Tag Archives: Williamsburg

Creamy Evil

23 Apr

I got my first sunburn on Saturday.

Our Neighbor's Cherry Tree

I also ate an extortionately priced orange, found a Baby Jesus sausage, bought a racially insensitive cookbook, walked over eight miles and crossed three bridges. It was a great day!

Manhattan Bridge

Isaac and I did the “Three Bridges” walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge. I had never heard of, or even really thought of, walking over more than one bridge in a day until the other Ann left a comment about it way back in January.

Manhattan Bridge

We had kept it in the back of our minds as something we really wanted to do for four months, waiting for the perfect day. It finally came on Saturday. Sunny, but not too hot and delightfully breezy, we haven’t had a more glorious day in about six months.

Water Tanks from the Manhattan Bridge

We started in Chinatown walking over the Manhattan Bridge into Dumbo. The Manhattan Bridge is still my favorite. I know it’s not fair to play favorites, but I just love it. I was in a horrific mood when we started. I’d been woken up by work (on a Saturday!) and my mood had gone from cranky to downright foul in about 2 seconds. But, by the time I was out over the middle of the East River, everything was once again right in the world.

Manhattan Bridge

We bumbled about in Dumbo. It really is a beautiful neighborhood, and there’s a fabulous bookstore there, P.S. Books, that all book loving geeks should make a pilgrimage to. They have a terrific selection of books on art and history, a great cookbook and fabulous biography sections and a neat place for kids to play and read. It’s a lovely bookstore, the sort I wish we had out here in Bay Ridge. I found a tiny old pamphlet on the cooking of the Pennsylvania Dutch. The Amish may know a thing or two about pickling and pork, but racially sensitive they are not. A well spent $2.50 if you ask me!

Dumbo, Art

We then walked through the park along the river where I tried to help some very, very lost tourists, breezed past the ungodly long line at Grimaldi’s and headed over the Brooklyn Bridge. This is my least favorite bridge to walk over, which is a pity, because it’s so beautiful, but it’s just too chock-a-block with tourists and bikers.

Off-Ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge

We walked under the anchorage, past the Brooklyn Banks and on along to the river. It was a quiet day, not many boats or fisherman, and no, no beavers. But Isaac did spot the world’s saddest dead turtle. All it’s limbs were limp and swaying back and forth in the wavelets. It kind of broke my heart, the hardness of the shell, the softness of its neck…

Brooklyn Bridge

But, we motored on and soon needed a pit-stop, so we headed inland for some pork & chive dumplings at Dumpling North on Essex. From there it was a skip and a hop over to Delancey and onto the Williamsburg Bridge. This is where my legs started rebelling, you finally realize how long the walk has been when you’ve walked and walked, and walked and walked on the Williamsburg and you’re still not over any water yet.

Brooklyn Bridge

The view on the Williamsburg Bridge is obstructed by a cage of safety fencing, so the real pleasure of walking over this bridge comes from the people watching. The endless stream of hipsters wearing ridiculous “ironic” t-shirts is something I find endlessly amusing and I’m always in awe of the beautiful coats worn by the men in some of Williamsburg’s Jewish sects. But the real reason to walk over the Williamsburg Bridge is to get to the other side.

The Brooklyn Banks

Williamsburg, to me, is like a Disney World for adults. Our first stop was Marlow & Sons, to pick up some of Steve’s magic beans (we got Goat’s Eyes and Little Horses). This is where I picked up the extortionately priced orange, too. $2.25 for an orange! But, I must say, it was absolutely worth it. It was the best orange I’ve eaten since we have been back from Italy, and that’s saying something.

Williamsburg Bridge

From there we walked up Bedford to the cheese shop. They have the best pickle selection in the world. It was everything I could do to keep myself from buying a half dozen different types. In the end, all we bought was some farina di ceci, or chickpea flour. I was sad to leave the little baby Jesus sausage where he was lying, but he looked so peaceful. Next time…

Williamsburg Bridge

Our bellies were rumbling again, so we pushed on the last half mile or so to Greenpoint. It was rough, but the siren call of Polish food made our trip quick and our feet light. We were going to get borscht! On a recommendation from Brooklyn Guy, we went to a place called Pyzy that he praised very highly for its soups. Unfortunately, it was a rare miss in our book. The food was decent, and yes it was very, very cheap, but, Polonica‘s food is vastly superior in flavor and freshness. But Pyzy, hands down, has better atmosphere. What a trip!

Williamsburg Bridge

And that was it. We walked to the G train, which oddly enough came instantaneously and went home. It was a great walk, and despite keeping ourselves well fueled, it was tiring. While Isaac napped on the couch I concocted dinner. In Rome one evening, Isaac was aced out of a dish of gnocchi di ceci that both he and I kept thinking about. Gnocchi, made out of chickpeas? It sounded so magical!

Williamsburg

And so that was what I was thinking of when I bought the farina di ceci. A quick search on the interwebs led me to the understanding that these are not your typical gnocchi. They’re more like the gnocchi alla Romana, made of semolina, than like a traditional potato gnocchi. Making them is like making polenta and then playing with your food. I was very excited!

