game plan. Stay tuned for pictures of my journey through this game plan. Everyone stay safe and may God Bless America!
Today I am actually adhering to my COVID-19 game plan by making Rye French Toast. Given the pantry I have to date, I was researching the perfect french toast recipe. As a result, I ended up choosing the recipe from Food52. What I did was I cut the serving size in half. So this recipe here is for one person. But before I share this solo meal, I want to explore the history of this staple breakfast dish.
After reviewing sources of where the French toast originated, the earliest documentation of the dish goes back to the Roman empire (approximately the year 1 A.D.) which was called “Pan Dulcis”. This version is bread soaked in milk with or without egg prior to frying it in oil or butter.
Fifteen centuries later, the English and later the French reinvented and renamed this staple dish “Pain Perdu” meaning “lost bread” because this version utilizes stale bread and soaking it in milk and eggs then frying. The interpretation is losing the bread and transforming it into a complete dish comprised of protein (egg), calcium (milk) and carbohydrates (bread).
If you have any questions or comments regarding this dish or ways to improve this dish, feel free to comment on this post. I am finally gaining some momentum back, maybe COVID-19 hysteria and being ordered to stay home has rejuvenated my interest and passion for food. Stay tuned for more….
There is so much hysteria to the point that we are on the brink of becoming a martial law country. This lockdown game plan to “flatten the curve” is set up by NYC mayor and governor to hopefully reduce the number of new COVID-19 cases. As a result, I will be working my paid job, which funds this blog remotely. What does this mean?
This means I get the opportunity to hopefully reset and continue where I left off writing this blog. During the past few months I feel like I am getting ghosted by social media platforms such as Instagram. The only silver lining is that businesses and owner have liked my posts but there are so few of them.
When I launched this blog back in 2016, I had a vision that it would progressively grow and turn it into a career that is fulfilling and rewarding. Unfortunately I have experienced a lot of downfalls due to the lack of support and continuously fighting the powerful establishments and potential haters from the past who feel that they are entitled to any achievement on my own through emotional blackmail and spreading rumors by framing me as the evil, crazy and toxic person because I am finally free.
Still fighting the good fight as these people from the past who knew everything about me inside out are using it against me and taking credit for everything I have worked for including my degrees from Fordham, Hunter and University of Illinois. These same people are bragging to other people that without them I’ll never succeed. Ok..I’ll stop..
Given the circumstances that occurred the last month, normalcy on this end has come to a pause overall. However, I am very thankful to God and the good spirits that I have a roof over my head and a job at least for two months. So making every effort to work for the glory of God because HE controls our fate.
With the exponential increase of COVID-19 cases in NYC and in Long Island, and the origin of this debilitating and mysterious virus came from China, there is also an increase in hate crime against Chinese and Asian Americans because people are ignorant. I am thankful that I have not had that experience personally but given the fact that I am a first generation Asian American born in America with a background in public health and health communications that is passionate about food, culinary medicine, health, and research.
While COVID-19 is still hot press it is also an important public health issue because through health promotion, advocacy and communication communities are actually complying with the progressive martial law mandates such as social distancing, limiting store hours, working remotely and shutting down non-essential businesses. While these measures are implemented, the long term effects will be the disappearance of human social interaction that is essential to survival.
In order to stay in compliance, we went to the supermarket two days ago and brought 1-2 weeks worth of groceries. So without further ado and after hours of planning here’s the weekday game plan based on what’s available in the present moment:
We would love to hear any feedback regarding this week’s game plan. Stay tuned for pictures of my journey through this game plan. Everyone stay safe and may God Bless America!
Happy Chinese New Year! So another health issues popped up and with one week of restaurant week already gone, it is time to give my game plan. This game plan is the Winter 2020 NYC Restaurant Week which began on January 21 and will end on Sunday February 9. Two course lunch/brunch is $26 and a three course dinner is $42.
After reviewing over 290 menus out of the 364 restaurants participating, there were a lot of restaurants continuing to participate plus several new ones. So, here is my plan for this year’s winter restaurant week adventure:
1) The Carlyle in the Upper East for dinner for two. This is the first time that they are participating for restaurant week. Definitely want to try their yellowfin tuna, beet salad, chicken, gnocchi and lavender creme brulee. In addition and it’s optional the wine pairing for all three dishes will be an additional $36.
