Recipe: Homemade Whipped Cream

May 17, 2008

Here is a recipe for homemade whipped cream which will make Reddi and Cool Whip look like sour cream. It is very similar in consistency and taste to what is served at Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn, NY.

Ingredients Required:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depending on personal taste)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Electric powered whisk

1. Assemble the ingredients

2. Pour 2 cups of heavy whipping cream into a bowl

3. Begin to whip cream on medium setting (or if no moderate settings exist, whip on low)

4. Continue whipping cream until the cream begins to thicken

5. Add the vanilla extract, whip vanilla into cream

6. Add sugar

7. Continue whipping cream until it can hold a soft peak

8. Continue whipping until it thickens to your personal preference, do not whip too much, as it will thicken into a butter-like consistency.

Rao’s Meatballs

May 11, 2008

Although the Lemon Chicken (pollo al limone) is the most popular dish at Rao’s in East Harlem, the meatballs must be the most famous. Here I will demonstrate how to cook these delicious meatballs at home.

The recipe is available here:

Ingredients required: (yields 14-16 meatballs)

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
2 eggs
1 cup Romano cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 minced garlic clove
1 lightly smashed garlic clove
Salt and Pepper
2 cups plain bread crumbs (I strongly recommend 1 cup)
2 jars Rao’s Marinara Sauce (about $10 a jar, expensive!)
2 cups water
1 cup olive oil
Frying pan, preferably cast-iron skillet

1. Assemble ingredients

(Left to right: beef, pork, veal)

2. With your bare hands, mix the beef, veal and pork

3. Crack two eggs and whisk

4. Add the eggs into the meat

5. Add the cheese

6. Add the parsley


7. Mince the garlic, add to meat

8. Add bread crumbs into mixure. Ingredients called for 2 cups, I used 1 cup

9. Slowly add water, mixing into meat

10. Shape into meatballs, making about 14-16

11. Heat olive oil in skillet

12. Saute garlic in oil until the clove turns brown

13. Add meatballs to heated oil

14. Turn the meatball when its bottom is well browned, repeat on both sides

15. Remove from pan, let drain on paper towels

16. Fill pan with tomato sauce (use Rao’s for more authenticity), begin to heat

17. Boil pasta, add to mixture

18. Serve with plenty of garlic bread!

Rao’s Lemon Chicken

May 11, 2008

The most ordered dish at Rao’s (even more than the meatballs) is the pollo al limone (lemon chicken). Here I will show you how to cook this delicious meal, using the original recipe.

The original recipe is available here:

Ingredients required: (for two chickens)

2- 2.5-3 pound broiler chickens, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups fresh lemon juice (available in plastic bottles, make sure it is not from concentrate)
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and Pepper
Crusty Bread

I only used this recipe for one chicken, so half ingredients are shown below

1. Assemble ingredients

2. Place halved chickens on broiler safe-pan

3. Remove chickens from broiler

4. Slice each chicken portion into 4 pieces: 2 breast, thigh, wing. The chicken may not be done at this point and may still have red/pink portions

5. Fill measuring cup with 1 cup of lemon juice

6. Fill measuring cup with 1/2 cup of olive oil

7. Add 1/2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

8. Add nearly 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and a dash of salt and pepper. Whisk and refrigerate.

9. Pour 1/2 of sauce over chicken, place back into broiler for a few minutes

10. Heat remaining sauce in saucepan. Stir in parsley

11. Remove chicken from broiler, remove from pan using fork onto a large plate.

12. Pour heated sauce over chicken.

13. Serve with plenty of crusty bread to absorb the juices.

14. Eat and Enjoy!

Recipe: Skillet Steaks

April 28, 2008

This recipe is for Skillet Steaks, which can be made in the oven or in a broiler. The steaks are easy to create without much preparation, and are best if the beef is of a good cut. I recommend that you find the highest cut of beef, preferably dry-aged and unfrozen. It is important that the cut of steak was never frozen as that destroys the quality of the meat.

– Cast-iron skillet
– Steak: preferably a soft cut such as a rib eye
– Sea Salt
– Maury’s/Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
– McCormick’s Montreal Seasoning
– Butter

1. Take a unfrozen, high quality cut of beef.

2. Season the steak first with Seasoning Salt. Let the steak sit for about 15 minutes.
Then season with Montreal Seasoning and begin to tenderize. The steak will grow in size and flatten as you tenderize, but keep tenderizing until the meat becomes soft. Flip over and repeat until the meat is soft. Place in a plastic bag in the refridgerator and let it sit overnight.

3. Remove steaks from bag. Tenderize steak, let steak sit out (covered) for about an hour, until the meat begins to reach a little above room temperature.

4. Heat the oven to the highest temperature. I prefer to cook this method with a oven, as the heat is in direct contact with the skillet, allowing for greater searing and cooking.

