Last Thursday evening I went to the Grand Opening of La Boite in Hell’s Kitchen with Mastiha Shop NY owner Artemis Kohas. Lior Sercarz is the chef behind the boutique/gallery space, where he bakes his delectable biscuits, French for “cookies” (La Boite a Biscuits), and mixes his spice mixes (La Boite a Epice). His collection of biscuits change seasonally, and are developed in collaboration with a different artist each time. This Fall/Winter season they reflect the “Domestic Fables” of Colombian artist Marcela Cardenas. Sercarz chooses the term “biscuit”, as opposed to cookies for his creations, because of its more broad terminology. If you expect a regular American cookie, you will be surprised. If you expect something unique, interesting, and delicious you will not be disappointed.
The event was wonderful, complete with champagne and samples of the biscuits for all being passed around. La Boite a Biscuit has a sibling company of spice blends, La Boite a Epices, which was also present at the opening. Earlier that day I had picked up the Ana spice blend of sesame, sumac, and rose at a specialty food shop in the East Village. Cookie tins and spice mixes adorned the room, and Cardenas’ paintings decorated the walls. It was an interesting and exciting atmosphere where art met food, both visually and gastronomically. Although I loved all of the biscuits, my favorite was the Snow Cloud, a small Mexican wedding style cookie with a date filling in the middle. The name said it all, because it literally felt like a snow cloud in my mouth. I even overheard girls next to me rejoice when the waitress brought them around their way for the second time. The biscuit tins make excellent gifts for the holidays, and can be ordered by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
I wanted to write a quick entry just sending all of our fans a Happy Thanksgiving. We didn't post any Thanksgiving recipes this year, but we hope you have spent time cooking with your families and have carried on traditions from your collective pasts. Spending time together with your loved ones around a table is of the most important things in life, and remember to take time to be present at your holiday gatherings this season, starting today. Of course, I wanted to remind you that we have great leftover recipes, the favorite being White Turkey Chilli, which uses robust white pepper and cannelini beans for a healthy, hearty, and easy to make stew: http://www.kitchencaravan.com/recipe/white-turkey-chilli-cannellini-beans-white-pepperAnother favorite is our Mediterranean style Leek and Eggplant Noodle Casserole, which uses left turkey and Greek Mastiha spice. If you don't have mastiha, it is not a big deal- you will still love the dish. http://www.kitchencaravan.com/recipe/leek-eggplant-pasta-casserole. The most important thing is to relax and enjoy your meal. And don't forget . . . no Blackberries/iPhones at the table!
Blintzes were one of my favorite foods as a child. Growing up in Pittsburgh there were diners all over the place that served them, then we moved to Oregon and suddenly there was not a blintz to be found. Last week I made them for the first time. I was in New Mexico and in a southwestern mood so I made the outside with half blue corn meal and half regular flour. For the filling I blended cottage cheese with a little bit of sugar, vanilla and lemon zest. They certainly weren't the blintzes of my childhood, but they were tasty nonetheless.
Sophia's Blintz Notes:
Emma and I had been talking about blintzes earlier this Fall, so I was excited that she chose it as our Twice is Nice. I made a basic recipe that I found online, and just cut it in half since it was onl I who would be eating them. I had quince compote and syrup, so mine were quince flavored blintzes. I found a fresh farmers cheese at the Union Square Farmer's Market at Tonjest Dairy.
Mine were a little greasy, and I had to pat them down with paper towels to absorb the excess butter. I also didn't sweeten the farmer's cheese, since the quince compote and syrup are quite sweet themselves. They were very tasty, but I think that I like going to restaurants and having them served to me instead. I also think you must dust them with powdered sugar in order for them to look nice. I didn't have that either. Maybe Kitchen Caravan has to develop our own Blintz recipe?
I spotted this recipe in Food and Wine not too long ago. As an avid lover of Mediterranean dips and meze, it easily grabbed my attention. For some reason celery root had escaped my mind for the past couple of years. I am quite fond of this Fall root vegetable, which can be eaten in a myriad of ways, cooked or raw. I bought the celery root at the farmers market and had sliced almonds in the cupboard. The result was a rich, creamy dip with a slight nutty flavor. Celery root has a reminiscent taste of artichoke, and is easy to pair with steaks. I had my dad pick up lamb kebabs, and we ate this with black hummus, and an eggplant pomegranate dip. It turned into a huge meze feast. I will make this again for sure, but I am also curious to try skordalia with sunchokes and other root veggies this Fall.
I was really excited when Sophia suggested a skordalia variation... I love skordalia, my boyfriend makes it for me all the time (we eat it with beets). I had never heard of putting almonds in it, I've only ever had it with potatoes and garlic... unfortunately Iam going to have to wait a little longer to try skordalia with almonds because that was the change I had to make to this recipe. I was staying at my friends' house and we only had an immersion blender, which I didn't think could handle the nuts, so it was just garlic and celery root. Really tasty though!