Ciao Bello Sorbet

>> Thursday, April 30, 2009

When it comes to desserts I feel like there are two kinds of people: chocolate people and sweet people. I am a sweets person through and through. I've said before that I would drink sugar if it were an option and after having a root canal at the age of 18 you would think I would slow down...but no, my love for sweet things runs deep. So it pleased me when Jef told me about two of my favorite things combined, sweet, delicious blackberries and wine all in a smooth, refreshing sorbet. 

Ciao Bella is a line of sorbets and gelatos that started in Little Italy in 1983 and since has grown to be featured in grocery stores across the states and for good reason: it's AWESOME. The blackberry cabernet is my favorite flavor to date (although blood orange and lemon are very tasty). It's sweet like a juicy blackberry but finishes like a nice cabernet. 

Ciao Bella has quite the plethora of unique flavors, and yes, even a thing or two for the chocolate lovers. If you see it in the grocery store I would highly suggest picking one up! 


The Frying Pan

>> Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I am still blown away that I did not know about this little piece of heaven sooner than this previous Sunday. The Frying Pan is an old, historic boat that is docked just north of Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River, um, aka PERFECTION. It seriously just is perfection in it's purest form. 

Having spent a decent amount of time in the South, and a generous portion of that time at the beach, I do miss day-drinking by the water and feeling that light breeze on my burnt skin while sipping on a Corona or some other delicious light beer synonymous with happiness. The frying pan offered me this scenario but they took it up a notch in more than one way. 

First off, when you turn around you are looking uptown on the west side towards the Time Warner center and Times Square, not a bad view in my opinion, and then when you look across the river you can see New Jersey and all the homes that dot the shoreline, then if you look south, you see her, Lady Liberty. Couple that with a DJ spinning some techno tunes that I completely 
didn't know and were all sans any sort of verbiage, this was the best Sunday afternoon I have had in a long time. 

If you are looking for the perfect place to drink your afternoon away this is the perfect place! Not to mention that after a long day you can walk off whatever buzz you might have obtained along the beautiful west side highway park. 

I can undoubtedly say that I will be returning very soon :)

The Frying Pan
Pier 66. at W. 26th and West Side Hwy
New York, NY 10011


NYC in the Spring

>> Thursday, April 23, 2009

Here are some pictures I took walking around the city. New York is beautiful in the Spring!!


Blackwell's Pub Birmingham

>> Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This weekend I ventured back to Birmingham, Alabama to visit some friends and attend the University of Alabama A-day game. On our way out of town we stopped by Blackwell's Pub in the Cahaba Heights area. Let me just say this: I was impressed, real impressed. Without crossing over into a gastro-pub, it takes bar grub to another level. 

Tyler Destefano (the head chef) created this menu to highlight southern classics, but also to highlight his culinary skills. For example, the Gator Bites...yeah that's right, alligator. 

Since this was after a long weekend, my eyes went straight to the burgers. Unlike most bars in
 the area, there were multiple burger options, some of which I have never seen or would have imagined. I ordered the pimento cheese burger and beer battered onion rings. The burger was the a unique combination of juicy meat and creamy pimento cheese. The pimento cheese was homemade from Tyler's grandmother's recipe and you could tell. I've had some pretty good pimento cheese from my days down South, but trying to find the same taste in New York is virtually impossible. Don't think I haven't tried, I have, just not possible, so it was truly refreshing to have some homemade pimento cheese. The onion rings were crispy, but not greasy, the perfect pairing with my burger. 

Had I been daring enough I would have tried the peanut butter and jelly burger. Yes, you read that correctly peanut butter and jelly burger. To be honest peanut butter is not my thing, but the next time I go I will have to take Blackwell's opinion to  "try [them]."

It seems like every night Blackwell's has something going on. Tuesday's are pint night. Wednesday's are "wine down Wednesdays." It's a true-blue neighborhood pub. 

Showcasing true ingenuity, Blackwell's definitely ups the ante on pub grub and is absolutely a must try! 

Follow them on Twitter for updates and bar specials:

Blackwell's Pub
3151 Green Valley Road
Cahaba Heights, AL 35243


Truffled Mushroom Bruschetta

>> Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Last week I ate with the roommates at Morandi, a great Italian place in the neighborhood. For an appetizer I ordered their "Bruschetta e ricotta condita -grilled country bread, ricotta & truffled mushrooms". SIMPLY AMAZING. So I knew that I was going to have to try and replicate this and there was no better than this past weekend when I as all alone on Easter...

I went to my favorite place (Chelsea Market) and got all the thing necessary to make the greatest brushchetta of all time.

First, with the help of my friends at Amy's Bread, I picked up a loaf of their "Country Sourdough" bread which was PERFECT. Not to mention that they had artistically put the image of a little bunny rabbit on top of the bread.

Then I went to the little market and picked out some delicious cremini mushrooms which are a personal favorite because they are meaty and stand up to cooking very well, but are affordable.

Once I had those two things it was off to the Italian market for some real ricotta cheese. I know that most ricotta's here are made with cow's milk, and I am assuming that is what I had at Morandi, however I wanted to try something different and chose buffalo ricotta, which had a smoother, creamier texture. Either one will work.

So excited about the deliciousness I was about to consume I ran home (ok and it was raining, but I prefer to think that I would run home for food which seems honestly more logical).

First, I preheated the skillet to about a medium high heat and added about 1 tsp of butter. I quickly cleaned and quartered my mushrooms and once that butter started to brown, I added the mushroom in the pan. Gave it a little toss, then sprinkled some rosemary and thyme.

I let the mushroom cook about 7-9 minutes, then removed from skillet and set aside in another bowl.

Now while the mushrooms were cooking, I sliced up some bread and spread a layer of the ricotta cheese.

