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About

NYC Nom Nom is a blog about food. Restaurants and recipes... from the good, to the bad, to the un-nommable. Recently, I joined Weight Watchers. But I refuse to give up my love for food. Join me on my journey of recipes and restaurants (whether you're dieting or not).

I am very fortunate in that I get to try many of the best restaurants in NYC. I also am realizing that I love to cook and have been expanding my culinary skills with my boyfriend, Mike. So what better way to chart my path through the world of food than with a blog?

I would not consider myself a foodie, as that moniker carries with it some level of expertise, of which I have none. I just really love food and am very lucky to have both access to good restaurants and a really great kitchen (by New York City standards anyway).

If you want to reach me, you can email me at sara@nycnomnom.com or if you have more questions, visit the NYCNomNom FAQs

So without further ado, enjoy nomming.


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13 October 10

Easy as Key Lime Pie

Another birthday… another baked good.  This time it was a new adventure with Key Lime Pie.

I wanted to make sure I had a good graham cracker crust, and after much searching, I opted for one that sounded a bit different on my favorite recipe site, AllRecipes.com.

I happen to love that they sell Graham Cracker Crumbs already all crumbled in a box.  I never can get the consistency exactly right when I chop it myself.  I’ll pay a little more for that (and the convenience).  Unfortunately, it’s very hard to find (when stores have it, it’s by the bread crumbs usually).  I haven’t yet found myself ordering a CASE on Amazon… but I wouldn’t put it past me.

So first you mix together the 1.5 cups of graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup melted butter, and 3 Tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Then you press it into the bottom of a pie pan and spread egg yolk on it.  After reading the feedback on the recipe, I soon realized this was the tough part… and they were right.  First of all, I used more like 3 yolks to have enough to go around.  And second, it was NOT easy to spread.  I wound up kind of dolloping it on and pressing it down with the back of a spoon until it was coated.  No real spreading involved.  But it wasn’t too bad.

I then baked it for 10 minutes at 350 to brown it a little.

After that, I was ready to add the key lime pie filling.  I got the recipe, again, from AllRecipes.com.  This was also as easy as… pie.  

Mix 3 cups sweetened condensed milk with 1/2 cup soup cream, 3/4 cup key lime juice (I couldn’t find key limes so I used regular limes… much to my hesitation… but it worked out just fine), and 1 Tablespoon of grated lime zest.  Mixed it well and poured it on in.

As I baked the pie for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees, I realized that it looked kinda… boring.  So I had some limes left and decided to candy them.

I sliced them thin and put them in some sugar and water to soften and sweeten.

They did soften, but BOY were these tart!  Not for the feint of heart by any means.  I actually scooped these off my piece…

But they sure added a touch of flair to the pie itself.

I let it bake until I saw tiny bubbles come up the surface (the key is not to brown it).

I then chilled it overnight and brought it in the next day.

It was DELICIOUS!  I’m not sure if I would add this to my repertoire, but for a first time key lime pie, I think it was damn good.

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Posted: 1:14 AM

Eggplant Parm

I was hearing this kitchen “fact” about how it’s important to brine eggplant before cooking it.  Some say it brings out the flavor, some say it removes the bitterness, some say it makes them sweat less (so they are less watery and… have less BO… I guess), and some say they just do it because it’s what their mama taught them.

Well… my mama taught me nothing about eggplant.  So one night we decided “what the hell!” and we salted our eggplant for an hour before making it.  Honestly… I have NO idea if it made a difference.  But it tasted great so I’m going to give it a thumbs up until I can give it a head to head.

This recipe came from The Food Network.

After salting and rinsing, we then coated it in an egg and milk bath and then in a mixture of breadcrumbs, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.  We then quickly browned them in a pan.

Next we stacked up layers of slices with marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella in a greased oven dish.

And baked it to ooey-gooey browned perfection.

I then realized that we had no tomato sauce for the pasta.  What to do?  Why not just make one?  So I set about my new “make my own sauce” recipe where i basically throw tomatoes and spices into a pot, cook it down, mash it up, and then puree it a bit with the hand mixer.  Works like a charm.

And tastes great too!

I think this was my favorite eggplant parm we’ve made.  The added seasoning to the breadcrumbs just made it that much better… and who knows? Maybe the salting isn’t a myth!

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29 September 10

In case you missed it, I was on The Wendy Williams Show on Tuesday, September 28th to compete in a Top Chef: Just Desserts segment with my NYC Nom Nom Double Trouble Peanut Butter Cup.  Two other audience members and I put our desserts up against each other to be judged by Wendy Williams, Gail Simmons, and Johnny Iuzzini.  It was a blast!

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1 September 10

Tuity Fruity Chicken and Corn Fritters

It is no secret that I love fruit paired with chicken/turkey/pork/scallops. We happened to have a lot of fruit that needed to be used, so we made up a Tuity Fruity Chicken and paired it with a great Weight Watchers recipe for corn fritters.

