All Eyes on Aarum!

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Aarum was on the news y’all!
I can’t wait to get my copy of Bacon, Bitches, and Breakups in 2018!
Check the segment out here.

 

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Happy Hella Late Thanksgiving!

My phone has been on the fritz lately—you know how iPhones get once a new one is released—so I’ve been a bit unplugged from my phone and glued to my iPad on WiFi. I couldn’t take a decent photo for almost three weeks! But I’m back in business!

Happy hella late Thanksgiving!

Simone and her family opened their Atlanta home and table to Chéo and I, and we instantly felt like we’ve been down with the crew since forever. I finally met her Chéo’s doppelganger/her husband, Carlos, and their adorable baby girl, Aria. Sim’s mom and her wife, Hilda and T, are definitely couple and family goals—so warm, loving, hospitable, and hilarious!

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This was my first American* Thanksgiving so visions of mac & cheese and sweet potatoes danced in my head on the hour-long drive as I balanced a pan of pumpkin cheesecake brownies and a Baileys cheesecake/chocolate cake on my lap. The other sumptuousness: mashed potatoes, brisket, green beans, cranberry sauce, gumbo and rice, cornbread stuffing and the juiciest fried turkey I’ve ever had! I never show up to anyone’s home empty-handed, so that pan of brownies and cake I balanced on the way over was my dessert contribution. I tried something new with both recipes and got rave reviews!

We left at the end of the night with leftovers, a new family, and a little something extra.

 

*I had to explain to Christina what I mean by an American thanksgiving. Thanksgiving isn’t really celebrated in the West Indies, so it’s just another cook-up day to be with family. While my American friends would have mac & cheese and sweet potatoes and turkey, we’d have a few of those dishes along with roti, curry and callaloo.

Budget Brunch for 3 Under $33

Budget Brunch for 3 Under $33

We go out to eat a lot, and that cost can add up, so I decided to host a brunch at home for my tribe! A budget brunch for 3 for under $33—challenge accepted.

These were my guidelines:

  • I needed to come up with a cocktail, two different entrees with a potato side, and a dessert.
  • Angie doesn’t eat meat—so shrimp is always a go-to—but Christina doesn’t eat shrimp.
  • Anything already in my refrigerator, cabinets and pantry were free game.
  • I can’t go over the $33 budget.

I started my shopping with a pound of shrimp, a bag of slider buns, a carton of arugula, chewy chocolate chip cookies, a bunch of scallion and a bottle of tabasco sauce. I got to the register and the next thing I knew, I was paying $22. Uh-oh. I knew I already had eggs and bacon, so all hope wasn’t lost. I also had mayo, a bottle of rosé, peppers, onions, and grape tomatoes, baby russet potatoes and that horseradish cheddar from Eman. These were all staples I could work with, so I just needed to get ice cream, lemons, and a juice to pair with the rosé.

I was out and about in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn—I’ll go into detail on that in another post—so I was able to stop at the West Indian market to grab a few things for the low. @JourdanChaTaun responded to my bat-call via twitter and suggested passion fruit juice. Goya juices were priced at 2 for $5 and I grabbed 3 lemons for $1. $28 spent and plenty of wiggle room for ice cream! Mission accomplished after spending $31!

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Our brunch menu consisted of shrimp cake sliders with arugula and spicy mayo, baked omelet cups with bacon, horseradish cheddar, peppers, scallions and grape tomatoes, baked home fries tossed in extra virgin olive oil, and I also made a quick lemon and oil dressing for the extra arugula. We sipped on passion fruit rosé mimosas and had little chocolate chip ice cream cookie sammiches* for dessert.

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Remember I said Christina doesn’t eat shrimp, right? She’ll eat crab, but not shrimp—she gave me some explanation about sea spiders vs. sea roaches once. Well after watching me fry half of the shrimp cakes in bacon fat, she gave in!

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Good food, better company, and Christina learned a new make-ahead breakfast—she even left with the last two baked omelet cups for breakfast the following day!

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*When referring to dessert, it’s not sandwiches, it’s sammiches for me!

Lunch Date at Sergimmo Salumeria.

I started following Aarum of @LesBIntheKitchen a while back when I made my twitter handle. We’re constantly tweeting, so when she had plans to come up to NYC, we had to meet in person.

We made plans for lunch before boarding her bus back to DC. Aarum and I have similar tastes: give us fried chicken, champagne, cured meats, whiskey, edibles—we’re happy campers! I got a hankering for a prosciutto sandwich El Jefe introduced me to, so that made deciding on a spot super easy!

But first, mimosas! Yes, we made mimosas on the street. Everyone’s aware of the open container laws* in NYC, so the main objective was not to get caught pouring, and then sipping from, a regular sized champagne bottle in Midtown. Grab an ice cup and a 16oz bottle of orange juice, I promise everything will be okay. Operation: Don’t Get Arrested was an obvious success!

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We sipped our mimosas as we walked to Sergimmo Salumeria. Sergimmo is an Italian deli on 9th Ave, very similar to the local salumi stores throughout Italy, selling imported meats and cheeses, house-made mozzarella and antipasti, fresh sandwiches, salads and pastas, and so much more! If you want to have lunch and shop for ingredients to make a fine Italian dinner, Sergimmo is your spot!

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I already knew I wanted the Emilia-Romagna panini: prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, arcadian mix and pesto. Aarum looked over the menu and chose the Venezia panini with speck, provolone, sweet peppers and arcadian mix.

Their sandwiches have turned me into a bit of a bread snob: if your ciabatta isn’t like theirs, I don’t want it. Perfectly crusty on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside, sorry to say I don’t think I’d enjoy their sandwiches as much on any other bread! I love their bread so much, I ordered a meat and cheese selection just to eat more of it! More prosciutto and more mozzarella with olives and fig spread, a selection of two meats and/or cheese for $9.99 is a damn good deal!

Now the cheesecake: as a typical New Yorker, Junior’s is the standard. I like my cheesecake dense, so the light and airy ricotta cheesecake isn’t really my thing. Aarum ordered a slice, but changed her mind and wanted a cannoli after it was already sliced, so I bought it instead. It wasn’t as airy as I expected. In fact, I really enjoyed it!

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This is officially my usual order whenever I go to Sergimmo: an Emilia, a prosciutto & mozzarella plate and a slice of cheesecake. I was there the other day, ordering the same three things before hopping on a bus down the east coast. I’m convinced I was talking to one of the brothers, Sergio and Massimo Badalamenti, who own the shop. There was something about the way he spoke about their cheesecake that tipped me off—made by Italians with love.

I’m sure I’ll be back in the next week or so, I’m dying to try their pasta dishes!

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*Under the laws of the state of New York, it is against the law to possess or consume an open bottle of alcohol in a public area. But I’m from BK, the thoroughest borough…

Random Cravings

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I woke up craving this shrimp and bacon sauce Shanice, my high school friend/godson’s mom, made to top her grits*. With the smoky and salty flavors from the bacon, plump and juicy shrimp, lots of fresh scallion and parsley, and fresh lemon juice for a kick, I couldn’t wait to recreate it!

Since Shanice used grits as her vessel, I went with my other favorite thing in the world—steak!

I invited Danica over for lunch, just so I’d have someone to cook for.

 

*Of course I didn’t eat the grits! I cringe at just the thought!