Velvety Smooth Hummus Recipe

Smooth and Easy Hummus

I had a friend from Lebanon growing up and while her mother never cooked for me, she did occasionally treat us to lavish meals at a Lebanese restaurant in Midtown called Al Bustan. She would order all kinds of food for us but the dishes I remember most were the abundant and colorful mezzes. Stuffed grape leaves that glistened, falafel that were oh so satisfyingly crispy, phyllo pockets stuffed with rich halloumi cheese, bowls of pickled carrots that made our mouths purse and our bellies giggle, and the smoothest, lightest hummus I had ever tasted in my life.

I’ve been a hummus snob ever since, always gravitating toward the smoother–and somehow more elegant–Lebanese version, as opposed to the often chunky styles of Turkey, Greece, or Israel. It’s a style of hummus that I can only get from a few restaurants in the city, so as the cravings pop up I’ve started making my own.

To get my hummus as smooth as possible, I peel each garbanzo bean one by one. It sounds like a pain, but it creates a rich, velvety hummus that I find to be much more palatable. Plus, sometimes it’s nice to throw yourself into a brainless 5-minute task. The rest of the recipe is easy-peasy. I hope you enjoy it!

Super Smooth and Insanely Elegant Hummus

Makes about 2 cups of hummus, takes 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas), peeled
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)
  • 1 large garlic clove, diced
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

  1. Drain garbanzo beans.
  2. Peel the garbanzo beans one at a time by holding each one between your thumb and pointer finger and pinching it slightly to remove the soft shell.
  3. Pour the peeled garbanzo beans into a food processor and blend until powdery, about 1 minute.
  4. Scrape down the sides and add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Blend until creamy.
  5. Pour in water and blend to incorporate, creating a smooth puree.
  6. Enjoy right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Awesome Emerald Green Smoothie

Emerald Green Smoothie

Whether I go to the gym in the morning or lounge in bed with a cup of tea and the newspaper, my best days are ones I start by doing something good for me. Breakfast has always been an important part of my day but since I’ve been making an effort to not settle for a bowl of cereal, it has become an even more sacred ritual. This green smoothie is one of my favorite things to make in the morning. It has the most amazingly fresh and grassy scent and gives me a boost of energy that I appreciate. I always enjoy it with a piece of toast, and often drink it while sitting in my favorite pink armchair. Whatever your morning ritual becomes, I promise this recipe will be a great addition to it!

Emerald Green Smoothie

Makes 2 tall glasses, takes 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • Leaves torn from 4 stalks of kale
  • 1 hearty handful of baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut water
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 green apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 handful of ice

Directions:

  1. Add kale and spinach to a standup blender. Pour in coconut water and blend for 30 seconds.
  2. Add celery, apple, and kiwi to the mixture. Blend until smooth, about one minute. (Use the liquify setting if you have it.)
  3. Toss in the ice and blend for another minute until smooth. The smoothie will be thick yet easy to pour.
  4. Enjoy!

Tip: Eat at Egg Shop This Weekend

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Egg Shop is my kind of restaurant, and not just because most of the menu items feature eggs. It’s small and brightly lit inside, and you can see right into the kitchen so you know exactly where your food is coming from. It’s got a chill, fun vibe and the waitresses are all super friendly. When you ask for tap water, they bring you a jug of water infused with lemon and mint, and when you don’t know what to order because everything looks too darn delicious, they help you make the best decision.

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I’ve been meaning to try Egg Shop for a while so I’m happy I finally ended up going there this week. My husband and I started with a biscuit for our appetizer. It was gigantic and definitely big enough for both of us. Oh, and it was amazing. Perfectly light and fluffy on the inside and a nicely crispy on the outside. And it was served with a hunk of soft butter that was drizzled with honey. So basically it was perfect.

For main course, I ordered the El Camino Grande big bowl which consisted of poached eggs, avocado, pulled pork carnitas, yellow tomato, fried tortilla strips and cilantro. I ultimately chose that because a.) I’ve been on a Mexican food kick for about three years now, and b.) I couldn’t turn it down after the waitress told me how the chef slow roasts the pork all day in all kinds of delicious spices. Here’s what the dish looked like:

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My husband had the Egg Shop Bap–Sunny side up eggs with fried chicken, sesame rice, avocado, cucumber, carrot, radish, scallion, cilantro, and chili paste. This was an awesome combination too, and you know what? The fried chicken was some of the best I’ve ever eaten. And I’ve been to Nashville! Here it is:

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Overall our meal was eggcellent. (Sorry, had to.) And the restaurant’s vibe was super laid back and relaxed. Anyway, if you live in NYC or even if you’re just visiting you have to go to Egg Shop.

