Translating as “The New” from Spanish, La Nueva is a South American-style bakery located in Jackson Heights, Queens. Situated on 37th Avenue and 87th Street, La Nueva compliments its busy surroundings, not to mention the loud music playing at immeasurable volumes out of other establishments and cars passing by. Getting there by subway, one must take the 7 from Manhattan, and enjoy the elevated view this ride offers once the train emerges into Queens. By bike, one will likely become distracted by the intense jumble of interesting urban planning that surrounds this area.
The allure of a picnic is in it's simplicity. Pack what food you want into a basket or bag, throw a blanket into a backpack and go. It's the perfect, affordable date and a way to get away from the hustle and bustle with friends. Pack your lunch and go.
Appetizers and Snacks
Due to their simplicity, these starters are easy to take anywhere. Cheese and crackers, hardboiled eggs, and a fruit salad can be put together in a snap. For a variation on hardboiled eggs, try deviled eggs: halve the hardboiled eggs, remove the yolk, mix the yolk with mayo and cayenne pepper, and plop it right back into the egg. Other snacks include: hummus and veggies, granola bars and potato salad. Get them ready-made or make your own.
If that title doesn’t seduce you, nothing will. Alice Medrich has won more “cookbook-of-the-year” awards than any other author, along with numerous awards in the dessert and baking category, and this book is a stunner. It is broken up into the four deliriously enticing sections mentioned in the title above.
Let’s face it: who doesn’t love cookies? From the lowest (packaged no-name brands) to the highest (specialized bakeries, home bakers), they all have their own niche in our lives. Ms. Deborah Jones, who did photography for the book, adds to the hunger pangs that will follow after you’ve picked up this Cookie Bible.
Ms. Medrich covers the whole gamut of flavors drawing from many cuisines. It’s not just chocolate chips, but spicy salted peanut toffee cookies, with Thai curry paste, or brownies... not JUST brownies, but brownies about five different ways! In this tome, she teaches us how to troubleshoot “bad cookies;" the biggest offender is too much flour. Don’t pack your flour into the measuring cup! You’ll have to buy the book to read the rest of the mistakes we often make with baking.
The only objection in this beautiful book is the inclusion of decimal ounces in parenthesis, in the ingredient sections.How do you measure 5.625 ounces? Maybe there are many home cooks who use scales out there, but they are a rarity. There is a neat conversion chart on the last page that includes US/UK conversions, and from Fahrenheit to Celsius to Gas Marks. Plus from cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, into Metrics. What more could you want???
There’s an exhausting compendium of ingredients with explanations about how long you can keep them, what they might be called in other countries, and where you might find them, if your supermarket is bereft. Also, she encloses an equipment list, and tells us what each of them does or doesn’t do. A good resources list where you can find ingredients that are impossible to find and finally (whew!) a “smart search.” This search includes the following: Wheat-free, Dairy-free, Whole grain, Quick and easy, Less fat with Weight Watcher’s point values, Dough that freezes well, and finally Cookies that last at least 2 weeks.
It’s as if Ms. Mendrich has personalized cookies through rigorous testing, perfected ingredients and total commitment to something she loves... COOKIES! If you buy this book, chances are you will love them too. From Ultra-thin Chocolate Chunk to Almond Meringues, the title says it all.
Below is the following recipe, a Joonbug favorite.
Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunch Melt in Your Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich, Photography by Deborah Jones, $25.95, Artisan (A division of Workman Publishing) 2010, Paperback, 384 pages, color.
SPICY CARROT MASALA MACAROONS
makes 36 1-1/2” cookies
3/4 cup (3.75 ounces) whole almonds, with or without skins
2 large egg whites
1 cup (7 ozs.) sugar
1 teaspoon garam masala, pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 cups (5.625 ounces) lightly packed finely to medium-finally shredded carrot
3/4 cup (2.25 ounces) unsweetened dried shredded coconut (see below)
A rounded 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest.
Cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper
1. Preheat the oven to warm, 325 degrees F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
2. In a food processor, pulse the almonds to an uneven meal ranging in texture from very fine (mostly) to finely chopped. Set aside.
3. In a medium stainless-steel bowl, whisk the egg whites with a fork until frothy. Stir in the sugar, garam masala, and salt. Add the carrot, coconut, almonds, and lemon zest and stir until all of the ingredients are moistened. Set aside for 10 minutes to dissolve the sugar and hydrate the coconut.
4. Set the bowl directly in a wide skillet of barely simmering water and stir the mixture with a silicone spatula, scraping the bottom to prevent burning, until the mixture is very hot to the touch and any liquid at the bottom of the bowl has thickened slightly and turned from translucent to opaque, five to seven minutes.
5. Drop heaping teaspoons 1-inch apart on the lined cookie sheets. If you like, form tall beehive-shaped cookies with your fingers. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tips of the carrot shreds begin to color and the bottoms of the cookies are deep golden brown (without removing a cookie, turn a corner of the parchment over to see the color). Rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking to ensure even baking. Set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool. Let the cookies completely cool before storing. To remove the cookies from the parchment, hold one cookie at a time while gently peeling the parchment away from it. The cookies keep for three to four days, loosely covered to prevent sogginess, rather than airtight. Do not freeze.
If you're hankering for some Mardi Gras sweets, turn to Chez Sha's for authentic and gourmet creole cookies. These are perfect for those who like their cookies soft and sugary, with a taste of sugar granules in every bite. To maintain their freshness, the cookies are packaged individually and shipped to your door in a keepsake tin.
Lemon blueberry is tart and fresh, with enough plump blueberries sprinkled in that you can almost fool yourself into thinking they are healthy.
While some choose to never stray past the Common, a walk into the heart of the hustle and bustle of Chinatown offers an invitation to discover some of Boston’s most flavorful finds. Converging at the corner of Harrison Ave and Beach St., these spots offer an array of unique flavors that make it the tastiest corner in town.
The Juice Bar
Stop in on a hot day and treat yourself to an endless list of refreshing options. While the mango and papaya shakes are fresh and deliciously tangy, dare to try the milky durian, jackfruit or the taro for a more distinct taste of Asia, especially when chewy tapioca pearls are added to the mix. The Jasmine green tea milkshake, a fan favorite, is sure to be slurped down fast and offers an added kick.
Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man
1500 Walnut Street
(15th Street between Walnut and Locust)
One whiff of the intoxicating chocolate aroma and you're instantly aware this is not your average sweet shop. Emphasizing the emotional, sensual side of chocolate, at Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man you can participate in the ultimate chocolate experience as you "see, smell, listen, taste, and touch chocolate" in every imaginable form. My visit began with browsing the chocolate merchandise at the in-store giftshop, which made me even more eager to sit down and start sampling.