Sunday, October 11, 2009

Le Veau D'or & Flute

To celebrate my trip home to NYC, Ry and I went to a New York Institution- Le Veau D'or. Started in 1937 and still open, and with original decor, it is like walking onto a movie set. The original owner is still alive and greets you at the door dressed in an impeccable suit and waist coat. His daughter now does the majority of hostessing, and with only 14 tables, every diner receives some personal attention.

As for the wine list, classically french with one bottle representing each region, with a slight emphasis on Bordeaux. We ordered the chateauneuf-du-pape, from the Rhone. I had the endive salad and ryan had the mussels as an appetizer, and then had the steak au poive and rack of lamb for our entrees. The lamb is carved tableside, a great touch, and the food is classic. Recently featured thanks to Julie and Julia, this restaurant is one of few where traditional preparations and sauces are proudly on display. There is nothing nouveau happening here, and that was just fine! I loved the au poive, which was spicy but not biting, and the frites were skinny and delicious. Ryan noted the traditional preparation of the lamb, which came quite rare, so if you prefer your meet cooked, order it medium for sure.

For dessert, we tried the peach melba and the "floating island". Really light, and really tasty. An egg meringue in a vanilla cream with toasted almonds, I really enjoyed every bite.

Following dinner we headed downtown to "flute", New York's champagne bar.

Loved the scene, dark and with plenty of tables for two. We tried two different champagne tasting flights, and had several glasses to boot. My only drawback was that drinks here cost as much as dinner. Definitely a great "classic" new york date!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Viennese Risotto"

So my friend Barbara taught me how to make a yummy risotto this past spring while I was visiting Vienna. So there is nothing inherently Austrian about these flavors, but memories of where I learned to make them, hence the title. What you put in the risotto can vary greatly, but how you make it is key. Risotto is a cooking process, and if not followed, you just have a rice dish instead, lol.

Asparagus (peas, celery, carrot, whatever veggies are on hand!)
white or red onion
1/4 stick butter (or olive oil)
white wine
Feta cheese, crumbled
pecroino or parmesan, grated
1-2 cups arborio rice
2-3 cups chicken stock (2 cubes bouillon and 2 cups boiling water)
sprinkle of lemon
italian seasoning (basil, thyme, marjoram)
salt & pepper

1. Brown the onion and garlic in the butter over med/low heat. Add in the rice, cook for a few minutes in the butter, and then add in some white wine. Allow the rice to absorb all the wine.

2. Start to slowly mix in the boiling chicken stock. As the stock is absorbed, continuously stir the rice, making sure to get to the bottom of the pan.

2. Continue adding in stock, along with vegetables and seasonings. Once all the stock is absorbed, mix in a generous portion of feta cheese/ pecorino/parmesan. Taste risotto, you want the rice al dente, but not crispy, and creamy, but not mushy. Don't stop stirring, and do not allow rice to stick and burn on bottom of pan. More wine or stock can be added if needed to expand the rice. If not creamy enough, more feta can be added. A sprinkle of fresh lemon can also add a nice flavor.

3. Serve! I sometimes like to add in some chicken as well, or with ham on the side.