Archive for the 'cooking' Category

To Make: Homesick Texan Dr. Pepper Cake

Dr. Pepper Cake

Let me just tell you: The topping? It's GOOD.

Just out of the oven.

House smells great.

Will I wait for the kids to dig in?

What do you think?

Homesick Texan Dr. Pepper Oatmeal Cake with Coconut-Pecan Topping

Dr. Pepper Cake

Related:

Homesick Texan Carnitas

Oh, yeahhh….

 

 

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Prep

gingerbread cake, photo by Lisa Hubbard

This ginger-y, lemon-y cake = holiday goodness. (photo by Lisa Hubbard)

Things are moving into full swing around here now that it’s December:

* the Christmas cards are here and ready to be addressed.

* the tree is en route in the mail (yep, we order it for delivery to our home).

* the kids have been to see Santa at Macy’s (surprisingly manageable, really).

* the stockings and decorations, including Groovy Dancing Santa, have been unearthed from the depths of the storage space (thanks, babe!).

* I’m getting ready to make a personalized Santa video for the kids via PNP, Portable North Pole. We did this last year and it *blew* their minds. (It is very cool.)

* and the holiday bake-fest is on.

So far we’ve made:

* dark chocolate almond clusters with sea salt

* chocolate chip cookies with sea salt (both salty finds via This Homemade Life). Couldn’t decide which chips would be best to use, so I divided the batter into three batches and tried semi-sweet, milk, and butterscotch. After serious methodical sampling — hey, somebody had to do it — I have to say I liked the milk chocolate the best. The salt is a great foil for the sweeter chocolate.

* this super-awesome gingerbread cake with lemon curd and whipped cream. Made the house smell great! And the kids loved it. Via the December Bon Appetit.

Happy Holiday Prep, mamas!

Related:

Cutest Christmas Tree Skirts for 2011

7 Recipes for a Perfect Holiday Trifle

Cute Paperless Holiday E-Cards

 

Recipe of the Week: Homesick Texan Carnitas

Homesick Texan carnitas

Porky goodness.

So many things in Lisa Fain‘s new cookbook, The Homesick Texan, look good to me — and, of course, remind me of home — that I literally couldn’t decide what to make first. Then I saw Deb over at Smitten Kitchen tried out the carnitas, with great results, and I thought, OK, decision made.

Carnitas are basically tender-crispy bits of pork that you put into a corn tortilla, dress up with your favorite fixings, and eat as tacos. You braise the pork first in liquid — orange and lime juices, water, cumin, crushed garlic — and then sear to brown and crisp up all over once the liquid evaporates. It takes a good three hours start to finish and, I have to say, Chrissy and I thought the meat was absolutely delicious. Flavorful, perfect.

The recipe says to use pork shoulder or butt; we used shoulder. And the three pounds of meat was crowded in our medium-sized to large Le Creuset — so I’d suggest using the biggest damn dutch oven you’re got. Also: I’m not sure if it was in part because of the crowding, but not all of our liquid evaporated — we had to remove the excess ourselves. But it didn’t matter. We took out the remaining juice and let the meat brown nicely in the pot. Crispy, salty, addictive.

We made guac and piled on diced pickled jalapenos and cilantro, too. Yum, yum.

Carnitas, via The Homesick Texan (but as posted on Smitt-Kit — looks like Fain has adapted the recipe from her blog for her cookbook, so that’s what I’m linking to.)

For more Tex-Mex and other faves, scan the blog or buy the book.

Let me know what you think! (P.S. — The kids loved the meat, too, and there were plenty of leftovers.)

Recipe of the Week: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Marinated Gigante Bean Salad with Grilled Shrimp

gwyneth-paltrow-gigante bean salad with grilled shrimp

Summer’s over, but we’re still making this light, lemony, garlicky salad and loving it. Don’t have gigante beans? Use butter beans or cannellini beans instead. No watercress in your fridge? Use any kind of greens or serve over sauteed spinach.

One note: Marinating the beans in olive oil, garlic, and scallions (or chives) for several hours before preparing is a key step in the recipe and makes a big difference in flavor. So do that earlier in the day and then assemble later for dinner — it’s fast and easy. And delish.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Marinated Gigante Bean Salad with Grilled Shrimp and Watercress.

What else is cooking:

Pork Shoulder Ragu

Spicy Veggie Burritos

Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze

 

 

 

November 5 – 6: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

tea time sandwiches

Tea time! (photo by Leslie Kalohi)

Thanks to Halloween, jury duty, and some fun new freelance ventures, I’ve had precious little time to blog this week. But I’m pulling my crap together today to get something short and sweet out — since I know there are, like, three of you sitting on the edge of your seats out there wondering, “God, when are they going to post again?!”

Well, my dears, here you go.

It’s pricey — $25 a kid — but dying to take the kids to this DIY (but with the help of a NYC chef) Yummy Tea Time Party at lovely DUMBO shop Pomme tomorrow. (Reserve a spot by email.)

