The holiday time is definitely one filled with lots of good food! For me, Christmas Eve always brings back memories of eating lots of Chinese food and going to the movies. So when a colleague of mine suggested we go for dinner to one of her favorite Asian fusion restaurants in Bensonhurst, I couldn’t resist. Adam and I made our first trip to this Brooklyn neighborhood for dinner with my foodie colleague and her family at Longevousjoy. She had raved many times about this small restaurant with unique flavors and very interesting sounding dishes…“octopus donuts”, “melted cheese curry beef”, “kickass fries”, and “bloodyhell hot noodles”. I was slightly skeptical to say the least. With all of these very odd sounding dishes, I let her take the lead and order her favorite appetizers and small plates to start us off.
My favorites were the stuffed squid and the spicy tuna slider. The stuffed squid was filled with a very fresh crab/mayo/asparagus mixture and the tuna slider was like an inside out spicy tuna roll. Very unique! The salmon was very fresh on the sushi and the California roll was what you would expect. We also enjoyed some unpictured dumplings which were actually some of the best dumplings I’ve ever had.
The waiter said this beef dish was his favorite and my colleague and her husband said it was their standby entree. I was a little apprehensive taking my first spoonful but the beef was so tender…melted in my mouth! The curry sauce was delicious and I guess I should have known that melted cheese on anything will just make it better. A very joyful meal!
I’ve been known to enjoy a happy hour now and again (remember those amazing Brussels sprouts from The Vanderbilt?!?) But this week I decided to invite my friend over for happy hour at home instead…which also meant dinner. I think she thought this was a better deal and happily accepted my invitation. No happy hour is complete without a small bite to wet the appetite, and I did my best to live up to the sprouts with a caramelized onion and blue cheese crostini.
I caramelized two onions with a butter/olive oil combo (you need the oil so the butter doesn’t burn and you need the butter for that delicious flavor), thyme, and salt. I let them go over medium heat for about 30 minutes and then topped them on some toasted baguette slices and sprinkled on some blue cheese. A winning happy hour combo! For the main, I use this recipe to make an Asian salmon and green bean dish: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/five-spice-glazed-salmon-sesame-green-beans.aspx. This recipe is so simple and quick so it is perfect for your own weekday happy hour-at-home night.
To go with the fish and beans, I roasted some acorn squash wedges in olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon at 400 until nice and tender. My happy hour friend doesn’t normally like squash…let’s just say she ate her fair share of this sweet squash! Success!
Once Friday rolled around again, Adam and I realized we hadn’t had a traditional chicken and veg shabbos meal for some time. Having restocked our kosher chicken supply, it was back to the traditional shabbos dinner for us…of course I had to put my own twist on it.
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad
8 shallots, halved
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 turnip, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp honey
handful or two of baby spinach
Preheat oven to 425 and combine turnip, carrots, shallots, and parsnips in a bowl with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in oven until tender about 40 minutes. Mix together all dressing ingredients. Combine warm vegetables with dressing and spinach. The warm veg will slightly wilt the spinach.
While I did enjoy happy hour at home very much, It left me missing The Vanderbilt’s brussels sprouts. So I satisfied this craving using this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. And satisfy my craving they did!
Now I know you are all thinking, “Where’s the chicken?” The chicken came in the form of a panko crusted chicken breast.
Panko Crusted Chicken Breasts
4 chicken breasts, pounded thin
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat chicken breasts evenly in dijon mustard. Mix together bread crumbs and spices and dredge chicken. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes.
I made a quick sauce for the chicken by mixing together some trader joe’s mango butter, dijon mustard, and rice vinegar. It did the job and went very well with the chicken. No shabbos meal is complete without dessert and it being so mild here in NY we decided it was time for a visit back to Ample Hill Creamery. Such creative flavors with all homemade ingredients.
Festival of lights would be in honor of Channukah…cream cheese ice cream with pieces of homemade raspberry rugelach. The other half of our pint of deliciousness was brown sugar ice cream with homemade pecan brittle (the house favorite). Happy New Year Everyone!!! Hope it is filled with fun and food!