Thursday, March 31, 2011


I literally buy unsalted butter and heavy cream like bottled water.  I won't even discuss my weekly Parmesan, Gruyere, or Cheddar consumption.  I try to eat fish once a week (Wednesday = Fish Day), but the rest of my diet heavily consists of meat (chicken, pork, lamb) and carbs (pasta, rice, mashed potatoes).  I've hit the elliptical machine twice this week at the gym (which is 50 feet away from my door).  Hopefully I can keep the momentum going because the couch and DVR call me as soon as I get home. 
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Roast Duck with Peach Balsamic Glaze

If I see duck on a menu, its one of a handful of things that I zero in on (chorizo, pancetta/pork belly, poached eggs, truffle, and mac & cheese are others).  I read a few recipes and combined aspects of each: I brined it over night, blasted it with heat at 425 degrees for 30 minutes to crisp the skin, roasted it for an hour and 45 minutes at 350 degrees (flipping it twice), and brushed it with a peach juice (1/2 cup) / balsamic vinegar (1/4 cup) / honey (1 tbsp) mixture. Ducks are fatty animals, so be sure to put potatoes under it to soak up their delicious fat (I added potatoes, mushrooms, and garlic with a 1 hour and 15 minutes left).  I personally hate roasting whole birds (somehow I make great turkeys) - but chickens, hens, and ducks don't seem to yield enough viable meat.  I'll try my hand at duck breasts next.       
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Botanical Gardens - Orchid Show

When I suggested to my gf to buy Time Out to look for something to do, she suggested The Orchid Show at The Botanical Gardens and I immediately had a look of dread. Why me!?  I plotted everything from unplugging my car battery to faking a mystery ailment.  Guilty to admit, I actually had a good time.

Parking is $12 and Admission for the Orchid Show is $20 / $18 for students (general grounds admission is $6).  The Orchid Show is at the Haupt Conservatory and it is great for picture taking (you just need patience with the people with SLRs).  After the conservatory, there is plenty of room to walk around and get lost.  We walked along the Bronx River and saw a flock of ducks (who knew that there are ducks in the Bronx?). There were some other picturesque sites to see on their grounds: The Stone Mill, Hester Bridge, and the Waterfall.  The free tram tour was educational: it gave the history of how the Gardens came to be - the land was acquired from the Lorillard (tobacco) family and modeled after the Royal Gardens in London.  

Their cafe was reasonably priced and had a gourmet flair on their desserts (peanut butter ganache tarts).  You can even purchase orchids, flowers/plants, and gardening supplies from their gift shop.

The Gardens are also close to Arthur Avenue if you want to have dinner nearby (we went to Roberto's).
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Hector and the Search for Happiness

Sometimes I have a hard time finding a book because once I like a topic, I usually stick to it.  I've been in a bit of funk lately, feeling a little unfulfilled and wishing that I could do something that I was more passionate about.  I was at a going out of business sale at Borders and felt obligated to get a book in the frenzy.  I checked out the bestsellers, cooking books, and fiction section and couldn't find anything interesting.  I came across Hector and the Search for Happiness and it couldn't have been anymore ironic.  Hector, a unfulfilled psychiatrist, takes some time off to travel to China and Africa in search of what made people happy.  I started reading yesterday and there is a character in the book (page 2) with my gf's name.  I almost feel like doing a Julie and Julia theme with the book series.  
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What's Stopping Us?

What's stopping us from doing what we really want to do?  I'm sure none of us growing up said we wanted to be what we are today (unless of course you are an astronaut, lawyer, athlete, or fireman - then I applaud you for your persistence in following your dream).  But for the 99% of us, the 9 to 5 office grind makes you  re-evaluate everything.  But what stops us from liquidating our 401K / savings and moving down to the Cayman Islands to rent snorkeling gear?  Money?  Family?  Fear?  

If money were no object and you were not restricted by anything else:

- What would you do?
- Where would you live?

Feel free to write your answers in the comment section.  

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