Sunday, June 28, 2009

Morel Conundrum

Esoteric, musty, and funny looking -- morel mushrooms are the Williamsburg hipsters of the fungal community:

A spring time treat, these spongy specimens are only available from late March through late May. They have a unique flavor that is particularized by a crisp earthy bite and subtle nuttiness that is somewhat reminiscent of chestnut.  Their curious nooks and crannies lend well to a light cream sauce and their hollow bodies just beg to be stuffed.

© 2009 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -

Sunday, June 21, 2009

say cheese: mango compote

insofar as desserts are concerned; a stinky cheese beats out a sticky sweet -- hands down. i understand i'm in the minority, and i won't even being to argue with all you sweet-tooths out there. i will, however, attempt to win you over with a simple, sweet and delicious mango compote recipe that pairs well with most cheeses.

Mango Compote
yield 1 pt

1 large ripe mango, medium dice
4-6 dates, rough chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of water
3 TBS sugar
1 TBS red wine vinegar
pinch of ground cumin

dash of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. heat just a dash of olive oil over medium low heat. add fennel seeds, mango and dates. sweat on low for just a few minutes.

2. add cinnamon, water, sugar, red wine vinegar and just a pinch of ground cumin. bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. simmer over low heat for 6 minutes. the mixture will thicken up to something beautiful.

kill the heat and allow to cool. if you are in a rush, spread the compote out on a lined sheet tray and stick it in the fridge.

--i enjoyed this batch over a funky cut of taleggio on a Kavli Hearty Thick Crispbread, but this isn't just a cheese and crackers-type condiment.

get crafty and mix it up a bit:

mango pancakes
yogurt parfait
shit, serve it with a fish steak- it's basically a chutney anyway!

© 2009 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -

Thursday, June 11, 2009

”Dosa Man, please, can I have another hit?”

NY Dosa
Washington Sq. S. @ Sullivan St.
Weekdays 11am-4pm

Q: what exactly is a "dosa"?

A: a crispy, paper-thin crepe made from rice and black lentils. they hail from Southern Indian and are often stuffed with curried potatoes ("masala dosa"), and served with wet chutneys.

Q: who makes the best dosa in NYC, on the cheap?

A: 2007 Vendy Award Winner, Thiru “Dosa Man” Kumar.

this cheerful little guy might be the only vegan street vendor in all of NYC, however, i don't want to pigeonhole him; this food is good, vegan or not. all dosas are made-to-order and are served with a refreshing coconut chutney and a shot of vegetable soup. his menu is simple - dosas and samosas, mostly, along with a few other regional specialties. my go-to dosa is the "pondicherry"; a delicate crepe filled with responsibly spiced potatoes, onions, capsicums, lettuce and fresh ginger.

if you’re in the area and don't mind a 10-20 minute wait in exchange for an amazing lunch at an unbeatable price, give the "Dosa Man" a go, because he wears corduroy.

--have a seat in the park, eat and enjoy the painfully obvious drug solicitations.

© 2009 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -