“The Way to a Man’s Heart is Through His Stomach”

Ladies, listen up. If you haven’t heard the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” then you may be in trouble.  Well, you may not be doomed, but trust me- growing up with 3 brothers, I know men love to eat! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love to eat? Based on my first 2 posts, clearly I DO…so please read on. 

Lets get back on topic…my mom has drilled this philosophy into my head since the day I could pick up a fork. I’ll be celebrating my parent’s 36th wedding anniversary this weekend, and I can’t help but remember her story about their first date. She prepared a classic Ravitz family meal, that I’ve masterd by the way…a roasted chicken stuffed with rice (I will be posting about this one day). How cute, they were making out and forgot to check on the chicken roasting (I mean burning) in the oven. Luckily, she had 36 years to impress him through other meals. Present day, I’ve been with my boyfriend for 4 years and he comes from a religious Jewish family. Note to self, “I will master the art of Jewish cooking.” 

First up, a classic European dish: Stuffed Cabbage. Stuffed cabbage is ground meat rolled up into boiled cabbage leaves.  I like to think of them as “little packages of love.”  Once you roll up your packages, they steam in a sweet and sour sauce that can be created in multitude of ways. My  mom has a secret combination that is so simple and delicious. It’s simply delicious! Here are my “packages of love” steaming away in their sauce: recipe to follow. 

My photography will get better, I promise! But they do look delish.

Ingredients:

Packages of love:

2 heads of white cabbage

2 lbs of ground beef

2 eggs

½ cup of breadcrumbs

¼ cup of milk

½ tablespoon salt

½ tablespoon pepper

½ tablespoon garlic powder

½ tablespoon onion powder

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

1 14 oz can jelly cranberry sauce (I prefer Ocean Spray)

1 12 oz jar chili sauce

Directions:

Remove the center core of each head of cabbage. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add one head of cabbage. Check on the cabbage after 10 minutes, the outer layers should be soft enough to start pulling off. Pull off one leaf at a time and set aside. The inner leaves will need to boil longer before you can remove them, so keep checking on the cabbage while you prepare the rest of the meal.

 Meanwhile, dice the 2nd cabbage head so you have shredded leaves. Set aside.

  In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Mix well and form into balls. I make about 10 meatballs with 2 lbs of meat, but you can make them as big or as small as you please. Make sure you have enough boiled cabbage leaves per ball and once you do, discard the cabbage and water from the pot.

 Combine the jelly cranberry sauce and jar of chili sauce in the same pot over very low heat. This is crucial because if the heat is too high, your sauce will burn. Once the cranberry has melted, add the shredded cabbage leaves and cover. Cabbage is filled with moisture, so steaming the leaves in the sauce will create water. This is a good thing! Let the sauce and cabbage steam for about 10 minutes, or until the cabbage begins to soften.

 While the cabbage is cooking, begin preparing the packages of love. Place one meatball in the center and fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage so the meatball is tightly packed inside. Place the packages of love, seam side down in the big pot and cover (still on very low heat). Allow the packages to simmer for 1 hour and then serve.

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Hester Street Fair…I finally try Luke’s Lobster

Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous day in NYC, so I wound up at the Hester Street Fair on the Lower East side. I could go to a street fair everyday- they just never seem to get old! What’s better than shopping and eating all within a block radius?!? I can’t seem to think of anything I would rather be doing. There were a ton of food options from pulled pork sandwiches, tacos and empanadas, edamame dumplings, burgers, gigantic pickles and mac n’ cheese… just to name a few. I’m sure you could imagine just how high my calorie intake for the day was. Given the title of this post, I chose to go with Luke Lobster. I have been dying to try a lobster roll for as long as I can remember.

Boy, was I happy! I would not have been surprised if their shipment from Maine arrived earlier that morning with a box labeled, “Kayla this is what you have been waiting for.” Served chilled on top of a split bun, this succulent piece of meat had a hint of lemon butter and secret spices that was simply perfection. As I took the very first bite I realized what all the hype about Luke’s Lobster was! The deliciousness that embodies their famous lobster roll should be tried by all. The only downfall was the size. As you can see from the picture, I could have easily devoured this in 2 bites. I wanted to savor every last piece, so I somehow managed to eat it in 6 bites. Ok, I lied, it was actually 4 bites… but 4 of the greatest bites of lobster roll I have ever had the pleasure of eating! As far as recommendations go this should be ranked high on your list of things to try. 🙂

There’s one other item worth mentioning from the Hester Street Fair. I saw a bunch of people walking around with something like this:

 

What we have here is shaved ice dessert drizzled with condensed milk. Surrounding the ice is mango sorbet, strawberries, caramel popcorn, and kiwi. It may sound like you can’t go wrong… but as I slowly started to dip into this creation, I couldn’t help but think about the condensed milk poured over the shaved ice. It was completely foreign to me, and blew my mind. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to eat it! Do you take a bite of everything at once or individually? Do you decide your favorites and eat those together? There must be a simpler way to eat this…    As it turned out, there’s not. I tried many/ if not all options but in the end, this was not my cup of tea.

Update: When I got home later that day, I was so intrigued about this odd dessert, that I did a simple online search. What I learned is, that this is an authentic Taiwanese dessert. It may be their standard  after dinner treat, but I think I’ll stick with a good ol’ fashion ice cream Sundae with a cherry on top for now!

Miami Spice: Symcha’s Review

Like New York’s Restaurant Week, Miami has a similar promotion called Miami Spice, which is actually the whole month of August. It gives us food lovers a great opportunity to get fancied up and treat ourselves.

This past weekend a few of us decided to try Symcha’s. Pronounced Sim-kkchhkkka’s – you know, how a Jewish person would say it. Which is exactly who the owner is – Mr. Symcha, a kind attentive Jewish restauranteur from Venezuela.

Anywho, here is the rundown on the grub in a fancy slideshow.

Symcha’s Homepage

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Seafood Ceviche
Served on top of a Himalayan Salt Block – ok let’s get real, that block is definitely not from the Himalayas but I appreciate the creativity.

Zinfandel Braised Oxtail
Served with Butter Lettuce Wraps, Pickled Cabbage, and Celery Pepper Slaw. Very delicious, but left my hands covered in oxtail juice (wet nap please?)

Center Cut Beef Skirt Steak
Rustic Fingerling Smashed Potatoes, Sauteed Haricoverts, Thyme Demi Sauce
Tasty and I learned a new word – “Haricoverts” which is a type of green bean.

Pan Seared Florida Black Grouper
This was my dish. Had a beautiful Purple Potato Puree with Grilled Asparagus and a Leek Saffron Bisque Sauce

Death By Chocolate
Chocolate Brownie, Caramel, Dark & Milk Chocolate Oreo Fudge, Cardomon Whipped Cream and Toasted Coconut finished with a Minted Cream Sauce and Fresh Berries

The dessert is the money maker, you blow this you blow the whole meal. To me, a dessert called Death By Chocolate should have layers and layers of chocolate. And although it was a sweet morsel of goodness, I was in no way near death caused by chocolate.

Tiramisu
My boyfriend had the Tiramisu which I can’t say much about because it was tasteless compared to my coconut-mint-oreo-death-explosion.