Tag Archives: chef priyanka

Jalapeño Corn Bread

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It all started at work. A fellow colleague – who shall remain anonymous – of mine began to grow his own yeast and bring in fresh baked loaves of sour dough bread. Long story short, I challenged him to a bread bake-off, or what we like to call a ‘Bread-Off.’ The first week started off by baking your favorite loaf of bread and having our office mates assess each one and vote. We had a variety of accompaniments, including soft and hard cheeses from Murray’s Cheese and my own infused olive oil – Rosemary, Red Crushed Pepper, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and Fresh Garlic. My anonymous colleague baked his usual – a crusty loaf of sourdough and I baked a Rosemary & Cracked Black Pepper Brioche. Alas, the crowd spoke, and my anonymous colleague won the battle. SAD FACE.

I felt defeated and I do not cope well with defeat. For our next ‘Bread-Off’ I decided that it was only fair to decide on a type of bread, because our initial ‘Bread-Off’ was judged on a dissimilar scale – one was a traditional loaf and another was a richer and more dynamically flavored bread. This time around we agreed to each make a corn bread with at least one accompaniment. I figured it’s easy enough to make during a work week – no need to use yeast and wait for your dough to rise and I know that everyone loves corn bread (if you don’t, you’re a weirdo, or you’ve never tried it before).

Here were the contenders:

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Drum roll…..

Here’s is the winning recipe for the Corn ‘Bread-Off’!

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Jalapeño Corn Bread with Cilantro:

  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 3/4 all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs – room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk – room temperature
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter – melted
  • handful of cilantro – thoroughly washed, dried, and finely chopped
  • 2 shallots – minced
  • 2 jalapeños – minced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • PAM Cooking Spray

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 8 inch square baking pan with some butter and PAM spray. Set aside.

2. In a small skillet, add olive oil and place over medium flame. Add in the minced jalapeños and shallots. Sprinkle in a pinch of coarse sea salt and coarse black pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes, until softened and slightly caramelized. Remove and let cool.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients – corn meal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients – eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Do not over mix.

4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir light to combine, but before everything is incorporated, add in the cilantro and jalapeno-shallot mixture. Stir until everything is just combined – do not over mix. Dough will be thick. Pour into greased pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Cut into squares and serve with butter and honey (see below).

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Roasted Garlic Butter:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter – at room temperature
  • 1 head of garlic – top trimmed off
  • 2 heaping tsp of coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • pinch of chili powder
  • few sprigs of fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place whole head of garlic in foil and drizzle with olive oil and close the foil around it to create a packet. Place in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes until completely tender and the garlic can be squeezed out. Set aside to cool.

2. In a blender/food processor, add all of the ingredients – squeeze half of the head of garlic into the blender, making sure not to get any of the garlic skins into the blender. Blend until smooth and taste.

3. Place in a container and wrap with plastic and place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Cinnamon-Clove Honey:

  • 1/2 cup good quality honey
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 2-3 whole cloves
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 clean and dry mason jar

1. In a small pan, toast the cinnamon and cloves until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes). Place in the mason jar. While the spices are still warm, pour in the honey and sprinkle in the ground cinnamon. Mix until blended well, and cover with the lid. Place in a cool dry place.

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Tofu 65

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There is a classic Indian dish from South India called Chicken 65. What is it and why is it called Chicken 65 you ask? Well, its traditionally made with spicy Kashmiri chilies, curry leaves, and lots of mustard seeds and with young chicken that’s about 65 days old – I KNOW it’s terrible and I’m totally against it. What I love about the dish though is the spice, color, and overall explosion of yumminess that it creates in your mouth. I decided to recreate the dish with a much friendlier ingredient – tofu.

I would like to also mention that this dish was created in another attempt to steer carnivores away from the idea that they constantly need meat. Let’s just say – this worked.