We cut up some plums, peaches, and sections of clementines and combined it with some Diet Sunkist, garlic, apricot preserves, salt, and pepper.

I didn’t have a broiler pan, so I tried to put a baker’s rack upside down… It actually didn’t work really, however, it was just fine.  Then… we broiled. That’s it!

As for the corn fritters, it was a bit more complex… but ENTIRELY worth it!  The directions were to beat egg whites until they were stiff but not glossy.  Meh? 

As someone that has made many a meringue, I wasn’t sure I had ever seen eggs glossy… so I just went until it peaked.

Then you mix together corn, tomatoes (we substituted these for the peppers), scallions, salt, pepper, and flour.  Then you fold in the egg whites.

Then after you spray down a pan, you scoop a dollop of the mixture onto a heated pan.  I was concerned that they wouldn’t stick together, but oh…

They did.

And they were amazing!

And the fruity chicken was pretty damn good, too.

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RECIPES
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Fruity Chicken (5 points for 1 1/4 pound chicken breast)

Ingredients:

·         1 tsp olive oil   

·         1 medium garlic clove(s), minced   

·         1/8 tsp table salt   

·         1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground   

·         1/2 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast   

·         2 medium peach(es), sliced   

·         1 cup(s) Sunkist Diet Orange Soda   

·         1 small plum(s)   

·         2 small clementine   

·         2 Tbsp Polaner Sugar Free Apricot   

Directions:

1.       In a shallow bowl, mix the orange soda, preserves, oil, garlic, salt and pepper; set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade for basting.

2.       Add the chicken and peaches; refrigerate, covered at least 1 hour.

3.       Preheat the broiler; spray rack with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the chicken and peaches to the rack.

4.       Broil 6 inches from heat until cooked through and peaches begin to brown, basting with reserved marinade,

5.       7-8 minutes on each side (ours were thick, so it took longer)

6.       Cool slightly; spoon fruit over chicken

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Corn Fritters (3 points for a quarter of the recipe)

Ingredients

·         2 large egg(s), separated (keep egg whites only)   

·         4 medium corn on the cob, kernels removed with a knife*   

·         1 medium sweet red pepper(s), diced the size of corn kernels   

·         1/3 cup(s) scallion(s), diced   

·         1/2 tsp table salt, or more to taste   

·         1/4 tsp black pepper, or more to taste   

·         2 Tbsp all-purpose flour   

·         2 spray(s) cooking spray, butter-flavored   

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not glossy; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Add corn, red pepper (or tomatoes), scallions, salt, black pepper and flour; thoroughly combine and then fold in egg whites.
  3. Coat skillet with cooking spray and warm over high heat; when skillet is hot, reduce heat to medium.
  4. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter onto skillet to make each fritter. (Do not press fritters down with your spatula since they are meant to be fluffy.)
  5. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes; carefully flip and cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
  6. Remove cooked fritters to a serving plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat until all batter is used and then serve immediately. Yields about 4 fritters per serving.

*Frozen corn can be used instead. Thoroughly thaw before using.

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30 August 10

Chocolate Salty Balls

I had read about cake balls in just about every food blog I touched for a few months, so when a co-worker’s birthday came up, I had to try to make them. 

The idea is that you bake a regular cake, break it up and combine it with cake frosting so it becomes a fudgy texture, roll it into balls, then dip it in melted chocolate and let them harden.  What could be bad about that?  I actually chose to do brownies and combined it with cream cheese frosting.  Here are the rolled balls:

I had read that the dipping process could be hard as the balls are heavy and fall off a toothpick, so upon exploring candy dipping advice, I saw an ingenious idea.

It’s simply a plastic fork with the center two tines removed.  Easy peasy!  I made sure the balls were big enough to sit on the outer tines and then you just dip and scoop them out. 

One of my favorite things with chocolate recently is to add some sea salt.  (One of my favorite all-time recipes is chocolate covered toffee with salt). 

I know some people don’t love salt with chocolate, so I made some sweet versions.  The salted ones were GONE before the sweet ones were even halfway eaten. 

But they made for such a fun birthday treat!

Next time I really want to try red velvet cake + cream cheese or banana cake + vanilla frosting.

The recipe is really simple, but if you need some tips, here are two links:

http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/cake-balls/Detail.aspx

and

http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/tips-techniques/how-to-make-cake-pops-078637 (they feature the cuter version of putting them on lollipop sticks!)

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13 August 10

Weight Watchers Recipe- Rosemary-Grilled Pork Chops with Potatoes and Zucchini

Usually dinner is planned based upon what is in the fridge that day.  This day we had pork chops, yellow zucchini (not summer squash… I wonder what the difference is), and potatoes.  What luck that Weight Watchers has a recipe entitled “Rosemary-Grilled Pork Chops with Potatoes and Zucchini.”

