Living in New York, it’s hard to escape the influence of Tom Colicchio. From Riverpark to the entire chain of Craft restaurants, my OpenTable options are often crammed with his restaurants. And so this visit to Craftbar was definitely not my first!
I first came across Craftbar over a year ago when they started serving brunch. I happened to be looking for a nice brunch place that wasn’t ridiculously hard to get into (I rarely remember to make reservations a day ahead of time, much less 3 weeks…), and Craftbar answered my New Yorker Saturday morning needs! However, their dinner reviews on Yelp didn’t fill me with great confidence, which is why it took me over a year and countless brunch visits before I finally clicked to make a dinner reservation. Boy was I glad I did!
With the recent surge of criticism for organic produce, we’re all a bit confused when we walk into the supermarket. Should we be spending all that extra money to buy organic produce or not.
If you haven’t read about this, the recent controversy started when a Stanford Organic Food study suggested that there was little benefit to paying the high prices for organic produce. The study found that there were little to no nutrient benefits to eating organic foods and that the reduction in pesticides in our systems was not necessarily significant.
Of course, as with any contentious topic, the study produced huge amounts of pushback, with various influential people commenting on the results and its interpretations (see this Huffington Post article).
There are clearly arguments both ways, and since I am not an expert in mass agriculture, this article is not trying to weigh in on that on-going debate. Instead, I would like to offer you a glimpse into my mother’s solution to the whole organics problem – Grow Your Own Organic Produce!
Here comes another simple recipe that requires Zero Cooking. It’s becomes a welcome habit when you have little time in the evenings. What I love about this recipe is the great mix of flavors (apples, curry, parsley, and a tiny hint of lime) and the fact you can make a bunch of it all in one go. In fact, I took some for lunch today.
I first discovered the joys of adding curry powder to tuna fish when I made this allrecipes.com recipe many years ago. Since then, I’ve simplified and improved the recipe (I hope) with fresh curly parsley and apples!
I used to love potato & leek soup growing up – it’s just so thick and hearty and delicious. Since cauliflower is such a great substitute for potatoes, I figured it would work well in the soup to give it a thick texture. And of course, I just couldn’t resist adding in some bacon!
I am a big tea drinker, and the quote on my mug there is one of my favorites! “While there is tea, there is hope.” And some days, I feel like that saying is so true!
I am generally a black tea fanatic, but I have on occasions had fruit teas. However, they’ve always been a bit of a disappointment – good smelling but cardboard taste. So my number one aim in making a fruity tea was to make sure it didn’t taste like cardboard!
I love sushi and kimbap (which is the Korean version of sushi, usually without raw fish), but they’re both laden with quite a bit of rice. Although I’m not that sensitive to rice, I generally try to avoid it (to the utter incredulity of my Asian friends). So what to replace the rice with in sushi?? Avocados of course! I already love avocados in sushi (think california rolls and of course, there’s even the avocado roll), and when avocados are mashed up, they have a very similar texture to the soft sushi rice.
I remember watching my mum making sushi/kimbap when I was growing up, and it didn’t look too difficult, so I picked up a bamboo sushi mat and some nori (seaweed) sheets at an Asian supermarket in NYC (or you can get them on Amazon through those links for fairly similar prices). Then it’s just buying some ripe avocados and picking out what you want the filling to be!
There are lots of possible fillings (e.g., raw carrots, raw zucchini, cooked tuna flakes, thin strips of cooked beef, crab meat, pineapple, and of course sushi grade fish). I actually went for a bit of an uncommon combination: smoked salmon, cucumber, and fried egg. The salmon and the egg both have lots of protein and flavor, and the cucumber adds crunch (that was my rationale, and it seemed to work really well). They also happened to be ingredients that cut well into strips, which makes creating sushi rolls easier as you’ll see below.
To make the fried eggs, I whisked 4 eggs together and then fried it on a low heat in a tablespoon of coconut oil. Then I cut it into long strips.
