"I could not forego the delicious pleasure..." ~ Jane Eyre
Last year, J. Sarah gave me a gift subscription to Saveur magazine, a must-read for all foodies. One of the magazine's treats is that each year it publishes a special issue and chooses 100 random food-related items and hails them all. 2007 is another fantastic list. Aside from listing some New York City items, it lists Zankou chicken (a chain in California founded by an Armenian man) and Armenian Tahini bread. Trust me, this list is fantastic!
However, Saveur cannot be the be all and end all. So, I have decided to make my own list for 2007 in the spirit of theirs! Of course mine shall be much shorter. To my foodie readers everywhere, enjoy! Perhaps you will take this and make one of your own. To my non-foodie readers, I hope you try some of these items! I gave links as needed! Cheers!
AIMEE'S 20 FOR 2007:
1) *Harissa* - Harissa is an ingredient that is essential in Moroccan cooking. The base includes hot peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and preserved lemons along with a huge mixture of spices. I used it last night in a Nigella Lawson recipe for a Moroccan chicken stew. The spice Harissa has is well-rounded and not overpowering and there are so many versatile uses for it.
2) *Cauliflower* - I have been making recipes from the South Beach Diet recently (I have lost six pounds since New Years!), and one is for mashed cauliflower. It is absolutely delicious and so healthy and it doesnt make me miss mashed potatoes at all! Steam the broccoli and then place it in a food processor. Once it is cut up, remove it and add some fat free half and half, yogurt butter, and some salt and pepper. I keep seeing orange cauliflower and am tempted to try it.
3) *Crockpot* - Lime got me interested in slow cooking when she purchased a crockpot a few months ago. I followed suit and got the same one she did; it is a new toy for me to experiment with! So far I have made one dish, chicken cooked with dill and vegetables, and what it does to meat is just amazing. There is no need to purchase an expensive one, and I find that I am happy with my investment even if I use it once or twice a month.
4) *Loaves and Fishes Cookshop/Viking Store* - I am all set to take my knife skills class at the culinary school Viking has, but the school is also a part of the Loaves and Fishes cookshop. The first store opened in Bridgehampton, and now the new store is just a few moments away from my apartment. The two men who own it are so nice and I enjoy chatting with them. Most of the products are the upper echelon cooking tools, so I expect to splurge only once in a while. Still, I got a Cat Cora cookbook there two weeks ago.
5) *Nigella Lawson* - How can I not place her on the list? I adore her. I adore her accent, her fattening recipes, and her strength of character that is evident both on and off of her show. I own her cookbook How to Eat and I highly recommend it. It even has a wonderful section on cooking for children and babies. I can't wait to make some once Jack gets a few more teeth in!
6) *Jackson Heights* - Jackson Heights is a neighborhood that is located in the northwest section of the borough of Queens. It is also the new nabe that J. Sarah has moved to! Sure, its a gorgeous street, a beautiful house, and has lots of history, but lets face it: Jackson Heights' real claim to fame is the food! So far I have tried four restaurants there already with J. Sarah and I cannot wait to start trying more. I once asked our friend Moo if she would move there with me. She said yes as long as we were both ok knowing we would be 500 pounds each. Sigh. We are not moving there.
7) *Santoku Knife* - I cannot rave enough about this knife. It cuts so well, and although some wrist action is needed to make the perfect cut, it is worth the investment for one. Classic knives are great, but I think santokus are just exceptional.
8) *Van's Belgian Waffles* - They are lowfat, low calorie, and available wheat and gluten free. I cannot believe how yummy these waffles are since they are so good for you. I find them at Whole Foods. They even taste great with the sugar-free maple syrup I put on top of them.
9) *Ali A El Sayed* - Ali is the owner of Kebab Kafe in Astoria, Queens. I have eaten there three times in the past two months; it is a small hole-in-the-wall with Egyptian decor and a kitchen that is storefront. Ali is the chef and host, and I absolutely adore him. He is quite a charmer; if only he were not old enough to be my grandfather, I would marry him just so I could eat his stewed lamb each night.
