Thursday, July 31, 2014

cherry streusel slab pie.

Guys I made a cherry pie!
(Can finally cross that off my list of summer foods to make.)

I didn't think it was going to happen this summer with all that's going on. Road trips to Maine, friend's weddings, flea market trips, and that little thing that involves a lot of planning (aka our own wedding) but it did because if there is anything I was going to make time for it was baking a cherry pie.  

(Have you seen the cherries this year?  They are beautiful.)

This also wasn't just any cherry pie. It was a cherry slab pie which is probably the greatest kind of pie that ever was.  It's portable! It's handheld! You don't need a fork (!) which means you can eat it on the go or on picnics or on the beach.  Slab pie also feeds a crowd which means it's a party pie (and everyone loves a party).  

The rye crust is nutty and substantial, providing the perfect base for a plethora (and I mean plethora) of cherries. The streusel topping is my favorite part. A little bit sweet, a little bit crunchy, and a whole lot of almond flavor. The almond flavor as everyone knows is brilliant with the cherries (one of my personal favorite combinations) which is how I found myself gobbling up pie faster then should be allowed.  

Cherry Streusel Slab Pie

For the filling

Generous 5 cups of cherries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

For the strussel topping

1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup rye flour
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
5 tablespoons butter

1 rye crust (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375º F and line a 9- by 13-inch rectangle baking sheet with parchment paper.

Gently toss the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a bowl and set aside. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough into a roughly 9- by 13-inch rectangle, 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick (dough can come up the sides of the pan). Gently move the dough to the prepared baking sheet and put the whole thing in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Make the streusel - Blend all of the ingredients together in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until the mixture becomes crumbly.  Or you can blend the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender until large chunks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Remove the dough from the fridge and pour the cherry mixture on top.  Sprinkle the streusel mixture over the cherries.

Bake the pie until the crust is deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting into squares and serving with ice cream or whipped cream.

Rye Crust
Recipe from Yossy Arefi 

6.75 ounces all-purpose flour
6.75 ounces rye flour
9 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 to 9 tablespoons ice water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar

To make the crust, combine the flours, sugar and salt in a bowl. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut half of the butter into the flour until it is the size of peas, then cut in the other half until it is the size lima beans. Some of the butter will be completely worked into the flour, but you should have lots of visible pieces of butter in the dough, too. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Use a gentle hand or wooden spoon to mix about 8 tablespoons of water into the flour until just combined. If the dough seems very dry, add more water a couple of teaspoons at a time. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together without it falling apart. Press the dough together, form into a disc, and wrap the disc in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least one hour before using, or overnight.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

wedding cool.

Images like this have been on my mind a lot as of late.  

It feels like summer but it also feels a lot the wedding vibe I have in my mind for us.  

A little bit casual.  A little bit industrial.  A lot of white and greenery.  A lot of bistro lights.  

Chic and cool.  (Kind of like us?)  

loving this outdoor space with modern bertoia chairs and rustic table

Image via Pinterest. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

moroccan chicken kebabs.

While there are many negatives that could be said about our old apartment namely the fact that it flooded... often (every time it pours, which is often as of late, I feel pretty happy we no longer live there) I do miss our outdoor space (for all the negatives there was one positive).  It wasn't much (some would call it sad) but there was an awesome table, bistro lights, and an excellent grill.  The grill.  The grill I miss the most.  

Grilling is a summer requirement and when you lack both an outdoor space and a grill you are kind of forced to improvise in order to get that summer experience.  I improvise with a cast iron grill pan and my stove and the results are nothing short of amazing.  

These Moroccan chicken kebabs are the thing to eat as we enter into August.  They are easy-peasy to put together and they pair brilliantly with tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers (in short, pretty much anything and everything you can find at the farmers markets currently).  The garlic sauce provides a cooling creaminess to the spiced chicken. Tucked into a pita, it's the kind of messy meal that is best served with lots of napkins.  

Moroccan Chicken Kebabs
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 8 - Recipe can be halved if there are just two of you (and then you will have leftovers!).  

Garlic Sauce

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons plain yogurt

Chicken Kebabs

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2” pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Zatar (optional)
½ teaspoon sumac (optional)
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil (for grilling)
For Serving: warm pita bread, labneh (Lebanese strained yogurt), chopped tomatoes, and fresh mint leaves

For the Garlic Sauce:  Place garlic in a mortar; season with salt and pound to a very fine paste. (Alternatively, place garlic on a cutting board, season with salt, and mash with the side of a chef’s knife.) Transfer garlic paste to a small bowl and gradually whisk in oil.