Unfortunately, NYC living does not provide us with a grill, however, our apartment stove luckily provides us with a griddle top!  Usually works pretty well (besides the smoke alarm factor). 

I love mini potatoes, and when they get crispy and brown, they are my favorite.  I haven’t found any healthy way of making them as delicious as when you fry them up, but it’s a fine alternative.

It was easy to use the same top for the pork and zucchini.  The rosemary is key in this.  

The assemblage was delicious and everything went really well together.  It was incredibly easy and, though the potatoes take a pretty long time, it was quick to throw together!

It wound up being about 1.5 servings each based on the pork weight (the recipe called for 4, 4 oz portions but we had 2 6 oz. portions), so the point value was about 9 for the whole meal (would have been 6 with the 4 oz. chops).  To get a full meal this delicious for 9 points? I’m in!

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RECIPE
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Ingredients:

  • 1/8 tsp lemon zest, or to taste  (I used lemon juice only, but I think the zest would have been nice)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, juice of 1 large lemon  
  • 2 Tbsp rosemary, fresh, chopped  
  • 3 clove(s) garlic clove(s), crushed with a garlic press  
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, extra-virgin  
  • 16 oz lean boneless pork chop, center-cut, trimmed of all visible fat, 4 (4-ounce)  
  • 1 tsp table salt  
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground  
  • 1 pound(s) Yukon Gold potato(es), or any baby potatoes, scrubbed and halved  
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1⁄8-inch-thick slices

Directions:

  1. Combine the lemon zest, rosemary, garlic, and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle the pork with 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the pepper. Rub half of the rosemary mixture over the pork. Put the pork on a plate, then cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to several hours.
  2. Spray the grill rack with nonstick spray; prepare the grill.
  3. Toss the potatoes with the remaining rosemary mixture,1⁄4 teaspoon of remaining salt, and 1⁄8 teaspoon of remaining pepper in a medium bowl. Lightly spray the potatoes with nonstick spray, then place on the grill, cut-side down. Grill the potatoes 5 inches from the heat, turning once, until tender, 45 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl; cover with foil to keep warm.
  4. Sprinkle the zucchini with the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper; lightly spray the zucchini with nonstick spray. Put the pork and zucchini on the grill. Grill the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the pork chops registers 160°F for medium, about 4 minutes on each side. Grill the zucchini until tender, about 4 minutes on each side. Put the pork and zucchini on a platter. Drizzle the lemon juice over the zucchini. Serve with the potatoes. Yields 1 pork chop with 1⁄4 of zucchini and potatoes per serving.

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6 August 10

Just Desserts

The one prized possession I received in what I inherited from my Grandmother (beyond the awesome furniture, jewelry, and art) is her recipe folder.  There are recipes in here torn out from newspapers from decades ago and scribbled notes from friends (and friends of friends).  Some of them are so stained by butter that they are nearly translucent and the ink is almost impossible to read. 

 I have only just begun to explore the treasures in this folder.  The first one I sought out, however, was the famous brownie recipe.  I made these first thing when the family was getting together to celebrate my Grandmother’s life.  I have made them about a dozen times since and introduced them to friends and coworkers.  They are ALWAYS a hit.  They have even been called “the best brownies I’ve ever tasted.”  Thanks Grandma.

The batter is “old style,” using Baker’s chocolate (and none of that new age, chip stuff!)  It’s actually quite hard to find sometimes… but I try to keep a stash for the days I want to make a treat for someone.

The cook up so perfectly.  Crispy on the outside and on the top, fudgey on the inside.  Every time. 

And I’m sure you’re all licking your lips for the recipe, however, I am a terrible tease and will not be sharing it.

Though since I’m not ENTIRELY mean, I’ve also included the easy rugelach recipe I made a few weeks ago.

The secret to this is Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations, which is the same as their crescent rolls but without the pre cut slits.  (I used them before on the delicious chicken tarts).  You can roll it out thinner to use as the basis for rugelach.

I mixed up the classic filling, fruit and nuts.  I went with two variations.  The first was blueberries and nuts.

The second was strawberries with mini chocolate chips and nuts.

You slice the dough into long triangles and fill it with a thin layer of fruit.

Then you roll them up from the big end to the little end.

I layed them all on a Silpat and then sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar.

They baked up very nicely, though next time I would back them a little more so they get a little crispier.  They tasted DELICIOUS, however.  Great and easy treat to bring to a picnic.

And they are only 1 Weight Watcher point per cookie! Not bad!

