Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Seriously lusting over this wallpaper.  

I think the number one perk of home ownership is being able to apply wall paper.  

These poured concrete floors are also swoon-worthy.  

Cosy place. La chambre aux oiseaux brunch salon de thé (Paris)

Image via Pinterest

Monday, June 29, 2015

cherry and blueberry buckle.

When we were in the depths of winter,  I went through the archives of my favorite food blogs (and some new ones) bookmarking recipes for when summer finally showed up.  There were recipes for roasted tomato tarts and grilled potatoes with mustardy vinaigrette.   There were minty sugar snap pea salads and fruit-filled cakes galore. 

So many fruit cakes.

As evidenced by the current state of refrigerator, I get a little trigger happy around farmers markets this time of year.  It's hard to walk past rows upon rows of cherries and blueberries and raspberries and not immediately gather up as much fruit as your arms can carry.  Our freezer is already bursting with rhubarb and strawberries. Our fridge is no better.  And while I've been doing my part to consume it as fast as I purchase it, there are only so many bowls of raspberries I can eat stirred into yogurt and drizzle with maple syrup.  

This is where a good buckle recipe comes in.

My love affair with fruit-filled strussel topped rustic cakes that can be severed with a dusting of powdered sugar or a spoonful of vanilla ice cream knows no bounds.  Actually, I find it to be growing exponentially.  This cake is my new favorite version (and will probably be included in my 4th of July menu).  Bake it as soon as you can.  Studded with fruit that bakes down into pockets of jammey summer wonderfulness it's positively addicting especially when paired with a crunchy, spiced, and subtly sweet strussel topping.  You'll be the hero at your next BBQ if you bring this.     

Cherry and Blueberry Buckle
Recipe from Bon Appetit and Seven Spoons

Once again the baking time on this recipe seemed exceptionally long.  Original recipe called for 75-90 minutes of baking.  I baked in what I think was a 9 inch pan and for about 60 minutes.  In an 8 inch pan it may require the longer time.  I would start checking it at 45 minutes.   

Feel free to use all blueberries or all cherries if you choose.  Though I find the cherry/blueberry combo to be brilliant that is until I get my hands on wild Maine blueberries and then all bets are off.   

For the Topping

½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (32 g) all-purpose flour (I swapped this for graham flour because I had some on hand)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter, cold and diced

For the Cake

¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 ½ cups (191 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
½ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or seeds scraped from a vanilla bean
¼ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
10 ounces (283 g) pitted cherries; a mix of tart and sweet is wonderful but just sweet would work
6 ounces (170 g) blueberries, fresh or defrosted

Start with the topping. Whisk sugar, flour, and spices in a medium bowl. Tumble in the butter cubes and rub between your fingers until the mixture is evenly damp and coming together in clumps. Set aside.

For the cake, preheat an oven to 350°F / 175°C. Grease an 8 or 9-inch springform or removable bottom pan. Line the base of the pan with parchment, then grease the parchment. Dust the pan with flour, and tap out the excess.
Whisk the 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. 

In another medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat to combine, 2 minutes. Turn the speed down to low and gradually add the dry ingredients, stirring until mostly incorporated. Pour in the cream and stir until smooth. With a spatula, fold in the cherries and blueberries. The batter will be quite thick, and may not fold easily; as long as the fruit is somewhat stuck into the batter, all will be fine. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. Place tin on a rimmed baking sheet, then sprinkle the topping over the batter in an even layer.

Bake in the hot oven until the buckle is golden brown and a cake tester poked into the center comes out clean, 50-80 minutes (see note above). Transfer pan to a wire rack and let the cool completely. Unmold and serve, as is, or dusted with icing sugar.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

the summer salad (a guide) + lemon tahini dressing.

It is the summer of the salad.  And I'm not talking about some bland leafy lettuce salad with a boring vinaigrette. I am talking about the salad as the meal.  Chock-full of textures and flavors.  It's how I like to eat salad especially now that we've reached the official start of summer; when days are long and sticky and food should be light and easy but interesting. It's also super easy to make an interesting and exciting salad when we are at the peek of farmers market produce season, especially if you adopt my motto of "cram as much peek season produce as possible into your meals".

And how do I want to dress said salad?  With a lemon tahini dressing of course. This has been my go-to dressing for weeks now.  I've paired it with everything from burrata and sugar snap peas to arugula and peas.  It just somehow works with everything and it provides the kind of earthy unami flavor that I come to crave.  Utterly brilliant.  

New Life Motto - Salads make summer eating easy.           

The Summer Salad (A Guide)

We eat a salad like this at least once a week if not more because it's easy and refreshing and satisfying.  It's also a rather excellent way to use up those little scraps and containers that seem to languish in the fridge. Below are some of my favorite combinations but the world is your oyster. Just make sure you make the dressing.   Serve with a wedge of good bread (and rose if you choose).   Dinner is served.   

