Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Year in Review - 2015

The Year in Review - 2015
And so another year ends. For me, 2015 was mixed. It saw my hard work start to pay off professionally, gave me the ability to work with some amazing people and it's been enormously rewarding. But it was also marred by enough world tragedies, hate and intolerance to last a lifetime. And I lost a friend this year, a fact I still can't quite reconcile myself to.

Joan Hayes, whose ultra popular blog Chocolate, Chocolate and More, was very dear to me. We chatted almost daily, we got each other through some very difficult personal times, were each other's business sounding boards and we gabbed about the things that girlfriends gab about. She passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the end of October, at the age of 49, and there's an empty space in my heart and in my days now. I miss you, my friend. You made my life sweeter.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Winter Citrus Champagne Cocktail

Recipe for a champagne cocktail with satsuma oranges, vodka and lime.

It's getting to be almost that time again when we break out the champagne. I actually quite like using it in cocktails although any sparkling wine works the same way. When a drink calls for fizz, why settle for flavorless soda when this adds so much more. So even though it's traditional to drink champagne straight on New Year's Eve, I like creating a special cocktail.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Candy Cane Bourbon Nog

Recipe for a bourbon cocktail with egg nog, white chocolate and candy canes.

With all the holiday baking going on around here lately I've been neglecting my holiday cocktail brainstorming. But now that all my cakes and cookies and gingerbread creations are done I set my mind to creating something special for holiday guests.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Crumb Bars

Recipe for crumb bars filled with peanut butter and topped with pretzel M&M's.

The holiday baking has been in full swing around here for what seems like weeks now. And it's been mostly gingerbread and other ginger and cinnamon spiced delights. I love those holiday flavors but, um, after the umpteenth spiced cake and gingerbread men cookies were baked and packed up for gifts, I was kind of a little over it. Time to switch it up and use some of those fun holiday candies in something.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Savory Coeur La Creme with Cranberry and Apple Chutney

Recipe for a tangy Greek yogurt and cream cheese appetizer served with a cranberry and apple compote.

I have a couple of things I wanted to talk to you about today. One is this fancy looking appetizer with the fancy sounding name which is actually so simple to make. The other is the importance of milk.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Elsewhere in...November 2015

Hi friends! This is the little monthly recap of my foodie adventures elsewhere. Here you'll find the recipes I created for my column on The Spruce Eats as well as some great cocktail and gingerbread round-ups from my other writings around the web. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Cranberry Collins and a DIY Cranberry Cocktail Party

Recipe for a gin cocktail flavored with cranberry juice, lemon and club soda.

So, did I ever mention my slight obsession with housewares? Part of it is being a food photographer, of course, but I like them even apart from that. Some women browse in the shoe department but I'm over in the kitchen department eyeing a new casserole dish. Add to that my fondness not just for cocktails but for barware and it can get to be an expensive habit. I've found a decent number of "treasures" in dusty old thrift shops and flea markets but those are hit or miss. The fact is that when I know what I need, I shop at the restaurant supply stores.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Tomato and Onion Appetizer Pastries

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

Recipe for an appetizer made with sauteed onions, tomatoes and oregano baked in puff pastry.

I love having guests and throwing parties but it can get to be hectic and a bit overwhelming around the holidays. For as much as I try to plan ahead and enjoy putting together menus, sometimes I find myself panicking a little because time got away from me and I didn't get to do my shopping. So my survival guide for holiday entertaining is to keep some basic staples in the house at all time.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Flashback: Oven Baked Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

Oven Baked Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

My mother's annual Chanukah latke party was the highlight of my year when I was growing up. Friends and neighbors would come over, help her hand grate mountains of potatoes and then wait while the intoxicating aroma of golden fried latkes filled the house. We ate till we dropped. These oven baked, muffin tin latkes are not meant to be a substitute, just a lighter alternative to be eaten more frequently. Their aroma is still heavenly and they're completely delicious. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Herbed Roasted Potatoes with Sour Cream Dip

Recipe for an appetizer of potato wedges coated in a garlic and basil paste and roasted.

