My friend and I decided to go to Bobbiques, Patchogue NY on a Friday night since we had been patrons there before and always had a nice time. This sadly was not the case this previous Friday. Apparently you can no longer seat yourself there (I have been going to this place for years and have NEVER seen a hostess or a “please wait to be seated” sign.) My friend and I sat ourselves, as normal, and a girl named Sarah came to our table and was to start off extremely rude. Sarah asked us if we were ordering food when we sat down and then followed by because you must order food to sit here. Before we could respond, she went on to tell us that we should not have sat ourselves and there were people waiting. (I’m sorry, I am being reprimanded because YOU were not in front of the dining room like you should have been since you are the hostess?) She also told me I was wrong for sitting down at a table on my own, and made me feel unwelcome. I have been in this business for over 10 years an have never been spoken to in this way. It was atrocious. Our server apologized for her actions, but it I just unacceptable. I am Johnson & Wales Alum as well as the owner of this joint. I asked to meet Eric, the owner, and speak with him but told he was busy. About 45 min later I saw him on the floor and he did not even come over to greet me. I have been in this industry for several years and would never speak to someone like this. Let alone would I nor anyone else want to be spoken to in that matter. I was really disappointed about Bobbiques. However, our waitress Lauren was pleasant and knowledgeable. She is a keeper, unlike this wannabe hostess Sarah. I typically would write something else that was good about my experience at this point of my entry, but my experience was so terrible there I will NOT be back. There are plenty of other great places on LI where the staff is pleasant and the food and beer selection is just as good and/or even better. Sorry Eric, you should know better.
I always have dinner with my family on Sunday evenings. It is traditional in many families I think, but in my house I am the one who always cooks dinner on Sunday (or any other day for that matter.) It was finally 26 degrees outside, finally feeling like winter in New York. I was craving Italian for dinner and what better to make than Mushroom Risotto. These are two of my most favorite recipes for Risotto and I am so glad to share them with you! P.S. even your kids will love this dish because its cheesy and so comforting. You can also switch it up with different variations instead of mushrooms like asparagus, add some gorgonzola cheese, leeks/bacon/pea..the list goes on and on.
Mushroom Risotto (courtesy of MarthaStewart.com)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
10 ounces button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio or long-grain rice
1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
In a deep, 9-inch microwave-safe dish with a tight-fitting lid, combine butter and thyme. Microwave until butter has melted and thyme is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Microwave until mushrooms have released their liquid, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
In the same dish, combine rice, broth, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cover, and microwave 9 minutes. Stir in 2 cups water, and microwave until rice is tender, 9 minutes more.
Stir in mushroom mixture; microwave until risotto is heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan. (If risotto is too thick, add water as needed.)
Leek, Bacon & Pea Risotto (Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com)
2 leeks, white and light-green parts only
12 cups (96 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into strips
2 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup frozen peas (optional)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Halve leeks lengthwise; rinse thoroughly. Pat dry; thinly slice. In a saucepan, bring broth to a simmer over medium. Meanwhile, in a large, straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium, stirring, until lightly browned but not crisp, 5 minutes. Add leeks; cook, stirring, until softened, 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add rice and cook, stirring, until translucent around edges, 1 minute.
Add wine and stir until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until broth is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Repeat process, gradually adding broth, until rice is al dente and risotto is creamy (you may not need all the broth), about 35 minutes. Stir in peas (if using) after the final addition of broth.
Remove skillet from heat and stir in Parmesan. Cover and let stand 2 minutes. Season risotto with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve remaining risotto with Parmesan.
I love tickling my taste buds with fresh, local ingredients. Its no surprise you will find me in the North Fork area scoping out all the farm stands, fresh pies and jams and local wine. I could be like everyone else and go to Whole Foods for organic foods, but taking a trip out to Eastern Long Island is a perfect way to spend a Summer afternoon.
If you are like me, you also want to get the most amount of food for your dollars. Everyone always asks me what is in season when, and its actually pretty easy to find out. You could simply Google “What is in season for (month) and a bunch of listings will pop up. Or, you can check out your local newspaper, Newsday, or the New York Times Food & Wine Section which I am an avid reader of every Wednesday. Another way you can find out what is in season now by checking out Food Network Online.
We are now in the month of June, Summer, and I have a lot on my mind. Not only do I want to use my tasty recipes, but I also want to lighten them up and make them healthier. I put together a list of whats in season now as a quick guide for you while your in your local supermarket.
