Category Archives: PeanutPimpMama Yum Yumzz

PeanutPimpMama’s London Yum Yumzz 2014 – (Day Two) Shamineh’s Art Gallery & Cafe, The Drapers Arms and Maison d’être

PeanutPimpMamaSometimes the best ideas happen at 3:00am, especially when they are bubble-fueled. I decided instead of going home to Highbury-Islington after St. Pancras that sleeping in Colindale was the smartest idea. After all, no one should taxi home alone and it was Palm Sunday. I had ambitiously scheduled “Church” on my London itinerary before meeting a friend at The Drapers Arms for brunch. In spite of our devout religious efforts the morning went a little differently than originally planned. We made it to church alright… I’m surprised the roof didn’t cave in when we stepped on premise.

Pictured Here: Christ Church Road

My friends have two adorable little boys, and they will be attending Christ Church School in Hampstead soon. They have been attending this church for a while now as a family. Since I have always loved Hampstead (me and every other American) I figured a nice morning in the area was in order.

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 The architecture was certainly impressive from the outside.

It was such a glorious day out that we decided to recover bask in the sun at a local coffee shop down the road called Shamineh’s Art Gallery Cafe.

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One Chai Tea Latte and bottle of water later and I was a new(er) woman.

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I saw this dog while sitting there. Why don’t they make dogs this obedient on our continent?

Pictured Here: Obedience

I tried my hardest to make it on time for my brunch plans but that was an epic fail. If only London wasn’t so sprawling. I ended up heading to The Drapers Arms alone. Normally I never have issues dining solo, but for whatever reason that day I felt super awkward. Perhaps the-hang had heightened some anxiety issues and jet lag wasn’t helping my cause.

103Well, yep there it is… This is the front of The Drapers Arms. (I feel my photographer friends cringing over this pic already hehe) Behind it is the bluest London-sky I ever did see! After I walked in and surveyed the dining area hoping to see a familiar face, I gave up and perched at the bar. It was Sunday lunch and the place was packed to the gills with Londonites “Too cool for school”, with their jumpers (translation: sweaters) tied around their shoulders and ray bans rested on their foreheads. The space was so airy and the sun was shining right through the tall open windows as I gazed at the pink shower of cherry blossom petals outside. I felt like I was in a movie.

Pictured Here: Seasonal Asparagus and Quail Egg

My bartender was good people…He was attentive, not overly chatty and honest about the menu. (Sometimes you just don’t want to be spoken to.) When I asked what they were known for he pointed out their shared roast for Sundays. (True story, they come out on amazing ornate platters that could turn a vegetarian into a carnivore with that massive puddle of skinned gravy and potatoes permeating the room.) For smaller options (dining solo, and yes he asked) he recommended the seasonal special of Asparagus with quail egg to start. He also suggested the braised venison with pistachios and home-made pappardelle, or the slow roast Blythburg pork belly with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables & apple sauce as main courses. Evidently the Asparagus was a really big deal to my bartender as he couldn’t push that plate any harder with his OTT excitement about England’s Asparagus high season! (Really? You do learn something new everyday.) It’s just not a vegetable that gets that much hype/thought, except for its association with less than desirable smells it has tendencies to cause. Poor Es-pa-rrra-gooose!

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I didn’t listen to my suggestions and paid for it. As I chose the whole brown crab (served chilled) with an herb salad and mayonnaise, I got that look of uncertainty from the bartender. He told me it would be a good choice if I didn’t mind “fiddling around with utensils and that sort of thing”. Of course that was British for: “RED FLAG! DON’T DO IT! YOU’LL NEVER HAVE THE MAN-POWER TO CRACK THE SHELL ON THIS BLOODY CRAB.” So what did I do? I had the pretty woman moment except I was at a bar and all alone with a crab and not escargot. I think I got about two bites of meat out of that giant crab. Sad story.

http://youtu.be/IQzk4vTBUDs

 As if I wasn’t already fazed by the hardware. #slipperycrabproblems?

