Monday, November 7, 2011

Things to Brag About: Bagels

As a Jewish New Yorker, I've had my fair share of bagels:  toasted, rainbow, lox and shmear: you name it, I've devoured it.  Whether consumed before an avid study session or after a late night out in the city, it's pretty hard to beat a New York bagel.

Enter Bagelsmith:  The tastiest, happiest Bagel shop in town (if you count Williamsburg, Brooklyn as town, which I do).  Originally discovered as a place to satisfy my late night munchies with a few equally hungry friends, this bagel shop right off of the L train at Lorimer lives me thrilled each and every visit.

As this isn't an Inside New York review, I'll keep this post quick and simple:  Bagelsmith is the best! It's open 24 hours, the staff always willing to entertain your jokes, no matter what hour of the night or what state of conciousness you may be in, and you're sure to meet equally enthused Williamsburg bar hoppers while waiting for your delicious sandwich.  The dance music in the restaurant and it's proximity to Metropolitan isn't bad either...

Hence, the reason for this post.  I brought a new crew to Bagelsmith last night, and was thrilled that they copied my perfect sandwich, which I'll share here with reasons of generosity and wanting to improve the world:

Sesame bagel toasted with an egg, swiss cheese, tomato, avocado, and sprouts.  $4.00 (plus or minus some change)  Yeah, it's kind of amazing.

Enjoying the epic Bagelsmith sandwich at 2:30am.

Song of the Day: "Arms" - Cristina Perri

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Issa Cooks: Issa Spaghetti

Farfalle a la Issa!
My love for pasta goes completely unmatched.  And while I love any and every type of pasta, nothing beats a warm bowl of Issa Spaghetti on a crisp autumn day. The recipe is based off of a cooking class I took with Art Smith years ago, but I have yet to use measuring equipment and professional culinary proportions... It's quick, easy, and overwhelmingly delicious.  Don't expect accurate proportions, it's more of a touchy-feely- taste-as-you-go recipe:


Spaghetti (but any pasta shape works)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Can Crushed Tomatoes
Garlic (fresh or pre-chopped)
Olives (Black or Kalamata)
Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper
Italian Seasoning

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.  Add a few pinches of salt to the water to bring out the flavor of the pasta. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.  When you can feel the heat with your hands a few inches above the pan, add garlic (to taste).  Once the garlic turns a golden brown, pour the entire can of crushed tomatoes in and stir.  Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and seasonings.  If using fresh basil, tear it in rather than cut it, to prevent the oxidation of the leaves and keep them tasting fresh!  I sadly killed my basil plant, so dried basil was the next best choice.  Reduce heat to low in order to avoid splattering.

Drain and rinse the olives.  I prefer chopping them to spread the flavor out in the sauce. Also, to prevent me from eating the entire can before cooking...  Add olives and a few spoonfuls of capers.  Stir all ingredients together. (Now's a great time to sample a spoonful of sauce and decide if you want to add more red pepper or garlic-- the longer it cooks with the seasonings, the better it tastes!

When the water is rapidly boiling, add your pasta. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the pasta for the time alloted on the box.  Make sure to follow the "al dente" instructions- it's better that way! When you can bite into the pasta, yet still feel a slight crisp to the center, your pasta is perfectly al dente!  Drain and rinse. Return pasta to the pot and drizzle with olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other; stir and cover until the sauce is ready...

Your sauce is ready!  At this point, the tomatoes should have absorbed the flavors of the spices and the sauce will have a slight spiciness to it!

Serve pasta with sauce on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

That's it- cheap, quick, and delicious!

Bon Apetito!

Song of the Day: "Whatever You Like" - Anya Marina (Cover)