Monthly Archives: September 2010

American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Recipes

Healthier Comfort food recipes with Post cereals by Tipsy Parson

September 30, 2010

At the Conde Nast test kitchen

Yesterday, Post hosted a food event with Tipsy Parson, a Chelsea-based NYC restaurant that specializes in soul food. Combining recipes using Post cereals like Shredded Wheat, Honey Nut Shredded Wheat, and Grape-Nuts, they came up with healthier versions of the most popular comfort foods and gave us a firsthand look on just how delicious it can still be (think Thanksgiving recipes).

Today's Specials!

And what’s better than having the food come to you? We were invited to Condé Nast’s Bon Appetit Test Kitchen (just a few floors down from me!) to taste some of the mouth-watering recipes they had in store for us.

Meatloaf with Grape Nuts


Apple crisps

We were given plates of meatloaf (made with Grape-Nuts), Mac and Cheese (made with Shredded Wheat), and “Fried” Chicken (which is actually baked with Honey Nut Shredded Wheat). For dessert, they served us Apple Crisps and we got to take home some bread pudding, both made with Grape-Nuts. I was actually pretty blown away by how delicious every single dish was, particularly the mac and cheese and meatloaf (I don’t consider myself a big meat loaf person, but I cleaned my plate of it this time!).

Julie Taras Wallach and Tasha Garcia Gibson of Tipsy Parson


Chefs Julie Taras Wallach and Tasha Garcia Gibson of Tipsy Parson (who came up with these original recipes) demonstrated how easy they are to make while Dr. Mark Izzo, Director of Research and Development at Post, talked about the heart-healthy benefits of fiber and whole wheat in your diet.

You haveee to try them at home — in fact, I’M going to try them at home and let you know how it goes…until then, here are the recipes for the Mac and Cheese and Chicken — let me know if you want the other ones too!

SHREDDED WHEAT MAC AND CHEESE (courtesy of Julie Taras Wallach and Tasha Garcia Gibson of Tipsy Parson NYC)

Baked Mac n Cheese with shredded wheat


Serves 8

What to get:

1 pound dried cavatelli pasta
1 bunch fresh thyme (about the diameter of a quarter)
1.5 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium Spanish onions, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups 2% milk
2 cups half and half
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1.5 cups Grafton cheddar cheese (grated)
1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1.5 cups Post Shredded Wheat
1 cup grated Grana Padano cheese

What to do:

Add Post Shredded Wheat to a food processor. Pulse on/off until cereal resembles coarse bread crumbs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Tie the bunch of thyme and sprigs of rosemary together with clean kitchen string. In a large widemouth stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the onions, garlic and herbs, and cook until the onion is soft, 8-10 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic and herbs.

Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute until liquid is smooth, no lumps. Gradually which in the milk and cream, the the mustard. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheddar, a handful at a time, waiting until each addition is completely melted before adding more. Season with the nutmeg and add salt and black pepper to taste.

Add pasta and the chopped thyme and heat through until the pasta is well coated and seasoned, about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

Pour the mixture into a casserole dish or individual overproof gratin dishes. Sprinkle the top(s) with a generous layer of coarsely ground Posted wheat then a layer of Grana Padano, then another layer of Post Shredded Wheat.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and cripsy.

Did you know: A typical Mac n Cheese recipe is about 1200-1600 calories, 60-75 grams of fat and 3400-4000 mg of sodium. THIS recipe is 460 calories, 24 grams of fat and has 560 mg of sodium per serving.