Baby Arugula + Peas + Cubed Avocado + Cannelini Beans + Hot Sopressata + Aged Cheddar
Burrata + Snow Peas + Sugar Snap Peas + Avocado + Pumpkin Seeds + Torn Basil 
Green Beans + Grilled Haloumi + Toasted Walnuts + Pumpkin Seeds + Sesame Seeds + Currants 

Lemon Tahini Dressing

1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons Mikes Hot Honey (or 2 teaspoons Honey and a pinch of red pepper flakes)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings as necessary.  I find that if I have a particularly juicy lemon I sometimes need a little extra tahini to balance the flavors.   Pour over the salad and eat!

Monday, June 22, 2015

wood panel.

wood and white kitchen

I have love hate feelings for wood paneling.  Sometimes it feels overdone and very DIY and other times it feels insanely chic.  Here, with the white subway tile and the pendant lights it feels insanely chic yet friendly which is exactly what a kitchen should feel like.  

Image via Pinterest

Friday, June 19, 2015

strawberry rhubarb crumble.

I've been finding it hard to resist strawberries.  This berry situation has been particularly bountiful this year.  Or perhaps, after the longest winter ever, I'm just more attune to all the produce that is popping up around me.  I've been eating bowls of them for breakfast almost daily.  Drizzled with a bit of maple syrup they become positively addicting.  So addicting in fact that I've begun to hoard them with the intentions of freezing them.  Clearly I've already started planning for another tundra like winter except this one will be filled with strawberries - a fleeting memory of spring to be consumed in the depths of winter.

But I was willing to sacrifice some in the name of a crumble.  A strawberry rhubarb crumble to be exact.  You can go crazy for pies but I will continue to pledge allegiance to the crumble - the humble pie cousin.  I love a crumble for it's simplicity.  The fact that it doesn't require a crust but does beg for a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.  I like that it is open to interpretations and somehow, no matter what you do to it, always tastes good.  Because what is better then fruit baked down to a puddley mess of sweetness topped with sweetly spiced nubbins of deliciousness on a Sunday night? Nothing I tell you, nothing.  

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
Recipe adapted from the NYTimes 

For the Fruit

4 cups of rhubarb diced into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups of strawberries, halved and quartered if large
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

For the Crumble

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup graham flour (can replace with all-purpose flour)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare filling, toss rhubarb and strawberries with lemon juice, ginger, and sugar. Set aside.

To make topping, in a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, spices and salt. Stir in butter and almonds. Coarse crumbs will form.

Pour filling into a 9-inch square or round pan (do not grease first). Using your fingers, form topping mixture into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch crumbs and spread over cake. Bake until filling bubbles and topping is light golden, about 55 minutes. Let cool slightly. Serve.

Monday, June 15, 2015

the smashed burger.

I am as close to a burger purist as you can get which means that when I want a burger I want a cheeseburger with nothing but cheese on a burger (cooked medium-rare or even better smashed) and a sqiushy potato roll.   No lettuce, no tomatoes and DEFINITELY no onion.  (The handful of times I remember going to McDonalds as a kid my order was always “Quarter Pounder with Cheese No Onions No Pickles”.)  I’m not sure if this makes me part of the norm or if it makes me an outlier but I am OK with it either way.  

What all of this really means is that I love Shake Shack.  I don't care if you think it's over-hyped or the burgers aren't that great, I think it's pretty damm perfect.  It's salty and satisfying and everything I crave when I want a burger (also their cheese fries are utterly amazing and I only recently discovered that and I can't believe I didn't know that sooner).  So when I figured out that I could make a smash burger - the kind of burger Shake Shack is known for - in the comfort of my own home, well it's safe to say I was at the butcher 24 hours later.

This is my dream burger.  Thin and crispy edged.  Melted cheese that manages to seep into every beefy crevice.  It's perfect in it's simplicity but if you desire toppings the world is your oyster. Best of all this can be made indoors on a cast iron skillet which means no grill is required (perfect for those city folks).    

The Smashed Burger
Recipe from Serious Eats and Epicurious

Makes 4 hamburgers

1 pound freshly ground beef (3/4 pound ground sirloin + 1/4 pound brisket is recommended, but if you can’t find, use chuck) with an 80/20 fat ratio
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more if needed
4 potato rolls, preferably Martin’s brand
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices cheese, American or whatever you like on burgers, if you’re making cheeseburgers
Optional toppings (if you are so inclined) 1/4-inch-thick tomato slices, thinly sliced pickles, burger-sized pieces green-leaf lettuce, ketchup (duh), mayo 

Prepare the meat: Form the meat into four equal-sized four-ounce meat “pucks,” roughly 2 1/2 inches thick. Place them on a plate lined with plastic wrap or waxed paper and freeze for 15 minutes, but no longer. We don’t want to freeze the meat, but we’d like it to be extra-cold when it hits the pan.

