My Salty Pimp

Photo: Courtesy of Kaylin Berry

Last week my sister and I went an hour out of our way– downtown to Union Square– so that we could try the ever popular Big Gay Ice Cream Truck’s wonderful frozen confections. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. The Big Gay Ice-Cream Man must be some sort of ice-cream genius. He has taken a simple idea– a soft serve ice-cream truck with run of the mill flavors– and simply recreated them. From double-dipped cones, to sundaes and even fig balsamic glaze covered vanilla ice-cream cones, this guy has thought of it all.

Upon entering the long outside the truck, I immediately became  smitten with the Big Gay Salty Pimp. The Salty Pimp– which is vanilla soft-serve, lined with stripes of dulce de leche, covered in freshly cracked sea salt, and then smothered in chocolate shell– is out of this world. If I had to describe this dream-0f-an-ice-cream-cone in one sentence, I would say it is something like consuming a vanilla ice-cream stuffed, chocolate covered pretzel. Does it get any better than that?! Simple, but crazy right?

Coming to the truck is something of an experience in and of itself. While waiting online right before closing (8:15 pm and he closes at 8:30pm) I was able to witness The Big Gay Ice-Cream Man hand out a reflective vest to the last person online, giving them explicit instructions to turn away any new visitors. In return, he would give them a free ice-cream. While this task seemed  simple enough to an onlooker, it was actually quite an affair. I saw everyone from angry couples, to crying small children get shooed away from the truck! Every once in a while our Big Gay Ice Creamer would yell out to the vest wearing scolder– “Keep GOING!”– all the while laughing jovially. In truth, I don’t think anyone could be mad at him because he was such a character, but man was he tough!

So, here’s a warning to everyone out there searching for a yummy frozen treat after dinner– by god get there before 8:15 pm because as the sign states on the truck “There are NO exceptions” to closing at 8:30 pm. Who can really blame him actually, the guy was single-handedly handing out about 5 ice-creams a minute!

Andrew’s Local Honey at the Rockefeller Center Farmer’s Market

Today at the Farmer’s Market I was lucky enough to arrive before the crowd, and had the opportunity to talk to some vendors. One vendor in particular, Andrew of Andrew’s Local Honey, — a very charasmatic and enthusiastic man by the way– struck up conversation with me. I was really intrigued by his bee farming technique– he places hives on rooves all over 3 of the 5 boroughs (Brooklyn, Manahattan and Queens) boroughs and cultivates honey from the cities own honey bees!

Andrew has many honey, pollen, and honey comb-based products including: soap, fresh pollen, pollen and honey blends, and a variety of types of honey. Some of the honey’s are simple, generic, natural and local. However, others are flavored. Still my favorite has to be the very unique and delicious Whipped Honey with Cinnamon ($10 for 12 oz jar).

 

All of the products range from $6 to about $25, pulling in an average at $15– and they are worth it! As I posted earleir this year, I recommend eating lcoal honey ebacuse it helps with allergies. But beyond his normal honey I loved his natural soaps and adored the fresh honey comb. Plus, as I stated earlier, how often is it that you can have whipped cinnamon honey?! YUM!

 

Andrew can be found most often at the Westport Farmers’ Market on Thursdays, or the Greenwich Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.

Overall, I think this guy has a really great thing going, and I encourage everyone to go pick up a jar between 8:00am and 5:00pm on one of the next 5 upcoming Thursdays. Not only will your visit make for a peppy, enthusiastic, and overall boggling conversation, but it will also provide you with yummy deliciousness for your pantry. Or, why not pick up some early Christmas gifts? Hey, it’s never too early to start right?

Hammond Dairy Farm– Farmer’s Market at Rockefeller Center

First of all, I must admit that I did not attend the Farmer’s Market Thursday or Friday last week, so I didn’t meet any new vendors. But, this morning on my way through the marketplace I did get to stop and sample some delicious yogurt from Hammond Dairy Farm. The farm located not so far away in Duchess County, definitely has my approval and utmost support!

The owner of the farm is a veterinarian– not only does this give him a much better understanding of his cattle, but it also means that he has love and respect towards his livestock. Just that little fact alone made me trust the farm more than other organic companies!

Also, the philosophy behind Dr. David Hammond’s farm is truly inspiring. This farm is exactly what our country is lacking right now, and proves how much hard work, determination, and a solid ethical and humane outlook on food and animal protection can make anything possible (no matter the size of the budget). In fact, here is a little quote from the site describing the treatment of their beloved livestock

              “We have a herd of 200 Holstein cows (those beautiful black and white cows), and treat them like family. Each cow has her own name, her own place on the farm, and is treated in the best of conditions. Our cows are fed all natural grass, and range contentedly on our beautiful green pastures. As Dr. Hammond is also a practicing veterinarian, we guarantee the excellent care of our animals.”

