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**Readers!  I recently moved to the City of Angels.  The good news is that I'm keeping this site alive while simultaneously working on something Los Angeles-centric, as well.**

Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a food website/blog that views the New York City dining scene through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated, critical, adorably quirky, and culinary-obsessed thirty-something year old.

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Entries in Recipes & how-to's (46)

Thursday
Feb132014

Recipe: Handmade "Take 5, Chubby Hubby!" Truffles (...just in time for Valentine's Day)

 

Hello, gorgeous!

Chocolate?  Check.  Peanut butter?  Check.  A cross somewhere between a Hershey's Take 5 candy bar and Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream?  Check. 

If you live for 'sweet and salty' desserts, then I think you will love this recipe for "Take 5, Chubby Hubby!" Truffles.  Imagine, if you will, a small peanut butter-ball packed with salty pretzels, then doused in a blend of milk and dark chocolate.  Is your mouth watering yet?  I figured as much...

Just promise me one thing:  Don't let the word "truffle" intimidate you.  This is one of the EASIEST dessert recipes to make.  Ever.  But don't tell that to your main squeeze!  Let him continue to think that you spent all day in the kitchen making your "handmade truffles."  Because, trust me, he will!  ;)

And, on that note, happy Valentine's Day!

...

*This recipe was adapted from Brown Eyed Baker's version

Ingredients (makes 18-25 truffles, depending on the size of your balls)

  • 1 1/4 cups pretzel pieces
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 3.5-4 ounces milk chocolate (I broke up a 3.5 ounce bar of Cadbury's Milk Chocolate)
  • 3.5-4 ounces dark chocolate (I broke up a 3.5 ounce bar of Cadbury's Dark Chocolate)
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable shortening (I used Crisco)

Method

1. Put pretzels into a resealable plastic bag and crush into very small bits (a rolling pin works great for this).

2. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, salt, and powdered sugar. Stir until all of the ingredients are completely blended and smooth. Add the pretzel bits to the peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly - I use my hands!

3. Line a small baking sheet with wax paper. Using a small cookie scoop, or about 2 teaspoons worth of peanut butter mixture, gently shape into a ball with your fingertips. Place the ball on the wax paper-lined cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture. Place the baking sheet into the freezer to chill for 30 minutes (if your freezer is too small, refrigerate for 1 hour).

4. When ready to dip the truffles, microwave the chocolate and vegetable shortening together in a small bowl in 15-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth.

5. Working one at a time, dip one peanut butter-pretzel ball into the melted chocolate and use a fork to roll it around, ensuring that it is completely coated with chocolate. Let any extra chocolate drip off and place back on the wax paper-lined sheet. Repeat with all of the peanut butter-pretzel balls.

6. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and again chill for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with crushed pretzels, if desired. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

~~~

Until we eat again

The Lunch Belle

Friday
Feb072014

Recipe: Umami-roasted Sweet Potatoes

Every Sunday for the past few months, I've religiously roasted a heaping of root vegetables.  Upon completion and cool-down, I leave half of the amount in the fridge for weeknight dinners, and bring the other half to the office to be added to salads or eaten alongside roasted chicken. 

I have experimented with everything from beets and turnips, to kabocha squash and multi-colored baby carrots.  Be it maple syrup, honey, pomegranate molasses, or balsamic vinegar, I've also dressed my veggies in just about everything under the sun.  What has wowed me time and time again is the yam/sweet potato.  And, after much trial and very little error, I think I've figured out the best recipe for roasted sweet 'taters.  Ever.  I call them "Umami-roasted Sweet Potatoes" because there is a magical and mysterious 'fifth taste' element of salt/savory that marries beautifully with sweet.

I have a good feeling that you, too, will fall in love with this simple, healthy, and delicious recipe that will delightfully perfume your kitchen and lovingly kiss your taste buds. 

Enjoy!

...

Recipe:  Umami-roasted Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients (approximately 4-servings)

  • 2 large yams or sweet potatoes - washed, peeled, and cut in to 1/2"x1/2" pieces
  • 1/2 bulb of peeled black garlic cloves (if you cannot find black garlic at your local grocer/specialty food store/Asian market, you can use regular "white" garlic cloves)
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to "bake" at 425 degrees F.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and, using clean hands, toss to evenly saturate.  Line a 13x9 glass/metal pan or walled/protected cookie sheet with foil.  Pour ingredients on to foil and disperse evenly.  Bake for 35-minutes. 

Remove from oven and toss potatoes in pan/cookie sheet (...for even-roasting.  No side should be discriminated!).  Bake for another 35-minutes.

Serve immediately, or allow to cool to room temperature before storing in refrigerator.  Enjoy for days; stays fresh up to 1-week.

 

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Wednesday
Jan152014

Recipe: Parfait Parfait (macerated fruit + yogurt)

So I hate it when these byotches are like, "...since I think I look hot, here's a healthy recipe - that actually tastes worse than cardboard - I make sometimes.  Because, obviously, you want to look like me.  Oh, and please make sure to comment on my newest full-body selfie." 

Kim K. Sigh.Right?  I mean, shut the fcuk up.  And while you're at it, gag me with a dumbbell...

Seriously though, if you're trying to start your day off sans that tempting breakfast burrito - pancake stack and hash browns - bagel & schmear - etc., consider my "Parfait Parfait."  Not because you want to look like me, but because this delightful yogurt cup actually tastes good.  And it's way better for you than that sausage/egg/cheese biscuit thing you've been munching on.  Plus, you'll feel like a bad ass knowing that you "cooked" your own breakfast!   

.

Recipe:  Parfait Parfait (Did you know that the word "parfait" means "perfect" in French?)

The secret that makes this recipe so delicious is the macerated fruit.  And what's best is the fact that you can make this fruit medley last for 5-days/a work week!  

Step 1:  Macerated fruit

  • 2 apples, chopped in to bite-size cubes (If you don't like apples, sub pears, persimmons, 2 cups of fresh berries.  Need more ideas?  Just ask.)
  • 1/2 cup of dried fruit (I like dried cherries, raisins, figs, peaches)
  • 1 tablespoon jam/preserves of your choice

Combine fruit and jam in a tupperware container (or any container with a lid).  Shake or stir to combine.  Keep refrigerated and allow to macerate for 24-hours prior to initial serving.

Trader Joe's has a great selection of dried fruit.Step 2:  Greek yogurt

Why Greek?  Because it has almost triple the amount of protein as non-Greek yogurt.  My brand of choice is Fage.

Step 3 (optional):  Granola

I love granola in my yogurt, but you certainly don't have to add it if you're opposed.  I appreciate the added fiber and texture from the crunchy oats and nuts.  I also believe that it makes this recipe perfectly balanced.

Step 4:  Combine and enjoy!

Using about 1/5 of your macerated fruit, combine it with 1/2 cup of yogurt and a handful of granola (optional).  Enjoy this breakfast - or snack - daily for the entire work-week!

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Saturday
Jan042014

Recipe: "Eat your emotions" cherry cobbler

