Tag Archives: Potatoes

Cafe Lift ***

Cafe Lift French Toast
 
428 N. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
215.922.3031

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Breakfast is my FAVORITE meal of the day. But it is not just an indulgence for me, it is a necessary ritual. God forbid I don’t eat my four-egg omelet before leaving the house in the morning, and I am like Atilla the Hun for the remainder of the day—just ask any of my friends.

Having spent almost all of my life with a passion for both breakfast and cooking, you can imagine that I have become quite talented at preparing 5-star omelets, fluffy pancakes, hearty oatmeals, and fresh yogurt parfaits (or at least I think so!). That being said, I am highly critical of breakfasts served outside of my own kitchen. Every now and then though, I venture to a restaurant to check out their version of breakfast and I did so this weekend at Café Lift.

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The restaurant is a modern loft space, decorated as if Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel had a love child. It is verging on the edge of hipster, but it is comfortable and cozy to patrons of all ages (and there is a wide variety!).

Inside Cafe Lift

I ordered the Plum Tomato Frittata with Asparagus, Roasted Plum Tomatoes, and Fontina Cheese, drizzled with Homemade Basil Pesto ($8).

Frittata 1edited

The basil pesto was so fresh and summery, and the frittata was executed very well, without being overcooked or hard. The parmesan-crusted home fries were tasty, but a bit overcooked and consequently mushy for my liking (I told you I was critical!). The multigrain toast was god awful, but I’m watching my carb intake so I’ll consider that a blessing in disguise!

To accompany my enormous frittata, I also ordered a Lemon Ricotta Pancake topped with Fresh Strawberries ($3).

Lemon Ricotta Pancakeedited

It sounded amazing, but fell a little flat for me. I thought the batter could have benefitted from some and/or more lemon zest. I just didn’t get that bright citrus flavor to compliment the creaminess of the ricotta. It did photograph quite lovely though. #pancakefoodporn

My friend Sara ordered the Special Eggs Florentine served with Jumbo Lump Crab Meat, Spinach, and Truffle Hollandaise Sauce ($11.50).

Crab Eggs Florentine2edited

Normally, the dish would be served on an English muffin, but Sara is Gluten-Free so she had it open-face instead. She enjoyed it, although we both agreed the hollandaise was lacking a bit in truffle flavor…aka the best part.

All in all, the food was good but is it better than my own version of breakfast?

Nope.

I will definitely say that it is an awesome value for what you get though, and if you’re not as high maintenance about breakfast as I am, you will probably love it!

Here’s a look at what I would serve if I could have my very own brunch spot…

……..someday!

Black Bean and Corn Omelet

garden omelet

Omelet with Goat Cheese

Huevos Rancheros KB

Brocoli and Gruyere Quiche

Veggie Omelet ad Hash Browns

Mushroom Spinach and Goat Cheese Oetitie Quiche

Mexican Scramble

IMG_2257

Yogurt with Berries and Granola

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Filed under Bakery, Breakfast, Brunch, Buck's County, Cafe / Bistro, Coffee Shop, Lunch Spots, Pennsylvania

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes *****

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

My go to side dish is always potatoes. If I’m making chicken its roasted potatoes, if I’m making beef its mashed potatoes, if I’m making breakfast its home-fried potatoes, but always, always, always potatoes!! And I have tried a million different recipes in search for the perfect mashed potatoes, but have never found one that really hits the spot. The few recipes that I did really like were difficult to enjoy eating because of the amount of butter and cream used (all recipes by Paula Deen—aka “the butter queen”), and the healthier ones were usually lacking in flavor. But tonight I finally found the right combination of shit to make a perfect (and not ridiculously fattening) batch of flavorful mashed potatoes. I made a staggering 10 pounds to feed my army of friends and they were delicious.

The key to success lies in using just the right potato and I only used Yukon Gold potatoes when making my mashed potatoes. I peel them up, cut them into quarters, and let them boil till fork tender. Then I drain out the water and return them to the stockpot. Then the secret is to put the roasted garlic, butter, cream, and milk onto the drained potatoes and allow to sit covered for about 5-10 minutes before mashing. This allows for the garlic flavors to develop and for the butter to melt down. I then sprinkle the potatoes with about a ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper and use an electric hand mixer to beat them till smooth and fluffy. Of course, you can also mash the potatoes by hand, but I prefer to take the short cut and let the electric mixer do the work for me! These are honestly the best mashed potatoes that you will try….so make them!

Ingredients:

  • 5 pound bag of Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (or reduced fat sour cream, if you’re really watching calories)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)

Directions:

Roasted Garlic: Preheat the oven to 350°.  Separate all gloves from the bulb of garlic, but do not peel them from their skin. Place all the cloves of garlic onto a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Fold the foil into a packet and allow to cook in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. Then remove the garlic from the skins (should slide right out if you do it while its still hot, just be careful of your fingers!) and mash with the back of a fork. Drizzle a little extra olive oil into the mash until you have a roasted garlic paste. This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge!

Peel and quarter all of the potatoes and place into a large stockpot on the stove. Generously salt the water and allow the potatoes to boil in the water until fork tender. Then drain in colander and return to stockpot. Put the butter, roasted garlic paste, milk, cream, salt and pepper over the potatoes and allow to sit covered on counter for about 5-10 minutes.

Then mash the potatoes by hand or with electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy.

Covering the Garlic Cloves in Olive Oil before Roasting

Making the Roasted Garlic Paste

Before Mashing

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{ Garden Vegetable Soup }

Garden Vegetable Soup with Rosemary Garnish

After getting back to Miami from New York, I was craving some home cooked food. Don’t get me wrong, I love going out to eat, but after a while I just start to crave something hearty, healthy, and homemade…and that describes Alton Brown’s garden vegetable soup perfectly. I have made this soup three or four times already and it is always delicious, although I do make some very minor modifications. The recipe below is my version, although you can find the original on the link at the bottom. Enjoy!

{ Ingredients }

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white part only (from approximately 3 medium leeks)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds (approximately 2 medium)
  • 2 cups peeled and diced Yukon potatoes (cubes)
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, broken or cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 4 cups seeded, and chopped vine tomatoes (about 7)
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 ½ cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

{ To Make Soup }

Heat the olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the leeks, garlic, and a pinch of salt and sweat until they begin to soften, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, and green beans and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the tomatoes, mushrooms, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are fork tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Add the frozen peas and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Serve immediately.

***I serve mine over ditalini pasta!

CHECK OUT THE ORIGINAL RECIPE!

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