Once the mushrooms have cooled off (about a minute or two), drizzle some truffle oil and toss to make sure that everything is coated.
Spoon some mushrooms a top of the ricotta and bread and there you have it. The frugal foodies version of "Bruschetta e ricotta condita"
This is great for entertaining, especially if you want to impress and no one has to know how easy it is. Not to mention its pretty friendly on the wallet. If you already had truffle oil, everything would cost under $10!


Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

>> Monday, April 13, 2009

The other weekend I made these roasted fingerling potatoes with my skirt steak and it was completely delicious and of course super easy! Fingerling potatoes are great for roasting and making smashed (not mashed potatoes) since they are a little firmer.


  1. 8-10 fingerling potatoes halved
  2. Thyme
  3. Rosemary
  4. Minced garlic
  5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  6. Salt and Pepper


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Take the potatoes and slice down the middle and drop in a bowl. In the bowl coat potatoes with EVOO, salt and pepper. Then sprinkle dried thyme and rosemary (best if fresh) and the minced garlic and lightly toss. Make sure that all the herbs are evenly spread on each potato.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. After 10-12 minutes shake the tray to make sure that the potatoes aren't sticking and cooking evenly.

There you go! Simple, easy and utterly delicious. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that something so easy can be so good, but alas its true. Simplicity = deliciousiness.


Ivo and Lulu

>> Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ivo and Lulu
Ivo and Lulu was the answer to a question that every New Yorker has from time to time, "where is a great BYOB restaurant that isn't too expensive?"  

Located in Soho, this tiny little eatery sucks you right in. Dimly lite on a quiet street, this the perfect gathering for
 friends. Especially friends that like to drink. 

The roomies and I met up with our great friends John and Scott and embarked on a culinary tour that would take us through the French/Caribbean cuisine. 

To start we ordered:

  • Gratin Dauphinois - scalloped potatoes, bachmelle with basil, gruyere crust 
  • Grilled Avocado - spinach and veggie shitake, mushroom vinaigrette
The scalloped potatoes were a miss for some, but they reminded me of this recipe that my friend Elizabeth would make with heavy cream, boursin cheese and red potatoes. This made me happy, thus these potatoes made me happy. With every bite, I felt like I was doing something wrong (probably had a lot to with all the cream and cheese), so obviously I continued to eat at a rapid pace. 

The grilled avocado (pictured left) was something that I had never seen before. It was incredible. The avocado was silky smooth, and the mushrooms added a whole new dynamic. The vinaigrette was lite and definitely contained some soy sauce which gave it just the right amount of salt. Loved it!

Then for our entrees we tried to each order
 something different:
  • Duck Confit with jerk seasoning and mango marinade
  • Smoked duck with tangerine and peppercorns
  • Summer Squash Ragout with ginger, garlic, and coconut milk
  • Chicken with orange and goat cheese
Each entree was served with light, fluffy cous cous, soft, velvety carrot puree and garlic green beans. The chicken was completely over powered by the orange flavor and was my least favorite of all the dishes ordered. The summer squash ragout was just ok. While the presentation was playful and cute, served within an acorn squash, I thought the overall flavors fell flat; every vegetable tasted the same.

But the duck. Oh, the duck. Both duck dishes were a big hit. The duck confit (pictured above) was crispy, juicy and falling off the bone. The jerk seasoning was light and the mango marinade was sweet and not overpowering. The smoked duck was just unreal. The perfect balance of fat and meat, the breast was smoked perfectly locking in all the flavors without drying out. The sauce, like the mango marinade, was sweet, but again not over powering. 

Best part of all this, Ivo and Lulu only uses organic ingredients, and free range game (which probably explains the limited, but interesting selections on the menu). 

When you go (and this one is a must), bring lots of friends, wine and your appetite. The menu was affordable (for New York) with entrees all under $20 and most appetizers under $10. Since you will be bring your own wine you can splurge just a little on the meal. 

558 Broome St. nr. Varick St. 
New York, NY 10013



>> Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Frugal Foodies Twitter Page

Listen. I didn't get it either. Why do I care about people constantly updating, telling me what they are doing? I have a life. Duh. Isn't this just like facebook status updates?

Here's the thing though. Twitter is so much more than just updating and I don't know why. Seriously, I find myself checking Twitter more than facebook and this scares me. I've had a personal Twitter account for quite awhile, but recently I created a Frugal Foodies Twitter account and I really enjoy updating and trying to write quick recipes on there. So if you are on Twitter, obviously follow me, but here are some other foodies that have some great things to say!

  • Amateur Gourmet - Author Adam tweets about food, his life and other things that entertain me

  • Foodimentary - Fun facts about food, and I just really enjoy it

  • Everyday Food - An extension of the Martha Stewart Magazine; tweet great, quick recipes

  • Smitten Kitchen - recipes, photos etc. I just like them.

These two people I just love:

  • AcrosstheMoat - my girl Dell tweets about her daily life and it always entertains me!

  • MarcyLane - oh dearest Marcy. I follow Marcy on my phone so I always can she where in the city she is. Seriously at least once a day she makes me laugh out loud, well when she says something funny of course.

Anyways, thought I would change it up and let you in on all the cool people on Twitter. Most of them have blogs as well that they link to from their Twitter account. You are allowed to go to their blogs, however, you are NOT allowed to like them more than me (obviously...)


Great Depression Cooking

Jef sent me this great article the other day about this 93 years old woman named Clara. She has started to create videos to teach people about how she lived through the depression with simple meals.

This is one of my favorite in which she recounts her Sunday breakfast in which her mother would make sugar cookies :)

As you can tell from the video above she is obviously as cute as can be. I don't know if I am at the depression era eating level yet, but it's just interesting to hear her recall the memories of her youth.

Check out her site here and check out her YouTube page for more videos.



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