August 29, 2008

I Love New York

Times Square

Chet's friend Andrew that we met in New York recommended a creamed spinach recipe by Emeril to us. I checked out the recipe and it sounded yummy, and spinach being one of my favorite veggies, I thought that I should try it. The other recipes from that particular Emeril Live episode sounded delicious, too. Not to be outdone by Andrew, I told Chet to rub it in with Andrew that I would be making the whole Emeril meal. "I scoff at your spinach. Bam!" The episode was called I Love New York and featured:
Emeril's Blue Cheese Waldorf Salad
Hash Brown Potatoes
Creamed Spinach
New York Strip with Beurre Maitre d'Hotel
New York Cheesecake with Caramelized "Big Apple" Topping

Emeril's Blue Cheese Waldorf SaladThe Blue Cheese Waldorf Salad was very good. It has a mayonnaise and buttermilk- based dressing with blue cheese and yellow onion. You toss that with some apples, grapes, celery, and walnuts, and serve the mix over a bed of Bibb lettuce. With the addition of some chicken breast pieces, this salad would be a hit at a luncheon as the main course.

I Love New York

The hash brown potatoes were pretty standard but had the addition of Emeril's Essence. I've made better before. The creamed spinach was very good indeed. I took about half the shallots called for out of the pan before adding the spinach. I always need to double or triple recipes that serve four when the whole family is over. I can't remember if my ingredient estimates (who needs measuring cups?) were off or the recipe was. The New York Strip with Beurre Maitre d'Hotel was pretty good. I underseasoned the roast. The beurre maître d'hôtel is a parsley butter with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. I have some left that I want to put on a salmon steak or a filet mignon or something else I can't afford these days.

Emeril doesn't know his cheesecake, or more likely, the recipe on the site is missing the correct instructions on cooking it. I read the directions which said to cook the cheesecake at 375º for an hour and thought, yeah, that's definitely going to burn. I was right. The top was very brown and the cheesecake looked like the Grand Canyon with all the cracks it had in it. I usually do cheesecakes at 450º for 10 minutes and then drastically lower the heat to about 200º for the rest of the long cooking time. There's also the water bath option, which is risky. You have to baby the cheesecake when it comes out, too, because cooling it too quickly will also cause it to crack. I read a secret for fixing cracked cheesecakes. Unmold the cheesecake from the springform pan, wrap a wide ribbon around the cake's perimeter, secure it with a binder clip, and leave for a few hours. That helped a little, and luckily, the apple topping masked imperfections.

The flavors in this cheesecake were perfect. I liked it even better than my usual New York Cheesecake recipe. What sets Emeril's apart is the addition of orange and lemon zest to the filling. The caramelized apple topping was good, though I never got the sugar to caramelize. After prepping and cooking this meal for ten people, I lost patience with the dessert.

And then I forced Chet to play the accordion, despite his "No means no" pleas.

Accordion to Plan Accordion to plan

When Chet moves to New York, he could always play the accordion in the subway terminals and make a pretty good living. Newcomers adjust, eventually, to New York.

Empire State Building