So Sunday was pretty chill after my frustrating run-in with Mr. Crab. I walked around the shops and began plotting purchases. With so many cute coffee shops in the area day two’s caffeine-fix consisted of a trip to Maison D’etre Cafe for an iced mocha. I really wanted an affogato, but they ran out of vanilla gelato. T’was a sad moment for PeanutPimpMama since she really wanted an ice cream. What better way to justify unnecessary dessert in the middle of the day than mixing it with your espresso?

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This coffee shop sits caddy-corner to the Highbury-Islington tube. It had a nice buzz each day I passed by with its fair share of lap-top loungers. I dig the vintage paper straws they use.

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The evening brought me to my first live improv show ever (by invitation of my friend from the Paris days in 2007). Afterwards I wound down at the flat with the vino pictured above (what you get for 8 pounds) and a home cooked meal of gnocchi with mushrooms, sundried tomato and peas in a creamy Stilton sauce with fresh cracked black pepper. Ingredients were all purchased at my favorite Waitrose Express. Not too shabby for impromptu home-made yum yumzz.

imageWARNING: This is not fat free. I’m still paying for it a month later.

Bloated and yours,

~PPM

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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PeanutPimpMama makes da brunchiez at home! – West Village, NYC

PeanutPimpMamaThey say giving is really good for you. It makes you happy and emotionally healthy, it promotes social connection, evokes gratitude and it’s kind of contagious. It’s how I feel every time I sit down with people to eat, or make batches of cupcakes in particular. I was a really late bloomer when it came to cooking, mostly by happenstance. It’s really hard to bust out dinners or bake when dealing with obstacles such as living in metropolitan cities where having a stove with more than two burners is novel. You do what you can! Thankfully IKEA is well aware of this domestic set-back with all of their mini convection ovens.

I love brunch like every other NY’er. We crawl the five boroughs (weekly) in search of the perfect Bloody Mary or Mimosa and marvel at any other breakfast-tails mixologists are daring enough to attempt. Once in a while it is nice to kick back and have all of this fun in your own home, especially when you finally have a grown-up stove, a liquor store downstairs and punctual friends to bring over the OJ. The famous KK (Pictured Above) was actually so excited about brunch she turned up at 4:45am.

It’s also great when you have someone to cook for…Myrtle (one of my roommates) likes this. She was sad she wasn’t able to partake in pancakes or mimosas.

So hooray for griddles! I dare to associate myself with foodies around the globe and yet I’ve never had the liberty of making pancakes on one of these. I’ve always used a small pan. You know how it is if you use a large one… They start running into each other and before you know it you have a stack of oddly shaped buttery masses.Unacceptable .

Pancakes are funny little things. The first batch always comes out amazing (golden brown) because you have the patience. That always seems to wane as you start to salivate thinking about putting them in your mouth. Awe, look at my little jar of Italian instant-coffee on the table. It sure brings back some memories… I can’t wait to upgrade from the stove kettle to the Nespresso Pixie. Oh red Pixie my dear… I see you looming in the distance! I will steam the frothiest milk with you once and for all! (Next paycheck).

(A fluff piece brought to you by PPM) – I like to stay on your radar.

~PeanutPimpMama

Address: Chez PeanutPimpMama  Phone: (917)583-6676

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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PeanutPimpMama Makes Pumpkin Devils~ (All Things Pumpkin 2013)

It was Thanksgiving Eve and in efforts to get all of my baking and cooking done I broke it up into sessions and still failed miserably. I made pies on Monday night and by Wednesday night I still had Pumpkin Cuppies and Deviled Eggs to prepare. With pumpkin on-the-brain, I was asked to bring an appetizer to my cousins for Thanksgiving dinner (part deux). I stole another genius idea from The Food Network’s Pumpkin issue… Pumpkin Deviled Eggs! The ideal fusion of PeanutPimpMama’s passion for pumpkins as well as humoring a long standing inside-family joke over deviled eggs, nicknamed “barges”.

While Pumpkin might not make everything better, it certainly didn’t hurt the eggs either! I knew from the get-go that Pumpkin was a neutral enough flavor to blend well with the yolks. After all, most Pumpkiny-licious goods are exactly just that!

Obviously first you need to boil your eggs and separate your yolks from your egg whites.

The yolks pop out easily once cut in half. It’s almost like they were meant to be deviled, minus the inconvenient odor that permeates your kitchen. That just never sits right.

