Tag Archives: food porn

The Eggocado | Breakfast Obsession

Breakfast and brunch, when done right and with love, have to be some of the most enticing and delicious meals (yes, I count brunch as a meal). Eggs, butter, carbs, protein-overload – I love it all.

A THING OF BEAUTY IS A JOY FOREVER.
A THING OF BEAUTY IS A JOY FOREVER. (credit to Laura Manach)

After learning about eggocado’s versatility and simplicity, I’ve been experimenting with this 2-ingredient, bursting-with-flavor brunch dish consisting of a single egg nestled in half a carved avocado, seasoned to one’s liking.

After a few minutes of prepping and only 15-20 minutes of baking, you have yourself a nutritious, mouth-watering, and addictive choice to start your day. I truly believe mornings are for decisions, the most important decision of all being how you will choose to go about your day. Your mindset. #Eggocados are a great way to catalyze happy mindsets. It’s also a particularly suitable choice for us broke frugal college students looking for a filling, easy, and spectacularly healthy and quick meal. Want a snack in between classes? The eggocado is your best friend. Feeling savory for breakfast or brunch? Look no further than this green well of happiness.

My first attempt, pairing a slightly-overcooked eggocado with two of my favorite fruits, strawberries and grapes, was mediocre at best. The yolk wasn’t slightly runny as I preferred, it was under-seasoned, and the avocado wasn’t fully ripe, making it underwhelming in terms of flavor and texture. Even though avocado, egg, strawberries, and grapes sound like the last things I’d ever imagine harmonizing together, the acidity from the fruits and the heftier tones of the eggocado melded well.

The next time I tried, I made sure to use specific seasonings, even over-salting a bit to ensure that the flavors were more multi-dimensional. I also chose a particularly ripe and gorgeously green avocado, careful to carve out the pit and its surrounding fully so the egg would “sit” comfortably. This is an important step –the egg may be larger than you think, and it wouldn’t do well to have it spill over the sides of the avocado. Using a blend of sesame seeds, minced garlic, pepper, and some chili flakes, I popped it into the oven and was far more pleased with the consistency of the egg and the overall texture/flavor. I highly recommend this combo, in addition to having bananas on the side; two famously buttery friends mixing perfectly.

Tips for your eggocado:

  • Use a sufficiently ripened avocado. It should be dark green, almost black, and “cushiony” to the touch. Not too hard, not too mushy.
  • Season, season, season!
  • Cut a small bit off the rounded edge of your avocado half, so it sits nicely on your pan/rack/plate, etc. It also prevents your egg from spilling over and away!
  • Try to use a convection oven, rather than a microwave. The oven will distribute heat most evenly, resulting in overall better quality and taste.

Have you tried the #eggocado? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?

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Manzo in Eataly

No one usually looks to a marketplace for a great date night. There are too many people just standing around clogging the aisles with their hungry, indecisive bodies. There are too many kids running around screaming and begging for ice cream. But take a step into Eataly and you might see more than just a market.

Though there are many great restaurants in Eataly, I went to Manzo. Service was friendly and attentive. Waiters waltzed in between tables, ties dangling from their necks, and two men in suits strolled around, making sure everything was in order. The staff carried themselves with an air of professionalism, not often akin to marketplaces. After a while, I got the sense that the restaurant was not built in the market; rather the market was built around the restaurant.

I started my meal with a plate of carpaccio. The plate was covered entirely in thin circles of meat, striped here and there with tender, marbled fat. Peppered across the dish, shards of parmigiano reggiano provided a salty and nutty compliment to the meat. A clump of watercress rested in the center. The color and the taste of its citrus vinaigrette gave a pleasant contrast to the slices of meat. I meant to take a picture of the carpaccio, for it looked quite lovely. Yet, I already finished half the dish before I remembered to do so.

Next -and yes, I did get a picture of this one – I had a duck ragu with foie gras. The very essence of duck seemed to have soaked into the casarecce pasta. The dish was indescribably savory, rich, and hearty, but delicate as well. It was the type of dish you could picture both in the fanciest of restaurants and at a casual meal made by that great aunt from Sicily, who wanted to visit you while she was in New York even though you’ve really only seen her once or twice in your lifetime. Since I find myself grasping for words to describe this ragu, take a look at the picture and go to Manzo to get it for yourself.