HONEY NUT SHREDDED WHEAT “FRIED” CHICKEN (courtesy of Julie Taras Wallach and Tasha Garcia Gibson of Tipsy Parson NYC)

Honey Nut Shredded Wheat Baked Chicken


Serves 6

What to get:

BRINE:
1 gallon cold water
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup honey
10 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, smashed but not peeled
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tsp celery seeds
2 rosemary sprigs
1 small bunch thyme
1 small bunch parsley
3 lemons zest and juice

BATTER:
3 pounds chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (about 4 breasts)
1 cup AP flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
4 cups Post Honey Nut Shredded Wheat (ground to resemble coarse bread crumbs)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

What to do:

Brine Chicken:

In a stockpot, mix together ingredients for brine. After zesting and juicing the lemons, add the lemon carcasses to the brine. Simmer brine, stirring frequently, until salt and honey have dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add portioned chicken breasts to cold brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Make Chicken Dredge:

Add cereal to work bowl of food processor fitted with blade. Pulse on/off until cereal resembles very coarse breadcrumbs. In a large bowl, mix together flour, cereal and all dry seasonings. Mix well to combine. Whisk together buttermilk and eggs. Melt butter in microwave or in a small pan on the stovetop.

Dredge Chicken:

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat (silicone baking mat…a shallow baking pan coated with cooking spray will also work). Remove chicken from brine. Wipe off any residual herbs and spices. Lay on a plate or baking sheet. Working one at a time, dredge chicken breast in egg mixture. Remove from mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in cereal mixture. Press to adhere. Repeat process again with same breast, so it’s double coated. Place double-coated chicken breast on prepared baking sheet. Continue process with each chicken breast. Arrange chicken breasts o baking sheet so they are not touching. Drizzle or lightly brush each breast with melted butter. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees F until chicken is tender not pink, and juices run clear, about 20-25 minutes.

Did you know: A typical Fried Chicken recipe may contain between 500-650 calories, 25-40 grams of fat and 1500-3000 mg of sodium. THIS recipe contains 460 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 1850 mg of sodium.

American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy

Cabbage Patch in Beverly Hills

By Melissa Stephans

If I could create the perfect lunch spot, it would have the following:

Fresh and flavorful ingredients
A gourmet approach to the food – in concept and execution
An affordable price-point (under $14, with lots of options somewhere around $5-$10)
Prime real estate – walking distance to cute shops…and close to a Barneys
A talented, yet humble chef who is recognized for his skills, as well as his charm

Needless to say, this is a tall order. So, I was surprised to discover that something like this actually exists, when I was invited to a tasting at Cabbage Patch in the 90210.

Chef Samir Mohajer of Cabbage Patch

At 2 PM, this place was packed worse than the 4 train on my daily commute to Manhattan once upon a time – but it smelled a whole lot better.

Chef Mohajer's yam wedges with harissa ketchup and cilantro, along with his delightfully crunchy breaded mozzarella.

I tried a variety of menu offerings and quite a few of them made a strong impression. The French lentils were unexpectedly yummy. Cumin has a distinctive punch that usually KO’s me on the first bite, but the creaminess of the avocado created a nice balance of flavors. The yam wedges and breaded mozzarella were crispy, not greasy; which is what a lot of fast-paced lunch spots get wrong when they fry. There’s no faster way to my heart, than with moist chicken (is that bad?). I’m not sure why so many people suck the life out of chicken when they cook it, but Cabbage Patch clearly does no such thing–their pan roasted jidori chicken was really good.

Pan Roasted Jidori Chicken Breast with seasoned vegetables, fresh herbs & toasted peanuts in a soy sesame dressing over brown rice.

The true star of this meal, though, was the slaw. It’s not of your average variety–this slaw is not milky, goopy, or gross in any way. Nor is it too bitter, sweet, soggy or stiff–it was just right.

French Lentils w/cilantro, cumin, avocado, lime juice; baby beets with apple; Cabbage Patch's impossibly delicious slaw.

I was so excited about my food, that I bombarded poor Chef Samir Mohajer with an onslaught of questions. Here’s the dish on our convo:

BATF: You were born in Iran, but raised in West L.A. How did this influence the flavors you bring to your dishes?

SM: I think more than the flavors, you see it in the style. Like in Mediterranean or Middle Eastern cooking, there are a lot of fresh elements on a plate. Even if you have a hot dish, there’s a cold element with it–a salad or an herb. As far as flavor profiles go, there are not many items here [that are inspired by Middle Eastern flavors]. We do use a lot of spices. You taste a lot of cumin, like in our French Lentils (cilantro, cumin, avocado, lime juice). There is definitely an influence from other countries, but I wouldn’t call it ethnic–more Californian.

