Saturday, February 26, 2011

Virginia's Long Island: Managers' Specials Do Not Need To Be Scary - King ...

Virginia's Long Island: Managers' Specials Do Not Need To Be Scary - King ...: "I just put up a new photo album onto my FaceBook called 'Food Porn - End of February', and there was a theme that made me want to blog.&nbsp..."

Managers' Specials Do Not Need To Be Scary - King Kullen

I just put up a new photo album onto my FaceBook called 'Food Porn - End of February', and there was a theme that made me want to blog.  I noticed that I kept bringing up that the food I ate this week was a bunch of managers' specials. 

At this point, I need to point out that I am writing this post on my own.  King Kullen, where I enjoy shopping, does not know that I am writing this.  I just want my friends to know that they should look in local supermarkets for deals and specials.

I tend to spend whatever I want on food and then occassionally make up for it by purchasing managers' specials.  I usually shop at my local King Kullen.  I find the people are friendly and helpful and I have a few special people that I look forward to seeing.  The Fishmonger and the Produce Lady are my particular favorites.  The butchers will cut me a special piece when I need one, but usually there are many cuts to choose from in the meat section.  Managers' specials are deep discounts on food that will be expiring in the next few days.  I tackle this by either freezing immediately or using as dinner on the same day as the purchase.  Sometimes I cook, but mostly its my husband Andrew who does the cooking.
This lovely 3 pound roast leg of lamb - spiced with Rosemary, Garlic and EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil).  It was only $9.

This turkey breast cutlet, breaded in whole wheat panko was beautiful with very spicy veggies and black beans.  It was only $2 for the pound of turkey.

These were lovely and spicy organic chicken wings.  Andrew has a way with wings and anything BBQd or smoked.  It was a great deal at $0.99 for this plate.

This fresh ham, which I talked about in a previous post, flavored with prunes and apricots, was also a managers' special.  I believe it was $3 a pound.

Andrew made a nice BBQ with these organic chicken legs.  $2.  I usually don't go for legs but I do enjoy the organic legs.  There is a big difference to me and the organic meat helps to regulate my hormones.

We even tried turkey wings.  Andrew spiced them up and they were even pretty good.  Not my cup of tea, but good. $0.99 for 2 huge wings.

Another cache at $0.99 a pound. Nice organic legs and thighs.  BBQ's by the master - Andrew.

This may be the biggest example of trying something just because it was totally affordable.  I am always disappointed by veal because it is so expensive and so hyped as a dish in restaurants.  This veal was on sale for (I think that I remember) $2 a pound.  This was too good to pass up.  I wanted to give veal another chance with Andrew cooking it, he usually can do any food justice.  This was cooked to perfection and I enjoyed it.  I may never order veal again in a restaurant, but if this deal comes up again I will ask Andrew to cook it again. 
I looked through many pictures of the wonderful food that I ate over this past year and cannot remember any more managers' specials.  I have been enjoying specials and sales over the years and look forward to many more.  I write this to remind you that there are still ways to make your budget work - even in these trying times.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Touch of Health Massage Artistry

In order to start this post on my therapeutic massage experience, I have to give you some background.  Twenty or so years ago, I was driving to work on I684 in Westchester when suddenly my entire left side became paralyzed.  This was extra scary as I was driving 75 mpg.  I made it to work but I could not walk.  I hailed a co-worker who called my parents.  I was diagnosed with advanced Lyme's Disease.  (I figured I was bitten by the evil tick the year before, when I was working as a grape pruner/picker at North Salem Vineyard.)  After extensive treatment I still did not feel well.  I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia - an unfortunate side-effect of very advanced Lyme's Disease.

Up until about three years ago I was in constant pain.  A chronic dull pain, but it was enough to slow me down.  This is one of the reasons that I jumped off of the corporate ladder and engineered a very simple life for myself.

Three years ago I was prescribed a medication to help with the nerve pain associated with Fibro.  This helped greatly - along with exercise, chiropractic and massage.

At first, I treated massage as an indulgence, but as time went on I saw that, for me, it was necessary for my overall well-being.  What started out as a half hour here and there is now one and a half hours every month.

My massage therapist (and now good friend) is Marisa of Touch of Health Massage Artistry.  I started out with Swedish Massage - a comfortable and relaxing experience.  Both Marisa and I were worried that a Deep Tissue Massage might be painful for me.  Eventually, we were able to move up to a moderately Deep Tissue Massage.  This keeps me relatively loose until my next massage. (The problem with my Fibro is that I tighten up and sometimes I feel like I'm made of cement - in addition to the nerve pain.)

I have grown to trust Marisa, on many levels, and have tried other forms of Massage Therapy.

