Top 10 Worst Foods - Get 'em in while you can!!

>> Wednesday, December 30, 2009

With New Years around the corner, if you're anything like me, you are planning to start a diet. FYI, I eat. I eat a lot and while I never claimed to be a nutritionist I would like to imagine that I know which foods are good and bad for me. This video below breaks down the top 10 worst foods for you and what makes them so...most of them are pretty obvious once she says them, but definitely makes you think! #8 just breaks my heart and #4 was a total surprise!

If that was just a little too much for you to watch, I've listed below the 10 items she mentions:
10.  Fried catfish (fish has very little nutrients, and then is fried)
9. Canned soup (almost half of the daily sodium in 1 cup)
8. Bacon (basically just fried salt, fat and nitrates - but soooo good)
7. Fast food hamburgers (duh - they have lots of calories, fat and sugar)
6. Store bought goods - little debbies, ding dongs etc. (high in fat, trans fat, sugar, calories - death in a plastic wrap)
5. Classic potato chip (addictive, high in fat, calories and sodium)
4. Hot dogs and LUNCH MEAT (?) (high in sodium, nitrates)
3. French fries (some places use a 'paste' to create a fry - ewwww)
2. Donuts (high in fat, calories etc.)
1. Soda (sugar, caffeine, preservatives and sodium)

Basically everything she is saying make sense, but I hate to hear it. 2010 is the year to get healthy! What are your New Years resolutions? Does it involve food? Tell me about it!


Mushroom Ravioli with White Truffle Oil

>> Monday, December 28, 2009

Ok so let's talk about this. First off, I must give full credit to Leah for everything that I am about to describe. My very own aspiring chef and roommate cooked me one the best home-cooked meals I have ever had.

Last night Leah prepared homemade mushroom and shallot ravioli which we finished off with olive oil, salt and pepper, parmesan cheese and a drizzle of the ever so luxurious white truffle oil. The best part -- this recipe only takes about 30 minutes!


  • 1 packet cremini, shitake, portabello mushrooms (really any kind you like)
  • 1 package wonton wrappers or papers
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots finely diced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped (just a little sprinkle if dried)
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (or more :) )
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1 egg (for egg wash which is egg and splash of water to act as glue to hold ravioli together)
  • Olive oil
  • White truffle oil (optional but SOOOO worth it)


Finely dice the shallots and add them to a warm pan of melted butter (medium to medium high heat.) While the shallots are cooking, dice up the mushrooms and add them to the shallots when they are clear. Let everything cook for a minute or two then add in the wine (maybe have a glass while you are cooking...)

Let that mixture cook and reduce for a minute then add in the cream and thyme (again just sprinkle if you are using dried thyme.) Reduce until the mixture is thick and then remove from heat.

Once removed from heat add in mascarpone and parmesan, then season to taste (and try not to keep "tasting"; its tough, but you will need the filling...)

When the mixture becomes cool add a teaspoon to your wonton wrapper (becareful to not overfill because it becomes a mess) and with your egg wash brush the edges and fold over to make little raviolis.

If you are really fast you could have your large pot of salt water boiling while you are making your raviolis but don't feel pressured. Either way bring a large pot of salt water to boil. Allow the raviolis to cook for 1-2 minutes so they are al dente.

Put those suckers on a plate and sprinkle (or cover if you're like me) with parmesan, drizzle of olive oil, and a slight drizzle of truffle oil.

If that's not the best ravioli you have ever had then I will just have to make it for you. I guarantee you won't find a better recipe.

Many thanks to Leah and her divine culinary skills!


Prochuttio, Mushroom Flatbread Pizza

>> Thursday, December 17, 2009

When I get a craving, I get a craving. I mean, I need to eat whatever it is that I want about 50 times over until I am finally satisfied. This craving lately has been pizza. However, as you remember last week I said I am trying to eat healthier so instead of going and buying a slice (which is about as easy as hailing a cab in NYC) I decided that I would make my own. This way I can be assured of the quality of ingredients measure out the calories etc. I am not saying that this pizza is healthy (it's not...not at all), but at least I know whats going on...