BATF: What is your first memory of cooking?

SM: I have a lot of childhood memories. We had these family friends who were, like, my grandparents’ age. They had a bakery and they would bake everything in-house–Persian sweets like Baklava and all kinds of cookies and treats. I have really fond memories of being at their house visiting them and being happy because there was always food around. My parents worked, so I was left home a lot. My mom would par-cook things for me, and after a certain age, I was able to finish them off and feed myself–which happened a lot starting around 8 or 9 years old.

BATF: Why call your restaurants Cabbage Patch?

SM: It’s named after the dance. I figured that one day I would celebrate the success of this place with the dance. I pictured myself doing the dance. Plus, it has that farm-fresh connotation. When you think of a cabbage patch, you think of fresh produce.

BATF: You’ve only been open for about a year and a half now, and you are about to open your third location in Downtown L.A. Where do you want to be next year at this time?

SM: Hopefully working on a fourth or fifth location. Hopefully on the West Side because I grew up in Santa Monica and West L.A. I would love to do Santa Monica, Brentwood, or the Pacific Palisades.

BATF: How will Downtown be different from (or the same as) Cabbage Patch BH or in Playa Vista?

SM: The menus at our locations are slightly different. Beverly Hills is our original location, and we did this particular menu because it is a very fast-paced lunch spot. Space is an issue in Playa Vista, so we have a limited menu. We offer a lot of salads and sandwiches over there. In Downtown L.A., we have a huge kitchen, so we are going to add more items onto the menu–for example, we’re going to add an all-natural free range chicken, rotisserie style. With that, will come a bunch of other options–like bringing more of an evening crowd. Hopefully, Downtown will be a commissary kitchen for us; where we can find smaller spaces and use the main space to distribute our product out to our other kitchens.

BATF: Your ingredients are incredibly fresh. How do you manage to keep the cost so reasonable? (Thank you for that, by the way).

SM: We’re not paying for a managers, floral decorations and things like that. Those are the costs a lot of high-end restaurants incur, so they have to charge more for those products. I was skeptical until I got into this space and did this concept. We were able to keep it at these prices. I have a really good relationship with the farmers I shop from–they look after me. I’ve been shopping at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market for at least ten years now and they’re all very supportive. The ones I have relationships with know that this is my first business and they’re really trying to help out. I have a great guy who gets me produce from other places, too, so we’re constantly looking for deals. There’s a place called Foods in Season in Washington State, that always has wild fish, wild mushrooms, etc. Right now, wild salmon is in season and it’s totally affordable. I just got six whole wild salmon that were delivered–they were caught yesterday and they’re here today.

BATF: Because most of your produce is seasonal and from local farmers, how often do you change your menu?

SM: It gets tweaked every three to four months. We thought we could keep it seasonal by changing quite a bit of every three to four months, but dealing with the lunch crowd, you realize that people want what they [usually get] everyday. It’s very different from a dinner restaurant, where the chef makes what he wants and the people who come either like it or they don’t.

BATF: Is that something you discovered when you opened up Cabbage Patch?

SM: Yeah. I hadn’t done much lunch service, since most of my background is in upscale, fine dining restaurants, which is a whole different operation.

BATF: Well, you seem to be doing something right. This place is packed.

SM: Thank God. I’ve got a lot of great help. I’m blessed with that. Most of the guys in the kitchen were line cooks at really high-end restaurants. They’re not sandwich and salad makers; they’ve worked fish stations and grill stations at high-volume, high-end restaurants. It helps them in how they approach the food. We have a very gourmet approach to the food, as far as the prep and the set-up.

BATF: What is your favorite dish on the menu?

SM: The burger. Definitely.

BATF: What do you like to eat when you are not at one of your restaurants?

SM: Tacos! There’s a truck a block away from my house in West L.A. It’s called Ruben’s. He parks on Santa Monica Blvd. and Westgate from 7pm until 2-3am. $1 tacos. It’s really good. The meat is on the vertical broiler right there, he slices it off, crisps it up on the flattop, adds little corn tortillas, and horchata–I love that too. I do the Al Pastor taco. It’s very tasty.

