Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An Extraordinary Cooking Adventure

When I was living in NYC with Jordan, she got a job at a restaurant called Market Cafe.  It's a little neighborhood gem in the  Hell's Kitchen area that had amazing, gourmet yet down to earth food.  This is the place where I really started to get into simple, but delicious and thoughtfully prepared food.  On my limited City budget, this place was affordable, it was one of those places where you could spend a lot if you ordered certain things but could also walk out there completely satisfied for under 15 Bucks, and having an "in" allowed me to get some free food from time to time too.

When Jordan moved to France, it became a meeting place for mutual friends to stay connected without her.  Every Wednesday night, for several months we'd dine at Market Cafe and catch up.  I looked forward to this camaraderie over dinner every week.  I also looked forward to the food.  If you ever travel to NYC, make sure you have dinner at Market Cafe, you will not be disappointed. 

My most favorite dish at Market Cafe still remains the scallops.  My mouth still waters just thinking about them.  Next time I visit NYC I will surely stop by for the scallops.  It is the kind of treat that my mom still reminisces about, because I took her there a couple of times when she visited.  They were  swimming in brown butter  served on on a bed of potato puree, and greens.

Jordan and I recreated the scallops dish and several others on Monday in her tiny cottage kitchen.  It was a massive culinary undertaking, I mean, we taught ourselves to sear scallops, baked two cakes, and made two varieties of bread!!

les cuisinières audacieuses

les cuisinières audacieuses

I missed the cultural experience of going to le poisonnerie, because it was closed that morning for a holiday... so we bought our fresh scallops at the supermarket, who had a special person dedicated to the seafood section.  The scallops were around 1 Euro a piece.  We bought 10, one for our trial run of searing, and 3 per person at the table (her partner, J, was a very fortunate beneficiary of our cooking adventure).

raw scallops

We looked up how to sear sea scallops on the internet and voila, it wasn't that difficult, though, they were delicate little things that could have been overcooked very easily... so not difficult, just required attention.

here I am trimming off the "feet" of the scallops, which is actually its muscle

our trial run scallop!

During this cooking adventure, we made tons of brown butter.  It really added a depth of flavor and richness to the dishes.  We used it for the scallops and one of the cakes.  :)


voila: the nutty, brown butter

I will let the photos describe the rest of our adventure, but first, here is the menu: and some links to the recipes.  Bon appetit!!

Jordan & Allison's Triumphant Recreation of Market Cafe

first course: sea scallops on q bed of mashed potatoes with brown butter and mache
second: green salad with oatmeal pumpkin bread and pumpkin hummus
third: baked flatbread "pizza" with potato puree, rosemary and green olives (i didn't get pictures of this as the excitement in the kitchen was at a maximum while it was being prepared, the photography fell by the wayside.)
desert:  brown butter banana cake (adapted from this recipe) AND amazing chocolate cake

mixing up a cake with this cool springy whisk we picked up at the le marché the other day (best impulse purchase ever)

batter for the brown butter banana cake
Can you tell how excited I am?!
This meal was a great way to reminisce about our days of life in the big city, while we bonded over our mutual love, as adult women, of cooking for friends and family.  Life doesn't get much better than this.  As I said as we finished our small pieces of cake...  Nous avons une belle vie!

We have a beautiful life!

1 comment:

  1. Allison and Jordan, a three course meal plus dessert! Scallops are one of my favorite ocean treats. Nicely done, it all looks amazing. I'll have to add Market Cafe to my list of stops the next time I'm in NYC. But it won't be the full experience without you there.