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Brooklyn Eats: Buttermilk Channel

Location: Park Slope, Brooklyn

Cuisine: American, Comfort foods

Living in Brooklyn definitely has a lot of advantages. For starters, I am in the mecca of culinary artists and trendy pop-up coffee shops. I live just on the outskirts of Sunset Park and Park Slope, so I get the trifecta of amazing authentic restaurants. What inspires me most is that on every street, you can find yourself in a melting pot of cultures. Of course, there’s nothing like homemade food to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I cannot think of a better spot than Buttermilk Channel to give me all the fuzzy feels, and a full belly.

Buttermilk Channel is on Court Street, one of the most popular (and populated) streets in Downtown Brooklyn. It’s in the Gowanus area, and has some of the best natural lighting I’ve seen in a restaurant. If you want to risk going for brunch on the weekend, I’d advise to go early, as there will most certainly be a wait. This restaurant can and will get packed, fast, and for good reason. Their food is really delicious, and consistent. I went once for lunch, and a second for brunch, offering multiple opportunities to try various items on the menu, and I barely scratched the surface, so it looks like I’ll be going for a third time. Here’s what I’ve tried:

ABC Grilled Cheese: This was one badass grilled cheese sando. It was layered with bacon, apple, and cheddar cheese smothered together between two pieces of delicious bread. I also won’t complain about the side of bread and butter pickles. #win.

Buttermilk Biscuits: I mean, I don’t know what else to say other than DAMN. These biscuits (first of all are gigantic) were so flaky, moist, and tender at the same time. I want more. ASAP.

Scramble with Sausage, Peppers, and Onions: This was a game-time decision to order, and I am really glad I did. Eggs are a staple at brunch, but this was super delicious, packed with soft scrambled eggs, sauteed peppers and onions, and tender sausage. Plus, it came with a hash-brown. No complaints here.

Ricotta, Honey, and Walnut Toast: EXCUSE ME?! A girlfriend of mine ordered this and it was just heaven. I didn’t think this was going to indulge my tastebuds as much as it did, and now I am craving it. The fresh ricotta paired with local honey and walnuts was the perfect trio of flavors. Definitely getting this bad boy again.

Warm Cinnamon Bun: I can’t explain just how delectable this was. My friend ordered this and we shared it, I ate each bite with such pleasure, that I am sure I pulled a “When Harry Met Sally” moment whilst mid chew. Sorry peeps, this cinnamon bun is legit and is a must order.

I hope these pictures help show you just how great this spot truly is, and made you drool just a tad. Don’t worry, grab a hanky, blot your drool bubble, and head over to Buttermilk Channel asap. Grab a friend, sit at the bar if you need to (say hi to the bartender Lauren for me!) and enjoy one incredible meal.

Chicken Alfredo

If there’s one thing to know about me, it is that I am not much of a sauce person. I’m not one to order a pasta in a marinara sauce, or make a sauce (although I have a killer red sauce, or gravy, that I should make sometime soon). However, I am a lover of all things cream. I use cream in my coffee in the morning, and if I can make a sauce that incorporates cream (such as a tomato cream sauce) I’ll do it. I figured it was finally time I tried an alfredo sauce.

Alfredo, after speaking with a few colleagues today, is not high on the “Oooh, that’s what I’m craving” list. It tends to be very heavy and laden with sugar and additives. Unfortunately, for things to live on shelves, additives and artificial ingredients are required. What I love about cooking and creating is using fresh ingredients and quality brands. I’ll say time and time again, quality is what matters. I’d rather spend my whole paycheck on items that make me feel good, and brands that stand by their product every single time. To make this alfredo, I used fresh parmesan that I grated (by hand), grass-fed butter, grass-fed cream, sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper. I also added in garlic powder. Simple and quality ingredients to make one decadent and rich (and surprisingly not heavy) sauce.

Let’s talk about the chicken. I took organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs and cut them into smaller chunks. I seasoned with paprika, turmeric (hello anti-inflammatory benefits), sea salt, and garlic powder (I <3 garlic). I let the chicken sit for a while to marinade in the seasoning. The chicken turned a gorgeous golden color as it sat in the spices.

I heated a pan and added olive oil. Layering the chicken into the pan, I set the heat to medium and seared the chicken for several minutes on each side, then quickly tossed each piece around until each piece turned less pink. I poured in chicken bone broth (I love Kettle and Fire) and turned the heat to low. A while ago I purchased these chopped basil cubes by Dorot, and I wanted to use them up so I tossed two of them into the chicken as well. I covered the chicken and let simmer for 35-40 minutes on a low flame, stirring and turning the chicken to be sure it does not stick.