So this was inspired by a dish that I had at Pipa, the mushroom coca, which is really a flatbread, but I went with tortilla because they are easy.

So here we go:

Ingredients (these are complete approximations) for 1:

  • 6 slices of fresh mozzarella or 1/2 cup shredded
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms (sliced about 1/8 inch thick)
  • 2 thinly sliced pieces of prochuttio
  • 1/2 large tortilla or 1 small tortilla
  • Olive Oil
  • White truffle oil (completely optionally, but if you haven't noticed I use it A LOT)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Basically you are going to build this like a normal pizza except there is no sauce. Place your sliced mozzarella across the tortilla. Sprinkle mushrooms over top.

Place directly on the over rack for 10 minutes. If you are using fresh mozzarella its wise to place a cookie sheet below the tortilla as the liquid is cooked out of the mozzarella it will start to leak and cause your oven to smoke (not that I would know or anything...).

After about ten minutes, when the cheese has spread out, but isn't quite brown yet, pull out oven rack and place prochuttio on top and place back in oven for about 3-5 more minutes.

Once the cheese is brown and the prochuttio is cooked to your liking (I like mine a little crispy, but still tender) remove from oven.

Drizzle with olive oil and white truffle oil and there you have it, an extremely elegant pizza :)


Steak Sandwich - How to Make the Most out of Leftovers

>> Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yesterday I wrote about the perfect sirloin that I cooked for Jef's birthday and today I want to talk about how to take steak leftovers and make a completely new and delicious meal out of them.

First off, there are a couple of things that I like to keep on deck at all times, one of them being onions. I use onions in almost everything that I cook, so having them on available is a must! Secondly, I am a big fan of dijon mustard. There are so many things that you can make with dijon aside from using just a spread (salad dressings, flavoring in soups etc.) and it's extremely useful to have around. Without further adieu here is the recipe for the best steak sandwich ever!


  • 1/2 onion
  • Dijon mustard
  • left over steak 
  • butter
  • french bread (really any good, crusty bread will do)
  • EV olive oil 
  • cheese (optional and really anything will work)

First off, turn your oven to the broil setting. You would rather have the oven waiting on you, then you waiting on the oven...

Next, in a pan on medium heat, add enough oil to coat the pan. Once hot, add in the onion then salt and pepper. While the onions are cooking take out your steak and cut thin slices (about 1/8 in thick). You want them to be thin enough to chew through in one bite, and not so thick that you pull the entire piece of meat out when you sink your teeth in. 

Slice your bread and then butter the inside. Place inside oven for about 2 minutes, just enough so that the edges are brown and the butter is melted. Remove from oven and spread dijon. 

Add your steak to the pan with the onions, tossing generously (remember we don't want to overcook our perfectly cooked steak, just want to warm up the fat enough so that it will melt in our mouths). I had some left over mushrooms, so I added them in at this step too. 

After about two minutes, remove the mixture from the stove and place inside the bread. Here you can add cheese if you want. 

Return the entire sandwich to the oven for one last warming. After two/three minutes or until cheese is melted remove from oven and ENJOY.

This has long been a favorite dish of mine and it's really making use of left over steak, something I know a lot of people have issues with. What's the most creative way you use left overs? Let me know! 


The PERFECT Sirloin

>> Wednesday, December 9, 2009

As I quickly updated yesterday, Jef's birthday was this past Monday and we had quite a feast! I took several recipes from the cookbook I received for my birthday, Think Like a Chef, by Tom Collichio. My favorite dish of the evening was the main course protein - the thick, tender, cooked to perfect, sirloin.

To start, I went to the butcher at my local grocery store and asked for a 14 ounce sirloin NOT cut. Apparently the purpose of this is to get one loin in which you will cut into two so that the portions are the same. So simple, yet brilliant!