Egg Shop
151 Elizabeth Street, between Kenmare and Broome
http://www.eggshopnyc.com/

Marta: Pizza and Pretty Plates in NYC

Pizza1Above, Marta’s beautiful blue-and-white plates and spicy, Rapini pizza.

Everyone’s been talking about Marta, so when I finally managed to get a reservation there at a decent time I jumped on it. The restaurant is located in the grand, white-tiled lobby of the Martha Washington Hotel, a brightly-lit, soaring space with stark white tiles and ceilings so high they make you forget you’re in the New York City.

When we sat down at our table, the first thing I noticed were the plates. I know it sounds crazy but days later I am still obsessed with them. They’re painted with swirly blue designs and remind me that plates don’t always have to be boring ol’ white. (Something that even I tend to forget.)

Aside from the pretty plates, my other favorite thing about Marta was *duh* the pizzas. They’re cooked in one of two columnar, black-tiled, wood-burning pizza ovens. For me, the magic is in the crust. It’s super thin and so satisfyingly crispy. It isn’t soggy in the center, nor does it get weighed down by its generous toppings. In other words, it’s perfect.

After studying the menu we had a hard time deciding which two pies to split. Did we want mushrooms or sausage, squid-ink or tomato sauce? We finally decided on the Amatriciana, a fun take on the popular Roman, tomato-based sauce with pecorino, guanciale, onion, and chili, and the Rapini, pictured above. The Amatriciana was delicious in its meat-infused tomato-y-ness, but the Rapini won me over. It had an interesting base of sharp, aged provolone and creamy ricotta cheeses, and was topped with charred, bitter broccoli rabe, roasted garlic, and pickled, red chili peppers that added a wonderfully tart-yet-spicy flavor to the party.

Overall, the restaurant’s vibe was uplifting and the service very friendly. My only regret was that we didn’t request a seat at the counter overlooking the kitchen and pizza ovens. I won’t make that mistake next time though!

 

The Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook is Here!

The Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook
Bergdorfs has always been part of my weekend routine. I grew up on 57th Street so I would always stop in there with at least one of my sisters and mom, to run any errands, get our hair done at John Barrett, or just go to BG restaurant for lunch or high tea.

When I was younger, the menu at the restaurant scared me. It was filled with things like leafy greens and chicken curry salad and, to be safe, I always stuck to the same order: a plate of deviled eggs and a Shirley Temple. As years passed the restaurant moved to a new and improved spot on the 7th floor, overlooking Central Park. And as the restaurant space changed, so did I. More and more, I began to relish in the sumptuousness of items like Maine lobster bisque and jumbo lump crab sandwiches on brioche rolls–offerings that are equally as decadent as the Chanel bags or Manolos a few floors below.

Now, at the end of a work day, I sometimes meet my mom at BG Restaurant for some us time. We’ll sit back in BG’s opulent blue, cocoon-like thrones sipping glasses of rosé and reflecting on life, and I will be reminded of the real reason why BG Restaurant is so special to me.

For me, The Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook offers a set of memory-invoking recipes that I will cherish for years to come.

 

Passionista Cocktail from BG Restaurant Cookbook
A pink cocktail recipe from The Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook, available now on Amazon.

 

The Perks of Eating at Fancy Restaurants

Gramercy Tavern BreakfastThe Next Morning:
Coffee cake from Gramercy Tavern, enjoyed with an espresso.

One of the best things about going to fancy restaurants is the takeaway breakfast you get at the end of dinner. I’ve had sweet brioche from Daniel, lemony madeleines from Alain Ducasse, nutty granola from Eleven Madison Park, and, from last night’s meal, cinnamon-laced coffee cake from Gramercy Tavern.

