Monday, September 26, 2016

Joan's Ding Dong Cake

Joan's Ding Dong Cake

Earlier this month, a foodie friend posted a link to the Ding Dong cake from Chocolate, Chocolate and More and a flood of memories came pouring in. My darling friend, Joan, created that blog and made it hugely popular. She loved to bake and loved to spend time in the kitchen with her three children in her lovely Georgia home. But Joan was not a small town girl and she and this big city girl hit it off like gangbusters. She was smart, funny, sassy, irreverent and a good time. But she was also the person most likely to help anyone with anything without ever looking to take credit for it. She was a rare and special light.

Last year I lost my darling friend to a sudden and unexpected heart attack. She was only 49 and the news was so shocking that, to this day, I haven't fully accepted that she's gone. Something in my life will happen, and it'll be the kind of thing I used to tell her about, and I'll find myself about to email her before I remember she is not there. Her sister Gail took over her blog, as I knew was Joan's wish, and uses it to help support Joan's children.

Joan's Ding Dong Cake
I see Joan's recipes on the internet all the time but the Ding Dong cake triggered the memories because I remember when Joan first made the filling. She was so excited that she'd come up with the right flavor and emailed me about it. I always meant to make her recipe but somehow, never got around to it.

But this past Saturday, the 24th, would have been her 50th birthday and so I baked her a cake. Her cake. The one she was so excited about and which I finally got to try. And it's as good as she raved about.

So, happy birthday, my darling friend. I miss you but you're always still here with me just a bit.


To see the recipe, head over to Chocolate, Chocolate and More and, while you're there, stock up on all her other amazing sweet creations.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Covered Pretzel Crust

Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Covered Pretzel Crust

I was in the grocery store last week and planned to pick up a bag of pretzels to snack on. All they had were large bags, more than I needed for a snack for sure, so I thought I might use the rest in a pie crust. And while I'm standing there, deciding, my eyes fell on a bag of chocolate covered pretzels. I'm totally a sweet and salty fan and chocolate covered pretzels are some of my favorite treats but I normally try to avoid them. The reason my eyes lingered is because my brain was thinking along the lines of pie crust and I wondered what would happen if I made a chocolate covered pretzel pie crust. Very, very good things would happen, actually.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Salisbury Steak Meatballs

Salisbury Steak Meatballs

Last week I came home from grocery shopping with a pound of ground beef but no fixed idea how I was going to use it. That's not really all that unusual and I picked it up because I knew I needed dinner ideas, even if I didn't know what they were. One of my go-to ground beef dinners is meatballs and my basic recipe includes an egg and breadcrumbs with the herbs and spices varying. A basic tomato sauce works most of the time but the sauce is a good opportunity to give the dish a new flavor. So, what flavor?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Late Summer Pasta with Roasted Corn Sauce

Late Summer Pasta with Roasted Corn Sauce

I know summer isn't technically over until the third week of September but it never feels that way. The whole vibe of the city changes right after Labor Day weekend. Kids go back to school, summer beach house shares are over and stores start decorating for Halloween. Even the temperature seems to dip abruptly during those first few days. Everything says summer is over.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lychee and Elderflower Gin and Tonic

Lychee and Elderflower Gin and Tonic

Back in my youthful clubbing days (no, we're not going to talk about how long ago that was) I was a gin and tonic girl. I can't say I remember exactly loving it but it seemed to be popular with my friends and I rather liked the smell of juniper berries. And then, I didn't. One day I got tired of the juniper and the tonic and moved on to more involved cocktails.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Honey Blueberry Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

Honey Blueberry Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

How is it possible that summer's almost over? Didn't it just begin recently? Ugh, it's always such a whirlwind. And this was a busy summer for me, work-wise, so it definitely flew by. I know that in just a couple of weeks we'll be planning the last official summer cookouts of the season and getting ready to send the kids back to school and us back to full time work schedules.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summer Party in the Big City (with Bourbon Peach Fizz Cocktails)

Summer Party in the Big City (with Bourbon Peach Fizz Cocktails)

No back yard to hold the summer party? We big city types are not fazed in the least. Sure, we can take our picnics to the park but since New Yorkers spend so much time vertically, we love holding our parties up high.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mixed Cherry and Goat Cheese Pie

Mixed Cherry and Goat Cheese Pie

Sometimes in life it's worth making a fuss. Now you know that normally I'm not a fussy baker and I like more rustic looking desserts. But I've been seeing some seriously beautiful pies on Instagram lately (are you following me there at hungrycouplenyc ?) and I found myself with a sudden overwhelming desire to cut leaf shapes out of pie dough. I can't explain it so let's just go with it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Spinach Salad with Crumbled Feta and Tomato Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Crumbled Feta and Tomato Vinaigrette

