Friday, September 28, 2007

The Ugly Duckling: Cherry Pie

Pies, like everything, are not always perfect.

On the road to the "Baking Mecca" I seek, I understand that there will be some failures that teach me what not to do.

Now, before you think: "Holy lord, this girl has lost it and is now worshipping a Pie God." I'll cut to the chase.

This pie kinda sucked.
It looked bad.
The filling wasn't awful, but, it was pretty bland.
The crust, excellent.
But, overall, dissapointing.

After the initial upset of having an ugly, not particularly tasty pie, I realized:
The Recipe Sucked.

As a cook who hasn't quite mastered the skill of: Recipes by Osmosis, I have to rely on an actual, phsyical recipe.
I use sources that are reliable (or at least have enough good reviews that I feel confident in making/baking it).

This recipe reminded me that some recipes are flawed.
I found it a little strange that the filling ingredients were only: Cherries, sugar, and cornstarch.
But, because it was a recipe from a reliable source, I didn't question it. I followed it blindly, ignoring my pie instincts.

Lesson learned.
I may have 3/4 of an ugly-ass pie in my fridge, but, the lesson couldn't have been sweeter:
Sometimes it's not you, it's a shit-ass muthafucka of a recipe.

Have a great weekend Nesters...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sobriety Checkpoint: The Diamond

A Diamond in the rough indeed.

This is my new favorite place.
addROC and I have been riding our bicycles over to this spot in good ol' Greenpoint for a few weeks now and it seems that I just can't get enough!

This bar is strictly wine and beer. But, don't write it off.
The beer selection is absolutely divine. With lesser known taps and bottles that are ever changing and soooo delicious.

My new favorite beer is one of their bottled selections: ALBA Scots Pine Ale. It's full bodied, and delicious! And addROC noted that it has the slight aroma and flavor of Twizzlers©!
So different. So good.

Here are some beers that owners Dave and Alex expect to be pouring this season:
Victory Uncle Teddy Bitter
Bluepoint Hoptical Illusion I.P.A.
Defiant Farmhouse Ale
Avery Ellie's Brown
Einbecker Schwartzbier
Abbaye des Rocs Triple Imperiale
Schneider Weisse
Reissdorf Koelsch
Ichtegems Grand Cru
Wintercoat Double Hop
Schneider Wiesen Edel Weisse.

If you're looking to hang out in the sun for what good weather we have left, they have a lovely outdoor area equipped with picnic tables.
And inside they've got a pimpin' shuffleboard. In fact, they're having a shuffleboard tournament this coming Sunday, September 30th.

If you're a local, you'd be a fool not to stop by.
If you're not from the area, I think you may find it's worth the trip!

So, from me to you, cheers...maybe I'll see you there!

The Diamond
43 Franklin St., Brooklyn, NY 11222
nr. Calyer St.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

American Pie Apparel?

Fall Fashions for the Ultimate Nester:

That's why we love pot holders!

I think that's obvious.
The better question is: What kind?

I want to know how Steak and Kidney Pie ended up with the biggest slice.

Need I explicate?
I think not.

Purchase these shirts at:
Except the erroneous "Pie Chart" shirt, which you can find at:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

An American Classic

Here she is. The latest in my pie adventures.

Good Ol' Apple Pie. Exquisitely simple. Extremely delicious.

Now that I've earned my "dough chops," so-to-speak, pie has become a whole new ball game.

The obnoxious child in me wants to get decorative and crazy.
But, something in my inner being told me to start where everything starts, at the beginning.

And, just like A starts the alphabet, so Apple starts the pie list in the sky.

So, I eventually told my overzealous alter-ego to calm the fuck down, and I went out and got some Granny Smiths and Fujis. Mixed them with some lemon zest, cinnamon, allspice, sugar, flour, and threw them into this bad-boy.


Simplicity. It's always a good place to start.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Few of Our Favorite Things

1. Pastry Blender
While rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens are certainly cute and cliche, they aren't very functional in the kitchen.