TGISaturday!  Man, how happy are you that this week is over?  I don't know about you but, thus far, 2014 has sucked.  Oh, and Happy New Year, by the way.  Sorry, I should have said that first.  Now, back to my bitching:  Nothing catastrophic has happened.  Yet, at least.  But when the petty bullshiz starts to pile up, all it takes is that one seemingly miniscule comment/event/slip for the "straw to break the camel's back."  Seriously, I've had it up to HERE with flaky friend behavior (you clowns know who you are), dudes with a Napoleon complex (Yes, I'm talking to YOU!), nasty weather, "selfies," the Mexican food in NYC, Miley Cyrus, and...OK, fine, I'll stop.  But not without telling you that the icing on my proverbial cake was last night, when I tripped over some clutter in my room and got a huge gash + goose-egg on my forehead, wrist, and shin.  "Sexy" doesn't even begin to describe it...

So, in an effort to make myself feel better, I decided to whip up my favorite "eat your emotions" dessert:  Cherry Cobbler.  And you know what?  I actually *do* feel better!

.

Cherry Cobbler

When cooled, my Cherry Cobbler can be cut in to squares for individual portions!

Adapted from Mrs. Reister's original recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 14.5-ounce can pitted red tart cherries in water (I use this brand)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (whole wheat flour gives the crust some girth and a deliciously toothsome bite)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted 

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Pour entire can of cherries (including liquid) in to a bowl and blend with 1 cup sugar.  In another bowl, sift the flour, remaining cup of sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Add the milk to the batter and stir to blend.  

Pour melted butter in the bottom of a 9x9" pan (can be glass or metal).  Pour batter in to the pan.  Pour cherries on top of the batter.  Bake for 45 minutes to one hour - note that the crust should be a deep golden color, similar in hue to honey.

Serve warm.  Or cold.  Room temperature works, too.  Hell, this cobbler is so good, it doesn't matter which temperature it's served.  Trust me, the crowd will go wild.

Enjoy!

.

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle 

Tuesday
Jul102012

Recipe:  Hand-Pies

There was a time when I used to collect jams.  The only reason I stopped was because my refrigerator became filled with too many barely-touched jars.  It broke my heart when I had to throw away some of my favorites due to mold, or simply because they had not been touched in (gasp) years.  After all, there are only so many things that you can do with spreadable fruit. 

When I was visiting my family in California last week, I noticed about five jars of homemade jam in the fridge.  Each about 3/4 of the way full!  What a waste, I thought to myself.  Then, a light bulb went off in my head:  I could run out to the store - buy some pre-made dough - and make individual hand-pies in an array of flavors, using the jams.

And that's exactly what I did...

...

Recipe: The Lunch Belle's Hand-Pies

Ingredients

  • Pilsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (package contains 2)
  • 4-6 tablespoons of your favorite jam(s) - I used two flavors, plum and peach, and even combined them in to a single hand-pie!
  • Optional
    • Egg wash:  1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk
    • Granulated sugar

Method

*Makes 4 hand-pies

Cut pie dough in to four equal parts.  Form each of the four parts in to a ball.  Using your hands, or a rolling pin, press or roll the dough out in to a flat, circular shape.  In the middle of each circle, top with 1 tablespoon of jam, in a single dollop.  *Note:  You can add up to 1 teaspoon more, per hand-pie, if you find that 1 tablespoon is not enough jam.

  • To make a half moon-shaped pie:  Unite outer perimeters of the circle and secure by gently pressing with your fingers.  Create a design by stamping the pricks of a fork over the secured dough.
  • To make a tart:  Fold the outermost 1/4" portion of the circle's perimeter in to itself and secure with gentle finger presses.  Make sure that there is enough of a barrier/wall so that the jam does not leak while baking.  Spread the jam towards the edge of the perimeter.
  • To make a flower/star:  Fold the outermost 1/4" portion of the circle's perimeter in to itself and secure with gentle finger presses.  Make sure that there is enough of a barrier/wall so that the jam does not leak while baking.  Using your thumb and index finger, pinch "petals" along the perimeter.  Spread the jam towards the edge of the perimeter.

Place your hand-pies on to a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake according to the directions on the pie dough box, or until golden brown.  *If you really want to make your pies look pretty:  Prior to baking, "paint" the exterior crust with an egg wash.  Don't have a culinary brush?  Use your fingers!  Gently sprinkle the egg wash-basted crust with sugar.   

Enjoy for dessert or for a lovely, light breakfast!  Delicious both warm or at room temperature!

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Wednesday
Jun272012

Oh, what a night! A recap of the 3rd Annual SAVEUR Summer BBQ

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the 3rd Annual SAVEUR Summer BBQ:  Global Food Tasting Event.  Encompassing the circular, open-air rotunda at the Boat Basin Cafe, 15+ of the country's top chefs - and friends of SAVEUR Magazine - served up their own unique spins on barbecue.  Wait, it gets better:  Each food item was paired with one of two specialty Grey Goose cocktails, a Brewery Ommegang beer, and a wine from Dona Paula.

