Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sobriety Checkpoint: The Manhattan

With the promise of cold weather there is nothing more inviting than a drink that will warm you up.

addROC, my personal chef and mixologist, has been making lots of fun, pretty, and most importantly, tasty drinks lately.

My favorite?

The Manhattan.

I may be The Brooklyn Nester, but, our neighboring borough is equally divine, especially when it's in a glass.

It's classic.
Something our parents and grandparents take a sip of and are hit with a wave of nostalgia.

And, best of all, it's simple. It meets my rule for three ingredients or less. And, it kicks some serious ass.

The Manhattan makes you re-think Red Bull© and Vodka and other trashy drinks we fall into the habit of ordering sometimes.

This recipe is tried and true.

2 OZ Rye or Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 OZ Sweet Vermouth
A Dash of Angostura® Bitters
A Few Cubes

Easy. Strong. Delicious.

A perfect night cap.

So cheers to a borough that isn't Brooklyn...especially if it's on the rocks!

P.S. I also LOVE this drink with a dash of Orange Bitters. And, if I'm feeling super classy, I'll break out the traditional Martini glasses.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ho Ho Freakin' Ho

The holiday season is upon us.

Nester that I am, should I be bursting with joy?
After all, there are pies to be baked, trees to be purchased and decorated.
Little gifts for friends tied up with ribbons (which, obviously, MUST be curled).

Neighbors have already put Santa-related shit in their windows.
Holiday shoppers piss me off as they run around Union Square like a bunch of wild horses, bucking through the crowd on route to the Christmas Village.

So, here I am amidst all this holiday cheer. And, folks, I'm not ready.

Is it just me? Or is it 60 degrees out and is it still FUCKING NOVEMBER?

I just want to tell everyone...calm down.

addROC and I sat down to a lovely weekend brunch at Sunset Diner, relaxing, enjoying the hum of the BQE...runny eggs...toast...and what's that I hear?

I'll Be Home For Christmas?
Fuck couldn't be!
I was just AT home for fucking Thanksgiving, like, t-minus two minutes ago.

Back off you Holiday junkies.

December 1st is WELL on it's way.
Then you can Ho Ho Ho out your asses.

And, hopefully by then, I'll be ready to bake some cookies.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Yet again, Reid outdid himself.

We held a mock-Thanksgiving. But, instead of spoiling the Turkey-bird for the big day (and having a shit-load of leftovers for 4 relatively small people), Reid made a delicious duck. And it was seriously kick ass.

We ate. We drank. We digested.

And here's how all the eatin' went down:

For starters, Cliff (who, is responsible for all the lovely photography in this post), brought some beautiful and tasty cheeses:

Then, a cocktail of Champagne with Orange "Caviar." Care of the evening's mixologist, addROC.

Then, Reid pulls out the Duck plate. Yowser!

So the spread is, well, spread! And we feasted in all our duck-a-licious glory:

The Final Score:
Cheese and Champagne with Orange "Caviar"

Duck-a-licious Duck
Sage Stuffing
Giblet Gravy
Homemade Apple Sauce
Green Beans

Honey-Pumpkin Pie

Hells. Yes.

And, finally, an addROC aspertif to end the evening with the gang. This treat was a Vessel 75:

Happy Turkey Day to all. And, a very special thanks to Reid, Cliff, and addROC for their delectable contributions to our most successful mock-Thanksgiving!

I will post more on the big T-day after the weekend!

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Bit of Pork, A Bit of Spice, A Bit of Everything That's Nice

Reid invited us to a tasty Pork-Chili feast at his place.
How could we say no?!
Reid is the king of pork. That's usually what he's cookin' and it's always good!

So, since addROC had the night off from cooking and I was in no mood for pie, we figured we'd bring something easy to suit this porky occasion.


I love cornbread, it's such a comforting side dish. And, it's suited to both the cold and warm seasons. So versatile.