Last week I was talking about my crazy busy summer schedule (which hasn't even remotely slowed down, by the way) and how I've been trying to combine store bought dinner help with an easy fresh side dish. So, let's chat about that again because it seems to be working well to get me through the crazy days without ordering take-out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mango Lemonade Vodka Fizz



Mango Lemonade Vodka Fizz

I am definitely a sucker for anything mango flavored and I will find whatever it is on any menu or any grocery store pretty much right away. And I'm most likely buying it because...mango! And yes I do buy a lot of fresh mangoes in season but the thought of juicing those babies is a little tiresome.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Roasted Cauliflower with Tomato Greek Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower with Tomato Greek Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Can we talk about how people think summer is laid back? Um...where does that come from because there is nothing laid back or slow or even reasonably paced about my summer so far? I thought maybe it was just me but my friends have been talking about crazy kid activity schedules or that frantic rush to get extra work done in advance so you can take a vacation. Nope, not feeling the summer relaxation just yet!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Market Salad with Eggs, Asparagus, Corn and Mizuna

Market Salad with Eggs, Asparagus, Corn and Mizuna

On Saturday mornings, especially in spring and summer, you can usually find me at my local farmer's market. I'm fortunate to have a sweet little one just a couple of blocks away. It's not the size and scope of the giant Union Square market but a good supply of vendors set up their tents here on Saturdays and it often serves as my cooking inspiration for the weekend.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Grilled Cumin Chicken Tacos with Guacamole and Pickled Red Cabbage

Grilled Cumin Chicken Tacos with Guacamole and Pickled Red Cabbage

I know "taco Tuesday" is a thing and today is not Tuesday. But, when faced with a great taco idea, I see absolutely no logic to waiting. My normal market only carries white flour tortillas but I was shopping at a different location and saw the corn ones. Instant inspiration and tacos coming right up!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Parmesan Panzanella Salad

Parmesan Panzanella Salad

And, just like that, it's summer. And it's hot. Like, really hot. It's typical June weather in New York and the time when I start to think twice about any meal that might be too heavy. So I took myself to the farmer's market for salad inspiration.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Vodka Ginger Fizz

Vodka Ginger Fizz

Cocktail inspirations come to me in all kinds of places. Bars, restaurants, farmer's markets and, in this case, the beverage aisle of my supermarket. It was a hot day and a tall bottle of sparkling ginger ale caught my eye. I didn't have any thoughts beyond just pouring it over ice and relaxing but the ginger flavor was so intense that I thought it needed a mixer.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Loaded Completo Hot Dogs

Loaded Completo Hot Dogs

I'm always excited to try new wines and find food pairings for them. And on the food front I'm a little obsessed with trying new spices and understanding which cuisines typically use them. And then I like to mix it all up, naturally. So that's how I came to pair some great Chilean wines with an American cook-out classic and an ethnic spice blend.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

Last week I suddenly had an attack of summer nostalgia. The temperature jumped up 20 degrees and patriotic holidays were in the air. My New York apartment is just down the block from the East River and it's a great place to watch the 4th of July fireworks. So my friends and I would always pick up those thick ice cream cookie sandwiches (you know the brand I mean) from the store and head over to the pedestrian walkway by the water to watch. Sweet summer memories.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Loaded Tex Mex Burger

Loaded Tex Mex Burger

What is it about warm weather that makes me start craving burgers? Sure, there's the whole outdoor grilling thing but I can really make them anytime on a grill pan in my kitchen. Still, the sun is out, the temperatures have warmed up, Memorial Day is a week away and my burger cravings have started. So, I started my summer burger love with an epic version.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Naked Lemon Cakes

Naked Lemon Cakes

Wow, where does the time go? I swear spring just started and then I blinked and now we're just a little over a week away from Memorial Day weekend. Somebody please slow the world down because I can't catch up! Still, the arrival of the first official / unofficial weekend of summer always makes me happy because it means grilling, BBQ and outdoor party season has arrived.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hummus and Salad Appetizer Pizza

Hummus and Salad Appetizer Pizza

Did you know that today is National Hummus Day? Actually, if you were to look inside my refrigerator on any random day of the year, you would likely conclude that every day was hummus day. One of my neighbors was over recently and, when I opened my fridge to get a beverage, he remarked on the amount of hummus in there. So, yeah, I celebrate hummus day often.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pear, Blue Cheese and Honey Tartine

Pear, Blue Cheese and Honey Tartine

There are just certain flavor combinations that are perfect together in any form and one of my favorites is the pairing of fruit, blue cheese and honey. Most of the time, the form they take for me is in a salad but with the weather warming up and grilling season starting, I decided to play around with new forms.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Creamy Strawberry Banana Daiquiri

Creamy Strawberry Banana Daiquiri

Let's talk about warm weather drinks. Um...OK, wait. First let's talk about getting some warm weather. It's coming, right? New York has been doing the April showers brings May flowers thing and it's been a little nippy. But I know from experience that we'll wake up one of these days soon and run to turn on the air conditioners.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Strawberries and Cream Stuffed French Toast

