Friday, May 29, 2009

Food Porn

This weekend marks the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which celebrates the gift of the Torah. It's a beautiful holiday--Jews sing and dance with the Torah and it's one of our most upbeat holidays (nobody dies, nobody mourns, nobody fasts, nobody is persecuted, woo!) which makes it great fun all around. What I never really knew until this year is that the holiday is also marked by eating lots of dairy (none of the commentary I've read really explains why) and in the States, this tends to take two forms: blintzes and cheesecake. I have a soft spot for good homemade blintzes, but let's face it--cheesecake is even tastier and way easier to find/make. Today's food porn takes us to the reliable Jew-spot, Carnegie Deli, home of New York's best cheesecake (in my book, at least!) --if this doesn't whet your appetite for a dairy-crazy weekend, I'm not sure what will! Happy feasting, and as we say, Chag Sameach!

[photo via flickr]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Link of the Day

I've never been shy about the fact that I love myself a good, cheap meal--especially one that comes straight off the streets. And though Manhattan definitely offers a solid array of street food, traveling the world always shows how many cultures have yet to bring their mobile eats to the big apple. This article in the New York Times dining section yesterday brings a temporary solution, with several street fairs that are centered around celebrating less explored ethnic cuisines like Burmese, Indonesian, and Swedish. For more of a preview, see the full article here, but be sure to have a calendar handy--you'll certainly want to write some of these dates down!

[via NYT]

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Budget Finds -- Mustache Napkin Rings

As I was grazing on Serious Eats this morning, the perfect Budget Finds popped up on my screen. It's been a rough (read: sleepless) return to reality after the long weekend, and a few laughs were just the remedy. Anyhow, these adorable napkin rings shaped like handlebar mustaches come in sets of 4 for $24, and they're so cheeky I just can't stand it. Who doesn't smile at the sight of a big furry mustache, much less one with your name on it on your dinner plate? That's right, with chalkboard paint, they're customizable and reusable, which makes them as practical as they are hysterical. Talk about a great dinner party ice breaker--I just love it.

Mustache napkin rings by Modern Dose available right here. [via Serious Eats]

Friday, May 22, 2009

Vacation Porn!

Dear lovely, lovely readers,

Red is off to sunny Miami for the long weekend, and she's so excited she can hardly contain it. Since she really, really, desperately, horribly, tremendously needs a vacation, eatmywords is taking a short break for the holiday. See you on Wednesday for a return to our regular schedule, and until then, think of me! I'll be right over here....



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Link of the Day -- Inner Messages

Today I randomly came across this fantastic site by Yoon Jung Yun, a Korean jewelry designer making "inner message" rings. The rings look like ordinary wedding bands (though they don't necessarily need to be used as such), but on the inside, they contain secret messages printed backwards in raised text, causing it to be imprinted on the wearer's finger after a few hours of wear. It's a really adorable idea--certainly very private, subtle, and intimate--and I love that the bands can be purchased as singles rather than pairs, making for a great romantic gift. Ready-to-wear designs with "always" and "marry me" imprinted in them start at $120, with custom messages available for some more. It's may not be super budget-friendly, but it gets across a clear point!

Inner Message rings by Yoon Jung Yun, available right over here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Budget Finds -- Cupcake Accessories!

Red has been so swamped she's practically been eaten by alligators. It's not a pretty sight, but she's excited about rewarding herself with some sweet treats when it's all over--maybe a cupcake?

Ahh, if someone wanted to bake Red a cupcake, they would instantly become her favorite. And better yet would be if they decided to use these beyond-adorable cupcake wrappers, on sale at Cupcake Social's Etsy shop right here. (Anyone else think Etsy should spell "shop" with the extra "pe" at the end? "Shoppe" seems so much more appropriate for Etsy.)

One pattern is cuter than the next--tulip, plaid, even animal print? It's almost too good to be true. And clocking in at under $5.00, this is one of the most affordable ways to make someone feel like they're seriously special.