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Tofu 65:

  • 1 package firm tofu – thoroughly drained, patted dry, and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt – I used organic full-fat yogurt
  • a few heaping tbsp of my Kashmiri Chili Powder: http://www.chefpriyanka.com/watermelon-feta-salad/
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4-5 heaping tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger – minced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 red onion – cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 6-8 fresh curry leaves
  • 1-2 dried Kashmiri Chilies
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 large handful fresh cilantro – chopped
  • vegetable oil

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1. In a bowl, add the yogurt, Kashmiri chili powder, turmeric, 4 cloves garlic, 1 inch piece of ginger, salt, and pepper. Stir and taste to see if it’s spicy and saucy – it’s supposed to taste really spicy and salty, not overly salty though. Add in the tofu and toss until all the pieces are well coated – be gentle, as we don’t want the tofu to break up. Then add in the cornstarch and lightly toss until all the cubes are coated. Cover with plastic and place the fridge to marinate for 2 hours or even overnight. I marinated mine for about 6 hours, because I wanted all the flavors to seep into the tofu.

2. In a large heavy pan, pour in the vegetable oil until theres a generous coating. Place over high heat and add in the mustard seeds, chilies, and curry leaves – they will start popping so be careful! Add the garlic, ginger, and onions and saute. Then add in the marinated tofu – be careful might splash a bit. Saute for about 10 minutes, until the tofu is cooked through and slightly crispy on the outside – the cornstarch is what will make it crispy. Once the dish is a deep red color, and the tofu is cooked through, taste for salt and pepper. Remove and place in a serving dish, and immediately top with a generous amount of chopped cilantro.

3. Serve with white basmati rice, naan, chapathi, or on its own!

Enjoy!

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Fresh Candied Lime Peel

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I loved candied fruit peels. I think they add great flavor to all kinds of desserts and are even great as a little sweet snack. So far I’ve made candied Lime and Orange Peels: http://www.chefpriyanka.com/double-chocolate-brownies-with-fresh-candied-orange-peel/and have used them on desserts. They’re super easy to make and it’s actually a great way to use the fruit peels and not waste them!

A few weeks ago I made my Vegan Mojito Cupcakes for a friends Baby Shower, and I decided to dress them up with Fresh Candied Lime Peel instead of fresh mint. The reason why I opted to do this was because I needed to make the cupcakes the night before the event, and I didn’t wait to use fresh mint as a garnish, as it would wilt and pretty much look gross. While the cupcakes were baking and cooling, I made these lime peels. Here’s what you’ll need:

Fresh Candied Lime Peel:

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  • 2 limes – peeled into 1-2 inch long peels, without getting the white portion
  • water
  • 1-2 cups sugar
  • ice bath
  • parchment paper
  • sugar for coating

Place a rack on top of parchment paper on your counter top.

1. In a small pot, add water and bring to a boil. Set the ice bath right by the stove. Add the peels to the boiling water, cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the peels and place in the ice bath for a minute. Repeat the process one more time.

2. While the peels are cooling in the ice bath, add the 1-2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water to a small pot (I just rinsed the same pot and used it), and set over medium-high heat. Stir and let the sugar dissolve and bring to a simmer. Remove the lime peels from the ice bath using the slotted spoon, and add to the simmering sugar water. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and place on the prepared rack over parchment paper. Let cool and set.

3. In a ziplock bag, add sugar and once the lime peels have cooled, add the peels in small batches and toss in the bag to coat. Remove and set on parchment paper until ready to use.

Chocolate Pomegranate Cupcakes

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I like to combine unusual flavors together in the hopes that I can create something amazingly delicious. So one day when I open my restaurant/bakery/food truck, I can sell these delicious creations. A few weeks ago was my friends blue-themed birthday party, so I decided to make cupcakes – surprise, surprise. I didn’t want to make blue velvet or something blueberry flavored – I wanted to try something different. I love pomegranate and I figured why not use pomegranate in my cupcakes and see how it turns out? Cupcakes tend to have extremely sweet frosting piled high, so I thought that maybe using pomegranate in the frosting will actually balance out the over-sweetness that cupcakes usually have.

Below is my recipe for my Chocolate Pomegranate Cupcake creation. I was pleasantly surprised, and hope you enjoy the recipe as well!

Chocolate Cupcakes: 

I made my super moist dark chocolate: 

http://www.chefpriyanka.com/salted-dulce-de-leche-chocolate-cupcakes/

Pomegranate Frosting: 

  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter – softened
  • 1 8oz bar of cream cheese – softened
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar – sifted
  • 8oz pomegranate juice – I used POM Brand

1. In a small sauce pan pour in the pomegranate juice and set over low heat. Simmer the juice for about 15 minutes until it becomes thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

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2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and cream cheese until blended and fluffy, about 1 minute. Slowly add in the sifted confectioner’s sugar and blend until fluffy and thoroughly combined. Slowly drizzle in the pomegranate syrup and blend in until combined. Frosting will be slightly pink.

3. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, pipe frosting onto each cupcake. I used an edible color mist spray in blue to decorate the cupcakes.

Makes 48 regular sized cupcakes

 

 

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Hola Espana! – Madrid Edition -

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Hablas espanol? It’s ok if you don’t, cause I will be narrating my travels in ingles! I recently went on a 10 day trip with my girlfriends to Spain. I had already visited Barcelona about five years ago now when I was studying abroad in undergrad – wow that just reminded me of how old I am!! This time around we were visiting Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona, and thankfully, we did not stay in hostels! I would to take you through some of my foodie adventures – but I must preface this post by saying that Spain and Europe in general has limited options for vegetarians, as the staples are pork and seafood.

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We arrived in Madrid at 9am on a Friday, so by the time we arrived to our hotel it was around 11am. We were starving and were told that Plaza del Sol or “Sun Square” had great restaurants and shops. We found a place that looked festive – almost like a Spanish diner. We walked in, took a seat, and to our dismay, were not given menus. Apparently, people just know what they want there, so we took our chances. We ordered churros con chocolate,

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pan con tomate, and three cafe con leches.

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We were eager to taste the churros con chocolate, but to our disappointment, the churros were cold and didn’t feel fresh. However, the pan con tomate, which is a buttered and toasted bageutte topped with a generous amount of crushed tomatoe, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil mixture, was very good and filling. And of course the cafe con leche, or coffee with warm milk, was excellent. That is one thing I do miss form Spain – the delicious coffee.

Next, we headed to Estadio Santiago Bernabéu to pick up Real Madrid game tickets, and there we stumbled upon the stadium restaurant.

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It was a horizontal shaped restaurant that had panoramic views of the stadium. Even though we had just eaten, we couldn’t give up the opportunity to have a drink with this stunning view. We ordered a couple glasses of sangria and pretty much had a photo shoot. The sangria seemed to have too much, so it tasted more like soda than wine. Disappointing, but the view and photo shoot made up for it!

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Lateral 

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Our first night in Madrid we were starving and didn’t realize how late everyone eats there! They generally don’t open restaurants until 8pm, which gave us enough time to relax, freshen up and walk to the restaurant. Our hotel was located in a very central area, so we were about a 5-10 minute walk away from Santa Ana, which is a cute plaza full of different restaurants and hotels. We arrived at Lateral, put our name down and waited for about 10-15 minutes to be seated. Lateral is a chain restaurant in Spain, but it had a very non-chain feel. There was a nice bar to the left when you entered the restaurant, and a women making custom mojitos at the end of the bar. The restaurant was bustling and full of people from all age ranges. We were seated in the lower floor of the restaurant in a corner booth.

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Some Quick Rates:

Quick Rates (1-10, 10 being the best):

  • Food: 8
  • Beverages: 7
  • Service: 3
  • Ambiance: 7
  • Price: 8

The food was fantastic here – but I’m not sure if it tasted good cause I was starving, or because it was actually good. I’m going to with the latter. I ordered tons of vegetarian tapas for myself, and was so excited to see that I had so much variety available to me! Here’s a little synopsis of what I ordered:

Sangria

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Tortilla Espanola

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Vegetable Tempura

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Vegetable & Gouda Quesadilla

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Brie & Roasted Pepper Toast

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Pan con Tomate

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Chocolate Torte

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Berry Crumble

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Classic Spanish Bread Pudding Cake

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I think best tapa was a tie between the tortilla espanola and the brie and roasted pepper toast. The omelet was deliciously light and cooked perfectly. It was also a generous portion. I loved the brie toast, because the cheese was super soft and fresh and the combination with the roasted pepper and crisp toast was fantastic. I must say I was dying from not having anything spicy on the table – no red crushed pepper or hot sauce :(. The sangria was also great – just the right amount of carbonation and sweetness – we ended up ordering 2 large pitchers! The best dessert was definitely the Chocolate Torte – this is what I love about Europe – they’re chocolate. It is always dark and delicious. The torte was very decadent and was served with a side of condensed milk – not sure what that was about, but it tasted great!

One thing that was not good about Lateral was the service – the waiter seemed extremely inattentive, not caring, and it was so hard to catch him. But one cool thing the restaurant did have was a call button on the table – there was a button for “I want the bill,” “I want the waiter to come over,” and an “X.” So cool!

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 ANA LA SANTA 

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The next day was our friends birthday so of course we had to go out for a yummy brunch. The night before while leaving Lateral, we saw a really cute restaurant perpendicular to it called Ana La Santa. We found out later on that this was also a chain, but again, Spain’s chain restaurants are so pretty and don’t give you the “chain” feel.

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Some Quick Rates:

Quick Rates (1-10, 10 being the best):

  • Food: 7
  • Beverages: -
  • Service: 6
  • Ambiance: 8
  • Price: 6

They seated us at a large circular table that was centrally located in the restaurant. The restaurant was a bit pricey, so we had to limit ourselves with what we ordered. I ordered 2 tapas – Sautéed green beans with chili and sautéed piquillo peppers. I was excited for the green beans because they had chili! The piquillo peppers were served in this really cute mini saute pan and were drizzled with a little honey. I personally found these to be bland and rather boring.

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The green beans were served in a very cute porcelain bowl topped with what seemed to be thinly shredded piquillo peppers. The beans were tasty – cooked through but still slightly crunchy, garlicky and the portion was decent.

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We ended our meal with a nice cafe con leche – can’t go wrong with that!

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One thing I did not like was after we had placed our order, they placed two bags of sliced bread on the table.

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And they did not mention once that each bag was 2.5 euros. We received the bill and I saw they they had charged 5 euros for the bread. I immediately complained to a waiter, because I think it’s extremely improper to serve customers something that they didn’t order, not explain the pricing, yet charge them anyways. I later realized that this happens all over Spain so after this initial experience, I always asked my my server whether or not we had to pay for the bread.

Another thing that was awesome in this restaurant was the bathrooms! Just look:

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ASIA GALLERY

We were getting tired of eating tapas and pinchos for the last few days, so we tried to scope out something different. We found an Asian restaurant not to far from our hotel called Asia Gallery in The Westin hotel. We made a reservation for 10:30pm and arrived around 10:45pm, and unfortunately still had to wait to be seated. The servers and hostess seemed extremely inattentive and didn’t really care that we were waiting around to be seated, even though we saw so many open tables. Before getting into the food, here are some Quick Rates:

Quick Rates (1-10, 10 being the best):

  • Food: 4
  • Beverages: 5
  • Service: 1
  • Ambiance: 5
  • Price: 3

You’ll probably notice that these are some of the lowest rates I’ve given a restaurant. I have full justification for my rates though. First there were limited options for a vegetarian – there was actually not a single appetizer I could order because EVERYTHING had meat and/or seafood in it. I even asked the waiter if there was anything they could make, and they said no. I ended up ordering the Mapo Tofu for dinner and a Singapore Noodles. I specifically told the waiter, which by the way was the manager of the restaurant, that I am strictly vegetarian, so I would like both my dishes to not contain any sort of meat, seafood, or fish sauce. He wrote it down and assured me that it will all be vegetarian.

