On a Tuesday, in a half-full subway car I was seated next to a scholarly, older Jewish man. As frequently occurs, a musician boarded to play a mariachi-style song in Spanish. My seatmate quipped “oh I was just thinking of that song”. I’d noticed the man early into the 30 minute subway ride because he ate not one but two poppy seed bagels….. with nothing on them. Normally this type behavior is a red flag indicating crazy guy but he seemed to enjoy them.
I carefully pointed out his egregious behavior and asked if he had any places to recommend. He paused and said “No not really. What you really need is a slight hardness to the crust but a soft inside. Don’t fall for those places that are basically selling bread with a hole in it. Also, look out for those selling poppy seed bagels with like four poppy seeds on them.” He then went on to make a solid point “New Yorkers have opinions on three things: Pizza, Chinese Foods and Bagels”. As I did a mental tally of the other things New Yorkers care about, I realized he had mentioned the three most important. With that he got off at his stop (Broadway-Lafayette).
The next day, I stopped by Bagel Factory in Park Slope to pick up a bountiful bagel. Hopefully this one meets his stringent criteria.
So Ma recently heard about quinoa from a friend. She pronounces the protein and iron rich food in the same way I did at first. “Qui-noa” rather than “KEEN-WAH”. I like the way she says it, so I haven’t corrected her just yet.
My favorite recipe using the grain/seed up until then was this breakfast porridge from Scott Jurek. Ma’s savory creation is a simple pulao that is tasty by itself or eaten with Indian dishes.
12 oz quinoa
½ onion, chopped small
few ounces peas
10 or so curry leaves
In a pan, caramelize onions for 7-9 minutes. Add in cumin seeds and allow to sputter till they darken (maybe 2 minutes). Add in quinoa, water and rest of ingredients. Cook until quinoa is plump and water is absorbed. (Around 20 minutes). Serve hot.
The term mystery meat only has a negative connotation, evoking perhaps to American readers the sketchy stuff used in certain fast food chain tacos or perhaps school cafeteria meatloaf. I have here though, one positive spin on that term.
One of the classic things to get for New Yorkers on the go are bacon, egg and cheese (B.E.C) sandwiches from the corner bodegas. Oddly one of the local grocery stores has gotten into this game. The Jo, Brian and Joseph’s Key Food sells these sandwiches pre-made next to the rotisserie chickens. Throughout the week the deli’s offerings varied from BE.C to ham, egg and cheese to hamburgers. I don’t know if there was any type of schedule – the only consistency was that at night, the breakfast sandwiches were half price (from $3 to $1.50).
The long named grocer normally has a picture of the sandwich along with the description affixed via sticker. I finally gave in to temptation a few nights ago to pick one up only to find no description or picture. It was simply labeled “deli by count”. It was a mystery sandwich! Perhaps even more intriguing, a mystery meat sandwich? Most likely they simply ran out of labels but somehow this made the food adventure more appealing. If it was intentional, it was a clever marketing ploy. Or perhaps I’m just strange?
Why not market this to the local bars, of which there are 4 within a couple of blocks? Instead of pizza, check out a mystery meat sandwich? You know it’s coming from a grocery store and you know which meats in could be. I would totally check that out. How would you market mystery meat sandwiches? P.S, I got ham, egg and cheese.
Bright Morning Cereal
I have a ritual every couple of months of picking up tahini, pita and items like rosewater at Fertile Crescent, a Middle Eastern grocery. In a sea of primarily foods from that region there were several boxes of Galil Bright Morning, a product of Poland.
This Non-GMO product is both gluten free and vegan and perhaps most importantly has a chocolate hazelnut filling! It’s sort of like putting a touch of nutella in your breakfast cereal.
Bright Morning Cereal
Unlike certain brands of GF cereals, these square pillow shaped bites aren’t rock hard. They have just the right amount of crunch (similar to Chex level crunch) probably because it’s made from rice flour – reminiscent of wafers. The filling is sweet but not cloyingly so. (It’s 10g sugar per serving). They’re fun to snack on by themselves. With the addition of milk needless to say, everything turns chocolaty. Mental note: these would be fun to try as part of a chex style mix. With any luck, we will buy out the rest of Fertile Crescent’s stock of Bright Morning. This cereal is highly recommended.
Bright Morning Cereal
As a regular viewer of CBS Sunday Morning I’m a big fan of Mo Rocca. He has a way of making interviewees comfortable by bringing them in on the joke. The comedian hosts several shows, but a personal favorite is My Grandma’s Ravioli on the Cooking Channel. Now in its 4th season, the show as the name implies, features Grandmas sharing their favorite recipes. We’ve seen Jamaican G-Ma’s creating jerk chicken, along with “jungle juice” which apparently has a secret ingredient that was intentionally never revealed (to keep people coming back).He also visited a retired Grandma who used to do party planning for foreign dignataries. Now based in Massachusetts, they made an elaborate lobster dinner.
Each episode culminates in a family cookout in the kitchen or backyard. It’s an appreciation of said Grandma, along with a celebration of traditions. Foods really do bring people together. If the heartwarming angle doesn’t work on you, it will definitely inspire you to cook food from around the world. While I never met my own Grandmothers, it makes me wish I had. Do you have any special recipes from your grandma? What’s your favorite?
My Grandma’s Ravioli airs Monday through Friday on the Cooking Channel at 4pm EST.
Elvis was famous for music, movies, Graceland and of course his love of certain foods. One of his all times favorites was the peanut butter and banana sandwich (with and without bacon). While not the inventor of said sandwich, he is credited for making it popular. I had a mental block on making this for the longest time because bananas and bread sounded like an odd pairing. But the fates beckoned me to try it – I had peanut butter but was low on jelly so why not an Elvis? It’s actually really tasty and as easy as it sounds.
Put peanut butter on one side of bread. I used Peanut Butter and Company’s White Chocolate Wonderful. On the other side add slices or mashed bananas. I found about half a banana adequate. Put the two slices together. Warm up a pan to medium low. Add a touch of butter to it. Place sandwich on the pan. Cook until golden brown on either side. Enjoy hot.
For the first time I tried my hand at gluten free vegan carrot cake. We discovered a recipe from Gimme Some Oven that turned out well. It was rich and stayed moist. (The latter is sometimes an issue with GF stuff).
We only made a couple of modifications. It says 2.5 cups but indicates 12.5 ounces which doesn’t jibe so we went with 2 cups of flour. For the icing we used a recipe from Vegan Baking. We used a 9 inch spring form pan and cooked it in 2 layers. Please excuse my messy icing job. This was a tasty recipe overall. The only thing I would change is to cook it 35 instead of 30 minutes. Otherwise, we loved the recipe. We’re on day 4 of feasting on cake.
Bad job icing, but tasty.