Food and the City Yum

November 16, 2017

5 Sauce Recipes To Use On Meat


There are several components to making meat a great and mouthwatering dish. One being that it needs to be cooked the right way, while even playing close attenttion to the way it is served can draw the line between appetizing and boring. More importantly, it is also necessary to have the right sauce.

Regardless if you eat in the best Tribeca restaurants, or if you grill at home using the most premium meat you can get, it will not excite the taste buds if it is not complemented with the right sauce. That being said, here are five of the best sauces that ever meat lover should try!

Béarnaise Sauce

Even in high-end restaurants like the American Cut Steakhouse in NYC, this is one of the most popular sauces to accompany meat dishes. It has an elegant flavor that will make the steaks you cook at home more scrumptious, as if they were prepared in the professional kitchen of any fine dining establishment.

The main ingredients that you will need for this sauce include butter, white wine vinegar, egg yolks, and herbs. It is creamy with a pronounced herbal flavor, so be sure to not smother the meat with too much of this sauce, as it can be a bit overpowering!

Chimichurri Sauce

According to Serious Eats, this fresh and tart sauce works perfectly when used added into beef dishes. It heighens the flavor of the meat, and is the perfection addition to any Mexican or South American style meat-based recipes.

To make a chimichurri sauce, you will need garlic, shallots, cilantro, parsley, capers, red wine, and vinegar. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and drizzle with oil. Pulse until fully incorporated & enjoy!


Red Wine Sauce

When you think of red wine, you may just assume that it’s to be used as the perfect beverage to accompany the meat. Truth is, adding red wine to a few other simple ingredients is a great way to create a quick & flavorful sauce to spoon over your dish.

For this type of sauce, you will need red wine, beef stock, dark brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar.

Salsa Verde

For grilled meats, salsa verde should be on the top of your list. Especially if your meal is more Mexican-inspired.

One of the key secrets to making Salsa Verde is to hand-chop all the ingredients, which include flat-leaf parsley, basil, capers, mint, and garlic. You will also need mustard, anchovy fillets, sweet vinegar, red wine vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.

Aioli

Looking for a sauce that will bring out a Mediterranean flavor? Aioli’s got your back! If you’re cooking meats inspired by Italian, French, and Spanish dishes, an aioli sauce is a great option to use.

In traditional recipes, aioli is made using only garlic and olive oil, which you have to patiently pound using a classic mortar and pestle. Most of the modern versions, however, include an egg yolk so that the sauce will bind better. Both styles of creating an aioli are equally delicious, it just comes down to how much time (and paitence) you have to whip it up!

To make the most out of your meat, regardless of the way it is cooked, use any of the five sauces mentioned above and you’ll create a mouthwatering dish that everyone will find appetizing!


November 15, 2017

Tips On Hosting Thanksgiving For The First Time



K, so --

I have a serious bone to pick with society.

I'd like to know when and where we collectively decided that it was perfectly *okay* to let Thanksgiving pass us by without getting the recognition that it deserves. When, and more importantly -- WHY, did we ever allow for the "let's forget about Thanksgiving" movement to ~*happen*~?

I get it, we're all excited for Christmas and the holiday season -- I'm right there with ya. However, Thanksgiving is seriously an ALL STAR holiday, yet it easily gets forgotten about between everyone worrying about their Halloween costume and what they're going to do for New Year's Eve. It's almost as if we just expect it to always be great because our older (still flawless) relatives usually take care of it. We just show up, eat, pass out, and therefore we never worry about it.


Well, what happens when the day comes that it's our time to host? It's our time to figure out a menu for 12 on a budget for 2? Or try to figure out where you're going to put everything in addition to Aunt Susie's pumpkin pie that she insisted on bringing?

What happens when it's it all on you, and the panic starts to set in because you've n e v e r d o n e t h i s b e f o r e?


Did you know that this year nearly 20 million Americans will host Thanksgiving for the first time? That's 20 million Americans silently freaking out over where they can buy a turkey thermometer. That's 20 million Americans standing in the aisles of grocery stores alike trying to pick out one of the 4,000 different types of stuffing mixes to choose from, or whether or not they should make an apple pie or a pecan pie because Josie likes apple but Karen is allergic and omg what am I going to do??

