Saturday, October 30, 2010

Queenie's Treasury

Happy weekend, my lovelies! Many of you are, no doubt, otherwise occupied in Washington, D.C. right now (Rally To Restore Sanity FTW!). For the rest of you poor schlubs who, like me, are stuck at home this weekend, here are some Treasury delights for you!

First up, an incredible house tour from Design*Sponge. Kate Schintzius' house is, to put it mildly, haunting my dreams. I love pretty much everything about it, from the teardrop chandelier to the needlepoint pillows to the dreamily colored rug. I'll take it. It's for sale for a really reasonable amount, furnishings included, right?
Next up, some amazing vintage and estate jewelry. I have a yen for old-fashioned pieces, especially cocktail rings and brooches, so I was delighted when Oh Joy! mentioned Claude Morady's site. It's a veritable treasure trove of perfect specimens. I have my eye on the aquamarine ring. By "have my eye on" I of course mean "dream hopelessly of." Sigh.

Finally, a different kind of treasure trove - slightly less literal, but, perhaps, even more valuable. Saveur's picks for the top 18 bistros in Paris are up on their website (the full list of 23 is available in the November issue, which also has recipes for things like steak with mustard cream sauce, oh yes), and it's making me ache to hop across the pond. Like, right now. Now, now, now.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Squee-able news!

Hello, cats and kittens! I am very, very excited to announce that I am now a regular contributor to the incredible lifestyling blog You + ME* Equals! I was so flattered when Miya and Elisabeth asked me to join their growing circle of awesomeness that I've been squeeing (silently and aloud, alternately) ever since.

I'll be sharing a recipe over on their blog every other Thursday, starting today! Recipes will skew vegetarian and relatively healthy - but don't worry, that doesn't mean there won't be butter and booze. I'm not able to completely sublimate my better devils, after all.

Today's recipe? Herbed quinoa with roasted acorn squash! Get your butts over there and check it out, wouldja?

Toodles!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jam, jammy jam.

As I mentioned on Saturday, I won a giveaway from the House of Brinson last week: a single, perfect jar of homemade raspberry jam. Needless to say, I was eager to give it a go this weekend, ideally accompanied by coffee and buttered baguette.

It just so happened that I had a parbaked baguette in the freezer, and so Sunday morning I turned on the oven before hopping in the shower and got that baguette working in there the second I got out. About 15 minutes later, I was enjoying fresh bread spread with sweet butter and smeared with tart, jewel-colored jam.

And life, it was good. Yes, indeedy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's time for a braise.

When the weather cools down, I start craving braises. Coq au vin, boeuf bourgignon - you name a braise, I'll eat it like nobody's business. Chicken is my favorite meat for braising, since it benefits so immensely from slow cooking, and since it takes so well to so many different flavor combinations.

And so, when I spotted a Martha Stewart recipe for braised chicken on Lonny's blog the other day, and was instantly smitten. Shallots, garlic, tomatoes, chicken, wine and mustard? Sign. Me. Up. I didn't have any tarragon on hand, but I thought I could make do very well with the parsley I did have. When the kosher butcher down the block turned out to be running a special on chicken, I knew this was the right thing to make for Sunday night supper. (And, of course, for my lunches this week. Nothing keeps as well for as long as a braise.)

Like so many braises, this one starts out with a browning stage. Since the chicken is skinless, coating it in a light flurry of flour gives it a bit of heft. That flour also helps thicken the sauce later on. After the browning come the shallots and garlic, and then the wine, mustard and stock. (Water works, too, if you don't have stock in the house.) A long simmer and a few tomatoes later, you have a dish fit for a king.

I ate mine with a healthy chunk of baguette and a cold glass of white wine. Heaven.

Mustardy Braised Chicken with Shallots
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Fast

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (1 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
5-6 small shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
4 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or water)
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup finely-chopped parsley

Place flour in a shallow bowl. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, turning to coat and shaking off excess.

In a Dutch oven or heavy 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high. Cook chicken until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. If necessary, cook the chicken in batches - whatever you do, don't crowd the pan.

