Category Archives: Living

Hot Off the Presses

Custom-designed letterpress business cards printed by The Mandate Press.

In celebration of the two-month anniversary of this little blog, Ryan and I treated ourselves to a little something fun.

The past two months of writing and photographing our adventures have been incredible, to say the least. We are more in love with New York than ever, more in love with each other than ever, and more in love with blogging than ever. (Except for the fact that I now need a new external hard drive to store all of the photos we’ve taken!)

We get so excited for every new adventure, every new post, and every new comment. So, for those of you who have been reading from the start (and even those of you who are new), thank you for your continued support and feedback. We have a lot more exciting things planned for this space (more giveaways, anyone?) and quite frankly, we can’t wait!

Anyway, back to our anniversary gift.

Letterpress business cards printed by The Mandate Press.

With the help of the lovely folks at The Mandate Press, we designed and ordered letterpress business cards. They just arrived yesterday and they are beautiful.

If you need anything (anything!) printed, please take a look at Mandate. They were fantastic to work with and their portfolio makes me drool. I mean, just look at this incredible announcement.

These cards will make things so much easier to explain the next time someone asks us why we’re taking pictures of them on the beach (see Rockaway Beach), photographing every single dish of a tasting menu (see Eleven Madison Park), wandering into a Bushwick warehouse to drink moonshine (see Kings Country Distillery), or creeping along the sidelines of a polo field (see Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic).

To many, many more years of happy blogging!

– Laura

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A Daily Dinner: Portobello Quesadillas with Corn

Portobello Mushroom Quesadillas and Corn and Avocado Salad

Before I get into this week’s Daily Dinner, Ryan and I would like to share some exciting news with you all.

Last week’s Daily Dinner post, the lamb chops with tomatoes and olives, was selected as Foodista’s Food Blog of the Day for today!

This was entirely unexpected but we’re totally flattered, so if you’re visiting from Foodista, welcome! We hope you’ll stick around and read more.

Fresh Corn on the Cob

This week’s dinner was inspired by two things: the heat and tasty summer produce.

Now that the mercury has fully risen here in New York City, I find myself craving cool, fresh salads and seeking out recipes that involve very little (if any) use of the stove top. (And I definitely avoid the oven at all costs!)

Luckily, these two goals are fairly easy to accomplish, thanks to the fact that summer produce is often so good that it needs very little cooking.

Like I mentioned in our last post, we’re huge fans of FreshDirect and have been really impressed with the quality of their produce, much of which is locally-sourced.

Fresh Portobello Mushrooms

This week, our delivery included some amazing portobello mushrooms that looked like they were just pulled from the soil, the juiciest, sweetest corn I’ve ever had, and buttery ripe avocados.

These great things came together to make two of the best summer dishes you’ll ever make. Each has just three ingredients, give or take, and one of them requires absolutely no cooking. None.

The Ingredients: Portobello Mushrooms, Corn and Pepper Jack Cheese

Grilled Portobello Quesadillas
Adapted from RealSimple.com

2 large portobello mushrooms
2 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 8″ flour tortillas
1 c. grated pepper Jack cheese

1. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil over medium heat in skillet. Season mushrooms with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
2. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes per side; thinly slice.
3. Heat remaining 1 tbsp. of oil over medium heat in skillet. Form 4 quesadillas with the tortillas, mushrooms, and cheese. Cook in the pan until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crisp, 1 to 3 minutes per side.

Corn and Avocado Salad
Adapted from RealSimple.com

3 ears of fresh corn
1 avocado, pitted and chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 green jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the corn.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the corn with the avocado, scallions, jalapeño, oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Portobello Mushroom Quesadillas and Corn and Avocado Salad

Could those two recipes be any easier? Together, that’s my idea of a perfect summer meal.

The mushrooms were juicy and flavorful and I loved the extra kick from the pepper jack cheese. As for the salad, let’s just say that we fought over who got to eat the leftovers!

What are some of your favorite summer recipes?

– Laura

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Rockaway Beach’s New Wave

A red and white bullseye beach umbrella at Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York.

One of my favorite parts of summer is taking the ‘A’ train out to Rockaway Beach in Queens.

I love watching the huge waves continuously crash against the shore and seeing all the surfers who come to ride them. It’s a relaxing escape from the city without even leaving its limits.

The weather today was slightly overcast and a bit chilly, but as you can see, that didn’t stop people from enjoying the Rockaway’s charms.

People crowd the beach on a Wednesday afternoon at Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York.

A man builds a sand castle along Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York.

Typically I pack a little lunch for myself since most of the concessions usually involve fluorescent yellow cheese or dirty water hot dogs.

This year, however, the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach has been taken over by some of the best vendors in the city.

Blue Bottle Coffee along the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York.

San Francisco-based Blue Bottle Coffee opened up shop at Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York, for summer 2011.

Blue Bottle's drip coffee at their Rockaway Beach, Queens, location.

I was particularly excited when I heard that San Francisco-based Blue Bottle Coffee was setting up a beachfront shop. Their New Orleans-style iced coffee is the most perfect drink for the beach.

Caracas at Rockaway Beach serves up arepas, micheladas and more.

They share their airy space with the East Village empanada joint Caracas. Caracas is serving up arepas and tangy micheladas in addition to bean and cheese or fish empanadas.

A michelada from Caracas at Rockaway Beach.

Just a few doors down is Rockaway Taco, the vendor who started this Rockaway revitalization.