Chef Mohajer is so masterful at bringing out the flavors in his own dishes, that I would probably try any taco he suggested. The proof is in the pudding–er, slaw–so you MUST try his recipe below. His recipes for watermelon and wild arugula salad, as well as French lentils are also pretty delish.

Let us know what you think!

Cabbage Patch Slaw Recipe:

The dressing should be made first and the salad dressed to taste; any remaining dressing can be saved for another use. 
Servings: About 12 side salad portions

Dressing:

1 teaspoon paprika
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup toasted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
1 1/2 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a blender, mix together the herbs, spices, honey, mustard, peanuts, and vinegar. Drizzle in the oils slowly, until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Slaw:

1 large head of Savoy cabbage, shredded thinly with a knife or a mandolin
1 medium head of radicchio, shredded thinly with a knife or a mandolin
1/2 of a large jicama, shredded thinly with a knife or a mandolin
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup toasted peanuts, roughly chopped

In a large bowl, mix together the cabbage, radicchio, jicama and cilantro. Toss with dressing (to taste), season with salt and pepper (also to taste) and garnish with toasted peanuts. Divide between bowls and serve immediately.

American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - French - Healthy - Italian - Middle Eastern

Fig & Olive in Meatpacking

September 29, 2010

The Meatpacking District may be best known for its night life, but that culture totally spills into their restaurants. There are doormen, lines, people dressed to the nines and menu prices that lets you know you’re paying probably as much to eat as you are to be seen eating there. Needless to say, God forbid you lose your reservation because now you’re all dressed up and stuck with a minimum two-hour wait at all the restaurants in the vicinity. That’s kind of what happened to us — only our saving grace was Fig & Olive.

After losing our 8pm reservation at Ajna Bar (formerly Buddha Bar…I had no idea they had changed their name either), we were stuck with waiting til midnight for the next slot. Across the street at STK, same story. After wandering a bit, we found Fig & Olive. The maître d’ was so nice and accommodating even though the five of us had just shown up without a reservation on a Saturday night. He said we could wait 15 minutes for an “unorthodox” table inside or a table outside. We opted to sit outside since it was a nice night. While we were waiting, the manager offered us drinks on the house. The service for the rest of the night fit the same standard — it was totally refreshing.

Crostinis Part One

Crostinis Part Deux

The food was even better. They started us off with bread and three different olive oils (Greek, Australian, and Tunisian — I didn’t take a picture because I didn’t realize they were all different at the time!). We split six crostinis first: (2) mushroom, artichoke, and truffled oil; crab and lemon cilantro mayo; (2) manchego, fig spread, and almond; and bell pepper, goat cheese, caper and olive. They were all excellent (my favorite, was the fig spread, and the goat cheese ones!).

Fig & Olive salad, $15

The salad was delicious — if you’re not into strong cheese like gorgonzola, you might not be into the Fig & Olive salad we had. But I don’t discriminate when it comes to cheeses — I love them all.

Fig & Olive Salad – fig, olive, tomato, manchego, gorgonzola dolce, goat cheese
walnut, chive, scallion, green apple, 18 year fig & balsamic dressing – Arbequina Olive Oil

Penne Mediterraneo, $18

Penne Mediterraneo – Shrimp, tomato, garlic, cilantro, scallion – Spicy Sundried Tomato Olive Oil

Penne funghi tartufo, $17

Penne funghi tartufo – cremini mushroom, parmesan, black truffle paste, fresh parsley & scallion – Truffle Olive Oil

The pastas were insanely delicious and fresh. The waiter said they don’t use anything creamy or fried so the food is on the healthy side too. The shrimp dish was more unusual, but it was my favorite for sure. And I was in the company of more mushroom fans, so we ordered a side of sauteed cremini mushrooms.