Very gradually whisk yogurt into garlic mixture until emulsified. (Add too fast and sauce will break. If it does break, gradually whisk in 1 tsp. water just before serving.)

Garlic sauce can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

For the chicken:  Toss chicken, garlic, parsley, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl; season with salt. Cover and chill at least 2 hours (can be chilled up to 24 hours).

Prepare grill for medium-high heat and oil grate (can also be done on a grill pan on your stove). Thread chicken onto skewers. Grill, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 8–12 minutes. Serve with garlic sauce, pita bread, labneh, tomatoes, and mint

Thursday, July 24, 2014

apricot and cherry tart with marzipan topping.

I have found myself hoarding stone fruit.  
(There are worse things I could hoard, right?)

It started with 2 quarts of cherries and before I knew it, I was coming home almost daily with pounds of apricots and plums and more cherries then I could ever possibly eat.  I can't resist.  (Restraint is not one of my strong suits.)  They look like jewels and if there is anything I am drawn to it's bright, shinny, colorful objects.  (Tyler can attest to this.)

This tart was made out of necessity but the result is so damm good that I may require myself to continue my stone fruit frenzy.  

A delicate French tart shell serves as the base for a plethora of apricots and cherries.  The marzipan topping is everything.  Crunchy, almondy (so much almond flavor because nothing goes better with fruit then almonds), sweet but not too sweet.  It's a strussel but so much better.  As the tart bakes, the fruit breaks down turning into a tender mess of deliciousness.  The softened fruit marries beautiful with the crisp topping which is why it's such a perfect summer dessert (especially if served with whipped cream, just saying).  

Apricot and Cherry Tart with Marzipan Topping
Recipe from David Lebovitz

I played around with the ratio of fruit by using more cherries and less apricots (9 apricots and about 23 cherries). But any ratio would be lovely.  It would also be stellar with just one of the fruits.  The choice is yours.  In my constant attempt to sneak in whole grains, I subbed half the flour in the topping for whole wheat and it was a welcome addition.  

For the marzipan topping

1/2 cup (70g) flour (or 1/4 cup whole wheat and 1/4 cup all-purpose)
1/2 cup (70g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (3 ounces, 85g) almond paste
1/4 cup (40g) sliced almonds (blanched or unblanched) (or whole almonds chopped also works)
1-2 drops pure almond extract
4 tablespoons (2 ounces, 55g) salted or unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

For the fruit

12 ripe apricots
15 cherries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

One 9-inch (23cm) prebaked French tart shell (recipe below!)

Make the topping by mixing the flour, brown sugar, almond paste, sliced almonds, almond extract (if using), and butter with your fingers, or a pastry blender, until the pieces of almond paste and butter are the size of kernels of corn. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (109ºC).

Pit and halve the apricots and slice them into 1/2-inch (1.5cm) slices. Stem and pit the cherries, and halve them. Toss the apricots and cherries in a bowl with the cornstarch and granulated sugar, and spread the fruit into the baked tart shell.

Strew the marzipan topping over the fruit and bake until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling around the edges, 30 to 40 minutes.

(I’ve not had this tart run over, but if you’re the cautious type, you can bake it on a foil-lined baking sheet, in case there are any spills.)

Remove from the oven and let cool a bit before serving.

Serving: The tart can be served just as it is, warm or at room temperature. It can be accompanied by ice cream, such as vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Storage: The tart will keep for up to three days at room temperature however the crisp topping will soften considerably by the second day.

French Pastry Dough
Recipe from David Lebovitz

Makes one 9 (23 cm) tart shell

90 g (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used canola)
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
150 g (5oz, or 1 slightly-rounded cup) flour

Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C).

In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.

Place the bowl in the oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges.

When done, remove the bowl from oven (and be careful, since the bowl will be hot and the mixture might sputter a bit), dump in the flour and stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Transfer the dough to a 9-inch (23 cm) tart mold with a removable bottom and spread it a bit with a spatula.

Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with the heel of your and, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold.

Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork about ten times, then bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.

Let the shell cool before filling.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

fuzzy pillows.

Kitchen seating has never looked so good.  

(The floor to ceiling subway tile is also pretty amazing.)

Kitchen's dont' need to be convetional.  Chandeliers and fuzzy pillows somehow manage to work.  And they work oh so well.  

(Can I move in?)

(5) Tumblr

Image via Pinterest.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

zucchini butter.

