Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Undiscovered Family Pie

I always heard of rumors of a family “strawberry-rhubarb pie” that would float around in conversations from time to time, particularly around the summer time or around the holiday season while growing up as a kid. My mother refused to make it, claiming that her mother and aunt made it so much while she was growing up that it made her sick. Therefore, the strawberry-rhubarb pie rumors remained rumors.

Until last month.

I was craving a pie and ice cream terribly and had a couple of hours to kill so I decided to make the pie that I always wanted to try: the strawberry-rhubarb pie.

Sure, I have had strawberry tarts and rhubarb jam but never in combination with one another, and I always believed as a kid that making food with rhubarb was somehow too complex for me. Mind you, this was before I entered the food world as a professional.

I have no idea why my mother never gave in for one moment, because the minute I tried this pie, my heart, palette, and stomach sparkled with delight. I have never been a complete, dedicated fan of pie until I tried this one. The simple combination of sugar, cinnamon, strawberries, and rhubarb evolves into an addicting, sweet and tangy center of awesomeness. 

And the addition of ice cream? I’m not sure if I have any words other than a milky, liquid gold.

If you have any secret recipes that your family has not tried, do yourself a favor and try them. You have no idea what you are missing, because just trying the undiscovered, strawberry-rhubarb pie just made me realize that there are family members that really do have a palette like mine.

If you want to try the pie yourself, try it here.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Malay in Morristown

Southeast Asia has grasped my attention, particularly ever since I started working around some amazing people in Jean-Georges’ restaurants and lived not far from densely populated Asian community in Queens, NY.  Being someone from the southeast United States, I find a few parallels in their culinary communities: spices, tropical fruits, and peanut butter amongst other minor similarities. Therefore, whenever I see or hear of a Southeast Asian restaurant, I am always in for a try.

And that is what led me to Malay, a Malaysian restaurant located in Morristown, NJ. I visited a friend last spring who moved to this town, and we stumbled across this newly opened gem not far from the train station for dinner before a movie. We noticed the packs of people inside so we know we were already up for the experience.

The funny thing about this is that it was so good, that I did not photograph anything. It was one the most eclectic dining experiences we ever had. I remember the dishes so vividly that it took me no time to recollect them as I was writing this post. That’s how good our food tasted.

We started ordering our apps but then we turned to the staff for recommendations on main courses. We were so curious as to what we were going to receive, partly because I haven’t specifically “tasted” Malaysian cuisine in the past.

We basically had the following:

Thai Lettuce Wrap
Mango Salad
Malay Char Kway Teow: Stir fry flat noodles with shrimp, squid, bean sprouts, eggs, soy sauce and chili paste
Salted Fish with Eggplant, the special of that night
Peanut Cookies: The best things ever.

The Thai Lettuce Wraps had an spice that lingered in your mouth for minutes, and the mango salad I know for a fact I cleared the plate. The Malay Char Kway Teow had squid that reminded me of my days in Spain and the Salted Fish with Eggplant was clearly the piece de resistance. It served as a full fish along with vegetables and eggplant complimented the fish in so many ways that will never be forgotten. The butteryness of the eggplant and the saltiness of the fish combined to really create a satiating explosion. Okay, I will say it: It was pretty orgasmic.

The best part though was dessert. Mostly because we did not expect this as we were paying the bill. They gave out some Peanut Cookies along with our check, and we were just expecting some pre-made, packaged cookie. This was a melt-in-your mouth, piece of magic that I can still remember the flavors melting and crumbling in the mouth. It was like combining, cotton candy, peanut butter, and shortbread into your mouth. I would return just to take the cookies again and then go home because they surprised me that much.

This restaurant just proved to me that there is always going to be a hole in a wall that clearly defines its place in the world, and Malay knows how to paint a culinary postcard. If you are ever in the area of Morristown, its definitely worth a visit.

147 Morris Street
Morriston, NJ 07960


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Life of the Single Serving (Favorite Single Serving Recipes)

 The culinary life of a single serving for me is not Ramen Noodles. Nor is it microwave dinners or other packaged, boxed up, frozen, or canned mystery findings. Don’t worry, I definitely do my fair share of frozen pizzas (thank you, Dr. Oetker), ham and cheese sandwiches, and Chinese or Thai. I am also a sucker for chocolate chip muffins or croissants from my local bakery. There are moments where I wish I could make for four or five people in my world, but honestly single servings are just as satisfying, if not more. If I did make for four or five people in my world, I always get sick of the leftovers by the third meal. It’s just not going to happen.

So, for all of the single serving lovers out there, I provide you some of my favorites in courses. Most of these are comfort foods, but at least you can enjoy them by yourself, without worrying about what to do with the other servings of food. Yes, some of them “do” say they are set for four to six people, etc., but I guarantee you that it will take you no more than two, maybe three servings so if it was so good that you just had to have it one more time (and one time only), its waiting for you.

Appetizer: From my first chef I ever got to get to know

Pasta: Mushroom Risotto. It’s so addicting I now have it once a month a least.

