New York Bagels

I recently took a trip to New York City with my mom and sisters for my mamma’s birthday a couple of weeks ago. Ever since I can remember, she’s always wanted to visit the city, but has never gotten around to it. Between you and I, I think she has always wanted to go because one of her favorite movies is Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Anyhow, so my sisters and I wanted to surprise her with a destination trip for her big day. We didn’t tell her exactly where we were going but rather told here what to pack and how long we’d be gone. Once we got to the airport and printed our boarding passes, we told her she could read her pass and then we yelled out, “Surprise!!!” She practically cried and then people stared at us like we were crazy. It was awesome and grand and everything she never knew she wanted. And just in case you didn’t read all about it already or see all of my instagram posts during the trip, you can check it out here

My sisters had never been to New York either so I wanted to make sure we did as much as possible and visit all of the places they wanted to see. The great thing about visiting a city with people who haven’t before, is that you get to experience it for the first time all over again. We did most of the tourist things that I didn’t even do the times I’d gone before. So that was nice. Aside from all of the incredible sights we saw and museums we visited and walking we did, the best thing about New York is the food. There are literally a million places to eat. Everywhere you turn there’s something else. So of course that makes it a bit hard to settle on something. We did have some incredible food while on our trip though. Almost too much food. Almost. I say that with a grain of salt because there isn’t such a thing as too much food. Well…maybe on Thanksgiving, but even then I’m not sure. 

One of my favorite meals was in the East Village at a small restaurant called Caracas Arepa Bar. It’s a little spot with barely any space for sitting, let alone walking, but oh man was it good. I ate all of the arepas and a micheladas. The place had to close down for the day after that because I ate them all (not really, I wish). I did eat delicious Lobster Bolognese at City Crab and Seafood Company for my mom’s b-day dinner celebration, though,  along with a few (okay more than a few) Moscow mules. One late night I convinced my mom and sisters to eat hot dogs and tater tots with me from Crif Dogs. Any place with tater tots is an ace in my book. The best thing I ate during the entire trip was a bagel at Tompkins Square Bagels that I washed down with a fresh watermelon juice with a hint of lime. Winning combination. It was an everything bagel with the works. We loved them so much we went back the next morning and did it all over again (on my sister’s persistence). The second morning I had a breakfast sandwich with an everything bagel and it was even better than the first time. So here I am now, back home wishing I was still in New York and dreaming about those bagels. Except now I’ve made my own at home and came to the conclusion that I need a New York style bagel every morning for the rest of my life. 

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Cucumber and Strawberry Salad

I used to frown upon salads with fruit on them. It always seemed so weird to me. “Why are there strawberry slices in my salad?” Then I’d proceed to flip the table over and throw the salad across the room. I’m not one for mixing sweet and savory into one dish. With a few exceptions of course, like fried chicken and waffles with maple syrup and honey drizzled all up on it. I’ll never say no to that. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would. I’m not (that) crazy. For the most part, though, I like to keep certain things separate on my plate. My pancakes have to be on another dish completely, far away from my eggs and potatoes and bacon. I’ve recently had a change of heart on the entire matter, and I now have a new found appreciation for sweet fruit on a savory salad. I can’t get enough of it, actually. I guess it helps to keep an open mind to new things we’re not completely used to. Now I’m trying to get you all hooked on it. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot from the error of my ways and I’m ready to eat all of the fruit studded salad in the world. The world I tell you. THE WORLD. 

This is the second recipe in our mega Easter Brunch Bonanza celebration. It’s the perfect side dish for our Spring time meal to celebrate one of my favorite holidays. Just in case you’ve missed yesterday’s post, here’s a link to the Roasted Asparagus and Prosciutto Croissants. It’s another easy dish that you can whip up with no effort at all, taking some help from the store. I’m also going to remind you to come back each day for the rest of the week for the remaining recipes, there are three left and they’re only going to get better and better. I promise. Cross my heart and kiss my elbow. Just as a hint between you and I, Friday’s recipe is my absolute favorite. Oh, I’ve also been updating the main Easter Brunch post on the home page with the links to each individual recipe so that you guys can have one central location for the entire brunch menu. I think it makes it easier on us all. That one post will continue to live on the home page, front and center, so we can find all the recipes without hassle. Enough about all this business talk though. Let’s get to salad making and eating.