Dr. David is the exact sort of man who I want to multiply and set up all around the country. With clean, honest food, not only do we protect ourselves, but we also protect our livestock and our land and Earth– what I call farming with integrity. Although this sort of farming still exists in parts of the country, and usually on a very small-scale, it is also dying (right along with our own countries economy). Farmers need to stand together, and more importantly, consumers need to stand by their farmers and support them!

This brings me to my next point. Hammond Farm’s dairy products are affordable… and damn good. Just this morning, I was given two generous servings of yogurt to taste before purchasing a regular 6 oz cup for $2. That is less than I pay for Brown Cow and Fage yogurt– and they are not authentic farm raised organic brands! Not to mention, they had a deal today -buy 2 f0r $3– how awesome!

More importantly though I would like to point out that I usually find that at Farmer’s Markets, especially in the city, sellers try to raise their prices. This happens  for a variety of reasons: it is a long commute for the farmer so the produce price is raised to meet the needs of the owner; sellers try to raise the prices to match the target allowance of their consumers; or sometimes they are just big old jerks who like to rip off innocent people whose eyes are glazed over gazing upon the bounty before them. Either way, Hammond Dairy Farm does anything but rip you off. Dr. David’s yogurt was some of the best I have ever had in my life. I would have gladly shelled out a few more dollars just for the taste! Never mind that it is much fresher and purer than most of the things that I eat!

Moreover, how about we all decide to start supporting our wonderful, honest, hardworking farmers and shell out a few dollars a week extra to keep their farms safe, sound, and healthy.

Please stop by and support these wonderful people who help to keep our land, our bodies and minds, and our economy strong.

Rockefeller Center Summer Farmer’s Market

Today is the first day of the Rockefeller Farmer’s Market. I urge you to at least go and walk through the market. It’s not often that this area of town sees so much greenery, and smells so fresh! The market, which will occur Wednesdays through Fridays (8am-5pm) from today until September 2nd, holds host to at least 15 vendors who feature anything from fresh herbs, to organic, local breads, produce and cheese. Most of the vendors come from the Hudson River Valley, but I met some who came as far as Lancaster PA from Amish farms.

I think that anyone who appreciates good, clean food, and supporting our farmers, economy and passionate growers should stop by and spend just a few dollars to keep our community and selves healthy and growing!

I know that I’ll be back at lunch to pick up some fresh lavender and ripe pecorino cheeses! Special shout out to Valley Shepard for reproducing gorgeous artisanal, Italian, Spanish and French inspired local cheese.

Check out the website.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated about special finds there…

3 Variations of Classic Pizza Recipes That Will Revamp Your Summer Routine

Classic Marinara

Marinara: Cutting the basil into this ribbons and spreading it over the dough before the cheese really helps to give the pizza a wonderful summer flavor, while also adding tons of color!

4 cheese pizza with prosciutto and dried dates
Prosciutto & Dried Date: The combination of sweet and salty in this dish makes for a really intense, fun and unique experience.
4 Cheese with Arugula

4 Cheese & Arugula: This is my favorite of the 3 variations, it is packed with delicate flavors and chewy textures and leaves a subtle hint of pepper in it's wake. Great for the summer!

Check back tomorrow for the recipes!

Spring Fest Daquiri

 So, now that the Spring Fest festivities have finally begun why not try some yummy daquiris with your friends.This recipe is super yummy both with or without alcohol. I recommend pairing these daiquiris with some chips and salsa or guacamole since the sweet and tangy flavors mix so well with some salty and crisp.

Ingredients-

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 banana, chopped

handful fresh raspberries

1/4 orange juice

splash pineapple juice

2 tbsp. greek yogurt (optional)

1 tbsp. honey

2 cups ice cubes

*** If adding alcohol, this makes about 2 drinks so add 1-2 shots rum

Cool whip

-Preparation-

Place the ice cubes and strawberries in blender with juices and turn on high until all of the ice is crushed and blended with the fruit. Add the banana and turn on medium until blended. Lastly, add the honey, raspberries, yogurt and rum and blend on low-speed. Serve with a dollop of cool whip and enjoy!

Simple, Crisp, Spring Arugula Salad

With spring creeping up around us (very slowly I might add) and Easter just around the corner, I begin to think of lighter foods again in hopes of fitting into last year’s bikini. However, with Easter coming up this weekend, my hopes wait in fear of overdosing on Chocolate Bunnies or Peeps. Knowing full well that I will indeed be giving in to my cravings on Sunday morning… afternoon… and evening, I have created a delicious, simple and cheap recipe to help prepare my body for the impending sugar shock.