I found a basic recipe on ol' trusty and went to town.
addROC had the good sense to utilize a package of jalepenos that were about to meet (and pass) their prime.
So, he cut those bad boys up, and we threw them it.

Bake...and done.

Simple. Tasty. Comforting. With just a little spice and something nice.

Perfect chili...perfect bread. No sweat.

Have a pimpin' weekend y'all.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

addROC's Kitchen: A Trip to the Fish Monger

Ah yes, the "cold" season has arrived.


It's November 15th and it was 61 degress when I stepped outside this morning.

Usually, when the weather starts to chill down, addROC turns up the heat in the kitchen. He'll put out all the stops and we'll hunker down for a long-Winter's-meal.

Well, it may be warm outside, but it's getting even warmer in addROC's Kitchen! Time to go gets us some fishies!

Pan Seared Tilapia
with Lime-Chile Butter

I'd never eaten Tilapia before. And no, I'm not kidding.
This was, um, UNGODLY delicious.
I love the mildness of this fish...and that butter, man-oh-man.

Scallops in a Tarragon Cream Sauce
with Roasted Corn
and Red Rice with Roasted Garlic

Scallops are one of my all-time favorites.
This sauce was decadent and rich, but, was nicely balanced by the light flavors of the rice and corn.
But, that garlic man, so delicious...but, let's just say I needed a mint!


Thanks addROC, ol' buddy, ol' pal! Love those treats from the sea!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

From Start, To Finish

It was a evening for eating with friends.

And, these days, I don't go anywhere empty handed.

So, I took advangtage of my festive mood and decided to whip up some cakes.

Yes, cupcakes.

Being the New Yorker I am, I decided to make Magnolia Bakery's famous recipe. Cliche as they've become, they're a New York treat that's not to be missed.

Mmm...vanilla perfection!

Then addROC and I let them cool and went to town with homemade Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (recipe also care of Magnolia's!)

So much fun, and, so easy.

Go make cupcakes...and make everyone's day, including your own!

Friday, November 9, 2007

'Tis the Season To Be Chili, Fa La La La La, La La La La

As a small child there were only a few things that could get me out of bed before 9AM. Those were:

Santa Clause (or, the morning of his departure from our house).
#2 My cat(s) annoying the shit out of me.
#3 The Aroma of Mom's Chili

Nothing says Fall & Winter like a steaming bowl of Ma's chili. She'd get that stuff going at 8AM. And by 9AM my father and I were standing at the oven inhaling the sweet, sweet perfume of simmering ground beef, chili powder, onions, and peppers bubbling in a sea of beans.

Chili was a meal in and of itself. Mom threw a nice big bowl down on the dinner table, threw a few slices of bread on top, and that was that.

Dinner was served.

And it was damn good.

So, I, that's right, me, cooked up Ma's recipe and made some fresh Crusty French Bread, and threw it down in front of addROC and a few friends.

That was dinner. And, if I do say so myself, it was damn good.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Jabba the Challah?

Friends or Relatives?

Well...adventures in bread baking continue.

After baking three loaves of Crusty French Bread, I got pretty sick of it.
So, I decided to take on a braided loaf.

I poked through some recipes and came upon Challah.
The name by itself looks pretty.
I'd had Challah a few times at several Jewish friend's celebrations and as French Toast at a few upscale brunch spots.
But, never straight from the oven.

So off I went, mixing yeast, honey, oil, and flour...

The dough finally reached that oooey-gooey consistency that let's ya know it's good to go.
And, into the oven it went.

It rose, as planned, and I kneaded it down and split it into three pieces.
Attached them all at one end, and braided it.

I let the loaf rise for a final time, and, when I returned...

It was Jabba the Challah.

So I baked that son-of-a-bitch:

And, it didn't taste AWFUL. It was actually pretty good.

But, there's just no way to make peace with bread that's enslaved Princess Leia and kept Han Solo frozen in Carbonite, just because he owes a little cash.

