Tuesday, July 10, 2007

food stuffs

While I was in Israel, I finished another of Anthony Bourdain's books, which I devoured with roaring speed. This one was called 'The Nasty Bits'. It's a collection of useable scraps of writing about food, cooking, and celebrity chefdom. I've been a self-anointed foodie for quite some time now, but my ongoing relationship with Bourdain seems to perpetuate my obsession with cooking and good food. Although I subconciously think a lot about food, I rarely take the initiative to write about it. All that is about to change. Here are some recent goings-on in my life in the sphere of food:

1. NYC Restaurant Week is fast approaching. Go here to find out more about the participation restaurants. The way it works is these top restaurants offer prix-fix lunch and/or dinner menus for an extremly affordable price ($24.07 or $35, respectively.) So far, I have reservations at craftbar, Gordon Ramsey's Maze, and Nobu (to satisfy my boyfriend's sushi fix). I'm hungry already just thinking about it. My biggest regret is that we couldn't get reservations to Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern. However, I did recently stumble upon this craigslist ad saying that they're looking for servers, so maybe that's my in. At least they offer a 401K as opposed to my current "under the table" work.

2. I just discovered a new restaurant in my area and was shocked that I hadn't seen it earlier. Located on 11th St. and Ave. A, Westville East is a refreshing addition to a neighborhood crowded with popular, but mediocre restaurants. They offer a menu of traditional American comfort food with a savvy twist, plus a good-looking market menu of fresh veggie side dishes. The restaurant is also very white and bright--it almost has this nice, pastoral feel to it. When I went for brunch the other day, I had a blended mint lemonade which was like an awesomely green and refreshing smoothie, and sunny-side eggs with asparagus and parmigiano (with a little potato mash and french baguette on the side!) OK--this is getting ridiculous, but seriously go there. It's presence is now making me reconsider my upcoming move off of Avenue A.

3. In the last issue of Monocle, I found an amazing recipe from a middle-class Italian restaurant in Brazil, called Cantina Jacobina. The recipe is for gnocchi all'amatriciana. I learned to make amatriciana sauce a few years ago--its basically a tomato-based sauce with bacon or pancetta, onions, and pepperoncino, or red pepper flakes. So, here is the recipe I found in Monocle...maybe soon I'll post my own recipe for my own similar dish.

3 tbs olive oil
100 g pancetta, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 tsp dried crushed pepperoncino
1 finely chopped onion
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
450 g cherry tomatos, chopped
350 g fresh gnocchi
3/4 cup fresh pecorino romano

Fry the pancetta until crisp, then set adise. Add oil, garlic, and pepperoncino to the pan, fry until it darkens. Then add onions, fry until they are transcluscent. Add pancetta and fry until the fat drains. Stir in vinegar and add tomatoes, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in separate pot with a pinch of salt for flavor. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. When gnocchi are ready, toss with sauce and cheese. Add a little cooking liquid if it is dry. Transfer to a bowl and serve with some pancetta sprinkled on top.

This is the photo from Monocle that ran with the recipe:
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Now I'm going to go eat some of my new Trader Joe's groceries!

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