I'm deep in December entertaining menu planning mode these days. But I always get stuck on the appetizers. The meals themselves and desserts are easy as are the fun cocktails. But what to serve with those fun cocktails. Yes, the cheeses, the nuts the chips...I wanted something different but not overly fussy to make and it occurred to me to look in my vegetable bin for an idea.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Month in Review - November 2015

The Month in Review - November 2015

November is always such a beautiful month. Chilly but not too cold, stunning foliage and my favorite holiday of the whole year. There were apple treats and pumpkin cakes, drinks and snacks and lots of good cheer. I'm sorry to see it go. But December is pretty fun, too. The tree vendors have set up all around the city, the carols are playing and the lights are stunning. Lots to look forward to but first, a quick look back at all the deliciousness of the past month. Ah, November, I'm looking forward to seeing you again next year. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Holiday Cocktail Round-Up

Holiday Cocktail Round-Up

Happy day before Thanksgiving - otherwise known as hours of holiday meal prep day. But it's a labor of love, right? You've got your bird delivered, your pies baked, your side dishes prepped, the house cleaned, the table linens ironed....whoa, I'm exhausted just from typing all that. It's probably best not to think too much about it and just do it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Mashed Potatoes

Recipe for mashed potatoes flavored with caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese.

Two items on my Thanksgiving table never change. There must be stuffing because it's totally the best part of the holiday. And there must be mashed potatoes because...gravy! But while I'm not willing to conceive of the holiday without the mashed taters, I'm willing to entertain a slight variation to them.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Individual Italian Style Meatloaves

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Thank you Hunt's tomatoes for sponsoring this recipe.

Recipe for mini meatloaves made in a muffin tin and flavored with Italian seasoning.

Are you deep in Thanksgiving planning and list making mode? Guest lists, shopping lists, meal plans. It's not just me, right? The thing is, there are all these food ideas and plans swirling around but no actual food yet. The big day is still a week away but we should probably eat something between now and then.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Peanut Apple Tarts with Peanut Butter Glaze

Recipe for individual apple tarts with a peanut crust and peanut butter glaze.

If you know me at all then you know that I'm obsessed with peanut butter. And yes, it does go perfectly with chocolate but it pairs just as well with apples. And since apples are healthy and peanuts are healthy I'm just going to assume that these tarts are healthy. Please don't shatter my illusions about that. In any event, these tarts are completely delicious, which is what matters, and a fun spin on the classic apple pie.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Cinnamon Honey Buns

Recipe for sweet yeast buns rolled with honey and cinnamon and topped with a cinnamon honey glaze.

I go through a lot of honey in my house because it adds both sweetness and flavor. The majority of it probably gets used as a drizzle over my daily Greek yogurt addiction but I love baking with it as well. As you know, I also write the Middle Eastern cuisine column for Food and honey is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. So, I guess I'm saying I should probably just buy it by the case.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Chorizo and Cheddar Snack Stacks

Recipe for sausage and cheese nacho sandwiches.

I think I've told you all that I have trouble resisting holiday flavors. And so, no sooner did I get through obsessing over the Food Should Taste Good Harvest Pumpkin Tortilla Chips, when I tasted their Sweet Potato. My first thought was YUM and the second was that the shape was so cute and perfectly oval, like slices of sweet potato. They were just asking to be sandwiched together with a tasting filling in the middle.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Chocolate Pumpkin Layer Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe for fudgy chocolate pumpkin cake with pumpkin cream cheese frosting.

So, I'm a sucker for products with seasonal flavors. Syrups and liqueurs that are pumpkin, gingerbread or eggnog flavored and likely to end up in my shopping cart. Oh, I may pass them by a few times but, ultimately, I'll give in. I can't help myself. So, creamy pumpkin pie syrup from Amoretti? Yup, it's here.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Elsewhere in...October 2015

Elsewhere in...October 2015

As you know, I also write the Middle Eastern cuisine column for The Spruce Eats. So this is my monthly recap of the recipes you can find there from this past month. I hope you'll head over and try some of them. Enjoy!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Blueberry Cream Wine Slush

Recipe for a vodka and wine cocktail with frozen blueberries and vanilla ice cream.