I tend to hold extra stress in my jaw, so Marisa started Myofascial Release (MFR) on my face.  This is a technique that is like a super slow-motion pressure kneading of my face.  Marisa describes this as a slow stretching of the fascia and that I can think of fascia as something like plastic wrap above the muscles and below the skin.  Sometimes, the plastic wrap gets wrinkled and needs to be stretched out.  This can be done on all parts of the body.  My jaw feels great lately!  The other effect of MFR (for me) is an emotional release.  Physically, this technique is releasing toxins.  Emotionally, for me anyway, it releases pent-up feelings.  Sometimes I twitch when toxins and feelings are coming out.  Sometimes I think about things that I need to let go and use this as an opportunity to do so.  I am very open to emotional healing.  MFR, for other people, does not always have an emotional aspect.

Along with the MFR we tried Craniosacral Therapy.  This is a gentle manipulation of my head and neck and it helps lessen stress on my central nervous system.  This is very relaxing.

Lately, I have been experiencing Reiki treatments.  This is very cool.  No massage with this one.  It is mostly a hands-off treatment where Marisa silently chants and holds her hands above or on my Chakra Points.  I can feel the heat (sometimes very hot) coming from her hands and the energy releasing from me.  I can sometimes also see colors.  For example, I saw a purple/blue color when Marisa was holding the back of my head.  I've seen yellow, orange, darkness and blues at different Chakra Points.  I'm glad that I am open to this.  At first, I thought it was a religious thing and I was resistant - but it's really mostly about energy and I like that.

So now I am daydreaming of my next appointments.  I have decided to have 2 one hour appointments in the next two weeks.  This week, a Hot Rock Massage with lavender essential oil.  I will surely BLISS OUT while my body is being repaired.  Next week, I will do Myofascial Release, Craniosacral and Reiki Therapy to finish the healing.

Massage Therapy is a very pleasant and blissful experience that helps to keep me a happy and productive person.

Check out Marisa's website:

Also please check out my other blog for rates, hours and more information on Touch of Health Massage Artistry.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Virginia's Long Island: Pork Tangine

Virginia's Long Island: Pork Tangine: "Last week, our friend and blogger Mira Mi asked on Facebook and Twitter - What Middle Eastern dish would you like to learn to make? We..."

Pork Tangine

Last week, our friend and blogger Mira Mi asked on Facebook and Twitter - What Middle Eastern dish would you like to learn to make?  We replied Tangines!

Andrew had this on his mind and made Tangine Pork with spiced potatoes and onions.  He made a sauce made with plain yogurt, squeezed clementines, cumin, paprika, hot paprika, garlic and Patak's mild curry.  He applied the sauce to both the pork and the sides.  It was all done without the traditional crockery - but it was Andrew's take on it that made it so special.

The meat is from BJs Wholesale Club.  I like the quality of the pork at BJs.  Its not Prime but its great for the price. 

This was a great meal and I continue to be a spoiled, happy girl!  It even made the cheap wine taste great!  Nice!

Virginia's Long Island: Wine Blog Wednesday #70

Virginia's Long Island: Wine Blog Wednesday #70: "One of my favorite people on social media, Lenn Thompson, Editor of the New York Cork Report, announced that Wine Blog Wednesday has returne..."

Wine Blog Wednesday #70

One of my favorite people on social media, Lenn Thompson, Editor of the New York Cork Report, announced that Wine Blog Wednesday has returned (after a long hiatus).  I am not a dedicated wine blogger, or anything more than a amateur wine lover.  Nevertheless, I wanted to get involved in this.

The theme of WBW#70 is Spanish Wines - hosted by Catavino - bloggers specializing in  Spanish and Portuguese Wines.

I stopped into one of my favorite liquor stores - The Thirsty Cellar (a relatively new shop) in Wading River, NY.  They have a nice selection of wines from all over the world.  I read the descriptions of the wines that I could afford.  My personal budget was stretched this week due to a $450.00 trip to BJs Wholesale Club and an $850.00 service bill for my little Toyota.  I was easily able to pick out three bottles that I have not tried before.  And to my pleasant surprise, I found a 15% off coupon in the depths of my purse!

2009 Shaya Verdejo Old Vines White Wine ($12)
I chose this because it said old vines, the description said 'distinct minerality' and there was a cute deer on the label.  It smelled very nice.  (I was expecting a very bright aroma - my past experience with some whites from Spain/Portugal).  It had a light aroma of grass and hay.  I started to get excited.  I tasted pear, grass and apple pie apples (like a mixture of Golden Delicious and Granny Smith).  It was smooth and not too acidic.  For the price, this will now be my go-to white Spaniard!

