Sunday, March 1, 2009

Doughnut Plant

I FINALLY got to Doughnut Plant this weekend. I had been meaning to go there for months, but c'est la vie. A short subway ride down to Grand St. (ah hem too short) and I was there. Doughnut Plant is small - really a take out place, with a limited flavors (its not Dunkin Donuts people). However, their flavors are unique. The blackberry jelly doughnut with peanut butter glaze sounded delicious, but it was HUGE and my blood sugar spiked just looking at it. So, I instead went for the meyer lemon doughnut (my companions got the tres leches and blackout doughnuts). The meyer lemon doughnut was slightly lemony, not overpowering, and more importantly, not overly sweet. I tried a piece of the tres leches and was glad I had chosen the meyer lemon doughnut, because I think the tres leches would have been too sugary for me.

If you itching for a doughnut, but can't make it down to Grand Street, Doughnut Plant also sells its doughnuts at other locations, like Dean & Deluca, Zabars, Citarella, Joe's Art of Coffee, Orens Daily Roast, and Agata & Valentina.

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand St.
New York, N.Y. 10002

(212) 505-3700

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Every time I stop by the Asian market near my apartment to pick up a $1.49 bag of edamame, I always walk by these curious little cake like items, called daifuku, stored in the refrigerator section. Finally, last weekend, as I went to get some more edamame (really, I don't eat it THAT often), I decided now was the time to try one. However, the first question was: which one do I pick? The one covered in sesame seeds? The pink one? The green one? The white one with evident beans poking through the surface? After comparing the ingredients to see if there was a difference (no), I went with the green, because when all else fails, always go with the color found in nature.

Daifuku (meaning "great luck") is a Japanese confection consisting of glutionous rice cake (mochi) stuffed with a sweet filling - in my case, sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans. Glutionous rice cake? Beans? Yes, doesn't sound much like a confection to me either, at least in the American sense. But it is oddly good. Not as sweet as American confections typically are, but oddly satisfying - I wasn't running for the vanilla cookies afterward. I just may try the sesame seed kind this weekend.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spotted: Smeggs

Spotted on a McDonald's sign was the following: "Try 2 Smeggs for Only $3"

Just what are Smeggs you ask?

Apparently, its an acronym for "sausage egg mcmuffins."

Um, McDonald's? I don't mean to be picky, but are you aware that the "m" in "mcmuffins" comes after "egg"? So shouldn't it really be a "Seggm" or "Seggmc"?

Its OK, though. Microwaving imitation burgers all day long would make me start thinking up crazy acronyms too (or maybe not).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Turkey Paprikash

Last year, I finally took a trip to eastern Europe - a two week trip to be exact. I traveled to Berlin, then on to Dresden, Vienna, Prague, Krakow, Warsaw and, one of my now favorite cities, Budapest. While in Budapest, I took a dinner cruise down the River Danube. After walking around all day, hopping off-and-on their version of the subway, and drinking in the city, I was pretty excited for this dinner cruise (read: eat and drink until you can't eat and drink no more). I was HUNGRY (no pun intended.) The cruise itself was nice, but unfortunately, it was raining out, so our view of the River Danube and its banks were a little obscured to say the least. But never mind, because the food and drink was plentiful, and at that time, that was all that mattered.

Amongst the stuffed cabbage and other items spread on the table was chicken paprikash, a traditional Hungarian stew. Now I must admit, before Budapest and this river cruise, I didn't even know what paprikash was. The only time I had ever heard of it was while watching "When Harry Met Sally" ("Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash"), and my attempts at searching for it on the Internet were unsuccessful, as I mistakenly left out the "r," spelling it how it sounds when Billy Crystal says the aforementioned line. Whoops.

So imagine my excitement when while flipping through the February edition of Everyday Food, I came across a recipe for turkey paprikash (and noticed that it is spelled with an "r," because the word paprika is in there - duh).

The recipe is very easy to make, as I put it together in no time on a Sunday evening. Given that I am eating for one, I also had plenty of leftovers for lunch the next couple of days. And did I mention it is a healthy version? I didn't use turkey - try finding turkey, or any variety of meat for that matter, in Key Food - and instead used chicken. I also didn't use the full amount of meat the recipe calls for, because the price of chicken was just way to high. And like I said, I am cooking for one.

