so saturday the 31st of july i attended my co-worker's housewarming party in new jersey. i was very excited to attend seeing that i had heard about the endless amounts of food that would be produced and ingested on this day. after laying around hungover until about noon, i got myself together, took a shower and trekked into manhattan to catch the nj transit and make my first trip to new jersey (yes, my first! i had only driven through in my life and i finally got a taste of the glorious place that spoons the landmass of ny that i call home). empty stomach ready for action, my co-worker picked me up from the train station and we drove the cute, scenic route to his new home where he resides with his adorable wifey and equally adorable daughter (one of the happiest babies i've ever seen, and i dont really like babies but she was awesome). as soon as i arrived and was introduced to many a family member, i was handed a plate and told to help myself. as i looked around i realized i was surrounded by a sea of tin trays with the most amazing combination of aromas wafting into my nasal passages... i knew it was going to be a great party.
chicken curry, yummmm
first up, salmon with tomatoes and onions in a sea of some delicious sauce that made my taste buds perk up and prepare themselves for a big job ahead of them. the next food i tried, the curried chicken with rice and beans.
this chicken... let me tell you... best chicken curry i've ever had. ever. and i think the best i will ever have in my entire life... it was SO GOOD. the meat fell right off the bone and the sauce had the perfect amount of seasoning and went perfectly with the rice and black-eyed peas. yum. yumyumyum i wish i could eat this chicken all the time (and the leftovers, which i ate in a fury of hunger the next day was equally as impressive cold). also incredibly delicious were the jerk chicken wings. they were the perfect amount of spicy... just enough to burn a little bit but not too much that you couldn't even taste the flavor. these i also ate the next day leftover and cold and they were still fantastic. along with the jerk chicken were bbq chicken wings that were finger-lickin good. among these favorites there was lasagna, fried rice, mac n cheese (best i've ever had), blood pudding and endless amounts of food that was so consistently delicious i thought i'd died and gone to foodie heaven.
jerk chicken wings
for dessert there were many a treat, including baked apple crunchy pie, cheese danish-y things that were awesome, cheesecake brownies (favorite... brownies with cheesecake on top... how amazing does that sound??), pear tart and more.
all in all, i spent my day drinking jamaican beer and eating platefuls after platefuls of incredible food. good conversation was had, a little dancing and my stomach was constantly full and happy. to sum it up, it was a grand day overall and i will be telling people of the curried chicken for lifetimes to come.
last saturday, we had a big party. i was fully intending to do nothing the next day but rest my hungover body in my cave of a room... but my friend tempted me with a trip to the beach with his friends and i couldn't resist because i love the beach and adventures with new people.
far rockaway beach is a relatively long trip along the A train that goes over bridges and large bodies of water, etc. i like it
so, as soon as i got to the beach (i arrived before my friend and his friends) it started drizzling... so along with everyone else i took shelter under the board walk to let it pass by, but then it started thundering and lightning... so they told everyone to get off the sand. apparently sand attracts lightning... but the enormous metal light poles lining the boardwalk do not... right. so shortly after, friend and friends arrived and we decided to figure out where to drink the cooler (endearingly named the 'ice cube') of beer they had brought along. god bless the iphone, a taco place was suggested. we quickly finished our first beers and ventured into the town of rockaway beach in search of said taco place in the enjoyably chilly drizzle. thus, the day had been appropriately titled, Adventure Day.
so we get to beach 96th street and see a couple of awnings swarming with people! there's a cute little organic veggie stand on the corner. next to it is a cute little italian ice stand.. and right after that... Rockaway Taco. aka mexican heaven
We scope out the minimal, but just as enticing menu, written on various chalkboards in bright, cheerful colors. The second i see the word 'chorizo' i know i am meant to be eating this food. and then i see the prices and that just seals the deal!
i ordered a chorizo taco with guacamole ($3 or $4 w/ guac) and a black bean and cheese quesadilla ($3). while waiting for our food we hover outside the quaint little alleyway seating area to see if any space opens up, and it does, and we squeeze through everyone with good ole ice cube and park our booties down under the awning. because of the intimacy and distance from the street, we were able to crack open our brewskis and enjoy ourselves to the fullest extent. after names being called out, we indulge.
the chorizo taco was awesome... the meat was perfectly seasoned, topped with a generous amount of delicious guacamole and fresh cabbage and slices of radish. it was a bit messy, but in a good way and i was not at all worried about looking like a pig. my friend got the fish taco.. and the look on his face as he tasted it was the look of a five-year-old on christmas morning. apparently, it was the most incredible taco he's ever had. (and after more research post-adventure, i found out that the fish taco is the thing to get)
i didn't snap any pictures, solely because of the glorious food coma i was in atm, but here are some pics i snagged from the convenient interwebz.
on the left you have fish tacos, one without guac and one with, and the right is the chorizo taco. next time, (there will be a next time) i will most definitely be trying out the heavenly fish taco.
as for the black bean and cheese quesadilla, that was super awesome too. the cheese and beans were literally oozing out of the sides of the tortilla and it was soft and smooshy and so warm that my soaked and freezing body warmed up like i just took a shot of jim beam (the food might as well have been injected with booze it was that intoxicatingly amazing).
so after we finished and had a few more beers, my friend went back for another to try out the carnitas (which apparently wasn't as great but that's all i'll say) so that gave us a little more time to stay under the awning and drink a few more beers.
