Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chicken Thighs In Moroccan Spice Date Sauce (with a twist)

If you recall from one of my previous posts, I had done some research into a Moroccan spice blend and promised to try to make something once I had said blend put together. I managed to get most of the ingredients for this blend together so I thought I would give it a run with some boneless chicken thighs. I altered the sauce a bit by giving it a Canadian Twist Nadia G style by adding Maple syrup instead of honey. Here is the recipe:

Chicken Thighs in Moroccan Date Sauce

5-6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBSP Nydia's Moroccan Spice Blend (See recipe below)
5 Cardamom Pods
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
10 Dates (pitted if possible)

Nydia's Modified Moroccan Spice Blend

2 tsp Ground Ginger Powder
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground All Spice
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 tsp Tumeric Powder
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Anise Seeds (crushed)
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

Preheat oven to 380 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your oven rack is centered in the oven.

Place your chicken thighs in a large resealable bag (ziplock bag as it is know to US natives), adding in the minced garlic, 2 TBSP of the olive oil and the 2 TBSP of the Moroccan spice blend and make sure to mix all the ingredients well to evenly coat the chicken thighs. Let the thighs marinade in this mixture until you are ready to use them.

In the meantime in a dutch oven or flame proof casserole heat the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil at medium high heat and add the cardamom pods allowing them to roast for about 5 minutes. (Remember to crack the pods just a bit otherwise they will not render their flavor)

Add in the chicken thighs (making sure to let everything in the bag drip into the dutch oven/casserole) and sear slightly on top and bottom.

Add in the chicken stock, maple syrup and dates, and allowing the ingredients to get heated to a boil.

Cover the dutch oven/casserole and transfer from the stove top into the oven. Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes to 1hr making sure to check every 15 minutes to make sure that the liquid has not reduced too much (You should have enough liquid in the pot to allow for a generous amount of sauce. If you notice the liquid is drying up add a little more chicken stock).

Serve with some rice and roasted vegetables and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No Fuss Filet Mignon

I know that to most the mention of filet mignon immediately is associated with a high price mark, and complicated cooking. Rest at ease and breathe and for Pete's sake get those notions out of you head. Yes, the cut of meat can sometimes carry a high price, but to the trained food shopper this should not be an obstacle. Often enough if you keep your eyes open you can find it at a special price at your store, all this requires is just a bit of patience and an opportunistic instinct on your part. This week I was able to benefit from both of these qualities and scored us a nice piece of tenderloin.

The next factor that gets in the way of us regular shmoes in making this delectable dish has to do with being intimidated by the notion of an improperly cooked filet mignon. Thankfully enough it is really not complicated at all, so if you have been staying away from making this because of fear of screwing it up breathe and get ready to make this for yourself and your loved ones. Just remember this little pointer, in order for your meat to cook evenly make sure that it is at room temperature by the time you are ready to cook.

Simple Filet Mignon with Mushroom Sauce

For the Filet Mignon:
1 lb Beef Tenderloin (Divided into 4 even pieces)
Salt for seasoning (use sparingly)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the Mushroom Sauce:
1 Pack Crimini Mushrooms (clean and thinly slice)
2 TBSP Salted Butter
1/4 Cup Flour (sifted)
1/2 Cup Milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large frying pan heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan at medium high heat.

Take your meat medallions and rub them with salt but do not over do it as you do not want a salty filet mignon.

once the oil is hot place your meat in the pan and cook for about 5 - 8 minutes per side (5 if you want it to be rare and 8 if you want your meat a bit more cooked). (Oh and to clarify by side I only mean you cook the top and the bottom, not including the actual sides).

Remove your meat from the pan onto a baking dish and place either aluminum foil or place the dish in a warm oven (350 degrees fahrenheit) while you make the simple mushroom sauce.

to make the mushroom sauce you will start by deglazing the pan where you cooked the meat with the butter, immediately adding the sliced mushrooms and coating them with the butter. Add the sifted flour in slowly to prevent it from forming clumps. Slowly add in the milk and stir until the ingredients are all well distributed and the mushrooms have had a chance to render their taste and have become soft. Add in the salt and pepper to taste. This step should only take you 5 minutes.

Once your sauce is ready plate your filet mignon and top it off with the sauce. If you don't want the sauce then don't waste your time with it and enjoy your meat.


If you do the math this making filet mignon at home will be relatively inexpensive. Typically a pound of tenderloin will give you about 4 nice pieces of filet mignon. If you were to go to a restaurant like Ruth's Chris one filet mignon will come to about $60-70 (without the sides and beverages). The price I got my tenderloin for was about $15, and even when it is not on special this cut of meat is about $18-20 a pound. Thus by making it at home you will not only save yourself money but you will also get it cooked how you want it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Googa Mooga Update

Alright Peeps this event is getting closer and closer and my expectations of it are increasing by the minute. They have been adding some really great restaurants to their roster like Craft New York, Crif Dogs, Dinosaur BBQ.... well you get the idea. It is going to be packed with great food and word is that they are releasing their music line up on the 23rd.

Now here is some information that may make some of you out there, who were not able to get in on the early registration for tickets very happy. Their General ticket registration is due to open on Tuesday April 24th and I am guessing that it will be as much of a frenzy as the early registration was. So those of you out there hopping to get in on this better set your alarms and get your computers ready. I wish you all the best of luck.