Turkey Paprikash
Yield: 4 Servings

Course salt and ground pepper
8 ounces whole-wheat egg noodles
1 small boneless, skinless turkey breast half (about 2 pounds), cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsps. sweet paprika
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) whole peeled tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1. Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Then drain. In a bowl, toss turkey with 1 tbsp. paprika and season with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium. Working in batches, brown the turkey (about 3 to 5 minutes). Transfer turkey to a plate. Then add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring, until tender (about 4 to 6 minutes).

2. Return turkey to skillet (along with any juices) and add tomatoes with their juices, 1 tbsp. paprika, and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until turkey is opaque throughout (about 2 to 4 minutes).

3. Remove from heat, and stir in sour cream; season with salt and pepper. Serve paprikash over noodles.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Butter Lane Cupcakes

Well, its been a while. Life gets in the way, and before you know it, almost two months has gone by. But I MUST tell you about my new favorite little place. Tucked away on the north side of 7th Street in between Avenue A and First, is a little cupcake place called Butter Lane. Not only is it the cutest little store (think French and cheery), but they sell the most delicious cupcakes. The focus at Butter Lane is on pure ingredients and locally sourced dairy to make an exceptional cupcake. And an exceptional cupcake is what they make. The cupcakes aren't fancy - you won't find giant cupcakes covered in milky ways here - but they are delicious nonetheless.

I ordered the vanilla french buttercream cupcake and since they did not have any already made, the women frosted my cupcake right there in front of me. The cupcake itself was the perfect consistency with a slightly crunchy top, while the frosting wasn't overly sweet. And at $2.75, the cupcake did not break the bank.

Butter Lane
123 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 677-2880

Monday, December 15, 2008

Raffetto's Pumpkin Ravioli with Homemade Tomato Sauce

I don't know about you, but I am tired of Manhattan being overrun by chains. How many many banks, drug stores and frozen yogurt places does one borough need?

That is why I love Raffetto's on West Houston Street. In business since 1906, Raffetto's makes fresh pasta and ravioli right on the premises. While pasta and ravioli are their specialty, Raffetto's also sells homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and other Italian products. Given the neighborhood, and the fact that it is Manhattan, you would think fresh pasta and ravioli would be expensive. But its not. Raffetto's is completely reasonable.

The other day I stopped by and picked up some of their pumpkin ravioli. The combination of pumpkin with a hint of nutmeg and other spices, topped with made-myself tomato sauce was delicious.

Homemade tomato sauce

Olive oil, one turn of the pan
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic
2 28 oz cans of whole, plum tomatoes
Italian seasoning, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Open cans of tomatoes and separate tomatoes from the juice. Reserve the juice. Crush each tomato by gently squeezing them with your hand, breaking them into pieces. If you like a chunkier sauce, then keep the tomato pieces bigger. Put the tomatoes to the side.

Heat oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan. Add garlic and onion. Cook until onions are soft. Add tomato juice and cook for two minutes. Then add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Simmer for half-an-hour, and then serve. Freeze any left over sauce in the freezer for future use.

144 W Houston St
New York, NY 10012-2546
(212) 777-1261

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cranberries, oh my

I know I am little late with the cranberries, as Thanksgiving as come and gone. But bear with me, because it has been crazy at work, and by the time I get home at night, all I want to do is fall into bed.

This Thanksgiving was the first Thanksgiving at my apartment, and while I didn't make the turkey (a broken oven, which has now been replaced by a brand spanking new one), I did make some sides. And the one I absolutely insisted on making was cranberry sauce. Let me tell you why.

I HATE canned jellied cranberry sauce. Each Thanksgiving, its slid out of its metal container, placed in a bowl and then sliced up like a roll of Pillsbury cookie dough. It just looks so manufactured. And who wants to eat essentially cranberry jello on their turkey? Not me. So this year I made real cranberry sauce, and the canned kind was banned from setting its little jelly foot in my apartment.

And it is was ridiculously easy. Embarrassingly easy. And I made it the night before. So the question remains: why do people eat canned cranberry sauce then?

Basic Cranberry Sauce
(from Everyday Food)
Yield: 2 cups

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 bag (12 oz.) cranberries, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. grated lemon zest and 1 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cranberries to a bowl and let them cool to room temperature. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week.