JASMINE TEA SHAVED ICE with Guerrilla Ice Cream

I MET ETHAN FRISCH AND ORI ZOHAR – the masterminds behind Guerrilla Ice Cream – after loitering by their ice cream cart earlier this month at the Hester Street Fair in Chinatown. They’d just opened their business four weeks prior, so it was exciting to come across a new ice cream company manned by two guys in their twenties with a mission to create exotic ice cream and give back to the community.

The flavors are based on political movements around the world, such as lemon poppy seed Velvet Revolution and Libertação, a chocolate & port wine medley. New flavors and menu items, like a Malta (wheat soda) ice cream float, are added weekly. Now wrap your brain around this: 100% of profits go to organizations that support marginalized groups, like the Street Vendor Project, where Ethan has volunteered, in New York City.

In my latest video, which features Ethan as my snack-making cohort, we make a brilliant and ridiculously easy jasmine tea shaved ice. I think Guerrilla Ice Cream not only has a big heart, it shows that you can create great things and do good with something as simple as sugar. amy july 29, 2010

WHAT YOU NEED 4 cups of water | 1 cup of sugar | 5 tea bags (jasmine tea used in the video) | liquid honey or other topping (optional)

SERVINGS 2 to 3

MUSIC Julian Bachlow Desolate Place

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July 29, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Chinatown, food cart, ice cream, Manhattan, Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos. Leave a comment.

MY BEST NYC BITES OF SUMMER

Caracas Arepa Bar De PabellonDanny Macaroon Salted CaramelRobicelli's Cupcakes Elvis Cupcake with BaconAND SO IT BEGINS.

Stupidly Simple Snacks launched on Hungry Nation today! (Watch my “Hello, Hungry Nation” video.) To celebrate, I may drag Jason out tonight for dinner at my favorite recent restaurant find, Kampuchea on the Lower East Side. I met up with fellow writer Jenny Miller and our sassy London friend Kat Popiel there a month or so ago and have been daydreaming about Kampuchea‘s pork meatball with spicy tomato sauce numpang (Cambodian sandwich) and bacon garlic fried rice ever since. Also, their Marlow and Daughters deep-fried corn at New Amsterdam Marketgrilled corn with chili mayo, finely shredded coconut flakes, and chili powder was possibly one of the best sweet corn dishes I’ve had this summer. The other best? Marlow & Daughters deep-fried corn (pictured lower right) which I had the privilege of sinking my teeth into at the New Amsterdam Market on Saturday. The corn featured a beautiful garnish of mint, cherry tomatoes, and baby greens, which, when combined, made me feel like I was eating an ecosystem (or a rainbow).

Luckily, many of my favorite things, like cupcakes and pork chops are available year-round, but some foods and flavors are distinctively summery, like raspberry peach pie, fresh-brewed iced tea, grits topped with pulled pork and smothered in cheese

So, to facilitate food dreams everywhere, I’ve decided to keep a running list of my favorite summertime foods in NYC. Recommendations are welcome! Of course, this is only an abbreviated list of everything I want to eat, but it’s a start. amy july 29, 2010

(in no particular order…)

SWEET
Robicelli’s Cupcakes / Elvis cupcake (banana cake with peanut butter buttercream & candied bacon, pictured)
Kumquat Cupcakery / strawberry cupcake
Guerrilla Ice Cream / Malta aka wheat soda ice cream float
Danny Macaroons / salted caramel macaroons (pictured upper right)
Doughnut Plant / lavender cake doughnut
FreshDirect / Breezy Hill Orchard blueberry pie
Prune restaurant / Dutch-style blueberry pancake
Bruce Cost / “Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale”
Trader Joe’s / frozen chocolate croissants (so easy to pop in the oven for breakfast first thing in the morning)
Lily Lolly’s Ice Kitchen / 50’s Orange Lolly, a white chocolate-dipped Creamsicle made with orange liqueur and fresh oranges

SAVORY
ABC Kitchen / fresh mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes & basil
Caracas, East Village / De Pabellon arepa (pictured upper left)
Village Tart / smoked salmon avocado croissant
The MeatBall Shop / pork meatball hero with spicy meat sauce & mozzarella cheese
Marea / Astice aka Nova Scotia lobster burrata / crab spaghetti

ON THE HIT LIST
Boqueria
Braeburn / went for brunch august 1st
Mia Dona Gelato Cart / gelato sandwich
Socarrat Paella Bar
Babbo
Aquavit / crayfish festival (august 9-14 & 16-21)

July 29, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Manhattan, markets. 1 comment.

