Meb Byrne

Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Vegan Blueberry Banana Oat Cakes

In breakfast, dessert, food, recipe, vegan on March 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I need to clear something up. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a vegan. Everything you’ve been told is a lie. That said, I do have an inordinate fascination with, and love of, vegan food. To that end, I’ve been trolling for vegan recipes, and man, have I found a doozy for you. Behold!

Vegan Blueberry Banana Oat Cakes

Serves one to two people.

1 large banana, very ripe

1/2 c rolled oats

1/4 c brown sugar

A lot of cinnamon

1/2 c fresh blueberries

~*~*~*~

1. Mash the banana.

2. Add the oats, brown sugar and cinnamon; stir to combine.

3. Gently fold in the blueberries.

4.Pour the batter into a ramekin or small, flat dish. Tupperware works fine here.

5. Microwave for 4 minutes.  It should be juicy but crispy, like a fruit crisp.

6. Let the dish rest for a few minutes. It will be extremely hot, and the oats need to set.

7. Transfer to a plate and serve, or eat right out of the container! I top mine with well-placed dashes of salt, to contrast with the sugary sweetness.

Many thanks to Averie of Love Veggies and Yoga for her delicious recipe and her inspirational abs!

Recess

In american, food, greenwich village, healthy, nyu on September 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm

When you need a respite from your frustrating, pedantic, work-a-day life, don’t just take a coffee break; go to Recess.

Recess, squatting on University Place at 10th Street, is a throwback to elementary school, with all the perks of adulthood thrown in. The walls and ceiling are modern, jagged, like pieces of a geometric puzzle. Mismatched striations of wood, blond and brunette, are sutured together at awkward angles and cover every surface. Zebra-striped ceiling panels, angled spotlights, and trapezoidal wall posts add to the Picasso-esque feel of the interior. A long central table is reminiscent of elementary school cafeteria tables, though this one is scattered with copies of the Wall Street Journal and the Daily News. The front wall is floor-to-ceiling glass, making it one of the best indoor people-watching spots in the Village.

The menu concept, as the cafe’s name suggests, is a grown-up twist on grade school. The sandwich menu is scant yet solid. The Mac Daddy, hearty toasted whole wheat bread smeared with macadamia-almond butter, raspberry preserves and sliced banana, is way better than any Wonderbread concoction you munched as a kid. The Say Cheese is slathered with four types of cheese and leaves your fingers greasy; pair it with the TnT Tomato Soup for a piquant match. My favorite, the Can’t Beet It, is stuffed with beets, hummus, sprouts and avocado; it practically announces how healthy it is with every bite. (Protip: when choosing a side dish, get the marinated cucumber salad.)

If you’re looking for an excuse to wake up early, a variety of breakfast toasts (including one called The Wonka- I’ll let your imagination run wild) and $2-a-cup coffee should do the trick. Recess also whips up smoothies and frozen yogurt concoctions, good for any hour of the day.

Just like Mom used to say, use the bathroom before you go. No, seriously. Recess’s restroom is decked out in wall-to-wall mirrors and a super-cool faucet system that descends from the ceiling, reminiscent of a California miner’s panning chute. This bathroom pass is almost as fun as Recess itself.

New Amsterdam Market

In event, festival, financial district, food, healthy, nyc, treasure trove on September 23, 2010 at 7:57 am

The New Amsterdam Market is lower Manhattan’s answer to the Union Square Greenmarket. With more space, fewer vendors and lower prices, the Market is a great spot to mill about, sample some rich foods, and pick up absurdly cheap groceries.

Trains and traffic rattle above the old Fulton Fish Market, now replete with rows of stalls, each backed by a chalkboard advertising its wares. A few fresh produce stands, manned by gentlemen with lined faces and cracked hands, stand at the edges of the market. Local restaurants, including Jimmy’s 43 and Porchetta, have also set up shop, offering $5 sandwiches and sliders. Make your way inward, though, and there are much richer treasures to uncover. You may find yourself tearing indelicately at pizza Bianca, an oily foccaccia caked with goat cheese, or indulging in the thick, smoky and intensely flavorful bacon from Brooklyn Cured. A few tables down, you might lick prize-winning ricotta or a fun, grainy duck confit from wooden ice cream spoons. (The duck is prepared three other ways: smoked breast meat, prosciutto, and a strong salami). You can cleanse your palate with delicious agua fresca, squeezed from fresh cantaloupe and watermelon and sprinkled with chopped mint, or a surprisingly hoppy probiotic tea called Kombucha.

The more obscure foods are worth a taste test as well. Nettle butter, a pea green paste, is lemony and fresh. A flat, doughnut-shaped Ruis bread, crumbly and nutty, pairs beautifully with thinly-sliced Cheddar and cucumbers at the Nordic Breads stand. Sweet hot mustards from School House Kitchen are zestfully kicky (and they’re launching in Whole Foods this week!) Last weekend, the Anthony Road Wine Company held a grape-stomping demonstration in wooden vats, and invited patrons to get their feet dirty. (This writer’s opinion? Feels like stepping in a lot of seaweed.)