5. Place skillet in the oven, until the skillet becomes very hot.

6. Place steak in skillet

7. You dont have to cook the steak on both sides, as the heat is very direct. One side is very well seared, while the other is not, however, the steak is thoroughly cooked on both sides.

8. Place a pat of butter on top of the steak and serve! Best enjoyed with Duck Fat French Fries

Recipe: Duck Fat French Fries

April 28, 2008

Recipe for Duck Fat French Fries

If you’ve ever cooked frozen french fries at home and were not impressed or cooked french fries in vegetable or peanut oil and did not like the strong vegetable taste, you can make duck fat french fries at home and it only requires a few resources and is very straightforward.

– Pan for frying
– Cooking potatoes (Yukon Gold or Russet)
– Duck Fat (between 15-20 ounces)

1. Take cooking potatoes, slice into French Fries. Do not slice too thin, as they will fall apart when frying.

2. Place French Fries into bowl, fill with water. Wait about 5 minutes, and water will begin to become cloudy. The cloudiness is caused by starch, which when removed, allows the French Fries to become crispier when fried.

3. Clear French Fries of water.

4. Fill French Fry-filled bowl with water. Water should be replaced until it no longer becomes cloudy.

5. Fill a pot with water and begin to heat. Continue to heat, until bubbles form at bottom of pot. Place French Fries in pot, add about 1 tablespoon for every 1 potato. Heat until water begins to boil. Remove from pot and drain.

6. Place fries in refridgerator until they cool.

7. Place Duck Fat containers in pot filled with hot water, to melt the fat.

8. Remove Duck Fat container from hot water.

9. Place duck fat in pan (preferably skillet), and begin to heat until fully melted.

10. Place one French Fry in the pan. If it bubbles, you can place the others in as well. If it does not bubble, apply more heat until it begins to bubble.

11. The French Fries will begin to bubble more rapidly. Flip and turn the French Fries gently, as at this stage, they are the most fragile.

12. The French Fries will begin to brown, test fries by biting into them. Remove them depending on your own preference for crispiness.

13. Remove French Fries from pan, place on paper towel. Season them with salt, pepper or other spices.

14. Enjoy! Preferably with a steak.

Burger Bros. Restaurant Review

April 25, 2008

I first heard about Burger Bros. in the Baltimore Sun “Live” section and I had to go. In the America of national fast food chains (McDonalds) and regional semi-chains (Five Guys), I enjoy going to a one-location restaurant more than the previously listed. As the name tells, it is run by two brothers, Michael and Timothy Murphy and is located on Allegheny Avenue in Towson.

As the name and the staff will surely tell you, the burger is what to get here. In the colorful shop, the menu lists chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers, Portobello mushroom burgers, hot dogs and salads, but as with a restaurant with the word ‘Burger’ in the title, you may know what to get.

The burgers at Burger Bros. unlike Five Guys and other chains, are cooked on a charcoal grill, along with the other entrees. The burgers are sandwiched between Brioche buns, which are a good departure from the standard, white-bread bun. Although, the burgers usually are cooked too much for my liking, they still retain a juicy interior and are not that tough. The fountain drinks, come in two sizes, which doesn’t make much since, as it comes with free refills, which is handy, as you can refill your drink before you leave.

Hamburger ($4.99) and Medium French Fries ($2.79)

Hamburger ($4.99)

As you can see, the burger sits nestled between a Brioche Bun, but the burger was cooked ‘well done’, however, next time I will ask for it to be cooked medium/medium well.

Medium French Fries ($2.79) taste exactly the same as Five Guys fries

I hope Burger Bros. thrives in Towson and expands to other areas of Maryland, as its family-run atmosphere, gives a non-corporate character that is lacking in many modern restaurants.

And did I mention the Brioche Buns!

Burger Bros.
14 Allegheny Ave
Towson, MD 21204
(410) 321-1880

The Sherry-Netherland Hotel

April 12, 2008

The Sherry-Netherland hotel was built in 1927 at 781 Fifth Avenue, which intersects with E.59th street, also known as Central Park South. This hotel has always played second fiddle to The Plaza, its glamour seeking cousin across the street and is little known outside native New Yorkers. It is not advertised and is barely mentioned in travel publications. It 50 rooms are individually decorated and can be viewed before booking on the Sherry-Netherland website. The hotel, was granted a 4 and a half star rating by Tripadvisor, which shows that it is not in the same league as the CPS Plaza or Ritz-Carlton, but still is a high quality hotel in an amazing location. The lobby contains panels that were salvaged from the Vanderbilt Mansion that was razed to make room for the Bergdorf Goodman department store. The intimateness of the hotel allows for personalized service that could not be enjoyed in the Waldorf-Astoria or the New York Palace, as their size could not allow.

The Lobby inside the Sherry-Netherland Hotel

Another view of the Sherry-Netherland Lobby

The Harry Cipriani Restaurant is located in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel

Inside Harry Cipriani

The famed Sherry-Netherland Clock