Hot sauce of the week! We shared a new red pepper hot sauce last week and decided to feature a new one every week! We will start out with an easy one. It’s not spicy, just smokey and delicious. Perfect for that person who can’t handle the heat but wants a great sauce for their tacos or eggs in the morning. Or if you just want to easy into the heat.
Soak dried peppers in a bowl of hot water for 30 minutes.
Make sure peppers are completely submerged.
I use a heavier smaller blow for this
Or you can use a ziplock bag.
Just make sure it is on a flat surface and you flip it half way through .
Once peppers have soaked pull off stems and discard them.
Some seeds and veins will come with the stems and that's fine.
Not all your peppers will be completely soft, that is ok.
Take the chili's, garlic, vinegar and blend, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Once done put sauce through a sieve to remove excess solids
Take sauce and put in your favorite jar or container.
Discard leftover solids*
* if your anything like us chances are you don't like to waste things. As we kept making hot sauces, one thing was bothering us. What to do with the left over solids? We think we are coming up with some great ideas. And if you stay tuned we will share our discoveries.
It’s hot sauce mania here at The Lab. We have been obsessed you could say. It all started with Christmas and has spilled over. Our latest sauces have been gobbled up by everyone and it seems there is not stopping us or them. I can’t believe it started with just wanting to make something nice for Christmas that wouldn’t break my bank account. We are really honing our skills, and what we want out of the sauces. From mild and smokey, to oh my god get me a bucket of water! Our latest is a smoked red pepper hot sauce that has that sweetness of peppers and heat from some red Jalapeño’s. It was inspired by a restaurant in LA that makes the most amazing yellow pepper dipping sauce. One day I will crack that recipe! Here is one of the new ones, enjoy! Oh and don’t forget the homemade corn chips!!!
Tataki de carnard, enoki marine, oeuf de Caille , aoli d'ail noir
Gravlax de salmon, Chutney a la mangue, granite concombre
Profiteroles de chèvre au meil, joue de veau braisee, mousse de betterave
Onglet de boeuf marine, oeuf poche sauce au vin rouge
Ris de veau, purée de pommes de terre sauce a l'erable et bacon
Croustillant au chocolat noir et glance a la lime
Back of the George-Étienne Cartier statue
Back of the angel on the George-Étienne Cartier statue
Relaxing at Mount Royal park
Panarama of park and tam tam area
This way to the top!
Downtown Montreal from top of Mount Royal
Cross on top of Mount Royal
When Jason’s Mum came to NYC for a visit we wanted to take her some where different. She’s been to Washington, D.C., and Provincetown, so we had to think of somewhere new. Jason came up with Montreal. It’s just far enough for a quick weekend getaway. To maximize our time together and in Montreal we took the train up and flew back.
The train was a wonderful way to spend the day together. We probably packed way too much food(oops!), but the scenery was just breath taking and we relaxed our way into our weekend. With a recommendation from a friend we stayed at the Chateau De Argoat Hotel. It is perfectly situated near everything and a block and a half from the nearest subway and the bus depot that you can take to the airport.
Once we were all settled we headed out for dinner. You think with all the food we had on the train we wouldn’t be hungry. Wrong! We decided to keep it simple and went to a delicatessen called The Main and had smoked meat and poutine(fries with gravy and cheese curds). Perfect for weary travelers.
The next day we headed for old Montreal and soaked in the history. Walked along the canal where all kinds of new construction is happening . It reminded us of what is happening to Brooklyn back home. We even got Jason’s mum on a bike! After a very valiant effort, we let her off the hook and we walked for rest of our journey. Which included finding an oasis beer garden/indoor beach volleyball club. It was nice to sit relax some more and watch a little bit of sport. We finally made it to our destination the Atwater open market. Unfortunately we were a little late and only managed to procure some fromage, crackers and olives for our efforts. But all was not lost. That just made dinner all the better! We ended up at Cafe Cherrier, not your typical cafe. I had pistachio encrusted salmon, Jason had steak and his mum had veal ravioli. Amazing! So far Montreal is winning in all categories, architecture, historic sights, weather and food!
