FOOD: LINGUINI WITH BROCCOLI RABE, GARLIC & OIL

Hello Westchester Food Finders!

I want to introduce you to one of my favorite, quick and easy meals. This one should take you under 20 minutes from start to finish and is a great combo of vegetables and pasta that will satisfy the most discerning tastes and will keep your kids coming back for more as well.

Linguini with Broccoli Rabe, Garlic, and Oil

The ingredients are few but flavorful.

Broccoli Rabe

Linguini

Garlic

Pecorino Romano Cheese

Olive Oil

Start by cutting and cleaning your broccoli rabe. You will want to cut off the bottom end of the stems as they are not really tender. Now if you have time, cut your stems individually, I tend to not have the time, so a good time saving rule is to cut the stems at the point where the packaging ends. Take look at the illustrations below.

Individual Cut

Quick and East Cut

 

Once cut, wash your vegetables.  Boil some water and drop in your broccoli rabe. You will want to boil for 3-4 minutes or until tender to the touch. Once tender, strain and place in a cool water bath. The cool water will stop the cooking process and will keep your vegetables green.

Pulling the veggies out of the boiling water allows you to reuse the water to boil your pasta and thus cut down your cooking time. Drop your pasta in the boiling water. While e the pasta is boiling, peel some garlic and slice. Fill a small pan with half a cup of olive oil on low heat and toast your garlic. The low heat will warm your oil and help infuse the flavor of the garlic without burning. Remember burnt garlic gets bitter.

Take your garlic off the heat as soon as it starts to get golden. It will get darker off the heat, so don’t overcook.

When your pasta is cooked you are less than a minute away from sitting down and enjoying your meal. Strain your pasta, toss in your broccoli rabe, and drizzle with the garlic and oil. Add some fresh pepper and cheese, and now you have a meal in minutes. You can cut some strips of grilled chicken for a lean protein, or feel free to grill some spicy sausage, cut on a bias and toss in as well for a bigger kick. If you can’t decide, try both.  I have and the dish is even more delicious!

Linguini with Broccoli Rabe, Garlic, & Oil

 

COMING SOON!

Food Finders,

We’ve taken some special requests and in the next few weeks we plan on giving you a food finder’s quality review and walk through of one of the popular meal-in-a-box websites, an all new cocktail, and we’ll tell you where to get the best pizza dough in New York!

Bookmark our page and stay tuned!

SPOT: EMMA’S ALE HOUSE-WHITE PLAINS

Hello Westchester Food Finders! Most of the spots we have been sharing have been great dinner spots. To change things up a bit we want to share one of our favorite lunch spots; Emma’s Ale house in White Plains.

Emma’s has a complete upscale pub menu great for lunch and equally robust for dinner. A nice well equipped bar and great selection of beers to on tap, make it a great spot to meet up with friends or neat casual place to have dinner with someone special without all the noise and congestion of a lousy bar. In short, Emma’s is a restaurant with a nice bar more than a bar with good food. Now let’s get into lunch.

Emma’s starts you off with their own, complimentary, hot pub pretzels and spicy mustard. If you are debating on getting a beer with your lunch, the first bite of pretzel will shift you towards picking off their great beer selection. Being lunch, we only though it fair to order one lighter lunch dish and one with a little more substance that way we could give a  we’ll balanced view of lunch.

I was lucky enough to win a hard fought game of rock, paper, scissors, so I ordered Emma’s stuffed potato skin burger. It was a special of the day and it was indeed very special. The burger was cooked to a requested medium rare and stacked with potatoes, bacon, chive, Emma’s sour cream based secret sauce, and melted cheddar cheese. That alone is a watering mouthful, but then wrap it all up in a hot pretzel bun and you learn to appreciate a whole new meaning to winning a hand of rock, paper, scissors.

Now onto the lighter fair. My guest ordered Emma’s Caesar’s salad with grilled chicken. The salad was well seasoned and dressed. The in house made croutons and shaved cheese were plentiful and added depth and texture to the salad. There was no clear star of the dish, and we mean this as a compliment. Every ingredient married together well with the next. The grilled chicken wasn’t an after thought, but rather a true component of the salad. You can tell with your first bite that time and care was placed in marinating and tenderized the chicken. It wasn’t sitting in a hot bath waiting to just be added to a number of dishes, as is the case with other restaurants. You can see and taste the seasoning on the chicken just as you can taste the dressing that coats every piece of lettuce. That makes this dish just as complete as the last. Don’t take my word on it, go to Emma’s and enjoy one of our special spots for lunch!

Emma’s Salad

 

FOOD: NUTELLA FILLED PUFF PASTRY

Westchester Food Finders, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Our next recipe can be considered a “life hack” for chocolate lovers and its as easy as two ingredients and 15 minutes! If you have kids, this is definitely something that you can make with them.

