A Visit to Eataly in NYC

A Visit to Eataly in NYC

and the dinner that followed…

As a Chef there is nothing I like more than to peruse the aisles in a food store. I find that every store and neighborhood has its own unique character. When traveling, I especially love wandering in local markets to get a taste of the culture. People connect through food and I find that you can learn a lot about different cultures by studying the food they eat. I will pretty much eat anything, or at least try it, except for the time I went to a traditional Japanese restaurant with my Dad and he insisted on ordering the special called Namako even though he had no idea what it was in English. He promised it would be good and pushed the Chef to serve it to us even after he had tried to dissuade us. What we received was a beautiful plate with five raw sea slugs on it. I literally thought they were suctioned to the plate. Now, Namako is a delicacy in Japan but I had to say “no, thank you” and Dad was left on his own to eat those slugs as to not insult the Chef. So I guess the lesson here is to at least have an idea what you’re ordering before your order it. By the way, Dad to this day swears they were delicious….

I do love to experiment with different flavors and spices. If I see something I have never seen before I get excited thinking about how I can incorporate it into a recipe. My husband, Mark, often doesn’t understand how much time I can spend in a market but honestly I just really love it. There are so many different types of food that gives you an endless source of ingredients for new and exciting recipes. Of course they’re not all winners but there’s knowledge in failure too. So if a dish doesn’t turn out the way I want it to I just try again.

Having been cooped up in my apartment for a bit too long I decided to pay a visit to Eataly located on 23rd and Fifth in NYC. Upon entering the store I began to swoon over the beautiful displays of Italian cookies, pastries, cheeses and meats. I took my time and walked slowly through the store while the aromas and sights brought back many memories of my visits to Italy. I chatted with the lovely gentleman making fresh mozzarella as he handed me one that he knew was going to be perfect then I walked over to the woman making fresh pasta and I was immediately struck by the tiny cacio e pepe raviolini that had just been prepared. Hmmm, cacio e pepe stuffed inside of pasta? That sounded delicious and interesting. I decided that had to be dinner that night. A sauce prepared with diced chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, shallots and a touch of cream would be perfect with the cacio pepe pasta. The pepper and cheese would definitely shine through a recipe like this. This would be a perfect dinner: Antipasto platter; fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil; and the cacio pepe pasta. Oh and a big plate of their tomato focaccia to compliment the antipasto and dip into the pasta sauce.

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Pasta with Chicken, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Spinach

Chicken, sundried tomatoes, spinach and a touch of cream
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: chicken, pasta
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 567kcal

Ingredients

  • lb cooked fresh pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup shallots minced
  • 1 lb chicken tenders cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes sliced thin
  • 3 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 leaves basil

Instructions

  • Add olive oil to pan
  • add shallots and cook for 2 minutes
  • add cubed chicken and cook on all sides – about 5 minutes
  • add sundried tomatoes and saute for 1 minute
  • add chicken broth and simmer for 3 minutes
  • mix in cream and parmesan cheese
  • add baby spinch – I like to tear it up a bit
  • let simmer for 5 more minutes until spinach is wilted and chicken is cooked through
  • add pasta and served with shaved parmesan and basil on top

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 567kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 468mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1765IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 5mg

And the results….

Antipasto Platter

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Surf Fishing

It is incredible to walk on the beach and watch people surf fish. It requires a lot of patience and skill to catch and reel in a fish while standing in the ocean surf. My daughter Olivia and I took a long walk on the beach yesterday and we were delighted to find some of our familiar friends fishing for bass. When fish is freshly caught a simple recipe works best because it lets the flavor of the the fish shine through. I prefer a whole roasted fish but my family prefers it to be filleted first because they really do not like any bones. I suggest using a good olive oil, mediterranean oregano, fresh lemon, capers and some salt and pepper. Put the fish in a baking dish, add the ingredients and put it in a 375 oven for 8-10 minutes. Thats it! Serve with a simple salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese tossed with some olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper and you have a delicious, healthy meal.

Easy Cocktail Snacks

Easy Cocktail Snacks

Cheers!

I love having friends over for cocktails and serving a little something salty and sweet to nibble on and make you thirsty. At my restaurant we always enjoyed coming up with interesting bar snacks. They are so easy to prepare and way less expensive than buying at a store. Two of my favorite recipes are Wasabi Honey Roasted Peanuts and Candied Walnuts. The nuts are perfect to serve before dinner or at a cocktail party. Make them both a day in advance and store in airtight containers. I recommend putting out the assorted nuts with some candied bacon, dried cranberries and a few beautiful cheeses with crackers. This can be done before friends arrive so you can relax and enjoy.

Wasabi Honey Roasted Peanuts:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted peanuts
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons wasabi powder
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sea salt

Preheat oven to 325. Place peanuts on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes. Melt butter, honey and soy sauce in a pan and add peanuts. Cook for 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Blend wasabi powder, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Put peanuts in a mixing bowl and gradually add the sugar mixture. Stir gently to coat peanut. Place peanuts back on sheet pan and roast for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before serving. Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a week.

Peppery Candied Bacon

  • Thick Cut or Regular Cut Bacon (if you want very crispy)
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Lay strips of bacon on an oven proof wire rack placed on a foil or payment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle brown sugar over bacon and grind black pepper on top. Place in oven for 20 to 25 minutes until bacon is crispy but not burnt. Let cool on rack and serve immediately. I like to place the bacon standing up in a pretty glass.

Note: Bacon can also be crumbled and used on top of a salad like my Roasted Apple Salad or served over pancakes or french toast.

Candied Walnuts

  • 2 1/2 cups walnut halves
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Place butter and sugar in a pan and melt over medium heat. When sugar and butter liquify add walnuts and stir to coat. Spread walnut out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Work quickly! You will not have more than 30 seconds before sugar starts to harden into candy. Allow to harden. I like to chop the nuts a little before serving so they are a little smaller.

Jack O’Lantern-Blaze

Jack O’Lantern-Blaze

Come to Old Bethpage Village to view the magical and intricate carved Jack O’Lanterns. This is the second location of Blaze which started in Westchester in 2005. Thousands of illuminated pumpkins will be on display. Must be seen at night to appreciate the splendor and spookiness. This is the perfect activity on a crisp Fall evening. Please note that food and beverages are not permitted so you will need to plan dinner before or after. Tickets must be bought in advance so plan accordingly. Have fun my friends and Happy Halloween!!!