Blueberries were all over my cooking, baking and drink making this summer. Sweet and packed with fiber and vitamin C, they're one of my favorite treats. And now that summer is over...I see no reason to stop. Frozen blueberries get me through the other three seasons just fine. They're picked fresh and frozen to preserve their color, flavor and nutrition. So the blueberry recipes continue to flow.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cinnamon Meatballs

Recipe for meatballs flavored with cinnamon and cooked in a cheesy tomato and bechamel sauce.

Greek food is definitely one of my favorite cuisines and I'm always up for going to a Greek restaurant. But even though I love many things on the menu, I tend to wander back to my favorite option which is pastitsio. Layers of spiced beef, pasta and cheesy bechamel sauce all baked together. What is there not to love? And yes, I've tackled making it myself at home. Still, when I think of easy weeknight dinners, I don't think of homemade pastitsio. I do, however, think of meatballs. So, pastitsio meatballs? Coming right up!

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Month in Review - October 2015

The Month in Review - October 2015

So, I'm sitting here wondering why it's so dark (oh, yeah, the clock thing), staring at a dish of leftover Halloween candy and a basket of different kinds of squash from my farmer's market haul this weekend. Happy November! It's been so warm that the leaves were late changing color but we're in full Autumn mode now. The ghosts and goblins have been subdued with chocolate and I'm going into serious Thanksgiving idea mode. It's going to get delicious in here. But, actually it was pretty delicious in October so let's take a quick look back.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tomato Rice Chili in a Squash Bowl

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

Recipe for a quick chili made with ground beef, rice and diced tomatoes served over roasted acorn squash.

It's that time of year again when people come over and gather. No, not for thanksgiving. To watch sports! Every weekend there are playoffs and tip offs, football and baseball and foosball. What? No foosball? OK, you got me. I don't know much about sports. But I know a whole lot about feeding the people that come over to watch the games.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Crumb Topped Cheesy Butternut Squash Gratin

Recipe for a cheesy gratin, filled with butternut squash and a cheesy savory crumb topping.

If you've been reading my blog for a while then you already know I'm basically obsessed with crumb toppings. There isn't a cake, pie or trifle that couldn't benefit from a few (or a lot) of sweet, thick crumbs. But a savory crumb? I've seen a few recipes around but they always contain a little sugar, despite the savory filling, and that just didn't make sense to me. A savory crumb should be savory but it would need a flavor of some kind.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Apple Pie Shortcakes

Recipe for sweet sauteed apples served on a sweet biscuit and topped with fresh whipped cream.

One of the first desserts I ever learned to make was individual strawberry shortcakes. You know the kind, with the biscuits sliced in half and the whipped cream? I still have a soft spot for it and make it when strawberries are in season. But now apples are in season so why not do the same with them? The answer is that it's a great idea and I don't know why it took me so long to think of it. So many missed apple shortcakes!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dinner for Two with My Furry Girl

Dinner for Two with My Furry Girl

You've met my Hadley before, right? Adorably cute? Check. Sweetest disposition ever? You bet. Fussy eater? That's my girl.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Individual Pear and Thyme Crumbles

Recipe for easy pear dessert with a crumb topping.

I'm still a Saturday morning regular at the farmer's market. The summer berries are gone but the autumn squash is in full swing along with some late tomatoes and, of course, a bounty of apples. But this time it was the gorgeous little bosc pears that caught my eye. Sure everybody is making apple pies, and I will too, but we mustn't neglect the sweet, juicy pears.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sparkling Cider Pumpkin-tini

This recipe was sponsored by Sweet 'N Low and Social Stars. Thank you for supporting the products I love and use in my kitchen.

Recipe for a low calorie vodka cocktail with pumpkin and sparkling apple cider.

Have you been stocking up on Halloween candy for the kids? What about something for the adults? OK, I know we eat the candy, too. Personally, I'm going to steal anything with peanut butter right out of the candy bowl and probably hoard it, but that's another story. Let's talk about when the adults gather and want an adult beverage.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cheesy Pumpkin Fondue

Recipe for a cheese fondue made with pumpkin puree.