Toast the buns: Heat a griddle, large cast-iron skillet (my first choice and recommendation), or large heavy stainless-steel skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter and place the buns, cut-side down, in the pan. Cook until cut sides are golden-brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Place toasted buns on four plates; you’ll keep using your griddle or skillet.

Cook the burgers: Remove patties from freezer. Increase heat to high and add 2 tablespoons oil to the griddle or skillet — you’ll need this only for your first burger batch; after you’ve made a couple or if you’re scaling the recipe up, the fat from the earlier burgers will be sufficient — heat until oil begins to smoke, at least two minutes. Working one at a time, add a patty to griddle and immediately flatten it to a 1/2-inch thickness with a heavy spatula and something with weight and heft (the handle of a second spatula, a meat pounder, etc. see details up top) to help it along. You’ll have to “hammer” harder than you might think to flatten the patties out. A second spatula can be used to help remove the hamburger stuck to the flattening one, so not to tear the patty. Generously season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining patties.

Once the first side is deeply browned with crisp, craggly edges, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes for medium — mine were all quite black when they were flipped, and yet still totally pink inside when we cut into them; it will be hard to overcook them at this high heat — use a spatula to scrape underneath the patty and flip it over. Cover with a slice of cheese if making cheeseburgers, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, until melted. Repeat process with remaining patties.

Assemble burgers: Transfer cooked patties to toasted burger buns. Top burgers with tomatoes, lettuce, pickles (if using) ketchup and mayo and immediately dig in.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Tyler took me for a weekend getaway to Hudson, New York as a 30th Birthday present.  We basically spent the entire time consuming massive amounts of bread and pastries, reading by the pool, antiquing (the most amazing marble dessert plates were procured), and discussing the purchase of a weekend place.  The prices in Hudson for a whole house are absurdly reasonable and the idea of redoing a place is up our alleys.  Now I'm dreaming a mid-century modern weekend escape (with a chicken coop out back).  This dinning room is exactly what I am thinking.  

Image via Pinterest

Thursday, June 11, 2015


This is thirty.

While Tyler and I ate burgers and turkey leg sandwiches last night he asked me if I had any regrets in my twenties and I couldn't think of a single thing.  Sure there were nights of utter debauchery (the stories from those nights make it all worth it) but for the most part I'm happy with the last decade. I spent almost all of it with the guy who is now my husband and I think that was the best decision I could have ever made. My girlfriends/sister and I had some pretty epic nights filled with pizza, beer, and laughter.  I learned a lot about myself and figured out what makes me happy and what stresses me out.  I kind of finally found my look and what works on me (skinny cropped pants, button down shirts). I traveled the world (literally) with the world's best travel partner.  I graduated college, became financially independent, survived a hurricane, got a smart phone, paid off my college loans, bought myself some great shoes, and started a blog.  I ate a lot of scrambled eggs and drank a lot of beer and read a lot of books.  I fell in love with a dog who is a little crazy but makes me a lot happy. I cooked so much. Someday's I am amazed at how many things I've made.  And most of it was good. Really good!

As I look into the next decade I realize a lot will probably happen.  Tyler and I will probably buy a house/apartment/absurd fixer-upper.  I will (I will!) find a job that will merge my current career skills with food. We will travel more.  I will watch my friends/family get married and become mommies.  I will probably buy more shoes (already thinking about a pair...).

So this is thirty and I'm OK with how it looks.  

Monday, June 8, 2015

whole wheat english muffins.

It seems everywhere I look as of late, the humble breakfast sandwich is being discussed.   The NYTimes did a lengthy article a few weeks back about the bodgea egg and cheese and then in the May issue of Bon Appetit I stumbled across a recipe for the best breakfast sandwich.  All of this sandwich talk had me thinking about what makes one perfect.  

Most would consider egg and cheese on a roll with salt, pepper, ketchup to be the quintessential (and perfect) breakfast sandwich and while I will agree that is arguably one of the best things you can eat after a night of debauchery, it isn't always the best.  Satisfying, yes, but the best? I'm not sure.  My perfect breakfast sandwiches involves 2 eggs over easy with a very runny yolk, American cheese (because nothing melts like it), sliced avocado, and some kind of ketchup/hot sauce hybrid.  Meat is not necessary but some crumbled chorizo wouldn't be a bad thing. The vehicle for transporting such a sandwich to my mouth would be a perfectly oversized english muffin. One that is well toasted with a plethora of nooks and crannies. The english muffin is what takes the breakfast sandwich from good to great.  Sure a roll is wonderful but a roll does not have nooks.  

