Crispy, Plump, and Juicy Fried Oysters

19 Feb oystersdrying

Is there anything better than a pipping hot fried oyster? It’s sweet and briney juices just burst in your mouth after you bite through it’s crispy and buttery envelope, all contrasted by the lemony, tangy taste of homemade tarter sauce–Mmm mmm mmm!

I love fried oysters so much that I asked Santa to bring me some for Christmas–and lucky me, his elf Jenna (my wonderful sister-in-law) delivered! (this tells you how behind I am on my blog posts!)

Anyway, these oysters were so delicious they really were little, pipping hot Christmas miracles. If you love fried oysters too, here’s how to create your own little fried Christmas miracles:

Ingredients for Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Remoulade:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tspn Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tspn minced garlic
  • 1/2 tspn anchovy paste
  • 1 tbspn Worcester sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 1 7.5 oz can of roasted red peppers
  • salt and pepper

Check the seafood counter at your local grocery store for freshly shucked oysters by the pint. Jenna found these ones at Costco.

Ingredients for fried oysters:

  • 1 can of Wondra flour (or another brand of very fine flour)
  • Cayenne powder
  • Paprika powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 pints of freshly shucked Oysters (Jenna used Willapoint–for some great info on Oyster varieties I recommend checking out the Oysterpedia iPhone app from one of my favorite restaurants, Mermaid Inn)

Directions for Red Pepper Remoulade:

  • Separate the yolks and whites of 2 eggs and, in a large mixing bowl add the 2 yolks to 1 tspn of Dijon mustard.
  • While whisking the yolks and mustard vigorously, slowly drizzle in about  1 cup of olive oil.  After 2-3 minutes of whisking the mixture will emulsify into a mayo.  It will be thick, tight, and pasty.

Tip: to keep your bowl stationary, use a dish towl to create a "nest" for your mixing bowl that will anchor it while you whisk.

  •  Zest 2 lemons and add the zest to the mayo, then cut the lemons in half and add the juice of the lemons to the mayo as well. This will both loosen up the sauce, so it gets to the right dipping consistency, and add a nice tangy flavor.
  • Chop and mince 3-4 garlic cloves until you have about 1 tspn of minced garlic. Stir the minced garlic, and 1/2 tspn of anchovy paste, into the mixture.
  • Add 1 tbspn of Worcester sauce (or to taste) and 6 shots of Tabasco sauce (or to taste) to the mixture.

Shhh--Worcester sauce is Jenna's secret ingredient--it gives the remoulade a deeper savory flavor.

  • Taste the mixture, then add salt and pepper to taste. The consistency at this point will be that of an aioli.
  • Open 1 7.5 oz can of roasted red peppers, chop and mince them. Add them to the sauce.

Tip: IIf the sauce is too thin for your liking after adding the roasted red peppers, you can add some sour cream or mayo to thicken it up.

Ok, that’s the sauce! Now for the oysters…

Directions for making fried oysters:

  • First, pour in 2 quarts of peanut oil into a deep frier (or pot on the stove) and begin to heat. I like using peanut oil for frying because it has a high smoking point (the temperature to which an oil can be heated before it smokes and discolors—indications of decomposition) which means that it won’t absorb or transfer unsavory flavors into your meal.
  • Then, create the breading mixture by pouring enough Wondra flour into a glass baking dish to coat the oysters, about 3-4 cups.
  • Season your flour by adding salt and freshly cracked pepper, as well as a few dashes of cayenne and paprika powder.
  • Take your 2 pints of freshly shucked oysters and drain some of the liquid off (fun fact–oyster “liquid” is caused oyster liquer). Then, place your oysters into the flour mixture, coat, and toss.

toss your oysters in your flour mixture until they are evenly coated

  • Once your oil has reached 350 degrees F, you’re ready to fry! Before you begin, you may want to prepare a plate with paper towel on it to receive the fried oysters.
  • One at a time, shake any extra flour off of your coated oysters (to keep your oil fresh you want to make sure that the oyster is evenly coated, but there is no extra breading). Then, slip them into the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the frier (that way the temp of the oil will stay stable and the oysters will cook quickly and evenly).
    Once the oysters are fried, let them rest for a few seconds on a paper towel, to drain off any additional oil. You’ll know they’re done when they crisp up and turn a nice, golden brown. Enjoy!

Fall 2011 Fashion and Accessory Alert: Peter Pan Collars

6 Sep featured image peter pan collars

In versions ranging from oversized, prim, embellished, and even detachable, Peter Pan collars are popping up everywhere this fall. For a precious, good-girl look, style yours peeking out from a cute little cardi. Wear one embellished with beads, sequins, and jewels to go glam. Or, pair with black (see below) to give this darling detail a bit of an edge.

