1. Anthropologie Home
I don’t know about you, but I am completely obsessed with Anthropologie. Everything in that store has a handcrafted, creative, bohemian feel that makes me want to throw on a pair of sandals and a sundress and move to California. The home store is a mecca full of beautiful dishes, plates and table settings and the kitchen and cooking area is a must-see for the foodie and cook in the house. Gorgeous hand-painted plates and ceramics, cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, pottery, linens, and oh my, the cute aprons! Totally love this place. Find this fun, cool stuff online or in retail stores.
2. buon Italia, Chelsea Market
The next time you’re in New York City, you must visit the Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District – if only for the FOOD!! My favorite place in there is buon Italia, an Italian food store that sells fresh cheese, butter, meat, fish, olives, bread, and pasta. Inside is every Italian imported foodstuff you could ever dream of: truffles and capers, olive oils and vinegars, coffees, teas and chocolates, sauces, spreads and preserves, pastas, grains, nuts and spices…you name it, they got it! It’s a foodie haven and impossible to pass by (or leave once you enter!) Everything in the store is fresh and authentic Italian, and reasonably priced too. You won’t walk out of there without an Italian feast ready to be made at home – this I promise you.
buon Italia, Chelsea Market
75 9th Ave, New York NY 10011 | 212 633 9090
mina harissa spicy
I discovered these lovely sauces when I attended the Just Food Conference in NYC and love the tasty flavor and heat. Harissa is a traditional Moroccan red pepper sauce made with red chiles, red bell peppers, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and salt. Creator Mina, a native from Casablanca, learned how to create this luscious spicy sauce from a neighbor when she was 16, and experimented over the years to develop her own recipe. This sauce is delicious as a condiment with a kick – pair it with lamb, BBQ chicken, or grilled scallops, or use it as a base in a tagine (a North African meat and vegetable stew served in an earthenware pot) served with couscous or rice. The sauce comes in mild, medium or spicy (my favorite!) and can be ordered online at Abe’s market.
4. Anna’s Thins
I found these delicious little treats on a recent excursion to The Cellar at Macy’s on 34th Street in NYC. Anna’s Thins are crispy, thin and come in four flavors: Ginger, Orange, Chocolate Mint and Almond. They have just the perfect amount of sweetness, are delicate and crunchy, and totally melt in your mouth. I dipped the Ginger thins in a vanilla latte which was delicious – another tasty idea would be to crumble them over butternut squash ravioli for a touch of some sweet crunch, or use them to make a cheesecake or pie crust. According to Anna’s and Swedish tradition, these crunchy thins can bring you good luck too. Simply place one of the cookies in the palm of your hand, then make a wish. Tap the cookie in the middle with your index finger – if it breaks into three pieces, your wish will come true. Sweet!
34 degrees crispbreads
5. 34 Degrees Crispbreads
I love these fun, clever crackers by 34 Degrees! Super light and crispy, these flatbreads are also made with all natural ingredients. They have 6 different flavors: lemon zest, whole wheat, cracked pepper, rosemary, original and sesame. Great with cheese and are an awesome alternative to bread – pair brie with prosciutto, arugula and fig for a great snack. Top the crisps with smoked salmon, an herbed chicken salad or southwestern shrimp salad. If you want a mini-dessert, try layering mascarpone cheese and lemon curd topped with a mint sprig or spread them with peanut butter, honey, and almonds. I really love how light and airy they are…they really let the toppings shine and are also great on their own. Cute design too!
Honey Hazelnut Cocoa Cream
6. Le Querce Honey Hazelnut Cocoa Cream
I found this delectable chocolate spread when I was at Buon Italia (see store info above) in Chelsea Market. It’s kind of like Nutella, but even better! It’s made with Acacia Honey, Piedmont hazelnuts and cocoa and has a sweet, creamy, chocolate-y, nutty flavor, with a hint of honey – this stuff is addicting! Delicious on toast, crackers, pancakes or simply by itself. Beware: don’t try this stuff at home alone.
7. Friedman’s Lunch, Chelsea Market
On a recent trip to Chelsea Market, my friend and I were in search of a healthy lunch and a glass of wine. We discovered Friedman’s Lunch – a great little spot inside the market that serves up fresh, local and organic food. Friedman’s Lunch was named after Milton Friedman, the famous economist, who popularized the expression “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. And while the lunch there isn’t free, it’s certainly delicious and reasonably priced.
Friedman’s has a fun, buzzing atmosphere with an open kitchen, friendly waiters, music, large mirrors and chalkboard menus making it a welcome spot for a cozy lunch while shopping at the market. The menu has a great assortment of comfort food including down-home favorites such as buttermilk fried chicken, beef brisket burgers, two-bean turkey chili and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.
Friedman’s Lunch is committed to using organic ingredients, mostly from local food purveyors around New York. Their brunch and dinner menus offer a wider variety of salads and breakfast dishes and delicious all the same. They’re open 7 days a week and also deliver with online ordering. Definitely worth a trip (if only for the gooey grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup!)