Add shallots and garlic to pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened and golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated. Stir in the mustard and stock, and bring the sauce to a boil.

Return chicken, bone side down, to pot, nestling them into the sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through (juices should run clear when pierced), 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving the rest of the stew behind.

Add tomatoes and 3/4 of the parsley to pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook the mixture over high heat until tomatoes soften and sauce thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and return chicken to pot; cook until heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving. Garnish with remaining parsley before serving.

Serves 2-4, depending on appetites.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Queenie's Treasury

Happy weekend, all! I hope you've all been enjoying your Saturday so far, and that you have loads of fun plans for tonight and tomorrow. I've found some lovely things to share with you in this week's Treasury, so let's get to it, shall we?

If I had an extra $675 to spend, I just might spend it on one of Isabelle Abramson's incredible porcelain confections. Imagine this lacy bowl filled with seasonal fruit, or even with glittering ornaments on a holiday table. Amazing, right?

Anthology posted about David Burdeny's incredible city shoreline photos earlier this week, and I'd be a fool not to follow their lead. I absolutely love them, especially the way they remind us of how small our cities really are, in the scheme of things. The shot of Macon, in France, is my favorite. Which do you like best?

Last, but definitely not least, we have House of Brinson. This incredible blog is written by a Susan and William Brinson. She's an art director and designer; he's a photographer. Their love of design, food and art is palpable and contagious. I'm especially in love with their incredible loft apartment, and with the lovely jar of homemade raspberry jam I won in their giveaway this week! (Full report on the jam itself coming up soon!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fatty cue-iness, in photos.

Last month, my mom, Jeremy, Miriam, Jason, Abby and I headed to Fatty 'Cue in Williamsburg for some seriously good Asian-inflected barbecue. What follows is a photo tribute to the meal, mostly because I had a few too many cocktails to be much of a raconteur.

Enjoy, kiddos.










Fatty 'Cue
91 South 6th Street (Near Berry)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dutch treat.

Last week, Miriam, our friend Natalie (who was in town from the UK) and I went to Vandaag for dinner. Vandaag (which means "today" in Dutch) is something of an oddity: a Dutch- and Scandinavian-influenced restaurant with a locavore spirit, and seriously good cocktails. (It also has some seriously nifty design going on, what with the cheery blue accent wall, orange wire chandeliers and wide-open space.)

We especially enjoyed the gingery Pack Mule (made with aquavit) and the B-Side Sling, a rich, bitter concoction made with genever and vermouth.

The food is pretty dang good, too. I had two starters: a grilled romaine salad with pistachios and a herring (as opposed to anchovy) dressing, and fried sweetbreads with hot peppers and pickled Concord grapes. You haven't lived life until you've had a piping hot, crispy sweetbread on the same fork with a cold, vinegar-y grape.

And I'm not alone - Adam Platt liked it, too!

Vandaag
103 Second Avenue (Between 6th and 7th Streets)
212.253.0470

Monday, October 18, 2010

A crisp for the crispest of seasons.

Fall is here, people. I, um, might have mentioned that before. Sorry for the redundant message, but I'm just so gosh-darned excited about it! Yesterday morning I visited the St. Stephen's Greenmarket to buy a healthy supply of apples for the week, with an eye to making a few different apple-y items over the next few days. (And, of course, I threw in a few apples for snacking purposes.)

This afternoon, I tackled the first of my projects: an apple crisp. Crisps, like cobblers and crumbles, are amongst the easiest of all desserts known to humankind. You basically slice up some fruit (or not, in the case of berries), mix it with a little sugar and spice, toss the lot into a buttered baking dish and then throw a sugar-and-butter-and-possibly-oats topping down over everything.

And, kaboom! You have absolute, utter, fruity perfection. And your house will smell pretty damn good, too. Feel free to mess about with the ingredients here, especially the types of apples and the seasonings, depending on what you prefer. Cloves would be great, as would allspice. A little Calvados in place of the cider would make things pleasantly boozy, which is always a good thing. And light brown sugar will give you a more-golden, less-brown topping, and a slightly lighter flavor. Whatever floats your boat (or bobs your apple! Too much?)