Should you need more information visit The Great Googa Mooga Official website.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I know what you must be thinking, "Sliders? Whaaaat?" Yeah I know that most of the peeps that would consider themselves foodies would not really think of sliders as a valid food, but that would be those who think that being a foodie implies being a snob, and that my friends would invalidate the whole premise of the foodie (a lover of food). However I can understand why some would turn their noses up at the sight of the term slider, because most often it is associated with either White Castle or with bar food. Consider this though, you can make your own sliders for the sole purpose of satisfying a burger craving without having to eat a behemoth form of it. In this guise the slider is something that can be seen in a great light by accomplishing two goals; flavor and satisfaction.

As you may recall I was at a butchery class at the Mosner warehouse recently. One of the perks of being at said class was having access to products only available to either restaurants or food stores, and my husband and I decided to take advantage and get some stuff amongst which was a package of great quality ground beef. And what did we make with that beef? Yeah, sliders.All we did was season the meat with some salt and minced garlic and we got ourselves a great meal that was the prefect size and that was satisfying. We caramelized onions and sliced some grape tomatoes to add in and accompanied them with some baked french "fries" and it was delicious. If you, like me, love hamburgers but not the over bloated feeling you get after eating one then this is a great way to get the best of everything. Here are some pictures of the ones we made.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Food Trucks and Anthony Bourdain - Oh Happy Day!!!

It is April and here in New York we are experiencing summer temperatures (well at least this week). Another wonderful set of events to add to my hubris are the return of the Food Truck Rally Sunday at Prospect Park and a brand spanking new season of Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations (I have seriously missed that surly man).

Anywhoo, I am happy and rightly so because there is no better way to spend a Sunday than taking a long walk that just happens to take you to a paradise of food on wheels. This time my husband and I decided to try something new so for our main course we gave the Pera truck a try because their claim to fame are Turkish tacos and that made us feel a bit curious about what we would be getting. I stood on line for almost half an hour but the wait was well worth it because what I found was some really wonderful and satisfying food. I ordered one of each of their three tacos to share with my husband. The flavors were beef brisket, lavender honey chicken and eggplant croquette with summer squash.

The first one we tried was the lavender honey chicken taco. It was flavorful with a slight hint of the lavender which was more than enough. I found the flavor combination between the savory and sweet very refreshing and delicious. It was something that I had never had before and that I was truly happy to have tried. The Eggplant croquette with summer squash was wonderful because it combined a sweetness from the vegetables with a salty aspect of the cheese (I believe it was feta). It was well executed and made us want to go back for more (if it wasn't for the though of having to line up behind a mob deterring us). The beef brisket taco was what would be expected of brisket, just tasty, tender and all sorts of good. I am having a hard time describing the flavors on these three tacos because there were quite a few elements and I could not pin point exactly what the spices were, but I really don't care what they were because the end result was delicious and made me feel glad to have the fortune of getting food like that served in an unpretentious atmosphere. It was blissful.

Here are some pictures of the food trucks, starting with Pera and the three tacos we enjoyed.

 Lavender Honey Chicken Taco

 Eggplant Croquette and Summer Squash Taco

 Beef Brisket Taco

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dewey's Candy Shoppe - Nostalgia in Sugar Form

While my mother was in town we did a lot of walking around so she could get to know our favorite places to go in Brooklyn. Naturally DUMBO was an area I thought she would enjoy. While there we came across Dewey's Candy located on Front Street by the Manhattan Bridge overpass. I love this store because it is a great mix of old timey sweets as well as novelty stuff that will appeal to young and old. Alison Oblonsky is the owner of this store which came into being in January 1st 2010. She is a warm and energetic lady and you can tell that she loves what she is doing. This was a really great find because now my head is filled with ideas of great party favors and just neat treats I can send out to all the kiddies in the family. I definitely recommend you check it out, and please remember KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT OF THE JARS (No one wants to share cooties). Here are some more pictures of some of the treats you can find at this Willy Wonka Factory like shop.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Couleur Cafe - Great Coffee and French Sweets

Today was another beautifully warm day which I was hell bent on enjoying even if I had to stay up late working the night before. I took the munchkin to the park and treated myself to a nice walk because all these wonderful meals I post about would have me weighing at 300pounds if I was not privileged enough to live in a very walkable city. I had an ulterior motive for going walking though, and that was to discover what the eateries in our area have to offer.

some reason Couleur Cafe caught my eye this time around and since I had not been there before and was in dire need of a good coffee I decided that the time was appropriate to go in and give a local business some support. I am very glad to have tried them because the people who own and work at this establishment could be some of my new favorite people. They are unpretentious and fun and make you feel right at home. Oh and what my little one and I ate there was just wonderful. We decided to get some pastries to go and shared a very delicious chocolate mouse. I had a cafe au lait that made me feel nostalgic because I have not been able to get one like it since I lived in Jersey City (Madame Claude's and Marco and Pepe in the old down town area serve wonderful versions of this drink). The cafe has a very french atmosphere and it delivers on taste because their mousse and pastries are very well executed. I will be coming back for more (even if I have to go three times around the park every day for a week to exercise all the calories off). I definitely recommend you try them if you are in Park Slope or make it to Brooklyn. Here are some pictures to further entice you.

 Chocolate Mousse
 Wonderful Cafe au Lait
 Cool Decor
 Almond Chocolate Pastry
  Chocolate Croissant