Monday, October 22, 2007

From East to Ouest

Fresh Lychees in ChinatownFresh lychees in Chinatown, after dim sum at Jing Fong.

So grad school may not prevent me from eating (as my disturbingly regular afternoon chocolate chip cookie break can attest), but it certainly prevents me from writing about it. In between chapters of the U.S. military's Counterinsurgency Manual and afternoons spent deriving the consumer and producer surplus, I've savored barstool dinners at Franny's and Bar Stuzzichini, both purveyors of rustic, nibbly Italian food and home to well-made aperitifs. I've also discovered 50-cent Ukrainian-grandmother-made varenyky in the East Village, sampled Jing Fong's dim sum, and found time to whip up a nutmeg-laced apple crisp. And of course, $3 pizza slices have found their way into my mouth on more than one late night walk home from the library.

Dinner at Bar Stuzzichini, New York CityDinner at Bar Stuzzichini--arancini (risotto balls stuffed with cheese), meatballs and eggplant involtini

My dining highlight of the past week, however, was a pre-econ midterm dinner at Ouest. Dinner at this proper spot helped remind me of my adult self, not the cramming in the library with vending machine snacks and drinking $2 Coors Light grad school self (to clarify, the beers are not consumed in the library, though that might help). J and I slipped into the bar, among the well-coiffed ladies and blue-blazered gents of the Upper West Side, and ordered comforting, fork-tender game dishes--pan roasted squab for him, roasted rabbit for me. In both dishes, the sides nearly outshone the meats, not a small feat. For every bite I snatched of his earthy duck liver risotto, he paid me back with a fork in my garlicky capellini studded with wild mushrooms.

The prices at Ouest aren't grad student friendly, but on the day before a big exam, I decided a treat was in order. Besides, all that vending machine food saves me plenty.

2315 Broadway
New York, NY 10024
between 83rd and 84th

Monday, October 01, 2007

Plum Flatbread, Roast Cod, and the Balance of Payments

So, if an American buys her plum flatbread with U.S. dollars from an Italian, she purchases an import while increasing her foreign liabilities. And if that Italian, he buys some fresh American cod with his lira? American exports increase, as do our foreign assets.

See--if I tie my foodblogging to economics? Then I can justify the time spent writing this post.

First, let me tell ya about plum flatbread. A few weeks ago, I discovered this late summer delicacy at Casellula Wine and Cheese, a tiny Hell's Kitchen joint. J was out of town, and I was distressed that I hadn't ventured below 96th Street in ages. Thumbing through New York Magazine's Cheap Eats, I noted this spot, figuring it was close enough to make it back home with plenty of study time left in the night.

The plum flatbread stole the show--so much so that I attempted to recreate it for friends at home the very next night. Toast some thin, hearty bread. Roast some plums in the oven for about 1/2 hour. Spread the plums on top of the bread, top with fresh ricotta and arugula tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. If you're not entertaining vegetarians, add some thin slices of prosciutto for extra decadence.

The lovely cod you see at the top of the post? It's all J. He's become the cook in the Sikorsky-Stewart household--as I slave over 800+ pages of reading a week, he chops and sautes with the best of them. He roasted this cod in the oven with green onions, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper and it was gone in about 5 minutes. Perhaps I'll never be "less busy" than he is again!