by the time we finished, the sun had come out, kind of, so we headed back to the beach. it was empty of course because the rain cleared everyone out, and there was a eerie hazy fog just settling while the sun was setting, it was really a very peaceful and amazing moment. so we drank some more beers and talked about relationships, strip clubs, football and many other things and then got busted by the parks people for drinking beers, so we decided to head over to the other side of the peninsula that is rockaway.
we eventually found a mcdonalds and decided it was a great idea to eat mcdonalds and finish the beers in the ice cube under the bridge while watching the sunset on the water. and it was a great idea. after that, we packed it in, headed back to the subway station and took the train back to our respective boroughs exhausted, but fulfilled, for it had been a wonderfully successful adventure day.
so, saturday night was one of the most highly anticipated nights in mine and my roommate's lives. it was our long awaited housewarming party and a celebration of her 22nd year of life on this earth. seeing that we are grown-ups now, and i have a steady source of income, i was able to plan and afford to make a ton of food for the celebration. some recipes were purely experimental and slightly imagined in my widdle head, but all in all, everything turned out delicious! here's a list of the food creations i made and i'll follow them up with some pictures and recipes!
Bruschetta with goat cheese
- Small package of goat cheese, plain
- Fresh cherry tomatoes
- Fresh basil
- Italian bread, lightly toasted (I used garlic toast I got pre-cut and -made at the supermarket)
- Balsamic vinagrette (I personally love Newman's own)
Spread a generous, but not too thick, layer of goat cheese on the slices of bread. (Optional: stick in the oven on 350˚ for 10-15minutes for the cheese to melt a little bit). Mash cherry tomatoes with the bottom of a jar, not to a pulp, but till its oozy and not super solid. Roll basil leaves together and chop on a diagonal into thin, stringy strips. Smoosh some smashed tomatoes onto the cheesy bread and top with balsamic vinagrette.
Potato Balls and Onion Dip
- Plain ole potatoes
- White onion
- 2-3 egg yolks
- plain breadcrumbs
- sour cream
- green onions
- white onion
- salt & pepper
Boil and mash potatoes. Saute garlic and white onion for potatoes, combine with mashed potatoes and add salt to taste. Line cookie sheet with tin foil, roll potato concoction into balls about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Brush tops with egg yolk and sprinkle with breadcrumb. Bake at 480˚ for 15 minutes or until browned.
For dip, combine 2 parts sour cream to 1 part mayo in a bowl. Saute chopped green onions and white onions until brown. Add to sour cream mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Dip the potato balls in the cream dip for maximum pleasure :)
Guacamole Taco Dip
- 6 avocados, ripe
- juice of 1 lime
- salsa (i used pre-made or you can make your own)
- sour cream
- large, pitted black olives
- queso de papa, shredded
Open, pit and mash avocados. Add lime juice, salsa, salt and pepper to taste (cilantro is a really big ingredient in guac, so feel free to add some, i personally dont like a lot of cilantro so i leave it out). Mix together in a bowl that is big enough so there is about 2 or 3 inches left on top. Add a layer of sour cream, then sprinkle a generous amount of chopped black olives and then another layer of sour cream. Add a plentiful dose of salsa, and then shred cheese over the top until its covered. That's it! Yum!
Chorizo Taco Triangles
(this was an experiment based on a vague memory of something similar from a delicious mexican restaurant, turned out fantastic!)
- tortillas (i used jalapeño cheddar and they were great!)
- refried beans
- shredded cheese (i just get the 'mexican mix' its like pepper jack and cheddar or something)
- chorizo (i use the spanish cured chorizo, but i'm sure the other kind is fine too, just crumbly)
Cut tortillas into triangles. Spread a thin layer of refried beans and then sprinkle with cheese. Slice chorizo in long, diagonal slices, aim for them to be about 2 inches in length. Top the tortilla/refried beans/cheese with slice of chorizo and stick in the oven on 350˚ for about 10-15 minutes. Watch for the cheese to get oozy and the chorizo to get a bit oily. Don't burn the tortillas!
(this is a weight watchers recipe a coworker gave me... came out delish)
- Medium to small sized shrimp
- wasabi paste mixed with mayo (i just used horseradish sauce, could not find wasabi for the life of me)
Slice the cucumber in 1/2 in. thick slices, add a blob of wasabi mayo. Put a slice of avocado, then top with a shrimp. Chop radish into tiny pieces to sprinkle on top. Simple and delicious!
Fresh Strawberry Cake
- for the cake I made a store-bought box of strawberry cake (make 2 cakes, i did 9in. rounds)
For the icing
- fresh strawberries
- 8oz. pkg of cream cheese
- 1/4 c. butter
- container of whipped cream icing
In a food processor, add chopped up strawberries and some sugar (about a teaspoon). Turn that baby on until you have a strawberry syrupy puree. In mixing bowl, add softened cream cheese and softened butter and mix until smooth. Add strawberry puree and icing. Mix together until smooth. Put one of the cakes on cake platter, plate or whatnot. Add a layer of icing on the top to be the filling. Slice up fresh strawberries into thin cross-sections and add a layer on top of icing. Put other cake on top and ice entirely. Slice more strawberries to decorate on top. Stick in the fridge so the icing hardens a bit, it will probably be a bit runny and sloppy, but it will get sturdy in the fridge. Slice up and top with some cool whip and enjoy!
So that's that for my first entry... next up... the best tacos of my life and a very soaked and sandy adventure day.