Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Month in Review - April 2014

After a chilly and rainy April, I'm happy to say that spring seems to have finally arrived in New York.  The trees are flowering, the tulips are in bloom and the days are getting wonderfully long.  I've come to love the hour between 7:00 and 8:00 pm the most.  The work day is done but there's still plenty of light, a gentle breeze coming in through the open windows and dinner is on the stove.

The Month in Review - April 2014

And speaking of dinner, the month brought plenty of the cooking and cocktail making that go on regularly in my kitchen.  April saw a whole bunch of veggies, a few cookies and lots of cheer.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

I don't know if it's possible to truly dislike any cookie but there definitely are two schools of thought.  The soft and chewy cookie lovers versus the crunchy cookie lovers.  I am completely in the second group.  Not even thin and crispy but, rather, thick and crunchy.  And that means shortbread.  Wonderfully, buttery, thick, crumbly, sweet but not too sweet shortbread!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thirsty Thursdays: Mint Julep

Mint Julep
Mint Julep

Check out today's post on A Cocktail Life for this Kentucky Derby classic!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Baked Chocolate Hazelnut Doughnut Holes

Baked Chocolate Hazelnut Doughnut Holes

A while back I was playing around with a little baked chocolate doughnut recipe.  It needed some tweaks but somehow other projects ended up taking priority and I put my notes away without remaking the recipe.  But a little spring cleaning turned the notes up and I was suddenly really in the mood for them.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Roasted Squash and Gorgonzola Phyllo Tart

Roasted Squash and Gorgonzola Phyllo Tart

I love Greek food and still remember the dish that started my interest in those flavors.  Spanakopita is the traditional Greek appetizer of spinach and feta cheese wrapped in layers of crispy phyllo dough and I loved it the moment I tasted it.  Of course, a dessert of baklava didn't hurt either.  But although I've learned to cook with those flavors and spices, I've never tried working with the dough.  Something about all those cooking shows advising great care with the delicate "leaves" made me stick with my own, much less finicky, pastry dough.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Quinoa and Feta Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers

Quinoa and Feta Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers

Last week when I stopped by our local fruit cart (is this a Manhattan thing?), I saw that they had bags of colorful baby bell peppers.  They looked so good and I was tempted but I already had some holiday menus planned and knew I wouldn't have a chance to use them.  So I passed but now my head was full of potential pepper recipe ideas.  Happily, I came home the other day to a delivery from Baloian Farms containing those very same colorful baby bells.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Strawberries and Cream Trifles

Strawberries and Cream Trifles

Have you found that, with the arrival of spring, you crave lighter fruit based desserts instead of rich chocolate and peanut butter type treats?  Yeah, me neither.  I crave them both!  But when I was out walking Hadley the other day, I passed our local fruit cart man and was lured in by the sweet smell of fresh strawberries and had to have them.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Passover!

Tonight is the eve of Passover and the time when Jewish families gather for a Seder.  Ours will be a simple one this year with a small group of family and friends.  As with most holidays, it's a time for people to come together and bond over some delicious traditional food.  The matzo ball soup is always the highlight at my table but below are some of the Passover foods I've prepared in the past.  Enjoy and have a happy holiday, whichever you're celebrating.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Falling in Waffle Love at Wafels and Dinges

Wafels and Dinges Truck Review
New York and food trucks definitely go together.  Hot dog carts and salty pretzels are long time staples but these days the array of sweet and savory food truck offerings is amazing.  When the Wafels and Dinges truck came on the scene I noticed on their Twitter feed that one of the trucks spent Sundays parked about ten blocks from my apartment.  That was just far enough away to resist regular temptation but close enough to maybe go check them out sometime.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Tao of Tahini...with Roasted Beets

Roasted Beets with Tahini Sauce

Both of my European parents spent a few years living in Israel before they met.  And both fell in love with Middle Eastern cuisine.  Years later when they married and moved to New York to raise a family, they retained their love for the food.  Tahini is a staple of Israeli menus and it was frequently on our table when I was growing up.  I loved it then and now.  Beets also made appearances thanks to my mother's Russian heritage but I admit I didn't develop a taste for them until I grew up.  What I don't recall is ever seeing them paired back then.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Bread

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Bread

Chocolate hazelnut spread is a close second to peanut butter in my favorite treats category.  So, when the nice folks at Bob's Red Mill sent me a bag of their hazelnut flour to experiment with, my mind immediately conjured up thoughts of that spread.  And I wondered, if I used it to bake a sweet bread and included chocolate chips, would the flavor resemble the spread at all.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cauliflower and Gruyere Gratin

Cauliflower and Gruyere Gratin

Today I am bringing you yet another of my many, many cauliflower recipes because I seriously never get tired of cauliflower.  It's actually hard to get tired of it just because it is so versatile and can be made to taste so many different ways.  Every time I try a new method of preparing it, I think it is my favorite.  At least for a while, until my next new favorite way.  So, today, this is my new favorite way!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad and the Art of Parties

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

This past week, the New York Times Sunday Magazine ran a lighthearted article that looked into the typical refrigerator contents of a few chefs and it made me consider what's always in mine.  Eggs, butter, yogurt, milk and cheese are the constant and, interestingly, was for them as well.  Although the article didn't glance into their pantries, I would hope it included chickpeas.  The NYT asked the chefs if they could pull together a meal for an unexpected guest and most said yes with those ingredients.  I could, too, and while chickpeas would probably form the base, the cheese would elevate it and that holds true whether I have a surprise dinner guest or invited party guests.