All Posts By rmehta

Pretty in Pink: Valentine’s Day Brunch

by in Recipes, February 8th, 2011
Smoked Salmon
Smoked salmon on a pink hot salt plate makes for a pretty Valentine's Day presentation.

Every Valentine’s Day I try to make an elaborate dessert for my sweetheart, but this year I have been invited to a Ladies’ Valentine’s Day brunch. Instead of bringing chocolate love, I am going to take a savory approach to the food, with beautiful bubblies alongside for sipping.

I am making Blinis with Crème Fraiche and Smoked Salmon from the elegant brunch master, Ina Garten. This petite platter will includes my favorite Norwegian smoked salmon from the local fish market, a dollop of crème fraiche, cucumbers and a green scallion or dill garnish. To dress up the salmon I plan to serve  it on a pink hot salt plate creating a very pretty-in-pink Valentine’s Day presentation that will surely impress the ladies.

A few dazzling daytime sparklers I’m considering that’ll pair well with the foods are Tyler’s classic Cranberry Champagne Cocktails and Giada’s prosecco Bellinis.

What are you making for Valentine’s Day?

—Reena Mehta

Game Day Main: Pittsburgh Cheese Steak

by in Recipes, February 1st, 2011
Cheese Steak
Grill up meaty sandwiches for your big game bash, like this Pittsburgh Cheese Steak for Steelers fans.

Will the Green Bay Packers or the Pittsburgh Steelers steal Super Bowl 2011 away this year? I’m rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers and for good luck I am going to make ferocious Pittsburgh Cheese Steaks for the big game day!

The preferred meat for this recipe is a boneless rib-eye however if you prefer a thinner cut, a strip loin will also work well (although I would suggest popping the strip loin into the freezer for about 30-45 minutes before slicing so it’s easier to cut into super thin strips before grilling). The entire rib-eye can be cooked on an indoor or outdoor grill and then sliced after it has rested for 10-15 minutes.

So what makes a Cheese Steak Pittsburgh-style? It differs from the traditional Philly cheese steak because the toppings include crisp coleslaw, grilled potato wedges and tangy tomato relish. It’s a whole meal in a bun, all the so-called sides piled high. The sweet and sour coleslaw adds just the right amount of bite to cut through the rich meat and cheese, just like the Steelers are going to cut through the Packers!

Of course, for traditionalists (or non-Steelers fans) a great recipe to try is Bobby Flay’s Philly Cheese Steak. This hearty hoagie includes the classic provolone cheese sauce, sauteed onions, mushrooms and mixed peppers and could easily be served without meat for your vegetarian friends. No matter who you are rooting for either of these sandwiches will keep you warm from the recent snowmaggedon sweeping the nation!

What are you making for the Super Bowl? Browse all of our big game mains, from perfect pots of chili to beefy burgers.

—Reena Mehta

Winter Warm Up: Comforting Meatloaf?

by in Recipes, January 28th, 2011
easy skillet meatloaf
Cooking meatloaf in small mini loaves makes quick work of this comforting dinner.

On the East Coast and around the country, as cities continue to be slaughtered by the snow, what better way to warm up than with cozy comfort foods? Recently I decided to mix up my normal mac and cheese routine with a meatier classic: Meatloaf.

Just like Kevin Arnold from The Wonder Years I always wondered what was really in meatloaf. I remember dreading it as part of elementary school cafeteria lunches, scarred of the “mysterious meat.” But I knew there had to be some compelling, retro magic to the dish, since it pops up in every classic American sitcom.

I decided the best beginner’s recipe would be Mini Skillet Meatloaves from Food Network Magazine. The recipe calls for ground beef, pork or veal so I asked the butchers at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats what the best choice would be. On their advice I decided to kick it old school – after all I did grow up wondering “Where’s The Beef?”

So, the “mystery meat” mixture I created was a lot less mysterious and more grown up than I expected, including garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, eggs, onions, milk and Worcestershire sauce – all combined to produce the most heavenly aroma on a cold winter night. And in 20 minutes, my sad meatloaf history was wiped away by these delightful pan-seared loaves. The scrumptious sauce added a surprising, delightful flavor boost – apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and ketchup. Amazingly, this recipe transformed my school lunch nightmare into a cozy cure for cabin fever. I also cooked up Bobby Flay’s sautéed kale as a healthy side for good measure, because I actually enjoy eating my vegetables as a grownup.

—Reena Mehta

NYWFF: Rock ‘N’ Roll With Morimoto

by in Events, October 11th, 2010
Blue Ginger Sushi
Ming Tsai's black rice sushi and cured salmon with sweet syrupy soy and miso sauce

I was fortunate enough to attend “Rock ‘n’ Roll with Morimoto and Friends: A Sushi Singing and Karaoke Soiree” at the prestigious Harvard Club for the New York Food and Wine Festival. In a word, the event was superb combining two of my favorite loves – sushi and Karaoke!

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A Beer Can Chicken Convert

by in View All Posts, July 12th, 2010
Beer Can Chicken
The Neelys' Beer Can Chicken being basted with a brush made of fresh-picked thyme and oregano.

This past week the Neelys announced they are bringing their BBQ expertise to the Big Apple with Neely’s Pig Parlor. While they definitely are the pit masters of pork, Pat’s recipe for Grilled Beer Can Chicken is superb for grilling at home. As strange as placing an actual bird on a beer can might seem I highly suggest giving it a whirl from my recent experience.

This past weekend I attended a backyard barbecue and the host put this recipe to the test, as he was a bit skeptical about the beer can too. He made the dry rub the night before including smoked paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried cumin, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic powder, salt and black pepper that combined into dynamite! He patted down the chicken with the rub 12 hours before grilling so the flavors would meld together tenderizing the skin.

The day of his party he carefully placed the bird on the grill perched atop the 3/4-full light beer can—then he was able to set it and forget it. But he did baste the chicken every 30 minutes with a light barbecue sauce using (bonus!) a brush made out of fresh thyme and oregano picked from his garden. It added a fresh kick of flavor! After almost 2 hours of hungry anticipation I became a beer can chicken convert with my first bite—the spicy dry rub and beer provided a rich juiciness that I had never tasted before!

What are your favorite grilled chicken recipes for a summer cookout?

Reena Mehta

World Cup Eats: Go Team USA!

by in View All Posts, June 25th, 2010
Prosciutto-Wrapped Crudite
Need a simple soccer snack? Try Giada's prosciutto-wrapped veggies.

Run with the ball, because even if you aren’t a soccer fan, you can’t avoid World Cup fever. Go team USA! When Landon Donovan scored in the final minute against Algeria this past week, the overwhelming vuvuzelas never sounded so sweet. Can you say GOOOOOOOOOAL?!

When you tune in to the USA vs Ghana game Saturday have fast summer-stunner eats on hand. Each takes less than 20 minutes to prep; I’d suggest keeping your appetizers simple and fun so as not to distract from the screaming, high-fiving and even fist pumping.

Seven Layer Dip
Bring on the chips and Rachael's seven-layer dip!

To increase Team USA’s odds welcome your guests with Rachael’s Lucky 7 Layer Dip or one of Food Network’s other crowd-winning dips. Party it up with Giada’s Prosciutto-Wrapped Crudite for a mix of fresh summer veggies. And go for the goal with Bobby’s Grilled Flatbread with Asparagus Pesto! You can always rely on your guests to bring a classic six-pack but in case you want to up the World Cup ante let them wash everything down with Ina’s luscious Long Island Iced Tea.

What will you be munching on while watching the World Cup?

Reena Mehta