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Seafood Sliders

Unfortunately Seafood Week has come to an end, but let’s not start crying and throwing things just yet (you can save that for when you’ve finished reading this post). All good things must come to an end. Lucky for us all, I managed to save the best recipe for last. In case you’re just joining us for the first time this week, I’ll refresh your memory. We kicked things off with my childhood enemy, but now all-time favorite fish meal, Crunchy Fish Sticks with homemade tartar sauce. It was all of our breaded and fried seafood dreams come true. Then when we were beginning to get restless with the week we were presented with Roasted Shrimp Cocktail, accompanied by not one but two sauces for dipping and dunking. Homemade cocktail sauce and a Cajun remoulade. I had a competition with myself to see just how many warm shrimp I could eat in one sitting. I wont disclose the exact amount because it’s embarrassing, but as it turns out, I can eat a lot of shrimp. Like a lot of shrimp. Let’s turn our attention back to the end of Seafood Week, though. Back to being sad. Back to throwing things. We’re rounding out the week with a delicious recipe that although tiny in size, is packed with so much flavor. Like jump kick you in the face with flavor. These Seafood Sliders are the perfect Friday night meal. 

In case you weren’t already aware of it, I have an unhealthy obsession with sliders. They’re my thing. I feel like if I could, I totally would’ve invented the slider. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t invent them. Someone beat me to it. I’m always one step behind. I’ll have to settle for being The Slider King of the World, however. You might ask where I get off calling myself that. Allow me to explain. My past slider incarnations have been some of the best posts/recipes on this site. Pot Roast Sliders, Fried Green Tomato and Shrimp Sliders, BLT Biscuit Sliders, Baked Potato Sliders and Steak and White Cheddar Panini Sliders. I pretty much deserve the title, or at the very least a parking spot with “Reserved for The Slider King of The World” attached to it. One day. I can dream can’t I?

These Seafood Sliders are made with a mixture of fresh ground fish and shrimp, among other tasty ingredients, and are formed into small patties. I’d never ground up seafood before, and I have to admit that I was a little scared, but thankfully I survived! I need a t-shirt with that written on it. Anyhow, these fish and shrimp patties are the perfect vessel for tartar sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles on a tiny bun. My favorite thing about sliders is that I can eat about three of them and feel like I can do anything in the world. Also, I love acting like I’m a giant holding a regular sized burger and I’m about to terrorize the city like Godzilla or something. Is that crazy? It’s probably crazier if I admitted to actually going around the house eating sliders roaring and stomping around like a monster. Not that I do that or anything. It’s all hypothetical. I’ll tell you what isn’t hypothetical, these sliders.

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Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

I’ve never been the biggest fan of shrimp cocktail, but before you start coming after me with pitch forks and start doing voo doo on me, you should hear me out. I’ve got some good explanations for my line of reasoning. The main reason why I don’t care for shrimp cocktail is because I don’t like cold shrimp. In fact I hate cold shrimp. There’s something so weird to me about eating cold shrimp served over ice. Maybe I’m the weirdo. I know I know, that’s the way it’s supposed to be served and many people (like the entire world) really love shrimp cocktail no matter if it’s cold or not. More power to them. I just can’t handle it. Sorry mom. Don’t get me wrong though, if there’s cold shrimp at a buffet or at a party, I’ll be the first in line stuffing it into my pockets.

Since I love the idea of shrimp cocktail and have always wanted to really enjoy it, I thought the best way to achieve such a feat (and overcome my fear of cold shrimp), would be to cook the shrimp and eat it warm. Roasted Shrimp Cocktail has since been my newest obsession and brings me the best of all the shrimp cocktail world. I like to serve it with not one but two sauces for dipping because to me, shrimp cocktail is all about the sauce. Cocktail sauce is very near and dear to my heart as a child because I used to eat it all the time with all of the breaded and fried shrimp. All of it. I was addicted to fried shrimp, still am, but because it’s not the healthiest of ways to eat it, I’ve settled for roasted shrimp cocktail instead. I’m sure my doctor is thankful for that decision.

Continuing with our Seafood Week on the blog, I thought this recipe would be a great follow up to the Crunchy Fish Sticks from earlier in the week. Just as a recap, I wanted to do a Seafood Week because there’s a serious lack of fish dishes in my blog. My mamma wanted me to up my “under the sea” recipes and because my mamma always knows best, I thought it best to listen to her and get right on it. So here we are, two recipes into our awesome Seafood Week. I’m saving the best for last so stay tuned for the third and final installment on Friday. You won’t want to miss it. In the meantime let’s refocus on this roasted shrimp cocktail your new favorite recipe. Cross my heart and kiss my elbow.

