Hello again: brown butter chocolate chip cookies

October 12th, 2012

You know how there are recipes that you go back to again and again? Sometimes you try another recipe thinking you’re ready for a change, but alas, the new recipe never quite lives up to that good old standby. Three years ago I created this recipe for brown butter chocolate chip cookies and seriously—I think they’re just the best chocolate chip cookies ever. I just whipped up a few batches to share with the folks over at Brooklyn Beta, along with a few other sweet treats, and it just reminded me how good these are. So while it’s not a “new” recipe, it’s a tried and true, gonna make you happy, repeat recipe. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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DIY cocktails

September 28th, 2012

This week’s happy hour is a little different than usual. I was recently asked by Etsy to create a few DIY cocktail ideas for their wedding blog. I shared recipes for two of my favorite fall cocktails, the maple concord (think concord grapes and gin) and spiced + spiked apple cider (think mulled cider and bourbon), both reconfigured to serve a crowd. Oh, and just because they’re for the wedding blog doesn’t mean they have to be served at a wedding, in fact I think they might be reason enough to throw a fall soire just for the hell of it. So head on over and get the recipes, along with a little tutorial of how I come up with new cocktails.

Cheers! To a great weekend, fall weather, and changing colors.

carrot + apple loaf cake

September 26th, 2012

I am so ready for fall you guys. I’m ready for sweaters and scarves, leaves changing color along with a little nip in the air when you first walk outside in the morning. I’m ready for root vegetables, apples, pears, and squash galore. But most of all, I’m ready to turn the oven on.

Last weekend I found myself with an abundance of some of those fall goodies, carrots and apples, and I immediately thought of warm, spiced carrot cake. But I didn’t want just any carrot cake—it needed a twist, something to make it a little more fall. That’s when apples came to the rescue. Instead of pineapple, which many carrot cake recipe call for, I simply swapped in some apples, giving this loaf cake the perfect fall twist I was looking for. Oh, and the cinnamon cream cheese frosting didn’t hurt either.

The batter is pretty easy to whip up—there’s no weird waiting time or some secret step that that requires any crazy equipment. In fact I kind of enjoyed the rhythm of the recipe—shredding, chopping, mixing, stirring. The thoughts of fresh, warm cake so near in my future. One of the best parts of this recipe comes about 20 minutes after you’ve tucked it in the oven. All of a sudden you may perk up, find your nose in the air and your stomach begin to rumble because this cake smells like a little piece of heaven. In fact my husband came home while it was in the oven and simply stopped at the door and groaned “whooooaaa”. It’s kind of intoxicating.

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Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with Asiago cheese

September 20th, 2012

I don’t really even know where to start except to say that I just wiped a little drool from my lips. If you’ve ever had bacon wrapped dates, you know what I’m talking about. Somehow the name sounds so innocent and unassuming—three, maybe four ingredients (if you include the paprika) somehow work some major magic in just a few minutes in the oven. What comes out is a melt-in-your-mouth little flavor bomb.

The rich, salty flavor of the bacon and cheese merge together with the sweet, tender dates to create a dream come true in your mouth. I understand I’m really talking this up, but believe me, they’re good stuff. And I dare you to find a simpler, more addictive snack to serve at your next party.

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plum + cinnamon scones

September 14th, 2012

My love of scones is no secret. I mean, what’s not to love about buttery biscuits made especially for breakfast? The thing is, not all scones measure up to my standards—I might even say I’m a scone snob. Don’t try to give me one of those crumbly, dry scones. No way José. A scone should be buttery with a hint of sweetness; the texture should be slightly crisp on the outside while moist on the inside. Luckily I found a recipe a few years ago that makes a perfect scone each time. Since then I’ve gone on to create all sorts of variations—all of which are beyond tasty—but I think I might have found my favorite early fall (ok, late summer) variation, the plum and cinnamon scone.

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puffy corn pancakes with tomato + blackberry sauce

September 6th, 2012

In summers past I’ve really embraced corn, and more specifically corncakes. I mean, what’s not to like about savory pancakes? They get a little caramelized on the outside and when topped with fresh salsa, they are my definition of a perfect summer meal. Somehow, up until this week, I had yet to make a batch this year. Luckily a few weeks ago Melissa Clark wrote a piece on the paper about puffy corn pancakes with blackberry sauce that reminded me how much I love corn cakes. The thing is, her recipe sounded even easier than mine—instead of spooning out individual pancakes, all the batter is poured into one pan or dish and baked to create a slightly eggy, dutch babyesque corn pancake. Quite frankly, my stomach started growling and I just couldn’t resist, and thank goodness I didn’t because these puffy corn pancakes are a perfect little last hurrah and remind me why they I love this time of year.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts I’ve been away more weekends than usual this summer, which means I’ve missed out on enjoying some of my favorite market treasures like heirloom tomatoes. Feeling deprived, I picked up some little gems at the grocery and decided to add them to the blackberry sauce. The tomatoes add a tangy contrast to the slightly sweet blackberry sauce that worked perfectly over the corn cakes.

Whether or not you’ve been slow to embrace summer like I have or have simply run out recipes to make with all the corn, I urge you to give this recipe a try. It’s the perfect combination of easy, delicious, and a pick-me-up for the taste buds. I think you’re going to love it.

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watermelon soda float

August 30th, 2012

It seems like lately the closest I’ve come to making something is browsing through magazines and ooohing over things other people have made. I’m in a bit of a summer slump, which I think might be the saddest kind of slump, but when I saw a recipe for this watermelon float in the latest issue of Bon Appetit, it was just what I needed to get in the kitchen. Delicious, refreshing fruit paired with tangy lime frozen yogurt? That’s one fruity float that I was ready to whip up.

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Spice it up!

August 24th, 2012

Well hello there! It seems like forever since I’ve been in my kitchen—and even longer since I’ve posted a tasty treat for you. Caroline and I created this cocktail for an event we did a few weeks ago and it was such a winner that I had to share it.

This drink is all about heating up and cooling down—ginger syrup is paired with a little lime juice and cucumber infused vodka, then topped with a spicy slice or two of jalepenos. It involves a super simple infusion inspired by water infused with cucumbers—of course it wouldn’t be a cocktail if it were water, so we swapped out the water with a little vodka. It doesn’t take long for the light flavor and scent to infuse the vodka, which brings to the coolness to the drink. It’s the perfect drink to sip on a summer evening.

Cheers! To the weekend, tasty drinks and keeping things spicy!

Spice it up!

makes 1 cocktail

For the cucumber infused vodka:
sliced cucumbers

For the cocktail:
2 ounces cucumber infused vodka
1/2 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce ginger syrup*
1-2 slices jalepeno

*If you don’t feel like making ginger syrup, you could substitute ginger beer, just add after shaking the cocktail.

To make cucumber infused vodka:

1. Toss a handful of cucumber slices into a pitcher of vodka—I infused half a bottle to a bottle. Let sit for at least 20 minutes but up to one day.
2. Strain cucumber slices from vodka. Done!

To make the cocktail:

1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the vodka, lime juice and ginger syrup. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cucumber and jalepeno slice or two. Enjoy!