Tuesday, October 23, 2012


This article immediately caught my attention, and judging from its place at the top of the "most emailed" list, it seems it caught many other people's attention as well. I need to share.

Because Peanut Butter and Pickle sandwiches exist.

I definitely have had bacon parties before, constructing the ubiquitous Elvis as part of the fun. But now it seems it's time for a Peanut Butter party.

(I've had pickle parties before too!)

I'm going to make a Peanut Butter Party. You can be sure of it. I'll announce it too. And you can RSVP to it. And bring a friend.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bytes and Sites

First, Halloween is closing in on us, and with it, tons of candy. Trust me, even adults are getting in on the candy. No one is safe. We may not be eating a pillowcase full, but we're going to be eating some.

I for one, will not be eating candy corn. And apparently neither is this guy:

Way to go dude. I would have written that article for bon appetit years ago. Also your pictures make me gag.

Also, bon appetit wins a lot of awards from me today because of their Snoop Dogg (double g!) Hot Pocket Video Repost.

This video is amazing, especially if you remember the original with Pharrell. This has the added bonus of Andy Milonakis. I can't believe he's still alive.

"I gotta heat it up to eat it up," says Snoop.

Thank you bon appetit for the junk food.

The Times today (ny) had two great articles in the Dining & Wine section. It comes out every Wednesday, but a lot of times they release some articles a day or so early on their website. So this first one I didn't catch earlier in the week, which I guess makes it more fun to open the paper come Wednesday.

The Snail Wrangler This lady is a boss. She also loves snails. I don't blame her. I love snails too, just not the way she does. You can tell she's about one step away from making snail porn. I would love to eat some of her snails and snail caviar, but I think it's highly unlikely.

Burmese Cooking (Currently Myanmar) has flavor profiles that are very familiar for me. After I read this article early yesterday morning, it was nice to see it so prominently displayed today.

A Burmese friend of mine, and culinary companion, gives me some pointers and suggestions when I want to make Burmese food. 
Most recently she said, "You already got everything but try to add some greens. A ton of fish sauce ruin salad."
And this is why I love her.

Also, I want the book that this lady wrote called Japanese Farm Food.

Check out her blog for some great pictures and a look into what you might expect from her book (or living in Japan for that matter)

For those of you that need a little food porn in your life, I give you Saveur's prime article for today:

Poutine That picture is slutty.

This should keep you busy for an hour.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fennel Haters Need Not Apply

Under-appreciated by licorice haters everywhere, fennel gets a bad rep.  It's an incredibly versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, roasted, braised, grilled, sauteed, stewed - the list goes on.

Seriously, the raw bulb is crunchy and slightly spiced, perfect for fall salads with apples and walnuts or any combination of fruit, nut, vegetable. They'll be a few salad suggestions to follow.

Roasted fennel takes on a sweetness that cuts the licorice edge that so many haters hate on.

In fact, I roasted some fennel and cipollini onions with coriander and lemon. Here is a picture. I'll eat it with grilled pork chops, or leftover roast lamb, or oily, full-flavored fish. Or whatever, it's awesome, you get the point right? (Actually I'm having it with merguez sausage, dbj.)

I've enjoyed the compilation posts thus far (blueberry, tomato) and I think I'll continue with another fantastic ingredient, and one that seldom gets the recognition it deserves.


First up, soups and salads, appetizers and such.

Fennel Apple Spritzer
 - Because we're adults and this doesn't have to be nonalcoholic. I suggest clear Rum, but by all means experiment. Applejack, whiskey, tequila?

Carrot and Fennel Soup - A great intro for those that can't take the full fennel plunge. The sweetness of the carrots helps curb the fennel's bite.

Pickled Fennel
 - Because it wouldn't be my blog unless something was pickled

Quinoa, Fennel, Pomegranate salad - This is for the ladies (come on, quinoa/pomegranate) and the vegans, and the people that make a shitload of one thing and eat it for lunch for a week and want others to be jealous. Lunch people should poach chicken or fry sausage patties in addition.

Fennel, Sunchoke, Apple salad - Wait, salad? Oh yeah, throw some pork on this, and serve it at a fancy dinner party. People won't believe that you know what sunchokes are. (Oh you don't? Here's some info)

Alright, so you've met my friend fennel, and you're ready to invite him to some parties. Cause, you know, he's such a cool guy.