The best part of the New Amsterdam Market (after the food, of course) is the people. Since the Market is a bit of a hike from the nearest subway, the crowds are enthusiastic but not oppressive. The merchants are eager to engage, unlike the Union Square Greenmarket, where cramped space and forced expediency can press you to pay for your nasturtiums and get the hell out. Through pick-up conversations with New Amsterdam vendors, I learned how to process and harvest cocoa beans, where to take classes on killing pigs, and a few neat descriptors for cheese (Cabo is sweet and nutty, Landaff is sour and rustic). I’ll be back for the conversations, and to try a bit more of that bacon.

Smitten Kitchen

In blog, dessert, food, photography, website, website wednesday on September 19, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Too often, food blogging descends into the excesses of self-gratification and food porn, slobbering over the decadence or high-end appeal of its dishes. One blog that steers mercifully clear of this self-congratulatory style while still maintaining simple beauty and charm, is The Smitten Kitchen.

Besides having the cutest name ever, the Smitten Kitchen is a neat, no-nonsense answer to Baroque bloggery. Each post features a new recipe, with a prose description punctuated with snapshots, showcasing delicate ingredients coming together in each dish. The authors, Deb and Alex Perelman, operate out of New York City, and focus their highly lauded blog on “accessible” food, steering clear of high-end ingredients and fancy equipment.

The site contains a lot of things below its well-photographed surface: a well-organized database of all recipes featured on the site, several conversion tables, and extensive blogrolls. You can browse the site by most recent posts, season, ingredients, occasions, and even by random posts. Browse during your free time, or use this great go-to when you’re scouting for your next new recipe.

Something Natural

In bakery, breakfast, food, nantucket on August 31, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Vacation, especially a Nantucket summer vacation, should be as relaxing as possible. To that end, breakfast on the island has always been a casual affair in our family. Bread suffices to start the day, and there’s only one place to get it: Something Natural.

The bakery is housed in a classic island house, with shingles worn down by the salt air and plain columns supporting the wraparound porch. The shop is surrounded by a large grassy lawn, dotted with gnarled trees and picnic tables on which you can eat your lunch, if you’re not beachward bound. A bleached boat is parked out front, threatening splinters and tetanus to the innumerable kids who’ve played in it over the decades.

Inside the tiny shop, you can pick up cookies of all sizes and flavors, an assortment of creative sandwiches, and brightly colored shirts with the Something Natural logo emblazoned on the front. The main attractions, though, are the large crusty loaves of bread and rolls. I was brought up on cinnamon raisin and Portuguese bread (or goose bread, as we call it), but other fun flavors beckon as well: herb, wheatberry, six grain. Pick up a loaf or three, and toast them with butter for your next morning meal.

Something Natural, 50 Cliff Road. (508) 228-0504.

Jell-O Mold Competition

In brooklyn, dessert, event, exhibit, food, funny, geek, science, smile-inducing, treasure trove on July 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm

To properly celebrate America’s birthday, certain foods are required. The most inscrutable of these culinary staples is Jell-O, an old-timer from the 1950s. Omnipresent yet ignored on many a picnic table, Jell-O manifests itself in various questionable yet patriotic shades, and is packed with similarly questionable fruits. Has the once-proud dessert been sequestered to this sad fate forever?

Never fear! The brave folks in Brooklyn will not let the gelatinous dessert go wobbly into that good night. Recently, down a small, forgettable Park Slope side street, several score amateur Jell-O enthusiasts gathered in the Gowanus Studio Space for the Jell-O Mold Competition, to showcase their imaginative gelatin creations and vie for prizes.

First, there were the obvious edible creations. Along with the predictable shiny apple pie  and red velvet cake, artists assembled Jell-O sushi with chopsticks, slid oysters melting on the half-shell, and carved up a delicious trio of multi-flavored fruit wedges molded into the hulls of peeled grapefruits. For the more culinarily adventurous folk, beef- and pork-flavored Jell-O were carved into taxidermy on wooden plaques. (The flavor was dead on, but the consistency was uncannily, unpleasantly reminiscent of jellied gristle.)

Food wasn’t the only source of inspiration. Piles of translucent, horse-pill-sized pharmaceuticals abounded, as did giant LEGOs, floral plates, and lithographs of the Brooklyn Bridge. A vibrantly blue and silver model of the Brooklyn sewage plant drew laughs, while Jell-O-cum-explosives, complete with a video presentation of said explosions, failed to inspire. The entries showed a huge variance in quality, from the impressive cloth-draped and olive-bedecked display shrine for Bloody Mary Jell-O (molded in the shape of the Virgin herself), to wimpy Styrofoam lunch trays supporting globs of what may have been octopi Vikings, but may also have been last year’s meatloaf, grown sentient and resentful with time. My favorite eats included fruity Jell-O Superballs dispensed from a quarter machine, and an impressive full-sized Tiffany lamp, supported by a sugar paste structure and lit with real bulbs. The most inventive creation, edible drinking cups made with vegan-friendly agar agar, could be filled with your drink of choice and then munched on as well, for a multi-faceted imbibing experience.

