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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TAKE 2: Home Restaurant


In this NEW blog series “TAKE 2” we get to dig deeper and re-visit the restaurants and shops on our food tours, but show you a few more delicious options which aren’t offered as a tasting on the tour...and you get to join us on the culinary ride.  Our goal at Foods of NY Tours is to not only serve you food from the best of the best, but also save you the gut-filling task of trying EVERYTHING on the menu to discover the other hidden gems you may have otherwise glanced over or passed by.

WHAT YOU KNOW:

You tried the rice balls and Soppressata at Faicco’s Pork store, but did you know that they make their own fresh mozzarella daily and special sausage rolls only on Saturdays?
You tried the three types of cheeses and parmesan straws at Murray’s Cheese Shop, but that is only 1% of all of the cheese that they carry!

WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW:

In today’s TAKE 2 we re-visit Home Restaurant, the charming original NYC farm to table restaurant located on Cornelia street with that “hidden” year round garden.  You may have had a chance to try on our Original Greenwich Village Tour their three cheese “Mac and Cheese”, made with Asagio, Monteray Jack and Cheddar cheese.  We probably also told you about their AMAZING chocolate pudding, homemade ketchup and 95% NY state wine list.  But what you didn’t know was that the deliciousness doesn’t stop there.  We went back and hung out with Chef Scott and General Manager Nate to have them prepare what their favorite dish and drink are at Home Restaurant, and what they eat when no one is looking.



FARMERS EGG with TRUFFLED RISOTTO:

As a fairly frequent visitor to Home Restaurant I am always looking for small bites that will go a long way when I am not hungry enough for an entree, but craving more than a snack to go with my cocktail.  Last fall I stumbled upon the “Farmers Egg” at Home restaurant and fell madly in love!  This hearty, yet small plate packs tons of flavor in the perfect amount of food for an afternoon breakfast, mid-day lunch or lite dinner…something I like to call “BreLinner”.  This simple plate combines perfectly cooked wild rice and white truffle risotto, crispy maitake mushrooms, a “Runny” hard boiled egg and herbs.  Paired with a glass of Dr. Konstatine Dry Reisling takes this dish to a higher level transporting you to a hillside in northern Italy overlooking Lake Como sharing a laugh with George Clooney.  On a recent visit Chef Scott took me behind the scenes and let me watch him prepare the “Farmers Egg” dish in the cozy Home Restaurant kitchen.


Scott's Mise en Place:



First we started with the risotto, a simple mix of Aborio and Wild rice, sweated onions, bay leaf, white wine and chicken stock.  Chef Scott takes about 27 (drooling) minutes to get the rice to that “Risotto” level…creamy enough it sticks together yet keeps the al dente texture.  Additional chicken stock was added ladle by ladle throughout the process until completely reduced. “There should be no separated liquid at the bottom of the pan when it is ready” states Scott.  This is a Risotto that would make “Big Red’ Batali giggle like a little school girl!




As the Risotto was churning, Scott got the soft boiled eggs ready by adding salt and a splash of red wine vinegar to the boiling water bath.  The vinegar would help in two ways, soften the egg shell to make it easier to peel off after they were cooked.  Also it would keep the yolk centered for a beautiful presentation because no one wants a lop-sided boiled egg!  Set the timer to 5 minutes and on to the mushrooms.

Crispy Maitake Mushrooms:


Next we started on the Maitake Mushrooms, or translated to “Dancing” mushrooms, which sure did the Samba in that super hot frying pan.  Scott’s tip for sautéed mushrooms?  Very hot pan, very little oil makes them nice and crispy in no time!  The shape of the Maitake is made for crisping with thin petal like caps and thin stalks.  Once they have been brought to the desired level of crunchiness they are shoveled out of the pan onto a paper towel to rest and dry off a bit.

Now that the eggs were done with their 5 minute Jacuzzi bath and the risotto was as creamy as churned butter, it was time to plate.  But before Scott took off the Risotto we had to add the white truffle oil to bring this dish to absolute euphoria!  Just a little dash would do.


First we plate the risotto, just like mashed potatoes with a crater like indent welcoming that farmers egg to nestle in nice and close.  Next, the crispy Maitake mushrooms were placed around the egg as a border letting you know the egg is the target, and once the yolk is released everything in its way would succumb to this river of flavor.  Almost as an afterthought the herbs consisting of radish and carrot tops were placed on top blanketing the pillow of eggy goodness and a seven herb oil drizzled on the outside to add color contrast as well as a flavor multiplier...times seven!




It was love at first bite!  The savoriness of the egg yolk with the truffle oil in the risotto was what love songs were written about.  The textures of the crispy mushrooms and creamy risotto made this simple dish taste complex.  This is breakfast for lunch and dinner.



Nate, the General Manager, and general cocktail contortionist recommended a glass of their Dr. Konstatine Dry Reisling from the finger lakes region, New York of course since the wine list is 95% NY wineries.  Thanks Dr. Konstatine, I’ll take two and call you in the morning!  Not sure if Kurt Cobain was eating this dish with the paired wine when he came up with the name for his band, but I’ve certainly found nirvana!


THE PERFECT PAIRING:




Before I left Nate had to make me a new drink he had been working on for their overhauled cocktail list.  Sort of a classic cocktail menu meets locally sourced libations with a seasonal attitude.  I went for the Sorel Sidecar, a simple classic with a fuggetaboutit attitude.




WHAT THE "KIDS" ARE DRINKING TODAY:


Nate starts off with the basics for a Bourbon Sidecar, Rough Rider Bourbon from Long Island Spirits of Montauk, New York, triple sec and lemon juice.  But the addition of Sorel takes this cocktail to a higher ground as Stevie Wonder sings…and I was singing too.  First a bit about this Sorel libation, it’s made in Red Hook Brooklyn (locally sourced remember) by Jack from Brooklyn.  


The base is a native Caribbean recipe made from the hibiscus plant renown for it’s curative properties and as a powerful aphrodisiac.  Jack adds to the Moroccan hibiscus some Brazilian clove, Indonesian cassia and nutmeg, Nigerian Ginger, and pure sugar cane.  It has the flavor profile of a pumpkin pie topped with toasted ginger, which would be an amazing addition to hot apple cider on a cold fall night.  But Nate’s addition of fresh squeezed lemon juice and triple sec nudge the drink to a refreshing summer cocktail meant to be consumed in an outdoor NYC garden!  Finished off with a lemon twist this invigorating drink will leave you thirsty for another.





So the next time you are strolling down Cornelia street, stop in and say hi to Scott and Nate, mosey on back to the garden, and enjoy a “HOME” like light meal with their Farmers Egg and Truffled Risotto with a Sorel Sidecar…and repeat three times “there’s no place like home”!


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