2) Felidia in Midtown/Upper East Side is a great Italian restaurant with a connection to the Vatican because the owner Lidia Bastianich has served food to past three popes during their visits to New York. Personally I have eaten here this past summer for the Italian Restaurant Week and it will be interesting on how I will be treated because I experienced subtle inequality and slight discrimination when I dined there alone. Reservations go by very quickly.
3) Catch Steak is another restaurant under the Catch corporation located in Meatpacking is also participating in restaurant week for the first time for dinner. All three items chosen for their prix fixe are also sold a la carte. The ambiance of the place is awesome for pictures and girls night out.
4) Manhatta is a hard to get in restaurant under the Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group located in Lower Manhattan. They are also participating in restaurant week for lunch. Miraculously, I managed to get a reservation for a very early lunch. For my solo lunch, I definitely want to try the snails and lamb burger. Out of all the restaurants that are on this list, this is the one I am most excited about.
5) Aburiya Kinnosuke in Midtown is also participating in restaurant week for the first time and will be going for dinner for two. Definitely want to try their tofu, vegetable stir fry, black cod, chicken thigh, Shiratama Amitsu ice cream and mochi ice cream.
6) Ambassador Grill and Lounge located in the Millennium Hotel in the UN is also participating in restaurant week. All three items chosen for their prix fixe are also sold a la carte.
Due to time and obligations, I will not be able to eat at other restaurants this time around, so here is my wish list for restaurants to try: Cathedrale, David Burke Tavern, Tuome, Bann, Woodpecker, Cafe Boulud, Danji, Charlie Palmer Steak, Club A Steakhouse, and DB Bistro Moderne.
Now we will shift gears to Long Island Restaurant Week and over 175 restaurants will be participating. A three course prix fixe will cost $29.95. The awesome thing about this restaurant week is that they will be offering it on Saturdays until 7pm. Given that this restaurant week is coinciding with NYC restaurant week, it’s going to be difficult to participate. Therefore, here are my choices for this restaurant week: Red Salt in Garden City, Luigi’s in New Hyde Park and Imperial Meat Company in Huntington.
Stay tuned on my Instagram: tablespoonsandteaspoons and Twitter: spoonstt for posts during this adventure.
Last week I decided to make solo trip to David Burke Tavern in the Upper East Side in Manhattan. The former Fishtail location will be one of the participating restaurants for the upcoming NYC restaurant week starting tomorrow.
One of the entrees that will be offered during restaurant week is the celery root ravioli. The dish consists of grapes, pickled celery and winter black truffles. This homemade dish is well balanced especially when all the elements are combined.
Happy 2020! Can’t believe that we are halfway in the first month of the year! What’s even more exciting is next week is NYC Winter Restaurant week. One of the restaurants that will be participating during the restaurant week is Bread and Tulips.
Over the summer, my friend and I had dinner at this hot spot in Gramercy. They had happy hour until 7pm for discounted drinks. We came on a Monday evening during the summer and the place was dead. Service was on point in terms of knowledge and efficiency.
– Appetizers: To start, we took advantage of the restaurant week wine bottle special for $35. The wine was very good and the waiter re-corked the bottle to take home because we could not finish a bottle of wine. We ordered the crab cakes and Tuscan kale salad. The crab cakes were very good overall, the only comment I would say is that it was a little salty but all the components are well balanced if consumed in one bite. My friend got the Tuscan Kale Salad, which was really good, refreshing and healthy. Out of the two dishes, the kale salad was the better of the two.
– For the entree, we ordered the seared sea scallops and Long Island duck. The scallops was really good and the flavors were well balanced. Meanwhile my friend got the duck which was amazing and very lean. Out of the two dishes, the duck was the better of the two. That duck was to die for and personally I could see that dish become inconsistent if it was a busy night. Plus both dishes went well with the wine.
The desserts were to awesome. The tartufo is amazing and with the lemon flavor and currents and walnut texture, the dish was a perfect end to my prix fixe. My friend got the chocolate mousse cake with hazelnut gelato, which was flawless.
Personal note, go on a non-busy night; given the restaurant’s reputation I can foresee regular people like us could get ignored and getting subpar service. The night we went it was dead (10 people were dining that evening).
Bread & Tulips is one of the over 300 restaurants participating in the upcoming NYC restaurant week starting from January 21 – February 7.
Stay tuned for suggested restaurants for this restaurant week….