Can’t wait to make tracks to the new space for the Children’s Museum of the Arts. Looks awesome.

On tap to cook this weekend — gotta knock out the last CSA squash for the season — is Mark Bittman’s Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Bacon. If you’re looking to take down a lurker squash or two at your house, I recommend these Garlic and Herb Roasted Potatoes and Squash — made them last night and yum, yum. The balsamic vinegar adds a ton of flavor. One other late-breaking idea, from a friend I just had lunch with: Butternut Squash Risotto. This one, a Chez Panisse recipe, looks good.

I’m also eyeing this chili, from the fine folks over at Dinner: A Love Story.

Happy cooking, eating, socializing, wine drinking, kid wrangling weekend!

(flickr photo: Leslie Kalohi / never cool in school)

Weekly Menu, October 2-8: Ode to the End of Summer

Well, here we are again. Back to the menu. Hi! It’s been a while. I’ve been a bit distracted. And uninspired. Felt a little hiatus was in order.

First, it was coming down off sabbatical. I’ll admit I checked out in July. Turned daydreams from a hobby into a profession.

Mmmmm. Daydreams.

So August and September, with all their attendant, resuming responsibilities, the stress of work, the noise of the City, was a bit of a shock to the system. Like winning the lottery, and then being told, whoops! It’s not you after all.

There is also the issue of the weather. The thing is (and you know this about me if  you know me at all): I’m a summer person. There’s nothing I like better than a bright sky, warm weather, bare skin, bare feet.

Poolside in Italy. Isn't this the way it should be?

When I start waking up in the dark, when I see City women get out the tall boots, when I begin to carry around a cardigan, and think twice before putting on a summer dress, my inner bear wakes up and begins to contemplate the winter ahead. Explore the hibernation options.

Trees, knees, sheesh. No sub for sun and heat.

Question: What’s up with all you fall people? What is fall really but a prelude to winter? I love the first snow as much or more as the next person, but after that, do we really need more snow if we are not skiing, sledding, or making snow angels? I think not. At least not here. And all those holidays squashed together so you barely get to enjoy them before they’ve rushed past and there’s nothing but months without a break (think about it: January – May is holiday free). Sadly, my lobby to move Christmas to February has never gained any momentum.

Remember this? That's our car buried in front of the house.

Yes, winter drags on.

I just haven’t felt inspired. We’ve been eating as much of the late summer harvest as we can, in a completely ad hoc manner, and I’m still gamely trotting about in sandals and breezy dresses. But I know, in so many ways, my number is up.

This menu is about trying to get past personal disappointment in summer’s sweet brevity, and everything ending with it. It’s about comfort food. Unless we are moving to warmer climes, I’m stuck with the next two seasons. So I’m trying to make the best of it! And happy to hear from you with great fall recipes.

Weekly Menu

Sunday: Family dinner tonight: Grilled Skirt Steak, Homemade Mac and Cheese. We’re still enjoying My Father’s Daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook. Her mac & cheese- a reasonable, not-too-rich recipe with mascarpone, parm and breadcrumbs– is nice addition our repertoire. A gorgeous, late summer CSA Salad rounded out the meal.

Monday: Roast Chicken and Braised Leeks; is there anything better? Not when it’s only going to get up to 61 degrees.

Tuesday: Grilled Shrimp and Watercress Salad with Gigante Beans- Something a bit lighter, and again, from My Father’s Daughter, but you could make this up, easy. In fact, we’ll probably skip the watercress (which to me always tastes a little bit like eating dirt) and sub in some other green.

Wednesday:Slow-Roasted Tomato Soup (from you-guessed-it: Gwyn) with leftover Mac and Cheese

Thursday: Grilled CSA Veggie (red pepper, maybe eggplant- what does one do with eggplant?) Burritos

Friday: Melisa is out-of-town, so the kids and I will do something, don’t know what! Dinner with Katie, I hope.

Saturday: Road Trip! Dinner Chez Bush.

May L.A. days be your every day ALL OCTOBER!

Currently Obsessed with…. the October, 2011 Issue of Food & Wine Magazine: New French Classics

food & wine october 2011

Can’t put down the French-food-focused October ish of Food & Wine. Melissa Clark’s Marseille-Style Shrimp Stew — with garlicky French rouille on toasts — is a major keeper. Absolutely delicious and full of flavors we don’t always cook with — orange zest, saffron, cloves.

Other temptations:

More recipes for eating the French way: smaller portions of better-tasting food (with wine, of course)

NYC chef April Bloomfield hits France: note the Lyon-Style Chicken with Vinegar Sauce, the Herbed Steamed Rice, and the Warm Bacon-and-Egg Salad

A fun culinary travel guide to Paris: Can we go back, please, and try all of these places?

Bon Appetit!