Once home, I let the meat sit out, so that it would come to room temperature (this allows the meat to cook more evenly.) Then I really just followed the instructions! My interpretation is below...


  • 14 oz. Sirloin 
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh pepper
  • 2-4 sprigs of thyme or rosemary
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • Olive oil


First, heat a skillet on medium heat and add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Tom emphasizes that the oil should not sputter, but simply shimmer in the heat. While the pan is heating, pat dry the sirloin (I used a paper towel and was SHOCKED at the excess moisture), then cut the meat into two even portions, add salt and pepper.

Once the oil appears to have a shimmer add the steaks to the sautee pan. Leave the steak down for three (3) minutes then flip to the other side for three (3) minutes. After both sides are seared, then flip the steaks on their outsides for two (2) minutes each. If you are nervous like I was, set a timer!

After these first four initial flips, add the two tablespoons on butter and sprigs of thyme or rosemary (I used thyme and thought it worked out great!) Let the butter cook down for a minute or two creating a brown butter sauce, then repeat the pattern once more (2 minutes on each sides) generously coating with the brown butter sauce.

Remove the steaks and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Bam you are done! You don't need a grill or a grill pan to make a delicious steak. Using simple techniques and ingredients you can create something quite tasty. That Tom is on to something :)

The rest of the meal was accompanied by purple mashed potatoes, mushrooms with thyme, garlic and shallot, french onion soup and of course cake!


Jef's Birthday Dinner

>> Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This previous Monday it was Jef's birthday so I wanted to prepare a special meal. Instead of re-writing it here, I am going to paste a chat that I had with two girlfriends of mine. It pretty much explains everything and yes, this is really what we talked about...

The menu went something like this
French Onion Soup with Emthenal Cheese
Pan seared sirloin
Mashed potatoes
doesn't sound that exciting
but just you wait...

so I got home at 5:30 yesterday
and having already prepped my onions yesterday
I started my soup
so with a couple tablespoons of butter and oil
I let those cook down for an hour
till they were sweet and tender
then I deglazed the onions with some Apple Cider Vinegar
to give it a little tang
after about 3 minutes, i added in the garlic and the beef and 

chicken stock
then let it cook for 30 minutes
I removed it from the stove and set aside
While the onions were reducing
I baked a cake
which isnt that impressive because it was from a box
but just FYI
I did it
now here is where I am going to toot my own culinary whistle
I had the mushrooms, potatoes, and steak all going at the same time
Phase 2:
I got the water going for the mashed potatoes
these arent your average mashed potatoes
I bought purple potatoes from the farmers market
I cleaned and peeling them and added them to boil water
in the meantime I prepped my steak
So while those are boiling
I cut my 16oz. sirloin in 2 (in my cookbook it says that you should ask the butcher for a loin that isnt cut so you get even steaks)
I seasoned with kosher salt and pepper
and then added to a pan with olive oil on medium heat
every 3/2 minutes
I turned sides
even on the side, sides
after each 4 sides had been cooked
I added 2 tbsps of butter and 2 sprigs of thyme
I let the butter reduce till it was brown butter
then after i flipped I spooned the brown butter over each side
I quartered my mushrooms and added them to a pan with olive oil
seasoned with salt and pepper and let cook for 2 minutes
then I removed them from the heat and added in shallot, garlic and thyme
oh and more butter
then I added in the mushrooms again and let them all cook
remember I am still basting my steaks
so its crazy right now
finally my potatoes are done
I strain them and put them back in the hot sauce pan
to get all the extra water out
then put them in the food processor with heavy cream and butter
sea salt and pepper
and i pureed till those suckers were smooth
before I knew it, it was time to put the soup back in the oven to melt the cheese
10 minutes later everything was on the table

If I ever have time to update this blog, I will write out the recipes (they were from my new Tom Collichio Cookbook!) 



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