Monday, December 07, 2009

Movin' On Up

...to the Tumblr side. To a deeeluxe blog in the sky. I know, I'm a traitor, but it's for the best. Please redirect your browsers and bookmarks to the new and improved My NY Plate for more NYC food news and reviews. Come on now, scoot over and grab a fork! And as always, thank you for reading!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Review: Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl



Last night I finished the incredibly enjoyable Tender at the Bone by former New York Times food critic and Gourmet magazine editor, Ruth Reichl. I love, love, loved this book. I'm a little embarrassed my knowledge of her was so limited. In New York City, her name comes up often, and even more frequently now with the recent close of Gourmet. But, there's something to be said about going into her memoir fresh without any preconceived notions. Her story feels like a million mini-stories - she's lived so many lives on both sides of the country. From her moldy childhood meals served by her bipolar mother who refused to ever throw anything away, to her time spent in French boarding school in Montreal, where she first discovered souffle, to her 10-person dorm room feasts in college, to her hippy commune life out in California, where she cooked for transients and regular customers in few restaurants, to her catering and cooking class career in upstate New York - food was a constant in Reichl's life. Food is a constant in everyone's life, of course, but so much of her joy and fulfillment was achieved through preparing a meal for herself or for others. And, unlike many other chef's and critic's stories (and mine), she didn't grow up in a house where great cooking was a large part of her heritage. A self-taught cook, Reichl was forced to make meals for herself when her mother couldn't be relied upon. This, I understand now, is why she's so adored by foodies and home cooks alike. She's one of us. Never pretentious, and never one to say no to a meal or a snack. She's literally eaten the spectrum of horrible rotten garbage to genius cuisine. She's also just funny and self-deprecating, which I like.

An article came out yesterday on salon.com of a tour inside her refrigerator, and I was happy to learn 1)she's writing a new book 2) she likes sriracha too, and 3) she makes sweet potato gnocchi straight from her magazine's recipe. Love that!

I can't wait to read her other books - next on my list is basically "Part 2" of Tender at the Bone, called Comfort Me with Apples, which picks up where her the first story ended: married, around 40 years old, and her career as a food critic just beginning.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

These Have Crack in Them




...someone please take them away. If you feel like getting a little hit yourself, they can be found at your local Whole Foods or deli (if it's a good one). Or Amazon.com, where I got this image from, but probably not the fastest method for your licorice fix.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009: NYC edition




For Thanksgiving, my family is known for (well...not known by many people really...more like usually agrees to) do something nontraditional. In the past, they've come to NYC, we've gone to Las Vegas and other warm destinations, or cooked a nontraditional meal at home. One year, my cousins made a Thai dinner, completely from scratch, and it was incredible. Once again, this year, my fam is coming to NYC for the holiday. I'm looking forward to eating in some new restaurants and will not miss the traditional Thanksgiving dinner at all.

I know it sounds downright un-American, but I'm actually not a big fan of the holiday's food or activities. Watching football while half-comatose is a normal thing for me anyway, so, Thanksgiving doesn't make that any more exciting. I don't get that sentimental about the food, either, I know, how could I. The thing is this. I love fall flavors. I love squash, pumpkin, nutmeg, apples, pears, figs, and sweet potatoes. In the fall, I eat them ALL THE TIME. I made that sweet potato and swiss chard thing last week. I had a turkey and cranberry sandwich for lunch today. My mom sent me a dozen honeycrisp apples that I've been chomping on the last two weeks. So Thanksgiving, for me, is not that exciting. I'm eating this stuff anyway! Sure, I don't make stuffing every day, but I totally could. Or I could buy it basically whenever I wanted to at Whole Foods. If your life doesn't have gravy, pie, or baked/mashed potatoes in it on a regular basis, then, I can see how this is very exciting for you, but, not for me. I much prefer Christmas because my mom cooks something different every year (honey glazed ham, baked chicken with apricots) and it's always fun to help her plan the menu and put in requests.

Having said all that (any Larry David fans reading ;), this year, I steered the family towards the traditional and we are going to Cookshop in Chelsea for the big meal, just because they're making a little bit of everything (and cooking in my apartment for 4 is hilariously NOT an option). We'll be dining on the following:

Raisin-walnut bread, cornbrad, honey butter, New York grapes


Choice of soup (TBD), mache salad (Bartlett pears, pomegranate, and toasted hazelnuts), house-smoked Hudson Valley venison sausage with red wine braised red cabbage, Maine lobster salad with frisse, squash chutney and raita, or Dipalo's ricotta ravioli with roasted pearl onions, black trumpet mushrooms, and sage brown butter

and

Vermont free-range turkey with smashed sweet potatoes and butter braised chestnuts, braised beef short ribs with roasted carrots and salsa verde, wild striped bass with kabocha squash, pomegranate and quinoa pilaf, salt-roasted Hudson Valley ham with caramelized Brussels sprouts and horseradish-tarragon mustard, or mushroom pot pie with mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, and wild chicory

and

a choice of desserts including pumpkin pie, pecan tart, molten chocolate cake, warm oatmeal cookies, and maybe one or two others (the hostess read them to me over the phone)

also at the table will be baked beans, slow-cooked collard greens, goat-cheese mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. And lots of wine of course, Happy Thanksgiving to us! I should pull a Frank Bruni and make everyone order something different, so we can try them all.

Also on my list for the weekend is going to Katz's for the first time (shameful), Centro Vinoteca, and a few other places we haven't agreed upon because my dad wants to eat before the play Friday night, and my mother thinks eating early is for old people. So we shall see.


Whatever you're celebrating this weekend, have fun, relax and eat a LOT!