Try making this recipe for a group of people; it’s a fun dish to share as an appetizer or light meal. One bag of arugula could feed two big eaters or provide four smaller portions.

This recipe uses the full bag.

-Ingredients-

1 bag, arugula

1/4 lemon, juiced

3 tbsp. shaved parmiggian-reggiano cheese

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

-Preparation-

Rinse and dry the arugula, and place in a flat dish or shallow bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice over the arugula, and follow with a light drizzle of the oil. Then, add the salt and pepper and toss lightly. Finally, add the shaved cheese as a garnish.

This dish is supposed to be very light, so do not overwork the arugula or overdress with oil or lemon.

It also goes very well with crisp white wine or prosecco, especially ones with citrus notes.

Finally, as I said earlier this is a very light salad and to be honest I usually eat it as a snack or with a meal. I often eat it with cheese and meat, such as prosciutto and mozzarella, or with grilled shrimp.

Look out for my grilled shrimp over arugula salad recipe on Thursday!

Shopping on a $20 Budget

Having trouble spending within your budget every week? Try some new tips for buying foods that taste great, and last.

I am notorious for being a compulsive shopper, but working 7 hours a week has quickly taught me that in order to stay afloat I have to cut costs. Currently, my weekly shopping budget is $20 and my weekly pocket-money $10 (or under for saving purposes!). Shopping on a small budget can be a really difficult adjustment, especially when you love to cook as much as I do.

However, there is one simple trick I have come to live by: as needed, buy only your staple foods (pastas, milk, cheese, some hearty veggies like spinach and broccoli) and then work into those foods some extras that match. For example, I eat a lot of pasta, a lot of mozzarella and parmiggiano cheese, and a lot of vegetables. Therefore, I buy the cheapest pastas on the shelf, cheese when it is on sale, and veggies that will last the longest in my fridge. Then, I buy some meats that go with a variety of dishes that I make. Usually I pick up a package of hot italian sausage (Giant brand to save $) and some chicken (whichever is both the cleanest and cheapest). I put the meats promptly in the freezer and they can last up to 2 or 3 weeks. If there is any money left over on that trip I buy things like shrimp (frozen and fully cooked already about $5), some garlic, lemon, soy sauce, and potatoes.

It’s important to buy foods that can be mixed and matched with each other for different dishes. For example, I often cook pasta with cheese, or broccoli, or spinach. Or, I can cook pasta with my frozen chicken, sausage, or both. Furthermore, I can mix either meat with any of the above cheese and vegetable options giving me a lot of variety with only a few ingredients.

Most often, I buy the specialty items once every 3-4 weeks, and the meats every 2 weeks. Therefore, I am buying things like veggies, milk and pasta every week. If you rotate spending like this than the $20 gets spread out a bit, leaving room for some extras and favorites like eggs, brownie mix, tortilla chips and salsa, wraps, and chocolate. To make this money go even farther, I put whatever money is left on the side so that I can go back and buy those favorite things.

TIP: Try putting a money jar in your desk, and after shopping throw your change in there rather than in your wallet. If you don’t carry the change with you, you won’t be tempted to spend it until you really need it.

What’s more, I budget my extra $10 into hanging out with my friends. If I know that I am going to the Parrot during the weekend, and also want to go to Pitchers or Mama’s on a Tuesday or Thursday, I usually break my ten into two fives. Then, when I go the bar I only take one 5 with me so that I don’t overspend. It may sound lame, but it is actually super effective. Plus, you’d be surprised how many people will split a pitcher with you, and what kind of specials and promotions you can for under $5 if you look. 

For example, splitting a dessert at the Parrot is $3.50 each. Also, a Long Island Iced Tea at Mama’s is $2.50. Not to mention, the Pub has$3 pitchers on Tuesdays, and the Parrot serves some full drinks for under $4. So, as you can see there are plenty of ways to buy under your budget.

Finally, if you keep a change jar to collect extra cash every week, then you’d be surprised how much you can accumulate. Sometimes when I know I want to spend a little extra I dig into the jar and don’t feel guilty afterward.

Good luck, and enjoy!

 

Save Money on Valentine’s Day

-How it All Began-

I think it’s safe to say that most people, single or not, end up spending money on Valentine’s Day. If you are in a relationship, costs can be infinite from spending on cards, gifts, dinner, drinks and so on. For single people, Valentine’s Day can be a money drainer also. A lot of people still find themselves celebrating this Hallmark holiday even if they don’t happen to like it. You may send a few cards, go out to dinner and/ or drinks with friends, or even drown your sorrows in a box of chocolate a McDonald’s take-out bag. Often in our culture, it seems like we are all trapped in this cycle of spending money. Why is it that we have all of these holidays that  pressure consumers to spend in order to feel satisfied? Better yet, what has convinced us that we must spend on others in order to feel included, appreciated and validated?

