Well Done, Bien Cuit!

PC: Yelp

PC: Yelp

After visiting Bien Cuit, you’ll never look at pastries the same way again. Is it possible to love something without even trying it yet? That’s how I felt about this little bakery.

To preface this review, I have a short story…
As most of my family/friends know, I hardly ever watch TV. But when I do it’s usually a show about food of some sorts. This brings me to my next point: “Unique Sweets” featured Bien Cuit on one of their episodes and whenever I watch these shows, I make sure to make a mental note to visit ESPECIALLY when it’s close by. Just from the images and descriptions, I knew I had to visit. Their featured item was the elusive Chocolate Almond Croissant… double baked in brandy. I’m such a visual person and was immediately enticed when watching the show. More or less, I was sold.

Bien Cuit, meaning “well done” is certainly appropriate. All of the desserts here are carefully crafted down to the very last bite. Upon arrival, the storefront is simple/minimalist and reflects the rustic nature of the inside. Although its spacious, there isn’t much seating to go around. I was there on a mission. My friend was cooking me dinner that night and I can never go empty-handed. So I asked the girl at the counter for suggestions (she was very helpful) and I ended up deciding on three pastries:

-Huckleberry Danish with Yuzu Curd, Huckleberry Jam: Flaky, tart and very flavorful. Those berries certainly packed a punch. This was my wildcard if you will. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t had this fruit before, so take a chance on it. It’s good.

-Apple Cardamom Danish with Pureed Apple and Cardamom Strudel: Second favorite of the night. I’m a HUGE fan of apple desserts so this was a win-win. The unique pairing of flavors certainly works.

-(The true star of Bien Cuit) Chocolate Almond Croissant/Twice-baked with Brandy: If you have to pick an item, CHOOSE THIS. You can thank me later. It’s everything a croissant should be — flaky, soft, buttery, nutty (from the almond paste)… you get the idea. And the fact that its baked in brandy? Say no more. It’s a true showstopper.

Bien Cuit-Assortment

Yes, Bien Cuit may be a tad bit on the pricier side. But I can guarantee the quality is there within every single bite. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

120 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

(718) 852-0200

biencuit.com

Advertisements

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon!

Sign-BarBacon

BarBacon is a new addition to the Hell’s Kitchen family. Here, you’ll find several things:
-Not a vegetarian in sight.
-Enough sodium intake as the Dead Sea.
-Unusually delicious ways to incorporate bacon into every item imaginable.
-Lamb bacon. You heard it right.

Having only opened about several months ago… from the looks of it, they’re doing pretty well for themselves! The word has gotten around and it looks like BarBacon is hitting home runs with the crowds. My friend and I arrived at around 6:30pm on a weekday and it was pretty packed. With low lighting and a very nature-y feel, I felt right at home. Whoever was in charge of decorating this place had a knack for an ambiance that really sets the mood. I also really liked the fact that you weren’t bombarded by the smell of bacon like some places. I mean, yes who doesn’t like the smell of that porky goodness? But leave that to the dinner itself. To your left you’ll see the bar which offers plenty of space to mingle while sippin’ on some crafty beers. To your right you’ll find the restaurant area with both high and low tables.

Yes, the menu is concise but it’s surprisingly diverse. From the classic bacon cheeseburger to bacon bahn mi, you’re sure to find something that suits your pork needs.

Bacon Flight-BarBacon

Bacon Tasting “Flight”: (HIGHLY recommended) this app consists of 4 types of bacon, 2 pieces each so you and a friend can share. Here’s the flavors if you will:
-Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon: classic, thin, crispy feel-good taste.
-Father’s Country Maple Bacon: by far my favorite. Why not take it up a level and make it even more unhealthy? Add sugar. *Cue heavenly sounds*
-Nodine’s Peppered Bacon: my least favorite. But still good. I felt like it needed to be paired with a merlot. Too much pepper in that bite for my liking.
-BarBacon Lamb Bacon: most interesting one of the night. Slightly gamey and pretty thick sliced meat. It was a true fusion of lamb chops and bacon flavor in one. Don’t miss out on this gem.

