It is just possible that all of us here in upper New England are going to have to start pretending that it is spring. One day it is…the next day we have freezing rain…then sleet…then I’m planting my daffodil bulbs and eyeing the garden boxes…then back to a few inches of snow…rinse and repeat.
In between these cycles of weather patterns, we’ve been cooking up some delicious dishes at home in New Hampshire, moving slowly forward with room renovations (upstairs now), and managing to slip into NYC for pretend spring-like trips.
I’ve been trying out a meal kit delivery service based out of Concord, New Hampshire called Local Baskit. I might not have given it a second glance except that I’ve been so impressed with the meal kit delivery service that my daughter is using in NYC. I sort of thought that it was a “NYC thing” but after receiving weekly photos of her meal kits and finished results, I was impressed and intrigued.
Local Baskit is organizing regional producers of spices, produce, fruit, meats, and seafood for their menus. The kits can either be mailed to your home address in New Hampshire or picked up at one of their locations. Fortunately for me, there is a pick up location at our local coffee shop, Schoodacs. Lucky right? Meal kit pick up…and a latté on the side!
So far, each meal that I’ve chosen is prepared with minimal fuss and is delicious! I love that I am not wasting unwanted ingredients and throwing them out, package waste around here has dramatically lessened, often there are leftovers, and many of the packaging items that are delivered I can return the next week when I pick up my next order. I also feel freed up from roaming around collecting many different ingredients for one dish. Everything I need comes fresh and in just the right measurements.
Now, all they need over there at Local Baskit is to put in their menu rotation…desserts!
Keeping the feeders going as the poor little birds seem to be freezing outside. Also keeping a wary out for any bears that are waking up from their winter slumber!
A Local Baskit recipe delivery: Grilled Shrimp on a bed of Shirataki Noodles with a Peanut Ginger Sesame Sauce
Local Baskit meal delivery: Chicken (locally sourced) Tortilla Soup spiced with Cumin and Chili Powder and topped with crispy Corn Tortillas
Home renovations continue with the upstairs laundry room currently in progress. New William Morris wallpaper has arrived and…I’m in love. Now to get busy and get it hang on the wall!
Local Baskit Meal Delivery Kit: Lemon Cumin Grilled Chicken (locally sourced) over a spinach bed of Wheat Berries, Walnuts, and dried cherries
Tandoori Spiced Salmon (locally sourced) marinated in a flavored Yogurt (locally sourced) Marinade, topped with a fresh Raita and accompanied by a coconut milk infused rice
Simple Rustic Gruyère, Cream, Egg, and Broccoli Quiche
Bottom Left: 2 finished bathrooms now…2 more to go. Ripping out old tile soon!
Local Baskit Meal Kit Delivery: Salty Prosciutto Wrapped Swordfish (locally sourced) Steaks served over a bed of colorful and flavorful citrus and fennel salad
First taste of spring…no snow on the ground for about 2 full days and then covered up again! I did get the daffodil bulbs in the ground and some of the beds cleaned up
New York City Day 1 Favorites: Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to LeCoucou
I’ve grouped the week in NYC into how I broke up the time there. I am always looking for recommendations from other bloggers so I thought I would offer up my own favorite things to do in the big apple. A not to miss is the Sakura Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. The last 2 weeks of April and perhaps the first 2 weeks of May are prime viewing times. On their website, there is an updated diagram of the gardens so you can see how many of the cherry trees are blooming. Spend an entire morning here after a sumptuous breakfast with a good dose of coffee because the Brooklyn Museum is right up the block, too.
I have fallen in love with the Soho restaurant called Le Coucou. This airy, romantic, artistic spot is just as lovely as the menu reads. Wandering the streets around Canal Street is easy to get to with all of the subway stops along the way. On the same block is the dreamy breakfast/lunch/shopping spot called La Mercerie. Just as lovely as Le Coucou, spending long mornings or lazy afternoon indulging in something yummy here is a sublime way to soak up the artistic feel of Soho neighborhood.
Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s Sakura Festival – last 2 weeks of April to see the cherry blossoms in bloom
Le Coucou NYC – delightful artistic restaurant for lunch or dinner
Le Mercerie – wonderful breakfast or lunch spot
Soapology NYC – an array of oils, soaps, candles, and bubble baths
Le Coucou – sublime… gorgeously decorated french restaurant in the Soho section of NYC. Could be my favorite find so far in all of Manhattan
La Mercerie – delightful artistic breakfast/lunch spot in the Soho neighborhood. You can shop for home goods there too. All shops and restaurants in Manhattan should take decor lessons from this lovely establishment
La Mercerie – also sells beautiful home goods and furniture
Soapology – a sweet little spot with feminine soaps, oils, bubble baths, and candles. For a moment, I felt like I stepped into a Parisian shop
New York City Day 2 Favorites: Times Square
I stayed in the Times Square area of the city for this trip as plans were last minute and many of our favorites were sold out. I cannot say positive things about our hotel but I was unexpectedly surprised at the good eats that I found wandering all over Times Square. There is no need to get sucked into the tourist trap eateries and pay high prices for meals in this area of the city where tripping over Broadway studios is easy. Here are some of the places that I tried out that I thought were delicious, affordably priced, and had fun atmospheres:
Le Pain Quotidien – scattered all over NYC and serving delicious french lunches with hearth cooked breads. A wonderful breakfast spot to be fueled for the day. I bought a package of their special “Speculoos” cookies to bring home to New Hampshire. They are the perfect blend of spices in a hard crunchy cookie…perfect with afternoon coffee.