Ingredients:

Nutella

Premade puff pastry dough

Optional :Powdered Sugar

 

I want to start off by saying that making your own puff pastry is not too difficult, and when you have time, please by all means go for it. This recipe is for those of us who get caught in a situation where you need something sweet to complete your menu, or your future in-laws decide to visit last minute for a cup of coffee, or even the playdate where you are short on a snack for kids and adults alike.

Be prepared. Pick up a package of puff pasty in advance and keep it in your refrigerator or freezer. The puff pastry will hold for a while!

Next, if its not a staple in your pantry already, pick up some Nutella. It too will hold in your pantry for a while!

Unroll your puff pastry and cut into 4 equal pieces. the puff pastry will more than likely come wrapped in parchment paper. You will use that parchment paper to back your chocolate goodness.

Add 1 table spoon of Nutella to each piece of puff pastry and spread evenly. (if you need to have more than 4 sweet treats, cut into 8 pieces and adjust Nutella and cooking time accordingly.)

Fold, roll, and get creative with the designs. If you wish you can use cookie cutters and make chocolate filled stars, flowers, trains, etc…Don’t worry about how they look going into the over. Some of the worst going in the oven cook up to looking like the best. See below for some examples.

This one will cook like a turnover!

This one will cook like a chocolate ball, it is the one featured on the post!

Cook for 15-20 minutes; The smaller the pieces, the quicker the cook time!

You will know they are ready when your kitchen smells awesome and the pasty is golden brown!

Serve warm and enjoy the pastry and all the compliments that will come with it . But remember don’t tell them how easy they were to make. That will be our little secret!

 

 

 

FOOD: THE SUB-BOURBON MARTINI

Hello Westchester Food Finders!

I hope you enjoyed restaurant week as much as we have. Next up for our readers we have a special treat. Its refreshing, easy to make, great for entertaining and also strong enough to ease your mind while on the couch after a long day at work. Did I mention that this is a strong drink?

Sub-Bourbon Martini

 

I know your anxious so I’ll get right to it.

Ingredients:

Ice

Orange Liquor

Bourbon

A slice of orange as garnish

A cherry as garnish.

 

Shake 1 part bourbon to two parts orange liquor with ice. Strain in a martini glass and garnish with orange and cherry. Simple. Easy. Delicious!

Try it at home and let me know what you think!

SPOT: WOOD & FIRE (FOR A CAUSE)

Hello Food Finders!

I cant help myself from promoting local Westchester restaurants for a good cause.

Wood & Fire is hosting a Brunch Party & Charity Event on March 26th to benefit Kids Walk for Kids with Cancer (Memorial Sloan Kettering For Kids With Cancer) and Hope & Heroes (Columbia University Medical Center)

Please make your reservation to enjoy a great party and help a great cause!

SPOTS:RESTAURANT WEEK MARCH 6 THROUGH MARCH 19

Hello Food Finders!

It’s time to forget winter for a few weeks, as restaurant week(s) are upon us. I have attached a list of participating restaurants. Be sure to confirm the specials before visiting or before making your reservations. The list is in no particular order.

Some of the below participants have reviews on our site. Check them out!

 

Lusardi’s

The Twisted Oak

La Cremaillere

Fig & Olive (Westchester location)

The Cookery

The Inn at Pound Ridge

Mill House Brewing Company

Madison Kitchen

Zero Otto Nove (Westchester location)

Saint George

Velo

Brasserie 292

Crabtree Kittle House

Clock Tower Grill

Communal Kitchen

Little Drunken Chef

Harper’s Restaurant

Tarry Lodge

Wood & Fire

La Panetiere

Hudson Ribs & Fish

Chat American Grill

Dubrovnik

Henry’s at the Farm

X2O Xaviars on the Hudson

Rivermarket Bar & Kitchen

Rosie’s Italian Bistro

Sam’s of Gedney Way

The Melting Pot

Texas de Brazil

Moderne Barn

Crave

Gaucho Grill

Mima Vinoteca

Terrapin Restaurant

Plates

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

121 Restaurant and Bar

Rye House

Dolphin

Sammy’s Downtown

Char Steakhouse

Benjamin Steakhouse

Sofrito

Piccolo Mulino

Ramiro’s 954

Moscato

Red Hat on the River

Chat 19

Café of Love

 

FOOD: BOLO DE L’ARANJA (ORANGE OLIVE OIL CAKE)

Good Day Westchester!

The last post, where we recreated and simplified our Serradura and the plentiful pours of Port that accompanied the desert,  had me thinking if there were any other Portuguese inspired delicacies that I could share with our readers. You could probably say that the following recipe is both informative to you the reader and a great excuse to finish the bottle for me!

 

After checking with our Portuguese friends “Bolo” means cake and “Aranja” is an orange. So most of the title is spoken for. The olive oil is what sets this orange cake apart. The cake is pretty easy to make, and if cut in small portions can actually serve a large group of people. If you move quickly in the kitchen you may have it on a plate in 90 minutes with bake time.