Corn on the Cob (you can find this typically 5 for $1)
Yellow Grape Tomatoes
Okra (a Southern staple)
I am probably leaving out a few, but I am sure you can figure out the rest by doing some research.
I have not one, but two recipes I want to share with you today. Both are made with fresh, in season local ingredients. They also wont set you back to horribly on your calorie intake.
First, I am a fan of the Gingerbread Bakes Blog. She has this recipe for Blueberry Buttermilk Cornbread that is to die for and probably the best corn bread I have ever devoured. You can check out her website for the step-by-step guide to make this recipe and check out all her other great recipes here at http://gingerbreadbagels.com/
(photo from tastestopping.com)
Blueberry Buttermilk Cornbread
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs, at room temperature 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup yellow cornmeal 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 cup blueberries
Melt the butter in a large microwavable bowl. Quickly add in the sugar and mix everything together. Then add in the eggs and quickly mix them up.
Pour in the buttermilk and stir. Then add in the dry ingredients and fold the ingredients together. Be careful not to over mix.
Add in the blueberries and fold them in.
Pour the batter into a lightly greased 8 by 8 inch baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Cool on a cooling rack and cut into squares.
A fun fact about this recipe is not only that Blueberries are in season, but they are also filled with antioxidants! Also, if you don’t already have these ingredients in your pantry and fridge, they are simple to find. This recipe will definitely be a crowd pleaser at your next barbecue.
The next best thing about summer are those yummy summer cocktails. Yes all alcohol no matter what has calories, and no it is not wise to drink your calories at dinner rather than having a complete meal like sushi. Again, we are using what it in season, Blueberries. I have a recipe I always go to for summer gatherings that is simple to make and only 125 calories per serving. Not bad right? I adapted the recipe from EatingWell.com and you can even make it virgin for the kids!
2 cups ice
1 cup frozen blueberries (I used fresh blueberries)
1 cup blueberry nectar
1/4 cup seltzer
2 tablespoons frozen limeade
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 ounces tequila, optional (I used Patron Silver)
1 lime wedge
Combine ice, blueberries, blueberry nectar, seltzer, limeade, lime juice and tequila, if using, in a blender and blend until smooth. Rub rim of 2 glasses with lime wedge and dip in salt. Divide the margarita between the prepared glasses and serve.
We all know that our winters are cold and harsh here on Long Island, or at least they have been over the recent years. We all love our comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese, french fries, chocolate cake, barbecue ribs. Wait, barbecue ribs does not make me think of winter, but of summer. Why wait to have your favorite summertime meals like fried pickles, burnt ends, smoked chicken, smoked sausage, smoked brisket? I think you get the picture by now.
I came across this gem in Bay Shore that has it all, and you can see it too! Its a really small place so usually there is a long wait no matter what day of the week, usually around dinner time. You can see the cooks in the back preparing your food, and boy will your tummy rumble. I go here for my burnt ends fix when I can’t make it into the city or anywhere else for that matter. This place will eat the heart out of any other so called barbecue restaurant on Long Island. I have even written Chef Guy from Diners, Drive Ins and Dives to check this place out. Its not really a dive, but it is a one of a kind must see place to eat. They also have some awesome dessert, but I will let you see for yourself when you check this place out for yourself. You can also get a variety of sandwiches and salads here, and nevertheless you will not go home hungry. My favorite item on there menu is the Barbecue Spud. I am a sucker for a baked potato, so when I saw it filled with cheese, chives, sour cream, topped with pulled pork and barbecue sauce..I was in awe. You can also get it with pulled chicken or chopped brisket, whatever fits your mood. This was the ultimate feast for me. I knew it was so bad for me to have, but would be so delicious and worth it in the end. And when it came to the end, I was sad because I wanted more! So if you are ever on the South Shore of Long Island, you need to check out Smokin Als. You will not be disappointed!
Whether it’s for a special occasion, night out with friends or trendy atmosphere, there three trendy tasty restaurants are the place to be. Huntington Village has some great bars and restaurants tailored to everyone’s scene. They offer Southwestern/Mexican, Italian and Modern American Cuisine. I would also like to mention all three have outstanding featured cocktails.
Besito - Southwestern/Mexican - New York Avenue, Huntington NY
This awarded restaurant “Best of Long Island”, New York Times Rated “Excellent” and “Best Margaritas” is a hot spot for international spices and accompanied food. I have been to this restaurant a countless amount of times and they have always exceeded my expectations. The service is friendly and knowledgeable and the food is prepared with all fresh ingredients and cooked to perfection. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming and the cocktails will definitely leave you with a buzz. When you are walked to your table, you are immediately given fresh, warm tortilla chips and homemade salsa. They also offer fresh table side guacamole and their signature “Besito Patron” Margarita. Any entrée you choose will amaze your palate with an exciting experience. Besito will give your taste buds an international journey your mouth will never forget.