So naturally, being that we spend a goodly amount of time, frolicking to and fro across our linoueum floor, we have come to love certain items more than others.

Above, The Pastry Blender, is the secret to pie dough. Just wonderful.
I was telling addROC, I'm always skeptical of recipes, especially baking recipes, that call for the use of a food processor.

Ummm...The master bakers of the universe, let me tell you, have been long in the ground. They were in the ground way before electricity, and while there are certain things I'll allow for, like, whipping my cream with the use of a mixer, making dough, should be done by hand. Call me old fashioned.

But, I was having some major issues perfecting that flaky crust.
Until the pastry blender.
This little tool gets in where your fingers can't, and isn't going to warm up your butter like your fingers will. Since incorporating this little tool into my routine, dough perfection!
So obvious, so cheap. Go get one.

2. Melamine Bowls

addROC's very awesome sister, who's obviously born of the same great cooking stock as her brother, got addROC these little bowls for Christmas.
Our set didn't come with the spatulas, but, we don't care! These little bowls are frikkin' awesome.
They're great for preping, storing, or when you just want a lil' bit of sumpin' sumpin', like salsa.
They're plastic, so, I can drop them (and have!) anytime, anywhere. Plus, they're a breeze to wash. We use them so much that we really should get another set, they're always in use!

3. The Microplane

You know the story...
A carpentry tool found by a chef. Said Chef decided that this little tool was best thing ever...
And, voila! Suddenly the Microplane is hot shit.
Well, what can we say? A kitchen shouldn't be without one. And ours certainly isn't.

We're zesting lemons, limes, grating garlic, maybe we'll grate our own spices someday, who knows?

I do know this, we love our Microplane! It's durable, easy to clean, and it's a great space saver. And, since it wasn't really intended for food, if you can think it up, you can do it...this tool is impromtu and fabulous!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Real Meals. = Real Awesome.

Ah, food. What could be more entertaining?

Whether it's in our own kitchens or on the TV screen, it's an obsession that's growing and growing.
So much so, that we're often forced to watch crap. AKA Rachel Ray, Emeril...amongst other celebrity "chefs" that have little to offer other than, well, BAM!

So, when addROC turned me on to RealMeals.TV it felt like a breath of fresh air.

RealMeals.TV has both professional content and user generated content. And, it all looks great.

If you're trying to learn a new's handy. Having a video to guide you through your recipe can be mucho-de-helpful to those of us without superior culinary expertise.

I was having trouble with pie dough until I watched this video, now I know what to expect visually, and that's nifty:

It helps to see cooking in action.

And, this site, does it for me. Check it out. Whether you're bored on the couch or looking for some party cocktail ideas, I think that RealMeals.TV is a great place to start.

It's food entertainment, without the hype.

And, isn't that refreshing?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wookiee Cookies: Part Deux


The Wookiee Cookie.

So, I obviously had to make these.
And, honestly, I didn't think they were going to be that good. I mean, common, it's the STAR WARS COOKBOOK, doesn't it exist to be a novelty item and nothing more? Shouldn't STAR WARS fans own it just because?

These cookies were off da hook.
They're super chocolaty, light, chewy, and really easy to make.

My office seemed to appreciate my offering of about half the batch. The recipe yielded enough that I needed to get some off my hands, before they ended up in my mouth.

So, go forth, make Wookiee Cookies.

The Force is strong with you, young Padawan.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sobriety Checkpoint: LaBatt Blue, "BIG BLUE"

LaBatt Blue is BY FAR, one of our most favorite beers here at The Brooklyn Nester.

Sure, it's not as classy as some, but the ol' Maple Leaf has carried us through many an evening. For an import, it's fuckin' cheap, and while it may be the "Bud of Canada", it sure does taste better.

So, when I came home after a hard day's work to find that addROC had found the infamous "Big Blue" at The MET supermarket (on Driggs Ave. and Russell St. in Greenpoint) for just 99 cents(!!!), I was ecstatic.

