an urban chick adventuring around

Passover 2014 - from soup to nuts (or from gefilte fish to chocolate puddle cookies).    Mom traveled up from Pennsylvania with her delicious chicken soup and matzo balls, her special faux chicken liver spread that everyone loves, and the kid’s personal favorite - gefilte fish & beet red horseradish.  Plus all the makings for the seder plate.   I experimented with this amazing tangy spiced brisket recipe via the smittenkitchen blog, my favorite charoset formula via Nigella from ‘Feast' involving loads of dried fruit, chestnuts, pine nuts, sweet wine, spices, applie, citrus zest & juice and loads of slow cooking.   Roasted potatoes.   And an asparagus salad with lemon vinaigrette from 'American Masala' by Suvir Savan.   A friend brought the perfect crunchy chopped salad.   We had fun with desserts including chocolate puddle cookies, buckwheat almond chocolate cake from Bea Peltre’s wonderful book (but since she doesn’t have original recipe online, here’s a tribute to it, and a rhubarb-strawberry compote with marsala wine & balsamic vinegar.   Of course there was ice cream and candied fruit slices (yum) and other nibbles.   A friend commented to me that she always makes two entrees for Pesach because, god forbid there’s not enough to eat.  Well we do that in spades on the dessert side of things in my house, it seems…

But nothing beat the leftover brisket the day after — mixed with egg noodles — for lunch.

Last weekend was filled with firsts.    First 5k event.   My vastly underwhelming running abilities clocked me in at just over 41 minutes (or over 13 minute/mile) but, hey, it was fun and for a great cause, in the company of a lovely person, and in a beautiful location.   Brooklyn Bridge Park looks good these days, baby, despite all the phased in construction happening in large swaths of it.  Totally wow views and gardens and public spaces.   The only bummer was having to take the subway there and back.  

But then I had the chance to hop back onto my new tangerine dream and head downtown with hubby the next day.  Another gorgeous spring morning.  We took the west side bikepath down to the Javits Center to check out the robotics competition.  Crazy stuff.  The kid had never been to one of these (he and a bunch of his teammates were charged with taking notes on other teams’ strengths & weaknesses to help suss out strategy for their school’s robot ).  It’s a whole ‘nother kind of culture at these kinds of events and it was fun to observe all the singing, dancing, shouting and mania for a while.  Then we split and headed back up the bike path to 44th Street where we veered over to 11th Avenue and the brand new Gotham West Market for a delicious round of tapas at ‘El Colmado.'  We staked out seats at the bar's southern end where we could tuck our folded bikes behind our comfy perches.  Enjoyed a nice little snack (or three), including croquetas de jamon, pulpo a la plancha and a delicious black rice number with squid, uni, avocado (!) and a dusting of freshly grated horseradish (sounded so odd but worked so well).    Discovered a wonderful outpost of a kitchenwares store in this fancy food mart, too - Brooklyn Kitchen - where I snatched up very reasonably priced glass storage jars I’d been coveting for a while.

Then back home for a snooze with Mici on the couch. 

Dulce Delight: Official Dulce Delight Trailer

Fun stuff! Love her take on things and the music is fab.

Still drawn to citrus and bright colors and flavors as we slowly haul out of the winter season.    Was trying to think of an easy, light dessert to make for tonight’s paella dinner, and searched my cookbooks for anything sweet with saffron in it.   Rejected saffron panna cotta (at least for now - so much heavy cream!) in a fancy dessert tome, but then stumbled upon saffron olive oil cookies in my trusty old (and kind of weird) workhorse, “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian."   Good reason to squeeze up some of the big CaraCara oranges from last week’s Costco run (after zesting them) and then use a generous pinch or two of saffron from the pretty tin that a dear friend gifted us recently.   I used just over half a cup of sugar (instead of 3/4 c. called for in recipe) and these came out like lovely little round light sunshine-y cakes.  

Last night we had one of my very very favorite dishes - tortilla española.   After years of trying different recipes, I now always turn to a Russian-American’s (!!) brilliant walk-through of how to make the most perfect and heavenly tortilla de patatas in the world.  I swear.   I am always grateful for every helpful step and explanation she provides and my copy of her ‘New Spanish Table' book is completely dogeared and falling apart (crappy binding) and dearly loved.

Last night we also came home to a lovely surprise on our doormat.  Two big ol’ cardboard boxes containing our new bikes - one in what I like to think of as tangerine dream (mine!) and one in marine blue (for the dude).   Time for an upgrade….and we are soon to embark on a little craiglist adventure as we work on selling our ivory and red ones, en cambio.

Hope to get in loads of good rides in 2014.

Made this cabbage (& onion & chistorra) torta on Saturday for the boys.   It’s quite substantial, what with the melty cheese inside and the all-butter pastry.    May try less cheese next time, a bit more chistorra and a lighter crust like the olive oil - saffron one from this post.  

But mighty tasty all the same - and works well as a warmed-up leftover, too.

    But definitely nap-inspiring cuisine, as Mici knows.

Celebrating the kid’s 16th this week.  Chocolate raspberry pavlova.

2014 PSAL Frosh and Sophomore championship 3200m Sophomore

What a thrill this race was last Sunday.   Watched the kid have a dramatic surge ahead in the 3200 m race from the 9:35 minute mark — what drama!   Sopomore City Champ in this event - woo hoo!

Feeling very, very tired of winter, and snow, and the cold.  So was happy to find a lovely recipe using mango salsa as a topper for a thick pork chop.   Brilliant!   The salsa is dressed with just some lime juice (juice press to the rescue with 5 tiny key limes) and salt and pepper.  And some jalapeño & cubanelle pepper in a small dice.  Loved it.   It was bright enough to provide a welcome distraction from all the snow outside.  Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies don’t hurt either.  The other cheery note in the kitchen this week is the new ‘flame’ colored tea kettle.  Small things.  Such a nice change from the old glass Bodum number that was never terribly practical and sometimes even a bit dangerous when the lid would tumble onto my mug while pouring.  

Best budget recipes with store cupboard ingredients

Must try those spicy peanut noodles…

Micifuf can’t deal with the paparazzi any more…