Porto Vivo – Italian – Gerard Street, Huntington NY
Impeccable service, authentic Italian cuisine and a modern atmosphere. Staff of Porto Vivo have tailored to famous faces like Iron Chef Todd English and Rock Star Billy Joel. An extensive wine list and a menu that offers something for everyone. They also have a bar/lounge area which becomes full throughout the night which features a bar menu and a variety of cocktails to choose from. Most importantly, and I am telling you this in advance because you need to save room for dessert, is their Chocolate Souffle. Make sure you order this decadent, rich treat in the beginning of your meal because it does take 20 minutes to make and it will be brought out to you right away in the end. It’s a restaurant where I actually look forward to the end and enjoy every bite of my culinary journey.
Honu Kitchen & Cocktails – Modern American – New York Avenue, Huntington NY
Honu is a social gathering restaurant for after work drinks, dinner and nightlife offered on particular days. If you want to impress someone, this is a great spot to wine and dine. Make sure to reserve a seat by their fireplace for the ultimate romantic evening. They offer a signature cocktail which changes each season, and a happy hour with hors d’oeuvre and $5 drinks. Their menu offers seasoned appetizers, steaks, a variety of entrée both seafood and game, gourmet burgers and salads. During the weekdays, they offer special promotions such as Surf and Turf Tuesdays, Half Price Bottle Wines on Wednesday and Ladies Night Thursdays. They also offer a price fixe dinner menu offered Sunday-Thursday, and before 6:30pm Friday and Saturday. It’s a fun restaurant any day of the week and you can expect the consistency in great food and cocktails.
This past weekend I was in Saratoga Springs, NY for an event. Like always when I travel, I did my research on where I wanted to dine and what I wanted to try. It is no secret I have been craving a Lobster Roll for over a month now, and trust me my boyfriend can vouch for that. If you have never been to Saratoga Springs, you must go. The town is full of rich history, great food, culture and people. I have been traveling to Saratoga Springs every August with my family since I was a baby, but this time was different. I had made a dinner reservation for my boyfriend and I at Maestros at Van Dam. The menu was intriguing, moderately priced and the service was impeccable. I of course ordered the Lobster Roll with Potato Bacon Hash and my boyfriend ordered the Lamb Burger. After both of our first bites, we both looked at each other and said “this meal is delicious and the best I have had in a long time.” The Lobster Roll was like no other I have seen along with the potato hash which were both divine.
My boyfriend does not know anything about food except when something is good and when its not. So, when he said his Lamb Burger was something he had never dreamed of tasting I knew he was serious. http://www.maestrosatthevandam.com/
Last Friday was girls night for my friend Jess and I. We both had off work, so we decided to drive out to Huntington Village, NY. We went out for some cocktails first, then dessert and finished with dinner.
We started our night out at Honu Kitchen & Cocktails for their corporate happy hour. Honu has a happy hour every Friday between 5-7pm which includes half off wine, beer and specialty cocktails. I had an Asian Sling which consists of Absolut Ginger Liquor, Elderflower Cordial and lychee. Very refreshing and delicious! Jess ordered The Spa which is also one of my favorite cocktails they make. It has Don Julio Blanco, Agave Nectar, Fresh Mint, Cucumber, Lime juice. She described it as “light and refreshing.” They also passed around complimentary hors d’oeuvres like Tuna Tartar.
After we left happy hour, we head over to Porto Vivo. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Huntington by far, and it is because of their Chocolate Souffle. Once you try it, no other chocolate will ever satisfy your crave. I enjoyed the souffle with a glass of Malbec (which had notes of dark cherry.) It was delicious and sinful!
We left after our dessert and were still a bit hungry. Del Fuego in St James, NY was our next stop for their late night happy hour and their taco trio. The trio consists of one mesquite chicken, one pork and one fish taco all with their own accompaniments. Along with a beer on tap, dos equis. The restaurant was packed with people of all ages and it was definitely not my first, second or third visit there. Best tacos around, and the first time I ever tried a fish taco. Now I know why everyone loves them!
