Saturday, September 19, 2009


my chick and i hit up two-star michelin-rated Bouley restaurant for our two-year anniversary. truly sophisticated, fancy-pants fare; an archetype of NYC fine dining -- it was kind of a big deal. at $150/head, this type of culinary luxury would usually fall far beyond my reach, however, the much more affordable $48/head lunch is a GO. sure, i suppose $48 for lunch is a bit dear, but considering the lavish five-course spread that awaits, i'd say it's well worth it.

163 Duane Street
New York, NY 10013
Telephone:(212) 964-2525

like i said, the entire meal was tits, but there were a few stand outs:

a warm welcome -- the apple-scented foyer; decked out in an orchards worth of ripe apples.

the amuse -- a curious concoction of cauliflower foam, tomato coulis, and trout roe, w/ a drizzle of aged balsamic, and vanilla-scented olive oil

porchini flan -- "umami" is the word. a rich, earthy broth, w/ generous chunks of steamed dungeness. a silky, savory 'shroom custard underneath it all. too bad it didn't photo for shit.

the duck -- more interesting than the menu would have you believe. sweet notes of anise, ginger and vanilla. glazed turnips and romanesco always a plus.

petit fours -- gratis, of course.

the goodie bag -- the delightfully spongy lemon tea-cake. not the best, but it's the thought that counts, right?

$48 lunch is offered 11:30a-3:00p, daily -- including weekends

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

Monday, September 7, 2009

doin' blasts

pancakes from a can? who knew? -- apparently my mother.

oraganic BATTER BLASTER is a pre-packaged pancake/waffle mix conveniently contained in a pressurized can equipped w/ the ill nozzle tip; a la reddi wip.

you've got to love these BATTER BLASTER people based on their ingenuity alone. FINALLY, a product self-absorbed working mothers and the perpetually hungover can BOTH enjoy. "just shake...point...blast..and cook. it's that easy" -- that's the tag line.

and it's no lie. but how do the pancakes stack up?


the pancakes taste alright, but their texture leaves much to be desired. the leavening agent must get compromised during packaging because these pancakes sport a fluff factor of ZERO. moreover, the waffles had no body; no heft -- it was like snacking on a wafer, not a waffle.

no worries tho, for $5 this breakfast novelty is well worth it's weight in batter -- if only to help ease the woes of the "morning after"

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

Thursday, September 3, 2009


i'm not one for taking short cuts in the kitchen, but if using canned beans is wrong -- i don't want to be right. you'd be surprised how quickly you can hobble together a make-shift bean ragout w/ just a handful of ingredients. this southwestern inspired bean explosion rocks a 2:1 ratio of black eyed peas to black beans; zazzed up w/ dried chilies, cinnamon and a can of stewed tomatoes for some tang.

the basic premise behind this dish is to sauté some aromatics, add beans, spice 'em up, cover w/ stock by an inch and simmer down until the liquid has reduced by about 1/2, or until desired consistency is achieved; i like mine a little on the thick side ;-)

Southwestern Bean Ragout

2 (15oz) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15oz) can stewed tomatoes, rinsed and drained
2 TBS canola oil
1 red onion, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
1 carrot, finely shredded
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 stick of cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1-3 chili de arbol (optional)
1 lime, juiced
salt & pepper to taste

1. in a straight-sided sauté pan -- cook onion, carrot, and celery in canola oil over medium high heat until well caramelized; 6-8 minutes. add garlic, sauté until golden brown -- be careful not to burn; 1-2 minutes.

2. add beans, stewed tomatoes and enough stock to cover by an inch; about 2 cups. bring to a boil -- add chili powder, chipotle powder, cinnamon, bay leaf, and chilies de arbol -- reduce to a simmer.

3. simmer for 15-20 minutes until liquid reduces and mixture thickens. to thicken -- mash beans with the back of a large spoon or ladle. add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

-- garnish with a dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro, scallion, and lime zest.

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