Gnocchi di Ceci

Most of the recipes I found suggest serving gnocchi of this sort with no sauce, just pure creamy goodness covered in cheese. But me? I’m a sauce girl. I love sauce, almost more than I love stuff the sauce is on, so I whipped up a quick rustic tomato and pepper sauce.

Gnocchi di Ceci

This dish is so gentle, so creamy, so pillowy and decadently delicious that it reminded me of a class of potato dishes we kept running across in Italy that I named “Creamy Evil.” They’re cooked potatoes covered in bechamel sauce, sometimes with other healthy accompaniments like boiled eggs or an additional cheese sauce. They are so good, so insanely, swear-word-worthy-good, that yes, they are in fact Creamy Evil.

Gnocchi di Ceci

These gnocchi aren’t quite as bad for you, but they do have the same sort of mouth feel, and so, since I’m never (ever, ever, ever) going to allow myself to make potatoes covered in cheese and butter sauce, I hereby officially add gnocchi di ceci to the taxonomy of the food family known as “Creamy Evil.”

Head below the jump for the recipe for Gnocchi di Ceci.

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Ten Miles, Two Soups

18 Jan

Did you notice that I only posted once last week?

Bedford Avenue & Avenue Y

And only once the week before that, and the week before that, and the week before that? And that the posts really haven’t been about food?

Our friend Jack did.

Bedford Avenue Window

On Friday nights we like to stop by the bar that used to be our neighborhood local when we lived in the Lower East Side. We go to catch-up with friends, drink beer and laugh, you know, the usual things people do at bars. My job keeps me late on Fridays, so Isaac gets time to play pool and chat and gossip before I get there. Last Friday, Jack turned to Isaac and said, “So, what have you guys been eating? Annie hasn’t been posting…”

The Night Watchmen

I laughed and laughed when he told me this the next morning. It’s true. I had gone into a bit of a cooking slump right before Christmas. But boy, I was out of the gate fast and with gusto in the new year. The kitchen has been in heavy use and some truly spectacular stuff has been flowing out at a steady clip, but I seem to have lost all time management skills.

A Truly Decorative Cabbage

Case in point? This post. It’s at least a week late. But, it was held up for good reason. What’s the reason? Cartography.

Bedford Victorian

A few weekends ago, Isaac and I went on an epic walk. We walked Bedford Avenue from start to finish (give or take a block or two). Bedford is considered by many to be the longest street entirely contained within the County of Kings, a fact gleaned from Barry Lewis on Thanksgiving. Once we learned that, we knew we had to walk its 10 miles.

Door

We awoke two Saturdays ago to a glorious, warm January day. It was time. And so with coffee and bialys in hand, we rode the Q out to Sheepshead Bay, camera in tow. I got a little lost trying to get us from the subway station to Voorhies Avenue, the actual head of Bedford, so we started our trek at Avenue Y instead.

Light, Erasmus Hall High Shool

I know you’re all thinking, “Right, so you guys went on a walk, what do maps have to do with this?” Well… I made you one! Right here. Complete with pictures and captions. I think it puts the trek into a better context. And I did it because I love maps.

Lefferts Roof

We have an entire hallway lined with them in the apartment, right outside the bathroom. They’re those antique reproduction posters of cities like Paris, London, Venice and New York that you can buy in any art store. I love to study them while I’m brushing my teeth. And since I have a penchant for reading slightly trashy historical novels, they often provide insight as to where the characters are living. And, since we’re going to Florence in two months, I’ve been studying that one especially hard.

Studebaker Building

But, enough about maps, back to the walk.

Grant's Horse

We stopped for a “light” lunch somewhere around the midpoint of the walk. The plan was to snack in the middle and to end our trek in Greenpoint with a great, steaming bowl of white borscht like Brooklynguy suggested. Alas. Balboa was too much for us. The curry chicken, oxtail and mac & cheese (Oh the mac & cheese! How have I never thought of eating my mac & cheese with curry sauce until that day?) were delicious and filling enough to carry us through. We wanted to stop for borscht, but it just wasn’t prudent.

Mment

But what we did discover is that the trip to Greenpoint is actually quite easy from Bay Ridge, so we’ll be going back Brooklynguy! Don’t you worry! And soon. I need to have a borscht-off of some sort this year, since I failed so miserably at the Great De-Beet 2008.

Water Tank

We were achy and sore when we got home, because no matter how many times you go to the gym, a ten mile walk is still a ten mile walk, especially when it’s ten miles on hard city sidewalks. So dinner was a modest affair. Pasta in a thrown together tomato sauce. But the next night? Oh delicious soup!

The End, Greenpoint

I’m beginning to think there’s such a thing as blogronicity. Two days before New Year’s Eve, as Isaac was in the kitchen cooking up his pot of cauliflower soup, I surfed over to Clumsy‘s blog and found she had just made a cauliflower & leek soup. Monday morning as I was desperately trying to catch up on my interweb surfing, there she was again, with French onion soup, the meal I’d cooked the night before. I find it amusing how two people on two different coasts experiencing vastly different winters can crave the same thing. Funny.

French Onion Soup

So, in celebration of my new discovery, blogronicity, I’ll leave you with our recipes for the two soups, even though I know you’re just really here for the map.

Head below the jump for Isaac’s Cauliflower Soup and Annie’s French Onion Soup.

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