Click here to check out Cupcake Social's Shop, filled with many, many more adorable goodies!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Recipe Lust: Coconut Shrimp

Since making arancini last weekend, I've been finding different ways to use the remainder of my panko bread crumbs. Suffice it to say, it's not a difficult ingredient to use. Coat anything in panko and it's instantly crunchy and delicious. And the shrimp in my freezer are looking like the next logical option, which made me instantly think of this recipe for panko-crusted Coconut Shrimp. Easy, quick, and requiring a short list of mostly pantry-staple ingredients, it looks as budget friendly as it does crave-worthy, and that's something we can all stomach!

Click here for the full recipe, with photo step by steps and all!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Design Porn -- Handpainted Coral Dishes

It's been a long week for Red, so apologies for the late posting! To balance out all the food content this week, I thought I'd close out with a little design porn. These dishes by Modern Goods are simply irresistible, drawing on one of my favorite color palettes and beachy (read: summery!) illustrations. They're all hand painted, and unfortunately that translates to "very expensive," but that doesn't mean I can't stare in awe until I feel confident enough to reproduce the patterns on my own at the local pottery painting studio! (Shhh... I would never advocate such a thing!)

Other patterns are available right here--they're all pretty exquisite. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sad News for Foodies

I had plans to run a restaurant review today, but my appetite for writing has crashed with the news that NYTimes restaurant critic Frank Bruni will be stepping down from his role in August when his memoirs, "Born Round: the Secret History of a Full-Time Eater" debuts in bookstores across the country. Apparently he feels the book will create a conflict with his ability to produce anonymous reviews--this intrigues me! But the fact that we will no longer be privy to his writing on a weekly basis (his pieces will still run in the NYT Magazine every now and then) is a sad piece of news for foodies far and wide.

For that, I'm holding on to my review until next week. Frank, you'll be missed! [via Gawker]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Budget Finds -- Andy Pratt's Colorful Citiscapes

Today, I'm absolutely digging the work of Andy Pratt, whose gorgeous illustrations are selling for a mere $20 right here. They're colorful, vivid, and purely joyful, a celebration of various cities around the country including my own (NYC), the one where I was born (San Francisco), and the one that currently houses TWB (Boston). $20 buys you an 8 x 10, but framing one of these in an 11 x 14 frame with an 8 x 10 opening will make these babies look like they're worth millions.

[all photos via]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Geek or Chic? Pipette Tableware

Things that find an intersection between scientific labware and dinnertime place settings always seem to catch my eye--perhaps not so much for my own interest, but because I spent a good chunk of the last 6 years either doing science or surrounding myself with scientists and engineers. Regardless of reason, I'm drawn to these interesting oil and vinegar bottles over at Design House Stockholm, which are modeled after lab pipettes. At the very least, they're probably fun for making beautiful presentations when entertaining! I think I may be more prone to gift them to some of the aforementioned engineer friends that put them on my own table, but they're certainly not lacking in either geekness or chicness. What do you think?

Pipette Oil and Vinegar Bottles by Camilla Kropp, $59

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Good Enough to Eat... Again! -- Arancini, AKA Deep Fried Risotto Goodness

Several months back, I had a terrific meal at a restaurant in Boston called Stella that started with arancini, fried risotto balls stuffed with cheese. I ate them perplexed, wondering how the risotto could hold together in a perfect ball while being deep fried. There's nothing more disappointing than deep frying something and having it come apart in the oil, just to go to waste, so I'd dreamed about the appetizer wistfully without really mustering the courage to take a stab at it myself. That is, until this weekend. After doing my due diligence and finding a few recipes that agreed upon a method, I made my first attempt, only to realize that the process is a whole lot easier than I'd thought.