We are finally at that glorious time of year where the markets are brimming and overflowing with the ingredients that make me weak in the knees. Tomatoes! (I had my first heirloom of the season last night and I practically wept.)  Corn! (Slathered in butter with lots of salt and pepper please.) Peppers! (Slow roasted until they collapse and then stuffed into a foccacia sandwich with mozzarella.)

But I am not here to talk about those beautiful foods today (come back in a week or two).  I am here to discuss zucchini.  (If we were in a room together and I was making that statement, I'm imagining a long awkward silence to occur right

Zucchini.  Zucchini is a vegetable that somehow manages to give and give and then give some more.  If you have a garden and are growing zucchini $100 bucks says that by the end of the summer you are begging for the zucchini to stop because you can't bring yourself to eat another bite.  There is a reason why zucchini has ended up in so many baked goods (zucchini bread! zucchini whoppie pies! zucchini pancakes!), someone needed to find a way to consume all of it without going mad.  If that person knew about zucchini butter, I imagine they would have been encouraged their zucchini plants to keep on giving. 

Zucchini butter is basically shredded zucchini cooked down with a (little bit) of butter until it gets soft and tender and jammy.  At that point its spreadable vegetable wonderfulness that begs to be slathered on well toasted bread and served with goat cheese.  

Here's to the summer of zucchini.  

Zucchini Butter
Recipe via Food 52

There is an endless number of changes you could make to this dish. Spices! (Crushed red pepper flakes! Smoked parika! Aleppo pepper!) Herbs! (Basil! Mint!).  I am dreaming about endless varieties though I must admit, the original version is utterly addicting.

Makes about 2 cups

2 pounds zucchini or assorted summer squash (feel free to use less or add extra -- cooking times will vary)
¼ cup olive oil or butter (I strongly recommend the butter)
2 minced cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Coarsely grate the zucchini. Let it drain in a colander for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are ready to begin cooking. To hasten cooking time, squeeze the water out of the zucchini by wringing it in a clean cloth towel.

In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil/butter until warmed/melted. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté briefly. Add the zucchini and toss. Cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency, about 15 minutes. If you scorch the bottom, turn the flame down! (And scrape those delicious bits into the butter for added flavor -- you can splash in a little water to help deglaze the pan.) The zucchini will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a nice vegetable jam.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Enjoy on toast.  Or by the spoonful.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

cherry almond dutch baby.

Brunch in New York is taken very seriously which is why I both love and loathe it.  I loathe it because it's usually loud, (thanks to a child have a severe temper-tantrum) rushed, (turn-over is the name of the game) and underwhelming.  I love it because the foods that are socially acceptable to be eaten at brunch, namely eggs benedict and french toast (which if we are being honest here is practically the same as bread pudding) are some of my favorite foods in the world. 

So don't you think it's about time you start serving brunch at home?  You can eat in your PJ's! And you can serve thing's like a cherry almond dutch baby which may be the greatest brunch dish of all time.  
A dutch baby is essentially a giant pancake that gets baked in a cast iron skillet.  This one with it's addition of cherries and slivered almonds is an elevated version (that is extremely appropriate for the summer months).  I like it served with a plethora of powdered sugar (though I wouldn't be opposed if you decided to add a spoonful of whipped cream) and the current issue of NYMag.  

Suddenly brunch sounds dreamy.  

Cherry Almond Dutch Baby
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 2 generously or 4 petitely

3 large egg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (more or less to taste)
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups pitted sweet cherries
1/2 cup sliced almonds, well-toasted
Powdered sugar
Lemon wedges

Heat oven to 425°F. Whisk egg, sugar, flour, milk, extract and salt together until the batter is blended but lumpy; you can also do this in a blender. In a 12-inch ovenproof frying pan, melt butter. Add cherries and cook until warmed, about 2 minutes. Pour in batter and transfer to heated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and rumpled-looking. (I err on the side of more cooking time with these pancakes, because I find the longer, within a range, they cook, the more rumpled and golden they get.)

Remove pancake from oven and quickly scatter with toasted almonds, dust with powdered sugar and squeeze lemon juice over. Serve in wedges, piping hot.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

101 cheap eats.

NYMag (one of my all time favorite reads) rounded up the 101 Best Cheap Eats in NYC and it's a pretty epic list.  

Of the 101 I've only eaten at 15 which is a pretty terrible showing on my part! 

