Monday, August 31, 2015

Two Infinity and Beyond

Gags, please don't kill me for this picture, but I love it, because it's us in our goofy bubble.
Last night Joe said to me, "Tomorrow we'll have purchased our first home together and I'll be a two-year veteran of marriage." That's been our on-going joke these past couple of weeks, Joe keeps saying, "Well, I bought you a house for our two year anniversary, I'm setting the bar high, this is going to be hard to top."

So in case you didn't know, that's the big news for year 2. Joe and I bought a house in Rutherford, NJ. We're closing on it today, wish us luck, I'm trading in fancy dinners for home repairs.

Fancy dinner example: crabs at PQ Dungeness Island. Apparently 1 crab is good for two people, if you can't tell, I ordered us a crab each.
Between work and home buying, things have been hectic in the Yu-Gagnon household, so hectic that I practically (actually) forgot we had an anniversary coming up. Joe surprised me yesterday with tickets to see "Fun Home" at the theater we saw our first Broadway show together and then took me out for dinner at Bar Boulud (good effort on his part, but it's not on my list of recommendations). Me? I have no idea where I put the card I bought months ago and ran to the local bookstore yesterday to pick up a gift that had once caught my eye.

Why Joe decided not to look at my camera, despite my yelling "SELFIE", is beyond me.
If that doesn't summarize what Year 2 of marriage has been, I'm not sure what does. Sometimes I'm not sure why he wanted so badly to marry me, I mean my sweet and sour chicken is good, but it's not that good (or is it?). Either way, I'm thankful, thankful that this guy is willing to listen to me complain about work, be my guinea pig for recipes, have random dance parties with me, and even practice boxing with me (which consists of me popping him in the face and if he even brushes me, I start whining).

I was with a friend recently, who said it sounded good to be me and damn straight kids, it's good to be me. Wonderful family, good health, loving husband and now a chance to understand what it means to be "house poor".

Joe, happy two years. Two infinity and beyond. I love you and I can't wait to pop open a bottle of Frexienet (our Cava of choice from our honeymoon) and celebrate home ownership with you.

For everyone who isn't Gags, you can now clean off the vomit on your floor.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Recipe: Chorizo Hash with Sous Vide Eggs

A touch of habanero hot sauce takes it to a whole other level!
Chorizo Hash with Sous Vide Eggs!
Serves 2 (but easy to half and make for 1!)
Special equipment: Sous Vide (if you have!)

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion (diced)
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic or 2 sprigs of garlic scape (if you can find it)
  • 1 link of chorizo (I use the uncured type, if you use the harder chorizo, just dice it)
  • Herbs of your choosing (I like rosemary and thyme)
  • Handful of cilantro
First, if you're going to sous vide your eggs, get your water bath started and set to 62.5°C. Once it reaches that temperature, gently put your eggs in for 1 hr. If you don't have a sous vide - try making a 6 minute egg (boil water, drop down to simmer, put in egg, time for 6 minutes and then run under cold water). If all fails - make some over easy eggs.
Nice not bath for my lovely eggs.
Pre-heat a non-stick pan over medium flames with about 1-2 T of olive oil. Peel and dice your potatoes into 1 cm cubes. Get them into the pan and toss them in the oil. Continue to toss them every couple of minutes and allow them to cook through and slightly brown.
Any breakfast that starts with potatoes is off to a good start.
As you cook your potatoes, get the rest of your ingredients ready!
Mise en place like a boss!
Once the potatoes have cooked through, toss them into a bowl with a little salt and half of your chopped or dried herbs. Seasoning potatoes while they're warm gives them a great flavor.

In the pan that the potatoes just came out of, put down your chorizo with your garlic and break it up into small pieces.
The smell of chorizo is intoxicating...or maybe it's the garlic.
Once the chorizo is broken up and 75% cooked through. Add the red pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes and add the onion. I always find that if I don't stagger it, the onions are mush before the pepper finished cooking.
Onions and peppers are a breakfast's best friend.
Once the onions and peppers are about cooked through, throw the potatoes back in. Add some salt, pepper, and the rest of the herbs along with your cilantro!

Toss it all together and divide into two plates. Keep warm if you need to, if not, run your eggs under cold water for 30 seconds (so you can work with them) and crack 2 eggs on top of each plate. Garnish with hot sauce and some extra cilantro.

DELICIOUS.

Love when the yolk oozes over the potatoes.
Enjoy with a friend (or significant other)!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Recipe: Buttermilk Waffles (BC 4th Fest Style!)