The "Big Blue" is a pint of cold, hard, Canadian pleasure.

Run, don't walk, to The MET Nesters...we've never seen LaBatt there before, and one never knows when the beer gnomes will pull it all from the shelves...

...always guzzling in their little, red, hipster-hats!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nester of the Week: Gordon Ramsay


Call me a BIG loser, but, I frikkin' love this guy.

His his overly-dramatic television persona, his foul-mouthed asshole act, his British joie de vivre! You name it, Gordon Ramsay has it.

Sure, his act is, well, an act.
But, I like his in-your-face attitude and his family values.
If everyone could get past the fact that he's dropping F-Bombs left and right, maybe they'd see that he's a celebrity chef with culinary talent and business know-how worth writing home about.

After I read about his home life, family, and sheep (truly baaaaaad-ass) in a Bon Appetit featurette, it's a lot easier to envision the man behind the effin' mask.

It turns out, he's actually quite the family-man, and making good food is actually a part of the Ramsay family's everyday living. He ain't no Rachel Ray peeps.

Awwww. So he's really a sap after all.

Hell's Kitchen is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. And, I am super-psyched for September 19th's 9PM premiere (Tomorrow people!) of his new show on FOX: Kitchen Nightmares.

Love him or hate him, but, either way join me in raising a glass:

A fucking toast, to you, Gordon Fucking Ramsay!
I Fucking Love You Muthafucka!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Plum Outta Luck

Plum season. Juicy-ness.

This past weekend, I found myself at McCarren Park's lovely Saturday Farmer's Market, where there were plums a-plenty.

Set on making a Plum Tart, I found myself drooling over basket upon basket of beautiful and colorful plums at the fruit stand.

So, I stuffed 5 lbs of plums in my backpack, and rode my bicycle back to the homestead. All the while, Sugar Plum Fairies danced in my fuckin' head.

Well. I'm glad I got so many frikkin' plums, 'cause the tart was a no-go.
The dough was FUCKED before I even had a chance to fold in the sweet plum filling.

So, like a whiny bitch, I gave up and trashed that son-of-a-bitch.

And, instead, I made this turd.
A "Plum Cake."
We could also call it: "A flavorless, dry, quasi-attractive flour based substance in a pan, somewhat resembling cake."

I'm sticking with pies people. Tart dough is a beeeotch and this cake was garbage.

Oh yeah, Happy Monday.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sobriety Checkpoint: Skittles© Infused Vodka

Hmmm. Sounds delicious, right?

What could be better than your favorite little, sugary candies in vodka?!

Well, addROC and I found out, a lot of things are WAY better than this supposed sweet treat.

We got the idea from this video:

3 Bags Skittles©, with the GREEN and PURPLE candies removed
500 ml Bottle of Vodka
1 Sieve or Cheesecloth

Pour out or drink the top 2 oz of vodka from the bottle. Pour Skittles© into bottle. Shake bottle with Skittles© until most of the color has bled out of the candy. Let the Skittles© soak for 24 hours. Using a small sieve or cheesecloth, strain solids from vodka bottle. Pour infused vodka back into bottle.

Or not. We didn't like the flavor very much, and, we're not really sure what kind of mixer is appropriate for this spirit, we tried Lemon-Lime soda, which didn't really do it for us.

So, try at your own was still a nifty little project...but for now, I think I'll stick to enjoying the one thing Skittles© always does right, advertising!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wookiee Cookies: Chewy, yes. But would Chewy Approve?

Yet again, in my search to find delicious recipes on the net, I found another treasure. The Star Wars Cookbook!

Maybe y'all knew about this, but, I sure as hell didn't and, with a hardcore fan in the house like addROC, it's my new THANG!

On, I came across the Wookiee Cookie. They sound delectable and they are next in my queue of recipes to try.

But, wait, it gets better. Look at some of the other recipes this book boasts:
Princess Leia Danish Dos, Yoda Soda, Boba Fett-uccine, Han-Burgers, Dark Side Salsa, Jabba Jiggle, and Ewok Eats!