2009 Tarima Monastrell Red Wine ($16)
I chose this because the description said gnarled vines, 'complex structure' and there was an awesome picture of a Passion Flower on the bottle.  I smelled licorice and earth.  Very nice!  Andrew smelled chocolate and raisins. I tasted the complex structure! - cherry/blueberry, spice, licorice and earth.  This wine had huge legs - 15% alcohol - which made it more alcohol-ly than smooth, but it was not harsh at all.  In fact, this was the best of the three.

2009 Venta Morales Tempranillo (Made with Organic Grapes) ($9)
I have been looking at this for awhile, but have chosen other bottles.  But for this blogging event, I couldn't resist.  I chose it for the Organic label and the cute ladybug.  This bold red smelled like mushrooms, earth, grass and a bit of turnips.  I tasted blueberry, mushrooms and grapes.  My mind was telling me that the wine was thick, yet at the same time somewhat bright.  I'll have to try it again to figure this out.

Then, we tried all three with food.  Andrew made a nice beef stir-fry with red peppers, onions and brussels sprouts.  All were wonderful with the food.  The white was equally good with or without food.  The Red  Monastrell opened up with food - the tastes of spice and blueberry were enhanced very nicely.  The Red Tempranillo was alot better with food.

This blog thing is working out for me.  I found three wines that I will definately enjoy again.  Thanks to Wine Blog Wednesday - I am more open to trying new things!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Virginia's Long Island: Andrew's Beef Stir-Fry

Virginia's Long Island: Andrew's Beef Stir-Fry: "Tomorrow is a blog day. The Twitter and Facebook Community is having a 'WneBlogWednesday' featuring Spanish Wines. I bought&nbsp..."

Andrew's Beef Stir-Fry

Tomorrow is a blog day.  The Twitter and Facebook Community is having a "WneBlogWednesday" featuring Spanish Wines.  I bought three nice Spanish wines and Andrew made a great stir-fry to enjoy with them. We are having this on a Tuesday, because I have to work tomorrow evening.

Beef marinated with siricha, garlic, sesame oil.

Beef juices, water, garlic, oat flour, cumin and ginger.

Beef stir-fry with red peppers, onions and brussels sprouts.  A lovely Tuesday meal to accompany the fabulous Spanish wines.  New post to come.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Virginia's Long Island: Lunch at Golden Chopsticks - Rocky Point, NY

Virginia's Long Island: Lunch at Golden Chopsticks - Rocky Point, NY: "I am a bit indulgent. I extended my birthday for another week by celebrating with my In-Laws at my favorite Asian Restaurant, Golden C..."

Virginia's Long Island: Tuesdays Can Be Festive

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Virginia's Long Island: Wine Wednesday - 2005 Paumanok Cabernet Sauvignon

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Virginia's Long Island: New Year Peace - View of the Long Island Sound

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Virginia's Long Island: Pre-Christmas Visit to Eataly, NYC

Virginia's Long Island: Pre-Christmas Visit to Eataly, NYC: "Every six months, or so, I get together with my best friend. We have lunch together and then spend the day doing something interesting..."

Virginia's Long Island: New Years Day Wine

Virginia's Long Island: New Years Day Wine: "Last night I was a boring girl - I went to sleep at 10:30pm. Today I decided to start the New Year off right with some nice wine. Andrew and..."

Virginia's Long Island: Long Island has so much to offer!

Virginia's Long Island: Long Island has so much to offer!: "Almost 16 years ago I moved to Long Island from Westchester, NY. I wanted to start a new life. I met a man, Andrew, who woo'd me with a..."

Virginia's Long Island: My trip to NYC - Appointment with Dr. Mark Schwart...

Virginia's Long Island: My trip to NYC - Appointment with Dr. Mark Schwart...: "Every three months (or so) I travel to Manhattan's Upper East Side to visit my Plastic Surgeon - Dr. Mark Schwartz - 79 East 79 Street, NYC...."

Virginia's Long Island: Day on the North Fork - a Mano, Shinn Estates and ...

Virginia's Long Island: Day on the North Fork - a Mano, Shinn Estates and ...: "Most people reading this will agree that this winter, all over the world, was cold and filled with too much snow. I am a girl who hard..."

Day on the North Fork - a Mano, Shinn Estates and Bedell Cellars -2/12/11

Most people reading this will agree that this winter, all over the world, was cold and filled with too much snow.  I am a girl who hardly experiences cabin fever. But, this year I am feeling a bit blue due to the cold and dark Winter.  The sun and the promise of the North Fork Winterfest had started to thaw my heart.  This weekend, I wanted to get out of the house and do something blogworthy. 

