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I sCREAM, you sCREAM, we all sCREAM for Ice cream!

                       @hydeparkvillage

                       @hydeparkvillage

Lick, slurp, bite, scoop. Doesn’t matter how you eat it, as long as you do. July is known as National Ice Cream month!  And it’s all thanks to President Ronald Regan, when he so graciously put this rule into effect in 1984. 

Every year on the third Sunday of July, you can indulge in sweet creamy treats, guilt-free and sometimes at discounted price. This Sunday, July 17, multiple creameries across the U.S. will be offering up frosty deals and free cones in honor of the beloved summertime staple giving us all an excuse to indulge. If you’re looking for a free cone, free scoop or discount head over to Baskin Robbins, Coldstone, Carvel, Friendly’s, Tastee Freez or Yogurtland. For those who want to try something new, check out our top five delectable local ice cream parlors across the U.S.:  

#1 Chaney’s Dairy Barn, Bowling Green, KY

#2 Lick Ice Cream, Austin, TX

#3 Annabelle’s Natural Ice Cream, Portsmouth, NH

#4 Sweet Rose Creamery, Santa Monica, CA

#5 Ample Hills Creamery, Brooklyn, NY

 

 

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Table for One: Dining Solo in NYC

There is something therapeutic about dining alone. To be able to sit alone at a bar, or on a sunny outdoor cafe patio, and to truly enjoy the essence of a restaurant, is one of my most cherished experiences. 

As much as I love a dinner out with bottles of wine and lots of pizza with my friends, some of my best food memories in fact come from dining alone. In a recent personal trip to California, I sat at the bar of the Girl and the Fig on a Sunday night and talked with both locals and restaurant staff for hours over our shared love for food and cooking. Everything from the conversation to the wine paired with the pastis-scented mussels was a magical experience. 

When dining alone, you can truly embrace a restaurant: the clientele, the service, the notes of the wine and how it pairs with the food. Plus, it's a bonus when finding a seat at a bar at some of the hardest restaurants to score a reservation at. Go on a weekday, put your phone away, and it's like you're on a mini vacation. 

Here are my recommendations for the best restaurants in NYC for dining along:

Freeman's, Lower East Side: A homey dark restaurant set in a hidden alley. It's cold and you've had a rough day at work: you totally deserve a glass of wine and an order of their homemade spinach artichoke dip all for yourself. 

Cafe Mogador, East Village: The Moroccan lamb tagine and mezze platter are simply transforming. In the spring and summer, I love sitting on the sunny outdoor patio and ordering the blueberry pancakes. 

Buvette, West Village: Sit in one of the quaint antique tables, order a cappuccino and one of the best chocolate croissants you'll ever taste.

Upstate Beer & Oyster Bar, East Village: Sit at the low-key bar and order the freshest oysters and a bowl of the linguini with clams. The weekly seasonal scallops are also a hit. 
 
Han Dynasty, Union Square: Some of the best Szechuan in New York City. No frill, no reservations and definitely not mild. 

Minetta Tavern, SoHo: Everyone deserves a $20 burger every now and then. Take advantage of being solo and savor every single bite. 

Rubriosa, NoHo: Awesome music with even better vodka pizza. 

-AZ

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Gluten-Free Zucchini Crust Pizza

It's unfortunate that this food post follows AZ's ode to pizza...  It's a lot to live up to, and let's be honest - nothing competes with the real thing.  But for those that are food allergy-challenged like myself or just want to cut back on carbs, this is a great, easy option for at-home 'pizza.' Enjoy! - SR

 

 

Crust Recipe:

  • 4 small or 2 large zucchinis 
  • 4-5 TB almond meal (can substitute with other GF flour)
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4-5 basil leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. In your food processor, grate zucchinis and place in separate bowl when finished
  3. Change food processor from grater blade to S-blade attachment. Process grated zucchini until fine
  4. In microwave-safe bowl (preferably glass), microwave minced zucchini for 4-5 minutes on high
  5. Place zucchini in a strainer covered in a cheesecloth or two-sheets of paper towel. Once cool enough to touch, squeeze the zucchini within the paper towel to drain as much liquid as possible 
  6. Place zucchini and all crust ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine
  7. Separate into two evenly sized balls and place on cookie tray with parchment paper
  8. Flatten each ball with your hands to create a thin crust
  9. Bake for approximately 13-15 minutes until crust is lightly browned and crisp
  10. Remove from oven and add your favorite toppings. Bake for another 4-6 minutes and enjoy!


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An Ode to Pizza

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An Ode to Pizza

I like my pizza like I like my job: adventurous, saucy and full of inspiration. 

A pepperoni pizza has  been my computer background for the past four months, providing me daily motivation like a Dr. Phil daily inspirational calendar. The pizza guys in my neighborhood know me by my first name and their number is on my speed dial. I have undoubtedly tried almost every known pizza to NYC land - Roberta's, Artichoke, Motorino, Rubriosa, Otto, etc. and I'm a firm believer that pizza cures all. 

Flatbread, deep dish, stromboli, thin crust, grandma and grandpa, pizza bagels, pizza rolls - it's the most versatile food of all mankind. As they say in Wedding Crashers, "It's like pizza, baby! It's good no matter what."

Although pizza at 2 a.m. on a Saturday tastes like a slice of heaven, there is something truly special about a homemade pizza. Pizza making is an art form - perfecting the crust, balancing the cheeses, selecting a delicious harmony of toppings. True to art form, after time and practice, i have come to master my go-to, non-fail recipe that i am willing to share with you fellow pizza artisans.

I love pizza. Pizza loves me. I am Pizza Queen.  - AZ

 

For the Dough: 

3/4 cups of water

1/2 teaspoon of active-dry yeast 

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Olive oil 

 

Pizza Toppings

2 cups of arugula lettuce

1 cup of tomato sauce

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 cup of basil leaves, shredded

2 springs of oregano, picked

1 tbsp fig balsamic  

Red pepper flakes 

1 cup of fresh buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced 

2 thick slices of pancetta 

1 red onion 

1 roasted bell pepper, sliced

Pinch of sugar

1 tbsp of butter

Olive oil 

Sea salt and pepper

Instructions: 

Make the dough: In a small bowl combine the yeast, water and three tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl with an electric mixer. When the yeast is dissolved, add in the salt and flour and mix on a medium-low speed. Use your hands to knead the dough into a bowl. Tip: Best to let dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to rise. Portion the dough into two balls for two individual pizza or keep as one.  Working from the middle of the dough outwards, stretch and press the ball into a flattened circle. 

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. 

Prep the ingredients: In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup of olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.  Keep the saucepan coated with the seasoned oil and add pancetta. Cook until browned and set aside. Once cooled, dice. Slice the red onion and chop finely. With the same saucepan, add a tablespoon of butter, tablespoon of balsamic , onion and a few pinches of sugar. Cook on medium-high until caramelized and set aside.  

Top the dough: Bush the pizza with the garlic oil and spoon a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the dough. Lay the mozzarella pieces over the sauce and sprinkle the roasted red pepper and caramelized onion over the pizza and season lightly with sea salt and pepper. 

Place pizza on pizza stone or directly on the oven rack and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until crust is crisp and cheeses begin to brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and add the torn basil pieces, pancetta and top with arugula. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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