Apple Crisp

1 1/4 cups oats (old-fashioned, not instant)
3/4 cups dark brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 lbs. assorted apples (I used honeycrisp and gala), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. apple cider

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 2-3 quart glass or ceramic baking dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, 1/2 cup of the sugar, flour, 1/2 tsp. of the salt, 1 tsp of the cinnamon and the nutmeg. Add the butter and blend the mixture with your fingertips until it forms soft, uniform clumps. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the apples with the remaining sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the lemon juice and cider and toss to combine, until the sugar has dissolved and the apples are evenly coated.

Pour the apples evenly into the baking dish. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top of the crisp is well-browned, and the juices are dark and bubbly.

Serves 4-6. Goes really, really well with vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Queenie's Treasury

Hello, my lovelies. It's been a crazy week chez Queenie; consequently, I've been very, very neglectful of you all. I'm so sorry, but I do promise some lovely posts this week! In the meantime (while I type furiously away), here are some Treasury goodies to keep you occupied!

First up, an adorable (and useful) new kitchen conversions poster by the lovely and talented Jenna Park of Sweet Fine Day. I'm constantly reminding myself (via Google, usually) of how many cups are in a quart, teaspoons in a tablespoon, and so on. And now here's Jenna to solve the problem - and in such a gorgeous way! I predict that this will make its way into many of my friends' Christmas stockings this year.

This is a skin that makes your iPhone4 look like a Leica camera. I want one. Badly. That is all.

Everything in Claudia Varosio's Etsy shop is fantastic. I love her movie posters, and I love her song lyric prints. But my absolute favorite has to be this Edie Beale paper doll set. (If you're not familiar with Little Edie, now's the time to stream Grey Gardens to your computer. Like, right now.) Her iconic style is captured so perfectly in this format, and I can't help falling in love with her quirkiness all over again.

Can I get you something?

Ah, the iconic question. The question everyone on Mad Men (except for Freddie, that is) seems very used to answering in the affirmative. And so, in tribute to Mad Men's season 4 finale, which airs tonight, here are a few choice cocktails to get you going.





Sunday, October 10, 2010

Queenie's Treasury

The Treasury is a bit late this week - so sorry, folks! Hope you enjoy it in any case, along with your last cocktail of the weekend.

Hilda Grahnat has become one of my very favorite bloggers. A self-described "aspiring photographer, graphic design student and flea market addict," Hilda takes the most charming jaunts imaginable around her native Sweden, and then blogs them for our reading pleasure. She also takes gorgeous photos of weddings and makes amazing-looking clocks. She is, in short, wicked cool.

I discovered Fine Artichoke yesterday via a series of serendipitous links, and I am obsessed. A site that curates and sells a remarkable collection of food-focused fine art, they have some of the loveliest prints I've seen in ages. I'm particularly taken with the idea of New York State as the ultimate salad and with the print of a classic TV dinner.

Last, but not least, this pasta alla Norma looks really, really tasty, and I want to make it. Like, right now. Yum. (Via Serious Eats.)

We have a winner!

Hey, folks!

The winner of the Wine & Food Festival Giveaway is...

The Curmudgeon!

Check your email, Liz!

(Sorry for the late post; I tried to comment from the road, but for some reason the iPhone does not display the Google-prove-you're-not-spam field.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Giveaway: Ticket to tomorrow's Grand Tasting!

Hey, readers! Last night I had a fabulous dinner at Eleven Madison Park, where I attended lovely evening hosted by the folks at POM Wonderful. They were super-generous and gave each guest a ticket to one of the many New York Food & Wine Festival events happening this weekend.

I've decided to continue the fun and gift the ticket to one of you! It's a single pass to tomorrow's (Sunday, October 10th) Grand Tasting, held from 12-3 PM at Pier 54 on the Hudson River. To qualify, you must be here in NYC this weekend, and must be able to meet me on the Upper East Side tomorrow morning to claim your ticket.

