Food & Wine

  • COOKING & EATING W/ CELEB CHEF CHARLES CHEN

    There are very few things in this world that will make me leave my house on a dreary Sunday afternoon. Food, specifically eating, is at the top of that list. Cause there’s a difference between going out to eat and going food shopping.

    When my email dinged less than 24 hours before and it was an invite to attend a cooking session with TV host, Healthy Chef and Wellness Expert Charles Chen I knew I would be putting the weather forecast out of my mind as I’m always down to eat rain or shine.

    This exclusive invite only event took place at Freshmade NYC and hosted by Charles Chen and Talent Jungle and the purpose of the event was to teach people how simple it is to make fresh healthy vegetarian meals at home. The menu consisted of 3 courses. He would teach me how to prepare dumplings, sushi and a simple dessert.

    First up were the dumplings. The tables were filled with various types of fillings. I chose corn, cabbage and a meatless substitute (which is delicious considering I’m a die-hard cow eater). As usual I had no clue as to what I was doing when I chose those ingredients, but I felt they were safe choices and it would be impossible to muck this up.

    And I was right! After boiling them for about 5 – 7 minutes or til they became a little translucent they turned out GREAT despite the fact I had never made a dumpling before in my life.

    charles chen
    Filling my dumpling
    charles chen
    After my dumplings finished cooking
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    Dumplings are in my belly

    The second course would teach us how to make sushi. Now I can openly admit that I am not a fan of sushi. My limit is California Rolls, which to most doesn’t even count. But hey, it’s what I like and what I chose to make. Which meant that I would need to invert my roll, meaning the seaweed goes on the inside and the rice is on the outside.

    If you’re a newbie to rolling sushi then get ready to roll up your sleeves cause this is a doozy. The keys to having it come out halfway decent is remembering to keep the sushi mat wet and to not pack it with so much rice or other things. If you make it too fat it will be hard to keep it together. Mine looked like 4 California Rolls rolled together to make one mega roll. It too was good but way more than I could chew.

    And lastly, we dipped fresh strawberries in melted chocolate and sat them in the freezer for a few moments. Talk about delicious…and filling.

    It may not seem like it was a lot of food but trust me I was full for the rest of the day. Whoever said you needed large portions to stay full is telling you lies. I happily did not look at another meal it was dinner time.

    This event was awesome and shout out to Charles who not only was super helpful the entire time, but he also changed the way I see myself in the kitchen. I say I can’t cook but I truly did better than I expected. There’s no excuse why I can’t recreate these quick and easy to prepare meals for my own family.

    I didn’t take many pictures as I was too busy eating and Snapchatting, so check out the video from the entire event.

    charles chen
    Photo Credit: Charles Chen

     

  • MUNCHERY MAKES MOUTHWATERING MEALS DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR

    One day I was trolling Facebook when a post caught my eye. It was from a food delivery business called Munchery. The post was asking for me to sign up in order to receive a free meal that would be prepared by their in-house chef, sent to my door. It seemed interesting enough, especially since it said FREE and BROOKLYN. Its hard to get good food delivered in my neck of the woods. Without hesitation I clicked the link and signed up. I didn’t know if I would really get a free meal but like lotto, hey you never know.

    About a month later…

    I got an email from Munchery on a Friday afternoon telling to claim my free meal. I forgot I signed up. I was so excited that I really was going to get a free dinner. I went on their website and selected from a variety of prepared meals from one of their chefs. I love seafood so I chose Pineapple-Ginger Glazed Salmon with a side of jasmine rice and veggies, and set my delivery for the following Monday at 5pm.

    Now of course by the time Monday rolls around I forgot I ordered this meal, so while I was in the middle of making barbecue chicken my order arrives right on time. I thought to myself, since I cooked so much food for dinner that night I would save my salmon for the next day while the family ate spaghetti.

    Munchery

    Munchery

    Obviously after seeing this neatly wrapped package that idea was quickly scrapped. I would follow the instructions provided on the back of the decorative tray cover to warm up my meal.

    As I waited 10 minutes for my food to warm in the oven I caught myself rubbing hands hands together in a Dr. Evil kinda way thinking…

    When the food hit my palete all I could do was lean back in my chair and savor it. That’s how serious that piece of fish was. I ate it slow and deliberately. At first I thought there wouldn’t be enough for me. You can’t tell by looking at me but I can eat. But the portion size was perfect. I was full without feeling overly full. Which meant lots of room for dessert.

    This one mean is clear indication that I would not only order from them again, but that I recommend that you do as well.

    Munchery, was started in 2010 by a couple of new parents with a lot on their plate and always found themselves asking, “what’s for dinner?” They offer healthy meal options not only in NYC but San Fran, Seattle and LA. Sorry no deliveries on the weekends. Munchery can be a quick meal option for days when you might be too tired to cook or you were out all day and may have forgot to defrost something. And they aren’t limited to just adult meals, they have kid items to order as well.

    Have you tried this service? How did you like it? What did you order?

  • LADUREE IN SOHO

    SolitudeSolitude In The City is a series in which I locate places in the city where moms can go for a little R+R.

    For this inaugural post I ventured to my favorite spot in the city, SOHO. Located in the southern region of Manhattan is sandwiched between the East Village and Chinatown.

    SOHO is home to upscale boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, and other affordable shops. People from of all financial walks of life converge on its cobble stone streets for browsing, shopping and outdoor dining. And for the select fortunate you may actually be lucky enough to call this neighborhood home. Apartments and lofts may outwardly look unappealing but the inside is nothing short of jaw dropping as no expense was spared when converting these once rundown art studios into luxury apartments and office spaces.