10) *Better N Peanut Butter* - As delicious as peanut butter is, it is quite sugary and fattening. Fortunately, trader Joe's carries this great alternative with just a few grams of fat and a great flavor. It is really delicious spread on an apple and a great way to get peanut butter taste without any guilt at all. It is also good for topping celery with.
11) *HMart* - HMart is the Korean market by my apartment that opened recently. To say the produce is phenomenal is an understatement. Not only is everything fresh and delicious, it is also quite inexpensive compared to supermarket produce. What is also exciting is finding special foods only related to Korean cooking and cuisine. One is a citron tea. It is a jar of honey and citron that you place two teaspoons in to boiling water. I got some for J. Sarah and myself after we had it at a Korean restaurant last month. The fish selection at HMart is the best, and they even have great sushi each day.
12) *Bella Famiglia pomegranate Sparkling Water* - This Italian import has the best flavor of any sparkling water I have had. It comes in other flavors, like tangerine, and it is so refreshing that I do not crave diet soda anymore at all.
13) *Otto* - Otto is a Bastianich/Batali restaurant that has become a favorite spot of mine to dine for the past year and a half. I never tire of going there and still consider it hot for 2007. It is just north of Washington Square Park. The wine list is amazing, the cheese selection phenomenal (especially the fresh ricotta) and the prosciutto is to die for. Just the wine, cheese, and prosciutto alone is enough to make you forget the amazing pizzas.
14) *Cheerios* - It has been a long time since I have had Cheerios, but recently I have rediscovered this amazing cereal with a whole in it since Jack, my nephew, loves it. He even has a book on Cheerios. Nothing tastes better than a Cheerio given to you by your sixteen month old nephew. Trust me.
15) *Soy Milk* - Don't knock it until you have tried it. Chocolate soy milk is a delicious treat and now companies are making soy milk with no added sugar. I found a low-sugar cappuccino soy milk that is great for making shakes with.
16) *Morton's Creamed Spinach* - I love Morton's steakhouse and consider it my favorite despite visiting many a steakhouse. The wine list is great, the petite filet mignon is perfectly petite, but the creamed spinach is the best thing on the menu. The Ina Garten recipe I found and made for Christmas comes close, especially since both use nutmeg as a part of the seasoning.
17) *Baklava Cheesecake* - J.Sarah's brother made it this past summer with a recipe he created. I tried to duplicate after he gave it to me, but it didnt hold a candle to his. I am not yet a master of phyllo dough, but he certainly is and the crust was just phenomenal. I plan on working out the kinks so this can become a staple in my limited baking repertoire.
18) *First Fridays of the Month Dining* - Each first Friday of the month, I dine out with my friend Sarah and friends. We are all a part of a restaurant club that KeyKey formed. We rotate who chooses what restaurant. This past Friday we went to Coolfish in Syosset; it was so delicious and I actually liked that there were eight of us at a small table; it made dining cozy and fun. Since we are all recovering a bit from the holidays, we decided to do a theme night next month instead and make Italian food and dine at KeyKey's house. I am making gnocci, of course! This type of club is a great one to start with friends, so I hope mentioning this gets a trend going!
19) *Papa Dobles* - This Hemingway cocktail is my new cocktail of choice. It is made with marichino liquor, light rum, key lime juice, and grapefruit juice. Papa knew his cocktails.
20) *Maroni's* - I visited Maroni's this past Saturday evening for the first time, and I hope it will not be my last. This Italian restaurant is an undiscovered hideaway that specializes in a tasting menu that is just amazing. Chef Maroni presents you with small plates of twelve courses. Among the foods we ate this past Saturday evening were homemade meatballs, beef carpaccio, linguini with truffles, gingered shrimp on a skewer, chicken milanese, caviar with creme fresh on a homemade potato chip, oysters on the half shell, and clams oreganato. Who is the we? That is a secret for now. Though perhaps what made the meal so memorable was the company I was with...
Reader, welcome to my life.
- Name: ThursdayNext
- Location: New York, United States