If you're interested, just leave a comment below by 10 PM tonight (Saturday; also, make sure to leave your email address, too, or you won't qualify), and I'll choose a winner at random by 10:30 PM tonight!

Good luck!

Friday, October 8, 2010

A little lemon between friends.

It's been crisp and cool here in New York for the last few days, and you know what that means: it's time to bake. Not that I ever really give up baking; I'm totally the one who cranks up her AC to maximum and then preheats the oven for pie. But there's something about baking when the kitchen could actually use a little warming up that feels oh so right.

On Wednesday, when my internet was down and I was left entirely to my own devices (save the ability to actually leave the apartment, since I was waiting for a delivery), I decided it was time to bake. I'd been thinking about the lemon pound cake recipe my friend (and cookbook author extraordinaire) Lorna Yee asked me to test for her last year. Actually, "thinking" isn't the right word - craving is far more apt.

So, I'd been craving this pound cake, and suddenly had an open opportunity for baking. What could I do but put my craving to good use? Out came the cake flour, the sour cream, and lots and lots of lemons. Lots of lemons, plus a reamer and a zester. You'll need all those things (see tips here on how to make cake flour if you don't have any on hand) if you want to enjoy what the folks at my office enjoyed today.

See, this is no ordinary pound cake. I mean, it is, in that it's pretty easy to make, and bakes up golden and tender. But then Lorna has you poke holes all over the cake and soak it with a lemon syrup. And then, once that's been absorbed, you pour a lemon-sour cream glaze over the whole thing. And then, my friends, the angels start to sing.

Obviously, this isn't a recipe for those who don't love lemony goodness. (If you want non-lemony cake, check this out.) But for those who do? Oh. My. Gah. You will plotz.

By the way, you can find this and many, many other amazing recipes in Lorna's cookbook, The Newlywed Cookbook, which she co-wrote with Ali Basye (the gorgeous photos are by Kathryn Barnard). I highly recommend you snag a copy as soon as possible. The lemon cake will only tide you over for so long.

Lorna's Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake

Lemon Cake
3 cups cake flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
¼ cup lemon juice
¾ cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon extract
2 tbsp. lemon zest

Lemon syrup
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp water

Lemon sour cream glaze
1/4 cup sour cream
2 ½ cups icing sugar, sifted
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 16-cup tube pan, or two loaf pans.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about five minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat for another five minutes. Add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and lemon extract. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, mix in half the dry ingredients, then the sour cream. Mix in the remaining half of the dry ingredients.

Transfer the batter to the pan.

For a large pound cake, bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

For two loaf cakes, bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

For the lemon syrup:
Combine all the ingredients together in a small pot and bring to a boil. Let cool.

For the lemon sour cream glaze:
Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.

To assemble:
When the cakes are cool, run a knife along the edge of the cakes and invert onto a serving plate. With a wooden skewer or toothpick, poke holes all over the top of the cake (don’t worry—you won’t be able to see them.) Carefully spoon the soaking syrup over the cake, letting the syrup absorb before spooning more over the top.

When the cakes have absorbed the syrup, drizzle the glaze over the cakes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I'm all tingly.

Why, you ask? Because it's fall. It is autumn. And I am thrilled. Autumn is the time when cool weather and delicious produce co-exist, the time when colors turn warmer, the air turns crisper, and I get to wear scarves and sweaters again.

Things start to sparkle and shine, and suddenly red wine never tasted so good. Pies abound, as do spices.

Suck it, summer.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Candy-riffic.

A couple of weeks ago, I turned to my friends at the fabulous YOU + ME* Lifestylists to answer a pressing question: how to thank my friends for joining me for Momofuku fried chicken on my birthday? After all, shouldn't grown-ups get party favors, too?