Enter: Ocean Spray's CranMa bootcamp, an event I recently attended on behalf of Ocean Spray to learn alllllll the secrets from some dear grandmas that were willing to give em' up! We're talking family-owned traditions that these ladies were more than happy to share with our group of 25+ people, and luckily for you, I was given the green light to pass these tips along to ya'll.



First thangs first -- the bird.


I mean, it obviously goes without saying that the bird is the focal point of every Thanksgiving table. It sits in the middle, is usually carved by the eldest of relative (tradition, ya'll), and is taken very seriously by grandmas all across the nation. Now, granted, of course not everyone is enjoying a grandmother-made bird on Thanksgiving, but keeping within the practices of what our grandmothers taught us helps it to feel like we still are.


We learned that frozen turkeys must start the defrosting process at least 3 days before the big day (or 1 day per 4lbs), while fresh turkeys are to be picked up and kept in the fridge for just 1 day prior -- no sooner. But -- how do you know just how much turkey to have? Our turkey expert explained that it's always good to plan for 1 pound of cooked turkey per person!


Cooking time varies greatly depending on the size of your bird and whether or not you've decided to stuff it. A good rule of thumb is 15-18 minutes per pound for unstuffed turkeys, and 18-24 minutes per pound for stuffed. For example, an un-stuffed 16-pound bird will need about 4 hours to cook, while the same 16-pound bird that's now been stuffed will need about 5-6 hours.


Deciding whether you want to take the frozen or unfrozen route is the first step in your Thanksgiving prep. Once you've figured that out, it's time to plan your other dishes, as well as your decor, your cocktails, and just how the heck you're going to fit all of this stuff in your fridge.
One tip from our prep CranMa: set the table a few nights before. Chances are you eat dinner on the couch more nights than you'd like to admit anyway, and I'm going to take a shot and assume you're not eating your Seamless takeout on your finest of china. That being said, save yourself some time the day of by setting your table 1-2 days ahead of time.
Other useful prep tips for the day before:
  • Double, triple, quadruple check your lists to ensure that you have everything you need.
  • Buy last-minute perishable items like fresh produce, cold desserts, etc.
  • Pick up food ordered ahead of time, including your turkey if you ordered it fresh.
  • Go over your food preparation schedule and begin preparing sides & appetizers that can be reheated. Be sure you have enough refrigerator space to store everything you prepare in advance!
  • If brining the turkey, prepare brine and soak turkey in refrigerator overnight.
  • Bake pies or other desserts.

If your guests will be arriving while you're still preparing the meal, consider having a cocktail station equipped with the ingredients to make a signature drink of your choosing. This can be as simple as a pre-made sangria, or as elaborate as a moscow mule. Our cocktail CranMa kept it simple, yet festive, with this vodka-cranberry martini that was garnished with sugar coated Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries! It was delicious. (especially at 11AM on a Wednesday.)




My favorite part of the event was when we spoke about setting the scene. If you follow me on social media, it's no secret that I have a passion for home decor! There are so many creative ways to decorate your Thanksgiving Day table, and our decor CranMa had some awesome ideas using fresh cranberries to jazz up your space. These cranberry wraps to use as napkin rings or to place around candles are absolutely adorable, but my personal favorite was the flower arrangement filled with surprising elements that you wouldn't normally see in a bouquet. Consider adding fresh fruits and vegetables to not only add color, but to become a conversation starter for your guest to chat about while you're powering through those last 20 minutes of cook time!


Ocean Spray has some really great ideas up on their website, and you can view all of those here!


After learning all of these amazing tips from our CranMa's, we sat down for a Thanksgiving feast set up in a cranberry bog located in the middle of Rockefeller Center. If you recall, I also did this two years ago with Chef Curtis Stone, so being able to soak my feet in the bog again was so fun!


Plus, look how GORGEOUS the scene was!!! (not to mention how delicious the food was)



Are you hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year? If so -- Ocean Spray has set up an awesome #AskCranMa feature on their Facebook page, where you're able to chat with the Cranbot and have all your Thanksgiving Day questions answered!! How freaking cool is that?

Technology ya'll, technology.


