69 posts categorized "Food + Drink"

June 29, 2015

Breakfast recipe: Chia seed fruit pudding


My eyes perk up whenever I see the possibility of using a new highly nutritious seed in our diet. This time it’s chia seeds. Good for the body and brain, these teeny tiny seeds pack in the fiber, loads of nutrients, protein, calcium, antioxidants and omega-3s.


One of their qualities is they absorb up to 10x their weight in water, so when left to sit in a liquid, they fatten up. I recently soaked chia seeds in almond milk that turned them into the consistency of tapioca. It takes 20 minutes to soak, and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days. Give it a good stir, add a dollop of honey or agave and top with fresh, cut fruit. It’s pretty filling and fun to eat because what’s not fun about chowing down a pudding-like meal? Also, a little goes a long way, so while my photos show a cup filled to the brim, this could actually be two meals. 


¼ cup chia seeds

1 cup almond milk

honey or agave

fresh fruit 


- Soak chia seeds in almond milk for at least 20 minutes. The mixture can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to five days. I put it in a Tupperware container and dole it out during the week. 

- Add a dollop of honey or agave. Depending on how sweet you want it, you probably don’t need a lot with the almond milk and fruit already in the mix.

- Top it with your choice of cut fruit. I like doing kiwi, mango and blueberries! 


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May 7, 2014

A hot pot meal


Chinese hot pot is a very grounding experience.  Not dissimilar to fondue, I love the communal aspect of cooking a meal this way.  There's something very intimate about everyone's food cooking in one shared pot, much more so than a routine meal at the dinner table.  Everyone is armed with a mesh wire spoon to dip and retrieve food.  The body language at the table is different; we are all faced inward toward the pot in the middle of the table.  You also don’t get the sense that anyone is distracted with anything else but cooking, scooping, eating.  Hot pot is actually pretty basic and primitive: a pot of boiling liquid, tossing in raw food, letting it cook a few minutes, scooping it out and eating it. There's no fancy sautéing here!

You can cook anything in this simmering metal vessel.  Our menu consisted of: sliced beef, sliced chicken, mushrooms, bok choy, watercress, clams, vermicelli, wontons, scallops, tofu and cabbage.  Our liquid base was low-sodium chicken broth with two homemade dipping sauces: homemade chili oil, and another concoction, which mixed together water, fish sauce, lime juice, a little sugar, chili pepper and garlic.  The proportion I used was a 3:1 water-to-fish sauce ratio; I also added in a couple of teaspoons of sesame oil to add a nutty flavor.

So healthy, yummy and gives new meaning to “dining together.”

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April 9, 2014

One cake, Many toppings


Isn’t this cake brilliant?  I found it on a lovely blog called, Griottes.  It’s in French, so I can’t be 100% certain of the entire backstory even with Google translate.  But I think you can see and understood the idea, and I had to share the visual.

It makes perfect sense to make a cake like this, don’t you agree?  Not everyone likes fruit as a topping, and those who like fruit would never touch nuts or chocolate.  This cake is for everyone!  It also seems she used aluminum foil to create separate wedges for each piece but I’m not sure why.  The slices are different sizes, maybe to accommodate the different topping sizes?  If you speak French or have a theory, do share!  In any case, perhaps you’ll see this cake and it will give you beaucoup idées!

{Photo via Griottes}

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April 7, 2014

Recipes: from messy to organized


At the moment here is my recipe system: dog-eared magazines, random tear sheets, yellowed newspaper clippings, notebooks, Post-Its tagging various cooking periodicals and a Word document with “must try” recipe links.  I really can’t even call it a system.  It’s more like a rag-tag, lazybone process, which entails pleas of “Where did I see that recipe last” and “Oh, I hope I find it.” 



I found a free app called ReciFoto, which I downloaded onto my iPhone.  You take a photo of all of your recipes, and the app collects them for you.  Imagine all of grandma’s handwritten ingredients and grease-smudged magazine pages digitized forever, and all in one place.  The app describes itself as the Instagram for recipes, which is to say it’s a running stream of your recipe photos.


Here’s a rundown of the app’s basic functions:

{ } “My recipes”: take photos of your collection, keep them private or make them public for other ReciFoto members to Like, comment and share
{ } “Public recipe list”: scroll through other members’ recipes
{ } Search box and categories help narrow down options

Note: there isn’t a way to categorize your own recipes but if you click in your profile, you’ll find the number of recipes you’ve photographed.  Tap to see a list of your titled recipes, which you can scroll through.

All in all, ReciFoto is a basic organization app without distracting bells and whistles, and it’s a very good start from where I stand.

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April 2, 2014

Brunch at Schapiro's


Brunch at Schapiro’s on the Lower East Side was such a great experience.  We sat in one of their large rounded banquettes, and treated ourselves to a well-deserved late lunch and a glass of wine.  This was one of the most comfortable restaurants I’ve been in.  The high ceilings and natural light flooding in was perfect for a Sunday meal.  The interior design was like a candy shop; you can’t stop looking.  Everything you see comes from salvaged scraps and artifacts from historic Lower East Side establishments.  The antique mirrors and patterned wallpaper found tucked in various niches were pretty charming.  

As for the menu, if you have a hankering for French toast, their bananas foster version with ricotta will take care of that, not to mention make a fine dessert substitute.  By the time I took my last bite, I pretty much reached my threshold on the sweet ‘o meter.  I had heard about their spinach and mushroom side, which was simple, and totally hit the spot. 







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March 31, 2014

Smorgasburg & Brooklyn Flea Indoors











In the winter months, Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg share a space indoors in Williamsburg.  Flea market and food under one roof spells a very good day!  This is the last weekend indoors, and in a few weeks, both will head their separate ways, and find their summer homes outdoors.