The treats are always delicious, but my favorite part about them is the thoughtful implications behind them. Someone has gone out their way to spoil me. They have given thought to what I’m going to have for breakfast in the morning, and they’ve made sure that it will be a meal that is reminiscent of the impressive one I ate the night before. That is hospitality at its best.

Free Macarons in NYC Today!

Macaron Map NYC

It’s Macaron Day in NYC!! Go to one of these participating bakeries to redeem a free macaron in honor of City Harvest. And if you decide to buy a few, all proceeds will go to support City Harvest! Bon appetit.

Sugar & Plumm, 78th and Amsterdam
Francois Payard Bakery, 74th and 3rd
Bouchon Bakery, Time Warner Center
Macaron Cafe, 36th between Broadway and 7th
Macaron Parlour, St. Marks between 1st and A
Bisous Ciao Macarons, Stanton and Ludlow

 

 

The Prettiest Valentine’s Day Chocolates EVER

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Every year I search the internet for the best Valentine’s Day treats to send my sisters, and this year I hit the jackpot when I found Maggie Louise Confections. I am OBSESSED.

If you can win a woman’s heart by indulging her with chocolate and pretty things, then Maggie Louise Confections must be the most popular Valentine in the United States. Based in Austin, Texas, the chocolatier specializes in hand-crafted sweets with an über-girly flair. Think chocolates that look like sparkling jewels, flirty lipsticks, and clusters of pearls. They’re filled with simple, delicious ingredients like peanut butter, caramel, nuts, and nougat.

A few clicks on the Maggie Louise Confections website will have you hooked–which is why I’m going to stop talking now and just show you pictures of chocolate.

Feel like indulging yourself? Click on the images to go shopping.

Bee Mine Dark Chocolate Letters, White Chocolate Honeycombs filled with Chocolate Caramel + Sea Salt, and Dark Chocolate Honeycombs filled with Cream Caramel and Chocolate Nougat
Bee Mine
Dark Chocolate Letters, White Chocolate Honeycombs filled with Chocolate Caramel + Sea Salt, and Dark Chocolate Honeycombs filled with Cream Caramel and Chocolate Nougat

 

Kiss Me Extra dark chocolate squares filled with cream caramel + sea salt, dark chocolate letters, dark chocolate lips filled with cream caramel + chocolate nougat
Kiss Me
Extra dark chocolate squares filled with cream caramel + sea salt, dark chocolate letters, dark chocolate lips filled with cream caramel + chocolate nougat

 

Love Chocolate Bar White chocolate with crunchy cereals, pretzels and chocolate candies.
Love Chocolate Bar
White chocolate with crunchy cereals, pretzels and chocolate candies.

 

I Love You Milk chocolate letters filled with peanut butter candy, dark chocolate polka dots filled with cream caramel and sea salt, and white chocolate polka dots filled with chocolate caramel sea salt.
I Love You
Milk chocolate letters filled with peanut butter candy, dark chocolate polka dots filled with cream caramel and sea salt, and white chocolate polka dots filled with chocolate caramel sea salt.

 

Bona Eats: A Review of Black Seed Bagels

Beet Lox at Black Seed
Black Seed’s everything bagel with beet-cured lox.

The only thing more “New York” than a bagel is a bagel with a following, and Black Seed offers just that. When I went to the Nolita bagel joint for the first time last weekend, I was excited by the appearance of two types of salmon on the menu: smoked and beet-cured. As a New Yorker, I’m all about keeping things real. That said, the prospect of adding anything pink to any part of my day is always an attractive one. So I decided to go for the beet-cured lox. Here’s what I thought:

Continue reading “Bona Eats: A Review of Black Seed Bagels”

The Art of Gastronomy: Ferran Adrià’s Sketches at the Drawing Center in Soho

Mushrooms and bananas, by Ferran Adria.
Mushrooms and bananas.

Ferran Adrià, the 51-year-old head chef of the now-closed El Bulli restaurant in Spain, approaches cooking as a scientist would approach a series of experiments. His kitchen is a lab where he analyzes and deconstructs flavors, serving them in mystifying and unconventional forms such as dirty martini spray, popcorn clouds that shrink dramatically when you touch them, spices in the form of pills, and ravioli that disappears before your eyes.

Continue reading “The Art of Gastronomy: Ferran Adrià’s Sketches at the Drawing Center in Soho”