Tertulia

Posted by on Aug 10, 2014 in New York Eats | 0 comments

  NYC’s restaurant week ends this Friday, August 15th. With three course prix fixe meals of lunch ($25) and dinner ($38), it’s a great way to dine at expensive restaurants at an affordable price.  Of course, being the family of gluttons that we are, we hopped headfirst onto the bandwagon and made reservations at Tertulia — a Spanish tapas restaurant. Now, I was personally pretty excited to try this place out. For those of you who love watching food-related shows, such as The Next Iron Chef or Chopped, then you may know that Tertulia’s chef and owner is Seamus Mullen — one of the three finalists of The Next Iron Chef and an occasional judge on Chopped. That means his food’s gotta be pretty amazing, right? Nothing less than spectacular, right? Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to try out his specialty of modern Spanish cuisine. Nothing was going to dampen my spirits. Nothing. Not even the NYC subway system being ridiculously annoying to navigate due to construction and closed lines. Upon arriving (miraculously only a few minutes late considering how inefficient the subway was that day), the interior was very nicely furnished. Small tables and dim lighting lend to a more intimate atmosphere. Considering how it was still noon, I found that the windowed roof above the kitchen really helped to brighten the place up. I don’t mind close and intimate, but sometimes I just want bright and cheery. The interior design allowed for a little bit of both, which is all I ask for, and an open kitchen is always a plus in my book! We ordered everything on the prix fixe menu, which worked out perfectly since there were three of us and three selections for each course. Except dessert. That flan had our names all over it. Pan con Tomate & Jamón Serrano Choclo Of the three appetizer choices, the Pan con Tomate & Jamón Serrano (toasted bread rubbed with tomato and 24-month cured Serrano ham) won our tastebuds over. Although it was a simple dish, basically toasted bread with prosciutto, the prosciutto was not overly salty at all. Our least favorite appetizer? The Tomato Watermelon Gazpacho. To be fair, it wasn’t that we didn’t like it, more that…we thought it was Thousand Island dressing served with the Ensalada del Dia. Served in a glass, we had expected the gazpacho to come in a bowl. It was only when the waitress came to clean up our dishes that I belatedly realized she asked if we were done with the gazpacho. Wait, what? Writing up this post, I’m still a little sad that we missed out. I’m sure it would’ve tasted delicious, but I continue to blame the way it was served. >.> We also ordered Choclo: crispy hominy with pork belly, lime alioli, and cilantro. This was not a part of the prix fixe menu but it was definitely interesting. The hominy was really quite interesting. It kept us guessing (Is it corn? No, it tastes like maize?) and eating more to try and figure out exactly what it was. The pork belly added a nice change in texture and taste; the pieces were just small enough that it didn’t taste fatty at all. For the entrees, everything was delicious…except for the paella. This came as a shocker to all of us. Usually, when you think of Spanish cuisine and tapas, you think paella. (Or are we just weird?) Deliciously cooked rice mixed in with various ingredients, generally seafood, and brought forth in a steaming platter of goodness. Well, this paella — I’m honestly not even sure what kind it was — was dry…like it’d been sitting in...

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Copy Me That: Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies!

Posted by on Jul 26, 2014 in Recipe | 0 comments

Have you ever spent hours searching for a recipe that you had previously saved? After doing some major, and I mean major, reorganizing of my photos, I realized there was something equally important that I should also organize — my recipes. No, I don’t mean the (somewhat questionable) recipes that I’ve come up with…well, I do, but I mostly mean the amazing recipes I randomly come across and decide to save to try out later.  It started out with marking up magazines and recipe books. I would tag them up with colorful post-it tabs and then I would have to go through every book and magazine later on, flipping through all the marked pages, searching for that one specific recipe. God forbid I forgot to put a tab on it. So I decided to keep a folder instead, then a notebook…and finally a binder. These quickly filled up with notes and copied recipes until I belatedly realized that the process hadn’t changed. I was still going nuts looking through everything for that one recipe. And then I discovered bookmarks on the internet. Whoa. It was like a whole new world had just opened up to me. (Yea, I’m a bit slow when it comes to technology. But that’s besides the point!) Now I could save every single recipe I came across, and oh, I came across quite a few thanks to the interwebs, in one handy dandy folder. Now when I wanted to find a recipe I just had to squint and look through my list of bookmarks…unless I couldn’t find it, then I’d look through every single bookmarks folder hoping I’d saved it somewhere else by accident instead of forgetting altogether. In hindsight, sometimes it may have saved me time to just Google. >.>;; Why did I just share that very long-winded story about how organized, yet unorganized, I am? Because I was recently introduced to Copy Me That, and I love it. You people out there. Yes, you sentient beings who are currently reading this babble of nonsense. If you are like me and have been plagued by the I-must-bookmark-every-amazing-recipe-I-come-across symptom only to then be tortured by the crap-where-did-it-go disease, you will adore Copy Me That. The interface is clean but cute, and it is quick and easy to use. Most importantly? It’s free. Basically, Copy Me That allows you to copy recipes from any website and save it. You can also edit the recipe with your own preferences and changes, an option that I really like having. Another feature that I like is how you can check off any recipe in your recipe box and generate a shopping list of groceries needed. Very handy! I like it so much, that I’ve slowly been migrating my bookmarks folder over. In fact, you can eventually find all of our Snacktime Munchies recipes over on Copy Me That; just follow us here! But this post isn’t just about gushing over my latest internet crush. I am quite proud to say that while I was -ahem- organizing my bookmarks and photos, I found a recipe that I had not yet shared. Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies. And honestly? These cookies are so good that I am quite ashamed of myself for not sharing it sooner. Let’s fix that, shall we? Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature Mix the flour, sugar, and tea together. Note on the tea: I wanted my tea to be a fine powder so I used a spice/coffee grinder and then sifted it. If you have a mortar and pestle...