Except for having to cook the eggs, it was pretty easy getting all the fillings together (especially since I didn’t have to cook any rice!). Once all the fillings are ready, place a sheet of the nori (seaweed) on top of the bamboo mat, shiny side down (one side of the nori will be smoother and shinier than the other).
Then spread the mashed avocados on top of the nori, making sure to leave a strip (about an inch wide) of the nori uncovered (see photo below).
Then place a few strips of each filling in the middle of the nori, making sure they’re parallel with the bamboo sticks on the sushi mat (see photo below).
Now comes the fun part! Roll the bamboo mat making sure the nori is rolling with the mat. At the end, when it’s completely rolled, squish the mat gently to ensure all the ingredients stick together.
To cut the roll, I would use a good sharp knife. Because the avocado is softer than sushi rice, it is a bit harder to cut. That’s why a sharp knife is crucial. I have 2 good knives, one of which is the Victorinox Chef’s Knife (I highly recommend getting the blade cover as well as a blade sharpener with the knife). The avocado also sticks to the knife a bit, so to get beautiful clean cuts, I would wipe the blade after every few cuts.
I also made a quick cucumber pickle salad, using a Julienne peeler to shred the cucumber into thin slices. Then I added a little bit of salt and white wine vinegar and mixed it. The pickled flavor goes well with the sushi – think of it as a replacement for the pickled sushi ginger!
Serve with a small dish of coconut aminos (or soy sauce if you are ok with taking in that bit of soy). You can of course also serve with some wasabi and gari (pickled sushi ginger), although note that some wasabi will have cornstarch and artificial food coloring and that the ginger is typically pickled in a mixture that includes sugar.
Note: best eaten immediately after it’s made as the avocados can soften the nori making it less crunchy.
Cut the smoked salmon into long strips (1/2 inch wide).
Cut the cucumber into long thin strips.
Place the coconut oil into a frying pan and add the whisked eggs. Let the eggs flow to fill the pan, forming a large round disk. Cook on low heat for a few minutes on each side, making sure it's cooked thoroughly. Let the cooked egg cool, then slice into long thin strips.
I know liver is great in terms of nutritional value, but it’s not always the most appetizing of meats if you’re unused to it. I actually grew up eating liver at home, and so I’m fine with that liver taste. However, J really isn’t a big fan of the taste, and so I’m constantly trying to come up with new ways of putting liver in dishes where you taste it less. This weekend marked the creation of the non-traditional chicken and liver dish.
As you can see from the photo above, the dish is so simple…so simple in fact, that there’s no need to even write a recipe for it! It’s just shredded chicken meat from my slow cooker chicken broth recipe with some sliced boiled liver and coconut aminos (or soy sauce). Ok, I admit you do have to cook both the chicken and the liver, but they’re both really easy dishes and you can make a bunch in advance and eat them for several days! Here’s the slow cooker chicken photo to remind you of that dish again:
Oh, and we didn’t just eat the chicken and liver by itself. We also shared a plate of feta and sauerkraut. Simple.
I had a lot of garlic cloves in my fridge, and I was concerned that they were going to go bad soon. What better way to make use of the garlic cloves than to roast them. After roasting them, I spread them on some burger patties. It just happened that the gentle flavor of the roasted garlic combined really well with the beef.
I started with some peeled garlic cloves and chopped off the end of each clove. (The oven was preheated to 350F (175C).)
I folded the garlic cloves into a sort of bowl made from tin foil and poured some olive oil into the bowl.
After scrunching up the top of the tin foil bowl, I wrapped another piece of tin foil around it to prevent any of the olive oil from leaking through. After 40 minutes, the garlic was really soft and easy to spread.
Hi! I'm Louise - I am "beyond gluten-free," grain-free, paleo/primal, a lawyer, an ex-physicist, a cook, a blogger, a Brit living in the US, an ex-violin player, an occasional crossfitter, a mystery book junkie, and of course, I am the Ancestral Chef :) Read my About Me Page for more!