Once the chicken was done cooking, and the alfredo sauce finished thickening, I made the Banza pasta and tossed it altogether in a bowl. I cracked fresh pepper and dried rosemary on top to garnish (even though I should get comfortable using parsley or other garnishes) and it was so delicious. I’m quite proud of how far I’ve come with cooking, and hope you are able to enjoy this meal with family and friends, just like I did! NOMaste.

Shrimp Scampi

Finally, the weather is catching up to the changing seasons. April is upon us and while it started out rather dreary, it’s starting to grow warmer, days later, and sun shining stronger. A perfect example of this is getting sunburnt just sitting out in the sun for one hour. Literally, ONE hour. I digress. Part of my journey this week for fish week is to try out new recipes that I have been yearning to try, which obviously includes shrimp. We had a slight mishap with flounder (which went rancid way too quickly…) and so I resorted to shrimp a day early.

Shrimp is one of those proteins that I feared cooking with. I always get nervous about over-cooking it, or under-cooking so that it’s practically raw. This was my moment, to try and make shrimp that tastes really delicious in a sauce I know I can make with my eyes closed: Shrimp Scampi. The amount of butter, garlic, and lemon juice used for this recipe may sound like a lot, but in fact, with the shrimp on a low simmer in the scampi sauce, the results were perfect. Tender pieces of shrimp, cooked to perfection, with a side of broccoli rabe and on a bed of Banza rice (we all know my obsession with Banza. If you haven’t tried Banza yet, you can find it here!)

I started making this dish by defrosting shrimp in the sink as I went to work. I was actually very surprised to see that when I came back, the house didn’t smell like shrimp, which already meant I was winning. I rinsed the shrimp and decided to cut it into smaller pieces, I tossed the shrimp with salt and set it aside. In a large pan, I added two tablespoons of butter and layered the shrimp into the pan, heat medium. I let the shrimp sit for two minutes then flipped over, adding in chopped garlic.

I continued to cook the shrimp and toss with the garlic, butter, and added in two tablespoons of lemon juice. I lowered the flame to low heat and simmered the shrimp for another three to four minutes. Simultaneously, I made my Banza rice (cooked similarly to orzo). Once the shrimp were done, I took a scoop of the rice and plated the shrimp on top, and sprinkled fresh grated Parmesan cheese for finish. I must say, this was a home run. Round two, I will be sure to add some more green, like fresh basil or parsley. NOMaste 🙂

Shrimp Scampi

Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian, Seafood
Keyword butter, easy, garlic, italian, scampi, seafood, shrimp
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 15-20 medium Shrimp wild, cleaned, deveined and peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped, but not finely.
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup banza rice (or regular rice)

Instructions

  1. Start by cleaning shrimp and pat dry.  Cut shrimp into smaller bite size pieces and toss with salt.  Set aside

  2. Heat a large pan on medium heat, and add the butter to melt.  Place shrimp into the pan and sear for two minutes. Turn shrimp over and continue to cook for another two minutes.

  3. Add in the chopped garlic and lemon juice.  Turn heat to low and continue to cook the shrimp, tossing and flipping regularly.  Let simmer for five minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, prep Banza rice or regular rice as package indicates.  Take some of the scampi sauce and mix with the rice.  Layer shrimp on top of the rice and season with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Brooklyn Eats: Nostro Ristorante

Location: Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn

Cuisine: Napoli-style Italian food; rustic feel; fresh pasta

My husband and I got married in March of 2015. I am a teacher/special education coach and my husband is an accountant, therefore we don’t have many times to go away, let alone a lot vacation like a honeymoon. During this summer in particular, I embarked on a 5-week intensive for an administrative program called LEAP and met some of the most incredible humans that are still my close friends to this day. This only gave us a smaller window for our vacation, August. Where the hell were we going to go in August? Oh wait, Italy sounds like a good idea. We had the time of our lives: eating so much fresh pasta, pizza, drinking loads of vino rosso and enjoying the sights. Our love for Italian cuisine only grew from our 2 weeks of Italian bliss.