Somewhere before my time, fondue was a popular dish and fondue sets were popular wedding gifts. Then they fell out of favor and the fondue pots could be found in thrift shops for just a few dollars. But I'm pretty sure they're a thing again. I mean, why would a pot of melted cheesy goodness ever not be a thing?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Cheesy Onion and Bread Gratin

Cheesy Onion and Bread Gratin

This is the time of year when I start to think about guests and new entertaining ideas. Maybe a new kind of side dish or an interesting take on an appetizer. Something hot and bubbly and comforting. And cheesy. It should definitely be cheesy. And where there's cheese there should be bread as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Maple, Bacon and Tomato Tart

Maple, Bacon and Tomato Tart

Now that we're squarely into fall, I'm starting to think about the holidays and what dishes I'll be serving. Too soon? Maybe, but that's where my brain goes. I start planning what new recipes I'll be trying out, interesting new dishes to add to my menu, a new ingredient I've fallen in love with. I get a little fall obsessed and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Potato, Chorizo and Bean Bake

In my never-ending quest to think up stuff to make for dinner, I'm always drawn to things that can be make in one pot, or pan as the case may be. Bonus points if it includes potatoes. Extra credit if there's also cheese. But when I'm trying to choose the protein I sometimes forget about sausage. There's tons of choices, different proteins, different spices, and it's all wrapped up in an easy package. And it goes so well with the potatoes and cheese!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Elsewhere in...September

Elsewhere in...September

Those of you that follow my Facebook page might have seen my announcement that I've recently accepted a position as the Middle Eastern cuisine expert for Food.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Buttermilk Cornbread and Pot Roast Sandwich

Buttermilk Cornbread and Pot Roast Sandwich

Last weekend I decided to make a big pot roast with the intention of having enough leftovers for the week. I stocked up on vegetables and potatoes and looked forward to a week of easy and delicious dinners. And I will say that potatoes, in roast gravy, probably top my list of all time comfort foods. But after a couple of days, I was getting a little tired of it. Polenta the next night, egg noodles the following day and rice after. Finally I was down to my last serving of meat and no idea what to eat with it.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Month in Review - September 2015

The Month in Review - September 2015

Is it me or did we just rush right through September? This speeding needs to stop because I want to enjoy my favorite season. I do love spring and summer but fall is my favorite. The pumpkins, the apples, the leaves, the crisp air - I'm going to savor every bit of it. So no more rushing, OK? Today, let's take a quick look back at a very delicious September while I plan all the apple and pumpkin things. Enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Cookie Butter Hot Cocoa Ice Cream Floats

Cookie Butter Hot Cocoa Ice Cream Floats

During one of my visits to London, we stayed at a little hotel a bit off the main areas. It wasn't fancy but it had a minibar that included speculoos cookies. It was my first time trying them and I don't remember which brand they were but I definitely remember the cookies. They were sweet and spicy, crispy and definitely went well with my pot of tea. I thought about them for a while when I came home but didn't see them in my market so eventually forgot. Until...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Flashback: Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pie

Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pie

Pot pies have always been high on my list of cool weather comfort foods. In this version, I took advantage of autumn vegetables and pre-roasted them to maximize their flavor. Then I encased the creamy sauce in both a top and bottom layer of pastry for a big bowl of happy comfort. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cream Cheese Rugelach Cookies

Cream Cheese Rugelach Cookies

Rugelach, traditional Jewish cookies, and I go way back. They're pretty much a staple at every Jewish family gathering and certain people who are very close to me are positively obsessed with them. So much so that many pilgrimages were undertaken to find the best bakery version. The winner, I was informed, was Zabar's. You might have noticed that I'm a pretty capable baker so why, you ask, didn't I just bake them myself? I don't like them. Horrors! A Jewish girl who doesn't like rugelach.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mississippi Mud Pie, New Hampshire Style

Mississippi Mud Pie, New Hampshire Style

I'm gearing up for a nervous breakdown. It's not here yet but I expect it to hit in about a week and it will probably require more than chocolate desserts to deal with. My best friend, Denise, is moving away. We've been together most of our lives, been through many of our "firsts" together, every joy, every broken heart, crushing disappointments and soaring achievements. And I don't know how to do without her. And don't tell me she's just a phone call or plane ride away because it's not the same.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Apple Gin Fizz

This recipe was sponsored by Sweet N Low and Social Stars. Thank you for supporting the products I love and use in my kitchen.