First, my friends appetizers arrived before our cocktails, and by this point we had been sitting down for at least 30 minutes. It was so hard to catch a waiter, but once I did I immediately complained about our missing drinks. I think they forgot to make them and just kind of whipped them up quickly. The drinks arrived and they were okay – definitely strong, but nothing special.

We finally were served our entrees and the Mapo Tofu looked good and the portion was huge. The Singapore Noodles were covered with pork, even though I had specifically mentioned that I am vegetarian. I immediately returned it and complained to the manager. While they were re-making the noodles, I dug into the tofu. It was good – very flavorful, but definitely too oily. Then as I continue eating my tofu.. I feel something oddly crunchy and hard in my mouth, and I pull it out of my mouth and find EGG SHELLS. Keep in mind there is NO egg in this dish, so why in the WORLD would there be EGG SHELLS in my dish?! I was absolutely disgusted and had reach my breaking point. It was also extremely late – almost 12am, and I was tired. I immediately asked for the manager and did not hold back. He took the dish back to make me a new one and didn’t have a good explanation as to why there were random non-edible particle in my dish. Then my noodle arrived – again, they were ok. Kind of dry and they took so long to make, that I kind of was just tired form waiting.

The worse part about this whole meal was the bill time. All of a sudden, a new waitress came over to give us our bill, and the manager had disappeared. If this was any restaurant in America, they would not have included the tofu or noodles on the bill. Low and behold – those items were included. I was fuming at this point and repeatedly asked the waitress to bring me the manager, to which she replied that he’s busy. I said its past 12am, the restaurant is nearly empty, so I will wait until he comes here. He finally comes and I ask him why he still charged me for the noodle and tofu after what happened, and he took the bill back with an attitude and ONLY removed the tofu. I had absolutely no stamina to continue arguing with him, so we just paid and left.

I want Westin to know that I have traveled all over the world and have even stayed at other Westin hotels, and have never received such terrible and disgusting service in my life. The restaurant was also HIGHLY overpriced and not good.

SAN GINES 

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San Gines is a famous Churros y Chocolate cafe in Madrid. We could not leave Madrid without having some. Luckily for us, San Gines is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We decided to go their after our disgusting Asia Gallery experience – I personally had not eaten much and I needed something sweet and delicious to cleanse my palate. We walked down past Plaza del Sol and made a right onto a cute corner street.

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Everything was pretty much closed at this time – it was around 2am. We approached San Gines and it was bright and bustling with people and exuded the sweet smell of churros and chocolate. The process was a little different at this restaurant – basically when you enter you have to place your order at the register and pay and then find a table. We were so overwhelmed by all the deliciousness, so we ended up ordering a whole bunch of things – 3 hot chocolates, 1 order of churros, 1 order of porras, chocolate milkshake, and hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream.

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The churros and porras were served on one plate, and you may not be familiar with porras are. They are large and denser then churros and darker on the outside and smooth. They have more aerated holes on the inside, so they actually soak up the chocolate much better than the churros. Both the churros and porras are room temperature, but the hot chocolate is piping hot. It was delicious – possibly the best combination of churros/porras and chocolate that I’ve tasted. However, what I did NOT like was my “chocolate milkshake” – it was pretty much a bottled Spanish yahoo. Basically it was gross and not what I expected.

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All in all, I definitely recommend visiting San Gines to anyone who visits Madrid!

This was just my foodie adventures in Madrid. Next up is Valencia!!! 

