Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sweet Popcorn

My roommate and I love popcorn.
It's a reliable and somewhat healthy snack, which has a way of making me feel like I'm fourteen again. I close my eyes and see myself in sweats curled up on the couch—with a friend and a giant bowl resting on my lap. Nothing to worry about, except finishing the popcorn too fast, when school is canceled because of the brutal Texas "winter storm"...

Naturally, on our first visit to Union Square market my roommate and I decided to buy a bag of white kernels. Over the past few weeks, we've made a few batches of plain popcorn. But, it wasn't until last Monday did we decide to step outside the realm of lightly-salted popcorn to make kettle corn. Earlier that day I found a great recipe for this crunchy sweet and savory confection. Some of the popcorn pieces were heavily caramelized with sugar, which made for a sweet surprise.

Ah, there's nothing like the warm scent of sugary popcorn wafting through the air...

*note: the picture does not do the delicious popped kernels justice. trust me when i say...this recipe is FANTASTIC!


Yesterday I sat in an important meeting with some fellow interns and the California Fig Advisory Board. We sampled Black Mission figs (dried and fresh), dried Calimyrna figs, Mediterranean fig chutney and chocolate covered figs. The world of figs is beautiful, flowery and quite sweet. The fig industry means serious business and I am frank when I say that figs should be in everyones kitchen. This fruit, which looks like an inverted pink-colored flower when breaking through the skin, is fiber-filled and tastes like a rich honey confection.

Chocolate is just one ingredient, which beautifully compliments this amazing fruit. This dessert is absolutely mind-blowing! It is perfect for cocktail parties or for any day of the week.

Chocolate Covered Figs (recipe from California Fig Advisory Board):

4 whole California fresh figs with stems
Fine sea salt, as needed
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Wash and dry figs. Dust lightly with salt; set aside.
Measure chocolate chips into microwavable bowl. Microwave on High for 30 seconds and stir.
Microwave on High for 30 more seconds and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
Holding the fig by the stem, dip in melted chocolate and set on wax paper-lined tray.
Let stand until chocolate is set.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


my buds scream for this ice cream...

"Going out" for me, in the big city, means eating out. So a couple of weeks ago, I went out with two of my good friends. After eating a lovely Italian meal, they were craving a nice piece of cake. I had my heart said on ice cream...typical. Walking around for about twenty minutes we stumbled upon a bakery, where they indulged in marvelous yellow cake with pink frosting. Yes, I had a bite. After finishing that piece of cake I grabbed a business card (so I wouldn't forget the name of the bakery) and we continued to walk around. Well, it didn't take long before I set my eyes on an ice cream store called Cones. With a line out the door, I knew their frozen dessert had to be good. We waited and a few minutes later, I ordered a cup of coffee chocolate chip ice cream. The coffee flavor was very precise and the texture was like a balance between gelato and ice cream. The chocolate specks added a nice touch to the fine flavor. I am not lying or exaggerating when I say this—it was the BEST ice cream I have ever had in the United States. This is saying a lot, considering there are thousands of ice cream stores and brands. You may not call me an "expert," but I have had my fair share of ice cream—enough to tell you that next time you visit New York, you MUST go to the West Village for a cone. I've already been back twice since my first visit.

During my last ice cream run, I learned that the owners are Argentinean. When the "apprentice" pointed out the owner/inventor of this amazing ice cream, I immediately ran up to him and poured out my compliments. He modestly said, "Thank you" and went back to the giant mixer.

Cones $$$ (cash only)
272 Bleecker Street New York, NY 10014
(212) 414-1795
Open Mon-Thu,Sun 1pm-11pm; Fri-Sat 1pm-1am

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Unforgettable at Delmonico's

My grandfather's favorite dessert is a Baked Alaska. Knowing that made planning out my day, with my grandparents, much easier...
A few days ago, I remembered reading that Delmonico's was the place to go for a Baked Alaska. Delmonico's is no ordinary restaurant. Given its history of housing the elite high rollers and only the most fabulous people (including my great grandmother), I knew going to it would be an event. Well, it was more than that. Walking through the big doors, my eyes widened. It was like walking into a dream. Walking to our table in the bar, I couldn't help but look around at the beautiful portraits, classy tables, gold chandeliers and well-dressed men and women laughing as they wait for their food. Since we were only there for dessert, we were seated in the bar area. I was okay with long as our baked alaska exceeded my expectations.
As we waited for our fine delicacy, I watched the men in suits and business attire order drinks while standing around the bar. It was right out of an old movie. I saw our waiter bringing a plate towards us. There it was— our beautiful meringue and banana ice cream combination. It was love at first sight and love at first bite. Seriously it looked like a beautiful piece of art and the taste was seriously good. The banana gelato and the walnut cake were rich and sweet, but not to the extreme. It was just right. What a way to celebrate this fine dessert—in good company at Delmonico's.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Laduree and the Macaron

The way the French say "macaron" does not, at all, sound like the English interpretation "Macaroon." Nor is this dessert anything like the typical coconut macaroon you can find in a can at your local grocery store. This dessert is seriously transcending. Since I knew I was going to the famous Laduree (a Parisian 'tea salon' specializing in this french treat), I had to try a macaron at a local shop first so that I could compare. I really enjoyed my first chocolate macaron, with its chewy chocolate filling sandwiched between two impressive meringue cookies. But, I had no idea what was coming. The next day, we arrived at Laduree in the morning and waited in line for this specialty. The salon was so beautiful, with warm gold and pink colors covering ever inch of the walls and floor. I felt like I was in a dream. I got three mini ones— chocolate (to compare to the traditional macaron I first tried), vanilla and pistachio. I took the chocolate macaron, closed my eyes and went for it. The texture of the meringue was not too hard which made for a clean eating experience (that's always a plus for me). The flavors began bursting in my mouth as my spirits, which were already high, lifted. When I got to the ganache, the soft and creamy filling, I realized why Laduree was so famous. Out of the three flavors I tried, vanilla was probably my favorite since it had little specks of the vanilla bean in the filling. If you ever make your way to Paris, you MUST have a macaron (or three) at Laduree.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

j'adore paris

Patisseries and boulangeries on every street ('rue' would be more appropriate) sounds like an ideal world. Welcome to Paris. My favorite breakfast treat when I was in Paris was a pain au chocolat— a chocolate croissant, with the perfect balance of butter, flour and chocolate...better than you can ever imagine. I wasn't my typical mess when eating this treat because the croissant wasn't too flaky (like the ones that fall apart in your hands or the ones that are too soft it's like eating a stick of butter...aka the poor attempts of Americans to recreate the French pastry). If there are laws for crossing the street, there needs to be a law for bakeries in America. It seems like quality of ingredients is top priority in Paris— at least in the pastry shops and bakeries. I propose a change in the government. There should be a committee of special tasters, which would include the best chefs from every country and a few obsessive foodies to go around to American eateries (just to be sure they are providing us citizens with the best food). Can you imagine waking up every morning knowing that in twenty minutes you will be eating a beautiful perfectly-baked, pain au chocolat? (sigh) If only.

dearest readers

okay, so my blog is taking a temporary turn...i have had a whirlwind of a month— traveling through europe and now settling in new york city. i'm interning at Saveur magazine and enjoying all of the wonderful food and markets this city has to offer. anyhow my posts will be shorter, but hopefully just as sweet.


the confectionist