Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Banana and Tomatillo Salsa and Marinated Peppers on Cheesy Corn Meal Cakes

This is the simple vegetarian version of the recipe. It can be turned into a nice ceviche by adding very fresh finely chopped white fish or sea scallops to the salsa. Cilantro is also a nice addition as is a dollop of sour cream or a crumbled of queso fresco.


2 medium size tomatillos, finely chopped
2 bananas, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 small white onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 Tbns olive oil

Marinated Peppers
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbns white wine vinegar

Cornmeal Cakes
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups water
4 tbspns butter
1/2 cup or more of shredded cheddar cheese
Pinch of cumin


Cornmeal Cakes
Pre heat oven to 425 F

Bring water along with salt and butter to a boil.

Stir in cornmeal and cumin.

Should be thick but smooth. If too thick then add more water.

Finish with cheese.

Form 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch wide disks by hand and place on a buttered sheet tray.

Bake in oven for approximately 10 minutes or till light brown on bottom then flip and let opposite side brown for 3-5 minutes. Let cool on rack.

Combine ingredients and adjust seasonings.

Marinated Bell Peppers
Combine ingredients and adjust seasonings.

Top cornmeal cakes with salsa then with bell pepper marinade

Recipe and Photos by guest blogger Jasmine Hibbitt

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Nanaimo Bar

Nanaimo Bars come from British Columbia and it is one of Canada's favorite confections. Based on factual information from the City of Nanaimo’s website and online research, all began when a Nanaimo housewife entered a recipe for chocolate squares in a magazine contest nearly 35 years ago. She called her recipe 'Nanaimo Bars' and when she won the contest, her dessert became popular throughout Canada, but also the town they were named after. These no-bake, three layered bars are famous for a reason, they are delicious. They start with a crumb, cookie-like base, followed by a layer of light custard buttercream, and the crowning glory is a smooth and glossy layer of semi sweet chocolate. 

The base layer is a balanced combination of graham cracker crumbs (or digestive biscuits if you prefer), mixed with chopped nuts, cocoa powder and dried coconut held together with melted butter.

Once this mixture is pressed into a square pan and chilled it is then covered with a rich layer of buttercream made of butter, confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, custard powder (or vanilla pudding powder), and a little milk. 

(Extra information: an important part of this buttercream is the dried custard powder, which was the invention of an Englishman, named Alfred Bird. The custard powder is not readily available in the US, therefore, it can be replaced with vanilla pudding powder). 

The finishing touch to these squares is a coating of shiny semisweet or bittersweet chocolate that provides a slight crunch as you bite into them. Because chocolate is one of the more dominant flavors, make sure to use a good quality chocolate that you enjoy eating out-of-hand. Once the melted chocolate is poured over the buttercream layer and has been left to set, cut the squares with a sharp knife.

There are plenty of recipes and variations of the Nanaimo Bars. In fact, when the City of Nanaimo ran a contest back in 1986 to find the 'ultimate' Nanaimo Bar, there were about 100 recipes submitted.  The middle layer is often replaced by peanut butter, cream cheese, cappuccino flavored mix, mint or even ice cream! And white chocolate can be used on top. To get the legendary recipe, visit the City of Nanaimo's website.

Personal comments after trying the bar: it is tasty, crunchy and creamy and very fatty. Moderate bites is a  must-do! And in New York, you can get them surely at Tim Hortons.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Voyeur Opening this Saturday

Come enjoy wine, snacks, and great art at the Voyeur Opening this Saturday! 

168 7th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11215
 Saturday, June 25th from 6pm.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cooking Channel's First Birthday

Ben Sargent

Nadia G

The Cooking Channel  celebrated their one year anniversary on Tuesday.  Cooking Channel stars, namely Nadia G of “Bitchin’ Kitchen”, Kelsey Nixon of “Kelsey’s Essentials”, Ben Sargent of “Hook, Line and Dinner” and Rachael Ray of course, all appeared in front of the colorful and festive l' Arte Del Gelato truck which was giving out raspberry flavored gelato. Happy birthday Cooking Channel!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rachel Saunders of The Blue Chair Fruit Company

Visit Williams-Sonoma store for a special book signing and cooking demonstration with Rachel Saunders of The Blue Chair Fruit Company. She will be signing copies of her cookbook, The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook.

