Thursday, January 13, 2022

Fried Yuca Balls

Recipe for panko coated and fried balls of cassava root (yuca) mashed and stuffed with cheese.

One beautiful April day, we drove upstate to meet our puppy and then had lunch at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Our meal was insanely good, filled with memorable dishes of the tenderest short ribs and fried yucca balls. It was my first time tasting yuca (cassava root) and it was love at first bite.

Recipe for panko coated and fried balls of cassava root (yuca) mashed and stuffed with cheese.

As I normally do after tasting an amazing restaurant dish, I resolved to recreate it at home. I already knew how to braise short ribs but those yuca balls were definitely going to get made. For sure. Well...this coming April, the "puppy" will be 13 years old and I hadn't gotten to those yuca balls.

Recipe for panko coated and fried balls of cassava root (yuca) mashed and stuffed with cheese.

It's embarrassing, really. I mean, it's not like I don't cook and create recipes almost every day of my life. And I can find yuca locally pretty easily. I have no excuse. So why now? The truth is that I was showing a new friend the photos I took of that memorable CIA visit and those little fried balls of deliciousness were staring me in the face, reminding me of my failure. I immediately put yuca in my online shopping cart.

You know what else is embarrassing? Once I really dissected the recipe parts, it was quite easy to do. I've done potato variations of this countless times. Sigh. Well, here they are in all their fried glory. Yuca is starchier than potatoes and, although they are also a root vegetable, the flavor is different.

Recipe for panko coated and fried balls of cassava root (yuca) mashed and stuffed with cheese.

A few points about yuca (pronounced YOO-KA). It's the edible root of the cassava plant and native to South America. The brown, bark-like skin must be peeled but the starchy white flesh inside can be used the same way as potatoes. Yucca (with two C's) is a different plant although people often confuse the spelling.

I honestly don't remember if the CIA put cheese in theirs but lots of online recipes do include it. I tried it both ways and I actually prefer it without because it lets the flavor of the yuca shine instead of the cheese. But both options are amazing. I had some leftover brisket so I paired it with that instead of the short ribs. It's really good so let's hope I don't take another 13 years to make this dish again. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

White Chocolate Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Recipe for a buttery sugar cookie, shaped like stars and decorated with melted white chocolate and sanding sugar.

For all the delicious holiday cookies out there, sometimes you just need to make a batch of good vanilla sugar cookies, grab a cute cookie cutter and a bag of icing. Solo project, family activity, friend get-together or kid project, these cookies are an annual favorite.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Sparkling Rambutan Gibson Cocktail

Recipe for a gin based cocktail, with lime juice, sparkling wine and fresh rambutan fruit or lychees.

I wonder who the first person was that looked at this hairy, spiny, choking hazard of a fruit and thought it might be good to eat. That if you slice open the sea urchin-like shell, you'd find soft, sweet, juicy flesh.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Cheesy Ground Beef Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Recipe for browned ground beef cooked in a cheesy mustard bechamel sauce and served over baked potatoes.

For cold weather comfort food, meat and potatoes usually satisfy all my cravings. The classic baked potato is always welcome but, let's face it, it needs some help. We can slather it with butter and sour cream but, this recipe covers those potatoes with creamy, cheesy ground beef.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Green Bean Casserole From Scratch

Recipe for a green bean casserole made with mushrooms, caramelized onions and a creamy béchamel sauce, topped with homemade crispy onions.

When my European mother came to the U.S. she did her best to understand American holidays and customs. The idea of Thanksgiving appealed to her but some of the traditional foods did not. So she gave them her own spin.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Acorn Squash Stuffing Bowls

Recipe for buttery fresh herb bread stuffing with roasted acorn squash, served in individual squash bowls.

Is it called stuffing or dressing? The answer is that it depends on how it's cooked. It is stuffing if it's cooked inside the bird but dressing if it's cooked on the side. So now you just have to decide which way you want to make it.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Oven Smoked Brisket with Vegetable Fritters

Recipe for a beef brisket, rubbed with mustard, liquid smoke and spices, wrapped and slow cooked in an oven and served over vegetable fritters.

I know that many of you grew up in places where brisket came off a smoker with meltingly tender meat and that characteristic smoke ring at the top. But I grew up with brisket that was cooked in an oven, submerged in beef stock and red wine, accompanied by herbs, onions and carrots. That came out meltingly tender as well and you also got gravy.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

White Pumpkin Cocktail

Recipe for a bourbon cocktail flavored with pumpkin puree, coffee liqueur, cinnamon and milk.

I'm not even going to pretend I don't love Halloween candy but I also want a grownup treat. Cool weather and fall flavors mean a combination of warming bourbon, pumpkin and spices.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Pumpkin Loaf with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe for a fluffy, flavorful pumpkin loaf cake topped with salted caramel cream cheese frosting.