Apple Gin Fizz

Is that a nip I feel in the air? OK, by nip I mean the temperature has dropped from the upper 80's to the low 80's this week. Yes, New York's summer is holding on but I hear good things about temperatures dipping into the frigid 70's by next week! And just in time for the first day of fall. Let's celebrate!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Spiced Banana Crumb Cake

Spiced Banana Crumb Cake

The other day my mother dropped by and asked what I was baking that smelled so good. When I told her I had a banana cake in the oven she laughed and said that was no surprise since banana always was my favorite flavor. And she's so right. They've been my "thing" since I was a baby.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Maple Bacon Shortbread Cookies

Maple Bacon Shortbread Cookies

I love sweet and salty combinations and desserts that are also slightly savory. There's just something so interesting about certain flavors together like the sweetness of good maple syrup and the savory saltiness of bacon. Baked together in a shortbread cookie, the two make an amazing treat. And since shortbread is another of my favorite things, I was pretty happy when these came out of the oven.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Flashback: Pasta with Cauliflower Ragu

Pasta with Cauliflower Ragu

This recipe was a long time in coming. A recreation of a wonderful restaurant dish that remained on my to-do list for several years before I tackled it. So silly because it's not complicated, completely delicious and, at long last, a regular favorite at my house. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Roasted Tomato Pastry Puffs

Lately I've been getting excited about trying new wines. Let's be clear that I'm no oenophile. I routinely walk into a liquor store, packed with different wines from floor to ceiling, and make a beeline for any label that looks vaguely familiar and doesn't cost more than my rent. I swear I need a store with cue cards. Little signs everywhere that tell me what to look for or at least what to ask for. So any tip is useful to me and today I have a tip for you. Garnacha wines. Spanish wine, Mediterranean grapes, reasonable price, tastes good, goes with almost everything. Now isn't that easier?

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Month in Review - August 2015

The Month in Review - August 2015

Happy Labor Day, happy September and happy almost fall. It's true that I'm never one to rush summer out the door but August was unusually hot and I'll admit that I'm a little over it. And I love everything about fall, except the fact that it's followed by winter! Still, while August may have been a little oppressive, it certainly was delicious. And we managed to beat the heat with a lot of cool cocktails. The Hungry Couple kitchen is going to be pretty fall fabulous soon so let's take a quick look back at the deliciousness of August. Enjoy!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Summer Friday Flashback: Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

Every Friday this summer I'm going to treat you to a blast from the past. I've chosen some of the best recipes from the past few years to highlight because I love making them over and over again. Enjoy!

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

I first made these cookies to combine my obsession with shortbread and my love of the toothy texture of cornmeal in baked goods. The lemon zest gave them a wonderfully fresh citrus tang without the harshness of extracts and these cookies disappeared in record time!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fig Galette with Goat Cheese and Thyme

It's September! And the weather is, still hot as hell. I seriously don't remember the last time we had such a warm end of summer. Oh well, I'm sure it'll be chilly soon enough and I'll be complaining that I don't like winter. But I am sort of ready for fall.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Heirloom Tomato Pizza

Heirloom Tomato Pizza

Summer's coming to an end and, sadly, so is heirloom tomato season. But I managed to snag a few beauties this weekend at the farmer's market. At first I was planning to just roast them with olive oil and sea salt and watch them turn into caramelized sweet treats. But then I remembered I had some pizza dough in the freezer and it struck me how pointless it would be to put tomato sauce on a pizza when I could have fresh heirloom tomatoes instead.