missmaggiepops

Eating my way around the world

Pain au Chocolat

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So I walked into Soho this morning for yoga, only to find there was no class. So I hopped over to Dean & Deluca for a fresh pressed juice & a small bite to eat. Although this place is ridiculously expensive (it makes Whole Foods look like a discount dollar store), the pastry was well worth it: buttery & super flakey, with dark chocolate. Sometimes you just need to treat yourself.

Blizzards are Fun: An Inspired Menu

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A snowstorm is about to slam into the East Coast. I don’t know about you, but blizzards always mean one thing to me: get cooking in the kitchen. Staring into the silence of a snowfall, your home gets all toasty-warm with the oven working in over-drive. Better yet, invite some friends over, have them bring the wine, and make this little menu tonight. It’s fairly easy to throw together at the last min as you rush home from work. And if you have people coming over, you’ll have some extra hands to help out. How is that blizzard sounding now?

  • Popcorn gets no love. It’s the best appetizer: it’s cheap, can feed a crowd, and is simple to make. My method: heat 2tbsp coconut oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over med-high heat; put a lid on it. Add 4 test kernels. Once they’ve popped, add in 2/3c popping corn kernels. Shake the pan vigorously as the popcorn pops. Once the popping begins to subside, turn off the heat and let it pop a bit more. Once it’s done popping, pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Add salt to taste, toss (I do 2 large pinches of salt). Pour 3tbsp of melted butter over the popcorn, toss, taste, repeat if necessary with more salt and/or butter. Makes a very large bowl.
  • The best roast chicken. It’s the lemon in the cavity of the bird that makes it super moist. A tip: blast your bird at a high temp for a 1/2hr when you just put it in to get the skin super crispy: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chicken-recipes/perfect-roast-chicken/#Y8uq3jzizkrRKdiy.97
  • Mashed potatoes with a twist: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/mashed-potatoes-clouds-recipe.html
  • Greens are so much more tastier as a gratin. You don’t have to use kale, you could use Swiss Chard, Collard Greens, Spinach, or a mix of all: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/winter-greens-gratin
  • Dessert should be simple and comforting. You really can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies. Grab some ice cream or gelato if you want to get fancy: http://www.marthastewart.com/344840/soft-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies

Dirty French

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Was able to try Dirty French in the Lower East Side last night with a good friend. It was a great welcome meal to my second night in NYC. We split the chicken & crepes. It was amazeballs; you get an entire chicken to split with another person, although this could have easily fed 4. The white meat arrived on a wood cutting board in a cast iron pan with a simple dijon sauce. Delicious with the creme fraiche. The dark meat, complete with chicken feet, came separately & was served on the cutting board beside the pan. It was fragrant from the lemongrass & coconut, & the skin was melty-caramely in your mouth. You popped that into your crepe with the radish & mint accoutrement. Tast-y.
That was all we had. That was all we needed, save for the glass of red we each had with dinner.

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And if you get there between 3:30 & 5:30pm, waiting for the restaurant to open as we did, lounging at The Ludlow Hotel’s lobby with their wine list isn’t such a bad way to kill time.

Depth of field for food photography

Cooking Without Limits

A great food photography should make you so hungry that you want to eat the photo in front of you.  Depth of field is the distance from the closest point to your eye that appears in focus to the farthest point away from your eye that still seems to be in focus.

Photographers tends to use a shallow depth of field to draw the eye to a specific part of the photo (usually the main piece of food or part of it). Occasionally however, you might wish to close the aperture of your camera to capture a deeper depth of field. Both can work, depends on your style or what the client wants.

At the begging of food photography, images were shot with infinite focus. In the last 15-20 years, food photographers choose to have softer images with only one small piece of the subject sharp.