When: 11 am, Saturday, June 18th
Where: Williams-Sonoma Columbus Circle, 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY, 10019

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Amsterdam Market

Every Sunday 
11am - 4pm
South St. between Beekman St. and Peck Slip
Rain or Shine  

On Sunday, June 12th, alongside the usual roster of your favorite vendors, Wild Gourmet Food will make their monthly appearance at the Market and they're bringing special guest chef David Hoene to provide samples of dishes made from wild foods gathered by Nova Kim and Les Hook, including wild ginger cheesecake and both sweet and savory versions of wild milkweed buds tempura.   

Visit for information about vendors and events.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sud de France Festival in New York

The Sud de France Festival kicked off on Monday, June 6th at the Frying Pan, a boat docked at Pier 66 in Manhattan. Music, dance, food and of course, wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon area were the highlights of the hot and entertaining evening. The Festival will last the entire month of June and for the calendar of the events click here. Amongst others, wine aficionados will have the chance to attend wine seminars and tastings, participate in exclusive parties and experience food, wine and culture from the South of France.

It's cheese!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Ralph Lauren and InStyle invitation

InStyle Magazine and Ralph Lauren invite you to a summer celebration event at the Lauren Home Gallery, Lord & Taylor on June 16th from 6pm to 8pm. Cocktails, tips and gifts will be also offered!

RSVP here:

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Milk Street Cafe Preview

Boston-based restaurant and catering company, Milk Street Cafe, hosted a private preview event last night at their soon-to-be opened New York City location in the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street.  Unlike their Boston outpost, the Manhattan space will introduce a brand new concept for the company: a 23,000 square foot ‘food hall’ featuring a high-end selection of gourmet cuisine with an international scope.  

The 15,000 square foot kitchen will include a barista station, made-to-order breakfasts, made-from-scratch breads, desserts and pastries, pasta bar, Asian specialties, sushi bar, two create-your-own salad bars (one vegetarian, one not), homemade soups, a grill, a rotisserie and a carving station.  The diverse menu is the brainchild of Executive Chef, Steven Mettle. 

According to the restaurant's owner, Marc Epstein, it's all about the customer experience at Milk Street. Keeping that in mind, the space will introduce all kinds of innovations such as Produce Soak Sinks (they will be the first in NYC to install a sophisticated whirlpool system for cleaning fruits and vegetables), Flat Technology tables (making it the first NYC restaurant to use this new invention from Australia), Line Busters (a hand held checkout system to speed-up the payment process for those using credit cards), and a website that will allow customers to sort by dietary needs (ie: if a customer is vegan, it will automatically eliminate all non-vegan items from the menu).

At the preview event, guests were treated to guided-tours of the space, interviews with the owner, as well as select hors d'oeuvres based off of the menu like brushetta and risotto, fresh sushi and sashimi, and specialty dessert smoothies like strawberry-banana, vanilla bean, and mocha espresso.  
Stay tuned for the grand opening on June 23rd. The Milk Street Cafe Food Hall will hold an event for the public from 10am-11am, including the ringing of the "opening bell" and complimentary coffee and cookies.  

So, if you work downtown or you plan a visit near Wall Street, a stop at the Street Milk Cafe will be a nice and tasty break.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Shopping at Lord & Taylor and Allure

For an early start, don't miss the shopping event on Saturday, June 11th at 8am!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Open Air Street Fair

Join Housing Works for the annual outdoor tradition as Open Air Street Fair kicks off the season. This festive all-day shopping bazaar features thousands of books, movies, CDs, and records on sale for $1 or less. Shoppers will also enjoy discounts on clothes and accessories as well as beer, barbecue, and live music. Festivities will take place June 5th at 10am on the quaint cobblestone Crosby Street outside of the Bookstore Café with performances by the Darlings, Dinosaur Feathers, Friends, Grand Rapids and The Woes.

When: Sunday, June 05, 2011, 10:00am EDT
Where: Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby Street

Art Walk 2011

In addition to the Atlantic Avenue ArtWalk artists studio tour, work from over 300 artists across a range of media will be on view during the weekend. ArtWalk will take place rain or shine. Events during ArtWalk include public art, participatory projects, artist receptions and artist talks, music, film screenings, readings, workshops, demonstrations, and much more. Click here for  locations, maps and times:

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Plates of food

The Memorial Day Weekend is behind us but here are my culinary highlights. Look, imagine and why not, prepare yourselves!

Strawberry Daiquiri
Iranian Crunchy Rice
Iranian Rice