Search Results for best of 2008

best of 2008: homemade ginger ale

January 9th, 2009

This was originally posted on May 23, 2008. This recipe rocks my world. I will never look at ginger ale in the same light. If you like ginger, this is a must try recipe.


This week’s happy hour is super happy because we’re going to pick up our lovely pup, Maude. Yay! Since we’ll be driving, this week’s beverage is non-alcoholic, but still tasty; and quite frankly, there’s nothing stopping you from adding a splash of rum to make it a dark & stormy. I saw this recipe for homemade ginger ale in the magazine Imbibe and thought it would be a nice treat. Making my own soda pop makes me giggle a little, because it seems like kind of a wacky thing to do but whatever… the recipe is pretty simple so I decided what the heck.

All it takes is some ginger, sugar, water and a little free time. Once you let it simmer on the stovetop for awhile it will become a syrup that you combine with some club soda or seltzer water. The result is sooo good! It’s got a really clean taste, if that makes any sense. It’s got a great spice cut by a little sweetness and bubbly fizz. It’s by far the best ginger ale/beer I’ve ever had. I’m not joking, you should definitely try this at home.

Homemade Ginger Ale
from Imbibe

2 cups unpeeled, washed, fresh ginger, roughly chopped
2 cups sugar
6 cups water
8 cups club soda or sparkling water, chilled

Process ginger chunks in food processor or blender until finely chopped. Place in a large stock pot.
Add sugar and water and stir. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer of medium-low heat and cook for about an hour until a rich syrup is created.
Strain the syrup twice through cheese cloth or sieve into a large jar or pitcher. Set aside to cool.
Fill a glass with ice. Add 1/3 cup of ginger syrup and top it off with club soda or sparkling water. Add a squeeze of lime if you’d like. So good!

best of 2008: no bake cookies

January 8th, 2009

This was originally posted on October 14, 2008. Honestly, these are super easy to make and highly addictive! They’ve been a standby recipe since my teenage years.

I made a trip to one of my favorite stores in Brooklyn, Sahadi’s last week and stocked up on all sorts of bulk ingredients. One of my favorite finds was this amazing cocoa powder that’s dark and rich and really puts the canned cocoa powder I’ve been using to shame. With over a pound sitting on the counter, I couldn’t resist the urge to make something with it, so I looked through a few books until I found the perfect recipe, no bake cookies.

No bake cookies are one of my favorites sweet treast because they’re so easy to make. It doesn’t hurt that they not only have chocolate, but peanut butter as well. In less than a half hour my cocoa had been transformed into a little cookie that really hit the spot.

No-Bake Cookies
makes about 2 dozen

2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa
pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
3 cups oatmeal

Combine sugar, cocoa, milk and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Cook until the mixture starts to boil and cook for 1 minute.
Add vanilla, salt, peanut butter and oatmeal and quickly stir until combined.
Drop teaspoons onto parchment paper and let cool.

best of 2008: spicy cinnamon popcorn

January 8th, 2009

This was originally posted February 16, 2008. This is my favorite was to eat popcorn.


I was looking for recipes on chow the other day and came upon this one for Spicy Cinnamon-Sugar Popcorn. I just whipped it up this afternoon and it’s so tasty! I might be a little bias because popcorn rates right up there alongside margaritas in my book, but I’m pretty sure you’ll love it. The cinnamon sugar is so nice and friendly, but then you get a little kick at the end due to the chile oil. Yum!

This recipe is super easy. You should totally try it.

best of 2008: apple chips

January 7th, 2009

This was originally posted September 29, 2008. This is a great recipe for fall and it’s hard to find an easier apple recipe.

Last week was apple sauce, this week is apple chips. Mmmm they are so good and so simple. You do need time though, but if its rainy out like it was here in brooklyn, they’re a perfect recipe to try out. You simply slice some apples, lay them on a thin bed of powdered sugar, top them off with more powdered sugar and let them bake to a crisp in the oven for a few hours. See, that was so easy!

The result is beautifully crisp slivers of apple with a tinge of sweetness. I used Gala apples and the flavor burst in your mouth with each bite. And let me tell you, there will be lots of bites, because these little puppies are addictive. Luckily apples are good for you, so eat up and enjoy!

apple chips

4 gala apples, or a sweet, crisp apple of your choice
6-8 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 250°

Thinly slice apples as thin as you can get them.
Sprinkle a thin layer of powdered sugar over 2 baking sheets.
Arrange slices in one layer over sugar, then sprinkle another thin layer of powdered sugar over top.
Place the baking sheets in the over and bake for an hour. Switch positions of the baking sheets and place back in the oven for another hour. When the time is up, check on them to see if they’re crisp, if not place them back in until they’re slightly golden and crisp.
Once you remove them from the oven, remove from baking sheet and place on cooling racks. Once completely cooled, place in air-tight container. This is key, if you leave them out they’ll get soft and it’s no fun.

best of 2008: honey roasted chicken & potatoes

January 7th, 2009


This was originally posted July 7, 2008. I came up with this recipe during my market week experiment this summer. Whenever I roast a chicken, this is my go-to recipe.

I made my first meal for market week last night and oh boy, was it delicious. I decided to make roast chicken for a few reasons…. it’s hard to go wrong and there’s always leftovers for another meal during the week. I usually follow Jamie Oliver’s recipe which never disappoints, but since there aren’t any lemon trees in my area, I did a little improvising. I gave the chicken a nice slather of butter and stuffed it with thyme and garlic before I popped it in the oven; then half way through, I started coating it with a mixture of honey (locally harvested) and butter. That, my friends, was a good decision.