STUPIDLY SIMPLE SNACKS Joins Hungry Nation

I PULLED AN ALL-NIGHTER LAST NIGHT. This is pretty unimpressive news, I know, but truly there’s nothing like not being able to stay awake to remind you how uncool you are. These days, the highlight of my evening is dinner and a movie. Or maybe dinner and an episode of Lost (only 88 more episodes to go…). But, I’m not complaining. Besides, my Stupidly Simple Snacks series is launching on Next New Network‘s Hungry Nation tomorrow! Why else would I stay awake, stuffing my face with blueberry pie? Obviously, I’m up editing video masterpieces. Welcome to my life where missing bedtime means I’m dating iMovie and there’s more time to eat…

Every Tuesday, catch new episodes of Stupidly Simple Snacks here on Amy Blogs Chow and on HungryNation.TV. I love you guys. Thanks so much for your support and for watching me make snacks on the littlest screen. amy july 28, 2010

July 28, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Hungry Nation, Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos. Leave a comment.

FRESHDIRECT From Wickham’s & Satur Farms

FOUR YEARS AGO, I LIVED ON THE UPPER EAST SIDE OF MANHATTAN on an avenue called York – a stone’s throw from the East River and a million miles away from everything else, like my work place on the west side, the subway, and affordable groceries. Even then, I didn’t cook much since supermarkets were pricey despite mediocre offerings, like picked-through produce and prepared meals you nuke in microwaves. Thus, by default, my diet consisted mostly of gyros from a tiny Middle Eastern place called Pyramida and pizza from across the street.

Relief came in the form of FreshDirect, from which I ordered everything from ravioli to ice cream; beer to broccoli. Nowadays, I don’t miss the Upper East Side, but sometimes I reminisce about Sunday morning FreshDirect deliveries.

Fast forward to summer 2010. I still don’t own a car and am living in a supermarket-less zone once again. (Midtown.) But no matter where your or my address is, the rules of the food game has completely changed so that frequenting greenmarkets and buying into customizable CSAs gains you greater karma and awesome points than attending the latest restaurant opening. Given the warm public sentiment toward seasonal, organic, and local foods, eating healthy and preparing meals yourself is not only socially acceptable, it’s nearly obligatory.

Admittedly, it’s a good trend, and the commercial push for fresh, local food is much easier to support than fad diets or cosmetic surgery. So, naturally, when FreshDirect invited me to join them on a tour of two Long Island farms with whom they work closely, Wickham’s Fruit Farm and Satur Farms, I was excited. I even asked if they’d mind inviting photographer Jennifer Causey along to capture the day on her bad-ass professional camera. (I know Jennifer through her blog Simply Breakfast and I’m a huge fan of her food photography. While I took my own photos, I’m featuring Jen’s today. You can see more of her farm photos here.)

Our first stop was Wickham’s Fruit Farm on Long Island’s North Fork. They’re a 13th generation farm that’s been around for over 300 years. Name any fruit and Wickham probably grows it: peaches, rhubarb, apples, nectarines, ten different varieties of plums, and even kiwis (for fun, not for sale). They’re growing melons too, like cantaloupe, specially for FreshDirect.

We stopped in Wickham’s tomato greenhouse to hide from the heat and picked sweet, marble-sized tomatoes from the vine. Later, we found shade under a cherry tree. Prime cherry season is over, but we arrived at the tail end so a few ripe, red stragglers were still biding time between the leaves. I think that was my favorite part of the day – plucking cherries from a cherry tree. Guess I’m not over the fact that my cherry hand pie baking effort ended so disastrously.

Afterward, we stopped by Satur Farms owned by husband-and-wife team Paulette Satur and Eberhard Müller, who opened Le Bernardin and was once chef at Lutèce, which closed its doors in 2004. Satur Farms is known as a salad specialist, especially mesclun, and grows everything from edible flowers, herbs, and micro greens, to “long, white leeks” of which Paulette seemed particularly proud. The couple supplies friends who helm some of New York City’s top restaurants, like Gramercy Tavern and Daniel. They don’t sell at greenmarkets, so FreshDirect is their only retail customer.

Motivated by the desire to offer their seventy farmhands year-round employment, the couple migrates to Florida every winter to continue their growing business while their North Fork-based operations cease temporarily. I can barely keep myself employed, so the thought of Paulette and Eberhard choosing to maintain their seasonally-dependent business throughout the year for the sake of their employees has stuck with me.

While Paulette led the tour of Satur Farms, Eberhard made us lunch: striped bass escabeche and several salads prepared with cauliflowers, beets, and arugula picked just that morning. For dessert, the couple served macerated peach and round, buttery shortbread cookies.

