Lazy Saturday Afternoon: The Cornelia Street Cafe

The last couple of weeks have been hectic, and that has included busy weekends. This was the first time in about a month that I haven’t had any plans for either Saturday or Sunday. Last night was game night with the fam, and today I caught up with a friend for a leisurely brunch at The Cornelia Cafe.

This was my first brunch here, and I didn’t have any expectations , bust as it turns out the cafe is a well-know hang out space that boasts many activities. The downstairs area hosts live music, readings and other fun events, but going here for brunch was such a treat. The staff is very warm and inviting, and because we arrive on the early side (11:15) we were seated immediately. As you can see in the picture, arriving later guarantees a wait in line.

The Cornelia cafe has a variety of food and drink options that are reasonably priced, but when you take into account that a mimosa is $9, the brunch prix fixe make sense and it’s pretty wonderful. To start there was a choice of bread which included blueberry muffin and pumpkin bread, followed by breakfast entree which included the staples of buttermilk pancakes, french toast, omelettes and eggs any style, as well as some breakfast specials. Also included were coffee or tea and an adult beverage. I had a greyhound, made with pink grapefruit juice and it was very tasty, but they also offer screwdrivers, bloody marys, mimosas, and sangria. I was tempted to get eggs, because it was hard to think about getting pancakes after the bread course, but I saved my pumpkin bread for later and yielded to the temptation of buttermilk pancakes.

If you are looking for a cute place to grab a bite to eat and catch up with a friend, I would recommend The Cornelia Cafe. In addition to having a warm and friendly atmosphere, great service and good food, it’s also conveniently located around the corner from public transportation. It’s in the West Village, so it’s a great starting point for a day of shopping and sightseeing.

I had hoped to get a bunch of reading done today, but when I say lazy day, I really mean lazy day. I ate and watched tv, all day.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Master of Love by Catherine LaRoche   Book Review

The Vampire Diaries – Episode 2.3: Bad Moon Rising Discussion

I know I’m all late, but as I explained in my post on Bones, I was at the Baltimore Book Festival for the past few days, however, I must share a few quick thoughts on Bad Moon Rising.

The werewolf story has finally moved along a little bit.  I still have mixed feelings about this show choosing to bring in werewolves.  I don’t know what story started that linked the two together, but it seems that it pops up frequently enough in movies and television to be a little annoying to me here.  Mason grew on me a little bit in this episode.  I don’t know where they are going with this, and I am pretty sure that he and Damon will be at odds at some point – especially since we have learned that a werewolf bite can kill a vampire, but what can I say  - he is easy on the eyes, and he had enough sense to try to restrain himself during his transformation.  He needs a little help in that department seeing that he was able to break free and almost eat Stefan, and a newly day walking Caroline, into dinner.

And speaking of Caroline, she continues to be my favorite of the bevy of women on this show.  Bonnie is as snarky and mean as ever, but at least I see that she has real reason to be a little bitchy and standoffish with Caroline.  And as for Elena, she holds no currency with me these days after the emotional smackdown she delivered to Damon.  But, my Caroline is in her glory as she tries to master the vampire thing, even though her every neurotic and jealous tendency is threatening to destroy the relationships which are so important for her to hold on to her humanity.  Now that she has her ring she has a better shot at hiding her situation from her mom, but I am looking forward to see what other effects her change will have on their already tense relationship.  And what about poor Matt?  Is she really going to be able to stay away from him.  I am sad about this, but she makes Stefan so much more palatable that it is ridiculous.  They need to get together.  I will love Katherine forever is any of her evil deeds pave the way to that happening.

I think I have to go back and listen to the mythology a few more times.  I got lost when they started talking about why vamps had to creep around at night and werewolves are bound to the moon and eat vampires.  The doppelganger angle is appealing to me, and I want to know more about that and thankfully Alaric got himself together and kissed Jenna.  Now where in the world is Jeremy?  In class?  In his room moping?  It would be nice ti get the tiniest bit of face time with characters, even if they have no storyline at the moment.

Tyler was hilarious when Amy so bluntly told him that she liked Matt.  I laughed out loud for way too long when he said, “Ouch.”

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane

Next time … Katherine is back!

This Just In! Top Secret Recipes Unlocked, by Todd Wilbur

Top Secret Recipes Unlocked Book CoverYou can only imagine why I was interested in reading this book- recipes of famous food that I can play around with in the comfort of my own home- sweet!  January is usually the time where we pull out our resolve to eat more healthfully, exercise more and generally be better people.  I have a feeling that this book is like having a little devil sitting on my shoulder, and it has already given the little angel on the other shoulder a beat down and kicked it to the curb.

There are many recipes that I am looking forward to testing out for comparison with the original.  I was overjoyed to find that they have several recipes from Starbucks listed- my fave being the Lemon Loaf (lemon poundcake).  I think I might make that for book club next month and take a few piecs of the original to try out as well.

Candace, Vasilly and Dawn are deprived children this month as they attempt to get through this round of their Game On Diet.  But the end of the month is drawing near and I figured that I would throw them a bone and give then something to look forward to on February 1.

Lemon Loaf Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of booking  baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon extract
  • 1/3 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Lemon Icing Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus tablespoon of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Directions (which I will invariably modify, but I’m giving you the real thing)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. To make the loaf, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Use an electric mixer to blend together the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon juice in a medium bowl.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.  Add the oil and mix well.
  5. Pour the ingredients into a well-greased 8 1/2 X 4 1/2- inch loaf pan.  Bake for 45 minutes , or until a toothpick stuck in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Make the lemon icing by combining  the ingredients in a small bowl with an electric mixer on low speed.  When the lemon loaf has cooled, remove it from the pan and frost the top with the lemon icing.  When the icing has set, slice the loaf into eight 1 inch thick slices.

