All posts filed under: Rel’s Ravenous Reviews

Polenta Pizza

The other day I was brainstorming with Whit. What haven’t we done on Nosh and Tell? What should be our next thing to share? I immediately realized that we have been missing a massive staple of the American diet, a massive staple of the world’s diet! Pizza!  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love pizza. Whether it’s cheese, meat lover’s, veggie or even white, it’s everyone’s favorite; you can always “have it your way”. It is the ultimate fast food, as well as the ultimate comfort food. It is perfect when devoured hot with gooey cheese and a crunchy, yet doughy crust. It is also perfect when enjoyed cold for breakfast. Have pizza on a bagel, on toast, on pita. Have it sweet with chocolate or savory with cheese and figs. The opportunities are endless.  I remember watching a recent episode of Chopped on the Food Network and one of the ingredients was polenta. This wasn’t quick cooking polenta, it was ready made. I had never seen anything like this before: a long tubular shape …

Sticky Buns, Faulty Fire Extinguishers, and Disaster Averted

When I decided to make sticky buns yesterday, I figured that going for something simple would be best. After all I’m no master of the oven; I’m actually a full fledged novice when it comes to anything baking. Who better to turn to than Ina when looking for a straight forward recipe with a delicious result. I found her Easy Sticky Buns on the Food Network Website and got baking.      Ina’s Easy Stick Buns 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp 1/3 cup brown sugar lightly packed 1/2 cup pecans, lightly chopped 1 package frozen puff pastry, defrosted For the Filling: 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2/3 cup light brown sugar 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 cup raisins Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take a 12 muffin tin and place it on top of a sheet pan. With an electric mixer or a strong arm, mix the 12 tablespoons of butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar together. Put one rounded tablespoon of the mixture into each of the 12 muffin cups. Then sprinkle …

Pan Seared Cod with Sauteed Summer Veggies

As you all know, Whitney took a cooking class at the French Culinary Institute this summer. Every Saturday she would spend the entire day on her feet, learning how to braise, saute, pan sear, and other things awesome and francais. Not only did she make delicious food, but she usually brought it home for me to try! One Saturday evening, Whit came home with pan seared monkfish and sauteed vegetables. The fish was white and flakey and the veggies were buttery and tender. Everything was mouth watering. So when I was ambling around whole foods last night, looking for something to make for dinner, I immediately thought of this delicious meal and decided give it a go.  The fish counter didn’t have any monkfish so I bought cod instead. They’re both white fish with a similar texture so I figured they would cook in relatively the same manner. I also bought my favorite summer vegetables: summer squash, zucchini, and orange cherry tomatoes. Taking a hint from Anthony Bourdain who says that every cook should always be …

Rel’s Ravenous Review of Union Street in Newton Center

As some of you know, Newton is my hometown. The word “town” usually connotes a small suburban area with one main street and lots of trees, but Newton is actually a massive place with about 8 different subsections. One of the subsections is Newton Center. It’s a friendly spot with middle school students innocently flirting outside of JP Lick’s Ice cream, locals walking their dogs, and families enjoying a Sunday brunch at Johnny’s Deli. I know Newton Center like the back of my hand as I have been raised so close to it. I could probably walk blindfolded and find the Walgreens, the beauty parlor, the trendy clothing stores and even the jewelry store where my mom works. The problem with Newton Center is that I’ve been to every restaurant more times than I can count. While it does boast several delicious restaurants like Sweet Tomatoes Pizza, Bill’s, Pie, Jumbo Seafood and Sabra, it all has become monotonous over the past 20 years. I want something new, something exciting and of course, something tasty.  When …

Creamy Israeli Couscous and an Airplane Food Rant

This week I’m in California! Before I blog about all food West Coast, I thought I’d give you a little post about eating before boarding your flight to your next vacation destination. Now we all know that plane food is a little less than subpar. If you’re lucky enough to even be fed on a flight without having to pay an extra fee, you will usually be given one of several options: something fake that stains your fingers orange, way over cooked spaghetti with goopy marinara, or defrosted mystery meat in a lean cuisine-like plastic container. Now none of these choices are particularly appetizing. So you have a couple of choices. Number 1: go hungry. If you’re like me and your appetite never seems to be satiated then this is not the option for you. Number 2: pick up several candy bars and chips at the snack stand before boarding. While this is usually the route most people take, including me, it’s bad and you know it. Those snacks are processed and full of fat …