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We’re Back!…Again!

Posted by on Jul 11, 2014 in Miscellaneous | 1 comment

It’s been a while since we last posted…Yep, we’re still alive and kickin’. You just can’t get rid of us, can you? ;) Well, I’m sure none of you are terribly surprised. It’s certainly not the first time that we’ve vanished for weeks on end only to pop back out from under a rock and say ‘Hello, world! We’re still alive!’ For those of you who’ve stuck around, all I can say is…either you’re nuts or you forgot you were subscribed to us. Which, in that case, haha, surprise! Guess who’s back to occasionally poke your inbox with random newsletters? Psst, if you’re not subscribed yet, what are you waiting for? Sign your soul away by filling out the form below (or you can find it in our sidebar) and we promise to shower you with endless amounts of uhm — Something really special. You may have noticed our spiffy new theme. Check out the sliding Featured Photos on the Home page! Snazzy, right? We had something similar implemented in our previous theme but this one…this one is just so much nicer. Everything’s sleek, shiny, and just wow. Even the fact that we had lost more than half our photos when switching themes, which resulted in my spending weeks painstakingly replacing those photos to their proper post locations, has paid off for the current end result. Yea, we love you too. It’s why we do this. (Huge thank you to my awesome friend, Teman Cooke, for suggesting this spectacular theme! I spent a lot of time digging through various options but this one took the cake. Check out his equally amazing blog, T.H. Cooke: A Study in Contradictions. He recently published a must-read novel, To the Water, We Are Gods, which I’m sure you’ll all love.) After spending some more time fiddling with the theme until it was just so, I realized I had no idea where my photos of particular things were. How am I supposed to write posts when I can’t find the proper pictures to go along with it? I can’t write about crazy delicious takoyaki without a picture of said takoyaki. Where’s the fun in reading a recipe about my latest cheesecake masterpiece when you can’t inappropriately ogle that particular cheesecake? Of course, this meant another week or so of organizing my massive collection of photos — photos full of food and places that we promised to blog about but have yet to cover. Photos of recipes, from success stories to miserable failures that I’m too ashamed to share…Erf. >.> With my pictures organized to perfection, I ran out of excuses not to post. But really, each new season on cable seems to bring better and better shows. Watch the first episode and save the rest for later? Impossible. Catch up to the latest episode of a dozen hot dramas through sleepless marathons? Been there, done that, and now officially out of excuses. I even counted the days since our last post, which brings us…here. It’s not that I don’t want to write and bore you all with my endless babble. It’s more along the lines that there are so many things I want to share with you all that I don’t really know where to start. Since I don’t know where to start, why not an overview of everything instead? So here’s a quick synopsis of where we’ve been in the last few years. Some of which we’ve already covered, some which we didn’t fully touch on, and some we failed to mention at all. Till now. 2010: Taiwan & Japan – This is really what started it all. Bored one night while in Taiwan, we...