Rippers at Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York

Rippers, a Rockaway Beach collaboration between Brooklyn's Roberta's and The Meat Hook.

One of our favorite restaurants has even been sucked into the surf, so to speak.

Roberta’s has teamed up with The Meat Hook to open Rippers, a surf shop meets burger joint that serves up twisted takes on concessions of yore. Go here for your hot dogs, but they won’t be rotating on a rusty grill all afternoon.

If you get a chance to head out that way, don’t forget your appetite along with your sunscreen.

– Ryan

A cook at Rippers in Rockaway Beach, Queens, prepares fresh French fries.

A surfer holds his surf board at Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York

 A "Fish Boat" from Motorboat and the Big Banana

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Perfect for the Weekend: Papalo Guacamole

Ingredients for Guacamole

On Friday, my good friend (and chef) Billy Barlow gave me a small leafy herb to experiment with over the weekend. Before I even knew what it was, I noticed that it had a very pungent aroma that smelled slightly of soap, and that it tasted like a stronger version of cilantro.

“It’s papalo!” he told me—certainly not something you find at just any greenmarket around town. Indeed, Billy had sourced his from Blooming Hill Farm in New Jersey.

Intrigued by the herb’s peculiar flavor, I got Billy to give me a few clumps of the exotic herb to throw in something at home. “A little goes a long way,” he warned me as he gave me just a few leaves.

Once I got home, Laura and I talked about how we wanted to use it. It was a nice summer day outside, so considering that and the fact that we are both Texans by birth, we decided the only thing it could rightly be used in was guacamole.

Fresh Avocados for Guacamole

Deseeding a Jalapeño

Laura had told me that her dad, in addition to being a badass cyclist (see photo), makes a mean guacamole, so I left the prep work and mixing up to her, but it’s really pretty simple: a few avocados, mashed together with chopped onion, jalapeño, tomato and cilantro (or papalo, in our case).

The Beginnings of Guacamole

Billy was right about a little going a long way–the few leaves we used were more than enough to add a new flavor to an old standby.

Easy Homemade Guacamole

Using papalo in place of cilantro definitely yielded a different guacamole than we were used to, but it wasn’t a bad thing at all. The papalo’s sharp taste seemed to cut right through the jalepeño’s spice to create what we determined was an almost floral note.

Sitting on the Fire Escape

Along with a couple of margaritas, we sat out on our fire escape and enjoyed our new creation while thinking up other ways to use our newfound herbaceous friend.

Have a safe and fun holiday weekend!

– Ryan

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A Daily Dinner: Lamb Chops with Tomatoes and Olives

Daily Dinner: Lamb with Tomatoes and Olives

It might seem shocking given what we write about, but believe it or not, Ryan and I eat at home most nights.

We’re completely and utterly in love with FreshDirect and the greenmarket and typically eat at least four meals a week at home.

We try to keep our weekly menus focused on seasonal ingredients and I also like to mix up proteins. For example, last week, we had bluefish, lamb (which you’ll see here), pork chops, and a meatless pasta dish.

Fresh Australian Lamb Loin Chops

We both particularly liked this dish, so I figured I’d share it here, as I hope to do with some of our future meals. Lamb is my personal favorite protein and I’m lucky that Ryan likes it as much as I do! We prefer ours quite rare (almost still “baa”-ing, even), but if you like a more well-done product, you can simply increase my recommended cooking times by a minute or two.

Before I get to the recipe, I also want to mention a funny little side dish that we ate with this meal: purslane.

Purslane from the Greenmarket

I picked it up at my office’s greenmarket, not really certain of what it was. After a little bit of Internet research, I discovered that it’s a tenacious little weed that many gardeners spend lots of money and time trying to get rid of!

Of course, it also happens to be very nutrient rich and quite tasty. I ate some raw, but for our meal, I blanched it for a few minutes and then sautéed it in some parmesan butter I had mixed up earlier in the week.

When it’s cooked, it has a slight crunch that then yields to an almost okra-like texture. Cooking it also mellows out the flavor, which is why I liked having a little extra kick from the parmesan and the butter.

If you see some at your market, I highly recommend it as a nutritious leafy green. It seems like it can be prepared quite similarly to spinach or chard or arugula or any other salad green, so I look forward to experimenting with it further. If you try it, let me know what works for you.

Lamb with Tomatoes and Olives

…And with that, I digress. Here’s the recipe for our delicious one-pot lamb, tomato and olive dish:

Lamb Chops with Tomatoes and Olives
Adapted from Real Simple

1 tbsp. olive oil
2 2″-thick lamb loin chops
1 tsp. paprika
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 shallots, quartered
2 tomatoes, quartered
1/4 c. pitted kalamata olives
1/4 c. flat-leaf parsley, torn

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Season lamb with paprika, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
3. Add shallots to the skillet, transfer to oven, and cook lamb to the desired doneness, about 6 minutes for rare.
4. Add tomatoes, olives, and parsley to the skillet, with lamb, and toss with the shallots to combine.

Simple, right?

We don’t have a particularly elaborate kitchen (in fact, it’s actually a pretty big downgrade from my previous kitchen in Dallas) but it hasn’t stopped me from making anything that I want to make. We have, oh, perhaps five pots and pans of various sizes, one roasting pan/baking sheet combo, a colander, a few bowls and utensils, and that’s about it.

Fresh Purslane and Lamb

But, I can tell you with certainty: that’s all it takes to make healthy, delicious meals at home.

– Laura

(P.S. Have you “liked” us on Facebook yet?)

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