The next day was Mothers Day and Jason planned a nice dinner, but we changed our minds and made it a brunch date instead. We were so glad we did. Le Pegase did not disappoint. They had a special pre fix menu for Mother’s Day brunch and luckily for us we had three choices for the appetizers and main course. So we all got to try a little of everyone’s meal. To say it was amazing is an understatement. We left floating on air with very satisfied full bellies.
After our heavenly experience we wandered around and made our way to Mount Royal to see the tam tams, aka, a drum circle. Also to climb to the top and see the view of the city. It was another beautiful day and everyone was out just lapping up the sun and music. After a little rest we headed to our final destination, the top of Mount Royal. We lazed around on the lawn chairs took in the scenic view, walked over to the very large cross and then made our descent back down and to our hotel for the night.
Sadly our last day was a short one. We just took it easy, had a picnic at La Fountaine Park, played our ukuleles and soaked in the sun. We then hoped on the bus, checked ourselves through airport security and flew home. Another adventure down and many more to come!
It was time to make our annual trip to D.C. for the blossom festival and it did not disappoint. We took the Bolt Bus as usual and stayed in our hostel that we like. One day we might stay in a hotel, but the hostel is in a central location and the price is great.
After we unloaded our gear we headed out for a quick drink. We normally don’t go out on the first night, we’re usually too tired and want to get an early start. But this year there was only one exhibit that we really wanted to see, so we figured we had a long week, lets get out and have fun. Well fun found us. We stopped at a local bar we go to sometimes and this night they were having a Robyn themed night. After 3 drag performances and a few Absolut drink specials we made our way back to our beds that were waiting for us.
The next day we hopped on bikes and made it to the festival to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. It was a glorious day. The sun was out and it was nice and warm. We rode and walked around the basin taking in all the amazing trees and colors. We stopped to get some refreshments but the line was long and we had our exhibit to see. So we high tailed it out of there and went to the Hirshhorn Museum. They had a great exhibit on disasters throughout history. We did wonder if the Smithsonian planned such an exhibit of destruction while life was blooming outside it’s very walls.
After the exhibit we went to The Garden Cafe, in the National Gallery of Art. One of our favorite places to sit, relax and enjoy a meal. We strolled around and saw the amazing photography of Garry Winogrand and the Civic Pride: Group Portraits from Amsterdam, that are considered a rarity at that time. We made another wonderful pit stop at one of the atriums before heading out to see more works of art.
Jason waiting at parade
The Second Time Around Marching Band
Blossoms at the tidal basin
Sculpture outside Space Museum
Lisa Tomlins rocking it!
Neil Finn and band
Jesse Sheehan blur of sexuality
It's beer o clock somewhere!
Mmmmm.....beer and blossom's
Beer in the Mall
Beer's eye view of the Mall
Jefferson through the blossoms's
Thomas Jefferson quote
Blossom's on the peninsula
After a little more running around, it was about time to go back to the hostel and freshen up for our evening plans. As usual I didn’t know what they were. Well, they always involve a play or a concert or a musical. This time much to my delight and genuine surprise it was the final show of Neil Finn’s American tour. We were lucky and got some great seats and were treated to some rare songs that he usually doesn’t play.
We tried to eat before the show but we were running a little late. After a few failed attempts I finally secured some chili cheese fries from Ben’s Chili Bowl, but unfortunately I was too late and we were ushered into the theater and our food disposed of. But our saving grace was Oohh’s and Aahh’s Soul Food. Amazing roast chicken and mac n’ cheese. Can’t wait to go back and try more.
Our final day was mostly spent cruising around looking at blossoms. We stopped for a quick libation and headed to our new find. The peninsula across for the main blossom festival. Talk about night and day! The festival is nice and there are many more blossoms to look at, but what we found was just as beautiful. The peninsula is lined with blossoms and even has picnic area’s with tables and BBQ’s. It was a great bike ride and discovery. Next year it’s all about a picnic at the other side of the festival.