Manzod Duck Ragu

At last, I got a wonderful lemon meringue, appropriately named Leggero. That’s Italian for “light.” Topping the meringue was a sweet blackberry swirl, a fresh blackberry, a tangy dab of lemon gelato, and a few sprigs of basil. Indeed it was a lemon meringue, but the basil made the dish. It added a certain complexity to the dish that forced you to keep eating in order to understand how it fit so well on top of a dessert. All in all, I found the meringue to be a delightful, palate-cleansing end to the meal. And just look at it. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Manzo's Lemon Meringue

Manzo is a gem hidden in plain sight. Ignorant of the bustling shoppers all around, this restaurant provides a warm and friendly dining experience with tastes to satisfy most everyone…except vegetarians. Sorry, Manzo’s specialty is meat.

Manzo

200 5th Ave

New York, NY 10010

Tel: 212.229.2180

“Mozzarella and Eggplant and Potatoes, Oh, My!”: We Will Not Starve this Fall Break

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After two months of Ferris and John Jay sketchiness and mediocrity, with the full weight of closed dining halls upon us, my suitemates Rebecca and Trevor, along with myself, set out to solve the issue of our potential starvation. Subsisting on fun-size Snickers, Kit Kats, and Haribo Gummy Bears (full-size and petite) could only last our souls and arteries for so long, and we set out on a three-course meal extravaganza.

Trevor looked for the autumn-inspired appetizer, entrée, and dessert recipes, and after much debate (“BUT THESE DON’T INCLUDE PUMPKIN, UGH, THEY DON’T QUALIFY AS FALL WHAT IS MY LIFE”) settled on garlic-rosemary “Hassleback” potatoes, a casserole-like eggplant-roasted-red-pepper baked spaghetti, and an innovative no-bake Greek yogurt cheesecake. Brimming with anticipation, hunger, and slightly intimidation, the three of us ventured to Garden of Eden (gasp!) to avoid the expensive black hole that is Westside Market (PSA: 10% discount for Columbia students with ID!).

Split three ways, the total cost of our grocery load equaled that of one meal swipe, a fact we found nothing less than remarkable.

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We set out first to make the crust and filling for our no-bake cheesecake, as that would take the longest and had to be chilled. Crushing the graham crackers was surprisingly easy and quick (and therapeutic!) thanks to a heavy-duty rolling pin and Ziploc baggie. Melted butter made the crust complete, and soon the entirety of the minuscule Hartley kitchen smelled like gingerbread cookies. It took all of our willpower to not eat the crust as-is. I can’t say the same for the filling, an interesting hodgepodge of cream cheese, Chobani, lemon juice, and sugar, a heavenly yet simple combination.

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In progress…
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GLISTENING GORGEOUSNESS.
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Blurrily mixing away!
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Tangy, sweet, delightful

After leaving both the crust and filling to chill away in the fridge, we moved promptly on to gingerly slicing away at the Hasselback potatoes. The recipe called for a specific slicing technique, where half-moon chunks of potato would be very thinly sliced, leaving the bottoms intact to hold maximum flavor release from the garlic and rosemary. Five huge Russet potatoes, one tiny, incompetent knife, and many thin slices of garlic and fragrant sprigs of rosemary later…

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Cutting this was an ordeal of greatest proportions
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Begging to be seasoned
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A veritable work of art

Though preparation was long, leaving it to work magic in a 425-degree oven was all that stood between the potatoes and our stomachs.

Next, we moved on to roasting the vegetables for our pasta bake’s sauce and base. By this point, the several passersby who were understandably entranced by the abnormally delicious smells in our suite eyed us with envy as we snickered shamelessly.

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Before: prepped for the oven
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After: let’s just eat this and die happy
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Our appetites were not the least deterred by the unsightly lighting in this kitchen
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There are no words for this

After a quick pureé of the roasted tomatoes, peppers, and onions, we added some spaghetti cooked slightly under al dente, and then began assembling the dish, falling into silenced awe between gasps of how good the fresh buffalo mozzarella was (at this point, we were so hungry we resorted to half-laying the mozzarella on the dish itself and half-inhaling it).

