Chicken in Garlic Truffle Cream Sauce

This is a quick and easy bowl of goodness that could pass for a fancy dish. I sautéed bite-sized pieces of chicken with chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and dried thyme and oregano, then simmered it for a few minutes with light cream, grated Parmesan, and a generous drizzle of truffle oil, and voilà! To serve, I tossed it with fettuccine and sprinkled dried dill on top.


Ginger Caramel Almond Butter Cups

I recently bought a jar of almond butter because someone told me that if you eat a spoonful of it every morning you feel energized all day. I have yet to eat it in the morning. So, I’ve been trying to think of a way to use up some of the butter and I decided to make something like a peanut butter cup, only with almond butter. I’ve also been making homemade dulce de leche for a while and thought that would be a nice layer in the cup as well. I went a step further (to use up more kitchen surplus) and decided to make it a ginger caramel (with a dash of rum!). For the chocolate cup, I used an organic dark chocolate that I had never tried before.

Considering this was an experiment, and that I didn’t pay much attention to making them look pretty, these treats turned out better than expected. The minced ginger added a mild spiciness to the salty, sweet, and nutty interior, and the dark chocolate provided a tasty cocoa shell for all the creamy goodness.

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Potato Gnocchi

I’ve tried to make gnocchi a bunch of times before and this is the best they’ve come out. In the past I’ve added too much flour and they’ve come out very dense and with a raw flour taste. I’ve also tried to make it without egg and I haven’t been able to master that at all (but I’ll keep trying). For my latest attempt, I used this recipe but made a smaller amount, omitted the salt, and added cheese. I also baked my potatoes instead of boiling them so I suppose I used the recipe more as a loose guide for technique.

I was so happy with the finished product. The potato flavor stood out more than in any of my previous trials, and I realized that handling the dough as little as possible was important to keeping it light. This recipe couldn’t be simpler.

I baked two medium sized Russet potatoes and let them cool almost completely before pressing the insides through a potato ricer. With a fork, I incorporated one beaten egg into the mound of potato, and then about 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan. Next I added flour, a little at a time, and used a scraper to fold the dough over on itself as many times as it took until there wasn’t an excess of dough all over the board. I ended up using about 1/2 a cup of all-purpose flour, until it seemed just dry enough to handle. Then I gathered the soft dough into a ball and cut it into quarters. On a floured board I rolled out ropes of dough and used the scraper to cut off small bite-sized pieces.

The gnocchi were boiled in a big pot of water and removed when they floated to the top. I added them to a waiting pan of garlic slivers in browned butter with dried thyme sprinkled in. Just before eating, I added more cheese on top for extra saltiness. Yum.

Leftover Sparerib Potato Chowder

Soup is always an efficient way to use up leftover food and this simple chowder hit the spot when I needed to finish Chinese takeout spareribs from the previous day.

To make it, I sautéed minced garlic, jalapeno pepper and diced onions in a small amount of light olive oil. Then I added one potato that was cut into bite sized cubes. I seasoned everything with a pinch of salt, a little paprika, and some dried thyme, and gave it all a good mix. While that continued cooking, I removed all the meat from two leftover ribs and added that into the pot. Then the whole mixture was covered with 2 cups of skim milk. The soup cooked over a low heat until the potatoes were soft and the milk had thickened up from the starch. I stirred in salt and ground black pepper to taste and enjoyed a bowl of it topped with a squirt of Sriracha.

It was hearty and creamy from the potatoes, the pieces of meat had softened after being in liquid for so long but still retained their flavor, and the hot sauce balanced out the sweetness from the rib glaze. Mmm, mmm good.

Bill’s Bar & Burger

Rockefeller Center, NYC

A few months ago I ate at Bill’s Bar & Burger for the first time. Considering their name, I figured I had to try a cheeseburger. I also had sweet potato fries, and the chopped salad. The burger was nothing special, the fries were okay, and the salad was tasty, but none of it would draw me back again. However, during that meal, I kept noticing that people all around me were ordering a dish I had overlooked on the menu. I made a mental note to come back at least one more time and try the Blackened Mahi Tacos.

I finally went back and tried the tacos and they were really delicious. I understand why it appeared to be so popular during my first trip. The fish was cooked nicely and had a well-seasoned crust on most of the surface. Beneath the fish was shredded lettuce, a small dollop of basic guacamole, and some crunchy cole slaw, and on top, a generous drizzle of chipotle aioli and diced tomatoes and onions.

Yum. They might not be authentic Mexican tacos but the flavors and textures were great. I’ll gladly go back to Bill’s again to have these.