The first ingredient I threw into the mixing bowl (as my softening agent) was a dollop of good old fashioned mayonnaise! I was careful to not use a lot in fear I would lose that pumpkiny flavor we all love so much. While Food Network Magazine provided actual measurements and an itemized ingredients list, I threw a bunch of stuff in the bowl that I thought would taste well with pumpkin! In the end we had some curried Pumpkin Devils. I flavored to taste and continued to smush and smear my mixture.

The total prep time was roughly 25 minutes including boiling the eggs de-shelling. I suppose the re-distribution of yolk could hold you up depending on how meticulous you are. Let’s face it, it’s more fun having time to eat them. I always wondered why I could still pop a couple of these after a large holiday meal. Evidently they are a cure-all for too much merriment. For a twee pumpkiny-surprise your family will love, Pumpkin Devils are the way to go.

Until Next Time!

Peace, Love and Pumpkins!

~PeanutPimpMama

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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PeanutPimpMama Makes Pumpkin Soup!~ (All Things Pumpkin 2013)

peanutpimpmamaPumpkin attempt #2 occurred at “My Cozy Home” also known as my Cousin Erika’s House. We had a pretty eventful weekend blessed with friends staying from out of town and G-ma sitting! In honor of this special occasion we decided to head down to the shore. We stopped by Belmar beach and stuck our piggies in the water and later decided to fill G-ma’s belly with all of the Pumpkin-y-licious goods that she would otherwise never touch. If she were aware of our orange squashy friend’s presence in her meal we would have a problem on our hands.

After a quick trip to the grocery store, we learned that it is nearly impossible to get your hands on frisée in Belmar. Whouldadonethunk? We were forced to settle for the mixed garden blend. While Chef Mitra began to assemble the salad and I opened up our cans of pumpkin, Cousin Erika tended to a Q&A session on the couch.

In addition to the salad, our pumpkin-main was inspired by Food Network Magazine’s-50 Things to do with Canned Pumpkin Insert.

This was the highlight of the entire meal, and what we were really all looking forward to.

T’was another super easy and delicious recipe requiring very few ingredients and minimal effort.

Ze Ingredients:

3/4 Can of Pumpkin, 4oz. of cream, 2 cups of chicken stock, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Salt, Pepper, 1 Apple, Bacon (In this case vegetarian bacon)

Ze Directions:

How it really went down….I scooped out 3/4 of the pumpkin from the can and combined it in the sauce pan with 4 oz. of cream…No it was really more like 6oz. of cream. Simultaneously we were frying vegetarian bacon (by Morningstar) in a neighboring pan until it became crispy. I added the two cups of chicken stock and stirred my little heart out as I salted and spiced until everything was nice. Finally, I chopped up one red apple into tiny cubes and stirred them in. The “bacon” was the last touch to add a salty element, a chewy consistency and a contrasting garnish. Everyone loves bacon even if it’s “fakin'”.

While we were at the grocery store fresh baguette was a bit of a challenge to find. Sorry Food Network Magazine! We improvised and sliced the closest thing we could find resembling a baguette. This can be an impossible feat when attempting a last minute grocery shop in Belmar on a Sunday evening. After applying a bit of olive oil to the pan and slicing our toasties, we allowed them to bake while I whipped up our pumpkin goat-cheese spread.

There was 1/4 of the can of pumpkin left and 8oz. of honey flavored goat cheese we purchased. The honey and pumpkin combination really took the edge off the goat cheese especially after we sprinkled in some crushed almonds.  I would recommend this for people that do not actually appreciate the bite a nice pungent goat cheese can offer. After 2.5 years in France, I like my cheese as stinky and pungent as they come. It is safe to say I grew an appreciation for fromage while abroad.

After our cheesy combination was generously spread on our toasty tranches, we garnished each slice with craisins. G-ma loved these. I watched her scarf about five alone! It’s a miracle to get her to eat, let alone five of anything.

Seriously, this soup looked fantastic with or without the help of Instagram. It tasted pretty amazing too! It had it all: sweetness, spice, contrasting textures and a savoury finish.

Look at that… Don’t you just want to join in the fun?