Arancini, AKA Deep Fried Risotto Goodness
makes 10-12 balls

What You'll Need

1 packet of quick risotto mix*................$2.00
Anywhere between 1 tbsp and 1/3 cup parmesan, depending on your taste...........$1.50
Panko bread crumbs..............................$2.00
2 eggs......................................................$0.50
1 cup flour...............................................$0.50
1 stick string cheese................................$0.50
Oil for frying

Total Cost......................................$7.00
Total Cost Per Serving....................$2.33

What You Do

1. Follow the directions on the packet to make your risotto.
2. Add parmesan cheese, to taste, and stir until it's well combined. Cheese will not only boost the flavor, it will also act as a great binder to keep your arancini together.
3. Transfer the risotto into a container to cool in the fridge. The cooler the risotto, the easier it will bind into balls.
4. Set up the flour, eggs (whipped), and panko in three separate bowls, in that order. Cut the mozzarella stick into small chunks (about 1 cm square)
5. Use a heaping tablespoon to measure out how much risotto to use for each ball. Roll it up and then use your finger to make an indentation. Stick in a square of cheese and fill the rest of the indentation with more risotto.
6. Coat the ball with flour, then egg, then bread crumbs, and fry to golden perfection. Enjoy!

*Note: you can make your risotto from scratch, as I often do, but the mixes yeild just the right amount for an appetizer portion while cutting down on the time you spend stirring the pot. Plus, you don't have to spend $7 on a big container of Arborio rice!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Design Porn: Domino Shopping Spree

I had so many ideas for today's porn section, but they were all upstaged by a rather last-minute announcement made by former domino editors, Dara Caponigro and Tom Delevan. According to this article and this article, the pair decided that, after amassing over 1,500 square feet of swagged home goods from the magazine's glory days, it might be a good idea to clear some space--and make a much needed buck in the process. Designer goods previously featured in the dearly deparated shelter title will be on sale for a fraction of their price--of the quoted items, it seems that even larger home accessories will be falling in the $40 range--with a selection of clothing items on the side as well. The whole sale promises to be, at worst, a great chance to meet former domino staffers (can we point out for once and for all that the title was never capitalized? Just sayin') and maybe pick up a fun gift along the way.

Saturday, May 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 13 West Ninth Street (Fifth Avenue), garden apartment; cash only. [photo via NYTimes]

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Link of the Day -- Student Cooks

As the weather continues to grate on me (we haven't seen the sun in how many days??) I'm happy to find little bits of happiness over the course of my daily reading. This particular article in the NY Daily News was one of those--it's about a high school in Queens (no, not the one affected by swine flu!) that has taken a heavy initiative to open its own restaurant. It's the first such project of its kind (at least in NYC), with the high school students acting as business management, chefs, and recipe developers to feed their staff and faculty. The result? Students with a better understanding of what it takes to run a business, what it's like to work in the culinary world, how to feed themselves nutritiously, and--perhaps most importantly--how to make a killer meal for Mom this Mother's Day. See the whole article here--it's a great read!

(Photo via NY Daily News)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Budget Finds -- Umbrella For Two

It's been a rainy week here in the city, and usually that's not a very inspiring thing. No, no, it's quite the opposite. The kind of rain we've had--dark, gloomy mornings leading to endless hours of cold, rainy disgustingness--makes you want to do nothing more than sit in bed and sleep the day away. But as I walked to work this morning, I saw something that pulled my attention away from all that bed-longing for just a minute. You see, this young father, and his young just-barely-walking-and-super-adorable little boy, were walking down the street with the funkiest umbrella that covered both their heads. I'd never seen a contraption like it before, but I found it utterly brilliant!

Better yet, it's available here at a budget-conscious price of $20--enough to forgo splitting the cost with your significant other, or whoever is worthy or sharing your umbrella. Please, though--let's all refrain from the Rihanna allusions before the cutesy factor is entirely mutilated. (Oops.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Restaurant Review: Scarpetta

Last week, I mentioned how lucky I was to snag a table at Scarpetta to help them celebrate their 1-year anniversary with a special prix fixe menu--$50 for 4 courses with wine pairings. The celebration (for me) was last night, and I thought I'd fill you in on my thoughts.