Is my house in full pumpkin mode all through autumn? Yup, it sure is. Not only do I love decorating with them but it's a full pumpkin-fest of cooking as well. I love it both sweet and savory and there's no end to my desire for a loaf of pumpkin bread as a snack.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread

Recipe for a sweet loaf cake flavored with pumpkin puree, fresh bananas and filled with chocolate chips.

Happy first day of autumn! It's my favorite season and I wish I could say the weather was autumnal but, if we bake like it is then perhaps it will come.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Crispy Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki and Feta

Recipe for crispy baked chicken meatballs with oregano, tzatziki sauce and marinated feta cheese.

Sometimes a single ingredient in my fridge or pantry inspires an entire meal. And that's exactly how this dinner of Mediterranean flavors came together. What was the ingredient this time? Some leftover feta cheese from another recipe.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Honey Cake with Tahini Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe for a honey cake with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Topped with a sweet tahini cream cheese frosting.

You can eat honey cake to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. Or you can eat it just because it's delicious. I vote for doing both. and definitely doing the latter often.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Breaded Veal Cutlet Sandwich

Recipe for a sandwich with a breaded veal cutlet, arugula, tomato salad and burrata cheese, drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

This is my summer of awesome sandwiches. It started with a new gourmet sandwich place in my neighborhood and now I'm addicted to creating fun sammies of my own.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Maple Cream Scones with Candied Pecans

Recipe for scones baked with maple syrup and cinnamon, topped with a maple glaze and candied pecans.

I got my love of scones from my mom, back when they were not nearly as popular. These days they're a staple offering at fancy coffee shops but they're also one of the easiest pastries to make at home.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Grape Bourbon Smash

Recipe for a bourbon cocktail flavored with fresh grapes, lemon and elderflower liqueur.

Normally when we think about grapes and alcohol, we think wine. But fresh grapes taste completely different than fermented ones and actually make a great fruity addition to cocktails.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

Recipe for sweet and tangy vanilla ice cream popsicles swirled with fresh strawberries.

It's hot and I want ice cream. Sometimes in a dish, sometimes in a waffle cone and sometimes in the form of an easy to grab popsicle. I don't discriminate when it comes to ice cream.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Loaded Pastrami and Swiss Sandwich

Recipe for an over-stuffed sandwich filled with pastrami, Swiss cheese, shredded lettuce, diced pickles, mayo and mustard on toasted Ciabatta rolls.

There's a fairly new gourmet market in my neighborhood and they specialize in beautiful, over-stuffed sandwiches. The menu is long and it's so hard to choose. But, you actually have plenty of time to make your choice because the line snakes around the block. Sigh.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Watermelon Frosé

Recipe for a frozen cocktail with rosé wine and fresh watermelon.

Frosé became popular a few years ago when lots of restaurants and bars set up machines to turn out these slushy drinks all day. What is it exactly? Just rosé wine, maybe some fruit, maybe a little extra sweetness and citrus, all blended up with ice until slushy. It's delicious!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Cherry Cobbler with Cream Cheese Biscuits

Recipe for a cherry cobbler, baked with a cream cheese biscuit top.

It's the middle of June and, shockingly, these were the first cherries of the season that I bought. Normally I scoop them up the second I see them but somehow I didn't get to it the past couple of weeks. But, they're here now!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Deep Dish Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Recipe for a deep dish quiche with a savory crust and broccoli and cheddar cheese filling.

There's a new French bakery in my neighborhood. In addition to croissants and delicate fruit tarts, they also sell slices of their fresh baked quiche. It's hard to walk past the place without immediately getting hungry. So far the only thing that's saved me from buying them out has been the fact that the line to get in goes around the block.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Peanut Butter Milkshake with Chocolate Doughnuts

Recipe for a peanut butter and vanilla ice cream milkshake topped with baked mini chocolate doughnuts with a peanut butter glaze.

Last week we had our first mini heatwave. It's not usually in the 90's in New York in May but it happened and we all got an unexpected chance to see if our air conditioners were still working. Apart from being in need of a cleaning, mine seem to be OK.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Cheeseburger Hand Pies

Recipe for cheesy beef filling baked inside flaky, savory homemade pastry.

I have a hard time resisting anything in a crust, sweet or savory. So, when I'm developing recipes, I frequently ask myself - would this be good inside a crust of some kind? Truth.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Recipe for moist, banana bread with Greek yogurt and milk chocolate chips.

Do you have a "buy nothing" group in your neighborhood? They've become super popular around here and I love my local one. Lots of generous folks and community spirit. So much so that a lovely woman was giving away slices of her homemade banana bread. I didn't have time to grab one but it did start a wicked craving.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

S'mores Cupcakes

Recipe for a chocolate cupcake with a graham cracker crust base, topped with marshmallow butter frosting.