The answer, of course, is yes! And so Miya and I headed to Economy Candy, a legendary shop on Rivington Street. It's a pretty small place, and its one high-ceilinged room is crammed from top to bottom with candies of all kinds. You can find all sorts of retro gems, like Abba Zabba, Chunky bars, MalloCups and candy buttons, but they also stock high-quality preserved fruits, halvah, and an assortment of high-quality chocolates by the pound.

They also have something I thought wasn't even made anymore: candy cigarettes. I decided not to spring for them (opting instead for an assortment of wax lips and hipster mustaches), but they're there for the taking, right on the Lower East Side. Go forth and puff that sugary smoke, my friends.

Economy Candy
108 Rivington Street (Between Essex and Ludlow)
800.352.4544

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just like my Nonna would have made, had I had an Italian-American Nonna.

No birthday, in my opinion, would be complete without some really, really good food, and some seriously awesome company with which to enjoy it. A good thing, then, that my friend Miya came out in the blustery rain to meet me for lunch on Friday at one of my very favorite places, Frankie's Spuntino.

Frankie's offers sandwiches and a brunch menu, but I knew that I, at least, was destined for pasta. I love their pasta. And their salads are pretty damn good, too. In fact, I remembered that Miles' Caesar salad had been something approaching perfection, and decided to start with that. My memory, it turns out, was spot-on. Caesar salad can be really, really boring, but Frankie's version is anything but. It's salty and earthy from the anchovies, a bit funky from the parmesan cheese, and super-creamy from the egg. Topped with a bit of spicy, freshly-ground black pepper, it's a crunchy pile of Italian-American goodness - which is really what Frankie's is all about.

For my main, I had the cavatelli with hot sausage, browned butter and sage. I. Love. This. Dish. It's a remarkably satisfying combination of flavors, with the nuttiness of the butter playing perfectly against the spicy, salty sausage and the piney sage. In fact, I love it so much that I make my own version - with orrechiette - on a fairly regular basis. But nothing can top the original.

Miya ordered the gnocchi with marinara sauce and fresh ricotta. I am not usually a fan of gnocchi; I've too often been disappointed by leaden or soggy lumps of potato flour when I should be delighted by soft pillows of the same. Frankie's gnocchi, however, are definitively delightful. They come dressed in what is known in Italian-American circles as "gravy," a slightly tangy marinara sauce made from the best tomatoes and little else, other than know-how. The ricotta elevates the proceedings from delightful to sublime. It's cool and milky against the acidic tomatoes, and compliments the gnocchi's own creaminess.

No Italian meal would be complete without a shot of espresso, and Frankie's delivered pretty well in this area, too. Their espresso is dark, strong and full of so-coffee-y-it's-almost-sweet flavor. Nothing settles the tummy after a giant plate of buttered pasta like espresso.

Miya took her leftover gnocchi home in an adorably stamped paper bag. I'm kinda wishing I'd brought the tiny bit of cavatelli left on my plate home with me. Maybe next time...

Frankie's 17 Spuntino
17 Clinton Street (between Houston and Stanton)
212.253.2303

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Queenie's Treasury

Happy weekend, everyone! I'm sorry that the treasury is a bit late this week. Friday night left me a bit fragile yesterday morning, and I just wasn't up to exploring all the beauty in my this-is-what-I-loved-this-week files. I'm ready and raring now, though, so here goes!

West Elm has been hitting it out of the park recently, at least as far as I'm concerned. The latest evidence? These gorgeous dessert plates: white porcelain emblazoned with gold leaves. I think I need at least two sets of these for my dinnerware collection. Yes, indeedy.

Next, a delicious-sounding recipe for pork rag├╣, Maialino style. I am seriously excited about the onset of braising season, and this recipe seems like a good place to start. I'm especially intrigued by the inclusion of fennel and lemon. Consider this on the soon-to-be-tackled list.

Finally, these awesome doily coasters, created by uncommon and for sale in their Etsy shop. I'm not normally much into frills, but these birch coasters are engraved with the lacy pattern, and I love the combination of doily-like softness and the solidity of the wood. These would be a terrific host or hostess gift, no?
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