It’s always fun to see what’s happening on the food scene in New York. This time, I had a cool breakfast in a hip ice-cream parlour called Morgenstern’s down in the East Village. They make a range of pretty delicious ice-creams, but just for a couple of weeks they teamed up with Brutal magazine to do a Brutal breakfast, (proceeds go to funding the next edition of the magazine) – great name but misleading ‘cos the breakfast was totally delicious. Mine was Avocado Toast but of course with a twist, a thick slice of Japanese bread, toasted and spread with avocado ice-cream, a drizzle of condensed milk, olive oil sea salt and freshly ground pepper. How weird does that sound but it was really tasty and morish. My friend had the egg sandwich, we were sitting up at the counter so we could watch as the sweet little cook meticulously put the sandwich together with as much care as if she herself was about to eat it. The combination of semi-soft egg with Aioli, pickled vegetables, sesame oil and fresh coriander on a crusty roll was perky and delicious. Another version had a dribble of Sri Racha, (Thai hot sauce) added.
Wished we could have tasted the Salt and Pepper Bread and Butter Pudding with beets, asters and homemade cultured yoghurt but we couldn’t manage it after a matcha, pistachio and marmalade toast! You can eat aster and iris flowers, yes, that was a new one on me too, see ww.morgensternsnyc.com for the ‘blow you out of the water’ ice-cream menu, including raw milk ice-cream – how interesting is that in a New York eatery?
Just a couple of blocks away in the same area, there’s another gem, El Rey Luncheonette, great name, owned by Geraldo Gongales the partner of Nicholas Morgenstern who owns Morgenstern’s . I loved the Housemade Za’atar Bread, Egg Frittata with shaved fennel salad and crushed avocado, Green Mole Burrata with burnt onions and Za’atar bread.
On Orchard St, you’ll find the Fat Radish, open since 2010 and still great, I loved this concept too, the high ceilinged room with exposed brick walls was packed with a ‘cool kid’ clientele, relishing Saturday morning brunch. The menu is very ‘veggie centric’ as are many of the best and most innovative ‘farm to table’ places in New York at present. It such a joy for a farmer and gardener like me to see the long overdue move of vegetable and grains to the centre of the plate. They’re open for lunch and dinner too, don’t miss the Fat Radish Plate of seasonal market vegetables or the smoked salmon crostini, capers, red onion, upland cress, crème fraîche. One can imagine the truffled duck fat chips are also a “must have”.
Green juices were everywhere – made with kale, spinach, celery, apples, ginger…
It’s not surprising that they are so popular, perhaps it is psychological but I just feel a boost of energy every time I have one. Razor clams and sea urchins were featured on many menus including at Eataly (www.eataly.com/nyc) where they were also piled high for sale in the seafood section. We had delicious deep fried chickpeas with smoked paprika at Tía Pol – an enduringly popular tapa place, another to add to your New York List www.tiapol.com.
Brutal Avocado on Toast
My observation of how this delicious breakfast sandwich was made at Morgenstern’s
1 ¾ inch thick slice of Japanese bread (use a thick slice of square pan loaf if unavailable!)
avocado ice-cream – see recipe
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt flakes
freshly ground pepper
Toast the slice of bread, immediately spread with a layer of avocado ice-cream.
Drizzle with condensed milk, then extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with a few flakes of sea salt and add a generous grind of freshly ground black pepper.
Cut into two triangles.
Serve right away, a delicious contrast of hot and cold and surprisingly moreish.
Serves 6-8 depending on accompaniment, makes 1 litre (1 ¾ pints)
What a surprise – this delicious ice-cream can be served in a sweet or savoury combination.
350g (12 oz) ripe avocado flesh (3-4 avocados depending on size)
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (from a lemon not a squeezy bottle)
350ml (12fl oz) whole milk
110g (4oz) caster sugar
225ml (8fl oz) cream
Scoop the flesh from the ripe avocado into a blender; add the lemon juice, milk and sugar, whiz until smooth.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cream – mix well to combine. Taste and add a little more lemon juice if needed.