Sautéed Cremini Mushrooms with Thyme & Shallots, $6

The meal, service and ambiance were all fantastic. The portions are great to split and the bill was surprisingly not even that crazy ($80 covered us all and we were stuffed). They have a few locations in the city, but if you’re ever have trouble finding a place to eat at Meatpacking, try this place first.

Restaurant Info:
Fig & Olive

420 West 13th Street
btw Ninth Ave.& Washington St.
New York, NY 10014
212-924-1200

x
Shy

Beauty - "The Lovely" - Beauty on the Streets

Beauty on the Streets: Ritu Ashrafi

September 27, 2010

Ritu Ashrafi

Name: Ritu Ashrafi

Age: 26

Occupation: Fashion blogger/Online advertising marketer

Location: NYC

Website: http://thestylester.com

“I am the editor of The Stylester. Born in Bangladesh, raised in India, Quebec, Toronto and currently living in NYC! I’m a Madison Ave girl – working in online advertising by day, and a writer, blogger and sample sale addict by night..”

My style is: moody…it depends more on my mood rather than trends.

My favorite designer right now is: Bibhu Mohapatra.

People usually compliment my: curly hair.

I’ll never forget the time: I met Rachel Roy during Fashions Night Out last year, when she asked me what my background was. I answered Bangladeshi. Then she said “Don’t ever let a man break your heart.” I still wonder what spurred it but so happy to have received such a personal message from her.

Worst habit: twirling my hair.

For my skin, I use: Nivea!

My favorite makeup tip: Use primer! It’ll make you look flawless. I love Make Up For Ever’s Prime SPF 50/PA +++.

Photo credit: Jason Esposito

Current beauty product obsession: Lancome Définicils Precious Cell mascara.

But I also can’t live without: Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner.

My favorite scent is: Calvin Klein Beauty.

People might be surprised to know: My name means ‘season’ in Bengali, Hindi and Sanskrit.

My favorite hair product is: Sally Hershberger Style Primer for Wavy Hair.

I don’t understand people who don’t like: eggplant.

The restaurant I can never get tired of is: Chinese Mirch on 28th and Lex. I love the Coriander Chicken there! For me, it’s comfort food with a twist.

Though I can make killer: Spicy Asian rice noodle stir fry with peanut sauce.

Who inspires me: Vanessa Hong of http://thehautepursuit.com for being fashionable in Canada (trust me, its not easy) and unaplogetic about it.

Beauty - "The Lovely" - Beauty Tip of the Day

Beauty Tip of the Day: Use a sponge to wipe away deodorant marks

September 26, 2010

Gal Pal Garment Deodorant Remover, $11

“Sponges are great to have on hand to remove deodorant marks. They are reusable, works in seconds and can be used wet or dry.” – Melina Kemph, stylist.

Gal Pal Garment Deodorant Remover, $11

Beauty - "The Lovely" - Lips

Kanye West Tweets about lipstick

September 25, 2010

Kanye West tweeted about lipstick

Ever-outspoken rapper, Kanye West, had something to say last night — but this time it was about lipstick. It started with:


“Please don’t let girls start wearing dark lipstick again. I just think girls need to know that guys don’t really like black lipstick”

“I think classic red is the sexiest or no make up at all … nothing too experimental”


Umm…subliminal messages to his girlfriend, Amber Rose?

Kanye West's girlfriend, Amber Rose

But of course, it doesn’t stop there…

“Keep the crazy colors on the toes”
“Do girls even base any of they lip choices on what we like?”
“She say… well my hairdresser like it… well tell me what your lipdresser says”
“I looked at the time and just thought … oh shit… it’s girls at the club right now with” dark lipstick reading this…. uuuuuuuuh my bad”
“I think girls be trying to impress other girls with all them weird ass lip colors lol”
“In the studio with Jay and B. Beyonce just explained to me that lip dressers are better known as make up artist lol”

Not even 15 minutes later, “Lipstick” became a trending topic — you made some beauty writers verrrry happy last night, Kanye…

What do you guys think? Are weird colors OK sometimes? Classic red or nothing at all?


UPDATE: Apparently, West and Rose broke up — like months ago…wonder why…