An Amateur New Year

This winter I went home to California for two straight weeks. Like the obsessive planner that I am, I made a Google doc spreadsheet to make sure that my holiday time was optimally maximized for seeing family and friends, eating incredible food, and restoring my body from the brutal end-of-year work dump.

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Two Meals from One: Apple-Stuffed Pork Chops and a Frittata

In spite of the rough first week of the new year, I had one of the most amazing and rejuvenating of weekends. AC and I had been talking about having a Queens Day redux, because the first one was fantastic… but it took a while for our schedules to sync up. Finally, though, we picked January 11th and clung to it with everything we had. Because of the forecasted rain, we decided to have a relaxing day in and, of course, a meal of epic proportions.

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Pomegranates

I recently found out that J had never eaten a pomegranate before. Well, I decided, the native Californian produce-loving side of me kicking in, I will show YOU the wonders of the pomegranate. I wanted to do it right (unlike the messy experience when my boss hacked one open at work), so of course I turned to Youtube.

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Roasted Broccoli

I stumbled across this delicious recipe by The Amateur Gourmet (of course, I should have known I’d love it by the title of the blogger!) while I was still living at home with my parents. I was growing tired of steamed broccoli and looking for a way to reinvigorate one of my favorite vegetables. Enter “The Best Broccoli of Your Life.” I was intrigued, so I gave it a shot. Since that first dinner I have been spreading the good word. I am pretty sure this dish blew my dad’s mind, and it basically changed J’s life. There are some nights when all we want for dinner is a large plate of this roasted broccoli.

Let’s get started!

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A Queens Exploration Day: Flushing Meadows Corona Park

A Queens Exploration Day: Flushing Meadows Corona Park | The Amateur Everything

One of my biggest struggles and subject of constant obsession is to think of new ways to convince my Manhattan-dwelling friends to visit me in Queens. Sure, it’s no 15-minute ride to my apartment but it’s not like I live in another state. But I do get it. Manhattan offers so many diversions. When I was in college I’m pretty sure I only made it off of the island a handful of times in four years. When you live in Manhattan you just don’t get why anyone would want to be anywhere else. You’re wearing “city blinders.”

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An Impromptu LES Food Tour and The Frenemy

On Friday, EH and I decided to go on a mini food adventure, sparked by the debut of the Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery. Unfortunately, we underestimated the crowds and were left cronut-less on the street.

We decided to wander around SoHo, stumbling upon two chocolatiers in the process: Kee’s and MarieBelle. Recently, I had done a bit of research on chocolatiers in NY in preparation for my parents’ upcoming visit. When I lived with my parents after college, we would occasionally buy some fancy chocolate (our hometown favorite was Ginger Elizabeth, but more often than not we would pick up our monthly free truffles from Godiva). We would have maybe three different chocolates and after dinner we would sit down with a knife and slice each piece in to three. My favorite part was watching my dad take his little sliver of chocolate and and savor the shit out of it. Afterwards he would exclaim, “That was the perfect amount!” My dad’s favorite treat is ginger chocolate, so I was hoping to find a place that had a delicious and unique take on it. In terms of our personal tastes, I gave Kee’s two thumbs up, since there was an actual piece of candied ginger inside, nestled among the smooth ganache. MarieBelle’s did have a surprising ginger flavor, considering there was no visible ginger within the chocolate itself. Ambience-wise, though, I’m hoping to go back to MarieBelle another time for their adorable Cacao Bar in the back. The folks working there were so friendly and offered free iced chocolate samples (they know the key to my heart!).

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