When I first moved into the city right after college I got a job working for a big ad agency. I worked on their largest account and thought I was going to be living in the world of modern Mad Men. We were constantly taken out to lunches and dinners at the best restaurants in the city and we were invited to big corporate parties with lots of celebrities and TV personalities. It sounds like the greatest job ever except the actual work was monotonous, I often worked late into the night, and I was completely broke. The entry level compensation was crap and I had New York City rent to pay. When I look back on it now I don’t know how I survived. But the fact that I did survive is something I am really proud of. It’s one of those things that I can pull from in years to come and think – “If I survived back then, I can survive anything!” Even though my funding was nil, I was still an enthusiastic foodie with a big appetite. I hardly had the funds to feed myself let alone make elaborate meals, so I needed to get creative. It turns out, with a small budget and little creativity you can eat quite well. My favorite meal and weeknight go-to from that time is something I call Bird’s Nest Spaghetti. A nest of pasta and spinach with one perfect, runny, fried egg all snow capped with parmesan cheese. It’s so delicious and homey and is one of my favorite meals to this day!
The whole salad-for-dinner concept and I have recently become friends again. You see, back in college I thought that a great way to counteract the over consumption of cheap beer and late night pizza binges would be to eat salads every. single. night. for dinner. So, every single night I would make a large meal sized salad with lots of different meats and veggies. And no matter how many different varieties I ate they all started tasting the same. To make matters worse, the fact that I ate a salad for dinner didn’t really counteract those late night nacho runs to my sorority’s industrial sized (and stocked) kitchen. So after college, just as I never thought I would eat another nacho again, I couldn’t fathom even one bite of a salad for dinner. Besides, I was now poor and eggs and PB&J became my new diet. As the years went by I (unfortunately very quickly) rediscovered my taste for nachos and more recently started to get back in to eating salad as my main meal again. Just not every single night! I don’t know if it’s the Chop’t that opened underneath my office or my more frequent trips to the farmer’s market giving me access to fresh greens but I am totally back into salads. And now that salads are back, my creative juices are flowing again and boy do I have a salad for you! This Green Goddess Salmon salad certainly puts all those collegiate salads to shame!
Something I need more of in my life: ICE CREAM. I mean, who doesn’t? It’s funny, you’d think living in a city like New York I would have ice cream options up the wazoo – and I do – but NYC’s Ice Cream selection and I have some beef. There seriously are hundreds of options from gourmet gelato (Grom), to self serve fro-yo (16 Handles), to regular ol’ ice cream (Emack and Bolio’s), to ice cream on wheels (Mr Softee), while these are all very tasty (and I frequent them all too often) they are not exactly what I crave in an ice cream place. The gourmet gelato places give small European sized portions, self serve fro-yo is, well, fro-yo, the regular ol’ ice cream places are WAY pricey (I’m talking $7 for a cone with sprinkles) and Mr. Softee has just never done it for me. I want American sized scoops at $3.00 a cone, including sprinkles! Since life is hard and such luxuries are only to be found outside of the city, I make do. And I have to say that this “making do” has really worked out for me because these Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream Sundaes with Granola Sprinkles are really incredible – like WOW!
A month or so ago I read an article in Bon Appetit about what Millennials like to eat and drink. Being a Millennial myself I was curious to see what the Great Bon Appetit had to say about our daily food and beverage consumption. As always they were spot on – basically we “cherish the dining experience,” demand “transparency and authenticity,” and our “expensive,” more “decadent” tastes are “influencing the food scene in some pretty large cities.” That would explain all these food trends that I am a total sucker for. Every restaurant has to have kale, brussel sprouts, Quinoa, Sriracha, pork belly, etc on the menu, and you better believe every Millennial has them stocked in their kitchen. Being the trendy Millennial sucker that I am, I have at least four different kinds of Quinoa on hand at all times and it’s about time that I make you some! This Shrimp & Fiddlehead Quinoa Bowl will have you tweeting about #Qunioa and #Fiddleheads ( @foragethefeast !!!) before you know it!
Cinco de Mayo was this week and to me it marks the start of tropical beverage drinking season. It’s usually the first Margarita of the year, hence a reason to celebrate. But, like this year’s St. Patties day, Cinco de Mayo fell on a Monday, and for me it was a Monday of a VERY busy work week. I had to curb my Margarita intake a touch more than usual. However, I found that this self-inflicted Monday sobriety left a clear head for feasting creativity! AND Guess what, the market FINALLY has green veggies this week!!! I was just getting to the point where I could never look at a root vegetable again when I spotted tables, no mountains full of fresh, beautiful, spectacular ASPARAGUS! Imagine my excitement! I manically grabbed as many different asparagus varieties as I could and ran home to start cooking. This week’s recipe comes to you with extra love and enthusiasm because ‘1st Margarita day of the year’ + ‘Finally fresh green produce at the market’ = Chicken Asparagus Enchiladas!
Everyone loves chicken salad. It’s a lunch time staple that can be found in every bodega-deli-cafe in all sorts of tasty varieties. The #1 ingredient that makes all chicken salads so delicious and beloved by all is the MAYO! It’s creamy and delicious and wonderful, but like everything that’s creamy and delicious and wonderful it’s not so good for you. With Memorial Day weekend less than one month away (AHHH!!) I need to consider curbing my mayo intake and that means no chicken salad until after bikini season (sigh). I’m usually not one to deprive myself of anything delicious so I devised this recipe so I could have my chicken salad and my bikini too!
Anyone who was friends with me in college knows about my Pasta Carbonara. Every night after the bars closed the whole gang would stumble back to my house where I, being the enthusiastic chef and constantly hungry person that I am, would whip up some Pasta Carbonara. You probably think I’m crazy and that Pasta Carbonara is a totally bizarre-O meal to make for post-bar late-night eats, but the truth is, it’s extremely simple to make and the perfect food to satisfy your munchies. This Spring Onion Pasta Carbonara recipe calls on inspiration from my old college self and adds a touch of the more refined forager of the present to make a truly delectable meal that both the late-night-eat-everything-in-your-fridge you and the mature I-only-eat-organic you will love!