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the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Thai food certainly wasn’t a dinner table staple when I was growing up, but it’s become one of my very favorite cuisines to eat—and cook. I just love the aromatics and taste complexity in Thai-style cooking, as many of the dishes have a perfect balance of savory, sweet, sour and spicy flavors. Hungry to learn more about the region’s fare, I took some Thai culinary courses last year, which helped me gain the confidence to incorporate these bold, exotic flavors into my own recipes.
With just the right amount of heat, richness, acidity and spice, these easy-to-make mussels are a simple way to introduce Thai flavors into your kitchen. Plus, they are utterly delicious—you’ll want to sop up every last drop and then lick the bowl clean.
Spicy Coconut Curry Mussels (serves 2-4)
New York has certainly endured a frigid start to 2011. A crisp arctic chill has filled the air, the whips of wind are relentless and the ground has become blanketed with a powdery dusting of snow. These nippy days make me crave the cozy comforts of oversized sweatpants, cuddling up with Cooper and hearty feel-good foods.
Turkey chili is the perfect remedy to warm you up during even the coldest winter temperatures and can easily be reheated for days worth of deliciousness. To punch up the texture of traditional chili, this spicy, satisfying version includes three different varieties of protein-packed beans, sliced mushrooms, chopped tomatoes and crunchy corn. Plus, I used lean ground turkey meat and low sodium broth, so you can stay on track with all your healthier eating resolutions without sacrificing any flavor—I promise. Just fire up a pot and taste for yourself!
Hearty Turkey Chili Recipe (makes 4-6 servings)
Yesterday was Día de los Muertos, so it was only appropriate that I went out last night to celebrate with tacos and margaritas (I am a master at justifying any occasion to indulge). After feasting on plenty of delicious Mexican food at Cascabel Taqueria, I somehow woke up this morning intensely pining for more. So, I whipped up a big bowl of cool, creamy guacamole to help curb my South of the Border cravings.
People certainly have strong opinions when it comes to guac and a number of factors must be considered when crafting this rich avocado-based accompaniment. For example, I say yes to tomato, no dice to sour cream. Some would beg to differ. I prefer kicked up heat, a splash of citrus and a little chunk, while others may fancy a smoother and more mild variety. While there’s no real right or wrong way to make it, if you use any recipe as a base, I suggest you season, salt, and citrus as you go…sampling throughout until your taste buds smile.
I make fresh guacamole all the time, but don’t typically measure out the ingredients—usually just add a bit of this, a dash of that, taste and repeat, until it’s loaded with deliciousness. Today, I did my best to pay attention to proportions for the sake of this recipe. I hope you enjoy it!
Fresh Guacamole Recipe (serves 2-4)
For my Kicked Up Cocktail Sauce, I turned up the heat with a little spice and some nontraditional ingredients to add depth and zest to this classic shrimp accompaniment.
Kicked Up Cocktail Sauce (serves 6)
Make the cocktail sauce by simply mixing the ketchup, chili sauce, horseradish, Sriracha sauce, lemon juice and chopped parsley together in a bowl. Kick up the heat even more with a few drops of Tabasco sauce and add black pepper to taste. After thoroughly mixed, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Before serving, divide the sauce among 6 martini glasses, hang a few shrimp around the rims of each glass and garnish with a lemon wedge.
Even though I wouldn’t classify myself as a chili connoisseur and rarely ever order it, I find myself having these uncontrollable cravings for the MotherRoad Roadhouse Chili on the menu at Agave in the West Village and their sister restaurant in Astoria, Mojave. It’s hands down the best chili I’ve ever had at a restaurant and definitely worthy enough to mention.
I’ve always enjoyed Agave’s authentic Southwestern fare and was excited to check out Mojave out in Astoria. Mojave is a “subdued and soothing adobe hacienda” with a spacious outdoor courtyard and the same creative cuisine from Agave’s innovative Chef, Richard Pang. While I don’t remember ever having anything that wasn’t delicious at either of these restaurants, I have to say that the chili is a definite standout, it is just that good.
I’m not sure what MotherRoad means, but this rockin’ Roadhouse chili is made with big chunks of succulent and oh-so-tender braised beef and pork in a spicy Dos Equis chile sauce, topped with fresh tomatoes, cilantro and red onions. Every decadent bit is incredibly fresh-tasting, full of flavor and has just the right kick.
Lucky for all, you can curb chili cravings at any time of day since you can score yourself a cup or bowl during lunch, dinner and brunch. Also, both restaurants offer an $11.95 lunch pre-fixe menu which includes a cup of chili or seasonal greens to start (but honestly, who would ever chose the greens!?), a lunch entrée and an accompanying sample-sized portion of their fruit infused Milagro tequila-based based frozen margarita.
Chili fans should definitely experience a MotherRoad Roadhouse cup of your own if you haven’t yet, and if you have tried it, let me know what you think!
Mojave, 22-36 31st Street, Astoria, New York, NY 11102