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Decorative Hartley walls
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Gorgeously appropriate Halloween colors
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Nothing short of amazing
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PASTA BLANKET.

Eight minutes searing under a 450 degree oven left us with surely one of the world’s greatest pasta dishes.

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NO WAY
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Gratuitous sprinkling of * real * parmesan cheese (you’re welcome)

Though we were waiting impatiently for our cheesecake to finish chilling (cake for breakfast is always a good idea, even better if it’s cheesecake for breakfast), this was all-in-all, an utterly successful attempt at feeding ourselves like “real adults.” With a little experimenting and a lot of hope and luck, we were able to start off fall break on a comforting and delicious note with these easy yet completely satisfying recipes. Definitely give them all a try and you will surely end up as pleasantly surprised, ecstatic, and full as we did.

Foodie Flicks: Waitress

I think it’s common knowledge that the days before Thanksgiving are somehow just as crazy as the actual holiday itself.  For some reason, we, as a society, build it up.  Professors assign papers due before this rare relief from academia.  Friends try to squeeze in brunch.  Organizations decide to hold elections, have dinners, and throw their big parties right before break.  I think there’s also something to be said for the emotional build up.  How do we even begin to prepare ourselves for the joy that is surely right around the corner?  Regardless of the immense amount of food we’re about to eat or the loved ones we’ve missed, it’s just hard for a student to think to herself I won’t be here tomorrow!  I get to sleep!  Someone’s going to hug me and perhaps even make me pie!

Speaking of pie, my mother makes great Thanksgiving desserts.  It’s not a question of if we will have pie, but how many and what types.  In particular, my mother and my sister made the classic pumpkin as well as a maple pecan pie.  Pie is for dessert, but also breakfast.  Thanksgiving really does give us things to be thankful for.  In addition to celebrating Thanksgiving, pie is also one of the central themes of the film Waitress.  I first saw Waitress a few years ago on the suggestion of my mom, who besides being a great cook, is also a bit of an indie film scout.  I don’t know how she does it.  She’s a bit of a Supermom, if you will.  Waitress is a bit about Supermoms, classical music, regular customers, old places, new places, and finding yourself.  Oh, and it’s filled with shots of beautiful, deliciously tempting pie.  Continue reading Foodie Flicks: Waitress

Foodie Flicks: Ratatouille

Amanda begins her second Friday series, Foodie Flicks (she likes alliteration).  These posts will be quick but offer recommendations for your film nights.  More links after the jump!

Today, I had a tour in the rain…and the tour group was very supportive, really.  They didn’t judge me for failing to produce adequate tour weather (mid 70s, light breeze, sunshine), and they smiled at me when the tour ended amidst falling branches and torrential downpour.  After I realized my rain boots had holes in the bottom (Really, shoes?  That’s exactly what you’re NOT supposed to do!), all I wanted to do was curl up with some coffee and a bagel and watch a movie.  Film of choice…Ratatouille.

For those of you who missed the joys of seeing this film in theaters in 2007, I highly recommend that you get a hold of this delightful Pixar film.  Ratatouille is about a rat named Remy in France who is befriended by Alfredo Linguini (I know, the name) who is a garbage boy at a famous Parisian restaurant.  Linguini, who can’t cook, recognizes that Remy actually is a fantastic cook…and, well, I won’t ruin it for you.  But the movie is a wonderful experience for foodies and film-nerds alike.  There are beautiful scenes about restaurant life and creating dishes, and the animation is lovely.  Oh, and the music is incredible.

Continue reading Foodie Flicks: Ratatouille

And there was Cake! (And Sex?)

At long last, here are the pictures of our lovely Erotic Cakes from Tuesday’s competition! Thanks again to all of our sexy bakers and our Master Bakers, Onella, Orly, and Mae! Also, many thanks to those of you who came and tasted/devoured the cakes and voted–we couldn’t have done it without you. Special thanks goes to the awesome band, Ace of Cakes. They truly delivered on their promise of “sensual sounds,” or more specifically, “ugly-bumping, frosting-covered-shaft-stroking, hip-truth-telling tunes” as they said in their email to the club. The band definitely brought the whole event to a new level of sexy. And finally, thank you to Elyse DeWitt for the pics. Click the pics, to see them in more detail!