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RECIPE
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Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Rugallach

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray (or silpat mat)
  • 1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations
  • ~1/2 cup fresh fruit (your choice)
  • ~1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1 Tbl. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbl. flour
  • 1 Tbl. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbl. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with a Silpat
  3. Combine fruit, nuts, and granulated sugar in a separate bowl
  4. Roll out crescent rolls to 1/8” thickness on a lightly floured surface
  5. Cut into about 16 long triangles (a pizza slicer works best for this)
  6. Spoon about a teaspoon of filling into center of triangle, leaving ends free of filling
  7. Roll the dough from the wide edge to the point
  8. Place rolled cookies onto cookie sheet
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown
  10. Let sit for about 5 minutes
  11. Dust cookies with cinnamon and powdered sugar (if you push them all together, it makes this easier, but I never bother)
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21 June 10

Chicken Tarts

I like easy recipes that look really complex.  And there is something about individual portions that always make a dish look that much more difficult.  Muffin tins are a favorite of mine for making dishes like the Crustless Ham & Egg Tarts and this new recipe for Chicken Tarts.

The secret to these tarts is the Pillsbury Crescent Seamless Recipe Creations Dough.  Someone over there got wise that their crescent rolls were being used for more than just their cut out triangles were originated for and made some that are a single sheet of dough (rather than perforated).  Genius!

For this recipe, you roll the dough out and then push it out a bit more with a rolling pin so you can cut out 12 squares that will line a muffin cup. (The best tool for this is a pizza cutter!)

Then you put the dough into each muffin cup and build it up the side.  It didn’t quite reach the top of most of my cups, but it still worked well.

Then… you fill it!  We went with mushrooms and already cooked chicken slices that we made into bite size pieces (Purdue Shortcuts… another favorite easy food staple of mine).

Then we topped each cup with some canned tomatoes (and shredded Weight Watchers cheese) and popped them in the oven.

The looked and smelled SO good!

And they came out perfectly browned… just a little bit crispy and then that buttery, fluffy goodness on the inside.

With 3 per serving, this was very filling and SO savory and satisfying for just 7.5 points!

Paired with some zero point (frozen) spinach and onions… hard to beat!   

The prep time on these was so little, and with so many pre-made pieces, it just comes together perfectly.  

Bake time was 15-20 minutes (until the edges start to brown) at 375 degrees F.  Even though they smell delicious, let them cool for a few minutes.

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11 June 10

Portobello Pizzas

I’m typically not a huge pizza fan, however, sometimes I just crave it.  I read about a “diet” version that uses portobellos instead of pizza crust and I was sold!

I prepped the ingredients: portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, fresh basil, pine nuts, and Saucy Solutions Bolognese sauce.

First you bake the mushrooms for 5 minutes.

Then you fill them with all the goodies and bake for 20 minutes.  (You can stick them in the broiler for a minute or two at the end to get them crispier on top if you prefer them the way I do)

We even topped them with some sliced roasted garlic.

This recipe is a total WINNER. And for just 5 points, it’s hard to beat (just 3 points if you use a fat free tomato sauce!).

I really enjoyed the bolognese.  It was hearty and full of flavor.  It was even better over pasta.  Nom Nom Nom.

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RECIPES
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Portobello Pizzas (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 portobello mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tomato, sliced or 1 cup grape mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 Tbs. basil, sliced
  • 1 Tbs. pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup bolognese
  • 3/4 cup Weight Watchers shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat to 350 degrees F
  2. Spray baking dish/pan with cooking spray and place mushrooms in
  3. Bake for 10 minutes
  4. Fill each with half of the remaining ingredients (cheese on top)
  5. Bake for an additional 5 minutes (broil at end if desired)
  6. Serve warm
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7 June 10

Ostrich: The perfect diet food

I have the incredible fortune of working right by the Union Square Greenmarket. Besides going out for awesome lunches, fresh veggies, wine tasting, and buying   beautiful flowers, they sometimes have some rareties.  It was here that we secured our bison meat as well as the ramps (and miscellaneous other goodies!).  As I was searching for lunch, there was a vender cooking up some ostrich meat and singing it’s praises. 

What is so good about ostrich? Glad you asked! It is high in protein and very low in fat (even less than turkey and less than half of chicken!) It’s low in calories and high in iron (the meat is almost as red as steak).  Oh… and it’s delicious!  The vendor was giving samples and good thing as it convinced me to buy them (even though they were quite expensive at $20 for this steak for 2).

We paired it with delicious roasted cauliflower.

It was a FANTASTIC portion and my whole plate came to just 8 points.

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RECIPE
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Ingredients:

  • 4-4oz Ostrich Steaks (no thicker than 3/4”)
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt

Directions:

  1. Marinate ostrich steaks in wocester sauce, garlic powder, and salt for about 30 minutes to an hour 
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  3. Roast for about 15 minutes per pound (internal temp should be about 155 degrees)
  4. Remove from oven and slice
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All artwork and photos copyright of Sara Axelrod unless otherwise stated. Originally themed by Hunson and Josh
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