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Showing posts from September, 2011

El Mariachi

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There are so many things I love about El Mariachi. I've only been to the one on Hamilton Street. From the delicious drinks to the sizzling food and the bright decor it is just all in all a good time. We went there for my bachelorette party in June and it was a blast (as shown above). Did I eat lots of fried salty food two days before my wedding? Yes, yes I did, and I didn't feel bad about it. I first went to El Mariachi with my friend who has now left Albany, and I always associated it with a fun girls' night from that time on. What about chips and salsa and tequila doesn't set the stage for fun gossip? The fajitas actually make noise when they come out. Some dishes are things you would not routinely see at a Mexican restaurant. Also, there's Spanish food on the menu. Actually, our waitress one time came up to us and mentioned that Scott was her professor at Hunter when we lived in New York. Small world! And it turns out that her parents own the place and that one…

Plastic Bags

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We seem to be having a food storage problem at our house. The thing about a CSA share is that you can end up with more food than you can possibly eat every week. Because of this I've made about 6 weeks worth of delicious soups for lunches. I've also filled up all the airtight containers we have. Getting your food straight from the farm also cuts down on the number of plastic shopping bags around the house. This is probably overall a good thing, but I have noticed that there are certain uses in which plastic shopping bags are useful - putting your scraps in them around the kitchen as you cook and putting your lunch in one on the drive to work so it doesn't leak on the car seat. Of course you could use a reusable lunch bag, but then you have to put that through the washing machine so is it really so much better for the environment? I mean I guess so, but I just think if you are using plastic bags for multiple uses they can't really be that horrible, right?  I always feel…

Apple Fritters

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I've discussed before how Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home is pretty much the coolest cookbook ever. It has all kinds of great tips and the recipes are amazing every time. We've made chicken and dumplings soup, chicken stock, chocolate chip cookies, chicken breasts with tarragon, and a few other things. I've definitely spent quite a bit of time reading his tips at the beginning of the book, and browsing his sources in the back. Anyways, I love it. I love his approach to cooking. He treats it like a craft, and the way he advises to constantly strain and skim things creates foods that are luxurious in texture with less impurities, and the blanching of vegetables for sure creates crisper textures and brighter flavors than any other method.

Anyways, so our friends came over for a "Parenthood" premiere party, and I decided to make a dessert. We wanted to make something we didn't have to go get ingredients for. We had recently been to Indian Ladder Farms so we h…

The Capital City Gastropub

The Capital City Gastropub (formerly Pasquale's) sounds really exciting.  What a great space! Can't wait to try it!

Apple Pie from the Berry Patch, Stephentown, NY

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Yesterday I was on my way home and I was thinking about getting a dessert since we had friends coming over. I thought about Bella Napoli and Cheesecake Machismo, but then I saw a big sign on the side of the road that said "Fresh Pie!" drawn in marker. Well, that was exactly what I was in the market for, fresh pie! So I pulled over to the Berry Patch in Stephentown, NY.

I thought this pie was fabulous! They had apple and peach. I whipped up some cream with vanilla and a little bit of pumpkin pie spice in it. You could tell the apples were super fresh, and the crust was much better than a supermarket pie. Delicious!

Local Spirits I Enjoy

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I have tried a few of the spirits available from the Berkshire Mountain Distillers, and they are all very delicious.The rum, corn whiskey, and Greylock gin are all very good, but my personal favorite is the Ethereal gin. It is very complex in flavor. It is heavy on the botanicals, and has such a full, complex interesting smell you really want  to take in the bouquet before you drink it. I don't even mix it with anything usually - it is that delicious. They also make them in small batches, and the label color changes to let you know it is a new batch and may taste slightly different. Before discovering the Berkshire Mountain Distillers I was almost always a Hendrick's woman (I love cucumber), but this stuff is great and I love that I am supporting a local company. I hope one day they will offer distillery tours. 
Undergrads have taken over college campuses everywhere wearing tights as pants, and everyone is spending their weekends going doughnut picking - so that means something…

Southwestern Flavored Crackers

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We have a lot of cilantro from our CSA. I love it, but turns out some people (including my husband) hate it. So I decided to baked it all into some crackers. When I make things mostly for myself I go a little crazy. So along with the cilantro I chopped up some peppers and garlic and zested a couple limes.
 Our immersion blender we got as a wedding present also has a chopping attachment, which is so easy and chops things smaller than I ever could in like two seconds.
 Then put in the food processor 2 tablespoons butter, 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt.
 Process it and add 1/4 cup water, until it is a ball, adding more if necessary but not too much that it becomes sticky.
 I kneaded in my herb mixture. I got this great rollpat for the counter which makes everything much easier to clean up.
 I got this awesome pastry cutter as a wedding present, and after I rolled out the dough I cut the dough up in strips and scored squares so that they could be easily broken after they cooled. I also…

Corn Tortillas

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I never knew that making corn tortillas was so easy! We got a tortilla press as a wedding present, and it turns out to be totally worth it. So fresh and so delicious! First mix together some water and masa harina and let sit for 15 minutes.
Then cut the dough into smaller sections and roll it into into small, smooth balls. Cover all but one with plastic wrap.
Cover your tortilla press with baggies. I also used a piece of parchment paper. Flatten the dough ball a little with your fingers.
Press the tortilla press down and then peel the dough off of the parchment paper.Slip it into a medium heat skillet.
You can continue with the next one as the first one is heating up.
Turn it over, and turn it back over again. It is done when it is brown and speckled and when it puffs up like a pita bread.
Keep warm in a basket lined with towels.
Then we had andouille, cauliflower, onions, salsa, and cilantro Scott was sauteeing while I was making the tortillas. We could not believe how much better i…

Pasquale's in Royal Oak, MI

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I visited Michigan over Labor Day weekend. There is something about places you've lived, and especially the place you are originally from, where it is reassuring when things don't change and very slightly sad or shocking when they do. It is as if that place existed only for your experience. It is as if every place you've been should remain the same forever like a museum of your life. And the fine folks at Pasquale's Restaurant seem happy to oblige.
I went with my lovely friend I met in London and her husband. Her husband always went there for his birthday as a child. They went there for their first date. My mother used to go there every Saturday night as a child, and then after cruising down Woodward Ave as a teenager. It is crazy how one restaurant can be a part of so many different moments in so many of my friends' and family members' lives.

About a year ago we rented out a banquet room there on the occasion of my grandmother's funeral. There was a birthd…