Here's a list of the chefs who came out - the restaurant(s) that they represent - and the BBQ-themed dish(es) that they made:

  • Chef Chris Cosentino, Incanto:  Calabrian Lam & Corned Lamb Heart Panino
  • Chef Shea Gallante, Ciano:  Maine Lobster Alla Griglia
  • Chef Susan Feniger, Border Grill, STREET:  Chilled Yakisoba Noodles w/ Pickled Green Vegetables & Green Sriracha Skirt Steak
  • Chef Teddy Folkman, Granville Moore's:  Chicken & Waffles
  • Chef Gavin Kaysen, Cafe Boulud:  Blackened Grilled Shrimp & White Polenta w/ Pico de Gallo
  • Chefs Warach Lacharojana & Patharaphon Phutpha, Spice Group:  Grilled Esarn Pork Jaw
  • Chef Anita Lo, Annisa:  Green papaya Salad w/ Pork Jerky
  • Chef Seamus Mullen, Tertulia:  Pulpo A La Brasa, Grilled Octopus w/ Summer Squash
  • Chef Sisha Otruzar, Riverpark:  Grilled Brisket Quesadillas
  • Chef Francois Payard, FPB:  Chocolate BBQ Macarons and Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes
  • Chef Andy Ricker, Pok Pok:  Marinated Flank Steak w/ Galangal Chili Paste
  • Chef Ben Pollinger, Oceana:  Blackened Louisiana Shrimp w/ Mirliton Salad
  • Chefs Max & Eli Sussman, Mile End Deli, Roberta's:  Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Raspberry Jam Gelato, Fried Banana
  • Chef KN Vinod, Indique Heights:  Masala Lamb Chops
  • Chef Damon Wise, Monkey Bar:  BBQ'd Tri-Tip
  • Chefs Chen-Hua Yang & Shao-Lung Huang, Mr. K's, Maruko Sushi & Tea:  BBQ Pork Sausage, Hot Stone Beef BBQ, & Mushroom Melody

Inside of the open-air rotunda at Boat Basin CafeI made an attempt to photograph every chef's offering but, while some pictures were lost due to bad exposure/lighting, others simply weren't taken.  Sorry, guys, I was just too afraid to sample Chris Consentino's "Calabrian Lamb & Corned Lamb Heart Panino"...

Below, please enjoy my gustatory photo tour of everything that I ate, chronologically, at the 3rd Annual SAVEUR Summer BBQ:  Global Food Tasting Event:

Grey Goose Cherry Noir "Hamptons Punch"Chef Teddy Folkman, Granville Moore's: Chicken & WafflesChefs Chen-Hua Yang & Shao-Lung Huang, Mr. K's, Maruko Sushi & Tea: BBQ Pork Sausage, Hot Stone Beef BBQ, & Mushroom MelodyChef Gavin Kaysen, Cafe Boulud: Blackened Grilled Shrimp & White Polenta w/ Pico de Gallo Chef Susan Feniger, Border Grill, STREET: Chilled Yakisoba Noodles w/ Pickled Green Vegetables & Green Sriracha Skirt SteakChef Francois Payard, FPB: Chocolate BBQ Macarons and Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes Chefs Max & Eli Sussman, Mile End Deli, Roberta's: Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Raspberry Jam Gelato, Fried BananaChef Andy Ricker, Pok Pok: Marinated Flank Steak w/ Galangal Chili PasteChef KN Vinod, Indique Heights: Masala Lamb ChopsChefs Warach Lacharojana & Patharaphon Phutpha, Spice Group: Grilled Esarn Pork JawChef Shea Gallante, Ciano: Maine Lobster Alla GrigliaChef Anita Lo, Annisa: Green papaya Salad w/ Pork JerkyChef Ben Pollinger, Oceana: Blackened Louisiana Shrimp w/ Mirliton SaladChef Damon Wise, Monkey Bar: BBQ'd Tri-TipChef Sisha Otruzar, Riverpark: Grilled Brisket QuesadillasMe and my "rover," Emily...

Dishes that made me swoon (...so much so, that I turned around and grabbed seconds):

  • Chef Susan Feniger, Border Grill, STREET:  Chilled Yakisoba Noodles w/ Pickled Green Vegetables & Green Sriracha Skirt Steak
  • Chef Gavin Kaysen, Cafe Boulud:  Blackened Grilled Shrimp & White Polenta w/ Pico de Gallo
  • Chef Sisha Otruzar, Riverpark:  Grilled Brisket Quesadillas
  • Chef Francois Payard, FPB:  Chocolate BBQ Macarons and Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes
  • Chef KN Vinod, Indique Heights:  Masala Lamb Chops
  • Chef Damon Wise, Monkey Bar:  BBQ'd Tri-Tip

Chefs that made me swoon/drool:

  • Chef Chris Cosentino, IncantoPhoto found on Incanto dot biz
  • Chef Shea Gallante, CianoPhoto found on nymag dot com

Personal highlights from the event (...aside from all of the delicious food I consumed):

  • Catching up with Chef Marc Murphy, and getting introduced to his adorable Director of Communications, Emily
  • The fact that, despite the predicted forecast, the weather remained precipitation-free.
  • I took some seriously awesome food photos!
  • I ran in to my good buddy, Dana.
  • I scored the recipe for my favorite cocktail of the eve, Grey Goose Cherry Noir "Hamptons Punch!"  See below...

 

Grey Goose Cherry Noir "Hamptons Punch"

 

Ingredients :

  • 5 parts GREY GOOSE Cherry Noir Flavored Vodka 
  • 4 parts fresh-squeezed white grapefruit juice 
  • 3 parts strawberries
  • 1 part basil simple syrup (recipe below)
    • To make basil simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and hot water with 10 fresh basil leaves. Steep until dissolved and cool.

Method:  Thinly slice strawberries and place in a punch vessel.  Add remaining ingredients and chill for two hours.  Serve over ice, and present with strawberries.


~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle