Sunday, May 31, 2009

West Palm Beach

Great getaway

Brendan and I decided to go away for a quick trip before he starts summer term. So I took a day of from work and we went to visit his friend Phil who lives in West Palm Beach. The weekend was the perfect balance between relaxation, good food and partying (maybe a little too much partying). Thanks Phil!!!

This last picture was taken at 4 A.M., it is
the Taco Bell drive-thru window as we saw it from our cab . We were so drunk and hungry!

I have not partied like this in a long long time and my body is definitely letting me know so today.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend #2: Hiking the Hudson Highlands

Awesome way to spend a Monday

Brendan and I haven't been hiking since around this time last year, so we decided to go hiking for Memorial Day weekend. Our friends wanted to come too, so on Monday we went to the Hudson Highlands, which are about 1 hour north of New York City.

We were trying to hike an intermediate trail called "Anthony's nose", but I guess our sense of orientation is not all that great, so we ended hiking a trail called "Breackneck Ridge". It was a lot more intense than the trail we had intended to, but it was fantastic. Here are some pictures from that day.

For the first part of the trail, there was a lot more rockclimbing thank hiking

Brendan and I rest and enjoy the view

This view of the Hudson river valley was worth all the effort
A hawk in the sky

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Breakfast: Apples & Oatmeal

Great way to start the day

I accidentally ordered more apples from FreshDirect that I usually do, so I have been trying to incorporate apples in my meals to make sure I finish them all. I found this recipe on the Foodnetwork website while browsing recipes that involved apples (by the way, the Foodnetwork is one of my favorite channels).

I absolutely love this recipe! It's delicious, very healthy, gives me lots of energy and keeps me full for a good three hours! I also estimate that its about 320 calories per serving, which is great!

Recipe: Apples Cinnamon Oatmeal
Adapted from: Food Network Kitchens - Microwave Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

1 apple, cored and coarsely chopped (I use Fuji, but they suggest McIntosh)
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 small cinnamon stick (can also be a pinch of ground cinnamon)
Pinch kosher salt
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup (this is key, none of that fake "syrup" in here. Honey is a great substitute if you do not have maple syrup)
1 cup of milk (optional)

In a small pot combine apples, oatmeal, cinnamon, salt and water and turn on low/medium heat. Cook accoding to the oatmeal instructions (usually about 4-5 minutes) but add an additional 3 more minutes of cooking so the apples can soften and caramelize. Stir the oatmeal regularly to prevent it from sticking to the pot.

Once cooked, split the oatmeal into two bowls, add1/2 cup of milk and pour 1 tablespoon of maple syrup into each bowl. Serve hot and enjoy!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A good deal?

Deli, you will be missed

I was really sad to find out today that the great little deli next to my building is going out of business. It has been open for business 7 days a week for the last 25 years, and tonight it closed for good. I think the landlord did not let owner of the deli renew his contract.

The little deli was great, during the weekdays a line would form outside of the deli at lunchtime. The windows were piled with truffles, chocolate covered pretzels, nuts and pastries. The owner was very nice, I used to eat their sandwiches on the weekends and he would always give me a small sweet treat with my sandwich. They also had a nice orange cat living there, I hope the cat will be OK.

Tonight is the last night the deli is going to be open, so the owner was trying to sell everything he had left. He stopped Brendan and said that the whole store was
buy one get two free, so we went to stock up on water bottles and other essentials. The owner kept showing us food and cheese and sweets and we felt so bad about his situation that we let him do it. In the end, we walked out with this.

Trios starting on the top left: jelly bean boxes, cornichons, cheese crackers, a giant pack of American cheese, shredded parmesan, gruyere, provolone, roquefort, cheese twirl crackers, trident gum, ricola cough drops and 10 chicken cutlets. He said the total was going to be around $65, but we only had $45 dollars with us so he gave us all the food for $45 dollars. The chicken cutlets he gave to us for free.

* 10 chicken cutlets that Brendan has promised to finish*

So how do we feel about getting such an amazing deal? We feel terrible, we are so sad for the owner that had to close his deli after 25 years. So we have made a promise to not let any of the food go to waste. We are going to try to throw a wine and cheese party next week to pay our respects to the great deli.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gifts from Ecuador

Gracias papi y mami! (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

My sister just graduated from the University to Notre Dame! So my parents came from Ecuador and stayed a couple of days in New York City before we all headed to Notre Dame. They brought me Ecuadorian coffee and papaya and passionfruit jam. Both are absolutely delicious!!!

One of the things I miss the most about Ecuador is the amount, variety and affordability of fruits we have, this jam is a perfect reminder of home.

And the graduation was great. I got to see President Obama live! I wont forget that any time soon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Comfort Food: Canned Tuna with Rice

Brings me home every time

Last night I made my favorite comfort food: canned tuna with tomatoes and onions, dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. We use a lot of lemons and limes in Ecuadorian coastal cooking, so this is how I grew up eating tuna (which people here in the U.S. find interesting). I love this dish but due to the high mercury levels in tuna I make aconcious effort of only eating it once a week. I ate it with brown rice and a carrot and broccoli salad.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Onigiri in Manhattan: Oms b Rice Ball Cafe

So pretty I feel sad about eating them

Another great lunch place I go to often here in Midtown East is Oms b Rice Ball Cafe (the name is supposed to replicate the phonetic pronunciation of "omusubi" in english). This cafe's main staple are the onigiri, although they do have some noodle dishes.

What I love about this place is the variety and creativity of the onigiri. Each onigiri is carfully put together and made with fresh ingredients (which might explain why the prices at Oms b are not particularly "recession friendly"). There is so much variety that standing in line is always torture as I agonize about which onigiri I will pick for lunch.

* shrimp popcorn onigiri*

* yukari-plum and wasabi onigiri*

So what did I eat today? These were my three picks. The "gorgeous football" was the tastiest one!

*counterclockwise from the upper left: eel, salmon and "gorgeous football" onigiri*

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Breakfast: The perfectly cooked egg

Rainy day, sunny breakfast

Sometimes the simplest foods are the most delicious and rewarding. A perfectly cooked egg, with completely cooked egg white and perfectly runny yolk, is one of them. Here is the recipe I used to make my breakfast today:

  1. Put eggs in a pot with enough water to cover them
  2. Bring the water to a boil
  3. Once the water starts boiling, set the timer to 3 minutes and 30 seconds*
  4. After the three and a half minutes, scoop the eggs out of the boiling water and run them through cold faucet water (this will stop the cooking process and cool the eggs enough so you can peel them)
  5. Peel open, and enjoy
*If you live at a higher altitude (New York is close to sea level: at 768 feet/234 meters) you might need to adjust the timing, as water takes longer to reach boiling point in higher altitude. Test by increasing/decreasing the cooking time once water has reached boiling point)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

An accidental trip to the Farmers' Market in Union Square

Good for my tummy and wallet

Today I got up at 7:30 AM (painfully early for a Saturday) to go to the Valentino Sample Sale. I have gone to this sample sale three years in a row and have always come out dragging huge shopping bags filled with beautiful clothes, shoes and bags. This year however, I came out empty-handed and sad. There were were so many beautiful things I fell in love with, but since I am quitting my job soon to pursue my MBA, I decided to save the money for an upcoming school trip or some other school activity.

I decided to walk home to shake of the images of those beautiful, buttery leather boots I tried on, and I ended up at the Farmers' Market in Union Square.
This place is great, it gives New Yorkers access to fresh produce from local producers. So instead of shopping for high-end luxury items I decided to buy some fresh, local produce. This is what I walked away with: shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy and asparagus.

And this was lunch, asparagus and tomato salad, and soba noodles in miso broth with shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, tofu and eggplant. This soup was loosely based on
this recipe, but I made my own broth with bonito, kombu and the mushroom stems instead of using vegetable stock.

So did it work? My lunch certainly made me happy, but I am still thinking about those boots. I think I will go back to the sample sale on its last day, when they have deeper discounts. Who knows, I might get lucky.