So, whether you're hosting for the first time, or you've done this before, there's no better advice than the advice from our grandmothers. I learned so much from this event, and it helped to remind me of all the other tips and tricks I learned from my own grandmother. While I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year, I can't wait until the day comes that I do.



I'll be ready.

*thank you for sponsoring this blog post, Ocean Spray! All opinions are my own.

November 13, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Apple Cinnamon Protein Pancakes


Every now and again, there comes a point in which you utterly, totally, and completely outdo yourself. Sometimes this comes in the form of putting together the most boss betch outfit on the planet, killing that 2nd interview (obviously), and other times it comes in the form of making the most brolic pancakes that you've ever laid your eyes on.

Today we're talking about the former. 


I've been wanting to try my hand at protein pancakes for the longest time since Instagram basically assaults my face with them every turn that I make. I follow so many health & wellness Instagrammers, that my discovery page has basically turned into a billboard of what my brain screams at me to do more of everyday.

Drink more water.

Take more vitamins.

Go outside more.

Eat more pancakes. 

except not always in that order.


And, since I've been wanting to make them for the longest time, when I did finally make them, I was going to make them, ya feel me? I'm talking topped with baked apples, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, and alllllll the gaht damn fixings. Pancakes that make you feel like you're eating dessert instead of breakfast. Pancakes that you could technically eat for dessert instead of breakfast. Pancake that make you stop and say "wait, this ain't right."

But the beauty of it all is that they are alright. They are packed with protein, topped with fresh fruit, and great way to start your day with!

So, if you're feeling like you want to get in a few last ~*healthier*~ meals before you gorge your face out on Thanksgiving, well.... here you go.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Apple Cinnamon Protein Pancakes

1 1/2 cups protein pancake mix (I used flapjacks, apple cinnamon flavor)
3/4 cups water (or more if you prefer a thinner batter. I used about 1/2 a cup more)
1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs PB2 powered peanut butter
1 tbs water
chocolate syrup (I used sugar-free hershey's)
maple syrup

"baked" apples
1 small apple, skin on and cut into slices
1 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix 2 tbs powered peanut butter with 1 tbs water and stir until smooth. Set aside.

Combined pancake mix, 1/2 tbs cinnamon, 1/2 tbs brown sugar and 3/4 cup (or more) water until fully incorporated. Set aside for 3-4 minutes. While batter is sitting, mix sliced apples, 1 tsp brown sugar, and 1 1/2 tsps cinnamon in a microwavable safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Heat a lightly greased skillet on medium-low, and scoop in as much or as little batter per pancake as you'd like. I prefer silver-dollar style pancakes, and was able to yield 8 of them with these measurements. 

Cook on the first side for 3 minutes or until bubbles are no longer forming in the middle, then flip and cook for an additional minute or two.

Stack the pancakes on a plate, then top with hot apple slices, maple syrup, peanut butter, and chocolate sauce. Dig right the hell in and enjoy because these are just that good. 






November 09, 2017

Apple Pie Cake


Apple pie may be apart of my top 10 favorite things of all time, but you know what's even higher on that scale?

Cake. I f*cking love cake. I can't even keep it in my apartment because I love it that much, and therefore I would solely & exclusively consume cake and only cake for 4 days straight.

Just kidding. It wouldn't last 4 days.


More than that, I especially love this cake, because it combines two of my favorite things on this planet.

Pie & cake. Hence the title; apple pie cake.

Groundbreaking, I know.
 


I've been making this recipe for yearssssss, and it still remains one of the most requested by my family whenever I plan to make a dessert around the holidays. I like to describe it as a mashup between apple pie & coffee cake, as the baked cinnamon & brown sugar topping  adds that crunchy element that's reminiscent to one of my other favorite things on this planet: entenmann's coffee cake.

And you're a liar if you claim to not love a slice of good ol', old school entenmann's coffee cake.

I'm going to stop obsessing over cake now.


Apple Pie Cake

1 box of yellow bake mix (and all ingredients listed on box)
5 apples, sliced into apple slices
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice

topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened 

Preheat oven to 350. Combined all of the ingredients for the boxed cake mix and set aside. Combined apple slices, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a bowl and toss to coat. Make sure apple slices are covered and sugar is dissolved.

Combined the first three ingredients for the topping in a bowl, then slowly incorporate the slightly softened butter until you form a crumble.