Makes 8 slices.

Other recipes of interest are:

  • Nuts 4 Nuts Candied Nuts
  • Starbucks Coffee Cake
  • Starbucks Carrot Cake
  • Popeye’s Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Popeye’s  Cajun Gravy
  • The Soup Nazi’s Mexican Chicken Chili
  • Taco Bell Chicken Quesadilla

There are many others, but since I can’t list the entire TOC, I will stop here.

This post might eventually wander over to the Weekend Cooking feature over at Beth Fish Reads.  You should check that out.  It’s yummy!

Dinner Is Served: The Complete Progressive Dinner Party

One of the great things about the holidays is the way that we take the time out from busy lives and schedules to celebrate and appreciate our family and friends. Dinner parties are a time honored way of sharing good food with good friends. I am so pleased to present the complete collection of the wonderful recipes gathered by our book blogging friends.  Be sure to take a look through these delicious recipes.  Believe me, you don’t want to miss a thing!
Cocktails & Hors d’oeuvres
Angel’s Kisses – Cinnamon Apples

Soups & Salads

Entrees

Desserts
Winter Write – Aebleskivers (danish pancake balls)

Progressive Dinner Party: Cornbread Stuffing/Chicken & Dumplings

progressivedinnerbutton

Today the Progressive Dinner Party is shifting over to entrees.  So far all of the drinks, appetizers, soups and salads have been wonderful.  For a complete list of all the dishes head on over to Book Blog Social Club to get a look at all the goodies.

Stuffing is a dish that I am very particular about.  It’s not one of those things that you get to eat all the time.  Typically I only have it at Thanksgiving and Christmas so I don’t have the opportunity to eat it a lot, and as a result my taste buds for it are heavily skewed toward my mom’s stuffing.  (We call it dressing when I’m in Alabama).  The preparation of it can be a little bit labor intensive.  It’s not hard, just takes a bit of time, but I feel like it’s well worth it if you make your own cornbread.  It really gives the stuffing a full flavor and a rich texture when mixed with the breadcrumbs and other seasonings.  And what can I say about homemade chicken and dumplings besides the fact that it is one of the best things on this planet!

    Sage Cornbread

    Ingredients

  1. 1 cup cornmeal
  2. 1/2 cup flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh sage (chopped) or 1 teaspoon dried sage (chopped)
  6. 3/4 cup soy milk(or buttermilk , or whole milk – you choose)
  7. 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
  8. 2 eggs (optional)
  9. 3 tablespoons olive oil

Do It Up

  • Take as many liberties as you want with the cornbread. It will be added to other ingredients and baked again anyway.
  • Sift the first four ingredients together and add sage.
  • In another bowl beat soy milk, maple syrup, eggs and olive oil together.
  • Add to dry ingredients and stir only enough to moisten.
  • Pour batter into a 9 x 9 greased pan.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Cornbread Stuffing

Ingredients

  1. Sage Cornbread (see above)
  2. 3 cups soft bread crumbs
  3. 4 ounces canola oil
  4. 2 cups onion, chopped
  5. 2 cups finely chopped celery
  6. 3 to 4 cups chicken broth
  7. 2 cups chicken, diced, (optional)
  8. 1 heaping tablespoon dried sage, crumbled
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons dried leaf thyme, crumbled
  10. 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, crumbled
  11. 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped
  12. 1 teaspoon salt
  13. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  14. 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Do It Up

  • Heat oven to 400ºF.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornbread and bread crumbs.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion and celery in canola oil until tender. Do not brown.
  • Combine the sautéed vegetables with the bread mixture. Stir in chicken broth, using enough to moisten.
  • Stir in the diced chicken, if using, and the seasonings and beaten eggs, blending well.
  • Spread the mixture in a large shallow baking or roasting pan measuring about 10″ x 15″. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

Chicken & Dumplings

Ingredients

  1. 2-1/2 to 3 lb. Chicken (whole or parts, as you prefer)
  2. 4 Cups Water
  3. 2 Cups of  Chicken broth
  4. 1 Carrot, roughly chopped
  5. 1 Medium onion, cut into quarters
  6. 1 Stalk of celery, roughly chopped
  7. 1/2 tablespoon Salt
  8. 1 Cup water or milk (I use water)
  9. 1/4 tablespoon of black pepper

Dumplings:

  1. 2 Cups All-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  4. 3 tablespoons of oil

Do It Up

  • Place the chicken in a Dutch oven, and add the water, broth, carrot, onion, celery and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat. Simmer for 60 to 70 minutes, or until tender and chicken is done. Remove chicken and allow it to cool enough to handle. Remove the carrot, onion and celery pieces from the broth and discard. Reserve the broth.
  • Bone the chicken, discarding all skin and bones, and cut meat into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

Dumplings:

  • Combine the flour, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cut in the oil/shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture is consistency of coarse meal. Add the buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times — no more.
  • Roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness, and cut into 3″ x 1″ strips.
  • Bring the chicken broth to a boil, and stir in the water/milk and pepper. Correct seasonings, if desired.
  • Drop dumplings, one or two at a time, into the boiling broth and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir from time to time to make sure dumplings do not stick together.
  • Cook dumplings 8 to 10 minutes. Add the boned chicken to the mixture and simmer until heated through.

Be sure to stop by My Friend Amy to get some Potato Casserole and Ham and go by Notes from the North for some yummy Meatballs with Lingonberry Jam.  Check out all the of the Progressive Dinner Party Dishes at Book Blog Social Club.