I MUST purchase this book ASAP. Even if the recipes SUCK, someone with addROC's level of adoration for this trilogy (we won't talk about the more recent George Lucas disasters) deserves this collection.

They also came out with a cook book for the newer films, but, let's be real.
Who gives a fuck?

So Chewy...what say you to a Wookiee Cookie?

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Serious Word on Anonymity

(Painting by Martin Dace)

Today's post is a brief one folks.

I have to tip a bit off the subject today because after reading a post on Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, titled "I LIKE REAL NAMES OR CONSISTENT WEB ALIASES" I found myself thinking a lot about anonymity and what its place is in the blogosphere, and what it means to me, as a blogger.

So, I replied to this post, in a rather long-winded fashion, and I hope you'll follow the link there and read what Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn has to say too.

Send me your thoughts. Anonymous or not.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

addROC's Kitchen: A Little of This, A Little of That...

Clams Casino

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: One of the BEST things about having addROC in the kitchen is that, you'll never get bored. He's always trying something new, and somehow, it always turns out well.

I think that a constantly changing menu makes for a fun and interesting keeps your body and your taste buds alert and ready for action.

In this week's segment, I want to highlight the smaller treats that addROC has whipped up...'cause they're tasty and so gosh-darn CUTE!

Above, is addROC's Clams Casino.
Born in family tradition, addROC makes these every once in a while to remind himself of home...and to remind me of how much I can cram in my mouth if I am feeling determined.
Mmmmm...breadcrumbs, bacon, onions, shallots, peppers, and clams! How can you go wrong? Fabulous!

Poblano Poppers

Ah, scrumptious little Poblano peppers filled with: Cream cheese, onion, shallots, peppers...and then wrapped in BACON! Deeeeevine!

I love things with a kick! A great little appetizer before a delicious meal.

And finally, the addROC money shot:

Dinner For Two:

Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Yucca in a Garlic Lemon Dressing
Fresh Sweet Corn

Everything was stellar.
But, the yucca took me by surprise. So delicious. I'd had it before, but something about the tangy dressing just pushed me over the edge of taste-bud pleasure.
And, as for the steak, need I say there are very few items that surpass grilled steak, in my book?
(And yes! We did hop out on the roof, because, sadly, our days are numbered with the frikkin' cold months upon us!)

So wonderful.

Delicious food, made by other people...

Life is good.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

On the Sweet Side...

Shortbread Cookie Sandwiches with Fresh Strawberry Whipped Cream

Yes, I have become a BAKING MACHINE. And, while it may not be great for our guts, it's certainly a treat for our taste buds.

Here are some of the past week's baking adventures!

Above, Shortbread Cookie Sandwiches with Fresh Strawberry Whipped Cream, were easy, light and delicious.

The Cookies: Shortbread made with European Butter
The Filling: Fresh Whipped Cream with minced bits of fresh strawberries

And, they look VERY pretty with very little effort. Something we all can appreciate!

Raspberry Chiffon Pie

My personal favorite of my baking experiments, thus far.

The Crust: Flaky Butter Crust
The Bottom layer: Homemade raspberry jam
The Middle layer: Cream cheese combined with raspberry preserves and Jell-O©
The Top layer: Fresh cream whipped with sugar

Soooo, delicious. I just have to toot (Toot, toot!) my own horn here.

Peanut Butter Cream Pie w/Chocolate-Coated Rice Crispie© Crust

The Crust: Rice Crispies© coated with semi-sweet chocolate and butter
The Filling: Creme Cheese, condensed milk, peanut butter, and fresh whipped creme
The Decorative Topping: Milk Chocolate and Heavy Creme

Well, this was awesome. But, I was so effin' stuffed after a delicious meal, thanks to addROC and Reid, it was hard to really enjoy this pie. But, addROC and I did bring home the leftovers, so, hopefully tonight, dinner will be a little lighter!