When I started blogging in January, I decided that I would write only about my good experiences.  Today, I changed my mind.  Over the past month or so, people have read my blog and actually ask me where they should eat, drink and revel and they share their great experiences.  I realize that I have a responsibility to share more than just the perfect experiences.  I owe it to my readers.

This morning, I pulled out the Winterfest Supplement that came in our Riverhead News Review.  I decided on a Mano for lunch and then Bedell Cellars to hear the band 'Jazz on the Half Shell'.

Lunch at a Mano Osteria & Wine Bar (13550 Main Road, Mattituck, NY).  We arrived at a Mano just in time to witness the huge tour bus - parked completely across the entrance of the restaurant.  We waited for the 60 or so tourists to board.  We made it inside and the hostess told us that they just needed to clean off a table for us.  Fifteen minutes later, there were 6 others waiting and a few who gave up.  We read all of the accolades on the wall and checked out the T-shirt and book selection.  When we were seated, I asked for a paper menu.  I wanted to write on it.  This was promised but never arrived.  After ordering our wine, I took some pictures around the restaurant.
We ordered from the fabulous wine list.  It had the best selection of Long Island Wines that I've ever seen, as well, as other nice wines.  I ordered a glass of 2007 McCall Merlot ($12).  This is a bold yet smooth, wonderful wine.  It is worth trying.  Andrew ordered an Anglianco Italian Rose.  It looked like strawberry juice and smelled like it.  It tasted great!  It was more like a Red Wine than a Rose. Not too sweet and nicely smooth with flavors of chocolate in the background.  I was thrilled until I spilled half of my Merlot all over myself.  This was tragic.  I was thoroughly annoyed and got stubborn and would not even think about ordering another.  Secretly, I wanted the waitress to magically appear and suggest topping up my drink. She did bring me another napkin, though.

We started our lunch with a nice plater of meats and cheeses.  You can choose to order 2, 3 or 4 selections or either cheese or meat.  We decided on Gorgonzola and Catapano's (local) Goat Cheese.  We were served an additional cheese - we think it was the Truffled Pecorino.  We chose Smoked Duck, Copa and Soprasata.  This was served with lovely clear (local?) honey, fig paste and raisin chutney.  This was wonderful.  The presentation was very different and nice, using a round flat-bread (cooked in the pizza oven) as a plate.  The accompaniments were a nice pairing with this platter and it was fun trying different combinations.

We also ordered a pizza and a side of meatballs to share.  They have an option of whole wheat dough, which suits me fine.  We ordered the veal sausage pizza.  Very nice flavors from the sausage, sauce and liberal cheese.  The crust could have been cooked more thoroughly but the flavor was nice and it held up to the cheesy goodness.  The meatballs were covered in lovely ricotta and had a nice spicy taste.  Andrew loved the consistancy.  I prefer a meatball with less bread filler.

Overall, I was expecting perfection and didn't get it.  It was ,however, a nice lunch.

We then shot across from Rte 25 to North of Sound Avenue to Shinn Estate Vineyards to pick up a case of More Red.  This is the wine we enjoyed in our room at Bay View Inn and we decided to keep it stocked at home.  Each bottle was on sale for $10.99 as well as a discount for buying a case.  This is a deal because we really like the flavor.  We also bought a bottle of More Gewurztraminer (2008) for the same price and the discount.  Citrus and pineapply start that smoothes out at the finish.  I was put off by the lychee fruit flavor.  Just a flavor that I can't do. The wonderful staff at Shinn were helpful and friendly and I feel at home there after only two visits.  A current fantasy of mine is to spend a weekend at Shinn's Farmhouse.  They have rooms and it looks like a fabulous experience.

Off we went to Bedell Cellars to experience Winterfest.  It was 3:30pm and we thought we were fashionably late.  We parked in the back of one of the barns.  We were directed by a nice girl in charge of the parking field (partially covered in snow).  She was friendly and was lucky to have a sunny day for her outdoor labors.
We arrived inside to a crowded bar.  We did not know where to go to pay the $10 each to listen to the lively Jazz Band 'Jazz on the Half Shell'.  We ventured up a staircase where there were some nice couches and conversation spaces.  Back down the stairs we found a nice young man with the cash box, who pleasantly and guiltily informed us that the area where the Festival was being held - was over fire law capacity. Fail!  We could check in every 20 minutes or so.  We decided to leave.  When we arrived home and I checked into Facebook I saw that the band was starting at 2pm.  The brochure said 3pm - which explained the many cars arriving even as we were leaving.

