On my final night in Blue Eye, Mary must’ve known I had just crossed the Mason-Dixon and was hankering for some BBQ because she made my absolute favorite: Barbecued chicken with scalloped potatoes au gratin. BAM!
She started with the potatoes:
She began by slicing the potatoes and onions, to which she added cream and milk.
For 3 lbs of potatoes, add 3 cups milk and 1 cup cream. Let this simmer until it gets thick. Then remove the pan from the heat and layer the potatoes into a casserole dish with a good melting cheese in between each layer. Add the milk from the pan to the dish, which should cover the potatoes. Then shred some cheddar on top and pop that baby into a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until it looks like this:
…I’ll wait while you wipe the saliva from your lips…
I wish I knew what Mary’s secret was for baking chicken because she manages to do it in such a way that it turns out fork tender and this is something I’ve not been able to master. She assured me it’s not that hard, and I did see one trick I’m going to try: she pokes holes in the chicken, which allowed the sauce to get into the chicken, making it cut like butter:
Served in a Kentucky-Style BBQ sauce
with cauliflower, carrots and broccoli
To my extreme delight, there was plenty of this meal leftover for lunch the next day. It was tasty, it was tender, it was cheesy, it was perfect:
An insanely delicious southern dish.
On our second morning in Blue Eye, I could smell the biscuits baking before I was able to imagine the glorious breakfast we would be enjoying. This is something I had never seen before, so I was thrilled to get to learn how to make it:
These are called “Shirred Eggs”
Biscuits made with a touch of cayenne.
For this recipe, you need 4 eggs, 1/2 cup cream, 1 tsp orange zest, 1/3 cup mild cheese. Make sure you butter the muffin tin. Then fill the tins with with 1 tsp cream, then brake the eggs in, adding some lemon zest and shredded cheese to each. You can use orange zest if you prefer and any meltable cheese will do. Mary then added some “essence,” which makes all the difference :-). These went into a 325 degree oven for about 12 minutes.
Mary bakes her biscuits with a dash of cayenne, so they come out with just a hint of spice — divine! She also made some sausage patties, which I used to make little biscuit sandwiches and she flourished the plate with some fresh oranges, which really brought out the flavor in the eggs.
Served with sausage biscuits and orange slices.
A fancy presentation of eggs that can be served with many things. POP POP.
“One of the most civilized things about Long Island City.” –Oliver Strand, NY Times
I found myself early to a meeting in Long Island City this week when I stumbled across Sweetleaf Coffee and Espresso Bar. I walked in and as soon as the man at the counter told me, “we’re cash only,” I knew I had found a gem. As occasionally irritating as it can be to be forced to use cash in 2012, I find it refreshingly bold that a small business remains cash only in the face of an increasingly cash-less society. Luckily for me and them, I had cash that day.
Having spent time working in a “hip” coffee shop, I can recognize which drinks I should order and which I should avoid for fear of being mocked. For instance, coffee shop snobs will secretly cringe when you order a mocha or anything with a flavor. So I kept it simple, had a “medium” cappuccino (which was 8 oz) and I waited until the barista stepped into the back to sneak in some sugar and cinnamon. I didn’t want to disturb the beautiful latte art he had created, so I took care to stir around it.
Sorry... I couldn't wait to take a picture before I had a sip 🙂
I also couldn’t resist one of Sweetleaf’s homemade cinnamon donut holes. It was beyond delicious. This, along with all of their pastries are baked in house daily. This unique cafe came replete with a dining room, a laptop room (and never the two shall meet) as well as a back room, all with comfy couches and ironic artwork. What more could you ask for?
A perfectly charming way to spend a morning in Long Island City.