Category Archives: American

American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade

Recipe: Healthy Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken

February 26, 2017

I’m not sure how many people are into Snapchat’s Discover channels, but I’m pretty obsessed with Tastemade. They always make videos of really enticing dishes in a fun way, like this Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken I caught one time. It’s healthy and the spicy honey mustard has a nice kick to it. It quickly ended up being my go-to while I was living in Dubai. Whomever I made this for always asks for the recipe, so thought I’d share it here:

spicy honey mustard

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
optional garnish: chopped Italian parsley

Combine all ingredients to make a marinade, then cover chicken with marinade. I either then put it in a Ziplock or mix it all in a bowl and cover it with saran wrap and then leave in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight. When you’re ready to cook, heat up 2 tbs olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. I would also cut the chicken breasts in half for thinner pieces so it cooks more evenly. About two minutes on each side should do it. Try it and let me know what you think!

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Shy

American - FOOD - "The Delicious"

Beyond pizza at California Pizza Kitchen in NYC

November 2, 2015

I know what you’re thinking. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if I could tell you something new about a chain restaurant like California Pizza Kitchen either. I don’t write about a lot of chains mostly because NYC has so much variety. That’s not a knock on chains, but I personally feel like you come to NYC to try all those quaint, unique places that make the city so exciting to experience. But when I was invited to check out CPK’s new menu, and it really did exceed my expectations, mostly because this time I tried dishes beyond just their pizza.

California Pizza Kitchen in Gramercy, NYC

California Pizza Kitchen in Gramercy, NYC

Strawberry cooler

Strawberry cooler

A good way to start: Guac, and lobster flatbread

Starter bread and guac

Starter bread and guac


Guacamole

Guacamole


Lobster flatbread

Lobster flatbread

With our main plates, we tried a variety of dishes. We had to get one order of their classic Thai Chicken pizzas, but we also dipped into their kung pao shrimp pasta, refreshing watermelon salad, and must-try new items: Roasted halibut, garlic chicken, and fire-grilled ribeye. Everything had so much flavor and cooked perfectly.

Kung Pao shrimp

Kung Pao shrimp


Fish tacos

Fish tacos


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Watermelon feta salad -- so refreshing

Watermelon feta salad — so refreshing


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I normally don’t go straight for fish, but this wild-caught Alaskan halibut roasted on a cedar plank with butternut squash farro, baby kale, and grilled asparagus was too good to pass up:

Hearth-Roasted Halibut on asparagus, butternut squash farro, and baby kale

Hearth-Roasted Halibut on asparagus, butternut squash farro, and baby kale

My friends who tried the chicken and steak couldn’t get over how much flavor they both had. The chicken was cooked perfectly with a lemon-garlic sauce, and served with fingerling potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. The chicken was juicy and tender and served with seasonal vegetables.

Roasted garlic chicken

Roasted garlic chicken


I was a little nervous for the fire-grilled ribeye – I wasn’t sure how much even the reimagined menu at CPK would deliver. Surprisingly, my friends loved it. They topped the steak with bleu cheese butter that complemented the steak well without taking over. It’s served with roasted fingerling potatoes in a rich pesto sauce, and a lemon-garlic arugala salad.
Fire-grilled ribeye

Fire-grilled ribeye

Finally, when it came to dessert, we immediately ordered the chocolate shuffle cake but our waiter insisted we also tried the butter cake. Twist our arm. I had no idea their classic butter cake was THIS good, especially looking so unassuming. Soft, creamy, and sweet, it might be all you need. But a spoon of the chocolate souffle didn’t hurt either.

Butter cake -- must try

Butter cake — must try

Belgian chocolate souffle cake

Belgian chocolate souffle cake

Overall CPK’s reimagined menu shows promise — enough that I’ve been craving to go back since this visit. The one we visited on Park Avenue South is also perfect for big groups with so many seating areas. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Pizza tossing

Pizza tossing


CPK on Park Ave South in NYC

CPK on Park Ave South in NYC


Restaurant Info:
California Pizza Kitchen

440, 386 Park Avenue South,
New York, NY 10016
(212) 685-6700
Murray Hill
REPORT CARD
Meal: Dinner
Occasion: Catching up with friends
Price: $$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ***
Food: ***
Service: ***
Would I go back?: Yes!



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Shy
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American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Vegan - Vegetarian

Veestro: Plant-based meals delivered to your door

September 3, 2015

[Just FYI: Veestro is providing a special discount code for BATF readers at the end!]

I’m so used to cooking practically all my meals now but I was totally game to hang up my cooking utensils for a week to try Veestro, a gourmet, plant-based, organic meal service. I’m not a vegetarian but I’ve cut my meat consumption a LOT, so the thing that attracted me most to Veestro was that they use all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or animal products. You can buy them by meal or by meal-plan depending on your focus (high protein, gluten-free, weight-loss, etc.)

Veestro's Kale & Quinoa salad with tempeh bits and tahini dressing

Veestro’s Kale & Quinoa salad with tempeh bits and tahini dressing

Veestro asked if I’d try a 5-day meal plan (15 meals) to see what I thought. They sent me some info about the perks of a plant-based diet. Besides promoting long term sustainable weight loss, they’re low in saturated fats, high in fiber, and reduce excess cholesterol intake. Not to mention, they’re rich in antioxidants, plant sterols, phytochemicals, and potassium, which are all thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. Of course, there’s a lot that rides on the quality of the plant-based and non-meat products you’re eating — if you’re not eating meat but eating an excess of processed foods, for example, you’re still taking in a lot of calories.