    Of all of the neighborhoods that make up New York City, SOHO is by far my favorite. I could spend all day here getting lost on purpose. So on a day where my patience was being pushed to the limit at home I left my husband in charge and hopped the G to the C train and decided to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon here.

    And in case you’re wondering SOHO stands for South of Houston, pronounced House-ton, not like the city in Texas. You can tell who the real New Yorkers are by their pronunciation. Now that you know this information I can proceed.

    Twenty minutes later, as I stepped out of the Spring Street train station I got a sweet tooth and the first place I thought about hitting up was Laduree. I have heard about shop and their macaroons for years. But I never made my way over to try one.

    What better time to try one than today. Especially being alone since kids don’t let you enjoy anything in peace.

    When I walked in to Laduree my jaw dropped. I mean how is it possible that I never visited or even ate here before now? It’s beautiful! The moment you step in you’re automatically transported to Paris. I’ve never been to Paris but I can assure you this is (in my mind) the essence of Parisian culture. It’s perfect for a quick snack stop or tea time alone or with friends.

    solitude

    And if that wasn’t enough as you keep walking through the restaurant you will come the outside gardens

    solitude

    I had never seen anything this beautiful in the city in a long time. You know as a resident its easy to become desensitized to the things around you. But you you can find something so tranquil, well hidden and quiet you have to stop in your tracks and marvel at it. The hostess let me sit for a moment since that area is for dining patrons. I’d come here just order water if it meant I could sit back there all day long.

    So I left the secret garden and found a bench next door, copped-a-squat and got ready to eat my very first macaroon. This is why I love SOHO, lots of the businesses have steps or raised platforms out front which makes it easy to rest your feet and enjoy a snack.

    I opened the pretty mint paper and took a bite out of sheer heaven! Why had I not had one before? The world may never know. But what I do know is, I will be back for more. They are delicious! I’m mad that I only bought 2. If the line wasn’t wrapped down the block I would have gotten back on line an bought more. A mental note for myself…get here earlier.

    SolitudeAs I sat there chewing on this chocolatey deliciousness it dawned on me how quiet the city was. Here I am in the city that never sleeps yet it seemed like everyone was home taking a nap. Actually no they were just in the Hampton’s. That’s where those who can afford it go on the weekends during the summer. It’s amazing the things you an hear when the typical NYC sounds aren’t hindering your hearing. I could hear birds chirping and the normally busy streets didn’t have that many cars on the road. The quietness of the world really allowed me to tap into my inner thoughts.

    https://instagram.com/p/4sQR7qNNoD/?taken-by=mommyrandr

    As I sat on that bench, I reflected on the importance of moms (and dads) having moments of solitude. When you get time to yourself it allows you to clear your mind of whatever is taking place in the home. Will it cure it? Yes and no. Some things take reflection so the best choice can be made. Other times you just need the stillness to help ease the stress that family/work life can bring upon you.

    Do you notice when you get back from having time alone you can handle whatever is happening in the house. When I got back home after sitting on that bench for more than an hour, it didn’t matter that the kids were a little extra loud or fought with each other about who had the most blocks. The time by myself allow me to recharge my patience meter. By bed time I had enough strength to put the kids to bed and stay awake to watch a movie with my husband, something that we hadn’t done in weeks. It’s amazing what a little solitude can do for your mind, body and spirit.

    Stay tuned and see where my next quest for solitude takes me.

  • CELEBRATE JULY 4TH WITH 12 PATRIOTIC RECIPES

    Anytime there’s going to be a gathering of family and friends I’m always one to say, what can I make? Or what can I bring? Enter Pinterest. With a simple search you can find ideas on just about anything and July 4th recipe ideas are no exception. With these great patriotic recipes there’s no reason for you or me to not find something delicious and festive to prepare.

    Grilled Blackberry Strawberry Basil and Brie Pizza Crisps

    f5dc69b05724b6b4d552d71807563294(Via Pinterest for Half Baked Harvest)

    Beef Burgers/Sliders

    beef-burger-1875820-l(Via MyRecipes)

    Fourth of July Punch or Sangria

    july 4(Via Pinterest for Chez Cayenne)

    Mini Patrotic Ice Cream Sandwiches

    287ae3b17ddf6debf3bc340cc35f4871(Via Pinterest for Endlessly Inspired)

    Pizza Pasta Salad

    pizza-pasta-salad-l(Via MyRecipes)

    Sausage On A Bun With Pickle Pepper Relish

    2985_2(Via Whole Foods Market)

    Red White & Blueberry Lemonade

    9a6d93460296afae7c96698517c2c208(Via Pinterest for SkinnyMs)

    Flag Cake

    637109_flag-cake-03_s4x3.jpg.rend.snigalleryslide(Via Food Network)

    Grilled Chicken With Fresh Herbs

    3022(Via Whole Foods Market)

    Root Beer Baked Beans

    root-beer-baked-beans-m(Via MyRecipes)

    Red White & Blue Shots

    6e4d36467f56fb58633649fb43df28d0(Via Pinterest for Tipsy Bartender)

    Star-Spangled Apple Pie

    Star Apple Pie 1(Via Apple A Day)

    What are some of your favorite July 4th recipes that you like to prepare?

    If you need more ideas visit my July 4th Recipe board on Pinterest.