I have two favorite salads at one of our local Italian restaurants, Paese Pasta & Pizza in Briarcliff Manor. The Toscana is arugula, sliced pears, roasted peppers, goat cheese, and thinly-sliced red onions in a honey-sweetened balsamic vinaigrette. The Mediterranean is red oak leaf lettuce mixed with grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and diced Granny Smith apples in a sherry vinaigrette. They never disappoint.
I used the gorgeous head of red lettuce from our farm share this week to make a copycat Mediterranean salad for Saturday’s lunch, and served it with a wheat ciabatta. J. was kind enough to wash, spin, and chop the lettuce, and then I added a pint of halved grape tomatoes, a jar of drained Kalamatas, two diced Granny Smiths, and a whole lot of crumbled bleu cheese instead of the feta. We dressed it with a simple olive oil & balsamic vinegar combo, plus some salt and pepper. It was very good, but not great. I think Paese’s dressing may be sweeter, perhaps with some honey added — I will have to pay better attention next time.
Unfortunately, the leftovers didn’t keep well. By Sunday the salad was a soggy mess, and the saltiness of the olives and cheese overwhelmed the sweetness of the apples. Good thing we made a huge dent in it when it was still fresh on Saturday.
June 14, 2009
J. and I went to see Demetri Martin at the Tarrytown Music Hall on Saturday night, and we wanted to grab a quick, early dinner beforehand. I had read on Small Bites about a new restaurant, Sweet Grass Grill opening on Main St. in Tarrytown, just across and down from the Music Hall. In fact, the restaurant just opened this past Friday night, and at 5:30 in the evening — just their second night in business — we were able to walk in and sit right down. (more…)
April 19, 2009
Mmmm, cupcakes! Flour & Sun Bakery opened at 19 Washington Ave. in Pleasantville recently — it’s in the space formerly occupied by the kitchen-gadget store Steel Mandolin, and across from MacArthur’s. When I stopped by on Friday, almost all the cupcakes gave a nod to St. Patrick’s Day, either with green-tinted frosting or ingredients like Guinness stout.
I bought 6 cupcakes for $17.25. Ouch. Regular cupcakes cost $2.75, specialty cupcakes are $3, and some with liquor in them go up to $3.35 apiece. These are the same size as cupcakes you’d bake at home — 2½” in diameter, with lots of height from the frosting. The store has a few seats at a counter that looks out onto the street, and they sell coffee, tea, and milk too.
The thing that struck me the most about all the cupcakes is that they were restrained in their sweetness. There was none of that supermarket-type, clench-your-jaw reaction from the sugar in the frosting. To me, this made them taste much more like a treat I’d craft in my own home: high quality, good ingredients, made thoughtfully.
My official tasting panel included both boys, my parents, and me — we cut the cupcakes into quarters so we could each get a taste of most of them. Overall, we all liked them a lot and having them for dessert felt like a special treat. Cupcakes — any cupcakes — are just a happy food. They remind us of birthdays and childhood and other easy, simple pleasures. It is hard to go wrong with a frosted cupcake!
Clockwise, starting from the top and ending in the center, here’s what we tried: (more…)
March 14, 2009