Friday, July 30, 2010

Judging Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

I recently went to visit my sister who resides in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.  She just moved to the area so this was my first opportunity to visit, and I had a great time!  

Park Slope is a neighborhood with tons of character and activities, especially for food enthusiasts. It's considered one of the nicest places to live in NY, located right next to Prospect Park the tree lined side walks, brown stones, and vibrant community make you feel like you are in a totally separate city.

Here are a few of the places I ate while visiting:

Lunch the first day I was there we went to a great little pub, The Double Windsor, to watch a soccer game.  The pub had wonderful fries and an exceptionally cheesy grilled cheese sandwich.  My sister ordered the fish tacos, which may not have been the best order for such as place and due to this the fish was dry.  A friend of ours ordered the veggie sandwich melt and reported that it was very good.  Judged as good bar food.

For a snack we went to an amazing pie shop, Four and Twenty Blackbirds. Once you enter your transported to a quaint shop in the Shenandoah Valley or your grandmother's kitchen. While the ambiance was a treat itself the pie was really the star.  The owners (two sisters!) of Four and Twenty Blackbirds state, "We source our ingredients locally and organically when possible and incorporate natural sweeteners such as honey, molasses and unrefined sugar in our recipes. Many of our products are made with whole grain flour and we buy our ingredients according to season."  My sister and I ordered the rhubarb crumble, which was out of this world.  The pie was homemade with excellent ingredients, which really came through in the flavor.  I would rank this right next to my grandmother's pie.  Judged as a place you have to visit on your next trip to NYC.

For Sunday brunch my sister and I ventured just up the block to Sotto Voce for their $12.95 brunch with unlimited mimosas.  I love mimosas and so was very excited by this deal.  I had the veggie frittata and my sister had the eggs benedict, her favorite breakfast item.  I thought the frittata was just ok, nothing special.  My sister likes their eggs benedict and has had them a few times, but admits that it's not the greatest eggs benedict she has ever had.  Mainly we went there for the price and the drinks.  Judged as a deal for yummy mimosas, but be sure to eat slowly so you can have more than one.  

After a few month of living in Park Slope my sister has reported to me that there are many wonderful restaurants including one owned by a former Top Chef contestant.  I'm excited to return and taste some more of the local fare.    

Please note, there was a lot of walking involved in this trip, which I have not reported.  ;)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy 4th Of July

While I believe that the 4th of July is more than just fireworks and eating, I still enjoy all of the eating :)

Here are some items I made this 4th:

Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies


    3/4  cup Smart Balance Light Butter
    1/4  cup shortening
    1  cup packed brown sugar
    1/2  cup granulated sugar (Splenda)
    3/4  teaspoon baking soda
    1/2  teaspoon salt
    2  eggs
    1  teaspoon vanilla
    2-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
    3  cups semisweet chocolate pieces


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar (Splenda), baking soda, and salt. Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in chocolate pieces.

2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 60 cookies. *

Cookies judged as yummy and loved by my co-workers. These also freeze really well, so make a double batch and save them for that night that you just have to have CHOCOLATE!

*2 WW Pts

Blueberry Crisp

5 cups of fresh blueberries
4 tablespoons Splenda

1/2  cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar or brown sugar substitute equivalent
1/4 cup and 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4  cup Smart Balance Light Butter
1/4  cup chopped pecans
Frozen light or fat free whipped dessert topping, thawed (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Wash and place blueberries in a 2 quart baking dish.

2. Sprinkle berries with 4 tablespoons of Splenda and 3 tablespoons of flour.

3. For topping, in a medium bowl, stir together oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles course crumbs.  Stir in the nuts and sprinkle over the top of the fruit.

3. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is golden.

4. Cool slightly. Serve warm. If desired, top with whipped topping or light ice cream. Serves 8.

This blueberry crisp was super easy to make and a big crowd pleaser.  My family loved the fresh berries and crispy top.  Judged as a great summertime dish. 

*4 WW Pts 
*6 WW Pts with .5 cup of light ice cream