Monday, December 27, 2010

Chez Carey! Apples & Cinnamon overnight crock pot oatmeal

 Okay, I know what you're thinking. Oatmeal is really NOT something I would normally think of as a culinary adventure. It's not glamorous or exciting. It's certainly not exotic or beautiful. That said, on the morning of a 2 foot blizzard in NYC, waking up to a piping hot, delicious-smelling, crock pot full of fresh apples & cinnamon oatmeal IS a really special treat, and a super healthy one at that!
Since I am a night owl, this works out perfectly for me. I put the ingredients in, turn it on around 1:30am and by the time I wake up, it has become simmering, golden wonderfulness. I am pretty particular about using high quality steel cut oats and McCanns is my current
favorite brand. I also like Silver Palette rough cut oats when I can't find McCanns, although it seems to have caught on and most grocery stores carry it now. This recipe, like most of mine, is merely a concept. Nothing strict about it. It actually takes a little practice to get the right ratio of liquid in there- my first attempt a few years ago turned out to be a burnt-to-a-crisp, stuck-on mess. Thus, the importance of spraying the inside of the crock pot generously with Pam before adding the ingredients. Here's the concept.
Mix together 1 cup of oats and a dash of salt and pour 2 cups of water over it. In the crock pot, mix together a peeled, diced apple with some brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour the water mixture over it and DO NOT MIX. Cook on low heat for 8-ish hours. If I wake up in the middle of the night I will check on it and sometimes add more water if it is looking too dry. When it's done, mix it all up and enjoy! I like to put a little maple syrup on top for extra sweetness. It's SO good!
Some variations I play around with are using milk and or half and half in place of some or all of the water. I also like to add in cut up dried mangos or cranberries, almonds, etc. It's a fun breakfast to experiment with, and I usually make enough for a few days. It does microwave very well.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tsuki Japanese Restaurant: 1410 1st Ave, NY, NY.

 It always seems to take me the longest time to try the restaurants that are closest to my apartment. I've walked past Tsuki a thousand times, but never went in because I have never seen one person in there. When I passed by today, I read a few of the reviews in the window and was prompted to search further online. Much to my surprise, almost all of the sites I checked out had averages of 4 stars and glowing reviews.
My favorite local sushi places are astronomically expensive, (Sushi of Gari and Sasabune) and loved for their excellent Omakase. (I hope to return to both at some point since my last visit was before I started

writing this blog, but the price tag means that they warrant special occasions.)
Tsuki, given the rave reviews is very fairly priced, and I actually had a little too much food for $23. I ordered the special sushi sampler and one piece of sushi tamago based on someone's praise-filled review of it.
The sampler was excellent. I'd say it's not quite as high quality fish as the two others I mentioned, but the preparation is respectable and the quality is much better than what I often refer to as run-of-the-mill sushi places. The marinated white and red tuna, fluke and salmon sushi were all delicious. The marinades complimented the fish and helped to tenderize it. I happened to really love the fluke with sea salt and yuzu, and fluke is not usually one of my preferences. The tuna roll was pretty good, but not the best.
 Tamago is one of my favorite Japanese treats- an egg omelette stuffed with rice, and when I took sushi classes, one of the unexpected pieces of information I walked away with is that one criteria you can judge a great sushi chef by is how well the tamago is made. Is should be pale yellow throughout with no brown. Soft and custardy, light but with a tofu-like firmness to it. You should be able to just barely make out the fine, parallel lines of the omelette's many folds. Unfortunately, this one was way too thick, too fluffy, brown-spots throughout and not dense enough. It was, however, the only thing I wasn't impressed with.
I agree with what so many other reviewers have said; this is not a 2-roll-deal kind of place, this is a place to branch out and get the pieces the chef suggests. Don't let the lack of atmosphere and crowd keep you away, it's worth a visit!
P.S. The delivery took less than 25 minutes. The order-taker phone person was courteous, clear and's the little things. Overall, pretty awesome.