Held in an empty warehouse, it offered a microcosm of what you normally experience during the summer months.  At long last, I tried my first Ramen Burger.  I have no idea how this food vendor escaped me all this time but I finally got to see what all the talk was about.  It was hilarious eating a burger with ramen noodles fashioned into round sturdy discs as buns.  I LOVE ramen, so this was super fun.  I was also impressed with the custom paper wrap that was stitched in a curved shape to round seamlessly around the burger and catch the drippings.

Inglorivs Kaburayvs had a very epicurious item on their menu called Brooklyn Tamago, which is a steamed egg in a jar.  The glass jar touch was so well done.   The line to ordering Palenque Homemade Colombian Food’s arepas was fast but the cooking took a little more time.  In the meantime, I had fun snapping some shots of the ladies making them.  While David ate his arepa, I started scouting around for my dessert choice.  I zoomed in on For the Love of Pie pretty quickly.  Chocolate in a pecan and pumpkin mini pie?!  Yes, alright. 

After we ate, we walked into the Brooklyn Flea section but basically spent the rest of our time at Manny’s Collectibles going through crates and crates of used vinyl records.  We walked away with Madonna’s first album, which I had been salivating to find, Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ and 2-3 selections of Van Halen, including their first release. 

Looking forward to the first week of April to eat and flea out of doors!

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March 19, 2014

I Try It: Chocolate Kiwi Lollipops



I love this week’s “I Try It!”  This recipe of chocolate-covered kiwi lollipops spoke to me on several levels: kiwi {healthy and yum}, chocolate-covered anything {uh, yum}, lollipops {kiwis can be turned into lollipops, so brilliant}.  I looked forward to skewering the fruit into lollies, melting the chocolate using the pot-in-pan method, and peeling the kiwis.  I found a godsend for this last one!  I’ve spent many a time mangling my kiwis trying to peel them with a peeler.  This way is so smart! 

I tried the recipe, and it was really fun to make.  What a fantastic treat.

Chocolate-covered Kiwi Lollipops


  • 4-6 large kiwis
  • 1 cup dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • lollipop sticks


  • Slice kiwis into ½” slices, and insert lollipop sticks into each one
  • Line a tray with wax or parchment paper
  • Freeze at least 4 hours up to 48 hours
  • Combine chocolate and coconut oil to melt.  Use a double-boiler or I used a pot sitting in a pan filled with water.  Make sure the water doesn’t boil, and add small amounts of chips as you go.
  • Dip each frozen kiwi into the melted chocolate.  If you hold it for a few seconds, the chocolate will harden pretty quickly. 
  • Serve immediately or re-freeze. 




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March 17, 2014

Nikki Berry: Baking in Brooklyn


I met Nikki Berry on Instagram.  It’s still a phenomenon to me how we become entwined with other people’s lives, who we may never have met or where our day-to-day never allows our paths to cross, and yet, we are so familiar with their lives.  

Three things stood out for me with Nikki: first, her daughter is a ballerina, and I personally find the inside-the-life of a ballerina fascinating to follow; second, her baked goods look like they came off a machine assembly line, which they did not because she hand bakes them herself.  There’s something so realistic and surreal about Nikki’s work, and it has this vibrant 3-D quality to them.  



Take her silhouette cookies, for instance, I want to hang it on my wall {I’m not joking}, and the nutcracker dress looks ready to dress a doll.  It was the third reason, which I found so admirable that I needed to dig a little deeper.

TISLstyle: You started out as an interior designer and then became a baker connoisseur.  Do tell! 

Nikki Berry: I will always consider myself an interior designer.  I worked hard for the degree and board certification!  It's one of those professions that you don't have to be active in to still be a part of.  At this point in my life I just don't fit the standard office hours that interior design requires but I can bake all night long and that's pretty much what I do.  

TISLstyle: How did you begin?

Nikki: I put my interior design career on hold four years ago, when I had my second child, and we decided that our family life functioned better if I stayed home for a while.  Making beautiful cakes and parties for my daughter and friends had already been a passion by then but now I had a little more time to be better at it, so they took the place of my design projects.

TISLstyle: How did you get from 'just ok' to 'pretty fantastic?'

Nikki: In the beginning, I really only had a handful of magazines and a few pioneer baking sites to refer too for advice and inspiration.  Then all of a sudden after years of being okay at covering fondant cakes, I finally watched enough tutorials, and read enough tips to figure out how to be really good at it.  I had never even tried to make royal icing-decorated cookies until two years ago, then one day I just decided I'm going to master this.

So, the old adage, 'Hard work and perseverance pays off' comes true!  Check out Nikki’s yummy baked goods on her blog, Nikkiikkin, as well as her shop on Etsy.


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March 12, 2014

A Stroll to South Street Seaport










Walking along the East River underneath the highway underpass is a favorite weekend activity when the weather is nice.  The Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges are spectacular so close up.  Head downtown, and the road leads you to the South Street Seaport, which is currently closed for a major revitalization.  In addition to the usual bustling of the Seaport, this particular area located in the Financial District has boutique restaurants, and wine and coffee shops.  This neighborhood has also been hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, and reconstruction continues.  One restaurant reopened under a new name and less one co-owner serving Italian food under the name, Barbalu.  Here’s the menu.  Some of my favorite design details included the horizontal gray driftwood, the skylights, spigots fashioned into light fixtures and nail spikes turned into coat hooks.  


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February 26, 2014

Glass Water Bottles


Who: bkr

What: Glass water bottle with silicone sleeve

Why: 1. Glass doesn’t alter taste, contains no chemicals and is recyclable.  2. The silicone sleeve protects, is dishwasher safe and recyclable.

Style conscious: Paris + minimalism + chic modern = upticks in your cool quotient

Philanthropy: bkr is a statement against the disposable world

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