Peter Pan collars turned up all over the Fall 2011 runways. Here, versions from DKNY (right), Giambattista Valli (center), and Louis Vuitton. Source: WireImage

Here are a few of our favorite Peter Pan options available this fall! Hope you enjoy!

What could be more ladylike than this Alice + Olivia blouse, which pairs a Peter Pan collar with a peplum skirt:


We love how the volume of the peplum skirt perfectly balances the on-trend and oversized Peter Pan collar. Both these details make the piece over-the-top feminine. Finish with a metallic skinny belt (the belt is not included with the top) for a decidedly modern yet dainty look. The blouse is available at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman for $198.

Replace your go-to black t-shirt with this Oasis top to add some sparkle to your wardrobe this fall:


At $64, this top will cost a little more than your basic black tee, but we think the versatility it will bring to your wardrobe is worth the extra cash. For example, you can wear it with black cigarette jeans for a more casual day-time look, or pair it with a flirty skirt and opaque black tights for a polished evening ensemble; the beaded Peter Pan collar will add that perfect pop of glamor to any look.

Speaking of versatility, a detachable Peter Pan collar is a great way to embrace this trend and incorporate it into your wardrobe without spending a lot of money.There are lots of beautiful and affordable options available on Etsy, including this lovely piece with purple sequined wings, $24, from artist IWillFly:

Another one we love (especially as styled here, with nautical stripes) is this black lace collar, $20 USD, from UK artist luminia:

Now, if you want to go in the opposite direction, and drop a ton of cash for a detachable Peter Pan accessory, Lanvin, Isaac Mizrahi, and Louis Vuitton all sent dazzling versions down the runway–but our favorite was this dreamy diamante style Chanel debuted for Resort 2012:

Sigh…a girl can dream, right?

Finally, we love the pointed Peter Pan collar in this cream and black dress from ASOS:


The sharper collar execution and sexy black mesh panels balance the soft color, pleated skirt and ladylike silhouette very nicely; what you end up with is a very sweet dress with an irresistible edge. Originally $82, this dress is now on sale for $45.

Lobster Roll “Research”: Best Lobster Roll in NYC

13 Jul Luke's lobster roll head on view

Trusty and I have some VIPs coming to town next week, and to adequately prepare for their visit we’ve been doing some lobster roll “research.” Our attempt to share the best lobster roll in NYC with our out-of-town gourmets led us to Grand Central Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station and Luke’s Lobster Shack’s new location on the Upper West Side.

First up was Grand Central Oyster Bar’s Lobster Roll Lunch:

Lobster Roll Lunch at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station

For $24 this lunch includes a giant lobster roll with two sides of sweet potato chips and coleslaw. If you’re a fan of the old school lobster roll (this approach tends to favor shredded lobster meat instead of big hunks, the lobster salad pays homage to Helman’s Classic Mayo, and it’s served room temp rather than chilled) than this is the roll for you.  The price is a little steep, but the serving size is generous (Trusty and I attempted to split it and still had left overs) and, what you’re paying for in part is the atmosphere. With it’s red and white checked table cloths, vaulted tile ceiling, dim lighting and no-nonsense wait staff, the dining room feels as though it’s frozen in the 1960′s. But it’s actually filled with the hustle and bustle of Grand Central terminal–you’ll see business men and women indulging in a cocktail at lunch, some tourists taking a break from being on their feet, and, appropriately, some old school New Yorkers who look like they dine there everyday. So, bring your wallet and your appetite and expect to enjoy a creamy, delicious roll as well as some excellent people-watching.

Our next stop was Luke’s Lobster on 426 Amsterdam (between 80th and 81st).

Luke's Lobster Roll

Luke’s serves their rolls Maine style, which is chilled with a swipe of mayo, a sprinkle of lemon butter, and a dash of seasoned salt (though you can order your roll without any of these, if you want). The other major characteristic of the roll is that it features large, meaty hunks of lobster, rather than a shredded lobster salad. Trusty and I agreed we preferred this approach, but I understand that this is a matter of personal preference.  I didn’t really go for the seasoned salt–for me, a good lobster roll is all about the lobster, and when it’s nice and fresh it has its own succulent flavor and sweetness that had to fight against the savory and salty seasoning to come through. However, Luke’s scored big points for chilling their lobster meat–not only does this help lock in the flavor of the meat, but it provides for a great contrast between the chilled lobster and the toasted bun. The other competitive advantage for Luke’s was their price; for $15 their roll was just as filling and much more affordable.

So what’s the verdict on the Best Lobster Roll in New York City? So far Luke’s and Red Hook’s lobster rolls are in the lead, but stay tuned as we complete our “research”–after all, this kind of project requires a thorough approach!