While the crowd waited for the judges to review the entries, five or six kinds of free Jell-O shots were on hand. The mixologists were enthusiastically inventive, if a bit heavy-handed with their herbs; tough sprigs of rosemary and acerbic strips of orange rind overpowered two of the jiggling shooters. Still, most of the drinks were popular and disappeared quickly: the delightfully zingy Hair of the Naval; Hot Sh*t (its real name), a dark pudding laced with cinnamon and topped with cream; Summer Salad, a gelatinous vodka watermelon; and the non-alcoholic yet pungent Kir Royale.

If this event was any indication, Jell-O will certainly live to fight another day.

Saving The World, One Click At A Time

In food, geek, pets, website, website wednesday on June 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm

You mean well, you really do, but let’s face it: Mother Teresa you’re not. Thankfully, each of this week’s sites is a fool-proof way to do good worldwide from the safety of your mancave bedroom.

FreeRice

Learn a vocab word, donate ten grains of rice to the World Food Program.

FreePoverty

Locate a city on a world map; the more accurate you are, the more cups of water the site donates to the needy.

Freekibble

Ace a dog-themed trivia question, donate ten kibble pieces to animal shelters.

Freekibblekat

Like Freekibble, but for cats. (Because cats deserve their own category, okay?)

The Hunger Site

The most improbable venture of the ones listed here, this site donated cups of food when you just click a button. Made possible by the myriad sponsor links you’re exposed to in the process of clicking.

The Rainforest Site

Like The Hunger Site, but for the coolest ecosystem ever.

The Animal Rescue Site

You get the idea.

Comedic Comestibles

In blog, candy, food, funny, website, website wednesday on June 16, 2010 at 6:59 pm

So Good

An absurd look at the world of food.

Read if: you follow national food politics, you care about the future of American cuisine, or you love fast food.

My Food Looks Funny

Lolcats meets food porn.

Read if: you’re bored at work and you want a good laugh that doesn’t involve kittens with grammar problems.

EpiCute

The cute food blog.

Read if: you like the idea of melting into a puddle at something’s cuteness before chomping its head off.

Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival

In chinatown, chinese, event, festival, food, jewish, lower east side, nyc, religion on June 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm

This is Eldridge Street, a tiny block tucked away in the nebulous intersection of Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Two very different neighborhoods, housing two very different populations, came together to celebrate this shared space at the 10th Annual Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival, hosted by the Museum at Eldridge Street.

Certain parts of the festival were dedicated to either Chinese or Jewish cultural heritage. Music demonstrations, like this Chinese group and a Klezmer ensemble, played throughout the afternoon.

The Eldridge Street Synagogue (built in 1887 and recently restored) was open to the public, with cooking demonstrations in the basement and  tours given regularly.

But of course, everyone came for the food! (What better to bring people together?)

Egg creams, made while you waited, were  popular.

The best parts of the festival, though, were those in which the Chinese and Jewish worlds blended, making it difficult to tell where one ended and the other began. Children could decorate their own yarmulkes, and kids of all origins got in on the fun.

Chinese grandparents and great-grandparents tossed and stacked and rearranged clicking tiles in mah jongg with impressive dexterity…

…but still made time to show newcomers how it’s done.

This fair was tiny, only a block long, but the air was joyous, the turnout impressive and the day beautiful. Tiny celebrations like this give me hope for cultural relations the world over, and make me proud to call myself a New Yorker.

Luxirare

In art, fashion, food, inspiration, photography, treasure trove, website, website wednesday on May 26, 2010 at 8:34 am

LUXIRARE

Luxirare bills itself as “a weekly webzine dedicated to clothing and cuisine.” This photographic gem is that and so much more.

Luxirare posts blogs infrequently, around once a week. Each post consists almost entirely of photos, and is dedicated to a topic within food or fashion: assembling a boot, say, or making egg nog. Don’t let the mundane titles fool you, though- this is egg nog like you’ve never seen it before. The photographer and blogger behind Luxirare, a young woman named Ji, uses hyper-close zoom lenses, simple compositions and crisp, bright shots to track the progress of each unlikely project.

The result is a creation story told through pictures, beginning with raw, disparate pieces and ending with some jaw-droppingly gorgeous thing, a journey that us peons at our desk jobs can only imagine completing. Ji’s skill and imagination as a sewer and a cook make her photographic results even more special. (When was the last time you saw someone make crayons out of Heath bars?)

Ji occasionally features herself in her fashion photos, a lithe, faceless form with long black hair twirling about a white studio. Generally, though, she is very careful to keep personal details, including any identifiable physical characteristics or personal details, away from the camera, adding to the mystery of the site.

Ji often puts her creations up for sale after she blogs about them, but her livelihood beyond the income Luxirare generates is unrevealed. Whatever her methods are for affording the expense and effort put into her blog, I hope they sustain her creative genius for a very long time.