Strawberries and Cream Stuffed French Toast

I've been pondering Mother's Day brunch menu options and keep hearing people tell me to make French toast. They tell me how much they love French toast. But the thing is, I don't really love it. There's nothing wrong with it, of course, but it just seems kind of boring. Stuffed French toast isn't boring though and although it's not a new idea, it was new to me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Parmesan and Spring Vegetable Risotto Tarts


A few years ago, a friend was cleaning out her old magazine collection and gave me a stack of ones she thought I might like. I'm not a magazine hoarder, actually, so I just quickly flipped through the pages and then got rid of them. All except for the one page I tore out of a Martha Stewart Living issue with a recipe for a baked risotto tart. What?? I needed a baked risotto tart in my life immediately.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Frozen Monkey Cocktail

Frozen Monkey Cocktail

I've been starting to plan a Mother's Day menu and thinking about beverages. It's going to be brunch so a little something with a kick would be appropriate, not to mention fun. But I also need a low octane version for anybody who wants to keep it non-alcoholic. And I want it cool and refreshing because, spring, so I should probably start with some kind of fruit. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Za'atar Roasted Tomatoes and a Hummus Appetizer Bar

Za'atar Roasted Tomatoes and a Hummus Appetizer Bar

Why is it that we seem to put in a lot effort to create great appetizers when we're having company but not so much just for ourselves and our families? Personally, when I'm prepping dinner alone I tend to snack on some of the vegetables I'll be serving and I'm likely to grab a tub of hummus from the fridge to dip them in. And when I'm not alone, my kitchen sometimes becomes a free for all as hands grab for various bits of food while I'm prepping. Clearly there needs to be some kind of appetizer situation even during regular dinners.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Brown Rice Vegetable Pilaf

Tracking Pixel
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Minute® Rice.

Brown Rice Vegetable Pilaf

It's time for another installment of OMG it's already 6:00 o'clock and I'm exhausted and starving and I have no idea what we're having for dinner. This happens at my house on a monthly, weekly, daily...oh, let's just say it happens a whole lot.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Cobb Salad Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Cobb Salad Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Did you know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month? I'm sure I celebrate this holiday way more often than just one month a year but I'm going to roll with it. Because there are very few things more comforting than toasted bread with piles of gooey cheese, right?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Elsewhere in...March 2016

Hi friends! This is the little monthly recap of my foodie adventures elsewhere on the web. Below is a tasty savory tart, with a Mexican flair, that I created for the folks at Cacique as well as the recipes I made for my About.com Food column. Enjoy!


Cheese and Chorizo Tart


Friday, April 1, 2016

The Month in Review - March 2016

The Month in Review - March 2016

I'm on cherry blossom watch these days and it's so close. The tulip leaves are already up and the little flower heads are starting to peak through in some of the flower beds. Since I live in Manhattan these aren't in my own garden but this city has planters basically every few feet on the sidewalks and we're awash in blooms every spring. And from my window I have a view of the block down to the river and it's lined with trees that will soon be picture perfect. My camera is on standby. In the meantime, I'm cooking up a storm with lots of great things planned for April. But first, a quick look back a very delicious March. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pulled BBQ Brisket with Honey Cornmeal Biscuits

Pulled BBQ Brisket with Honey Cornmeal Biscuits

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that there are certain food words that make me happy. Words like dumpling and biscuit, for example, make me stop to look. Cornmeal does that for me, too. I do love traditional cornbread but I'm also intrigued with adding cornmeal into non traditional foods, like cake. Today though, I'm going to combine two of my favorite words into these cornmeal biscuits.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Spiralized White and Sweet Potatoes with Za'atar Tahini

Spiralized White and Sweet Potatoes with Za'atar Tahini

I held out a good long time. I passed up the spiralizers and continued happily slicing and julienning my vegetables. I told myself I did not really need one and went merrily on my way. But, the thoughts kept creeping back into my head of all the fun things I could do if I had one. And then came the email from my friends at OXO. I've worked with them a long time and love their tools...and they just came out with a spiralizer, they said...and would I like to try it, they said. Down the rabbit hole I fell.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cheesy Tomato Quick Bread

Tracking Pixel
 Thank you to Hunt's tomatoes for sponsoring this recipe.

