Thursday, December 30, 2010

Krispy Kale

I have no love for kale. Well, let me rephrase that. I HAD no love for kale. Bitter and chewy, the first time I cooked it at home, it tasted like rubbery, scratchy seaweed. (Yuck!!) However, I have recently learned to turn this hardy green from yuck to yum- and even Ryan likes it! I wouldn't bother so hard, but in winter, it is in all of our CSA boxes, and one of the few greens at the markets, so Kale, we're all yours.

Cut the leaves from the stems and discard the stems.
Rinse well under water to get rid of any sand, and do NOT dry. Let the water drops stay- this will help with the cooking and the krisping.
In a pan, pour in a bit of olive oil, and dice up a clove of garlic. Once the garlic sweats into the oil, add in the kale, sprinkle with sea salt, and cook down. Once Kale begins to wilt, splash with a capful or two of vinegar- red wine, cider, or balsamic will all work well- and season with pepper. Turn up the heat, and take another, smaller pan, and use it to crush the leaves. Gather them all under the bottom of the pan, and press down so leaves start to crisp. Do this until leaves brown a bit on end and reach desired "krispy" consistency!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tea @ the Plaza

What better way to celebrate the holidays than with the perfect NYC afternoon? And what better way to start off a holiday tour than with tea at the historic Plaza Hotel?

It might sound like a silly excuse to overpay for finger food- but Ryan and I- about once a year- really enjoy it. Not to mention how beautiful the classic tea rooms look!!
We started off with teas and champagnes. The tea- we sampled afternoon blends, and even some decaff- and everybody really enjoyed it. I didn't even bother with cream and sugar!

Our plates arrived, and between all of us, we tried three different menus: The classic, The New York, and a special Vegetarian tower for me.

Ryan's classic included a smoked salmon on wheat toast, which he liked, a cold lobster salad with caviar, which was "great- very delicate and yet decadent at the same time". The roast beef was his least favorite, not rare enough for his taste.

The New York plates included several similar sandwiches, but also had a roquefort cheese and grape, and a prosciutto, mozzarella and pesto.

My vegetarian tower had an amazing cucumber sandwich- a tea time classic, but here, more delicate, with extremely thin slices of cucumber and just a bit of cream cheese. A mozzarella and pesto sandwich was light and delicious, and a truffled egg salad was to die for. (Is there anything with truffle that is not??!)

The scones were lemony and raisiny and warm and soft.

But the best part, of course, is the desserts- mini black and white cookies, cheese cake, fruit tarts, hazlenut napoleons- every last one delicious!

After our tea, we headed to Radio City to see the Rockettes, and then to the Tree at Rock Center.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The perfect snack

Mesclun greens with a lemony-olive oil dressing, marinated olives, slices of a sharp gruyere, a piece of toasted french bread with garlic buttter.... and a glass of white wine.

No, it's not wintery. But with all the soups and chili's and baked sweet potatoes, this super light and refreshing meal seemed just right.

Olive Oil- go with the good stuff

Garlic butter:
Boil 8 slivered cloves of garlic in water. In room temperature butter, mix garlic in and mash well. Sprinkle with sea salt, refrigerate to harden up.