Lobster Rolls, Tacos, Doughnuts, (and Ukeleles!) at the Brooklyn Flea…Oh My!

10 Jul Brooklyn flea hibiscus doughnut

My Trusty Sidekick and I headed to the Brooklyn Flea Market yesterday to support a new friend, Barry, of Great Plains Handmade Instruments. During the week Barry is an amazing teacher, and on the weekends he makes ukeleles, other instruments, and beautiful odds and ends–often out of salvaged materials like old cigar boxes.


We were  blown away by Barry’s booth and by all the other vendors there–from hand carved furniture to vintage dresses, sunglasses, and shoes to hand painted pottery.  Best of all was the food! We feasted on heaping lobster rolls, succulent braised beef tacos, and intensely flavored doughnuts. Here are the highlights:

Lobster Roll from The Red Hook Lobster Pound

These lobster rolls from The Red Hook Lobster Pound were hands-down my favorite part of the day. Overflowing with giant hunks of fresh, sweet lobster meat that was nestled in a lightly toasted bun and barely dressed with lemon, mayo, and green onion, this is my kind of lobster roll! Just looking at the picture I’m beginning to drool. At $16, it was the most expensive food item we could find at the Flea, but with all that meat we thought it was a great value. I fully admit that I’ll be stalking their Big Red Lobster Food Truck for the rest of the summer.

Braised Beef Taco from Chonchos Tacos

Trusty raved about the well-seasoned, tender braised beef in this taco from the Chonchos Tacos stand, which was $4. Similar to Red Hook’s lobster roll, which made the lobster meat the star,  the braised beef in this taco didn’t have to compete with much–just a traditional presentation of onions and cilantro.  And with all the flavor in the meat itself, all it needed was a little bit of hot sauce!

The talented guys of Porchetta

As soon as we entered the flea, our dog Sam took us straight to Porchetta’s stand where the guys were nice enough to offer her a little sample of their amazing roasted pork. I wish I got a better picture of their delicious sandwich:

Porchetta's slow cooked roasted pork sandwich

The sandwich, $10, features “pork three ways”–fatty belly, crispy skin, lean loin–all roasted with garlic, sage, rosemary and wild fennel pollen.  Meltingly soft and juicy, it was packed with flavor. While the lobster roll may have been the highlight of my day, this was the highlight of Sam’s.  She tried to talk us into setting up permanent camp underneath Porchetta’s table!

To beat the heat, we indulged in some crisp, cold, handmade sodas from Brooklyn Soda Works.  Formed in 2010, Brooklyn Soda Works is a labor of love by a young couple–an artist and a chemist–who make artisanal sodas that feature fresh, unconventional flavors like “Strawberry and Pink Peppercorn,” “Apple Ginger,” and “Dried Lemon, Juniper, and Hops.”

At the Flea we sampled two new flavors, “Raspberry Shiso,” and “Cucumber Sea Salt” :

The Cucumber Sea Salt was really surprising–it was especially thirst-quenching, and full of delicious cucumber flavor. The Raspberry soda, which was mixed with Shiso, a delicious Asian herb that can only be described as part mint-part basil, was also incredible.  The best part of both sodas was that there was hardly any sugar–they were truly refreshing and intensely flavorful. I was won over as a fan, and am eager to try more from Brooklyn Soda Works!

To finish off our trip to the Flea we treated ourselves to doughnuts from Bedford bakery Dough.

Dough's heavenly smelling booth

After our recent visit to the Doughnut Plant, the bar was set high.  But, Dough delivered. We tried a couple of flavors, including Chocolate Earl Gray, Blood Orange, and Hibiscus. My favorite was the Chocolate Earl Gray:

The Chocolate Earl Gray doughnut is INSANE.

The dough was soft and fluffy and the chocolate earl gray glaze was amazingly good–fragrant, flavorful, unusual, and not too sweet. (It got me excited to try this recipe to see how the flavor combination works in other sweet treats.) The Blood Orange flavor was another big hit:

Blood Orange doughnut

The sweet and tangy blood orange glaze was spectacular. Again, not too sweet, but it had a really concentrated blood orange flavor.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip to the Brooklyn Flea! Can’t wait to be back again!


Maybe the Only Good Reason for this Hot and Humid Summer Weather

8 Jul

Dear Readers, I hope you’re staying cool during this particularly hot, muggy stretch of summer!

I wanted to share this photo with you, of a New Yorker in Union Square this morning creating a marriage proposal with beautiful, brightly colored bags of sand.

Sand Art Proposal

It occurred to me that on a windy, or even breezy day, this wouldn’t be possible–the sand would completely blow away.