A homemade english muffin is a thing of beauty.  It's also far easier to make then I ever imagined possible which means there will be a lot of perfect breakfast sandwiches in my future.             

Whole Wheat English Muffins
Recipe from the NYTimes

These are utter perfection.  They make for a killer breakfast sandwich but are equally delightful as a burger bun.  Or simply toasted with lots of butter and jam.     

Makes 6 

2 teaspoons/7 grams active dry yeast (1 packet)
4 tablespoons/60 grams unsalted butter
½ cup/120 milliliters plain yogurt
½ cup/120 milliliters warm whole milk
½ tablespoon/7 milliliters honey
1 teaspoon/5 grams fine sea salt
1 cup/125 grams whole-wheat flour
1 cup/125 grams all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon/4 grams baking soda
Cornmeal, preferably coarse, as needed

In a small bowl combine yeast and 1/3 cup warm water (80 milliliters) and let rest until yeast has dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and put it in a large bowl. Whisk in yogurt, milk, honey, salt and the yeast mixture.

Add flours and baking soda to bowl and beat thoroughly with a spoon or rubber spatula until well combined. Cover bowl and let rest in a warm spot for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough has doubled.
Heat oven 350 degrees. Lightly dust a small baking sheet with cornmeal.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon butter. Using a large ice cream scoop or 1/2 cup measuring cup, drop batter into skillet to form round muffins about 4 inches in diameter, mounding the batter in the center. (You may need to coax the dough a little with your fingers, so be careful of the hot pan, and don’t worry if they’re not perfectly circular.) Repeat until you have 3 muffins, leaving the rest of the batter for a second batch. Reduce heat to low. Cover skillet with lid or baking sheet and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown. (Be careful not to let them burn.)

Uncover skillet and flip muffins using a spatula. Cover again and cook 2 to 4 minutes or until the other sides are golden brown. Place muffins on prepared baking sheet. Repeat using remaining batter and another tablespoon of butter.

Bake muffins for 6 to 9 minutes, or until puffed and cooked through. Split the muffins with a fork and toast before eating.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

green strata with goat cheese and herbs.

Sometimes eggs are just the answer.  The answer to breakfast and dinner and snack time (and if we are being honest, they are really the answer all of the time). In this particular dish they are the answer to both breakfast and dinner as I would happily eat this dish morning and night.

The genius part of this strata is the pureed greens.   Somehow the dish is chock-full of greens but it doesn't feel as if you are eating a salad, it just feels as if you are eating bread pudding which is great because bread pudding is awesome.  The addition of goat cheese and herbs turns this into the definition of a well rounded, perfect, and special meal no matter the time of day.  

Green Strata with Goat Cheese and Herbs
Recipe from the NYTimes

I divided the recipe into thirds since it was just me that night.   I think breadwise this serves closer to 8 but it really make it serve 8 you would want to top it with 8 eggs so everyone gets one since no one wants half an egg.  

Serves 6-8

2 cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
6 ounces baby braising greens, such as kale, mustard greens, chard or a mix (about 6 cups)
¾ cup mixed soft herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, dill, mint or chives
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Black pepper, as needed
12 large eggs
1 pound day-old brioche or white bread, cut into 2-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
6 ounces cold goat cheese, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
Aleppo or Turkish pepper, for serving (optional)

In a medium pot, bring milk and cream to a simmer.

Meanwhile, place greens, herbs, cheese, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Once the hot milk mixture comes to a simmer, pour over greens and purée until smooth. Pour into a bowl and let cool completely. Once cool, whisk in 6 eggs.

Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Scatter bread cubes over bottom of pan. Pour custard over bread and press down so the bread absorbs the custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. If you can, stir bread cubes after an hour or so to encourage an even distribution of custard.

When you are ready to bake the strata, heat oven to 350 degrees. Tuck the goat cheese rounds into and on top of the strata. Transfer pan to oven and bake until top is beginning to firm up but is still slightly wet underneath, about 25 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and use a spoon to make 6 evenly spaced indentations on the surface of the strata. Crack an egg into each hole and season with salt and pepper. Return pan to oven and continue to bake until strata is cooked through and eggs are just set, 20 to 25 minutes more. Sprinkle with Aleppo or Turkish pepper if desired.

Monday, June 1, 2015

kitchen corners.

This drop in temperature has me craving cozy kitchen corners where I can hide out in boyfriend jeans and oversized sweaters with a cup of tea, biscotti, and a pile of cookbooks.  

This one will do nicely.

Image via Pinterest.