This past long weekend, we had the pleasure of hanging out with part of our BC family. Joe and I volunteered to make breakfast for everyone Saturday morning, and the clear hit were the waffles. They're flavorful, crunchy and fluffy all at the same time!
Not the best photo, but I have many people who can vouch that they were delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 C AP flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1T granulated sugar
  • 1t salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 C) melted unsalted butter
  • 3 room temperature eggs
  • 1 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  1. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt into one bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine cooled butter with eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. I find the easiest way to do this is to beat the eggs, drizzle in the butter until combined, add vanilla, and then drizzle in butter milk until combined.
  3. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Let sit one minute for the mixture to expand (remember when you mixed baking soda and vinegar together and it would volcano? Buttermilk will cause the same reaction because theoretically you can make buttermilk with milk that's been curdled with a bit of vinegar).
  4. Load about 3/4 C to 1 C into a hot waffle maker! I personally like to let it go for about 4 minutes. Makes about 3 waffles.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

SanFran: Top 10

As we rode our bikes back from Sausalito, Joe proclaimed. "I can see why people live in San Francisco. It's nice here."

As with Seattle, we did a lot, and ate even more. Here's my SF 10.

I'll admit it's probably not worth the wait, but if you can grab a table at State Bird Provisions, I'd go for the experience. It's basically American Style Dim Sum, but I liked it (grab the chicken liver mousse!). The ice cream sandwich pictured above was on point.
Some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge are via a bike path on the way there! Would highly suggest renting a bike and riding over the bridge. You can take the ferry back from Sausalito (a town on the other side of the bridge), or if you're feeling energetic...ride back!
PPQ Dungeness Island - the salt and peppercorn crab is delicious. Add some garlic noodles and papaya salad and you have a mouthwatering meal.
This was at Jacuzzi Winery; I would highly suggest taking a wine tour in Sonoma! We used Valley Wine Tours and I really enjoyed it (they even provide a nice picnic lunch)! Be careful, as you continue to drink, you'll find the need to buy more and more wine (and in my case, join a wine club).
The Kouign Amann at b. patisserie was delicious! Great pastry shop!
La Tacqueria. I know, if a place sells tacos, it's a tacqueria, but you have to find LA Tacqueria. Delicious tacos, but very filling so don't order too many!
Street art in the Mission is awesome! We walked down Balmy St. and enjoyed all of the graffiti.

Liz knows I love donuts, so she took me to Dynamo Donuts! I had no idea, but if you google "Best Donuts in the US" it will usually show up on the list! Good looks little one.

Sightglass Coffee. The best coffee I had in SF.

Our meal at Saison, which will ultimately get its own blog post. It's probably hard to justify going back because of the price tag, but I did thoroughly enjoy my meal here (thanks Daddy!).

Overall, we had a great time sightseeing and eating our way through San Francisco. It's definitely a different pace (read: slower pace) on the West Coast and I can see how people must enjoy that. I wonder if when they come to NY, they think we're all just crazy. Since one of my best friends is going to move there and Liz will be there for another year, Joe and I have enough excuses to visit again.

As some quick notes of other places we hit up:

  • Izakaya Kou: If you need to wait for State Bird, go across the street to Izakaya Kou and get some yakitori.
  • Mr. Holmes Bakeshop: Had the infamous "cruffin", but if you've had a cronut, you've had a cruffin. Good, but nothing to write home about.
  • Pier 39 to just look at the massive number of sea lions that hang out there
  • Mazarine Coffee: Solid cup of coffee, but Sightglass was better (but Milstead in Seattle was the best!)
  • Hogwash: Great place to get some sausages and beer. Pretty reasonably priced as well.
  • Bi-Rite Creamery: I don't love ice cream in general, so I'm not a good judge, but my sister seems to think it's amazing.
  • Hog Island Oyster Co: Oysters are fresh and it's nice to sit outside looking out to the water, but it's overpriced for what you get.
One last picture to close out the trip to SF and the whole reason Joe and I went to the West Coast:
Liz graduated from Berkley! Congrats Lil' One!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Seattle: Crays, Crows, Coffee, Hills, and Pets

I don't know what you've heard about Seattle, but let me clear it all up (if my title hasn't already). It's super hilly, with lots of "different" people, the crows outnumber the pigeons (and they're everywhere), the beer is good, the coffee is better and there is a Mud Bay (similar to a PetCo) on every street. Boom. There's my three day (probably very inaccurate) portrait of Seattle. 