Del Fuego / 429 New York 25A, St. James, NY / (631) 584-0111
Honu Kitchen & Cocktails / 363 New York Ave, Huntington NY / (631) 421-6900
Porto Vivo / 7 Gerard Street, Huntington, NY / (631) 385-8486
I started Weight Watchers a month ago and so far lost 10lbs! With my passion for cooking, I have been trying out a few new recipes using what I have in my fridge and pantry and still sticking to my shopping budget weekly. Some key ingredients I always keep in my house are
whole wheat pasta
Barbecue Blue CheeseTurkeyMeatloaf
2 tbl. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 egg whites
1.5 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup your favorite barbecue sauce
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tbl. Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup soy milk or low fat milk
2/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 2 lb. ground turkey meat
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
½ cup canned tomatoes, crushed or chopped
chopped parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat oil and add onions and bell pepper and cook until softened or caramelized (about 5 minutes).
Add 2 teaspoons garlic and the herbs and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Cool the vegetable mixture and add the eggs, mustard, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and milk. Mix until combined. Add breadcrumbs, ground meat, crumbled blue cheese, salt and pepper, and mix only until incorporated.
Transfer to loaf pan and form. Pour tomato mixture over the top and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
Season with salt and pepper, garnish with fresh parsley.
Spaghetti a la Carbonara
1 box whole wheat spaghetti
1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
6 pieces turkey bacon chopped
1.2 onion, sliced
1.5 teaspoons salt
1.5 teaspoons pepper
1/3 cup skim or soy milk
1 egg beaten
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add the pasta
In a large skillet, sauté turkey bacon until crispy. Then coarsely chop. Sauté onion in same large skillet with olive oil until caramelized. Place bacon back in the skillet.
Cook pasta al dente, drain, leaving pasta slightly wet
Add the pasta to the skillet with the bacon, add the remaining ingredients and fold until well mixed.
Skinny Lace Cookies
Ingredients 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats 1 tbsp. flour 2 cups white sugar ½ tsp. salt 2 sticks melted butter 2 eggs, beaten 1 tsp. vanilla
Instructions 1. Put the oats, flour, sugar & salt in to large bowl & mix well. 2. Pour very hot melted butter over mixture & stir until the sugar has melted. 3. Add eggs & vanilla. Stir well. 4. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. 5. Cover cookie sheets with ungreased aluminum foil. 6. Drop ½ level teaspoons of the mixture on foil – 2 inches apart. 7. Cook about 10-12 minutes. 8. Watch carefully. When cookies are completely cooled, foil will peel off. 9. Store in airtight containers. 10. Makes about 6 dozen.
It is easy for us to forget how to prepare a simple, delicious meal during the week days. When I go shopping on my usual Saturday afternoon, I am always looking to purchase what is on sale, what is in season, and what I know I will use that week and will not go to waste in my refrigerator and/or freezer. We are all so busy during the weekdays between work, school, and taking care of our families that a healthy meal should be just as practical as ordering pizza. Vegetables can be hard for any of us to enjoy, but if you add some bacon into the mix I am sure it would make anyone smile when you say “Green Beans for dinner!” The chicken recipe is my go to recipe which is simple and easy to make (and I always have chicken in my freezer.) The potatoes are creamy and only three ingredients! Here are three recipes that I have combined into one dish for an easy weekday meal. Enjoy!
Green Beans with Bacon and Red Bell Pepper (adapted from epicurious.com)
Ingredients 6 bacon slices, coarsely chopped (I used turkey bacon) 1 pound green beans, trimmed, cut in half 1 large red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips 1/2 can low sodium chicken broth
Preparation Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel and drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add green beans and bell pepper to skillet. Toss vegetables over medium-high heat until coated with drippings, about 1 minute. Add broth. Cover and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with bacon and serve.
Garlic Smashed Potatoes
Ingredients 1 1/2 pounds Red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 3 garlic cloves, peeled 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
Preparation Cook potatoes and garlic in a large pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water), uncovered, until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl with a slotted spoon and coarsely mash with oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Keep warm, covered.
Chicken Cutlets with Herb Butter (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Ingredients 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 8 thin chicken cutlets (1 1/2 pounds total) (I used chicken tenders instead of cutlets) Coarse salt and ground pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil 3/4 cup dry white wine 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (I used Italian Seasoning)
Preparation Place flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Working in batches, cook chicken until browned, 1 to 3 minutes per side, adding more oil to skillet as needed. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil (this will keep the chicken moist and not dried out). Add wine and accumulated juices from chicken to skillet and boil until liquid has reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add chicken and turn to coat. Remove skillet from heat and swirl in butter and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.