Category: Lavish Eats (Page 1 of 3)

Lavish Eats: Spelt Apple Tarte Tartin

Now before you balk at considering spelt in a dessert dish, I just want you to have a look at this:


I mean, no dessert that looks that delicious smothered in maple and vanilla goodness can be bad, right? I am so trying this, maybe not for the holidays, but definitely the weekend. You can find the entire recipe over at Gather and Feast.


Lavish Eats: StreetBird Harlem

Sigh. I really wanted this to work. 


I was hungrily strolling along 116th St. with my friend and my daughter, and we had to choose between Harlem Tavern and Streetbird, a restaurant that we could have sworn was not there a few months ago. We chose the new joint because we wanted to see what they had to offer, and I was craving chicken and waffles. Surely it was on the menu.

When I stepped in, I was enchanted by the decor, a bright hodge-podge of distressed objects, vintage signage and wild prints. I was urged to check out the bathroom, which I did. And then after snapping a few pics, I realized that something about this place rang a little false. The throwback hip hop pics were too carefully picked, repeated, and ripped. The ‘graffiti’ was forced. Every thing about what I was looking at just gave the appearance of trying too hard to keep it real. It was as if someone had tried to reimagine the inside of a New York City dive bar, without ever having set foot inside one.

And then came the food.


Skip that reddish sauce. It does nothing for the chicken.

So, my daughter picked out a trusted selection of chicken tenders and fries. I was dead set on what I wanted, so I ordered the red velvet chicken and waffles by recommendation of another patron. The order came quickly, and I dove into my plate. My daughter, on the other hand, was less than excited about her dish. The tenders looked like the large french toast rectangles they give you in an elementary school cafeteria. The breading was just too much, and the flavors of the chopped chicken within the sticks just didn’t resonate with anyone at the table. The sauce that came along with my plate was a bit too spicy, yet had a muddy flavor. It’s really hard to mess up two classics, but both of these dishes missed the mark.

This morning, I looked up the restaurant and was sad to find that Streetbird is the brainchild of Marcus Samuelsson, famed Top Chef winner, and owner of Harlem hotspot Red Rooster. I wanted to like the restaurant even more, but sadly, it failed me on several fronts. Sometimes, it’s better to just keep classics, classic, and stop trying so hard to be different for the sake of being different. Because the end result comes off contrived, less than stellar, and fake.

Streetbird will be a hit with Harlem visitors, but urban dwellers will know better. Nice try though.

Streetbird – 2149 Frederick Douglass Blvd at 116th St., NYC
Ph: (212) 206-2557






Lavish Eats: Dreaming of Sunday Breakfast

It may be only Wednesday, but I am dreaming of the weekend. But this is the kind of breakfast that you can’t rush through on a weekday morning: Eggs Hollandaise and Bacon
I saw this recipe in the March issue of Glamour and had to clip it for the weekend. Here are the deets with a few of my own modifications for oils and quality ingredients.
What you Need: 
Chive Hollandaise 
3 grass-fed egg yolks 8 tbsp. butter, melted 2 chives, chopped 1/2 tsp. lemon juice 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste 
 Potato Hash 
2 tbsp. coconut oil or beef tallow 2 large Idaho potatoes, diced 1 12-oz. pack thick-cut smoked bacon, diced 2 white onions, diced 
1 tbsp. distilled vinegar 1 tbsp. pink himalaya salt 8 eggs 4 chives, for garnish 
 To make hollandaise: In a small pot over medium heat, whisk egg yolks and 1 tbsp. water until yolks thicken. Whisk in butter, chives, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Set aside. 
To make hash: Heat oil in a cast-iron pan on high heat. Fry potatoes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crispy, about 5 minutes. Set aside; drain grease from pan. In the same pan, saute onion until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add bacon and onion to potatoes. Keep warm. 
To make eggs: Fill medium pot with water, add vinegar and salt; bring to a simmer. Crack an egg into a bowl, then swirl the simmering water in one direction with a whisk. Drop egg into the water and let it cook until white is firm, about 3 minutes. Remove egg with slotted spoon; put on paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat for the other eggs. 
To serve: Divide hash into four bowls, and top with two poached eggs, a drizzle of hollandaise, and chives. Serves 4.

Lavish Eats: Do Blonds Really Have More Fun?

I don’t know if I would go so far, but I’d love to taste this “blond” bar by the French school of chocolate, Valrhona. This chocolate bar was a happy accident which occured when chef Frédéric Bau noticed the hypnotic smell of some white chocolate that he had left boiling away for some 10 odd hours. Slow cooked chocolate. That just sounds amazing.

A 3 oz bar is $8. Get yours here.