The Little Beet – produced sources from all over the region and brought together so you can pick and choose exactly how you want your salad. Terrific lunch spot for a filling and fresh salad option
Grand Central Gourmet Market – European style gourmet shopping market with stalls filled with all sorts of goodness. A great place to pick and choose prepared food and watch the frenzy of Grand Central NYC. My favorite spot to pick up little packages of fig bars from Eli Zabar’s Farm to Table shop. I’ve been enjoying these fig bars since I was a college student at NYU!!
Katagiri NYC – spot for everything Japanese food related including those yummy onigiri triangle seaweed wrapped “sandwiches” so popular in Tokyo. My young adult kids would love this because when we lived in Japan, they would get so excited to pick out their favorite onigiris when we arrived on the shingansen to Tokyo.
Upper Left: So many really good spots in the Time Square area to pop into specialty gourmet delis and pick up a container of freshly prepared meal options for a delicious and easy lunch/dinner option.
Top Left: Keep an eye out for The Little Beet. The salad combos there a fabulous and much of the produce is sourced from the farms listed on that map to the right.
Bottom Right: Truth be told, I haven’t tried any of the food from the MANY food carts all over the Times Square area. I see lots of people crowded around them. The aromas wafting all over the streets smell wonderful. Next time…I’d love to try a gyro
Le Pain Quotidien – french bread/sandwich/quiche, salad restaurant found all over NYC… very tasty and comfortable…nice options for resting awhile while eating good food.
New York City Day #3:
The High Line – a public park/walking trail built over the city’s aging railway line set above the city streets. A great walk here starts from 34 st and can drop you off at Chelsea Market. Believe me, after seeing Chelsea Market, you’ll be glad for the exercise!
Chelsea Market – A MUST SEE for all foodies! My favorite stops inside the indoor market:
The Lobster Place – everything fresh seafood…chowders, oysters, sushi, seafood. I had an oyster poboy here and it was not bad but they need to leave off the generous handful of fried hot peppers on top! Ouch! Cajuns don’t put that on top of poboy sandwiches! Tsk…tsk…
Mok Bar – Korean Ramen Kitchen…the dumplings are so delicious
Num Pang Sandwich Shop – had their coconut marinated shrimp Bahn Mi sandwich and it was excellent…the bread is fabulous. Would definitely order this again!
Seed & Mill – large wheels of various flavored halva. I stop here every time and bring back a bar of rose oil halva and cardamom halva. They will give a little sample to try if you’ve never had halva before.
A Taste Of Marrakesh – because I love everything Moroccan, especially my new bedazzled slippers that I am wearing up here in the New Hampshire…er…farmhouse.
Black Barn Shop & Café – dare you not to find something for your home that you cannot resist. The café in the back is entirely decorated with items from the shop and is a wonderful spot to escape from the bustle of the market.
Empire Cake – it’s not in Chelsea Market…it is across the street in front of Google’s office building. But this bakery had THE BEST “Black & White” cookies I’ve eaten yet in NYC…I should know…I ate two and wanted more
The Whitney Museum of American Art – after the Chelsea Market, get back on The High Line walkway and it drops you off right at The Whitney
Sweet, Quiet, Cozy…Chelsea Neighborhood
The Chelsea Market…a MUST VISIT when in NYC
The Lobster Place…if you are a seafood lover like me…it is fabulous!
- 1 tsp fennel seed (optional...I thought it was too much fennel)
- 2 TBPS red wine vinegar
- ½ cup kalamata olves
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1 orange
- fresh thyme
- fresh basil
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 1½ cups cherry tomatoes
- anchovy filets (to taste)
- olive oil
- coarse salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 swordfish steaks
- 1 package proscuitto
- Preheat oven to 374˚F. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and place in the oven while it preheats. Lay out a piece of parchment paper on a work surface. Lay out 2 slices of prosciutto on the parchment overlapping slightly to create a surface about the same width as the swordfish. Repeat with remaining slices of prosciutto. Place a swordfish steak on each pair of prosciutto slices and season with salt and pepper. Rinse thyme sprigs and pat dry, then place on the swordfish steaks. Fold the pieces of prosciutto around the swordfish, pressing to adhere. Carefully remove pre-heated baking sheet from oven and place prosciutto seam side of the prosciutto down. Place in oven to roast until 140˚F (use an oven thermometer pushed into thick part of fish. Set it to a timer on the counter top so as not to overcook) Fish will cook more once you take it out of the oven. Flip fish carefully with tongs or a metal spatula after about 7 minutes.
- Citrus & Fennel Salad
- While fish roasts, use a paring knife to peel the oranges over a small bowl (to catch the juices). Remove citrus slices with the knife, dropping them into the bowl with the juice and leaving behind the white pith. Add the raisins to the oranges so they plump while preparing other ingredients. Chop the Kalamata olives. Mince the anchovey filets. Rinse, pat dry, and very thinly slice the basil. Trim the stalks from the fennel bulbs. Reserve fronds for garnish, then peel, core, and very thinly slice the bulbs. Add the fennel to the bowl as well as the olives, anchovies, basil, vinegar, 4 TBS olive oil, and fennel seeds. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir gently to mix.
- Rinse and dry arugula. Rinse and pat dry cherry tomatoes, halve if large. In a bowl toss together arugula and tomatoes. Add a few spoonfuls of the orange juice/vinegar/oil mixture from the bowl of oranges, raisins, and fennel, and toss it with the arugula mixture. Divide arugula mixture between salad bowls.
- Using a slotted spoon, divide citrus/fennel mixture between serving plates. Top with a swordfish steak and garnish with fennel fronds.