Thursday, August 19, 2010

Marrowbones and Montreal

On Tuesday night I went to New World Bistro (yum!) before going to see Eat, Pray, Love (yuck.). I'd never been there before but I always wanted to try it. So I was bored at work earlier in the day and decided to get myself excited about the menu. Well, they have a section of the menu called "Forbidden Pleasures," consisting of duck rilettes, morcilla (a kind of blood pudding), pork belly, pate, sweetbreads and ... wait for it ... marrowbones!

I fell in love with New World right away. Any place brave enough to put these nods to serious eaters on their menu must have their act together. I decided to go with the marrowbones as Anthony Bourdain has said several times that marrowbones will be his deathbed meal. And the man's practically eaten everything in every country, so you know it's good.

Oh, he was right.

The consistency was almost like an aspic, sort of jiggly and soft. But the flavor... it was like drinking meat drippings.  Why doesn't everyone eat this? Oh right, the jiggly. Yeah that part was slightly un-nerving, but totally worth it for the flavor.

It was served with apple butter, sel gris and rye toast. Well, the menu said it was rye toast but if my rye ever saw the inside of a toaster I'd be shocked. The rye flavor totally overpowered the flavor of the marrow, so I think I'll ask for something milder next time. The apple butter I thought didn't make a whole lot of sense with it either. Maybe I'm missing something or didn't do it right. The sel gris though was an awesome touch, if you were careful not to use too much. This was such an exciting adventure for me! Oh man, 20-year old Erica that would only eat chicken fingers and BLTs would not even recognize me.

New World was actually totally packed; in Albany it's unheard of to wait 45 minutes on a Tuesday night like we did. But what I didn't plan on (because I don't have cable) is that the chef, Ric Orlando, just won Chopped, which I guess is a Food Network reality show or something. I'm pretty sure we were the only ones in there that didn't come to see the newly-famous Chef Ric. Oh well, I'll definitely be back when the hype dies back down. Or, for New World's sake, I hope the hype never does, as it's well-earned.

This is a first for my blog, in that this is the first post from a restaurant and not from my kitchen (hence the phone pic). And for the next week and a half there'll be a lot more restaurant pics, as we're leaving for our delayed honeymoon to Montreal on Saturday! The entire trip is focused on eating and drinking (what else would you expect from a couple of fat boozers like us?), so I plan to document all the swanky Parisian-inspired restaurants and all the corner poutine stands that we happen across.

Adieu til then!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Russian-Style Pierogi

Cześć! What a perfectly timely assignment from the Daring Cooks. Three weeks ago, I got married and changed my name from McCarthy to Levendosky; what better time to start learning to cook Polish food? I really (*reeeeally*) love Eastern European food. Heavy on the meat and potatoes, often fried, light on the vegetables, it's my kind of cuisine. I'd had pierogi before, but only frozen, and certainly never made them myself, so this was a very fun new dish to try.

While it was time consuming, for me this recipe was somewhat simpler in that you can basically do everything beforehand, and put it all together at the last minute. Or put it all together and boil the pierogi ahead of time, and fry them at the last minute. Either way, it avoids my usual pitfall of just not being able to get the hang of cooking multiple items and making sure they're done at the same time. 

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale. I wanted to do a dessert pierogi, but ran out of time. Now having attempted traditional pierogi, however, I will be very comfortable breaking out of the mold and getting more creative with them in the future.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mushroom Quinoa "Risotto"

Living up to my word, more quinoa! This one I'm really proud of. This is probably the first recipe I've ever made that I didn't use a recipe for. I made it up, all on my own, using my own ideas, experience and imagination. Also, it tasted great.

I was staring at the jar of quinoa, wondering what to do with it, when I remembered its awesome powers of substitution for rice. I love risotto, so why not make a traditional mushroom risotto using quinoa instead of arborio? And it never missed a beat.