We had just a few more small exhibits to see but our hot dog and beer on the mall lawn was our next destination and it did not disappoint. It’s always nice to take a moment, sit and watch everyone enjoying there day, while we enjoy ours. The Portrait Gallery was our last destination, an exhibition on dance in American history from ballet to movies and music. Then it was off to collect our belongings, with a quick stop at Full Kee to get dinner for the long bus ride home. As we sat comfortably in our seats, or as comfortable one can get, we settled into our movie and dinner, already planing next years adventure.
Our first camping trip of the season was amazing and cold!
The day started out fine, a little cloudy but not too bad. We hit the subway, then train to Tuxedo, grabbed the last of the supplies and hit the trail. We made it to camp with plenty of time to gather wood, pitch the tent, get water and start our fire. It was a lazy afternoon. Well as lazy as that can be. We took our time and enjoyed the spring day. We did notice along the way that there was still snow in random spots and when we arrived at our usual camp site, the lake was still frozen in parts. Jason dubbed this trip, winter camping! We were still delighted, the sun had come out and we just lapping up the quiet and slow pace we were settling into.
Lake Skenonto and tent panorama
Lake Skenonto panorama
Baby island at Lake Skenonto panorama
The still iced over Lake Skenonto
Lake Skenonto panorama 2
Bushmills and campsite selfie
Swamp across from Lake Skenonto
Lake Skenonto and swamp panorama
Steak, onions and mushroom stems
Dinner is served!
Final rays of the sun
With our fire in full swing and whiskey in our cups we started dinner. We kept it simple. Dry rubbed ribs, steak, asparagus and baked potatoes. One of the best things about camping is you can wrap everything in foil, chuck it in the fire and leg it go. Of course we love cooking a more elaborate meal, but our first outing we wanted to keep it as simple as possible. After dinner we put more wood on the fire and watched the sunset. So far so good, right? Then the sun went down and the wind and cold went up! We usually hangout by the fire for a while but not that night. We headed into the tent and watched a movie I had downloaded. All snuggled up with hot water bottles, snacks and our movie we settled in for the night.
The next morning was bright and sunny. The wind was still whipping around a little and we thought we might have to take the early train home. But thankfully it went away and a beautiful spring day took over. We made breakfast, eggs, potatoes and bacon, and just relaxed. By lunch time we were sufficiently hungry and found our leftover ribs and butter were missing. These were to be added to our egg drop ramen soup. We couldn’t find them anywhere. After a little more searching, I found the empty foil I had wrapped the butter in, and a fork! Jason had heard something in the night like an animal walking through our camp but thought nothing of it. There are deer, geese, hawks, ducks and we usually camp next to a beaver and his dam. I guess one of them got hungry in the night!
We still enjoyed our lunch, finished our movie and made our way back to civilization. It’s always a bitter sweet walk. As we get closer to the train station you realize it’s almost over. But our reward for making this trip and back in one piece is Chinese food across the street from the platform. With our delicious snack in our bellies we drink our travel beer on the train and make the long ride home. Already dreaming of our next camping adventure.
This is a very easy recipe that you can leave and get things done. Once you have done the prep all you have to do wait.
1 lb of mixed beans and lentils
2 Tbsp of butter
1 Tbsp of olive oil
6 cups of stock(your choice)
4 pieces of bacon chopped
1 red bell pepper
4 celery ribs
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
½ box of frozen peas
1 lime cut in half and separated
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic chopped
dry herb mix- oregano, dill, chive, celery leaf, kale, parsley
(you can make your own mix)
Splash of red wine or beer or water
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop up bacon
Chop up onion
Cut celery into ½ inch pieces
Peel and cut carrots into ½ inch rounds
Cut red pepper into ½ in squares
Rough chop parsley and set half to the side
On med to high heat put oil and butter in large soup/stock pot
Add onion and cook till they get soft
Make a ring on the edge of the pot with onions
Add bacon in the center and let cook for a couple minutes
Stir onions and bacon together and cook till bacon starts to get crisp
Add stock, beans and lentils and herb mix
Bring to boil and lower flame to very low
Let simmer for 4-5 hours with lid on
Last hour add celery, carrots and bell peppers
Add beer or wine or water if soup seems too thick
(this is if the soup starts to get to dry)
You want some broth
The last 15 minutes add the peas and half the parsley
Save the other half for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
The beans and lentils can be any combo you want. Also I say 6 hours but the soup can be ready between 4- 6 hours. It just depends on how you like your beans. Adjust times accordingly
Painting the ceiling
Bacon and onions
We started the remodel because Jason’s friend suggested it. Not only suggested it, but had developed a plan. Jason was all ears. I heard about it second hand. It sounded vague but promising. So we headed to this warehouse in Greenpoint to get these colorful brackets that were the basis of this mini make over. They were bright, but something about them and the ideas that were being talked about made sense. We walked out with a bunch of them. The plan was in motion. We stopped at a bar to discuss the rest of the plan as it existed at that time. As things came together, salvaged wood shelving, the color scheme of the kitchen, things changed and evolved. Next thing you know we are painting the ceiling terracotta/brick red and the inside of the pantry became canary yellow.