Pour cake batter into a greased baking pan, then evenly top with apple slices. Sprinkle on the topping and then bake for 35-40 minutes. Your kitchen will smell amazing by now.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes then dig in!



November 02, 2017

My Experience Using FlatRate Moving To Move In With My Boyfriend


If you follow me on social media, you're probably aware that my boyfriend Patrick & I recently moved in together. I know what you're thinking; "wait, weren't you guys already living together?" Well -- for the most part, but the time finally came to stop wasting so much freaking money in nyc rent carve it in stone and bring both of our homes together to become one. That is.. me bringing my home to him, as we decided we would keep his apartment, and I would be giving mine up.

As you know, I moved into my own place (the first time without roommates, that is) just over a year ago, so the thought of packing up and moving again was absolutely daunting. In fact, part of me put off this move as long as I possibly could just because I didn't want to go through the motions of it all. Besides, when I moved a year ago, I only had a bedroom and a few kitchen and bathroom items to pack up. I was living in Midtown Manhattan with three roommates, so needless to say, I wasn't moving a great deal of items. This time, however, I needed to pack up an entire apartment. An entire 5-room space of odds, ends, and everything in between. And you know what I found out?

One accumulate a lot of shit over the course of 1 year.



I've preached about the universe many times on here before, and how I'm a big believer in timing and that everything happens for a reason. The same day that Patrick and I had our final serious conversation about the move, I received an email from a company called FlatRate Moving. They were interested in learning if I had plans to move anytime soon, and if so, would I be needing any assistance with the job. Can we say w e i r d? No, really, can we just freaking handle that for a sec? Not only did it reaffirm the notion that moving in together was the right decision, (seriously -- TIMING YA'LL) it also took 16,000 lbs of weight off my shoulders about who I was going to harass to help me with the move.

Last time I recruited my brothers in addition to my boyfriend, and that ended with me having to take them out for a $300 dinner in return.

No thanks,

(jk you guys were a great help love u)



After I told FlatRate about my situation, they walked me through all of my options and together we decided what type of service I would be needing based off of the amount of items I had to move. After a few emails hammering out the details, and countless amounts of me asking "are you sure you guys don't mind carrying 3 boxes filled with shoes", my move was confirmed and I was all set with an appointment with FlatRate Moving.

I'll be honest, at first I was nervous with having movers transport my stuff. Every time that I've moved in the past I either did it myself or recruited friends and family to help me out. Having strangers handle my ~*personal things*~ was a bit of a change for me, and I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. Would it be too much? Would they be needing my help moving things? Should I make sure a friend was there incase I needed an extra set of hands? Would they judge how many bottles of shampoo I not only owned, but how many of those bottles of shampoo I was actually planning to move?

Do they like dogs?
What's their favorite color?

WILL ALL OF MY BELONGS BREAK INTO SHAMBLES ??



All panic attacks aside, the day of the move couldn't have been easier. When I say everything went as smooth as could be, I really do mean it all went as smooth as could be. I had a 9AM appointment, however I was running a little late that morning due to the cable guy, and I freaked out thinking the two times would overlap. Cue the sad music, because in that moment, I felt like everything would end up being a disaster and my life would be ruined forever, obviously.

Well, after taking my meds (loljk but no forreall), I called up FlatRate Moving and they were more than happy to push my appointment back an hour. I was nervous that they wouldn't be able to accommodate the request seeng as I called just a little over an hour before my appointment was set to start, however they completely understood my situation, and promptly showed up at 10AM instead. Upon arrival, they immediately got to work. They asked me to point them in the direction of what needed to go where, what needed to be bubble-wrapped, strapped, secured, and they would handle it all from there. I was honestly floored, seeing as I totally expected to get my hands a little dirty.

Luckily, I did not have to lift a single finger besides the ones that I used to sip on the tea that I was drinking. The two men that were assigned my move were not only extremely professional, but super sweet and accommodating when I ended up having a couple of extra boxes to move than originally planned. The additional items were not a problem at all, and they were happy to move them in and out for me.

