Friday, July 29, 2011

Onion Jam

Yes, you read right. Onion. Jam. If you like carmelized onions, then this recipe is for you. Basically taking carmelization a little further and deeper, and you come upon this deliciousness. I cannot take credit for finding this fabulous treat myself- as always, the fabulous Ronna Welsh of Purple Kale Kitchenworks deserves all the credit.

Try it. Then put it on toast. Then blend it in soup. Then put it on sandwiches. Then mix it in brown rice. Try it on a pizza with goat cheese, zucchini slices, and arugula.

The recipe:
a bag of onions
balsamic vinegar
vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 stick of butter

Cut up the onions into thin strips. Add the butter to the pan over very low heat. Allow to melt and coat the pan. Super slowly cook the onions "sweat", being careful to never allow them to burn. Frequently make sure to stir them so they do not stick. When you see that they are starting to turn translucent and creamy, you know you are headed the right direction. Slow cook them like this for as long as you can take it- I usually put it on while making other things and try to go at least 40 minutes. Once they start to get a slight color to them, splash with balsamic vinegar and a little stock, and allow to simmer. Taste and flavor with salt. Use the sugar if you find they are not quite sweet enough or if they are not getting a nice brown color.

Trust me, this is the stuff gourmet dreams are made of!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


You can mix and match your own ingredients, but I always like to start my toasts- my take on bruschetta- with a garlic butter and onion jam. However, there are many ways to make these little open-faced bites, I've made a few suggestions below, but I'm sure you'll come up with your own!!

Crispy french or italian bread, such as a baguette, cut into thin round slices
olive oil or butter of choice (See garlic butter, below)
gruyere cheese (strong and melts really fabulously) (can also use goat, cheddar, etc)
roasted squash
roast or fresh red pepper
carmelized onion (see next post!)
slices of apple
cappicola or other high-quality ham

Combo A: garlic butter, onion jam, tomato, arugula, and gruyere cheese
Combo B: garlic butter, onion jam, apple, arugula, cheddar
Combo C: garlic butter, onion jam, roasted squash, gruyere
Combo D: Garlic butter, cappicola, gruyere

Stack the ingredients on the toast, placing the cheese on top. Heat oven to broil, and cook about 3 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Garlic butter: cut 8 cloves of garlic into slivers. Boil for about 10 minutes, and remove from water with slotted spoon. Mash with fork into fine pieces. Combine with a stick of butter at room temperature, add a pinch of sea salt, and return to refrigerator. Smear on everything. Mix in mashed potatoes. Use it to finish off sides of cooked carrots or green beans. Enjoy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bars of the Burg: 2011 Edition

One less hot and more lovely summer evening, not so long ago, Ry and I found ourselves on a bit of an impromptu bar crawl in our beloved Williamsburg. Since, we have checked out several other new places as well, and they all seem to follow one of two uber popular trends: beer hall or old-timey cocktail mixology. It's made for some good drinking!

Maison Premiere

This cocktail and raw bar is by far the most visually stunning of them all- with a backyard that looks like a total New Orleans French Quarter fantasy! We sat in the front bar, where many mixologists ran around, crafting drinks that often took 5 minutes or more to make. All were southern-inspired gems, such as a champagne julep, served in the silver cup with hand stacked sno-cone like ice cubes, and with fresh mint. Ryan had a Belfour's Hurricane, which looked a bit girly- it was a bit pink- but was by no means light in the punch. Made with Four Roses Bourbon, apple brandy, aperol, and strawberries, Ryan declared it delicious.


A little further south, Dram is another bar specializing in classy spirits, but this time with the added fun of ordering a "Bartender's Choice" from the menu for $11. I asked for a champagne-based drink, and received a super refreshing champagne, gin, cucumber, and mint concoction. Ryan tried a Mai Tai, and our friends ordered the drink pictured above, which in addition to tasting great, was really beautiful!

The Post Office

This bar has the greatest chairs, situated next to adorable picture windows that open on pleasant sunny days. The bar reminds me of a man's man's bachelor pad, with lots of dark wood and a few touches of antler here and there. The drink menu specializes in whisky and bourbon, yet surprises with a wine menu that is really wonderful (One of my favorite glasses of alberino!) The food menu- snacky- but with delicious things (so says Ryan)- such as a spicy pork taco that was devoured in seconds. I sampled a pickle platter that must have had 10 different vegetables on it and all were lovely to pair with the white wine. We've already been there twice, and will definitely be back again and again!

Berry Park

Just another beer house, but not: a fabulous roof affords amazing views of manhattan, a caesar salad comes with a surprisingly tasty house-made lemon caesar dressing, and best of all: the huckleberry lemonades! Served in mason jars and made with a 44 huckleberry vodka and a splash of citrus, they are not too sweet, and just strong enough. Delicious!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Picnic Potato Salad

1 bag baby red potatoes
handful of cilantro
1/4 cup diced red onion
dollop of dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine or rice wine vinegar
pepper to taste
green or yellow string beans (optional)
cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Boil the potatoes and allow to cool well before making the salad. Dice the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Combine the cherry tomatoes, green beans, cilantro, and onion. Pour on the vinegar, and then add in the mayonnaise to taste- I usually put in about 3 tablespoons, but it fluctuates. Finally, a bit of dijon. Allow to sit in the fridge for several hours, or overnight, and taste and adjust flavors as needed prior to serving!! It really changes the longer it sits- the acid will begin to break down the potato, and it is delicious!!!