A couple of weeks ago I had a wicked craving for a cupcake. Sadly the best cupcake bakery (cupcakery?) in my neighborhood is closed for renovation. So I bought one at another place, not really known for them but, hey, you never know. Yes, yes you do. It did not hit the spot.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Pink Salty Dog Cocktail

Recipe for a vodka cocktail with grapefruit juice, grapefruit soda or beer and served in a salted rim glass.

We're kind of in that shoulder season between all the good winter citrus and all spring fruit. Coming home from the market with a load of beautiful pink grapefruit, I stopped to admire the first flowering tree on my block. A perfect example of where we are right now.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Potato and Caramelized Onion Bourekas (Turnovers)

Recipe for mini savory turnovers, filled with potato, caramelized onion and mustard and wrapped in puff pastry.

We may call them turnovers here but, in the Middle East, these filled puffs of dough are called bourekas. Popular in Israel, they usually contain a savory filling stuffed inside puff pastry.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Cocktail 101 for the Home Bartender

Easy guide for putting together a home bar including spirits, mixers, glassware and tools.

Starting a home bar doesn't have to be fussy or expensive if you begin with some basics and then add to your collection over time. Unlike some guides that feel strongly about spirits brands, appropriate glassware and what type of shaker you use, this is going to be a judgement-free zone. Because making cocktails at home should be fun! Below is a guide for building your home bar including items I think you should buy now, items you don't need immediately but are fun and inexpensive and those things you will add over time. Even a small collection will allow you to make a great many types of cocktails. Once you have the basics, it's fun to add a specialty liquor from time to time. And because those tend to be used more sparingly than the base spirit, they'll last much longer.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Sparkling Cotton Candy Cosmopolitan

Recipe for a Cosmopolitan cocktail version with vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec, lime juice, prosecco and cotton candy.

The Cosmo cocktail came into fashion when Sex and the City was airing but it's never left. For that matter, Sex and the City never really left because I'm sure I can find reruns of it daily. But that combination of vodka, cranberry, orange liqueur and lime definitely has staying power.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Tangerine Mint Whiskey Slush

Recipe for a whiskey based frozen cocktail flavored with fresh tangerine juice, lemon juice, simple syrup and mint.

March is acting true to form - coming in like a lion with snow and freezing temperatures but quickly becoming a lamb. We'll still have some very cold days before spring but we're starting to get a taste of warmth and sunshine.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

S'mores Hot Cocoa Bombs

Recipe for hot cocoa bombs made with a milk chocolate shell, filled with hot cocoa mix, mini marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs.

OK, I seem to be a little obsessed and can't stop creating hot cocoa bombs. It can appear a little daunting at first. You have to buy a mold and make a chocolate sphere and that seems like fancy chocolate shop work. Fortunately, it's really easy. And once you make your first batch, you'll find yourself wanting to make more.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie with Tahini Swirl

Recipe for individual skillet chocolate chip cookies with a sweet tahini swirl and topped with ice cream and halvah candy.

Is there anything more comforting than tucking into a warm skillet cookie with ice cream melting into the gooey chocolate? Yes, when you add a swirl of peanut butter or, in this case, a dollop of sweet tahini. The nutty taste of the sesame seeds blends with the sweetness of the cookie but adds an additional layer of flavor.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Savory Dutch Babies (German Pancakes)

Recipe for a savory Dutch baby German pancake filled with cheese and topped with sauteed bell peppers, red onions, tomatoes and ham.

The first time I tried cooking these puffy pancakes, I was not expecting them to rise as much as they did. Some kind of photography/food styling trick, I thought. Nope. I've made them several times since that first time and they puff big!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Boozy Chocolate and Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa Bombs

Recipe for hot cocoa bombs made with a marbled peanut butter and milk chocolate shell, filled with hot cocoa mix and bourbon.

You've probably been seeing hot cocoa bombs everywhere on the internet for the past few months. Costco now makes them and sells them in multi-flavor packs. Even smaller producers are offering them on Etsy. And while I don't normally jump on trends, I've made a few of these for clients and, well, they're just so cute and fun.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Satsuma Mandarin Orange Scones

Recipe for cream scones flavored with satsuma mandarin orange juice and zest, topped with a mandarin orange glaze.

There's very little that I like about winter but those first couple of months of the new year do have one high note and that is the abundance of winter citrus. It's always been strange to me that fresh fruit is in peak season when my city is blanketed in frozen snow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Cheesy Rice and Vegetable Bake

Recipe for a cheese topped rice casserole cooked with onions, carrots, zucchini and butternut squash.