DOF (depth of field) is a combination…

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Classic Christmas Cookies

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Growing up in Canada, these two cookies were Christmas staples. My grandmother always made haystacks, and everybody’s mom had a version of shortbread she swore by. I loved the shortbread made with icing sugar because those cookies tended to just dissolve in your mouth. Another bonus is that these two recipes are ridiculously easy to make; because who wants to be a slave to the kitchen during the holidays?
Here are the links to these classics:
Haystacks
Shortbread

Mid-Week Laughs

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Cartoons from The New Yorker

I just came across two hilarious essays, one written by comic Kelly MacLean about her shopping experience at grocery retailer Whole Foods, the other by author (& mom) Maura Quint justifying eating all of her kid’s dinner. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did:

Whole Foods

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Ps: Martha Stewart’s Mac’n’Cheese recipe has been my go-to. It never fails, but don’t try to make this low-fat by using skim milk, the sauce isn’t rich enough and makes the noodles a bit dry. I do use whole wheat elbows, and whole wheat bread though.

In the news: Ebola & Food Security; USDA Ok’s Importing Chinese Chicken

Ebola affects food production as well

Why is the US importing chicken anyways?

Did you know about this? I just found out, it’s pretty gross.

Advent Calendar

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My husband brought my son back an Advent Calendar (Adventskalender) from his recent business trip in Düsseldorf, Germany. If you’ve never heard of these, advent calendars are used to count the days leading up to Christmas. Each day a new window is opened to reveal a picture or a poem describing the story of Christmas, either focusing on Jesus, or as ours does, Santa Claus. The majority of the time the slots also hold a little presant in the form of chocolates which you must hunt down since the calendar isn’t in chronological order.

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Ours is geared more towards the proclivities of the adult palate: chocolates filled with cherries & kirsch, hazelnut nougat bathed in dark chocolate, rich truffles, and silky caramels. Yuummmm. And since the kiddo only has 6 teeth (4 of which are barely poking through) we decided as all responsible parents do, to spare him the agony of trying to bite through the chocolates and eat all the little morsels this year. Next year he can have all the fun;)

Birthdays

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The kid & I share November as our birthday month. We both had chocolate in some form as our cake, because it’s not dessert if it’s not chocolate. Am I right?!??
Mine, pictured above, is The Best Chocolate Cake I have ever had. Period. It’s the combo of the sweet & sour sour cream-based icing paired with the ultra-moist, dense, & rich chocolate cake that made me have 2 slices per serving….
Chocolate Dump It Cake by Food52.

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The kid didn’t have a traditional cake, he had A16’s Chocolate Budino as his dessert which he happily ate like a fiend. We typically don’t serve these unmolded, we just don’t own a million little spring form pans to serve picture perfect little cakes. Instead, we serve them in porcelain ramekins and usually omit the cake bottom of the recipe which leaves us with only the custard. Sprinkled with grey, flakey sea salt and drizzled with olive oil, these end up being divine Italian versions of chocolate pot de crème.

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For the kiddo’s 1st birthday party, we also served an assorted charcuterie & cheese plate, Food & Wine’s Green Goddess Chicken Salad (this will be your go-to chicken salad from now on after trying this recipe. Trust me. And don’t try swapping the mayo for 0% fat Greek yoghurt, it just won’t be the same- I’ve already tried…), Heidi Swanson’s Farro Salad, and A16’s Monday Night Meatballs, although the recipe is really just a guideline for my husband. He has skewed so far from the original they’re basically his own. And unfortunately, he changes them each time he makes them, which means his versions have never been written down.
Every month should be birthday month in my opinion.

LSD in steak; Apples that fight obesity; Japanese farm mangas; + more in food news…

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I love the magazine Modern Farmer. Here are some recent interesting articles that I’ve come across from the magazine, and beyond:

Whoa dude, trippy steak…
Apples are the new diet pill
Japanese mangas that feature farms
A step in the right direction for McD’s (I still won’t here there)
Newfoundland is making an appearance in the foodie scene; some of its items are controversial
McDonalds & fact checking
Thanksgiving dishes by state