Happy New Year! We are nine days into the new year and 2021 was a year of reflection and life changing moments. I’ve been active on Yelp and Seated writing restaurant reviews and hitting up Michelin rated restaurants. But this is a New Year and I want to provide content that focused on my mission of why I started this blog. Therefore, I am working on developing more social media content and supporting businesses and products that help create that perfect dish.
So to start, I have drafted a plan to get through this week partly because I am running out of space in refrigerator, freezer and pantry because I tend to go on a grocery shopping spree.
Throughout the week, I’ll be posting more content on Instagram (tablespoonsandteaspoons). My goal for the week is to clean out my freezer and pantry. So here are the following dishes that I aim to recreate to get back on the horse.
Cappello’s Sweet Potato Gnocchi with butter
Cappello’s Spinach Ravioli with asparagus
Lentil Penne with jackfruit meatballs topped with Fody’s sauce
Slow cooked Chicken Gnocchi Soup
I’ll be posting on my Instagram account so stay tuned.
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.
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!
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.
I have heard great things about Keste in the Village in Manhattan. I was thrilled when they decided to open another location in downtown Manhattan. This location is pretty hidden. The address states that it is located on Fulton Street but, it is hidden behind bushes and plants and you would have to walk down a side street to enter the restaurant.
I have been to Keste several times because they have awesome fresh personal pies, but they must be consumed before it gets cold. The chef/owner uses fresh ingredients and native techniques to execute a personal pie like no other. The place also holds pizza making classes and other food events.
What is awesome about this place was their $5 personal margherita pie. Here’s the catch, to get the discount, this pie must be eaten in the restaurant.
The place also has happy hour until 7pm and they have drink specials and complementary food samples.
If you want to splurge, the truffle pizza aka the Montanara Truffle $20, which has the perfect balance of truffle to mozzarella. Decadent and delightful!!
A great place for lunch, dinner, get together with friends of all food types meaning they have gluten free pizzas. A place worth eating and a bang for your buck!!
A few days ago my fiance and I finally had dinner here at Red Salt Room in Garden City, NY. The restaurant was fairly quiet that evening which made it easier to talk. The food was more expensive than King’s Bar but you will be paying for a tasting on a budget. The chef/owner, GM Steve and our waitress/server Christine were very accommodating and took care of us. Service was fairly quick and although the presentation of the dishes appeared small they were deceivingly filling. We ordered a salad, and two sides.
Salad: We were curious with the heirloom tomato and ricotta salad because it was different from the heirloom tomato and burrata salad served from other restaurants. The presentation of the dish was deceivingly small but artistically whimsical. It is a healthy dish consisting a huge slice of tomato that could pass for a tomato steak on top of pesto with grilled peaches and ricotta on the side. The overall dish tasted good as individual components but combining all the components together makes the bite and taste complete.
Side dishes: We ordered truffle steak frites and tomato gratin. The flavor of the truffle steak frites were reminiscent of the truffle fries I had back in the day in David Burke Townhouse. I do miss the truffle fries, but I knew what I was getting myself into whem I ordered the steak frites and thank you Christine for the heads up about the thickness of the potatoes. The steak frites can serve as a main dish for one or a side dish to share with 2 or more people. My fiance was curious about the tomato gratin our waitress Christine was knowledgable and raved about the dish. The dish was definitely sharable for 2 or more people it is reminiscent of a chicken parmigiana without the chicken. We loved the tomato gratin and a great semi low carb vegetarian dish to order.
I definitely want to return one weekend for brunch and the next Long Island Restaurant Week.
Hello everyone, it’s been a long time since I last posted, I don’t even remember when I wrote something here (that is really bad). I hope this post makes up for not posting since my review of this year’s NYC Winter Restaurant Week.
Over six weeks ago, I have had the privilege to attend my first Healthy Food Expo/International Restaurant and Foodservice Expo and CoffeeFest at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. This was a three day event and it was the best three days I have had in a long long time. I was honored to meet and learn from empowering chefs and health care professionals. It was so much connecting and reconnecting with people who share the same passion in food and healthy eating. There were food tasting and presentations. I went to 6 presentations that day and they were all amazing and inspiring. For the Healthy Expo I attended the presentation(s) entitled:
The Power Of Spices and Their Health Benefits by Dr. Kanchan Koya, Health Coach and founder of Spice Spice Baby which addresses evidence based science behind the health benefits of spices such as curcumin an active ingredient from in tumeric. Her presentation of spices and its health benefits are informative and resourceful. Check out her blog and follow her Instagram page: Chefspicemama and Twitter page: Kkoya.