While I was finishing up the meal, Cousin Erika served us one of her signature cocktails including; Vodka, Blood Orange Juice and Grapefruit Pellegrino. She then popped out to the store for the evening complementary wine selection. A job well done!

Until Next Time!

Peace, Love and Pumpkins!

~PeanutPimpMama

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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PeanutPimpMama Makes Pumpkin Alfredo!~ (All Things Pumpkin 2013)

peanutpimpmamaCertain things like grocery shopping in Suburbia with the Mecca of grocery stores can be daunting. There is a running list of NJ-things that I have really made an effort to be in a constant state of denial over in efforts to save my sanity. One of them is trying to convince myself that spending three hours daily on unreliable mass transit for $400.00 per month is A-Okay with me! Now that it is Fall, (Translation: Autumn) at least I have something to look forward to after my 50 minute nap on the morning express train (besides neck pain)…I have Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Coffee.

No worries, I’m not going to rehash my great disdain for their seemingly never-ending receipts or how I think their beverages are in fact liquid cocaine that we can no longer function without.

Last week I was about to hit up my normal DD’s on the Amtrak Platform at Penn for my pumpkin pick-me-up. I made it to the front of the line (half asleep) as they shouted “CASH ONLY NO CREDIT CARD!!!!!” right into my face. I decided to make a move for the 7th avenue entrance DD’s located in the back of the Hudson News store. It was there that I found Food Network Magazine’s Pumpkin issue with the most amazingly cream-a-licious image on the cover. The enticing full-bleed picture of pumpkin soup topped with apple and bacon chunks actually caused me to salivate. I flipped it open to find an insert with 50 recipes for dishes including canned pumpkin! It was instant motivation to plan cooking dates with friends.

My long time friend from college was my first experimental cooking pal. We went for a trip to the grocer and decided to sauté some kale alongside Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta. While I was in charge of the sauté station, she was concocting a genius apple creation of her own.

The sauce was incredibly easy to make. Although cooking on Mom’s stove is always a stressful experience. I age a little with every crumb that falls out of my pan onto the black and shiny (freshly cleaned) stove top. Mom likes to keep a clean kitchen.

We can thank Food Network for this easy-to-do recipe with a total prep time of 10 minutes. In the end I ended up adding just a touch of Louisiana’s Slap Ya Mama for an additional kick. My only complaint for this recipe was it went a little flat. I decided to add some walnuts as the finishing touch.

Ze Ingredients:

Ingredients: 10 sage leaves, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of Pumpkin, 1 Cup of Cream, Pinch of Nutmeg, 12 ounces of cooked pasta and grated Parmesan

Ze Directions:

Sauté 10 sage leaves in 2 tablespoons butter. Whisk in 1 cup each pumpkin and cream, and a pinch of nutmeg; simmer 5 minutes. Toss with 12 ounces cooked pasta. Top with grated parmesan. PPM Comments: I would also add in the fact that you should salt and pepper to taste. In this case adding some serious kick with Slap Ya Mama created some dimension.

As the kale finally became manageable I dumped my goodies into the pan. I started off with two table spoons of olive oil and a splash of white vinegar. It’s tricky adding the kale bit by bit while making sure it doesn’t burn. The sautéed craisins along with the almond slices added the Fall touch. Finally I broke up a small block of Grana Padano cheese and sprinkled the bits on top for presentation purposes.

On the way home from the train I popped into my favorite local liquor store, Johnathan Ron Wines & Spirits. This label caught my eye and I was convinced “Vintage Blend, Extra Smooth” would not let me down. The Rib Shack Red was priced very fairly at $12.00 and was a beautiful blend of 70% pinotage and 30% shiraz with intense flavors and a smokey finish…It was right up my alley.

 The meal ended up a success! Hopefully it was the first of many pumpkin attempts of the season!

Comments by Chef David Hult (My Dad): “The food tonight is excellent. I really like the kale, especially the way the cranberries bring the flavor back around.”

A meal is never complete without a good dessert. Our pastry chef Mitra Elahipanah produced a lovely Apple Torte that was served à la mode with Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream. Superb.

Until Next Time!

Peace, Love and Pumpkins!

~PeanutPimpMama

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

Click Like* and Share* with your Friends! Also follow my foodie adventures on Twitter and Instagram!