Which leads me to my next point of satisfactory: they handled my belongings with such care, you would think that they were moving their own precious possessions. I had a box filled with glass picture frames that I totally forgot to mark as fragile, but when I opened it up to unpack they looked like they hadn't even moved an inch! Seriously - I didn't cushion them in the slightest (aka I packed while watching Real Housewives of NJ) and there wasn't a single ding or scratch on any of them like I had anticipated. That one factor alone would be the reason why I never hesitate to hire FlatRate Moving again in the future.


Overall, my move took about 3 hours to:
- clean out an entire 1-bedroom apartment
- travel
- + unload the truck and get it all into the new place. 

Being that this is NYC, there isn't always parking right in front of your house or building (read; never), so even with taking that inconvenience into consideration, this was still a very time efficient move. I cleared my entire schedule thinking this would take 5-6 hours, so needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to still have time left in my day to get other things done.

Truthfully, I owe it all to FlatRate Moving and how well the movers came prepared. They were equipped with wheeled moving carts to stack and move boxes quickly, that way they could dedicate most of their time to moving the big stuff.  My old apartment had steps leading down to it, and the two men made sure that all of my furniture made it up those steps without issue.



I can't stress enough how satisfied I was (and still am) with the services that I received from FlatRate Moving. They took a really stressful situation and turned it into an easy, breezy, seamless transition, and I couldn't thank them enough!

That being said, I highly recommend FlatRate to anyone who is moving in the near future and is in the market for a moving company. Even if you were originally planning to do it yourself, I would suggest contacting FlatRate and discussing your options with them. They offer a ton of different types of services, from packing to installation, so there's surely something to accommodate your situation.

I also want to note that they offer storage services as well, and I myself will be using them in a couple of months to store some items. Moving 2 apartments into 1 apartment ultimately means you end up with a lot of doubles (double sets of pots/pans, double coffee tables, etc etc), so for the time being, I'll be utilizing their storage to store those sorts of things. (instead of hiding them in a closet when my family comes over)
--

In closing, you can quickly + easily book a move with FlatRate Moving by heading to this link. It isn't an affiliate link or any of that jazz, I just truly wanted to showcase a reliable company that deserves your time and $$monies$$.

Thank you for making my life just a little bit easier, FlatRate Moving. ILYFORLIFE.

October 30, 2017

Baaz, the new wave of social media.

*This post was sponsored by Baaz. All opinion stated in this article are my own based on my experience.*

Social media. It's no secret that it has seemingly taken over most of our lives, and while there is no sign of it going anywhere anytime soon, there *are* signs of it starting to take on change. Social media has, without a doubt, changed the way that we obtain news, save ideas, connect with friends, and stay in touch with family. While social media definitely has its pros, with so many different platforms for us to stay on top of, checking our notifications can become more of a chore than anything else. 

Introducing Baaz, a discovery and sharing platform that's currently making a splash in its beta phase, and I was given the chance to be among one of the first users to try it. While you may not have heard about Baaz here in the US just yet, the platform has been successfully rolled out across the globe, most specifically in Europe & the Middle East. 



So, what exactly is Baaz, you ask? Simple -- Baaz is a single platform where you have the capability to connect all of your social profiles to keep everything in one place. Check your Twitter feed, your Facebook feed, or even just browse trending news. Having 10 different tabs open may soon be a thing of the past after you set up your Baaz profile. Not only do you have the power of reading updates from multiple social media networks, but also you're actually able to shoot out posts to all of your profiles just by publishing it on Baaz first. Of course, you can pick and choose which posts go where, which is great if you like to keep a certain aesthetic to your feed. 


I'll be trying the platform and hosting a monthly Q&A on my Baaz profile, so I wanted to fill you all in on this new network and let you know where I'll be hanging around for the next couple of months! :)

I'm super excited to introduce Baaz to you, as I truly feel it can help us all share the news smarter, actually be able to see what the news that we want to see, not what social media wants us to. Stories are pulled from thousands of different sources, giving you multiple perspectives and opinions about the world’s leading trending topics. I know that for me, when I read an interesting article, I immediately research the topic more to see what else people are saying about it. Having all those perspectives and opinions in one place has been super helpful for me while browsing through Baaz.

I encourage you to take advantage of the beta phase and sign up right now before Baaz BOOMS. Besides, what's cooler than being one of the first people on a new platform? ;)

Sign up here | download the app here {ios + android}