Black Seed Bagels (Meh.)
Porchetta (Yum.)
Pok Pok NY (I preferred the cocktails to the food.  Is that weird?)
Parm (Always and forever a personal favorite.)
Roberta's (Just the pizza thus far which means I need to try all the other things.)
Sullivan St. Bakery (This bread. Divine.)
Bread's Bakery (My one true love.  The rye bread, the marizapan rugelach, the chocolate babka all makes me weak in the knees.)
Best Pizza (A perfect old school New York slice.)
Court St. Grocers (Perfect sandwiches. They comforted me after the hurricane.)
Bark (Hot dogs.  Really, really good hot dogs and burgers and fries and shakes oh my.  One of my favorite places.)
Mighty Quinn's BBQ (The BEST BBQ in NYC.  Oh the brisket.)
Red Hook Lobster Pound (Good but I prefer Luke's.  Personal preference.)
Henry Public (The BEST BURGER. Period.  The fries are superb as well.)
Victory Garden (Swoon worthy ice cream made of goat's milk!)
Artichoke Basille's Pizza (Go for the Grandma slice and only the grandma slice.)

My new goal is to hit 50.  I think 50 is a reasonable number.  More then that and I will probably regret my decision (and get fat).  First up! El Quinto Pino.  (I'll be seeing you this weekend because tapas, I love you).  If anyone wants to join me on any of these adventures, I would love the company.  

Oh and a return visit to Henry Public is for sure in order.  Because it's summer and burgers and summer go together like pasty skin and suntan lotion.  

(The picture is from NYMag and it's basically just some of the unreal offering's from Breads Bakery. BABKA)  

Monday, July 14, 2014


One of my life goals is to discover all of the different ways with which I can stuff fillings into bread-like vehicles for easy food consumption (because nothing is better then hand-held foods).  You would think this would be an easy task (how many riffs on the sandwich can there possibly be?) but it is not (do you know how many nationalities have their own version of a sandwich!).  This is why I am hear to talk about the piadina.  

I was introduced to the piadina by my parents (they tend to introduce me to all good things in this world).  It is a cross between a tortilla and a pita which I suppose makes it an Italian flatbread but calling it an Italian flatbread makes it sound so boring and un-special and piadina are the furthest thing from boring.  Essentially it is an unleavened bread that gets cooked over the grill until char marks appear (the char marks are key). It then gets topped with any number of things, though if this picture is any indication I am partial to delicious Italian goat cheese, sopressata, arugula, apricots, and a nice drizzle of honey.  

This is the perfect hot weather food and just the right vehicle for transferring the bounty that exists this time of year into your mouth via something other then your typical bread.  It also sounds cool which is reason enough to make it.  

Recipe from the NYTimes

Typically piadina are made with lard and while versions made with lard are spectacular, they aren't nearly as practical (who has lard on hand at all times?).  This version with olive oil allows you to make piadina any night of the week, no special ingredients necessary.   

Makes 8

2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or 3 ½ cups all-purpose if you want to omit the whole wheat)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
¼ cup olive oil
Optional toppings (but let’s be honest, the sky’s the limit) – Goat cheese, arugula, sliced peaches or apricots (or really any stone fruit), sopressata or salami, Tallegio (a personal favorite), shaved Pecorino, the list goes on..

In a food processor or heavy-duty mixer, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the water and oil. Process or mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 1 minute. Remove from the machine, and knead briefly by hand on a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with a bowl, and let rest 1 hour.

Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Cover all but 1 piece with a bowl. On a lightly floured surface, shape the piece into a ball. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to an 8-inch circle. Place a piece of wax paper on a large dinner plate, and put the circle of dough on it. Roll out the remaining dough, stacking the circles on the plate with wax paper in between. (To Note – You can store the rolled out piadina in the fridge for up to 2 days before cooking.)

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Heat a nonstick (or cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat. Test the temperature by flicking some droplets of water onto the surface; if the water sizzles and evaporates quickly, the griddle is ready. Place a circle of dough in the skillet. Cook 30 seconds, or until the dough begins to stiffen and turns golden brown. Flip the piadina, and brown the other side. Place the piadina on a piece of foil in the oven, and keep warm until serving.

Top each piadina with the toppings of your choice.  Fold the piadina in half and serve.  

Friday, July 11, 2014

a food lover's guide to (portland and the surrounding area) maine.