Grilled Cheese and Eggplant Soup-BarBacon

Applewood Smoked Bacon Grilled Cheese with Tomato Eggplant Soup:
Delicious. The thick fontina and gruyere was oozing out of the Toasted Semolina (from Amy’s Bread!). The bread had fennel and golden raisins which balanced and added a sweetness factor to the salt of the bacon and cheese. That was a wonderful touch. As for the soup, it was a perfect pairing for dipping the sandwich. It was tart and hearty.

Happy Hour-BarBacon

Tip: Happy hour is at the bar but for the time being (since they’re new) you may be able to snag that 1/2 off special at your table. The Sixpoint is the recommended pairing that goes well with bacon. And it sure did! What a creamy and delicious light beer. (Thanks to our awesome waitress. You rock!)

If you have a love for pork, unique pairings and a relaxed, casual vibe… BarBacon is your calling. I’ll be returning for sure. Don’t worry about eating like a pig*. It’s all good.

*Too much?

836 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019
b/t 55th St & 54th St in Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West
(646) 362-0622
barbacon.com

Quick And Easy Pizza

pizza

 

How many of you are like me?

You work 5 days a week, 40+ hours and when you get home all you want to do is kick back and relax. Most of you will go for that frozen tv dinner or find solace in a bowl of cereal. One of the things I dislike doing is eating because it’s a chore not because I should enjoy it. And you’re probably thinking wow a homemade pizza? It doesn’t come to mind when you’re thinking of a quick and effortless meal. But it can be!

During the week I will stop by my local bakery and pick up pizza dough. It’s usually around $2 at the place near me. Not expensive at all. I’ll buy a couple of those and stop by my grocery store and pickup a jar of sauce as well as a block of mozzarella cheese. The great things about these items is that they’re versatile. You can use the leftover sauce in pasta or use the cheese in mac and cheese. Be creative! So there’s no need to worry about wasting money. You can always make good food on a budget. And voila…all the ingredients you will need to make that homemade pizza.

Ingredients:

1 bag of pizza dough from your local bakery

1 block of mozzarella cheese (I use part skim, Polly-O’s)

1 jar of sauce (I use Barilla Tomato Basil)

Some olive oil for brushing the dough.

Flour/cornmeal for the dough.

Any spices you may wish to add.

Here’s some tips and tricks to how I made mine (as seen in picture above).

Preheat to 425 degrees.

-Take your dough and place it on a hard surface. Make sure surface is lightly floured first. *If you have a pizza stone like I do, lightly dust that with cornmeal beforehand. Trust me, it adds to the texture of the pizza and some extra flavor. The grainy texture will help the pizza slide off the stone or whatever surface you choose, more easily.

-Knead the dough a little bit (but don’t over-do it) and flatten it into a round disk shape. Work the edges in a circular motion and pull the dough slightly with your hands. Be careful not to pull too much because that may create holes. Try to get the thick/thinness as even as possible.  When you have the desired shape, place on top of cornmeal covered pizza stone.

-Then take small amount of olive oil and brush the surface of the dough with it. This will add a nice color to the crust and will give it flavor too.

-Take your sauce and ladle it over the dough and spread evenly. I like a pretty thin coating, but that can be your preference. Do not push sauce all the way to the edge. Leave room for the crust to form.

-Then take your cheese and you can either shred it or cut it into chunks to put on top of the sauce. Add as much or as little as you’d like! At the same time add whatever toppings you like to the pizza. I personally love red pepper flakes, basil and garlic powder. YUM! But feel free to add things like leftover sausage, spinach, chicken, veggies, etc!

*Bake for about 12-15 minutes, checking to make sure the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Let cool for a few minutes, cut into slices and serve.

**The best part about this pizza is that you can multi-task while this is cooking. It is such an easy prep and clean up as well. I usually make my lunch for the next day or iron my clothes quick. Hey, that’s what you have to do nowadays. Multi-tasking is the way to go! If you have kids, friends, family…they can help too! And with pizza you can really have fun with it. Maybe do one half sausage and one half eggplant. You can experiment with many different types of flavor profiles and such. Pizza is like a blank canvas, the opportunities are endless! And if you have leftovers…that means dinner for tomorrow.