Before I started writing this I was upset that I had to be negative about a Mano and Bedell.  But after writing, I can see that it was a nice sunny day with many unique moments.  It was not the perfect day that I was hoping for but it was pleasant and that is enough for me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pre-Christmas Visit to Eataly, NYC

Every six months, or so, I get together with my best friend.  We have lunch together and then spend the day doing something interesting.  Sometimes it is shopping, walking around NYC, or lounging on the beach.  This past meetup was in Manhattan.  Andrew was joining us and he really wanted to include Eataly in the day.  My friend was coming into New York from Westchester County and we were coming from Suffolk County.  We met at Penn Station (NYCs - in fact USAs largest train station).  We had a brilliant lunch at Tracks inside of the station.  It has become my go-to bar and grill in NYC.  It has fab food and shellfish (crazy good oysters) and a huge bar that serves Penfolds as a house wine.  This is a comfortable place for Andrew and I.  The staff, especially Liam (best bartender EVER) make us feel at home, even though we are in a place that throngs of humanity pass through every day.

My friend had a Spicy Chicken Sandwich and the beef chili.  Andrew also had the Spicy Chicken Sandwich and a wonderful warm bowl of New England Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl. (a favorite) I had a beautiful Blue Cheese Burger and a Shrimp Cocktail.  We all had Sweet Potato Fries.  We enjoyed this feast with Pepperwood Pinot Noir and Penfolds Chardonnay.

The food was awesome but the point of the day was the companionship.  We talked about everything that occupied our minds.  We even had a neighbor at the bar who seemed fascinated by our animated talk. It might have been the fact that my friend is very attractive.  My friend would kill for me (and vice-versa) and she got animated when we were discussing an incident where someone hurt my feelings.  After lunch we walked to Eataly - a short walk  to 23rd and 5th.

I had read about Eataly and was excited to experience it.  Andrew and I have been huge fans of Mario Batali since we've been together (16 years).  The best meal we've ever eaten was at Mario's restaurant Babbo.  What a special memory.  We were all blown away when we stepped into one of the many entry doors.  This is not just an Italian grocery.  It is a wine shop - a wine bar - a restaurant space - a pizza place and a learning center.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  Andrew in fact, had to hold me back from buying everything in sight. 
We quickly became fascinated with the fish mongers' display.  One fish caught my attention and I was told that it was a Spanish Mackeral.  So shiny and fresh.  In fact, everything looked perfect.
The shellfish selection was breathtaking.  In a good way for Andrew and I and a bad way for my friend.  She doesn't eat shellfish - but we noticed that she was also fascinated.  We laughed about the razor clams who looked like they were trying to escape their shells.  Next time I am there, I am bringing home enough shellfish for a feast!

While checking out the salumi/cheese area we were trying to remember what were the words for butcher in Italian and French.  I said  "I forgot most of the French I learned.  One of the only words I remember is Fenetre, which means 'window'. And that's exactly what happened to my French - it went out the window."  The Cheese Monger laughed out loud.  That made me happy.

The meat counter was my favorite part of the experience.  They had EVERYTHING!  I chose a whole rabbit.  I wanted a wild boar roast but I was talked out of it.  The butcher wrapped my rabbit and held it for me until I was ready to go to checkout.  Next time, I will ask the butcher to quarter the rabbit, just to make it easier on me during the prep time. 
If we hadn't had a few glasses of wine at lunch we might have been tempted by the Italian beer and bottled water section.  If I lived in Manhattan, this might become my go-to grocery.  Plus, an added bonus is that, like many customers attested to, you can walk around with your shopping cart and a big glass of Italian wine in hand.  What a way to shop!

There was an attractive wine bar as well as a restaurant and a pizza area.  If we hadn't eaten like Kings at Tracks we might have been tempted to sit down and Manga!

So, it's not Barnes and Nobles but it is a font of knowledge of all things Batali and Bastianich. Our heros!  Strolling around this VERY busy store, we learned about each other - even more than we even knew.  It is a place that - despite the crowds - makes you feel comfortable.  My friend had lived in Italy and some of this experience brought back authentic memories for her.  It made Andrew and I want to travel to Italy.

I was looking for something to cook with my rabbit.  I found mini brussells sprouts (from Brussells!) and a loaf of multigrain bread.  I was ready!  And actually, the prices, in general are fair and fine for the New York Tri-State area.

I did not get into the wine shop.  I was in an expansive mood and we were afraid that I would go crazy and buy too much! 

And here is the final result!  I made Spanish Style Rabbit with tiny Brussells Spouts, Cipollini Onions and Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes - with fresh multi-grain bread!

And that's not even the best part!  The best is getting together with my dear friend and catching up on our lives and stories.  I love being with people that I love.