Baked Egg Noodle Casserole Creation

A few days ago I was rummaging around the kitchen. I was exhausted from a summer of running around the city, and congested and sniffly from living with a congested and sniffly Whitney. What I craved was comfort food. I went to our pasta cabinet and I was surprised to see that all we had was a half full box of elbows and a bag of egg noodles. Despite the fact that my Dad says elbows make him giggly because they slide right down your throat, that wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. I suspiciously picked up the bag of egg noodles. They’re good in matzah ball soup so perhaps they’d be good in my favorite Rao’s pasta sauce. As I was reading the instructions I was inspired. The bag said if I planned to bake my egg noodles, they should only cook for 8 minutes as opposed to 10. Bake noodles? Why hadn’t I thought of that? What could be more comforting than ooey gooey, cheesy baked pasta? I’ve always had an aversion …

Union Square Green Market – Heirloom Tomato Salad

There are some aspects of summer that we wait patiently all year to enjoy. Some wait for the sun and a tan, others wait for the rolling waves at the beach. You know what I wait for? Heirloom tomatoes. Heirlooms are not just your ordinary tomato. They are a wide range of colors and sizes and pack a delicious sweet, yet acidic punch of flavor. Yesterday I stopped at the Union Square Green Market to peek around at all the fresh produce. When I go there, I always feel like a kid in a candy store because everything just looks so tasty. What could be better than herbs freshly picked in the morning and put into your lunch in the afternoon? I happened upon a little tent selling loads of little heirloom tomatoes. Each small carton was 4 dollars. The carton was chock full of little red guys, large orange guys, stripy green guys and other variations. 4 bucks for that bucket of goodness? Absolutely. I continued on walking and found a tent that had …

Rel’s Ravenous Review of Gyu Kaku

Last night I went to a restaurant called Gyu Kaku. Despite the difficult to pronounce name, the food was simply delicious. What’s so special about this restaurant which is located in the East Village and Midtown is that it is Japanese BBQ. What is Japanese BBQ, you may be wondering. Let me paint you a picture… Do you ever just want to roll out that barbeque and get some sweet grill marks on your favorite fish or steak? Do you crave that smokey smell of your food over an open flame? Do you want the satisfaction of taking a raw piece of flesh and turning it into something edible? Well, Japanese BBQ will be able to satiate all of these desires. Here is your grill, your palate so to speak. Atop this fiery surface you can place a number of foods from Kobe beef to chilean sea bass. Cook them to desired doneness, delicately pick them up with your chopsticks, dip them in one of the two delicious marinades and devour. Chomp, swallow, repeat. Among …

Dabbling in the Kitch – Stuffed Tomatoes

I am very lucky to have a roommate/best friend/co-blogger who is attending classes at the French Culinary Institute this summer. Every Saturday, Whitney comes home with stories of flambeed chicken, animal cheeks, stewed lamb and buttery baked barley. I only wish I could take part in this exciting culinary experience. This past Saturday, Whit came home with stuffed tomatoes from her class. When I first think of a stuffed vegetable, I think of ground meat and rice- a sort of grainy filling in a mushy container. But these were different. The tomatoes were tender and filled to the brim with mouth watering ingredients, none of which were meat or rice. When it came time for me to cook something for today’s blog, I immediately felt the urge to cook those tomatoes; if not for the new and exciting culinary challenge, then purely the volition to just taste those delectable treats again. Stuffed Tomatoes A La Ariel and Whitney 6 medium sized beefsteak tomatoes, drained and hollowed 2 medium vidalia onions, chopped 1 1/2 – 2 …

Dabbling in the Kitch – Diane’s Tomato Pie

I have come to realize why pizza is one of the most popularly made and consumed foods in the US. The crust is thick and doughy, the sauce is hot and oily and of course the cheesy is ooey gooey. You really can’t go wrong with that sort of combination. But what happens when you take the classic cheese pizza and futz with it. Will it still be as good? Or could it possibly be better? Whitney has been telling me for ages that her mom makes an incredible tomato pie, so I thought today would be a good day to try it out. Number one, after receiving my prize of free happy hour drinks at MJ Armstrongs last night, I’m a bit..sluggish this afternoon and am in need for something to sooth my tummy. Number two, I’m so curious to see how this new and improved pizza pie will turn out. Number three, cooking is therapeutic and hey, we all could use a little therapy right? Diane’s Tomato Pie 4 tomatoes, drained and diced …