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Restaurant Review: South City Kitchen Atlanta, GA

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Last week I went to Atlanta, Georgia on a business trip. I was excited for two reasons – 1. this was my first long-distance business trip, and 2. this was my first time in Atlanta! I’ve actually been dying to go, as I’ve heard its an awesome city, with great music, and great food! My team put me in charge of picking out the restaurant for our one night stay, so I went on a research expedition to find the best southern food in Atlanta. I stumbled upon South City Kitchen, highly rated by yelp.com, zagat.com, and others! The menu looked great and most importantly they had a wonderful vegetarian selection. I think I was most excited to finally try fried green tomatoes  – can you believe I had never tried them before?! I know, crazy!

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Now for the good stuff – the food. Here are some Quick Rates: 

Quick Rates (1-10, 10 being the best):

  • Food: 9
  • Beverages: 8
  • Service: 8
  • Ambiance: 7
  • Price: 7

Before we get into the items we ordered, let’s talk about the complimentary goodies they serve pre-drinks and dinner: warm corn bread and flaky & buttery biscuits. They were accompanied with fresh whipped butter. Can we say delicious?!

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Drink: 

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Back Porch: So I am not one to choose a drink with bourdon, whiskey, or anything remotely musky and manly. But I was in Atlanta, and I did want to taste something traditional and original to the south. The Back Porch was one of their most popular drinks – Georgia Peach whiskey, Four Roses bourbon, sweet vermouth, Fee Bros. peach bitters, drunken peach slice. It was deliciously warm and fruity at the same time – and the best part was the bourbon soaked peach slice.

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Appetizer: 

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Fried Green Tomatoes – large green tomatoes, layered with goat cheese, coated in cornmeal and bread crumbs, fried until perfectly crispy and served with a red pepper coulis. I would say this was the best introduction to fried green tomatoes. Super tasty, not a bit soggy, and very flavorful. Definitely could’ve used a bit of spice – maybe just a dash of cayenne in the crispy coating, otherwise it was fantastic.

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Entree: 

There were two options I could’ve chosen from – the Early Fall Vegetable Plate or the Veg-o-Matic. I wanted to indulge and try some of their southern classics, so I opted for the Veg-o-Matic, which lets me put together as many of their side dishes as I want. I went with the 4-cheese Mac n Cheese, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and Roasted Cauliflowers with Fresno Chilies. Its hard to choose which one I liked the best, but I must say the Roasted Cauliflower was awesome. The cauliflower was cooked perfectly – soft and not a bit hard or uncooked and the fresno chilies had a little bit of a kick (of course I could’ve used something a little more spicy). The mac n cheese was deliciously creamy and comforting and the fingerlings were good, but just a tad dry.

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Dessert:

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Of course, my absolute favorite part of any meal, and although my coworkers were full, I was not leaving Atlanta without having a traditional Southern dessert! Out of the many choices South City Kitchen had to offer, I went with the warm Pineapple Upside Down Cake with bourbon caramel, sour cream cake, pistachios, and ambrosia ice cream. Oh my good, am I glad that my coworkers were stuffed, because that meant more dessert for me! Moist sour cream cake, topped with macerated and sweet pineapples, accompanied by super-gooey bourbon caramel and fresh ice cream. Can we say heaven?!

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My awesome team!

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Like this review? Check out my other Restaurant Reviews!

Bantam Bagels

Restaurants in California

Candle 79

Garlic-Mint Orzo with Cumin & Capers

Even though orzo is an Italian pasta, I feel like it doesn’t have to be cooked in a traditional Italian manner. Then again, nothing has to be cooked with rules or regulations (that’s why I love to cook!). When I think of orzo I think Italian, Moroccan and a bit Middle Eastern.

So I basically combined all those flavors in this dish. I made this dish quickly after work one night at 9:00pm, so that in itself tells you its fast, easy and definitely satisfying. Pair it with some tofu steaks, eggplants or soup/sandwich and you’re good to go! Most of these ingredients can be found in your pantry- trust me I had NOTHING in my kitchen when I made this, that’s why it’s such a jumble of ingredients, but surprisingly came out so good!

