Monthly Archives: August 2008

to all you hard workers out there…happy Labor Day!

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DESIR – better than Moulin Rouge

Before Moulin Rouge, before Folies Bergere, there was DESIR, the jewel of Paris. DESIR is the new theatrical circus experience which takes you backstage at the greatest nightclub the world has ever seen. A meeting place for showgirls and soldiers, bejeweled courtesans and maharajahs, DESIR is a carnival world devoted to the pursuit of beauty, clever seductions and breathtaking displays of acrobatic wonder. It is a sparkling merry-go-round where your last love affair is merely an entree to your next encounter.
 
MM and I went to see this show last night at SouthStreet Seaport with two of our friends, and it was amazing. The performers would have given any gymnast olympian a run for their gold, the music was seductive and enticing, the drinks were fantastic and kept coming…it was a show I didn’t want to end.
 
We also had dinner prior to the show at the restaurant, Squid & Martini, inside Spiegelworld. The food was ok, but the view of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge made up for it. Our waitress was Corey from the most recent season of “Hell’s Kitchen.” She was nice, but wasn’t interested in giving me her resume to pass on to a few bigtime chefs I know. Strange. I guess she’s happier working as a waitress with her bartender husband…

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rules of renovating in a coop

Being that this is my first renovation (in a coop of all places) and I am learning sooo much along the way, I’ve decided to pass along my newfound wisdom.

10 Rules of Renovating in a Coop:

1. hire a contractor who has worked in the building before or who is recommended through the coop management company – if you know others who they have worked for, they are more trustworthy
2. clarify any plumbing or electrical work and request information for his professional contacts
3. make a fireproof contractor contract that will save you in any possible circumstance (see example here: http://www.ilrg.com/forms/contrctr.html)
4. copy and submit contractor’s license, insurance, scope of work, along with any other professionals you may have hired (plumber, electrician, etc.) to the management company and keep copies for yourself
5. pay in increments (we chose 30% prior to work and then slowly pay as big jobs are completed)
6. buy your own materials whenever possible (hence the Ikea posting)
7. notify management of times when you need water shut-off (they will post a notice for other tenants)
8. notify neighbors of work being done – possible noise and dust
9. require contractor to keep common areas clean
10. stay and sleep somewhere else!!!

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rocket = arugula

I previously posted about Bresaola and one of the usual compliments of Bresaola is rocket. I also eat rocket when I’m eating Bresaola, but I have never called it that. Hearing the word thrown around in culinary circles made me curious, so I looked it up.

Rocket = arugula

It is used as a leaf vegetable, which looks like a longer leaved and open lettuce. It is rich in vitamin C and potassium. It has been grown in the Mediterranean area since Roman times, and was considered an aphrodisiac. Before the 1990s it was usually collected in the wild and was not cultivated on a large scale or researched scientifically. In addition to the leaves, the flowers (often used in salads as an edible garnish), young seed pods and mature seeds are all edible. It is now cultivated in various places, especially in Veneto, Italy, but is available throughout the world.
It has a rich, peppery taste, and is exceptionally strongly flavoured for a leafy green. It is generally used in salads but also cooked as a vegetable with pastas or meats. In Italy, it is often used in pizzas, added just before the baking period ends or immediately afterwards, so that it can wilt in the heat. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in pesto, either in addition to basil or as a (non-traditional) substitute.

On the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples, a digestive called rucolino is made from the plant, a drink often enjoyed in small quantities following a meal. The liquor is a local specialty enjoyed in the same way as a limoncello or grappa and has a sweet peppery taste that washes down easily.

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Bresaola – the other red meat

Last night, MM and I decided to go a little lighter for dinner. For us, that usually means a variety of salads and antipasto – always including Bressaola. Most Americans I know aren’t familiar with Bresaola, so I decided to give a brief description:
Bresaola is an air-dried, salted beef that has been aged until it becomes hard and a dark red. It is made from eye of round and is lean and tender with a sweet, musty smell. It originated in Valtellina, a valley in the Alps of northern Italy’s Lombardy region. The word comes from the diminutive of Italian bresada, meaning to braise.
Usually served as an antipasto, bresaola is sliced paper thin and served at room temperature or slightly chilled. It is most commonly eaten on its own, but MM and I choose to drizzle it with olive oil. Some add lemon juice or aceto balsamico, and serve it with rocket (rucola, arugula) salad, cracked black pepper and freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.
In NYC, you can find Bresaola in Citerella, Gourmet Garage, and Whole Foods.



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penne con prosciutto e asparagi

I’ve already mentioned that my little brother, W, was visiting MM and I this week. He is quite the charming young man, and I tend to believe that my Italian fiance has had nothing but a positive effect on him. Last year, MM began to instruct W on the ways to charm the ladies – one major trick: cook for them. W began to hang out with MM and me in the kitchen to watch our methods and learn some recipes – sometimes, all it takes is the mention of the ladies. My mom wasn’t complaining, to say the least.

Since then, W has been pulling out the stops! He charmed a nice young woman in DC this summer while they were both interning, and he sealed the deal by cooking her Penne con Prosciutto e Asparagi. He cooked the same pasta for MM and I last night – he included roasted chicken, but MM and I would have done with out the “pollo.” I highly recommend trying it for yourself (with or without the chicken):

Ingredients:
1 box De Cecco penne
1 bundle of asparagus
1 package of prosciutto (about 1/2lb)
1/2 cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 cloves garlic
1 cup Ricotta
roasted chicken (optional)

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. When it boils, add pasta and cook as indicated on box.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and let simmer until you can smell the garlic – do not burn. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus and toss to coat evenly. Let cook until asparagus just starts to get browned on the edges, about 3 minutes.

Add a few tablespoons of pasta water to the asparagus mixture, stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate browned bits. Drain pasta and add to sauce pan. Add ricotta and stir to coat evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired. Serve immediately.

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lil bro


W, my little brother who is actually 6’10”, is visiting me and MM in NYC. He goes to GWU, and this next year is his senior year. It’s hilarious to hear his impression of NYC as the epicenter of “beautiful women.” He can’t walk down the street without noting that “the hottest woman he has ever seen” just walked by. Apparently, DC doesn’t offer the same eye candy who also dress ten times better than the average “hill intern.”

 
Maybe its the job opportunities, maybe its the shopping, or maybe its the fact that the most successful and challenging men seem to inhabit NYC…whatever it is, it has created a jungle of hotness that is overwhelming for the average male American predator. My brother on the other hand, is too good for all of the women I know. I’m hoping he’ll find one in Europe at my wedding…

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