Buffalo Hot Wings: If you really need that sports watching day all to yourself

Welsh Rarebit: Basically, it’s a cheese sandwich on crack

Dessert: Big Ass Chocolate Chip Cookie

Breakfast: Pancakes

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rum Runnin' It

Are you itching to get into warmer weather? Every year when it becomes colder I always crave something that I enjoy during warmer weather, like ice cream for instance. For me lately, it’s been a rum runner. It brings me back to the moments in Jekyll Island, GA from spring to late fall. My family will vacation from time to time down at the Club hotel, and if you could picture a place that will make your favorite creation, no matter how new or vintage it is, this is the place.

My pick is the rum runner. My family enjoys these so much that we even researched a recipe to enjoy at home when we cannot travel to the hotel. A mix of two, sometimes three different rums, pineapple juice, orange juice, blackberry liquor, banana liquor, grenadine, garnished with a cherry and orange is the ultimate spiked punch one will ever have when you just want to enjoy the warm weather, sun and the water.

What is the one recipe we find to be most accurate? Click here to find out and enjoy it for hopes of better weather soon.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Falling for a Revival

I fell in love in October 2015. I will never forget the night we met. We were actually introduced through a friend of mine, and the moment we laid eyes on each other, I knew it was going to be a relationship that would for last a long time.

That “special someone” is a Glendronach 15-Year Revival – a Highland single malt, Oloroso sherry cask, Scotch whisky. I am fan of sherry in general so the instant I learned that this Scotch whisky is aged in Oloroso sherry casks, I knew I had to give it a try to see why my friend treasured it so much.

Its velvety rich, currant, caramel palate with its long lasting finish left me lingering for more. So much that after three bottles of it, I decided to slowly enjoy my last bottle once I learned to realize that they were retiring the 15-Year Scotch for three years. I actually am a proud owner of the last bottle for sale in D.C. I am sure there are secret stashes at restaurants around the area, but I keep this one for me for only special occasions, because you never know when a beauty like this will come around again.

For more information on Glendronach, check out their website below. Hopefully, you will be able to have a chance to fall in love too: http://glendronachdistillery.co.uk

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Cake Practice

I recently had a bridal shower and had to make a cake. Not my first time making a cake for a special occasion, but it was the most formal of them I have ever done. Especially for someone who has been to culinary art school so there is a little bit of pressure here.

I felt compelled to actually do some “practice” so that I can get the hang of baking something of this nature again. It is not so much the cake part, that part for me is well “a piece of cake” ( I know, terrible phrase but I just couldn’t help it ). However, it is the icing part of the procedure that always gets me. Maybe it is because I get lazy or forget to do something, fill something, etc. that makes it just the cake that more novice.

Result? Well… Here you go. This was the practice round in the making. 

And here is the actual result.

It was so amazing that I have 2 more slices in the freezer. Enough said. A sincere thanks to King Arthur Flour. If you want the recipe, check out their baking recipe book. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Weekend in Wilmington

A couple of friends of mine traveled to Wilmington back in October to visit a friend of ours who just had a baby. I had little knowledge of Wilmington other than the hit 1990’s TV show, “Dawson’s Creek” until we actually visited there.

Was I pleasantly surprised. It is a blossoming tourist town and actively growing by the minute. You can see new restaurant to shop open back to back as if it is a growth spurt that does not plan on slowing. It is certainly a culinary getaway if you are looking for some tasty seafood, beer, and ice cream.

We did not do much for being there less than 36 hours, but what we did get to do was pretty delectable. Unfortunately, I do not have all the details ( I was the driver and not the writer), but here is a sampling of my memory:

Ruben at Copper Penny: All I have to say is that this Ruben is close but not quite to the king of all Rubens in the south, the Cavalier in Lynchburg, VA. It was very tasty though and left me full for the afternoon.

Beer at Waterline Brewing Company: We were in the middle of their Oktoberfest and it was filled with fun, music and of course, beer. I had their Rye IPA which was quite nice.

Cocktails at The Blind Elephant: Historically known to be a 1920’s prohibition bar, that took its name to another direction other than the typical names at the time such as Blind Tiger for instance. They sold the Moscow Mules on Tap and I was definitely craving one in the heat. Overall, really refreshing and enjoyed the active atmosphere for a Saturday night in a small, tourist town.

Oysters at Dock Street Oyster Bar: Best meal all weekend. I loved these Oysters which where basically local, straight off the shore. They had a wide range of vinegars so I kept mine simple with red wine vinegar and horseradish. The corn was also a great compliment to completely finish my lunch.

Ice Cream at Kilwin’s Chocolates: This was some of the best American ice cream I have tasted in a while. I went with the fan favorite, peanut butter cup despite my yearning for mint chocolate chip. The verdict? I could have had a full pint of it, but happy that I stuck with my small scoop. Otherwise I would have definitely spoiled my dinner.

Overall, you must travel to Wilmington. It is perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer trip up or down the southeast coast.