Last Friday, Adam and I met some fabulous friends for dinner at Peels, a southern-American style restaurant that really does have all the southern charm you would expect. Loved the romantic lighting and old school soda shop bar. Our server was very good and helped us choose from the very delicious sounding menu. Since it was Shabbos, we needed a challah of some sort.
These rolls were the perfect challah stand-in…rich brioche like dough that basically melted in your mouth. My only complaint, the butter was quite cold…I think I just had such high butter expectations after Dirty Candy’s addictive maple butter. We ordered two appetizers to share…corn dogs and quinoa salad (quite opposites, I know!)
I wasn’t such a fan of the corn dogs but then again, I’m not much of a hot dog eater (more of a burger girl). The dough was very nice but it definitely had a kick to it! The pumpkin quinoa on the other hand was my kind of dish! Warm and comforting with the sweetness from the pumpkin and crunch from it’s seeds, a perfect winter appetizer. I wasn’t sure what I was feeling for the main…you know when you have no idea what food mood you’re in??? It kind of stresses me out! When the server described the fish special, he made it sound quite delicious so I went with it. And I was not disappointed.
The fish was cooked perfectly and finished with lots of delicious olive oil. There was also some finger licking good fried chicken and very light and fluffy potato dumplings ordered at the table.
I was very happy that my fried chicken ordering friend hates sweet potatoes because that mash was out of this world amazing! I can’t wait to go back to Peels to try their raved about brunch! Now, no shabbos dinner is complete without dessert, so being on the lower east side of the city, we couldn’t help ourselves but venture over to the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. After trying many of their signature cones, I was in more of a cup mood. I asked the server for her favorite item and decided to go with it…
Sounds weird but strangely good right? That’s exactly how it tasted. The olive oil was amazing and the vanilla soft serve (well that goes without saying) and huge flakes of sea salt…this place sure knows how to create the perfect mix of salty and sweet (remember the salty pimp from previous visits?) Definitely not your everyday dessert!
Saturday we had some lovely friends who made the trek all the way from upper Manhattan to have dinner in our Brooklyn home. They also happen to purchase a brand new camera and took some amazing pictures for me (which I’ve used here) so I must thank them very much for this! I wanted to welcome them with a fine spread and started things off with a great green soup recipe my cousin shared with me.http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/very-green-broccoli-soup-recipe/index.htm
The only change I made was to top each serving with a drizzle of heavy cream instead of mixing it into the whole soup. I must tell you it does need a lot of salt! But quite delicious and healthy to boot! I was going with an Asian theme main portion of the meal and went with a favorite fish recipe in this household: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/miso-marinated-trout-with-lime-ginger-glaze-10000000226373/
I used salmon instead of trout and I promise you…this fish is always a hit! People who say they don’t really like fish will eat three pieces (a true story!) I made some simple steamed green beans dressed with lemon, brown sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds as the green of this dinner and a peanut noodle recipe to complete the Asian theme.
Peanut Noodles (Adapted from Bite Me)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 red peppers, thinly sliced
handful of snow peas, sliced
handful of parsley, chopped
toasted peanuts or almond, chopped
sesame seeds, toasted
1/4-1/2 cup green onions, sliced
Combine all sauce ingredients together and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Set a side to cool slightly. Meanwhile, boil a package of whole wheat spaghetti and drain. Toss in a bowl with veggies, sauce and parsley and mix to combine. Garnish with nuts, sesame seeds, and green onions.
You could easily make the noodles into a one dish meal by adding some sort of protein like tofu or chicken (which we plan on doing with the leftovers). I was feeling in the cookin’ mood that day so I also made a totally unnecessary and totally non-Asian coleslaw to accompany the meal.
Basically, a mix of shredded purple and nappa cabbage, apple, mango, dried cranberries, candied pecans dressed in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, sugar, and olive oil. I really LOVE this coleslaw recipe and was happy to make enough to serve oh a mere 1o people (remember, there were only four of us at dinner). So I guess you know what Adam and I will be eating all week! If you’ve noticed from my meals, I’m much more of a cook than a baker but for this dinner party….I became an ice cream maker! With some freezer space available, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to use my good old Cuisinart ice cream maker. I had the idea to make an apple pie ice cream and after some googling, came across a recipe from We Are Not Martha that I changed up a bit to suit my taste buds.
The recipe has three parts: The custard, the apples, and the oatmeal crumble, but don’t let this stop you. It really is easy!
Apple Pie Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups almond milk (leftover from the thanksgiving leftover dumplings)
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
dash of vanilla and big shake of cinnamon
3 cups apples, chopped
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
dash of cinnamon
To start the custard, combine the almond milk and sugar in a saucepan and heat until bubbles form along the side of the pan. Meanwhile, whip the egg yolks together. Once the milk/sugar mixture has heated, add half of it to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Once mixed, slowly pour it back into the saucepan with the other half of the milk/sugar mixture and cook on low, stirring until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon. Add the cinnamon and vanilla and allow the custard to cool completely in the fridge.
To make the apples, mix all the ingredients together in a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 400 degrees covered with foil for about 35 minutes. Cool the apples and then combine with the custard in the fridge. You can totally make this in advance. When ready to make your ice cream, just pour into your handy-dandy ice cream maker and freeze according to the instructions. Now here’s where the oatmeal crumble part comes in. Use your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe (min obviously came from Bonnie Stern) and bake cookies and then crumble about 5 or 6 into bite size pieces and add them to the ice cream for the last 3 minutes of freezing. Then place ice cream in container and freeze until it’s in a scoop-able state. Or you can simply eat it straight out of the canister…it’s that good! I also saved some extra cookie crumble to serve on the side.
Oatmeal Cookies (Adapted from Bonnie Stern’s Best of Heart Smart)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups rolled oats
I would also normally add dried apricots, raisins, nuts, or chocolate but for the sake of apple pie ice cream, I did not.
Cream butter until light and then beat in sugars. Add egg, water, and vanilla and mix in. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats. Stir flour mixxture into egg mixture. Drop batter in mounds on a parchment lined baking sheet and flatten cookies and bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
I was once afraid of my ice cream maker, but I’m happy to say I’ve conquered my fear and can’t wait to churn up my next batch! I’m eying a pumpkin ice cream recipe…stay tuned!