75 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10011 | 212.929.7100
NY Gourmet Coffee
8. New York Gourmet Coffee
I discovered this great line of handcrafted artisan coffees at the Coffee and Tea Festival last weekend in NYC. With all the coffee and tea brands overwhelming me at the show, this one particular brand stood out. Why? First off, they have about 100 different flavors that will knock your socks off: Vanilla Macadamia, Banana Caramel, Chocolate Irish Cream, Crème Brulee, Holiday Sugar Cookie, Kahlua Cappuccino, Jamaican Me Crazy…and the list goes on. They also offer a line of specialty and organic/fair trade coffees (Costa Rican, Brazilian, Kenya-AA, Sumatra, Columbian, etc.) The best part of all is that it’s a local New York brand originating in Long Island, and the owners are passionate about making fresh roasted coffee on a daily basis and handcrafting all of their unique flavors. You can purchase their coffees online and at several retail locations in LI, NJ and CT. Next stop is Manhattan!
I don’t know about you, but I love salt. Not overdone, of course, and not just regular table salt. I’m talking REAL salt. Big, flaky, sea salt. The GOOD stuff. Falksalt is a Swedish brand that has been making this good stuff for over 180 years, and is made with the advice of professional gourmet chefs. This is serious salt, folks. Big, chunky, crystal flakes; so beautiful you almost don’t want to take it out of the package. Falksalt has a line of flavors that will knock your socks off: Wild Garlic, Wild Mushroom, Smoked, Citron, Rosemary, Red Chili, Chipotle, Black and Natural. Perfect for sprinkling over fresh or roasted veggies, rimming a fancy cocktail or for crusting a beautiful piece of fish or steak. This is not your everyday table salt – save it for a delectable occasion.
Joseph Joseph Bowls
10. Joseph Joseph
Joseph Joseph is a cool brand I discovered that makes fun, colorful, modern kitchen and cooking tools. With their bright colors and sleek, edgy designs, you can’t pass these up. I bought the 5-in-1 Unitool – which basically gives you well, 5 utensils in 1: slotted spoon, turner, cutting tool, solid spoon and spatula. Even better, it’s safe for non-stick cookware and heat resistant up to 480 degrees. Love it! I also got the Nest 6 Multicolor Prep Bowl Set that comes with six kitchen items in one: 4 measuring cups, and a small and medium mixing bowl, that fit nicely together and come in gorgeous bright colors to brighten up your kitchen. Check out their other cool tools online, or find them at Sur La Table or The Cellar at Macy’s. Fun!
Parsley Pesto and Olive Tapenade
There’s something exciting about getting a new, shiny toy that makes you feel like a kid again. There’s something even more exciting about making something super delicious with that new toy and sharing it with the world. In this case, it’s my new KitchenAid 13-cup Food Processor – a powerhouse culinary machine that demystifies and simplifies big, scary food processors into a joyful thing, and makes slicing, dicing and pureeing the easiest thing ever. Not to say that all my knife skills I learned in culinary school have gone to waste, but this certainly makes my life easier, especially when I have a lot of ingredients to prepare and want perfectly blended, sliced and diced food in an instant.That “something super delicious” I decided to make is some dee-lish Mediterranean-inspired recipes – a Mixed Olive Tapenade and a Parsley & Pistachio-Walnut-Cashew Pesto, which turned out pretty impressive, if I must say so myself.
The machine comes with two different metal chopping blades (1 multi-purpose and 1 mini-blade with a bowl insert), a dough blade and a shredding disc and a slicing disc. I used the multi-purpose blade to chop the herbs and olives, and then slowly streamed in the liquids to the dry spices and herb ingredients to whip up some delicious goodness. This machine is so awesome that you can really just throw all the ingredients in the mixing bowl all at once, and the best part about it is that you can adjust the thinness and thickness of your slices (for slicing veggies) with one slide of a button on the front so you don’t have to keep changing the blades every time you need a different-sized slice. (Which also means less cleanup time for me – bonus!). It also has a 3-in-1 Ultra Wide mouth feed so you can fit sliced or whole ingredients through it depending on what you’re making.
I hope you’ll enjoy these delicious dip recipes I’ve created – serve them with some cut up fresh veggies, crackers, pita bread, crostini or whatever you feel like using to dip into them with. The pesto is also delicious as a pasta sauce or as a topping for grilled or baked fish and chicken, or as a garnish on minestrone or vegetable soups. You can substitute basil for the parsley and pine nuts for the mixed toasted nuts in the recipe below for a traditional Basil Pesto, or try using Artichokes and Walnuts, Peppers and Cashews…get creative! And if you haven’t tried making your own tapenade and pestos at home, you’ll love how easy they are to make with this fun, easy machine (and you’ll never buy store-bought stuff again!) Oh, and stay tuned for my next recipe for Baked Falafel with Roasted Garlic Lemon Hummus and Tahini Salad! The possibilities are endless with this cool toy – my new best friend.
