Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bits and Morsels snacks

Raisins and Kettle Korn for snack time.

For me, the highlight of any meal at BLT Steak
is the basket of popovers that speedily arrive after you order your dinner, and the chocolate espresso cookies that magically appear with dessert.

Both are served warm and they are free. The popovers have become a BLT signature so much so that every time I hear about popovers, someone inevitably mentions BLT Steak's.

Popovers are essentially a hollow roll made with eggs but no butter. They get their name from the batter popping over the surface of the tin while they bake. You can really flavor them with anything, but BLT Steak's version uses Gruyere cheese. I can barely wait to tear them open and watch the steam escape from within.
Click to play video of Kaitlyn Lennox (Pastry Chef of BLT White Plains) making BLT Steak's scrumptious popovers and chocolate espresso cookies.
This weekend I went to the BLT Steak in the Ritz Carlton in Westchester and got a sneak peak into the kitchen and was generously shown how to make BLT's infamous popovers and chocolate espresso cookies.

Milena Molina, Corporate Pastry Chef for BLT Restaurants with Kaitlyn Lennox, Pastry Chef of BLT White Plains.
BLT Steak has locations across the country and around the world.

I just finished reading “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich.
The book is all about how Facebook went from an idea to the mega-site that it is today. I could not put it down. The book focuses on Mark Zuckerberg and a few of his friends, who while at Harvard, created Facebook. Facebook's roots are still kind of murky as it is still unclear if Mark Zuckerberg is the sole originator of the concept. Either way, it’s a fascinating and relevant read. The book got me thinking about how much time I spend in front of the computer and what I tend to snack on (which I do try to keep relatively healthy) while perusing Facebook. Here are a few of my staples:

A good friend recently turned me on to Orville Redenbacher's Kettle Korn (Smart Pop brand; 94% Fat Free). I am addicted to it. Kettle Korn is sweet and salty and hits all the right tastebuds when you need a crunchy fix. It's easy to crack a tooth on a rogue unpopped kernel when eating popcorn out of the bag; I try to avoid this by dumping the freshly popped kernels into a glass pyrex bowl. Sometimes I mix it up by tossing in a small handful of raisins. Lately, Kettle Korn has been the favorite part of my days.

Another treat that gets me every time: apples and peanut butter. For peanut butter, I'm specifically referring to the packets of Justin’s Nut Butter. The peanut and almond butters come in the following flavors: maple, honey and cinnamon. They are natural, made in small batches, and come in adorable squeeze packets that are perfectly portioned and easy to take with you. I do not leave the house without a packet of peanut butter and an apple. I find that when I smear a little peanut butter on an apple, it takes the edge off when I am craving something sweet. Justin’s Nut Butters are available at Whole Foods, among other places. I buy them by the box. [Justin’s Nut Butter]
Clockwise from top left: Justin's Peanut butter; An apple and a packet of Justin's; My beverages of choice; Orville Redenbacher's Kettle Korn popping corn; Raisins to toss in the popcorn.
In the mornings, an energy bar can be a good snack. Bars that contains high amounts of protein are your best bet because they are more filling. Many of them taste like cardboard but the three bars that I prefer are Think Thin, Balance and Clif Bars. Almost every morning when I am pressed for time I have a Clif Builder’s Bar in Vanilla Almond. They are all-natural (although I admit, they are loaded with sugar) and are delicious with a cup of coffee. They are especially tasty when they are right out of the fridge.
Gotta have my bars.
Dunkin Donuts should watch their back because Tim Hortons is opening up in Manhattan. Tim Hortons is the Canadian version of Dunkin Donuts but better, dare I say, much better. All of the new Tim Horton stores contain full kitchens so they will be making their donuts in the stores. [City Room]

One of America's toughest. [Grub Street]
Here is a list of the toughest reservations to get in America. Not surprisingly two of them are Rao’s and Momofuku Ko in New York City. Part of it has to do with the fact that these restaurants are small, and Ko has only an online reservation system. [Grub Street]

We are in the middle of Summer Restaurant week. It goes from July 12-31. It’s a great opportunity to sample reasonably priced menus at many restaurants. There are a lot of great deals going around, especially this year. [NYC Go]

Energy shots, which come in small bottles, are part of a rapidly growing $6 billion world energy drink market. Most energy drinks cost 20 times (that's an exaggeration) as much as a can of coke and taste ghastly, but many stores can’t keep them in stock. When I go to my local bodega I see people buying these things five at a time. They are loaded with as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, but you can quickly slug it down for the same results. Go figure. [The New York Times]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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