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Fried Green Tomato and Shrimp Sliders

I’m on a mission in life to become the Slider King of America. I don’t really know if that’s an actual thing, but it sounds really cool. I can totally see myself being King of the Sliders, too. It’s definitely not a bad thing to have on my resume. If anything, it’ll make me well known by millions, right? At the very least, it’ll grant me some free sliders whenever I want. Which is always. Sliders everyday of my life sounds even better than being king. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to be king. Give me a slider kingdom to rule where all anyone ever eats are sliders. Where sliders just rain down from the skies above. Sounds like a dream come true, if you ask me. I’d walk down the streets of my kingdom pointing at people, screaming, “You get a slider. You get a slider. And you get a slider. And you get a slider!”

Last week I decided to torment you guys by putting up a recipe for Mini Challah Rolls—have you checked it out already?—with a promise to post a delicious slider recipe the following week. Well, guess what?! It’s the following week already, and here I am with the promised delicious slider recipe. And just in case you’ve been living under a rock or something, and aren’t familiar with the fact that I’ve had some great sliders on this blog before, I’ll refresh your memory.

This one time I got all kinds of crazy and made a big batch of pot roast in a slow cooker and put together some killer Pot Roast Sliders that I’m still day-dreaming about. I can’t seem to shake them out of my mind. If you like crispy onion rings and avocado and sriracha, then you’ll love those sliders. Then I decided to one up myself and I created these BLT Biscuit Sliders which is everything right in the world. Biscuits with jam and heirloom tomatoes and lots of crispy bacon and of course, avocado and lettuce. If all of that has you thinking, “Oh no he didn’t!” Well then just sit down and hold on tight because I’m about to blow your mind! I’m now bringing you these Fried Green Tomato and Shrimp Sliders. I couldn’t just use the same rolls I used before or even those biscuits, so I made some new buns. Challah buns. And I’m piling it high with a cajun remoulade sauce, fried green tomatoes, grilled shrimp, lettuce and pickles. It’s an explosion of delicious flavor upon delicious flavor. I don’t know what else to do right now, other than to go to a tall place and yell out “I’M KING OF THE SLIDERS!”

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Watermelon Basil Lime Iced Tea

I’ve always had this fantasy of living in a large home, maybe somewhere in the South—one of the Carolinas for sure, I’m thinking North—with a big patio or wrap around porch. In my fantasy, I’m drinking iced tea on said porch or patio, on a hot summer’s day. Heavy on the iced part because I don’t do well in the heat. I’m lounging on a chair and just drinking my tea enjoying the passing days. Waving at a few neighbors that walk on by. I may or may not speak with a Southern drawl in my fantasy, I haven’t decided yet (but you better believe I’ve been practicing it). This is where I’d plot all my villainous schemes. I’d invite my enemies over for some iced tea, all the while planning out ways on how to backstab them….wait, that’s not my fantasy. I think I’ve been watching way too much House of Cards lately. I get confused. Kevin Spacey is teaching me all the wrong ways of life, you can’t blame me. 

Now try not to judge me too much, but this is actually the first time I’ve ever made iced tea before. Like ever in my life. I can’t really say I’m an iced tea expert per say. I’m far from a tea pro so I had to do a little research (and by a little, I of course mean a lot). My google searches were something like, “How to make basic iced tea?” “How long do I steep tea bags in iced tea?” and “Fool proof iced tea recipes to win contests and major prizes.” That last one didn’t bring me any hits, but you can’t blame a guy for trying. I had to come up with my own recipe. 

Iced tea is one of those things that I always drink at other people’s homes or at restaurants, but have never really thought about making it myself. I don’t know why, I guess I always just assumed it was too difficult to make. Something about boiling water and making tea, scared me. I have a phobia of boiling water. I don’t have a phobia of boiling water, it’s a joke (someone please laugh). I was wrong though. It’s actually really easy to make iced tea. The best part is that you can add all kinds of awesome flavorings to it, and make it so much better than just plain boring iced tea. Don’t get me wrong, plain and boring iced tea is still a favorite of mine, but plain and boring doesn’t win any contests and I want to win contests for sure. So I learned a valuable lesson through all of the recipe testing I did, over the last couple of days. The lesson being that watermelon and iced tea are long lost friends. Destined to be together forever. That forever being in a pitcher in my fridge for my drinking pleasure. 

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