***

Other obsessions:

State Prints from One Canoe Two

Dining at Buvette

Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves

 

 

 

 

Weekly Menu, August 28-September 3

So we made it. I admit the hype about the storm, which I paid no attention to until Friday, finally got to me; I was nervous last night. At about midnight, I was walking around the dark house, alone, watching the trees bend 45 degrees in the rain. Wondering: will our 101-year old house, which has withstood a tornado (a block away) and an earthquake already this year, fall apart in a hurricane?

My nerves manifested themselves in a three ways: time spent on our various electronic devices (reading Facebook and Twitter, watching the radar, checking news updates and answering texts from concerned friends and family), and cooking and eating.

All the sweets, here for the taking

Friday, I picked up slices of peach pie, chocolate pecan cookies and red velvet cupcakes in Manhattan, and on Saturday made a run to our local Trois Pommes for more peach pie, blueberry pie, a red velvet AND an almond twinkie (yes, twinkie), brownies, peanut butter cookies, and seriously I can’t remember what else. Melisa roasted a whole chicken, and made French onion soup; I made various fruit and vegetable salads. Come on over and help us eat the leftovers (we also have plenty of wine, vodka, fixings for margaritas, and distilled water to serve)!

Tomorrow in the sunshine, let’s just say a long run is planned. But for today, I’m kneading pizza dough and thinking of chasing my iced coffee and sweets with salted buttered popcorn and a movie with the kids (done & done).

***

All the excitement did provide distraction from the fact that this is the last true weekend of the season. This week’s menu is an homage to many of my favorite summer things. I’m not ready to let it go. So more fruit, more tomatoes, more corn.

Weekly Menu:

Sunday: White Pizza with Roasted Garlic, Fontina, and Goat Cheese with Crunchy, Lemony Kale Salad and Melon with Cured Black Olives

Kale Salad. It really is good.

Monday: Grilled Skirt Steak (trying a La Esquina marinade from their forthcoming cookbook) with Charred Corn Tacos with Radish Zucchini Slaw (via Smitten Kitchen)

Tuesday: Orecchiette tossed with Roast, Marinated Tomatoes, Grilled Corn and Fresh Basil

Wednesday: Salmon Grilled on Cedar Planks with Cool Potato Salad, Sautéed Summer Squash and Tomatoes

Thursday: Shrimp Fajitas with Cabbage Slaw

Friday: Dinner out with Melisa to celebrate my birthday on Saturday. Where to go? Might be the garden at Vinegar Hill House or the one at Hudson Clearwater. Hmmm.

Saturday: My birthday!! I am off the hook for cooking, but looking forward to dinner Chez Gillespie.

Speaking of birthdays: here were two we just celebrated:

This one is called: "Fancy French Cake for a Five Year Old"

Seven year old strong!

Here’s to a September full of sweet summer days.

Europe with Kids — Italy: One Thing I Loved Today

breakfast in Tuscany

Breakfast four ways — and my pretty frittata

At home, I often find it annoying when everyone wants something different to eat — that typically means more work for me.

But on vacation — as with other things I’m noticing about our daily routines in a fresh, new setting — I find it less so.

This morning: zucchini frittata (with varying sides) for the moms, eggs sunny side up for Jasper, toast with honey for Miss Magnolia, and fruit all around.

Everybody gets what they want. Lovely.

zucchini frittata

More things I’ve been loving in Italy:

Campari by the pool

Our waiter at the hotel in San Bartolomeo al Mare

 

Weekly Menu, June 26-June 30th: Countdown is On!

Happy Pride, everyone! I’m celebrating by booking a hotel on the Italian Riviera. Oh yeah. On the beach. You know what the weather looks like in Italy? SUNNY. HOT. PERFECT!

Pretty perfect looking in Provence, too.

Only five more days here in the states before we head off on the vacation to end all previous vacations! This week is all about: packing, pulling everything together, and getting ready to go.

Where? Paris, the South of France to stay chez Mousseron,

Don't the Mousserons look like fun? They are.

Tuscany, and then back again the way we came. The apartment in Paris is booked, the TGV tickets to the South bought, the car reserved, the house in Tuscany rented. Now, the countdown.

Mom & I in Paris, September 1988

Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, things are pretty great! The Gods smiled and brought back gorgeous warm (not too warm!) weather AND our elected officials in Albany gave us legalized gay marriage in New York! Our last CSA pick-up yesterday yielded amazing greens (arugula, leafy lettuce, broccoli rabe), broccoli, beets, and of course, EGGS. Have to work our way through it all.

Weekly Menu:

Sunday night: We’re being entertained! Too early for SUMMER PUDDING? Hoping not.

Monday: Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto and Garlic-Scape Pesto (which we had on our pizza last night- delicious!) with Arugula Salad

Tuesday: Carne Asada Tacos with Grilled Vegetables

Wednesday: Fontina, Broccoli Rabe and Mushroom Omelets with Leafy Green Salad

Thursday: Rotisserie Chicken, Kale Salad with Avocado and Parmesan

And we’re off!

Paella from one of our last visits to France. YUM

Here’s to adventure!


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