10/30/15 12:20am
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Gemmeli were a childhood favorite for Mamma Gianna Cerbone of Manducatis Rustica.

This year marks the 100th birthday of Ronzoni, the venerable pasta maker that was started by one Emanuele Ronzoni in 1915. To celebrate its centennial the company chose a chef from each New York City’s borough to be the face of Ronzoni. When I received an e-mail stating that Chef Gianna ‘Mamma Gianna’ Cerbone of Manducatis Rustica was named the Ronzoni chef for Queens, I couldn’t help but smile, her restaurant is one of my favorite Italian spots, and, just like Ronzoni, she got her start in Long Island City, Queens.  (more…)

10/14/15 10:16am

Somehow I managed to miss National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Truth be told sometimes I wish every day could be grilled cheese sandwich day. Made with sliced Kraft American singles and copious amounts of butter, the humble grilled cheese, along with hamburgers, formed the backbone of my childhood cooking repertoire.

This recipe from Patrick Drake of The 60 Second Chef is a tad more involved than my childhood efforts. For one thing it involves sweating down red onion into a lovely looking  jam. No American cheese in the World’s Best Grilled Cheese either, Drake uses a combination of parmesan and mozzarella. “Why they call it a grilled cheese sandwich when it’s actually fried is a complete mystery to me,” Drake muses as he assembles this beauty of a sandwich. By the way if you’re into cheese, be sure to check out The Great Northeast Cheese Fest on Dec. 5 at Flushing Town Hall.

09/21/15 10:32am
Malaysian pandan mooncakes are my favorite.

Malaysian pandan mooncakes are my favorite.

“Mooncakes!!??, a Chinese friend said to me over breakfast recently. “Nobody likes them, they’re like fruitcake for Asians.” The dense cakes stamped with Chinese characters are traditionally eaten (sometimes begrudgingly) and gifted—much like fruitcake—for the Moon Festival, which falls on Sunday, September 27 this year. All sorts of mooncakes, including novelty ones for pandas and those made from Taiwanese hornet hives are prepared for the fall harvest festival, which is held on the night of the full moon between early September and early October. (more…)

08/12/15 10:25am

It’s been a while since I’ve had sandwiches de miga, the dainty crustless Argentine triple deckers. Leave it to Youtube to stoke my hunger for them. La Cocina del Sandy makes several, including a lovely looking one with one ham and, hardboiled eggs, and pimento.

Before getting down to sandwich making she goes over miga mise en place—ham, roasted peppers, cheese, eggs, etc.—and then spends a good two minutes describing how to prepare a special mayonnaise in which manteca plays a crucial role. My Spanish is just good enough for me to understand some of what she says, but not good enough to understand the entire recipe.  All of which makes me very glad to live just a short subway ride away from La Nueva Bakery in Jackson Heights.

 

07/09/15 2:47pm

I was a fan of Elmhurst’s Sugar Club since long before its recent relaunch. Back when it was a video store with a prepared food counter it was a source for everything from miang kana to Lays Thai potato chips and still is. These days I enjoy a breakfast plate that I like to call the Thai grand slam along with one of the more decadent takes on sticky rice around.  (more…)

03/31/15 1:17am

“Live from killer Queens” so begins BOOMBAP! Episode 2 of a new Korean cooking showl from Woodside, Queens-based rapper Lyricks. The show takes its name from the 90s rap style with the “Dorito crunch snare” and is also a play on bap, the Korean word for rice.

Lyricks, aka Rick Lee, eschews measurements and teaches cooking in the way I imagine his parents and grandmother taught him. “I’m not trying to disrespect the ones doing it scientifically, the obes that went to school, the ones that this is their life,” he says in Episode 0. ” Much respect, I’m trying to work to your level.”

This approach combined with his MC persona makes for fun and mouthwatering watching. “It’s serious when I bring in the Kumon lamp,” he says before beginning to make braised mackerel stew for his girlfriend.

“Ladies, at my age it doesn’t matter if you’re cute. The question is, ‘Do you mince?’” Lyricks says managing to combine knife skills and relationship advice. The Korean-American rapper says that since he’s almost 30 he made his stew a little less spicy. “If you’re younger than me and your soup doesn’t look redder than this I’m a slap you.” I’m looking forward to a gamjatang tutorial.

09/29/14 11:53am

Crazy Crab, a stealth Burmese restaurant masquerading as a Cajun crab boil/pan-Asian eatery might just be one of my favorite places in downtown Flushing. The crab boils themselves—get the off menu green curry sauce—make for some fun, messy eating. But it’s the Burmese specialties like tea leaf salad, ohn-no kout swei, and Yunnanese yellow tofu that get me really excited and really hungry. So when Gina Liu asked me to stop by for a taping of Eyewitness News New York’s Neighborhood Eats with Lauren Glassberg I immediately said yes. (more…)

04/15/14 12:47pm
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Think those are Easter eggs? Take a closer look.

Passover and Easter fall so close together that it was only a matter of time before they were combined in a culinary mashup. That’s precisely what my adopted Jewish mother Times Ledger food critic Suzanne Parker has done with her interfaith matzoh ball soup. Parker, the Jewish half of a mixed marriage, serves her interfaith matzoh balls for Passover, Easter dinner, or both if the supply holds. (more…)

06/03/13 1:32pm

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Radishes, a cold-weather vegetable, are in season right now in New York City. That means many urban gardeners, CSA members, and farmers-market shoppers are contemplating what to do with piles of radish greens.

They’re too hard and fibrous to eat raw, but their firm stems and crisp leaves hold up well when sautéed lightly. I love their distinct, spicy, daikon-like flavor. It’s totally unique among greens I cook with—and really delicious.

In India cooked radish greens (mooli ke patton in Hindi) are a popular dish. Occasionally you can find them here in New York in Indian grocery stores, where they are sold separately from their rooty lower-halves.

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