Lavish Eats: Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

I love Anthropologie. It kind of reminds me of Marie Antoinette’s foray into French country farming. Rich and bohemian at the same time. So, of course, I was enticed by the deliciously inviting dessert by Nigel Slater in the Anthro spring catalogue. I can’t wait to make this for a spring picnic! 
  Strawberry Mascarpone Tart 
Serves 6 To 8 
1 large egg 
a generous tablespoon superfine sugar 
1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese 
2 drops vanilla extract 
1/2 pound strawberries 
For the crumb base: 
6 tablespoons butter 9 oz almond, orange or sweet oat cookies 
Crumb base: 
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. 
Crush the cookies to a coarse powder. 
Mix the crumbs with the butter. 
Spoon the crumbs into a rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. 
Smooth into the corners and up the pan sides. 
Press firmly, but not so hard that they become compacted: the cookie base is better when short and crumbly. Refriger- ate until the base has set. 
Separate the egg, putting the yolk in a bowl with the sugar and beating for a few seconds until thoroughly mixed. 
Beat in the mascarpone until you have a custard-colored cream. 
Stir in a little vanilla extract; a couple of drops should be enough. 
With a clean whisk, beat the egg white until it stands stiff, and then fold it into the creamed mascarpone.
 Spoon the mascarpone into the cookie crust, spreading it right out to the edges. 
Hull the strawberries, slice them thinly, and arrange them on top of the mascarpone. 
Keep cool, removing the tart from the refrigerator a good 20 minutes before serving. 
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It’s Spring…. 5 BIG Lusts

I may not post as often, but you can always catch me chirping away, or putting together my ultimate style boards. Here are my five fave lusts for springtime:

Head-to-Toe floral
Ombre nails
An elegant carving board for all the outdoor picnics
A springtime trip to Greece
Spring Art Openings, like this one at the Whitney 
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The Top 5 Ways I Love Using Honey

“Make a bitch drink coffee… And I’m allergic to caffeine”
– Erykah Badu, “Honey”
I was listening to Pandora and this song came up. I forgot how much I like it. But seriously, have you ever added honey to your coffee? It’s a really tasty alternative to sugar, and adds a wonderful richness. Those who know me know about my obsession with honey. I regularly buy the golden treat by the tub-full on, and it’s usually gone within a few weeks. I always get the organic kind, and have lately been using only raw because of the amount of nutrients, like propolis, that are usually filtered out in traditional processed honey. Here are five ways that I love using honey:
1. Drizzled over a bowl of Fage Greek yogurt
2. In my coffee when I run out of turbinado sugar 
3. I smear a little raw honey on a cut to act like a natural Neosporin
4. Spread underneath peanut butter on hearty wheat toast
5. In a cup of Thyme tea to quell a cough
Do you have any non traditional ways you like to use honey?

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Lavish Lust: C. Wonder Picnic Basket

Nothing whets my appetite better than a well prepared, home-cooked meal. I don’t mind spending a little time putting together the perfect apertivo or the most succulent salad paired with a perfectly chilled wine and dessert platter. It’s my side hobby. I have been dreaming about getting a picnic basket for the longest time, and C. Wonder may just have the best deal out there right now. This $128 beauty is on my lust list.
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Lavish Recipe: Frozen Hot Chocolate

I usually have chocolate at least once a day, and that chocolate must be of the highest and darkest quality to truly satiate my tastes. But the heat will do my favorite treat in, even though I can never resist it. Thank goodness for frozen drinks. Here, the recipe for Serendipity’s Frozen Hot Chocolate:

Frozen Hot Chocolate

6 half-ounce pieces of a variety of your favorite chocolates
2 teaspoons storebought hot chocolate mix
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups ice
Whipped cream
Chocolate shavings

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Add the cocoa and sugar, stirring constantly until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat and slowly add 1/2 cup of the milk and stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
In a blender place the remaining cup of milk, the room temperature chocolate mixture, and the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Pour into a giant goblet and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Enjoy with a spoon or a straw. . . .or both!


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Lavish Recipe: Chocolate and Banana Ice Cream

As summer approaches (anyone living in New York City knows that spring never comes), I look forward to creating some one-of-a-kind tasty treats for the warmer weather. And although I could eat ice cream any time of the year, that first ring-a-ling of the Mr. Softee truck always makes me especially happy.

I’ve become a foodie as of late, happily whipping up complex cakes and cookies, all for a taste of something new, so adding ice cream to my list of cooking activities will hopefully make me into a celebrated kitchen queen. The recipe below is from an older post from David Lebovitz’s website, and I plan to indulge this weekend…

Chocolate and Banana Ice Cream

Four to six scoops

From Ready for Dessert (Ten Speed) by David Lebovitz

This is the world’s easiest ice cream. It takes literally a minute to put together—since it’s winter, I simply set the bowl of chocolate and milk on the radiator, and while I leisurely and lovingly take the time to peel the banana, the chocolate melts and is soon ready to use.

You can easily increase this recipe to make more than it calls for. I haven’t tried it with any other liquor, but for those of you who want to experiment, you do need to include a similar amount and percentage of alcohol to prevent the ice cream from freezing too hard. The banana gives the ice cream a smooth, creamy consistency and provides the sweetness, so use a nice, ripe one.

I found that this keeps for weeks in the freezer and maintains it’s absolutely perfect consistency. Cheers!

2 ounces (55 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons (80 ml) milk, whole or low-fat

6 tablespoons (80 ml) Baileys liquor

1 medium-sized ripe banana, peeled*, and cut into chunks

1 tablespoon (15 ml) dark rum

1. In a small bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in the microwave), melt the chocolate with the milk.

2. Blend the melted chocolate the Baileys, the banana, and rum until smooth.

3. Pour into a plastic or metal container, cover, and freeze for at least 4 hours.

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