Corn and Fennel Ragu - Comfort food style, you know. Just the word Ragu sounds good. Serve this with hot smoked salmon (aka kippered) and maybe some polenta cakes.

Cornish Game Hens
 - Everybody loves little chickens. Also Meyer lemons which have just come into season make this especially good.

Roasted Squash and Fennel - Sometimes you need to know the basics, this will help you build the dishes that will wow yourself and those lucky enough to join you. And because you want to make an awesome side dish for your lamb, or those frisky vegetarians that are making baked artichokes.

Flavorful Tomato sauce - This is for fun pasta shapes like fusilli, orrechiette, and farfalle. Kid shapes and grown-up sauce.

Alright so you wanna get real on these people. You want to wow them in ways that they didn't even know were possible.

Monkfish with Fennel and Garlic - Because Monkfish is delicious and seldom used by home cooks. Don't be afraid. Embrace.

Octopus with fennel - Fennel and seafood pair so wonderfully, and nobody ever cooks octopus. This will make you feel sophisticated and Mediterranean. Your friends will ask if you learned this in Europe, and you can lie about visiting Crete. Only for the truly badass.

Grilled Fresh Sardines with Fennel and Preserved Lemon - Yeah that's right. You're probably already salivating.

Anyone still have room for dessert?

Apple and Caramelized Fennel Tart - It's a perfect fall/winter dessert.

Bonus Recipe!

Roasted Fennel with Cipollini onions.

One Large fennel bulb
about six cipollini onions
1 tsp. coriander seeds
juice of 1/2 a lemon
zest from 1/2 a lemon
olive oil (to coat)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Cut the fennel in half vertically. Take out most of the core. Cut into strips, try and keep them attached, you want them to be relatively thick. Save some fronds for garnish.

Cut the cipollini's in half so that each half has a little bit of the root end. Take off the skin, but leave the root so that they stay connected.

Toss fennel, onions, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and coriander together until everything is coated.

Place on a foil lined cookie sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes or until soft and colorful.
Garnish with zest and reserved fronds.

Serve with pork chops or oily fish (mackerel, sardines, etc.)

Later Haters!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Himalayan High's

Top Cafe Tibet sits tucked away between a train station and a bodega in the heart of Brooklyn.

Even though it is less that one block from my house and next to my train station, it still feels like a remote location, channeling the faraway, impossibly high Himalayas.

But on a drab rainy day, you'll want to brave the elements to find this homey, tiny restaurant.

Make the trek and you'll be rewarded with foods that seem both familiar and exotic. Something hauntingly intimate about this small restaurant and it's delicious foods will keep you coming back.

Tapping into the comfort receptors in your brain, their Tsam-Thuk soup will bring you back to life and make you sleepy. One bowl induces groans of pleasure and nap-time related drowsiness .

 Tsam-Thuk is a Tibetan soup that uses roasted barely, or Tsampa, to thicken the broth and provide a roasted, earthy flavor that embraces your taste buds, giving them a hug and telling you everything is going to be okay. It's laced with shredded carrots and daikon, sprinkled with fresh spinach. Tiny "shredded" beef cubes are studded throughout the ridiculously silky broth if you order the meat version. The soup is also available without meat for a vegan experience.

It's got a I've-been-eating-this-my-whole-life feel to it that is very soul-soothing.

I imagine the most authentic would be yak meat, but that may be one thing Brooklyn does not have. Or maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

Soup is certainly not all they do here. They've got plenty of Tibetan specialties and are well known for their momo's, or Tibetan dumplings.

I managed to grab a side of Chana-Khatsa; mixed chickpeas with ginger, garlic, lemon and hot sauce. Sprinkled with cilantro. Everything should be sprinkled with cilantro. All the time.

This side is delicious in it's own right, but for me, was even better as an addition to my soup! Every few bites I dropped a few tiny chickpeas into the rich broth, adding just a hint of the creamy hot sauce each time. The hot sauce was incredibly thick, but not overly spicy. It had just enough kick to let you know it was there. It also looks like melted Velveta.

Let Top Cafe Tibet be your Sherpa into the culinary Himalayas.