Displaying photo.JPGMy better half is a born and raised Maine boy.  For as long as we've been together, there have been annual pilgrimages to Maine (usually over the 4th of July weekend since I am more partial to Maine when the sun is shinning and the weather is warm).  Over the years, I've fallen in love with the state (and particularly Portland), which feels like a quaint New England town with a decent amount of hipster Brooklyn flair and some of the best eating around.  On this past trip I managed to hit many phenomenal eateries (some new and some old favorites) and I figured it's about time I share my list of the best Portland, Maine (and the surrounding areas) has to offer (though this is not all-inclusive, that list would be far too long). Most of these spots are food related (duh) but on occasion I do things other then eat (I'm as shocked as you are), so there are a few shops thrown in for good measure! (The antiquing in Maine is like nothing else.)

Miyake - If you are in anyway a sushi-aholic, this is the place for you.  Miyake is an adorable man with an inventive style who is keen on using local Main produce (some of which he raises himself!) in all of his dishes. Splurge on the omakase, it's an excellent value and always wonderful.  The lobster roll is amazing and is something I often dream about.

The Holy Donut - I may have stopped here twice and over the course of the trip and tried 8 different doughnut flavors (no shame). These are AMAZING.  The are made with Maine potato flour which makes for a most flavorful doughnut.  I am partial to the coconut though the mojito doughnut was pretty swell as well.  Go early in the morning for the best selection. I am already dreaming about when I can have one again. 

Palace Diner - Oh this place.  I am in love.  Located about 20 minutes outside of Portland in an old train car that's been around since the twenties is the diner of my dreams.  A former NYC chef (from Gramercy Tavern!) has taken over and is turning out elevated diner classics.  The food is fresh, uses lots of local ingredients, and is rib-sticking satisfying.  If you go on Sunday you may be lucky enough to find the fried chicken sandwich on the menu, if that is the case YOU MUST ORDER IT (just look at that picture).  Best I ever had.  I want one right now. The egg dishes looked pretty awesome as well.  The french toast is dreamy.  
Central Provisions - I have a soft spot for small plate restaurants (I love eating bites of all different things). This is one of the best with a menu approach similar to the small plate restaurants I ate at in California.  They don't focus on one type of food, instead the approach is to look at what's seasonal and create a dish around that.  I fell hard for the beef with sriracha and peanuts.  The space is also beautiful.  I have plans to return for brunch.  

Leroux Kitchen - If you are on the hunt for a random kitchen object, this is the place for you.  Whisks of all shapes and sizes, knives galore, and a superb spice section makes it a favorite place of mine.  The staff is super helpful and they carry a nice selection of Made in the USA products which is something that always makes me happy to see.  

Two Fat Cats - Whoopie pies (chocolate and pumpkin) and the best blueberry pie around.  You shouldn't need to know anything else.  

Portland Hunt and Alpine Club - Cocktails.  So many wonderfully delicious cocktails.  The Brown Derby (bourbon, grapefruit, and agave) may be my new favorite drink.  The space has that Scandanavian vibe going for it (something I love) and it's the kind of place I could happily spend an entire Friday night at (it's also the kind of place I wish we had in Jersey City). They have some good looking small-plates if you are in need of some food with your drinks.  

Scarborough Lobster - Located outside of Portland, it has my favorite lobster (and crab!) rolls.  It doesn't look like much, but it is damm good.  

Portland Salvage - Someday, when I have more money and a place Tyler and I call our own, I will come here to outfit our home.  I could spend hours aimlessly wandering through the maze of industrial salvaged objects (clawfoot tubs! filing cabinets! old doors!) unearthing treasures on the 4 different floors.  The stuff is beautiful and reminds you of a time when things were made in America and quality was of the utmost importance.   

Micucci Grocery - Fluffy Sicilian pizza slices the size of your head.  If you can finish more then one slice you deserve a prize.  

Portland Flea for All - An indoor weekend flea market held in Portland (and next to Portland Salvage) with a nice mix of vintage clothing, antique kitchen objects, and furniture.  Prices are reasonable and the assortment is interesting (cake stands and smoky glass bowls were a couple of the items that caught my eye).  I left with a most adorable six inch cast iron skillet (already seasoned!) that has become my new best friend.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Give me this kitchen.


Stools were found at Brimfield on Tuesday and will soon be painted matte black. (If you've never been and are an antiques fanatic I highly suggest checking it out.  The people watching is incredible as is all the random things you can buy.  Bring cash, lots of water, and wear comfy shoes.) 

I am so inspired by this look.  I may not be able to have gold cabinets but black stools I can have.  

gold!! | Fiona Lynch

Image via Pinterest

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

cherry brown butter bars.

July only means one thing.

Cherries.  (!!!)