For the International Restaurant and Foodservice Expo I attended four cooking demos by Chef Marcus Samuelson who made a pasta dish and a very tasty scallop dish while sharing his empowering and inspiring journey to pursuing his passion in the culinary arts. Now I am interested in reading his memoir titled “Yes, Chef: A Memoir” and hopefully one day this summer I can make a pit stop Red Rooster and try his famous fried chicken. Check out his website on his impressive accomplishments and follow him on Instagram and Twitter: marcuscooks.
The next day, I was ecstatic to attend cooking demos by thriving women chefs Anita Lo and Amanda Cohen. In addition, I learned how to make pasta in a food processor by Fabio Viviani and watched a Meatless Monday cooking competition. I enjoyed hearing Anita Lo talk and cook her awesome cauliflower chaat with almonds. Her story was inspiring because she is also a first generation Asian American who is living her passion. Unfortunately I did not make it to one of her initial restaurants Annisa, I was lucky to even win her new cookbook “Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One” and replicate some of the recipes. Check out her website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter: AnitaLoNYC.
Next I stayed to listened to Amanda Cohen’s story behind the ups and downs of starting a vegetarian restaurant and maintaining it. Her persistence, creativity and passion for cooking vegetables is remarkable and I have learned so many ways to utilize a simple vegetable such as a carrot. I have yet to eat at Dirt Candy but all my peers and friends that have eaten there raved about it and told me to eat there. Yes, Dirt Candy is on my bucket list as one of the restaurants to go to this year (God willing). I was impressed how Amanda created her famous and popular dish Carrot Risotto and Carrot Dumplings. She utilizes a lot of science and technique to make this dish high end while utilizing ingredients on a budget. I have tasted this dish and it was amazing. Unfortunately, I failed to get a good clear photo of this beautiful dish. Luckily I won her cookbook “Dirt Candy: A Cookbook” which contains this recipe and I sense a calling to replicate this dish. Check her restaurant’s website and follow the restaurant’s Instagram: dirtcandynyc and Twitter: dirtcandy.
Chef Cohen’s cooking demo was followed by Chef Fabio Viviani’s cooking demo on making fresh fettuccine with roasted pine nuts and basil pesto. He made fresh pasta using a food processor, his method was 4 tablespoons of flour per 1 large egg. His demo made it look so easy as it took about two minutes to create the dough on the food processor. After the dough is made, if the dough is too sticky and wet add more flour and if the dough is too grainy and starchy add a little water. I was so excited of how simple and quick to make fresh pasta that I tried it at home. Luckily I won his cookbook “Fabio’s 30 minute Italian” which contained the recipe of replicating the fresh pasta. I have attempted to make the fresh pasta, but more on that later. I felt that the demo was rushed and quick due to time constraints. In addition, he was also the judge for the next food demo – The Rapid Fire Challenge, among three chefs themed Meatless Monday. The winner wins $1000.
On to the Rapid Fire Challenge the three way battle of the best Meatless Monday dish. The challenge was judged by: Maria Loi, Cookbook Author, Greek Food Ambassador, and Healthy Lifestyle Expert; Peggy Neu, President of The Monday Campaigns ; Gennaro Pecchia, Co-Host of Rolands Food Court at Sirius XM and Chef Fabio Viviani who is also a restaurateur. The challenge started with Chef Patricia Washuta from Orlando, FL who presented the following dish: Impossible Meatless Kefta, which was creative, tasty, healthy, low carb and budget friendly. Check out her audition video of the dish on YouTube.
The second dish was presented by Chef Heidi Liv Tompkins from Heidi’s Health Kitchen in New York, NY who presented her dish: Mock Tuna Recipe. The dish is gluten free, plant based, organic, paleo and therefore, healthy.
The final dish was presented by Chef Lisa Sereda from Wine Time based in Chico, CA who presented her Walnut “Meat” Stuffed Anaheim Pepper, which was my personal favorite because of its presentation and taste.
After tough judging from Maria Loi and debates about the origin of food among the judges, the winning dish of the Rapid Fire Challenge was the Mock Tuna by Chef Heidi Liv Tompkins. Congratulations Chef Heidi!
In addition to the amazing talks and demos I have had the privilege to experience, I get to sample various food products from new businesses who are seeking to sell their products in US markets. There were so many amazing new products out there are creative and healthy. It was a honor to be a participant in tasting these products before they go out to the distributor(s).
My favorite savory tastings from the expo were the:
Aliments Mello Inc – Smoked Meat Brisket Sandwich – the meat melts like butter in your mouth
Synear Shrimp Supreme Dumpling promoted by Walong Marketing – Dumpling is really good; the filling was amazing; this brand does not skimp on the shrimp.