Garlic-Mint Orzo with Cumin & Capers:

  • 2 cups cooked orzo (not al dente)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • PAM olive oil spray
  • 3-4 cloves garlic- chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin power
  • dash garlic powder
  • dash of dried Italian herbs
  • 1-2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp red crushed pepper (please adjust to your spice level)
  • lots of coarse black pepper
  • salt
  • handful of fresh mint- finely chopped (plus a few sprigs for garnishing)

1. In a nonstick saucepan, spray with PAM and pour oil and set over medium-high heat. Add garlic and bring the heat down to medium-low. Saute until fragrant and slightly golden- do not cook on high flame, as garlic will burn and create a very bitter taste. Add cumin and capers, saute for a few minutes.

2. Add in the cooked orzo and increase flame to medium-high and saute until covered with the capers and spices. Add garlic powder, italian herbs, lemon zest and red crushed pepper. Saute for a few minutes until orzo is completely coated with spice and fragrant. Finally add the chopped fresh mint and lots of coarsely ground black pepper. Mix lightly and quickly transfer to a serving dish. Top with whole sprig of mint for garnishing. Dig in!

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Like This? Then you may like my other Vegan Recipes!

  Sauteed Indian Okra with Homemade Masala (featured on PETA!)

  Masala Tofu Burgers (featured on PETA!)

  Vegan Saffron Cupcakes with Rose-Cardamom Frosting

My Cooking Demo at Le Creuset: Pictures & More!

I’m having some technical difficulties uploading the videos, but I assure you I’ll have them up soon enough!

Le Creuset gifted me one piece of cookware for hosting my demo!

About a month ago I hosted my first cooking demo for Le Creuset at the Jersey Shore Outlets! It was so much fun! I chose 2 dishes to make- Crunchy Eggless French Toast and Tandoori Tofu Masala “Salad.” I chose these two because I know that people are not generally fond of tofu and aren’t really willing to work with it, but I wanted to show them that even as a recently turned vegetarian (like myself), tofu can taste amazing and satisfy your hunger. Plus, tofu is high in protein and low in fat and calories. That being said it should not be perceived as solely a “diet” food.

Me in Action :)

Let me just say that people were coming back in for seconds and thirds, and some couldn’t believe that the tofu dish was tofu! Many asked if it was cheese, because it was really soft and was pretty close to tasting and feeling like cheese. It was such a great feeling for me to see people who have never had tofu before, due to it’s bad reputation, ask me how I made it or tell me that it tastes really good!

Posing

The French Toast was also a huge success. At first people were like “how do you make french toast without eggs?!” Someone asked me “do you even use bread?” I was a little confused by that question, but once they had a taste of my crunchy french toast, they were amazed as to how good it tasted without the fat, cholesterol and heaviness of eggs!

My station- me grilling the Crunchy French Toast

The whole experience was awesome and I really enjoyed watching people eat my food, and come back for seconds and then ask me for the recipe! I think the best part of this whole demo was getting people who don’t like a certain food or dish, i.e., tofu, to come back and eat more and become amazed as to how I got tofu to taste so good!

Engaging the Audience hehe

Please don’t mind the flash LOL

I hope I have another opportunity to do a food demo. This was a great start to my foodie career. It also opened up my eyes as to what I should work on if I ever want to pursue a career in the food entertainment business. For instance, I was talking to the audience and asking them questions, but I realized that asking an audience questions is probably not the best way to engage them. People become to shy to call out answers or talk in front of others, so I have to talk in a manner that will inform the audience while keeping them comfortable. However, I loved explaining all of the exotic ingredients I was using, and people seemed to be interested in that because they’re used to using “tandoori masala,” “coriander” or even “cumin powder.” I love teaching people new things!