With all that said, Seattle was a great time and we did a lot of awesome things. To keep it short and sweet I've narrowed it down to 10 photos.

Schilling Cider House. ~30 ciders on tap, $2 for a 3oz pour. Taste your heart out. Even beer drinkers will have a good time.
Down the street from Schillings is Fremont Brewing. Good beer and BYOF (bring your own food!). Good for families, couples, and people just taking a break from their bike ride.
My favorite Americano I had in Seattle (and that's saying something!). Nutty and aromatic without the acidic after taste. Amazing.
The Underground Tour. Highly recommended. Very entertaining and good to learn a little history of the city.
I'm not usually sentimental, but something is really nice about seeing HS friends. Taylor's Shellfish - good for oysters (and just for oysters).
Starbucks Reserve. I don't care, I'm a Starbucks groupie (and shareholder). I like the concept of the Reserve, I'm willing to pay a little more to have you melt chocolate chips into my mocha.
The view from West Seattle. We did a lovely kayak tour with Alki Kayak Tours. Sunset tour was great and as an added bonus we saw a bunch of harbor seals! They were adorable.
The tuna flight from Shiro's sushi. Fatty tuna is my jam. Jin was super friendly. Sit at the bar, make a new friend.

Copper Works Distillery. Just a little guy kind of in the middle of nowhere, but they make an awesome gin. Not available (I don't think) on the East Coast, but I shipped a couple bottles home, so come find me for a taste.
This was at the public library, which is a strange place - there was an entire floor that was just red. Cool architecture there, but the citizens don't care, they just go and watch movies all day (told you the people were "different")
So there is it. 10 photo summary.

Fine, pull my leg, we should have one last to round out this post.

Donuts from Pike's Place. PP itself wasn't all that entertaining, but these donuts were solid. They had an almost crueller like texture, and of course Joe got powdered, because he likes to make a mess everywhere.
Seattle was great and sometime we will definitely return. A good mix of laid back and outdoorsy activities mixed with a great food and cocktail scene!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Taste of the Nation NYC Recap

When Joe and I got married, he asked me to pick a charity to support, and I chose Share Our Strength, an organization dedicated to fighting childhood hunger. They host an annual event in NYC (and across America)  called Taste of the Nation, where chefs from the city come together and prepare small plates for a good cause. Supporting Share Our Strength whilst eating delicious food? Yes, please!

Side Note: If you're interested in learning more about the charity: Share Our Strength

This is the second year I've attended this event, and since Joe had training in Boston, Mom stepped in to be my date! We had a great time, running around, stuffing our face, sipping cocktails, and meeting chef celebrities. To the extent I can, I plan to go back to this event every year, it's awesome.

Not quite all of our bites, but a photo trail of our night:
TOTN with my adorable mother.
East coast, beast coast oysters.
Whipped camembert and mushroom toast. 
Some sort of flatbread with guacamole, corn and tomatoes.
Housemade ricotta from County Restaurant. So simple, but so good.
One of our many tacos. Tacos de Barbacoa.

Seafood salad in the cutest little bamboo style plate.



Grasshopper cake. Mom insisted on trying it.
Pork belly confit with lentils.
Brisket slider with spicy vegetable pickles from Hill Country.
Gulf shrimp salad with fire and ice dressing.
Chicken Liang from Jeepney with cassava and soy bean chips.
Hamachi crudo. More please!
Chicken Shawarma.
I can't for the life of me remember what this was. Just that it was smoky and delicious.
Sandwiches from Untamed Sandwiches.


Candied bacon from The Smith. Delicious! Mom said it tasted Chinese...
Bangers and mash. I learned from this event, I don't like bangers and mash.
A ravioli filled with something creamy and delicious and possibly an egg yolk.
Someone's interpretation of a bahn mi. At this point, i was just forcing food into my mouth.
Gnocchi. Mom never had restaurant gnocchi before. Now she knows I make it correctly, she just doesn't like the texture.
Ice cream macarons!
Cheesecake with rhubarb and crumble.
Cracker jack style ice cream. For someone who doesn't really enjoy ice cream, this was quite good.
Somehow we made our way around another floor of food. Peking duck wonton.
Caviar! Mom had a field day with this despite being stuffed.
Potato chip with pork or beef (I can't remember), but I do remember enjoying it.
Spring onion custard. This was amazing. Despite being 150% full, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
Cured salmon. When I asked the chef if he cured it, he replied "Do you think I'd walk in here with someone else's salmon?"
Mussel mousse!
Overall a great night with amazing company and an awesome cause.