Let's start by saying this: Scarpetta has been given an endless stream of praise from the food press. With three stars in the New York Times, Michelin nods, James Beard noms, and much much more, it's one of those restaurants that may as well have paid off (or Mafia-style threatened) every critic into showering them with compliment after compliment. With not a stitch of bad press, you have to wonder--can any dining experience live up to this kind of press? The answer: yes. Yes, yes and yes.

I won't fill you in on every detail--this would be far too long. But I'll share my favorite moments. Among them, the bread basket, which came piled high in a nest-like black metal bowl, served with three different dipping options: whipped butter mixed with ricotta, a sweet red pepper tapenade, and the sweetest olive oil I've ever tasted. The herbed roll went great with the first two, while a sliced loaf with proscuitto and cheese paired wonderfully with the sweet oil. By my first bites, I was sold.

The style of Scarpetta, for those who stay away from food press, is haute Italian, with all the pastas made fresh in house. It's no surprise that the risotto that came under my braised short rib appetizer was actually pastina-like bits of pasta mixed with finely chopped vegetables--even still, the misnomer had me expecting something thicker and more decadent. The creaminess craving was easily fulfilled by what was one of my two favorite dishes--a perfect version of truffled polenta topped with mushrooms. I've never tasted anything quite so smooth and rich and indulgent. I can only wonder what they could have done with true risotto.

Scott Conant, the chef, jokes that his customers often gripe about the price of his signature dish, spaghetti with tomato and basil ($26, if I noted correctly), but with one bite it's apparent how much love and hard work goes into making these simple ingredients shine. It's mindblowing, really--there's no real sense of a sauce, rather, everything is coated in aromas and perfectly manipulated textures. From the thick, hearty bite of the noodles to the tender acidity of the tomato and the heady nose of the basil, this dish is a melange of common flavors brought to their best selves. I left wishing for more, and wondering what on earth I could do to replicate it at home. Just tomato and basil, right? Duh.

The capretto, another signature dish, was forgettable--a bit on the dry side, and lacking in any memorable flavors. A sirloin steak, not usually on the menu, was tender and buttery, with a light sauce borrowing flavors from this season's favorite vegetable: the ramp. Desserts were solid, with a chocolate-based parfait and a banana budino served with pecan gelatto. My recommendation? Just go for an appetizer (polenta, preferably) and a bowl of pasta--no matter how good the rest is, it's what you'll come away remembering and savoring regardless of what else you decide to eat with it.

Scarpetta is located at 355 W 14 St., near 9th Ave. Click here for more info.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Recipe Lust -- Flavors of South America

Probably since February, when I took a single day off (unpaid) to celebrate Valentine's Day with TWB, I've been waiting and waiting for my first paid vacation. After more than six months of working, I finally decided to take it over Memorial Day, so that my 1 vacation day can combine with my 1 holiday day for what will feel like an uber special treat. It's not a lot, but it's what we have to work with in this new "real" world. What I'm getting at is that I've been thinking about the comforts of home quite a bit in anticipation of my trip, and even the slightest references to Miami or Latin cooking get me started. Maybe that's why this recipe was just shouting out at me this week--it looks healthy and cost-effective (especially when considering that I have pre-marinated chicken from TJ's to fit the bill), and it really reminds me of the flavors of home--especially because I'm imagining it served with a big ol' hunk of avocado.

Click here for the full recipe, and enjoy!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Food Porn

It's official--forget the bahn mi, forget swine flu, forget bacon! It's ice cream season! The blogs are abuzz with recipes for the first batches of the season, and though I've already dug up articles on how to make ice cream sans a machine (see here), I'm just dying to save myself the trouble (and find some extra storage space somewhere! anywhere! maybe under the bed?) by getting one of these:
a Cuisinart Flavor Duo Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker... Swoooooon.

But since that's not in the cards right now, here are some old and charming photos of my favorite ice cream parlor, Jaxson's, in Dania Beach, FL... I'm craving a kitchen sink (or something like it) bigtime!