Wednesday, June 17, 2009

James Happy Hour

Last night Peter and I had a fun little date at James.  From 5-7 PM, they serve beers and mixed drinks for $4 and burgers for $7.50.  SOLD.

We got there at about 6:45 PM, and wiggled into the last two seats available at the bar.  This deal is clearly a brilliant move on their part.  I think the chances of having a full bar at a tiny restaurant on St Marks Avenue on a Tuesday night are slim to none without it.  

The bar is painted black, and the wall behind has a big mirror that hung a bit high so that you don't have that awkward experience of watching yourself sip gin and tonic and stuff french fries into your mouth.  

The burgers were amazing, and the french fries: AMAZING.  They are super skinny, good McDonald's size fries covered in all kinds of fresh herbs (admit it: fries from McDonald's are the absolute perfect size).  Peter and I identified dill, rosemary, parsley, oregano, and thyme mixed in.  Yum.  

After watching our cute bartender make fun drinks throughout dinner, Peter wanted to try one.  He had a fun drink called a Straw Dog that was made with jalapeno-infused tequila, muddled strawberry simple syrup, and fresh lime.  The first taste was sweet and fruity from the strawberry, and then there was this light spicy ending.  Peter loved it; I loved having a couple sips. 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Salad season

Finally, really, truly: it's salad season.  

I eat salad (lots and lots of it) all year round, but this is the best of all possible times for rabbit-eaters.  The salad below took inspiration from a favorite spot in the Berkshires, Elizabeth's.  They serve a family-style salad that has everything but the kitchen sink in it: kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, nuts, cheese, salami, olives, onions, name it, it's in it.  It may sound like a strange combination of things, but it totally works.  

This one has red leaf lettuce, arugula, beets, strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, carrots, pecans, and a Dijon-blue cheese vinaigrette.  It's not so much the exact things in this dish that I wanted to share, but rather the new way of thinking about salad.  

I've always had a pretty standard salad combination of lettuce, carrot, and cucumbers.  And I ate it every day.  But making salad this way -- with everything that's fresh and yummy right now -- it was a very lame, but very large, revelation for me.  

Monday, June 1, 2009

Carrot bread

We went camping this weekend! I'm not much of an outdoorsy girl, but this was super easy and fun. We went to the beach, swan in the freezing ocean, grilled hot dogs, and made s'mores.

I brought a loaf of carrot bread for breakfast, and everyone seemed to like it so much, I thought I'd share the recipe here. It's super easy to make. The hardest part is grating the carrots up.

Carrot bread

You will need:

1 cup sugar
3/4 cups cooking oil
1 egg (slightly beaten)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup nuts or raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 large carrots, grated fine

Combine the sugar and cooking oil in a medium bowl with a mixer. Add the egg. In a smaller bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Stir the nuts and/or raisins in. This will coat them and keep them from rising up to the top of the bread. Add the cinnamon and salt.

Pour the dry ingredients in with the sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and stir. Fold in the carrots.
Pour the batter into a lightly greased bread loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hour or until lightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
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