Cheesy Tomato Quick Bread

I was having another one of those "what's for dinner" days. I ran through a bunch of options in my head and either they didn't really appeal to me or they required too many ingredients I didn't currently have in the house. Most of the time, when that happens, I end up with a breakfast for dinner kind of plan.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Blue Hurricane Cocktail

Blue Hurricane Cocktail

The first day of spring arrived, along with cold temperatures and wet snow. Hmm. It was so warm last week. Never mind because this is just the last bit of winter's protest at leaving. The tulips are coming up and the temperatures will rise next week. Let's celebrate.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Toasted Flax, Asparagus and Carrot Ribbon Salad

Toasted Flax, Asparagus and Carrot Ribbon Salad

I know spring is right around the corner because the market is full of lovely asparagus. And now my refrigerator is as well. There's no way I can pass up these green beauties. Of course they're great on the grill and that's a summer pleasure for sure. But I actually like them crisp and raw.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Smoked Cheddar and Thyme Croutons

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Smoked Cheddar and Thyme Croutons

We're kind of in that in-between period, weather wise, right now. Warmer days but chilly nights. The tulip buds are starting to pop out of the ground and spring is trying to make an appearance. Every day I scan the trees for signs of cherry blossoms but they're not ready yet. Must be the chilly evenings. And so I felt like making a warming soup but not one that would be overly heavy. And 'almost spring' kind of soup.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ginger Bourbon Fizz

Ginger Bourbon Fizz

What lovely, lovely weather! Winter appears to have cleared out of here in a big hurry and suddenly we have sunshine and 65 degrees with the possibility of 70 degrees later in the week. Oh, the dog and I enjoyed a good long walk yesterday and I was craving a sparkly, lemony drink to celebrate.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Cheesy Cabbage Gratin

Cheesy Cabbage Gratin

I seem to have an odd relationship with cabbage. Whenever I cook with it, I remember how much I like it and it conjures up happy childhood memories of my mother's amazing stuffed cabbage rolls and her favorite sweet and sour red cabbage. But when it's not specifically on my shopping list I walk right past it at the market. Oh, I do often pick up it's cousin, the Brussels sprout, but the large heads of cabbage don't go into my cart.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Elsewhere in...February 2016

Hi friends! This is the little monthly recap of my foodie adventures elsewhere on the web. Below is a delectable brunch cake I created for the folks at Cacique as well as the recipes I made for my About.com Food column. Enjoy!

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Month in Review - February 2016

The Month in Review - February 2016

February is a fun month in that it contains both Valentine's Day and National Drink Wine Day. It also contains snow and freezing temperatures but that just meant we spent more time indoors eating the Valentine's desserts and drinking the wine. We should probably start thinking about eating some salad, huh? But first let's take a look back at the deliciousness of February. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bubble and Squeak Fritters


Years ago, I was in England with my family. We stayed in London but spent a few days driving around the gorgeous countryside and eating in the quaintest, most adorable inns you can imagine. It was my first exposure to traditional English foods and to some of the best names of dishes ever! How can you even resist ordering a dish called bubble and squeak? Fortunately it was totally delicious.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Beef and Stilton Pie

Beef and Stilton Pie

For years I would watch British cooking shows and hear about beef and Stilton pies but the concept didn't resonate with me. Oh, the part about putting beef inside pastry sounded just fine because that's basically a pot pie. But I was stuck on the cheese. Sharp cheddar, sure, but Stilton seemed more like something I should serve with crackers and wine? I kept it in the back of my mind, though.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cheesy Skillet Irish Soda Breads

Cheesy Skillet Soda Breads

March is almost here and that means St. Patrick's Day is almost here and that means it's my annual excuse to make Irish soda bread. So what if I'm not Irish, I LOVE soda bread! Yes, I could make it year round, of course, but...um...maybe I love it a little too much to do that.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sweet Potato and Thyme Gratins

Sweet Potato and Thyme Gratins

Did you know that February is American Heart Month? Sure, we've indulged a bit with some Valentine's desserts but I actually look for ways to incorporate more heart healthy options most of the time. The big New Year's resolutions are fine and there is something empowering about new beginnings. But in the long run, I've always found that small changes along the way make the biggest impact.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cherry Lemon Drop Prosecco Fizz

Cherry Lemon Drop Prosecco Fizz

Happy National Drink Wine Day. Yes, of course that's a holiday and one that's well worth celebrating. Admittedly, some of us celebrate it quite a bit more than once a year. I like wine, all sorts, but I especially like bubbly wine. A number of years ago I was dining at a restaurant owned by a chef friend and he sent over some complimentary Prosecco. Until then I'd only ever had champagne but I was instantly in love and Prosecco became my go-to bubbly wine beverage. And since I'm just as big a fan of cocktails, I often mix the two. It's a double celebration!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese

Tracking Pixel

Thank you to Hunt's tomatoes for sponsoring this recipe.

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese

So, the weekly gatherings of football fans and/or fans of the food at gatherings (that would be me) is over now that whichever team you were rooting for either won or lost the Superbowl. And, no, I have no opinion on this because I was watching the Puppy Bowl in the other room. But, seriously, the gatherings have certainly not ended because it's award show season. So much more fun to watch with a group.