Thursday, November 29, 2012

casa b

I found myself in Union Square again this week, and I brought along my friends Jen & Rona for some tasty Latin-American tapas. Casa B is the culinary creation of architects Alberto Cabré, from Puerto Rico, and Angelina Jockovich from Colombia. Architects turned caterers turned restauranteurs...the combination somehow works. The clean but warm environment is separated with completely different feelings upstairs and down. Upstairs is white, clean, calm, quiet...downstairs has the open-kitchen, the quaint bar area, and the green wall. Yeah, you bet we went downstairs.

We walked down the white stairs, past the spoons, past the kitchen, and sat in front of the green wall, surrounded by wine bottles and bubble lights.

We dove right in with our mini silverware....questioning if we would actually use these (we did) while we looked over the extensive drink list, a whole packet of drinks!

Next was deciding on the long and descriptive food menu, filled with tapas, pinchos, veggie options, and specials. After agreeing on sharing handful(s) of food, we ordered & snacked on plantain chips with asparagus dip. 


First were the crispy avocado rolls with a prune & cilantro sauce...

Followed by my favorite dish of the night, the organic vegetarian-fed beef tenderloin with sautéed onions, crispy shallots + grandma’s ketchup. Two bites...and tastes like a whole tenderloin dinner exploded in your mouth...aaaamazing. I will go back, just for multiple orders of this dish.


Next we snacked on the yucca fries, Spanish paprika sauce + fresh parsley. The Spanish paprika sauce had such an intense smoky almost-spicy flavor.

While enjoying our fries, we couldn't help but notice the sweetheart couch-chairs...still undecided how I feel about these...

Our next course was the yucca stuffed shrimp wrapped in bacon with a cilantro ginger dipping sauce: my second favorite...but I do love bacon.

The Puerto Rican pot roast, yucca gnocchi on a sage brown butter sauce was next...

...and then the massive special of deconstructed seafood stew with calamari, scallops, and prawns. Tasty...but quite difficult to each, especially difficult to share.

Our final course was the stuffed fried oysters with sweet plantain corn relish & a red pepper aioli sauce, served on a bed of sea salt.


We were too stuffed to even look at a dessert menu, so we used this super neat little gadget where we could rate our courses, calculate our own bill and how to split it, and even add the tip & swipe our own cards before signing with our fingers and being all set! 

If you like to share, and you like ordering a bunch of food, you will definitely be a fan. If you go, please order the beef tenderloin as you will not regret it!

  Casa B on Urbanspoon
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

pecan pie balls

I love pecan pie...but we didn't have any for Thanksgiving! It appears as though people either have a love-it-or-hate-it relationship with pecan pie, but believe you me, I sure do love it! My laziness again ruled my cooking: I didn't have any pre-made dough, and it took too long in my mind to make I skipped the crust all together and made some cute little pecan pie balls with just the pecan pie filling. The end result may be even better than a whole pecan pie...light but a punch of flavor, it is a perfect little dessert!

Ingredients (for 24 mini balls):
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tbs white sugar
1/4 cup and 2 tbs butter, melted
1 1/2 eggs
2 1/4 tsp flour
2 1/4 tsp nonfat milk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans  

1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until frothy & mix in the melted butter.


2. Stir in the brown sugar, white sugar & flour. Stir to mix. Add vanilla, milk, and pecans. Mix thoroughly.

3. Lightly grease mini muffin tin. Place 1 tbs mixture into each hole. Place in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

4. Lower oven to 350 for 10 more minutes, or until crackly-brown on the top and crispy to the touch.

5. Let cool on wire rack & enjoy! I'm sure they're also delicious crumbled over vanilla bean ice cream....

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Monday, November 26, 2012

shrimp fra diavolo

In any Italian restaurant, if I see shrimp fra diavolo listed on the menu, I am forced to order it...if I don't, I'll regret it hands down every time. Some places can get fancy with their fra diavolo, adding lobster or scallops or other bits of seafood protein, but I'm easy with fra diavolo: all I really need are some flavor-chameleonizing shrimp. A super quick, easy, healthy, spicy recipe, this shrimp frav diavolo recipe can be whipped up in a mere 15 minutes. The spice adds a nice kick to your metabolism while the shrimp will provide the protein to fill you up at the same time.

Ingredients (for two servings):
1 lb deveined tail-on shrimp
1 lemon
3 tbs olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs crushed red pepper
1 dried chipotle pepper, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 lb whole-wheat spaghetti
*Double sauce ingredients if you would like more of a sauce*

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Toss shrimp in a small bowl to coat with juice of 1 lemon & a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Let sit aside to fully thaw and marinate.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add sliced onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

3. Once onions are translucent (about 6 minutes), add crushed tomatoes, white wine, water, garlic, chipotle pepper, along with herbs & spices. Stir and let simmer to thicken about 10 minutes. (Feel free to add as much kick as you want, but be can't come back from too many red pepper flakes easily!) 

4. At this point, pop shrimp into preheated oven on a tin-foiled baking sheet for 8 minutes. Also bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1/3 cup of starchy pasta-water when straining pasta.

5. Once the sauce has thickened, add the cooked shrimp to the skillet and stir to meld flavors for 2 minutes.

6. Add reserved pasta-water to the skillet, along with the strained pasta. Toss to coat & serve immediately.
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

simple weekend recap: edition 14

This holiday week was spent in the country, filled with food & family time.

The food festivities began early with a spinach & turkey sausage pie...
 ...and then of course Thanksgiving & cinnamon buns. The day after
 Thanksgiving started with a hike with the doggies...


...before heading home past one of my favorite houses, 
to fall into bed and nap for the rest of the day.


The day-after Thanksgiving dinner was at one of my favorite places in New York, The American Hotel in Sharon Springs. I had the special haddock with
 deviled lobster, and took a special lobster chowder for lunch the next day.

After lunch, T, Erin & I headed home to reunite Erin with Moose and 
enjoy a bottle of sparkling wine by the first fire of the season...

while I made shrimp fra diavolo as a light & spicy dinner to balance 
out the heavy meals we had all week. (Recipe tomorrow)


 T leaves again tomorrow for Switzerland for the week, so I will have 
plenty of time to catch up with old friends that are visiting and 
try a few new places...before he returns with more Swiss chocolate!
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