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Green Tea and Red Bean Mochi

Posted by on Feb 10, 2013 in Recipe | 0 comments

Happy Lunar New Year everyone~! I hope everyone made it through Nemo alright. I, personally, was thrilled to wake up and be greeted by 27 inches of snow…and miraculously still have power intact. I think our neighborhood is the most beautiful during the winter, especially when covered by snow. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Lunar New Year, today (2/10/13) is the first day of the first month of the year of the snake…according to the lunar calendar. [insert moment of enlightenment: “Oh, so that’s why it’s called Lunar New Year!”] There are fifteen days dedicated to rest and relaxation and celebrating the new year. Our family only really observes three of those fifteen days. Considering how the United States doesn’t recognize Lunar New Year as a holiday, celebrations here are nowhere as big as they are in Asia — but we make up for what’s missing in the streets in our own homes. Traditionally, the eve (which doesn’t count as one of the fifteen) is spent with family in a big, celebratory, reunion dinner. Besides the good food, most children are more concerned with receiving red envelopes at the end of the night. The first day of the Lunar New Year is a time to honor one’s elders. The second day is when married daughters return to visit their birth parents. Since my grandpa has four children, my dad being the only son, I’m sure you can imagine how this becomes yet another big dinner. On the last day of the new year celebration, also known as the Lantern (yuan xiao “元宵”) Festival, we eat tangyuan — which roughly translates as “round [balls] in soup”. Although there are several legends as to why we eat tangyuan, our family sticks to the reason that it symbolizes the end and beginning of a new year, of how everything has come full circle and begins anew. This brings me to today’s awesomely simple recipe! Tangyuan are very similar to mochi. It’s the soup version of mochi. Mochi is a traditional new years dessert which is basically a sweet rice cake, typically covered in sesame or sugared peanut powder or with filling inside. It’s almost always a big hit with the older folk. I have no idea why, but this particular gooey sweet hits a soft spot in their hearts. Since my grandpa loves all things red bean and is forever requesting some sort of red bean dessert (he’s also perennially asking why I don’t put red bean in my cheesecakes) I decided to make red bean mochi.   But, being who I am, just regular red bean mochi wouldn’t be any fun. I wanted cute mochi…pastel mochi!  Ingredients: Filling: ~ 16 oz adzuki beans 1/2 cup water 1 cup sugar 2 tbsp vegetable oil Cook the adzuki beans until soft and tender, then mash them into a paste.  In a separate pot, add the water and sugar and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Mix the simple syrup and vegetable oil with the mashed red beans. This should give you a very mildly sweet paste. Add more sugar to taste. Mochi Skin: 1 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour 1/4 cup sugar 2/3 cup water 2 drops green food coloring 1/4 tsp matcha green tea cornstarch Note: You must use glutinous rice flour! Other types of flour just won’t work as a substitute. You can find glutinous rice flour at Asian supermarkets. Although this is usually mixed and cooked over the stove, the mixture eventually gets so sticky and hard to stir that it may end up burning on the stove. So instead,...

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Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Posted by on Jan 31, 2013 in Recipe | 4 comments

First of all, a HUGE thanks to everyone who donated to our fundraiser! We managed (by some miracle) to raise a total of $1364.60 — $364.60 over our goal! Thanks to all of you generous people, we’ll be donating $682.30 each to Save the Children and Cookies for Kids Cancer. Of course, putting aside the worthy cause, we like to flatter ourselves and think that you actually bought our goodies because you thought they were simply delicious. ;) Anyway, we had promised to share the recipes of the goodies we baked for the fundraiser and here’s a recipe so simple you’re not going to believe it. Did I mention it’s 110% healthy too? No, make that 150%! How does that even work? I don’t know. Now that we’re all obsessed with the quick and instant, recipes calling for just two or three ingredients are getting ridiculously popular. Except one of the ingredients in most of those recipes go something along the lines of “1 box cookie/cake mix”. …Wait, what? How does that even count as one ingredient? I mean, really, c’MON people! So here’s a real TWO INGREDIENT recipe. Yep, I said it. I’ll even spell it out for you. T-W-O. Ingredients 2 large bananas ~ 1 cup instant oatmeal Note: You may have to add more or less oatmeal depending on how large and ripe your bananas are. If your batter’s too runny, add some more oatmeal. Preheat your oven to 350. Mash the bananas with the oats. Shape about a tablespoon of the mixture into balls. Flatten the balls. It won’t cook through in 15 minutes otherwise, but no worries! These cookies come out soft and chewy regardless of how thin you make them. They also don’t flatten out on their own while baking, so make sure to press them down! Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool and enjoy~! Ta da! How’s that for quick and easy? Okay, that’s literally the bare bones two ingredient recipe. BUT! Feel free to add additional ingredients to it. I had added 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/4 cup diced dark chocolate to mine. The nuts gave it an extra bit of crunch, and the chocolate added a slightly bittersweet taste to the cookies. Even though there isn’t any sugar added, the cookies are mildly and pleasantly sweet with a definite banana taste. These are the perfect guiltless cookies to devour. Why? Well, if you think about it, you can eat a whole batch of these and all you’ve ingested are healthy foods. Yes, that includes the chocolate.  What would you add to your cookies? Let us know! ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang...

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