Beautiful Bing cherries eaten by the handful.  Sour cherries thrown in pies.  

(It's and incredibly wonderful time of year.)  

These cherry brown butter bars are here to kick off the next couple of weeks of cherry recipes and I can safely say these are the best thing I've made in a long time.  (Really, truly!)

These bars manage to taste like everything I want this time of year. Plump Bing cherries are paired with a brown butter custard that is reminiscent of a clafoutis filling (and anytime clafoutis can be transformed into a handheld dessert I become one happy girl).  The cherries and custard sit a top a shortbread crust which makes these perfect for toting on a picnic or to your friends.  

But trust me, they will be very hard to share.  

Cherry Brown Butter Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

Makes 16 2-inch square bars 


7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt


1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1 pound sweet cherries, which will yield 12 ounces of pitted cherries, which yielded some leftovers, perfect for snacking (alternately, you can use 12 ounces of the berry of your choice)

Make crust: Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, and then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet. 

Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl, or if you’re Deb, in the bottom of the small saucepan you used to melt the butter. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Transfer dough to your prepared pan, and use your fingertips to press the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until golden, about 18 minutes (it will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.

Make the filling: Cook butter in heavy small saucepan (a lighter-colored one will make it easier to see the color changing, which happens quickly) over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often and watching carefully, about six minutes. Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup to cool slightly.

Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.

Arrange pitted cherries, or the berries of your choice, in bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over the fruit. Bake bars until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes (please check starting at 30 min and watch your baking times carefully). Cool bars completely in pan on rack.

Use the parchment paper overhang to carefully remove cooled bars from pan and place them on a cutting board and cut them into squares with a very sharp knife. The cherries, if they fall over your slicing lines, will want to give you trouble but if you saw a sharp knife into them slowly before pressing down, they’ll cut neatly and with minimum carnage.

Do ahead: Can be made at least a day ahead, and stored at room temperature. Any longer, keep them cool in the fridge.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

the fourth.

Displaying photo.JPGTyler and I leave for our annual 4th of July pilgrimage to Maine tomorrow morning and I have a laundry list of food places to visit.  Some old haunts some newbies and all look absurdly wonderful.  I have plans to finally share my favorites with all of you when I return! 

Besides eating lobster, doughnuts, and eggs I will also be catching up on my reading, lounging around in cut-off shorts, and antiquing (and a trip to Brimfield!).  

An ideal 5 day weekend is ahead of me.  

If you are looking for some superb holiday eats to bring to any of your weekend BBQ's, boy do I have the list for you.  (I personally would be thrilled if anyone showed up to my BBQ with one of these).  

blueberry crumble pie. 
blueberry shortbread bars.

coffee s'mores pie.
bread and butter pickles.
cherry cornmeal upside-down cake.

mixed berry crunch crumble.
sour cherry crumble. 
zucchini whoopie pies

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

pea pesto.

Peas are so misunderstood (which is why I'm here to give them the respect they deserve).

As Tyler will attest to, I spent most of the month of June discussing the fact that I was unable to find shelling peas.  Sugar snap peas were ALL over the place and while I love them (blanched and dipped in miso peanut dressing please) shelling peas are my favorite mostly because I love the act of shelling them.  (I find it therapeutic.) 

The first batch of peas were suppose to regaled to pasta but because of the heat I switched gears (because being a cook means thinking on your feet).  Pea pesto was made and consumed with such abandon that I think I may prefer to to the original pesto.  Sweet peas are just barely pulvarized and paired with basil, mint, and pecorino.  The pairing is earthy, bright, and clean.  It's perfect on well toasted bread with an additional slice of pecorino but it also makes for one hell of a panini.  

Pea Pesto

Only now do I realize I forgot to add the nuts! How could I forget the nuts?! I'm dreaming of pistachios (more green!) though the standard pine nuts wouldn't be out of place here.  Looks like I'll have to make a new batch, what a shame.  

2 cups of peas, blanched
10 basil leaves
10 mint leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
10 grinds of black pepper plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons pecorino
1/4 cup pistachios or pine nuts (optional)
Juice of half a lemon (optional)

Place all ingredients (including the nuts if using) in a food processor with the exception of the lemon juice. Pulse the mixture together until the peas are crushed but not pureed.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Stir in the lemon juice if using.  Eat with a spoon or atop crusty well-toasted bread.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

gold flamingos.

God this is dreamy (especially on a hot evening when I an barely think.)

These gold flamingos are everything.  

outdoor space

Image via Pinterest.