But crash-nutrition lesson aside, I was mostly curious about the taste of their meals. After eating their meals for a week I found a few things consistently true: they didn’t skimp on flavors, they use fresh ingredients that you can actually read without a dictionary, and (true to their word) no preservatives. You also have a few options on how to prepare them — some you could heat on the stove top or microwave, some you had to bake but this gave some flexibility to bring it to work. Plus, there was a lot of variety in cuisine so it didn’t get boring. I was really starting to look forward to my meals every day.

Some of my favorites
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Red Curry with Organic Tofu and Veggies (the curry paste made with red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, shallot, thai ginger; it also had organic carrots, califlower, broccoli, organic brown rice, coconut milk, ginger, coriander, paprika)

Red curry tofu

Red curry tofu

Veggie Empanadas (made with organic pastry flour, filled with potatoes, carrots, onions, and green peas, and a chichi sauce made with organic parsley, cilantro, garlic, oregano, and lemon juice — so delicious):

Veggie empanadas

Veggie empanadas


Veggie empanadas

Veggie empanadas

Veggie Burger Patty (made with braised tempeh, organic black beans, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, and corn). I added some cheese, kale, and sriracha ketchup to this and it was so filling and delicious.

Veggie patty

Veggie patty


Here’s some more pics of the meals — even their juices are not to be missed.
Meals from Veestro!

Meals from Veestro!

From top (left to right): Oatmeal breakfast, Risotto with butternut squash and kale, Soba noodles with peanut sauce, Three layer scramble with tofu, Thai Chick’N stew, Tuscan calzone, Eggplant Casserole, and Savory Croquettes with veggie hash.

My only small gripe was that not all the directions are that detailed on how to prepare the food (I ended up cooking some over heated olive oil, but some that come with sauces could have been more descriptive) — then again, this can help you get creative with the dishes, like I did in some cases. Other than that, the only real problem you’ll run into is making room in your freezer. Also, if you’re grabbing the meals to go (especially to work where you won’t have a stove available a lot of times), make sure it’s one that can be heated up in the microwave.

Want to try it yourself? Visit veestro.com, and use coupon code VEESTROFEAST to get 20% off your entire order through Sept 30th!!


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Shy
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American - Breakfast/Brunch - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade

Avocado and pomegranate breakfast

August 15, 2015

I’ve been getting up extra early lately to make breakfast since I’ve realized how much better my days are going when I do (especially the more stressful ones with work). I know it sounds crazy, but I think even trying new recipes and getting creative with it has been giving me more reason to jump out of bed. This was a creation from this past week:

This week in breakfast

This week in breakfast

I needed to use the avocado I had since it was getting bad, so after slicing and peeling one, I squeezed half a lemon over it (to keep it from oxidizing more and for flavor), and put a little salt and pepper over it. I also used halves of Arnold Sandwich Thins to spread farmer’s cheese over it, then the avocado on top of that, and then added some organic pomegranate kernels that I found in the freezer aisle (I couldn’t find fresh pomegranate in the store, so ended up buying it frozen). It was such a good, healthy meal.

The other half of my meal was just two eggs I cooked with some of my favorite ingredients: thyme, chopped onions, jalapeños, sun dried tomato, and cilantro. What have you been making for breakfast lately? Share, and maybe I’ll try it next week :)


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American - Breakfast/Brunch - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade - Recipes

Recipe: Truffle eggs and thyme

July 5, 2015

Sooooo I guess some people noticed how obsessed I am with anything truffle-related (has it been that obvious? :) ), so I was inevitably tagged me to an Instagram post that displayed a delicious combo of soft boiled eggs and thyme. I’ve been craving it since so I made my own version of it, very slightly altered, but man, you have to try it if you feel the same feels about truffle as I do.

Truffle eggs and thyme

Truffle eggs and thyme

Toast a wheat toast, and top with low fat cottage cheese. Add sliced hard boiled eggs, and season with sea salt, crushed red pepper, fresh thyme, and drizzle a little truffle oil over it. On that note, my friend Shazeen introduced me to The Truffleist‘s truffle oil.

What's left of The Truffleist Oil I have

What’s left of The Truffleist Oil in my kitchen


It smells like HEAVEN and is so incredibly delicious. You should check him out and try his stuff — you won’t be disappointed!


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American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Homemade - Recipes - Vegan - Vegetarian

Cauliflower with roasted red pepper sauce

June 23, 2015

Ok so the last time I made cauliflower, it sounded a lot more promising than it actually turned out (see the maple-sriracha roasted cauliflower). The flavor was a little weak. But this is legitimately delicious. I made some tweaks to the original recipe that I’ll note below. I guess what I’m learning is whereas before I used to be so by-the-book when it comes to trying something new, now I don’t freak out if I’m missing an ingredient. I’m sure all real chefs know this already, but there’s usually a way around it…like, for example, if you don’t have bread crumbs but DO have crushed pumpkin seeds from the recipe you did the day before. Just think about making it your own :).

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Cauliflower with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large head or 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
Salt and fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons soft tofu (I used feta instead since I didn’t have tofu at home)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (I used crushed pumpkin seeds instead because I didn’t have breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the cauliflower begins to brown and soften, about 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

To roast the red pepper, I put it in a tray drizzled with olive oil in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning it over once each side browns. Remove and let cool.

While the cauliflower is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, 1 minute. Add the roasted red pepper and saute for another few minutes, until heated through. Transfer to a blender or mini-chopper and blend. Add the tofu (or feta cheese in my case) and some salt and pepper and puree until smooth.

Add the puree and the red pepper flakes to the cauliflower and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the breadcrumbs (or pumpkin seeds) and sesame seeds and cook another minute. Transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish and serve.

It ends up as a really creamy, decadent dish that can be a meal or a side. Try it and let me know how it goes!

Inspired by Daphne Brogdon’s recipe on the Food Network.


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