I'll let you know who the next loaf resembles...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

addROC's Kitchen: From Epicurean to Expedited Eats

The "Doctrine of the Clean Plate" is very easy to adopt in my apartment.


Because I have a live-in Chef.

I eat a great meal almost every night of the week.
In fact, usually, the disappointing night is take-out night.
addROC changes up his menu constantly, while saving a few favorites for possible second appearances.

Sometimes, he toils.
He's prepping when I get home: Chopping shallots, marinating steaks, slicing peppers, and roasting veggies.

And sometimes, he whips something up so quickly, so easily, it's like magic.
Even if it's a simple meal, he manages to make it look like restaurant fare.

The Epicurean:
Pork Medallions in Spiced-Tomato Pan Gravy
with Sliced Vegetables and Quick-pickled Cabbage

Delectable. This meal looked and tasted so fresh, and the pork melted in my mouth.
Sometimes I have to look at my plate for a minute and ask myself:
Is it really just a Tuesday night?

The Expedited Eats:
Jack, Cheddar, and Mozzarella Quesadilla
with Black Beans and Crystal Hot Sauce
Side of Sauteed Corn & Shallots

I remember saying the words, "I'm hungry," and having this plate in front of me what seemed like 3 seconds later. Sometimes a quick and easy meal can be a gourmet meal...all it takes is a little effort on the presentation!

Thanks to addROC for the eats...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Work In Progress

If there's anything I've learned about pie, it's that only time will tell how good a pie maker you'll become.

My love affair with pie began hastily, a whole mess of pies, all with different fillings: Pecans, Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Raspberry Chiffon, Apple, Cherry, Gingered-Lemon Meringue.

And then I cooled off. Who cared about my pie anyway?
I'd learned to make dough and that was the goal.

Mission accomplished, or so I thought.

Then, on one of the first of the cooler days, it beckoned.


And so, I heeded the call.

I filled my bottom crust with sliced pears, flour, sugar, allspice, and a bit of lemon zest.

Then, I rolled out my lovely top crust. (I won't tell a lie, I secretly think that double crusts are FAR superior to open face pies! Open face?! How common!)

And then, serve. With just a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Simple. Crisp. Pretty and plain. Just like Fall.

Perhaps it was just a series of events after all:
The chill, the crisp air at the farmer's market, the Mexican dude who took each perfect Bosc pear and lay them beautifully in a fruity display.

It was pie makin' time.

Wondering what kinda pie I'll cook up next?
Me too.

But the most I can tell you at the moment is, well, I'm workin' on it.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Bitch is Back

Sincere apologies my faithful Nesters!

My computer was down, and, then I ended up taking an unexpected hiatus.

But, the Bitch is back, and she's feeling renewed and zesty.

While I may have taken a brief break from blogging, the Nesting there is much to share in the coming weeks!

In any event, I've been feeling kind of guilty for abandoning you, here's a little nugget from 8 million years ago...AKA the Chris Kimball book signing. Some of you emailed me thirsty for details y'are!


The event opened with Chris chatting about the new book and how America's Test Kitchen works diligently to perfect its recipes.
Then there was a Q&A where all the weird-ass New Yorkers reared their ugly heads and asked totally irrelevant and uninformed questions. The only pertinent piece of information we learned during the Q&A was that when Christopher eats out in New York, he prefers Le Bernardin .
Classy Chris, classy.

Chris and his Test Kitchen crew brought along snacks. Which, as is evident, I munched whilst admiring our new book!

Then Chris signed some books...which we were super-stoked for!!!

And, here is our glorious book, equipped with signature of course!
And, Chris even has a little bow-tie stamp! So cute! It scored him some major Nesting points!

Anyway, even if it was, like, 3 years ago, it was fun and I thought y'all would like to see zee photos!

Have a great Monday! And, stay tuned as I beg for your forgiveness through blogging!