You will need the ingredients below as well as a large glass baking pan (oven safe), a citrus zester, and a stand mixer (or a bowl and whisk). I seriously recommend a glass baking pan. A glass pan will produce a lighter outer crust on your cake. The darker pans and sheets will darken the outer portions of the cake and almost give you a burned tasting crust. Pyrex pans work very well. If your oven takes a while to get to temperature, preheat it to 350 degrees now.

Ingredients:

5 Eggs

1 1/2 cups of Olive oil

1 1/2 cups of orange juice (freshly squeezed will enhance the cake’s flavor)

1 tsp of Vanilla extract

2 cups of sugar

Zest of 5 oranges (zest of 1 orange should be reserved for dressing your cake)

3 1/2 cups of flour

2 tsp of baking powder

1 1/2 tsp of salt

Confectioners sugar (for the topping)

 

I try my best to clean as few pots, pans, and bowls as possible, so I add all of my dry ingredients (salt, baking powder, flour, and sugar) to my mixing bowl and whisk to combine at the slowest speed allowed. WARNING do not put the whisk on high unless you want a sweet flour shower in your kitchen.

“Dry Ingredients”

Add in your wet ingredients slowly. Start with the eggs, followed by the olive oil. By the time the eggs and oil are well mixed you may start to turn up the mixing speed. Next incorporate the zest and orange juice and vanilla extract. Keep the mixer going until you feel like all of your ingredients are well incorporated.

Batter ready to bake

Generously spray your glass pan with a non stick baking spray. Pour in your batter and place in your 350 degree pre-heated oven on the top shelf. Cooking times will vary with humidity and oven differences. I would start checking my cake with a toothpick test every five minutes at the 60 minute mark. Poke your Bolo De L’Aranja with a toothpick, if the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is cooked. My cake was perfect in 75 minutes.

The cake will be easier to cut when cooled. If you and your guests or family can resist keeping your hands off of it, once it cools cut your cake into squares and place in a serving plate. Dust with confectioners sugar and sprinkle on the zest that we reserved. This cake looks good, tastes amazing, and best of all will leave your home or apartment smelling like sweet citrus.

 

Bolo De L’Aranja

Now I have some cake to accompany my port. Make yourself one of these cakes today!

 

FOOD: SERRADURA

Hello Food Finders!

I want to introduce you to a simple and easy Portuguese inspired desert. Serradura means sawdust, which normally wouldn’t be found anywhere near desert, but when the ingredients for this sawdust is a package of Maria tea biscuits and pine nuts, you’ll be in for a treat.

Serradura

My first experience with Serradura was at a family friend’s home. It was smooth airy and delicious. I asked to glance at the recipe, but was vehemently denied. I was told that to get the proper texture you had to follow specific measurements and steps. As delicious as the desert was, I was momentarily turned away.

After a few weeks of not being able to get the Serradura out of my mind, I thought why not try and recreate the desert in a way that takes away the difficulty.

I am relentless; so I decided that I was going to recreate this no-bake desert and simplify it for our Westchesterfoodfinds.com readers. Less measuring, less precision and less technique equals more time to get to all the other things our Food Finders need to accomplish.

Ingredients:

1 Pint of Heavy Cream

1 Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 oz can)

1 Package of Goya Maria tea cookies

1 Package of Vanilla flavored instant pudding

1 tbsp of vanilla extract

OPTIONAL: 5 tbsp of nuts placed in the freezer for 30 minutes: walnuts, cashews, or pine nuts work very well

I’ve made it as easy as possible so that you will be using ingredients in there entire packaging quantities. These ingredients will make approximately 8-10 servings. If you are like me, you are better off with the extra desert that a half a can of condensed milk in your refrigerator for weeks!

In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, whisk the heavy cream and vanilla extract to aerate  your desert. Next add your sweetened condensed milk and continue whisking until your mixture is consistent. You don’t want the bottom to be thinker than the top of your bowl, that simply means that the cream and sweet milk have not come together yet.

Once you have consistency, add in your instant pudding mix and whisk some more. When you have pudding in your bowl, you can put away the whisk. Depending on how fancy you want your Serradura to look, you may keep the pudding in your bowl and simply ladle it into your serving vessel, otherwise you may use a piping bag and pipe it into your glass or bowl.

Now to the saw dust. Place your cookies in a food processor or blender and add chilled nuts if you wish. Blend until you have a cookie sawdust. You may be thinking to yourself, why did I used chilled nuts. The answer is simple, blending the nuts breaks them down and releases oils in the nuts, the light heat produced from the blending process and oils can create sawdust clumps. Using the chilled nuts gives you smaller crumble and will be easier to layer in your Serradura.

Pipe or ladle your pudding and “sawdust” in alternating fashion. I use a zip top bag and cut a small hole in on of the ends and pipe my pudding in that way.

 

The finished product tastes delicious and looks luxurious. When your are asked for the recipe, please send them our way and have them visit Westchesterfoodfinds.com