Mama’s in the Kitchen Breaded Shrimp was the perfect balance of shrimp with breading. The breading can be purchased online. They also have breading for chicken and fish.
Chef Fun Foods seasoned fries using the shake bags: these fries shakened with various flavors. My favorites were BBQ, garlic parmesan and sour cream and onion.
BeItalian Meatballs and pecorino in cooked wine – these meatballs were freshly cooked and very authentic. The dish was a collaborative effort organized by Lombardia Fiere.
VegeWorld Vegetarian meats from Malaysia and I was impressed by the taste of the products. My favorites were the Vegetarian Lamb, Vege Roasted Chicken and Vege Hawaiian Chicken.
Gianni’s Chicken Burgers were awesome chicken burgers made locally in Long Island. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture, but I can testify that I will be ordering these burgers online. In addition, their burgers are sold at local supermarkets in White Plains and Huntington. My personal favorites were Jalapeno Popper Chicken Burgers and Original Chicken Spinach Burger.
My top 5 sweet tastings from the expo were the:
Mochidoki Green Tea and Passion Fruit Mochi Ice Cream – great healthy dessert; a perfect end to my savory food tastings. Mochidoki has 12 flavors and some of their products are sold at Turnstyle Underground Market and you can place an order online that includes all 12 flavors.
Carubies Decadent Carob Truffles from Heidi’s Health Kitchen is a healthy and tasty truffle. Who knew that these truffle chocolates are plant-based and gluten free? This means that the products are soy free, dairy free, and caffeine free. These truffles can be purchased online on their website. Personally the best buy is their original flavor for $20 which has 20 pieces.
Everyday Gourmet Bakery Cookies were so good. Did you know that they are vegan, kosher, non-GMO, and made with whole grains? In addition, they are nutritious with a good amount of protein and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, iron and manganese. These cookies can be purchased online and the best buy is the 2 box pack only for $5.
Wateke Foods is new company based in Florida who produces various products especially guacamole, acai, frozen fruits and beverages. I only tried the acai which was fresh and good. I have yet to try the guacamole, but based on their high tech technology, the product still looks fresh and I can’t wait to eat with my chips.
Pure Crumb is another local product developed by a NYC Fitness Trainer containing less calories and a perfect snack to satisfy a sweet craving. Plus, it’s gluten free and only 150 calories. They come in two flavors: banana bread and chocolate brownie. My favorite was the chocolate brownie. The products are sold online and are currently on sale for $24 for 8 pack and $44 for 16 pack.
Earth Effect Frozen Greek Yogurt is a local sustainable product that is healthy. They are a new company in search for partners and manufacturers to support their mission. The frozen yogurt comes in five flavors: tart with dates and pistachios, chocolate with coconut brittle and sliced almonds, Taihitian vanillia with strawberry jam and chocolate, maple and maple pecans and coffee with hazelnut butter and chocolate. I have had tried all five flavors and my favorites were: Taihitian vanillia with strawberry jam and chocolate, coffee with hazelnut butter and chocolate and chocolate with coconut brittle and sliced almonds.
After eating and sampling all the foods at the event, I have had to stay hydrated with drink samples from various companies both non-alcoholic and alcoholic. Below were my favorites:
Figspresso is a plant-based, gluten-free beverage based in Long Island made from dried and roasted figs. This beverage is deceivingly healthy and it would serve as a great alternative for coffee and tea.
Dandy Lion Tea is an organic tea made from dandylions and fruit. They come in two flavors: cherry and peach. It is kosher and organic. Did you know that dandelion is good for digestion and detox? I’ve tasted both flavors and my personal favorite was cherry.
Cliffton Dry Wine Cider is a vegan, low calorie, low sugar, gluten free and low alcoholic beverage. It is a sparkling wine equivalent to prosecco but made with locally grown apples from the New York’s Finger Lakes Region. This beverage was really good and they’re accessible in some NYC restaurants and Whole Foods.
Senor Sangria is sangria mixed with natural ingredients with either merlot for the red sangria, sauvignon blanc for white sangria and syrah for their new flavor: apple raspberry. I tried all three flavors and they all tasted great, but apple raspberry was my favorite. What’s interesting about their new flavor is that there is no sugar in this sangria making it more healthy.
Brooklyn Crafted Herbal Teas and reTreat Juices are beverages manufactured by Brooklyn Food and Beverage, which is based in Bushwick community in Brooklyn. The herbal teas were pretty good; I have only tried the chrysanthemum and hibiscus herbal flavors. However, the reTreat juices were the standouts for me as the fruits came from places such Thailand. I was excited and enjoyed the mangosteen flavors of these juices. These teas and juices can be found in some local supermarkets.
Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer is manufactured by Brooklyn Food and Beverage, which is based in Bushwick community in Brooklyn. The ginger beers were legit meaning is that they are made with real natural ingredients and cane sugar and has the right amount of kick for each level of spice intensity. They can be found in some markets in Brooklyn and used in some restaurants in the city to make cocktails such as the mule.
Kelvin Slush Company is a local organic cocktail mix that is non-GMOs and has no high fructose corn syrup. It is also vegan, kosher and gluten free. So I had tasted some of the flavors, but my favorite was the aperol spritz and frose. The cocktail mix come in various flavors and they are all available on Amazon.
Asarasi is sparkling tree water that is plant-based. This naturally produced water comes in five flavors. My favorites were mango and cherry. All five flavors are available for purchase on their website.
Graft Cider is a company that makes gluten free ciders. These ciders are produced in New York by two siblings. I have had three flavors and my favorite was the Lost Tropic which is a hop mimosa cider. These ciders can be purchased at various restaurants and local markets.
There’s a lot more I have sampled, but unfortunately I did not have good pictures. Overall, it was a honor to connect with people who share the same passion of food, health and medicine. I hope that I will be able to see their products in the US markets and stores so people can enjoy them.
Happy Meatless Monday! Can’t believe October is almost ending and before we know 2017 is going to end and I am playing catch up with game plan recipes that we made this year to date.
On my New Year’s Day – Sunday Game Plan post there were a list of good luck foods to consume during the New Year. One of these lucky foods is buckwheat noodles especially soba noodles. Unfortunately, I ended up getting udon noodles, which also contains buckwheat. In Japan, people consume long buckwheat noodles to signify good fortune. Confession, I did not end my making the Udon Miso Noodle Soup until well after New Years due to leftovers and lack of room in my refrigerator.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1): plays a huge role in metabolism preventing headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness, nerve damage, brain disorders, especially Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), and memory disorders e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease, stress, inflammation and vision problems e.g. glaucoma.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): prevents cancers, migraines and hair/skin damage
Niacin (Vitamin B3): plays a role in improving cholesterol levels, lowering heart disease risks, joint pain, treating diabetes, preventing acne, headaches, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, memory loss, depression, motion sickness, insomnia, muscle weakness, digestive problems, alcohol dependence and erectile dysfunction.
Folate (Vitamin B9): plays a critical role in healthy pregnancy by preventing neural tube defects, which causes spina bifida, anencephaly, malformations of the limbs and heart complications, prevents cancers, anemia, heart attacks, strokes, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and depression.
So finally, here’s my recipe for Udon Miso Noodle Soup:
Obviously, I did not provide a calorie count for each of the ingredients because I cooked this dish in bulk (Serves 4 people).
2.5 cups of water
Left over mushrooms and kale (part of the spinach & greens family) (Mushrooms were 0.69 per package at Aldi, and kale was 0.99/lb on sale at local supermarket)
3 tablespoons of Yamajirushi Awase Miso ($4 lasts about a year)
1 package of Sunrise Extra Firm Tofu, cubed ($1.50 at Good Fortune Asian Supermarket)
1 red onion, sliced ($1.49 a bag at Good Fortune Asian Supermarket)
1 package of udon noodle (approximately $3 or less if on sale for a pack at any Asian Supermarket)
Here’s a quick pick-me-up that is cheap, healthy, gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian side dish. Recently I brought a bag of Dole Baby Spinach, on sale at Shop & Shop (buy 1 get 1 free) and homemade minced garlic (thank you dad) and put a quick side dish together.
Spinach has many health properties, which were previously mentioned on a past Meatless Monday post. In addition, spinach has one of the highest if not the highest level of folate, which helps prevent depression, neural tube disorders during pregnancy, and dementia.
Garlic has been considered to be medicine food especially in India and China. It was used to aid respiration and digestion. It helps reduce inflammation and even prevent cancers. It also contains neuroprotective properties that helps with visual memory and performing executive functions. It is also an immune system booster, which helps treat colds and flu. It helps with high blood pressure and may help treat diabetes.
1 bag of Dole Baby Spinach, washed = 20 calories for 3 cups.
2 tablespoons of minced garlic = 30 calories
Spray the pan with cooking spray
2. Add minced garlic and saute until starts becoming golden brown
3. Stir in spinach gradually until wilted
At various Chinese restaurants I’ve eaten at, this dish or any other green vegetable dish and garlic would cost over $10 (family style) and they use vegetable oil, which is less healthier than olive oil, and grapeseed oil. This dish can be made with other vegetables such as bok choy and watercress.