There are ways of getting around spending a lot on holidays like this one without feeling like you’re letting yourself down, or anyone else that you may feel pressured to oblige.

-Ways to Save Money-

Now prepare yourselves, these might seem devastatingly obvious…

First of all, rather than going out to dinner or drinks why not just make something together, it’s more fun anyway. Sangria, by the way, is a great drink to make with friends when you’re on a budget because the main ingredient is cheap red wine (get a bottle for no more than $6). By the way, the link attached happens to be my all time favorite Sangria recipe. 

Second of all, there are tons of sites online that you can make photo collages on. In fact, you can put these collages on calendars, computer covers, picture frames, and even mouse pads. One of my favorite things about this particular site is that there is a little bar on the top left corner where you can gauge how much money you want to spend. I most recently used gifts.com for my mom’s birthday when I made her a mouse pad for under $15. Not only did this gift save me a lot of money, but it was also thoughtful and personal (and she loved it!).

Lastly, rather than doing something like going out to the movies, why not rent a movie. Or better yet, if you’re on campus here at Gettysburg, why not rent a projector screen at the library and have a romantic movie night back at your dorm room? You can even pick up snacks at the commons and Bullet beforehand. Furthermore, if the weather is nice it might not be a bad idea to go for a walk into town or out to the Peace Light.

On the other hand, if you do happen to have some money to spend I would recommend the Pub, the Blue Parrot, Dobbin House Tavern or O’Rourke’s Pub. The Tavern is offering a Valentine’s Day Brunch menu for Sunday for $21.95 a person,  and the Parrot and Pub have seasonal special desserts and drinks.

No matter what you end up doing with your time and money this Monday evening, make sure you have fun.

-BerryGoodEats-

For a Cold Winter’s Night…

As the harshest part of winter finally sets in we turn to comfort food and baggy clothes, this makes it very hard to stay fit and healthy. These winter nights  are sometimes the coldest, darkest, longest and loneliest of the year making cooking sound even more tedious to most. It’s sometimes difficult for me!

Last winter, however, I discovered a soup that is not only comforting, filling and delicious, but also simple and easy to make. I can’t say too much for the calories, but can guarantee it’s not nearly as bad as a trip to Panera Bread.

There are two versions of this soup: the original recipe given to me by my roommate, and my own variation of the soup.

-Ravioli Soup-

Ingredients:


20 oz bag of Buitoni Frozen Ravioli

32 oz chicken stock

3 links hot italian sausage, skin removed and rolled into dime sized meatballs

a bunch asparagus, chopped

2-3 cooked cutlets of chicken, fried in oil and shredded

*sliced baguette, for dipping

Preparation:

Fry meatballs in a medium-sized pan on medium heat until brown and crispy. Do the same for the chicken in a separate, smaller fry pan. While the meat is cooking, simmer chicken broth in pot. After the meatballs crisp up, add them to the chicken broth and make sure to get all of the pan juices along with them. Add the chopped asparagus to the broth. Let the meatballs and asparagus simmer in broth for 1 minute to add flavor. Bring broth to a boil and add the ravioli. Ravioli should cook for about 5-8 minutes, until the can be easily pierced with a fork all the way through. Serve immediately with warm baguette to soak up all the broth!

 

-Revised Ravioli-

Ingredients:

20 oz bag of Buitoni Frozen Ravioli

3 links hot italian sausage, skin removed and rolled into nickel sized meatballs

2 tbsp olive oil

parmiggiano-reggiano cheese, grated

Preparation:

Fry meatballs in a medium-sized pan on medium heat until brown and crispy.  While the meat is cooking, bring a pot of water to boil. Add the ravioli as soon as the water comes to a steady rolling boil. Ravioli should cook for about 5-8 minutes, until the can be easily pierced with a fork all the way through. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the meatballs.  After the ravioli is finished cooking, strain and add the ravioli to the meatball, olive oil mixture. Fry together for 30 seconds. Serve immediately with some grated cheese on top.

This recipe is very similar, but has some alterations because of my yeast allergy. I try to avoid the yeast and extra salt in the chicken broth (although it adds incredible flavor) while adding olive for some extra texture. This recipe is also missing the greens and the chicken because of the extra cost (asparagus is expensive). I usually steam some fresh brocoli when I prepare the revised ravioli so that I’m still getting some fresh greens with my meal.