The Last Days of Spring Break…

30 Mar

Even though I knew the time had come to buckle down and get myself ready to go back to school, I couldn’t exactly stay out of the kitchen.  You’d think I would know myself enough by now to predict such behavior, but, alas, I had too much faith in my ability to buckle down and get out of the kitchen.  Never again will I trust my will power.

I cooked and ate for the final four days of my Spring break.

Sadly, though, in the midst of my cooking, I had to fast in preparation for an endoscopy.  What?  Fast?  Surely, not me?  Well, I had to fast.  Very unfortunate.  Very.

I wanted to eat, but out of the list of things I was allowed up until 7 AM the day of the procedure, I only really had chicken broth at the house.  What a breakfast!  Later, at the endoscopy center, a nurse told me I wasn’t allowed to cook or drink alcohol all day after the procedure.  I wanted to ask her, then, what she had in mind for my next 18 hours.  Instead, I mentally agreed to spare my liver and not drink but to cook anyway.  How harmful could cooking be?

It was fine.  I made a beautiful vanilla-bean and Cognac cheesecake topped with a thin layer of date puree.  It was fabulous!  And I didn’t pass out from anesthesia while making it, so ha: don’t tell me not to cook.

Later in the week, I continued to spend lots of time with food.  One day, I went to lunch in New York City with my sister, and we ate at L’Orange Bleu in SoHo.  It was not only adorable inside, with real-live-frenchass people running the place, but the food was also great.  I had a salad with Manchego croutons and figs, along with a small dish of really intense ratatouille.  My sister had a Moroccan chicken tagine dish, which was also delicious.

The day after that, I met up with a friend back in the city, but on this outing, the sole purpose was eating.  We covered a lot of ground in the city, from Greenwich Village to the Upper East Side.  We started with bagels at Murray’s. ate Vietnamese on the Lower East Side, and then hit Momofuku Milk Bar and Bakery (amazing red velvet cake ice cream.  What?).  Then, we stumbled upon a strange vegan bakery, and ventured to Clinton Street Bakery and Dessert Truck.  At this point, we did feel diabetes setting in.

So, we sought out Indian food at Mitali East!  After that, we grabbed all-you-can eat sushi at Yuka on the Upper East Side.  If you think it ends here, you have more reason than we did.  But I spotted Slice, a new pizza place, and wanted a piece.  The chickpea and curry sauce pizza slice was great, but what was even better was chasing it with fro’ yo’ from Pinkberry.  Even though I used to be a skeptic, I found Pinkberry’s chocolate frozen yogurt delicious, especially topped with mochi, cheesecake bites, and cinnamon streusel.

I guess the highlights of the day were the following dishes: a bran muffin from Clinton Bakery, epic soft serve from Momofuku, lamb vindaloo curry from Mitali East, the “Taste” pizza from Slice, and the frozen yogurt.  Even though everything was great, I remember those the most vividly.  They were knockouts.

The rest of my week was random.  One night, I made dinner for a family gathering: sunflower seed focaccia with figs; green and white asparagus, corn, and mushroom succotash; braised short ribs with olive, orange, and rosemary; and peach, rhubarb, and strawberry pie.

sunflower seed focaccia with figs

braised short ribs with olive, orange, and rosemary

asparagus, mushroom, and corn succotash

peach, rhubarb, and strawberry pie with lemon-almond ice cream

The next day, I experimented with molded chocolates.  I didn’t have cream for ganache, so I made a smoked paprika caramel and mixed in chocolate to achieve a nice filling.  They were not too shabby!

molded pimenton-caramel chocolates

Finally, before leaving home, I made sweet Passover kugel for my sister and I to take back to school during Passover and a coconut bunny cake for Easter.  I don’t know why, but I enjoy making my bunny cakes Cyclops-esque.  Maybe because my mom wishes they could have two eyes.  I find the Cyclops bunnies entertaining.  Don’t you?

Cylcops bunny cake!

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