Lindsey, wherever you are, we hope you say YES. This is may be the only good reason for this hot and humid summer weather!

Birthday Treat at the Doughnut Plant

26 Jun doughnut plant blueberry before bite

The Doughnut Plant is no ordinary bakery. For starters, their hours are “6:30 AM-UNTIL DOUGHNUTS RUN OUT.” Famous for making doughnuts “the new cupcake” in New York, the Doughnut Plant has revitalized the art of homemade doughnuts with their creative, gourmet, and seasonal flavors. Case in point: the Crème Brûlée doughnut, one of the signature delicacies that put DP on the map.  The doughnut is hand-piped full of rich, vanilla cream, then topped with shiny, crackling, sugar that’s toasted with a chef’s blowtorched, just like an individual serving of the doughnut’s namesake dessert.

The famous chalkboard that's chalk full of DP's seasonal offerings.

Besides drawing attention for their immaginative flavors, Doughnut Plant has also earned accolades for their innovative preparation. Specifically, DP makes heavenly, trans-fat free doughnuts, going against the doughnut dogma that hydrogenated oils are absolutely essential to producing a light and airy doughnut.

The Doughnut Tray (all caps required) at the Doughnut Plant's tiny counter.

For my Trusty Sidekick’s birthday, we  ventured down to the Doughnut Plant (located at 379 Grand Street (Essex Street) on the Lower East Side) with a few friends to check out these claims for ourselves. And at $2.75/doughnut, we were able to try lots of flavors for not a lot of dough!

Trusty insisted on ordering the classic glazed doughnut (in order to establish a “baseline”). We also had to try one of DP’s signature square-shaped raspberry jelly-filled doughnuts. A Valrhona Chocolate doughnut and a Blueberry doughnut, two of DP’s current seasonal offerings, rounded out our order.

Blueberry and Glazed

The light, soft texture of each doughnut completely blew me away. It was as though cotton candy and a doughnut got together and had a baby doughnut–each bite literally melted in my mouth. And the taste of the dough itself is perfect–subtly sweet, but not overdone.

The sign of a well made doughnut: a soft and pillowy center.

The jelly-filled doughnut had a generous serving of home-made raspberry jelly, and the filling itself was packed with the sweet, slightly tart flavor of raspberries. The jelly was so intense and dark that Trusty and I wondered if maybe it was a mixture of both red and black raspberries?


The Blueberry was a big hit–the glaze was full of fresh, sweet blueberries that gave the doughnut great flavor.

Valrhona chocolate doughnut

The other doughnut that came out on top was the Valrhona Chocolate. I’ve never tried Valrhona chocolate truffles, but this doughnut made me want to! The flavor of the thick chocolate glaze was rich and intense–this was not your ordinary chocolate-glazed doughnut.

Can’t wait to go back and try more flavors SOON!

Get Kate Middleton’s Fairytale Wedding Gown for Less

29 Apr royal-balcony3__1270219cl-f

Kate Middleton–excuse me–Her Royal Highness Catherine, Duchess of Wales, exceeded every expectation this morning as she wed her Prince Charming, William. Designers around the world are scrambling to debut knock-offs and spin-off and “inspired-by” gowns aimed at replicating the genius of Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton. While they work at a breathless pace, we wanted to feature a few gowns already available that offer the same Fairy Tale look as Kate’s.

This Oscar de la Renta gown, from the designer’s Spring 2011 collection, echos the classic style of Princess Grace that Kate emulated:

Sources say that Catherine, who worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress, wanted to combine Princess Grace’s traditional, classic style with the modernity and artistic flair that Alexander McQueen is known for.  You can easily see the influence of Grace’s gown in Kate’s and the regal Oscar de la Renta dress:


This Vera Wang gown from her White Collection for David’s Bridal
also takes a nod to Princess Grace’s dress with it’s classic lace overlay and three-quarter length sleeves:

Wang brings her own signature style to the timeless design with an airy ebony bow that emphasizes the bride’s narrow waist and adds a touch of whimsey and romance. The best part about this gown–it’s only $1,300!

For a similar look with a bit more modern sex appeal, consider this “Arugia” gown from Elie Saab’s 2011 Pronovias collection:

Saab’s creation plays homeage to Grace’s gown with it’s embroidered lace, but, like Kate’s dress, captures a more modern allure with it’s v-neckline.

These are only a few of the Kate Middleton look-alike gowns available at the moment. And stay tuned–over the next 24 hours expect to find direct knock-offs flooding the market! In the meantime, want a better look at Kate’s gown? Check out Fashionista’s suite of pictures–they’ve got photos of the Royal Bride and her dress from every angle.

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