The bird came out all golden and crispy with juices bubbling around it and injecting the potatoes with goodness. I carved it up, gave it a taste and it was perfect. The honey gave it a nice undertone of sweetness without overpowering the fresh herbs that I’d sprinkled in and on it. Mmmmm… And the potatoes, oh the potatoes. They also got a little hint of honey but it also helped crisp them up so they were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I had to get some green in the meal so I boiled some green beans and they were just right all on their own.

So the first meal was a super success, with plenty of leftovers to use later in the week. If you want to jazz up your roasted chicken, definitely try adding honey into the mix. So good!

Honey Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

1 whole chicken
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon honey
a few sprigs fresh thyme
a few sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cloves of garlic
6 red potatoes

preheat oven to 375°
bring water to boil in large saucepan. add potatoes and garlic and boil for 12 min.
drain potatoes and rough them up in the strainer.
take garlic from strainer, along with the thyme and stuff into cavity of chicken.
slather the chicken with 1 Tablespoon of the butter and pop it the oven for 45 minutes.
melt remaining Tablespoon of butter and add honey to it.
lift the chicken up and toss the potatoes around in the pan, coating them with the juices. make room for the chicken and set it back in the pan.
brush honey butter over chicken and put it back in the oven. repeat every 15 minutes twice, for a total of 45 more minutes in the oven.
Let it sit for a few minutes before carving into. Enjoy!

best of 2008: spring salad

January 6th, 2009


This was originally posted on April 17, 2008. I absolutely love this salad! It’s got green, but it’s also got tangy cheese and sweet fruit, which all come together for a whole lot of goodness. I made it over and over again last summer and can’t wait make it again.

I’m not a big salad person, but every once in awhile I have an urge to make one. The urge was heightened when we picked up some baked ricotta cheese at Blue Apron last weekend and the cheeseman suggested it would go well in a salad. With that in mind, I gathered some spinach, crushed walnuts and dried cranberries along with the cheese and made two small salads. I topped them off with some delicious Apricot Balsamic that Aaron’s parents brought us when they visited.

It was such a delicious salad! I think you should try it out.

best of 2008: stuffed apricots

January 6th, 2009


This was originally posted on February 25, 2008. Ridiculously awesome. I can’t say enough how fantastic these little things are. Make them for a party and people will love you!

Yum! I had a drink the other night at Vintage New York in Soho with some friends. Whenever we go, we have to get an order of their stuffed apricots with blue cheese and almonds, they are so dang good! Although, they’ve changed it up recently and started rolling the apricot in crushed almonds instead of using a whole almond stuffed inside…boo. There’s something so nice about the contrast of the soft apricot and bleu cheese and then, snap, you hit the crunchy almond.

I took it upon myself to recreate the older version of Vintage’s stuffed apricots. Here’s what I did.

Stuffed Apricots with Bleu Cheese and Almonds

1 container of dried apricots (approx 40)
1/4 lb blue cheese
almonds (as many as apricots)

1. Slice apricots almost in half, making sure to leave the two sides connected (like a book).
2. Take a small slice of the cheese and stuff inside apricot.
3. Stuff the almond in and pinch the apricot closed.
4. Try one and smile. So delicious.

best of 2008: blueberry foccacia

January 5th, 2009


This was originally posted on June 30, 2008. Simple and delicious. This recipe is laced with cinnamon and topped with fresh blueberries. Awesome!

When I was stuck in airports a few weeks ago, I ended up buying more than my share of magazines. One of them, O magazine, had a whole article about blueberries and tasty recipes to make with them. One them was this recipe for blueberry focaccia and it looked absolutely amazing. I studied in Italy when I was in college and the one thing, hands down, that I couldn’t get enough of was foccacia bread, so it has a soft spot in my heart. I ripped that puppy out and put it in my purse to make sure I didn’t lose it.

This weekend I picked up a pint of blueberries at the market eager to get started on my unconventional focaccia recipe. It’s really simple, it just takes time because you have to wait for the dough to rise twice, once in the bowl and once layed out on a baking sheet. After the second rising, you sprinkle the blueberries over the dough along with some brown sugar (yum!). Soon after placing the baking sheet in the oven, you start to smell pure goodness and it’s clear your tastebuds are going to have a party.

When I pulled the bread out of the oven it was a beautiful sight. The berries had turned a deep purple and the bread a lovely golden color. I let it cool as Aaron and I took in the cinnamony smell, eager to get a taste of it. I cut us both a piece and when we bit into it, both our eyes lit up. The bread is soft and threaded with hints of cinnamon and brown sugar while the blueberries add a juicy contrast to the bread. The bread wasn’t exactly what I would call focaccia, but it was most certainly something that I won’t be forgetting for a while. I think it will be making a regular appearance in my breakfast rounds. Try it out, you won’t be dissappointed!

Blueberry Focaccia
from O magazine

I cut my recipe in half and it worked out well.

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups warm water
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large egg
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
Vegetable oil, for greasing
2 pints (5 to 6 cups) blueberries
In a small bowl, mix yeast and water; set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir egg into yeast; pour into flour mixture and mix on low speed. Add butter, and mix until combined. Knead dough until smooth and pliable but still relatively wet, about 5 minutes on a stand mixer.
Grease a large bowl and 2 baking sheets with oil; set baking sheets aside. Scrape dough into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°. Halve dough, and place 1 piece on each baking sheet. Stretch out slightly, until dough forms a 1-inch-thick oval; cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise again about 1 hour.
With greased fingers, dimple surface of each loaf; sprinkle with 1 pint berries and 1/4 cup brown sugar each. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating once. Slice and serve warm.