The apartment is in complete disarray. So cooking is not easy, to say the least. But the Lab must continue to experiment and make new food. The latest is a mixed bean, lentil and bacon soup that could sit for hours as we continued to work on the shelving. It’s a basic soup but with a few extras thrown in on purpose and also just for the fun of it. We started with a bag of beans and lentils we found at our local Indian market. You could easily replicate the of mix beans and lentils if you don’t have access to store like this. From there it was what broth to use? We chose a combo of beef and vegetable. One, because it’s what we had available and two because given the chance I will always use broth over water. For reasons that are obvious. We also had an herb bag for soup that we found during our excavation of the pantry. Also from the Indian store. From there we added onion, bacon, celery, carrot and a red bell pepper. As the soup cooked and as I tasted it, it also changed. From seasoning, to consistency, to the acidity. I added half the juice and pulp of a lime. I always have citrus around as it’s always good for such occasions. It took the bite out the soup that I couldn’t help but wonder how it got there. I thank my friend Regina for this trick. She is a brilliant cook.
Four hours and a few layers of polyurethane later we were ready to eat. The soup was amazing and though we aren’t nearly finished with the kitchen and the shelving, at least we finished another food journey that will be part of our cannon for years to come. Now if we could just get the rest of the kitchen off the living room floor!
With winter setting in, we all want to hunker down and eat. And what better way then with a big ole piece goodness called lasagna?! Do you make it at Christmas or New Years, or whenever you want that giant casserole dish of baked noodles with sauce and cheese? Do you add meat or vegetables? Maybe you’re a white sauce kind of person? For me, it all comes down to one thing, tomato sauce. It screams lasagna. All red and bubbly with veggies and Italian sausage, yum!
I usually start with one large and one medium can of whole tomatoes. Giving them a medium rough chop so you have nice chunks of tomato. Then I saute onions, garlic and whatever vegetables I want in my sauce, like celery and bell peppers, all seasoned with the herbs I’m using in the sauce. I find it helps get things going. If I am adding sausage, I cook the veggies in with the sausage, onions and garlic first then the rest. Next I combine the tomatoes, veggies, meat and simmer for a few minutes then add some paste to thicken. More herbs and simmer for as long as necessary. I even slice zucchini to put in between the layers.
When it comes to cheese, fresh is best. But we all know we can’t always get it or have the time to make it. So do your best and it will be just fine. I do stir up my ricotta if it comes store bought, makes it easier to spread or drop. But my big discovery is to grate most or all of your mozzarella, which can be evenly distributed. This will keep you from having that moment when you accidentally sliced it too thick and don’t have enough to cover the top. Oops! Been there done that! And who ever thought of cottage cheese as a substitute for ricotta should be shot. Don’t do it ever! You are not doing yourself or your guests any favors.
Then there is the debate on the noodles. Fully cook, don’t cook, cook partially. What do you do? Ive done all three. I prefer to cook them al dente so they finish with the flavors of the sauce. Also cook and extra one or two just in case one rips. If not then have fun eating it while the lasagna cooks.
Once you have done all this, simply put it in the oven at 350 till golden bubbly, about 30-45 minutes and when done, let it stand for about 15 minutes and serve. What could be more perfect and easy then that?
*if you think you need more sauce, always add another can of tomatoes, medium or large depending on how saucy you want your lasagna. Or add another dollop of paste to thicken.*