I totally understand wanting a healthy food reset in the new year. But, there's a strong argument to be made for comfort food in January because it's cold and it gets dark ridiculously early and it's a little depressing when the holidays are over. We can compromise between the two, though.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Dark Streets and Lighted Windows

An essay on loneliness and living in New York City during the pandemic of 2020.

All you Rear Window fans will understand why I love looking at windows. James Stewart's character watched his neighbors' lives through their windows while he sat in front of his, nursing a broken leg. But, most of the time, when I look out my own window or walk around in New York City, I can't see inside the windows. They're too high up or too far away or the shades are drawn. But they fascinate me for different reasons. I wonder, when I see a lighted window, who lives there and what their life is like.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Charcuterie Board (and a Cocktail) for One

Recipe for a charcuterie board for one and a gin cocktail with elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and champagne.

For most of the past decade that I've been writing this blog, I've ended the year with a round-up of the recipes you all liked best but, this year, I feel the need to write more personally. Oh, if you really are curious, the Vegetarian Salisbury Steak was the single most popular recipe followed closely by the Peanut Butter Cream Filled Doughnuts. That means that you like a healthy entree followed by a decadent dessert. You are SO my people! And yes, this post includes the recipe for an awesome champagne cocktail and charcuterie board for one because food is still my business and my passion. But now, let's chat.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Chocolate Caramel Manhattan

Recipe for a Manhattan cocktail variation made with chocolate bourbon, dry vermouth, bitters and caramel liqueur.

I am definitely a bourbon and whiskey lover, both for sipping and for mixing. So, when I hear about flavored whiskeys, my ears perk up. And when that particular flavor is chocolate, I'm all attention.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies

Recipe for shortbread cookies made with brown butter, frosted with white chocolate royal icing and sprinkles.

Shortbread is already a buttery cookie but browning the butter makes it go from good to wow. You'll know how delicious it will taste just from the aroma while you're mixing the dough. The nutty, richness of the brown butter will make your whole kitchen smell amazing before you've even begun to bake. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips

Recipe for soft, fudgy chocolate cookies, filled with peanut butter chips and rolled in powdered sugar.

If soft, fudgy centered cookies are what you like then crinkles are for you. They're easy to make and bake up soft with a gooey chocolate center. This cookie is just begging for a glass of cold milk.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Baked Potato and Cheese Croquettes

Recipe for mashed white and sweet potatoes, flavored with cheese and chives, rolled in breadcrumbs and baked.

These crispy little balls of cheesy, potato goodness are a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. Normally there aren't a lot of those left over in my house but, on Thanksgiving, it's the stuffing that everyone goes for first so I've got a shot at some extra spuds.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Pack on Amazon Prime!

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx on behalf of Amazon Prime Video

Information about the series, The Pack, on Amazon Prime Video.

We're all watching a lot of Prime and cuddling our pups these days, right. I know Hadley is getting the stuffing hugged out of her daily. And, since I'm a sucker for doggie content, this coming weekend, I'll be watching The Pack, a new series that's premiering on Amazon Prime Video November 20th. I'm pretty sure it's going to be must-see TV around here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Mini Galettes

Recipe for appetizers made with savory pastry, mustard, caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese.

Let's talk about holiday appetizers. Sure, gatherings may be small this year. But even if it's just family, you still want to serve something special. That doesn't mean you want to fuss in the kitchen for hours, though, right? I've got the perfect solution.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Snack Cakes and Hot Cocoa

Recipe for pumpkin and chocolate chip snack cakes, topped with a cinnamon glaze and served with pumpkin and cinnamon hot cocoa.

I made these snack cakes to go with an amazing cup of hot cocoa. The cakes have a bit of pumpkin, a touch of spice and a whole lot of chocolate chips. The cocoa is even more special.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Gingerbread Cake with Pears and Caramel

Recipe for a gingerbread loaf cake topped with thinly sliced baked pears and drizzled with homemade salted caramel sauce.

It's not too early in the season for gingerbread, right? Especially when it's a gingerbread cake that's covered in a layer of baked pears and has homemade caramel sauce poured all over it. Surely it's not too soon for that.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Pasta Bake with Beef and Pumpkin

Recipe for a ground beef, pureed pumpkin and pasta bake with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Not only is it officially autumn but I was toying with the idea of turning on the heat the other day. I held out, for the time being, but that means it's also now hot cheesy pasta bake season.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Poison Apple Manhattan Cocktail

Recipe for a bourbon cocktail flavored with sweet vermouth, apple cider and Angostura bitters.

The kids can load up on candy at Halloween but the adults should get a treat as well. OK, this adult also eats all the peanut butter cups. But that doesn't diminish my love for a well made cocktail.