Freeze in a sorbetiere or ice-cream maker, it won’t take as long as other ice-creams – maybe 15 minutes.
Serve immediately or store in a covered bowl in the freezer.
Brutal Egg Sandwich
1 fresh “crusty roll”
1 ½ semi hard boiled eggs
pickled thinly sliced radish and carrot slices
fresh coriander sprigs
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Split the fresh crusty roll horizontally.
Spread both sides with the aioli. Slice the semi-hard boiled eggs lengthwise and arrange three side by side on the base of the roll. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Top with pickled carrots and radish slices and a little pickle juice, a layer of coriander leaves on top, then a few drops of sesame oil. Season once again with a few flakes of sea salt and pepper.
Cover with the roll. Press gently and cut into two pieces and serve immediately. Each sandwich was made to order.
1 garlic clove
2 organic egg yolks
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon French mustard
225ml (8fl oz) oil (sunflower or olive oil or a mixture) – we use 175ml (6fl oz) sunflower oil and 50ml (2fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons flat parsley leaves, chopped
freshly ground pepper
First make the aioli. Mash the garlic with a little salt. Put the egg yolks into a Pyrex bowl with the crushed garlic, white wine vinegar and mustard. Whisk in the oil, drop by drop. Once the sauce has started to thicken, you can add the oil more quickly. Stir in the chopped parsley. Taste the aioli and add a few drops of lemon juice, pepper and more salt if necessary
Wichcraft Peanut Butter Cream’wich Cookies
Makes 12 cookies
165g (6oz) butter
100g (3½ oz) oats
70g (2¾ oz) sugar
100g (3½ oz) brown sugar
200g (7oz) peanut butter
150g (5oz) white flour
a little white flour for dusting
1½ tablespoons baking soda
For the filling:
3 tablespoons butter, softened
30g (1¼ oz) icing sugar
300g (11oz) peanut butter, creamy
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Melt the butter over a medium heat, add the oats and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring until slightly toasted. Pour onto a baking tray and allow to cool.
Cream the remaining butter and sugars in a bowl or food mixer.
Add the peanut butter and mix until combined, add the oats, then flour and bread soda, mix until smooth. Chill the dough in a freezer for 5 minutes.
Put a sheet of parchment paper onto the work surface. Put the dough on top, add a light dusting of flour to keep the dough from sticking. Top with another large sheet of parchment and roll the dough until 5mm (¼ inch) thick.
Cut the dough into 6cm (2½ inch) cookies and space 1cm (½ inch) apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, turning the baking sheet halfway through baking, then transfer to a cooling rack.
For the filling:
Mix the butter, sugar and peanut butter in the bowl of a food mixer until smooth.
Sandwich two cookies together with the filling. Enjoy.
Theodora Fitzgibbon was a legend in the Irish food scene for many years, an urbane sophisticated woman who led a thrilling life, in Europe, the Middle East and India. I’m greatly enjoying and in fact enthralled by her beautifully written autobiography “A Taste of Love” published by Gill and Macmillan.
Zamora Restaurant & Wine Shop presents the first of its Food & Wine Tasting Events on Monday 20th of April 2015 at 7pm, tickets €49. Enjoy the delights of Burgundy presented by Edouard Leach of Maison Francoise Chauvenet showcasing the best Chardonnay & Pinot Noir from this magnificent region. These wines will be paired with tasters and teasers from the Zamora kitchen team under the direction of Pat Browne also of Ballymaloe Cookery School.There is limited availability for this event so book early on 021 239 0540.
Another great new find: Mr Jeffares Irish Blackcurrant Cordial. The Jeffares family has been growing blackcurrants in Wexford for three generations, today Des Jeffares continues this tradition, cold pressing and bottling blackcurrants at their peak so you can enjoy Mr Jeffares Irish Blackcurrant Cordial. 100% natural pure juice, sweetened with Stevia, a natural sugar alternative, no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. See www.mrjeffaresblackcurrants.ie.