Tuscany, Florence

Two years later, our love of Italian food holds strong; it’s probably my go-to when cooking and creating recipes, as well as our order-in cuisine. We stumbled upon a restaurant maybe seven months after it opened, literally up the block from our apartment. We decided to give it a try after hearing raving reviews from our neighbors. We were immediately blown away. Our hearts were singing, our bellies dancing, and quickly became friends with the owner, Romena. Each table is served fresh focaccia bread as guests impatiently wait for their food to be served, and can take in the scenery of the beautiful pictures of Italy around the restaurant.

Since trying this restaurant in 2017, we have gone back more times than we can count, even more so when I “forget to take out chicken to make for dinner.” I have tried almost everything on the menu, and still have more to go. Of course, there are some staples and my favorite items that I’ll share here.

This calamari is some of the crispiest, most delicious serving I have ever had. Ever. Served with cocktail sauce and hot peppers, this is a must as an appetizer. Heck, order two.

Polipo, or Portuguese charred octopus. I must say, I was hesitant when I first ordered, but DAMN does this rock. Tender, juicy, and healthy!

Crostini Burrata: literally heaven on a serving board. Four slices of crostini smothered with pesto, roasted red peppers, topped with the most insanely tasteful burrata. Your taste buds will thank you.

Chicken parmesan: I know, this is nothing fancy; however, this chick parm is cooked to perfection. Tender, perfectly sauced, and oozing with cheese. Pair with pasta, sautéed kale, or with veggies. So. Many. Options.

Fettuccini Amore: Guys, no joke, I ate 3x slower when I had this dish. Squid ink fettuccini tossed with fresh lobster and shrimp, smothered in a pink cream sauce and garlic. MIND BLOWN!

For those who prefer lighter options, like myself 85% of the time, they have delicious vegetable sides, like this mixed veg. Seasonal and available vegetables sautéed in olive oil and garlic, presented in the most precious cup of awesomeness. This actually goes well with anything, so just order it because I say so.

Eggplant parmesan: You can never go wrong with an eggplant parm. Perfectly tender eggplant slices, layered with mozzarella and tomato sauce. It’s on another level. Fo sho.

Phew, now that I am officially starving again, BRB, about to go get me some amore and mixed veg. If you’re in Brooklyn, or even if you’re just looking for quality eats at affordable pricing (also, this place was originally BYOB, but does have wine available too), this is THE place to visit. Buon appetito!

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Rice

Since the beginning of the year, I have tried to be incredibly resourceful when it comes to leftover items in the fridge. I know there are instances where this is hard to do as some condiments or produce go rancid and can’t be salvaged. However, when these items are in their “sweet spot” (just before going bad but still smells okay) I love making things to use the rest of it up! Tonight’s dinner was a perfect example: using last bits of heavy cream and parmesan to make a creamy parmesan dinner with chicken and rice.

Instead of using plain water to boil the rice, I opted for bone broth because if I’m going to have starch, I may as well use bone broth (actually, chicken mushroom bone broth) for the added benefit #amirite? I seasoned the chicken first with some salt and pepper and added it to a hot pan with EVOO. This cooked until both sides were not pink. Afterwards I seasoned with garlic powder, minced garlic, oregano, and fresh thyme sprigs.

Once the chicken cooked through, I poured in the rice and chicken bone broth. This cooked for a total of 18 minutes, but halfway through, I added 3/4 cup water because I noticed that the rice absorbed most of the liquid already. At around 3 minutes before the chicken/rice finished cooking, I added in the heavy cream and parmesan (grated) and stirred together.

Serve with more fresh thyme, a dollop of sour cream or like we did, a side of charred broccoli, which can be found here! This was a dish that I had seen done before, but wanted to make it my own. Here is this version, and damn is it tasty! NOMaste 🙂

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Rice

Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword cheesy, Chicken, garlic, Hearty, parmesan, quick meals, rice
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Chicken breasts Diced
  • 1/5 cups Rice white
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup Heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 pint Chicken stock or bone broth
  • 1 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil extra virgin
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried Oregano
  • Fresh thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and add in diced pieces of chicken on medium heat.  Let sear on each side until each piece is no longer pink.  

  2. Add in seasonings (garlic, minced garlic, oregano, thyme) and stir.

  3. Pour in rice and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer for 18 minutes on low flame.

  4. Halfway through, check and see if the rice may absorb a lot of the liquid; add in 3/4 cup water and stir.  Continue to simmer with lid on.

  5. Three minutes before timer is up, add in heavy cream/half n half and parmesan cheese.  Stir to combine ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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