In my mind, it’s a win-win.

(Also, next time I will update this with more pictures of the step-by-step process so you can have a better visual.)

Questions? Leave a comment!

Margarita Cupcakes

margarita

 

Tequila!

I believe I made these around January for a friend’s 21st birthday. What’s a more fitting thing to make than a Margarita inspired cupcake?! These definitely packed a punch. You’re all probably thinking… Okay this is the second post and this girl has only been posting alcoholic themed items. Ha! I cook other types of foods I swear. 🙂 Anyway, these were a huge HIT! I think the only different I would change in this recipe is to add a lime/lemon curd to fill the cake. Otherwise, there was just enough of a splash of tequila to make this really zing. The recipe does not call for the lime zest, but I thought that was a pretty touch.

Margarita Cupcake:

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Juice of 1½ limes
2-3 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

Tequila-Lime Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila

*Pinch of salt & lime zest. For appeal and taste!

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line tins with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until light, and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. (If it looks a little lumpy, don’t worry!) Slowly add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix until just incorporated.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden.

Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila. (There’s that extra zing!) Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.

To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Add the lime juice, tequila and salt mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with lime zest, an additional sprinkling of salt and a lime wedge.

A Little Bit About Me!

993361_10152699378565190_39284655_n

Welcome everyone! To introduce myself, my name is Katie. I’m 24 years old, recently graduated from SUNY New Paltz and I am now working in the hustling-bustling world that is New York City. What a difference! Going from a small town on Long Island to an even smaller community up in New Paltz to now the big apple! I’m in the stage of my life where I cannot anticipate the future but live in the “now” and chase after my dreams… small or big. I don’t know what the next step is.  But to me, that’s exciting! I feel like the cliche saying that the “world is at my fingertips”.

As you can probably tell from the name of this blog, I love to cook. You’re probably thinking okay… can this girl really cook? I’d like to think so!  Cooking is not only a hobby but a passion.  My mother told me that I began to cook at the age of four (with plenty of supervision of course.)  The first real item I ever made was an omelette… at four!  Ever since then there’s been no stopping me.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many omelettes I have made since that very first time.  Whereas some kids were sucked into video games, expensive pocketbooks or playing cards… my heart was in experimenting with all different foods and flavors.  It’s without surprise that my all time favorite toy was the Easy Bake Oven.  It still blows my mind that I could produce a baked good with a light bulb.  It’s genius!

But as I grew older, my culinary confections evolved from strictly cooking into the world of baking.  I know many people say that baking is the toughest because everything has to be exactly right.  The measurements, the order in which the ingredients are mixed, and even when folding in the “dry” with the “wet” counts tremendously.  I don’t know what it is about baking, but it’s just something that I get.  When I do what I love, it brings me into a world where I can concentrate on one thing and escape from everything else.  If I’m stressed, I bake.  (Which coincidentally is convenient for my friends and family… free baked goods.)  We are told to do what makes us happy, and I am.  One of my many life bucket list items will be checked off when I complete this first post.  I have always wanted to do a blog.  I studied abroad in Ireland for 4 months and did a traveling one.  It truly enabled me to take every thought, experience and moment and document it.  With this blog I hope to do the same.

A Treat To Eat is not restricted to a genre or a specific style of cooking.  This blog will be about me and all of my wonderful experiences traveling around both Long Island and NYC.  I am an avid writer and want to focus this blog on reviewing restaurants, eateries, hidden gems and more. With my new found passion for food writing/critiquing I want to share my journey with you all.  Throughout my posts, I hope to make you laugh while making your taste buds tingle and your stomach rumble. One of my biggest goals with this blog is to move forward with my love of the culinary community and do something that reflects my personality/essence. Whether it’s a review on your already favorite establishment or a new finding of a restaurant you’ve been dying to go to… maybe my experiences will fuel your inspiration in whatever form that may be.

Thank you.

Katie