After lunch, the FreshDirect group thanked our hosts and said goodbye. I went to shake Eberhard’s hand and he asked me about my work, so I told him that I write and produce an online video series for those who don’t know how to cook. “Ah, then that’s a show for me,” he replied good-naturedly. Maybe, I thought, except that you and Paulette don’t own a microwave, which, for the most part, is essential to the Stupidly Simple Snack series.

Just kidding. amy july 22, 2010

FreshDirect is offering a 20% discount to you guys on everything in the local department. Secret code: SUPPORTLOCAL

* Limited time offer. Expires August 31, 2010. May not be combined with any other offer. All standard terms and conditions apply. Limit one use per customer/account. Residential orders only. Void where prohibited. Offer is non-transferable.

Photos by Jennifer Causey. Blueberry photo on homepage is my own.

July 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Healthy, Long Island, specials for abc readers. 1 comment.

STUPIDLY SIMPLE SNACKS • Guacamole!

STUPIDLY SIMPLE SNACKS IS BACK! After a two-month unintended hiatus from video awesomeness, I’m excited to say that Stupidly Simple Snacks will soon be a weekly feature of Amy Blogs Chow and on Hungry Nation, a network of web-based food shows created by Next New Networks, the leading independent producer of online television networks.

I can’t tell you what makes NNN the leading indie producer of online TV networks (it’s the only one I know, quite frankly) but I am pumped to join the ranks of Hungry Nation veterans and fellow food lovers Dan of VendrTV and Rebecca of Working Class Foodies! Also joining the network is Food Wishes, which is like the godfather of online cooking shows. Chef John is a pretty big deal in the food blogging world.

Stupidly Simple Snacks will launch on Hungry Nation at the end of July, so I’ll be making many more videos going forward. I already have some super silly stuff lined up, including a ceviche video I made with Jenna Meister, my BFF and cast member of Jet Set Zero: Quito, while I was in Ecuador last month. It’s going to be great! Now, without further ado, I present my first video from Quito, Ecuador – Stupidly Simple Snacks: Guacamole! amy july 13, 2010

WHAT YOU NEED 2 avocados | 1 tomato | 1 lemon | half onion | salt & pepper

SERVINGS 3 to 4

MUSIC Darwin Deez Radar Detector

July 13, 2010. Hungry Nation, news, South America, Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos. 10 comments.

Edible Ecuador, MOUTHWATERING MANHATTAN

Machachi Sunday Market, EcuadorView of Central Park from 57th Street building, NYC photo by amyblogschow.comIT’S BEEN TWO WEEKS SINCE I RETURNED FROM TRAVELING IN ECUADOR. I was so excited – and thankful – to step off the plane at LaGuardia having successfully avoided pickpockets while in Quito.

I’ve fond memories of my trip, but am relieved to have left some things behind – the vehicle exhaust emissions which blackened the air, for one, and having to call out bus ticket vendors for quoting higher prices in their attempt to nickel-and-dime tourists. On a more superficial level, I missed warm weather clothing, which I’d left in New York to avoid drawing attention to my ankles and elbows. While I enjoyed getting to know Ecuadorian food and a different way of dining (cheap, fresh, home-style, street) I missed the variety of foods and many restaurant options in New York.

On my first day back in the States, I bought an overly frosted cupcake from Magnolia Bakery by Rockefeller Center to sate the sweet tooth that went mostly without icing or cake while abroad. For breakfast, I wandered into Macchiato Espresso Bar – home of my favorite chocolate chip cookie – and took an hour to write and indulge in the end of a long unfinished novel while my latte grew cold.

I miss traditional Ecuadorian food, which features fresh produce and deep-fried goods like empanada and fritada, a bit. Are those two contradictory? Perhaps, but it makes sense when you realize both fruits and greasy grub are easy to vend from street stands and food carts.

Ultimately, traveling always reminds me that we live in an unusual gastronomic bubble here in New York. There really is something for every palate and price point. And I’d almost forgotten how lucky we are to be able to walk down the street, take a train or even a ferry to reach whatever we may crave, whether that’s key lime pies in Red Hook, soul food in East Harlem, or French pastries at Village Tart. The world in one bite – that’s good ol’ New York. amy july 12, 2010

POSTS AND PICTURES FROM ECUADOR
Devouring Quito With Jet Set Zero
Looks Like Chicken, Tastes Like Guinea Pig
To Mercado, To Mercado In Santa Clara, Quito
VIDEO Stupidly Simple Snacks • Guacamole!

July 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . South America. 1 comment.