Mixed Olive Tapenade
Mixed Olive Tapenade
½ c Kalamata olives
2/3 c oil-cured black Italian olives, pitted
2 tsp capers, drained
3 scallions, trimmed and chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
¼ c extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1/3 c flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor with a metal fitting blade and puree into a medium-fine paste. Mix the ingredients in the bowl with a spatula and sprinkle some fresh black pepper in and puree on low for another minute or so.
Scoop out the olive tapenade into a serving bowl and garnish with additional chopped parsley. Serve with crackers, breadsticks, veggies for dipping or spread the tapenade on toasted Italian bread (1/2 inch slices) for crostini.
Makes about 2 cups.
Parsley & Toasted Nut Pesto
Parsley & Toasted Nut Pesto
1 c pistachios, walnuts and cashews, toasted
2 c flat-leaf Italian parsley (leaves only, no stems)
3/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus 2 tsp grated lemon zest
Heat a medium saute pan over medium-low heat. Toast the nuts in the pan until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. (You can also toast them in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet for about 5-10 mins).
Place parsley, toasted nuts, cheese, garlic and salt in the food processor bowl with a metal blade fitting, and pulse into a medium-fine texture.
In a small mixing bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice and zest and combine.
Slowly steam in the oil and lemon mixture to the parsley and nut mixture through the top opening of the food processor, pulsing every few seconds to combine ingredients.
Serve over pasta, as a dip with crackers or breadsticks, or as a garnish to vegetable or cream-based soups.
Makes about 2 cups.
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Classic Greek Moussaka
Classic Greek Moussaka, (pronounced moos-sah-KAH) is one of the most well known of all Greek dishes and a staple “comfort food” and main course meal in Greece (as is Lasagna in Italy). This tasty Greek delight is a culinary experience to those who sample it for the first time. I first tried it when I worked at a Greek diner in Buffalo, New York during college, and then once again on a trip to the Greek Islands a couple of years ago. Needless to say, the real Greek Moussaka blew the Buffalo diner version to pieces, so I decided to take a stab at making it myself for my Big Fat Greek Birthday dinner party.
One of the most delicious versions of Moussaka I tasted was in Santorini, Greece. It was served in a glazed clay pot, and had a perfect mixture of spicy meat at the bottom, layered with potatoes and tender eggplant, and tons of béchamel and gooey cheese on top. The vegetables were steaming as I dug into this gorgeous meat and vegetable pie – my mouth watered at the sight and smell of it.
Moussaka can be made in many variations, but the classic recipe uses layers of eggplant, potatoes, a spicy meat and tomato sauce with a touch of cinnamon and a rich and delicious béchamel sauce and bubbly kefalotyri cheese on top. Other variations are Moussaka with zucchini or artichokes instead of eggplant, ground lamb instead of ground beef, or vegetarian-style with zucchini, eggplant and ootatoes without the meat. Either way you make it, with its warm and rich flavors and gooey cheese you’ll be hooked.
I made this recipe with zucchini and potatoes, and combined ground lamb with ground beef together. The combination of all the spices from the meat and seasonings soak into the vegetables and once you layer some creamy béchamel and gooey cheese on top, you’ve got yourself a delicious heartwarming dish. Be careful to pat dry the vegetables though before layering in the baking dish, as you don’t want the liquids to make the Moussaka too watery as they are cooked down in the oven.
You’ll need a lot of time and kitchen space to make this dish, and if you’re cooking for a crowd, you’ll be safe to double the recipe and make two large rectangular baking dishes of it, as it won’t last long. The flavors in this dish really improve if you
make it a day ahead. It’s also a very filling dish, so you may want to serve it as the main course, and accompany it with a Greek Salad, some Stuffed Grape Leaves and Tzaziki for a light side dish along with some Garlic Lemon Hummus and grilled pita. Serve with a red Greek wine and a shot of Ouzo as an aperitif.
3 large zucchini (or eggplants)
3 large potatoes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 lg onions, chopped fine
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground beef
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup red Greek wine
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 lb butter
6 tbsp all purpose flour
1 quart of milk
4 eggs; beaten until frothy
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Cut the zucchini and potatoes into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
If using eggplant instead of zucchini, peel the eggplant first. Brown the zucchini slices quickly in 1/4 cup of the oil. Set aside.
remaining oil in the same skillet and cook the onions until they are
golden brown. Add the ground meat and cook 10 minutes. Pour off excess fat.
Combine the tomato paste with the wine, parsley, cinnamon, salt and
pepper. Stir this mixture into the meat and simmer over low heat,
stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the
mixture from heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Make a white sauce by melting the butter
and blending in the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. Meanwhile,
bring the milk to a boil and add it gradually to the butter-flour mixture,
stirring constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, remove
it from the heat. Cook slightly and stir in the beaten eggs, nutmeg and
Grease an 11×16-inch pan and sprinkle the bottom lightly with
crumbs. Arrange alternate layers of the zucchini and potatoes and meat sauce
in the pan, sprinkling each layer with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Pour
the ricotta cheese bechamel sauce over the top and bake 1 hour, or until top is golden.
Remove from the oven and cool 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Cut
into squares and serve.