September 22nd, 2008

Fall is here! It’s definitely my favorite season… I just love the colors and the temperature and wearing a comfy sweater outside. With fall comes apples, lots and lots of apples. I thought my first apple recipe of the season would be something pretty straight-forward, good old applesauce.

I picked up a variety of apples at the market this weekend to prepare. Once I was ready I peeled, cored and sliced the apples and tossed them in a pot with some water and lemon juice. I added some sugar and spices and from there it’s pretty easy. About 20 minutes later my apples were nice and soft and sending a lovely fall aroma throughout the apartment. The result was better than I hoped for. The applesauce was super appley, had a nice spice to it, but wasn’t sweet either. Honestly, it was just perfect, definitley the best applesauce I’ve ever eaten.

Ahhh, I just love fall.

Fresh Applesauce
makes 8 cups

9 medium size apples, a few different varieties
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup lemon juice (or about 1 lemon)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all-spice

Pour water and lemon juice into a heavy saucepan.
Peel, core and cut apples into 1-inch pieces. Toss immediately into saucepan to prevent browning.
Add sugar, salt and spices and put over medium-high heat.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes, until apples get soft.
Remove from heat and mash with potato masher.
Pour into containers and store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

my favorites

September 21st, 2008

Brooklyn: Sixpoint brewery

September 19th, 2008

Sweet goodness I’m so happy it’s Friday! Today’s happy hour focuses on a producer of delicious brews, Sixpoint Brewery based in Red Hook Brooklyn. We took a tour of their brewery last weekend (during the Added Value event) and it was really great to see where the magic happens. I think the last brewery tour I took was the Miller Brewery in Milwaukee back when I was about 14. The differences couldn’t be greater, thank goodness. Sixpoint is a tiny operation, based in a small brick building about the size of our apartment and started by a couple of guys from Wisconsin. But what they lack in size, they more than make up for in spirit and good tastes. The brewers taught us about different types of hops, even letting us taste different types, some that were fresh and others that were cooked for longer and had a deeper flavor. It was interesting to understand how much the flavor of beer is influenced by those little seeds.

Perhaps the best part of the tour came after it was over and the beer started pouring. We tried four of their best brews, brownstone, a nice slighty darker and nuttier beer, bengali tiger IPA, a super hoppy beer, Righteous Ale, a wheat beer and sweet reaction, a special edition of sweet action, a slightly more citrusy beer. Unfortunately Sixpoint doesn’t bottle their beer yet, but if your in the New York area, look for sixpoint at your local bar, it’s good stuff.

Cheers! Have a fablulous weekend!

maple balsamic salad

September 18th, 2008

Last weekend we went to an amazing dinner at an urban farm called Added Value in Red Hook Brooklyn. Hopefully I’ll get my thoughts together on that whole shebang next week, but in the meantime I haven’t been able to get this salad we had off my mind. It was composed of a fresh mixture of greens, some tiny fried green tomatoes, a little bacon and the best part, maple balsamic dressing. I love a little sweet in my salad, so this kind of rocked my world. I decided to try my own little take on it at home and I’m pretty happy with the results. Instead of adding the savory items, I tossed in some walnuts and marcona almonds and blue cheese and mmmm! so good! It was of course different from the original, but the maple paired with the blue cheese just worked really well together.

Maple Balsamic Dressing
makes 3-4 servings

2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons Balsamic
1/4 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons olive oil

Whisk all the ingredients together,
Toss in with a salad made of fresh greens, a little blue cheese, pecans or marcona almonds OR fresh heirloom tomatoes, bacon. Really it’s whatever floats your boat, but this dressing is delicious!

coconut brownies

September 17th, 2008

I saw these brownies over at taste and tell and I felt compelled to make them. It’s been a while since I made brownies and the addition of coconut in the recipe just sounded perfect. I ended up using my favorite brownie recipe for the base of this and followed the instructions for the coconut mixture.

I’m a little biased when it comes to brownies, I hardly ever taste one I don’t like and things haven’t changed with this recipe. The coconut adds another level of richness in already decadent brownies, so a little goes a long way, but man, oh man are they tasty. You’ll definitely need a glass of milk though.

coconut brownies

base recipe
3/4 cups butter, melted
1 1/2 cup natural sugar* (like sugar in the raw)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

*I’ve recently started using raw sugar and I think it has a bit more depth… sometimes it even adds a little crystalization. If you don’t have it, just go with regular sugar.

coconut mixture
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven 350°
Grease 8x8x2 pan
In medium bowl, blend melted butter, sugar and vanilla.
Add eggs and beat well.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
Gradually add dry mixture to egg mixture. Beat until well blended.
In another small bowl, stir together the coconut mixture.
Pour 1/3 of the chocolate mixture into the greased pan. Spoon dollops of the coconut mixture over top, about 1 inch apart from eachother. Add remaining chocolate mixture over top and dollop remaining coconut over top.
Using a butter knife, run it horizontally, then vertically across the pan to gently swirl the coconut with the chocolate.
Place in oven and cook for 35-40 minutes.

Brown Butter Cornbread With Farmer Cheese and Thyme

September 16th, 2008


I saw this recipe in the Times a few weeks ago and as promised I picked up some corn to try it out. I love cornbread, there’s just something about it that is so comforting and delicious. I was especially looking forward to trying out this recipe because it required a cast iron skillet, something I acquired on our last road trip.

I got to sifting and mixing and folding, and soon enough I had a lovely yellow, sweet smelling batter. I got out my skillet and browned some butter until it started smelling nutty. When the butter was browned to perfection, I added the batter and put the pan in the oven for about a half hour. Soon enough, the sweet aroma of the butter combined with the warm corny smell started drifting past our noses. Once a toothpick came out of the bread clean, I took it out and let it cool for a few minutes. I cut two pieces out and we tried it out. Hmmm, it wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was still tasty. The thyme played a bigger role than I expected and I think next time I would swap that out for come finely chopped jalepenos. The real beauty of this cornbread was it’s beautifully crisp and golden crust. Mmm, it was so buttery and had a nice crumbly texture.

Brown Butter Cornbread With Farmer Cheese and Thyme
from the New York Times

eggs with fried tortillas and tomatillo salsa

September 15th, 2008

I want to eat this every day of my life. It’s that good. In fact, I made this Saturday morning for breakfast and when we woke up Sunday morning, it just seemed like the right thing to do, so I made it again. I made this really tasty tomatillo salsa last week and have been trying to find excuses to involve it in my meals, so when reader Deborah suggested putting it on eggs I was sold. I flipped through a new cookbook I bought by Nigella Lawson and she has this recipe for a mexican breakfast thing that gave me some ideas.

The final recipe is super simple and as you may have caught on to, super delicious. There’s something about the fried tortillas that just give the eggs a little extra texture and the salsa adds the perfect flavor.

eggs with fried tortillas and tomatillo salsa

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 flour tortillas*
4 eggs
1/4 cup tomatillo salsa

*I prefer the flakiness of flour tortillas, but corn tortillas would work excellent too.

Heat oil in frying pan.
Roll tortillas into a cigar-like shape and cut into thin slices, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Toss in frying pan and let them get crispy, about 5 minutes.
Finely chop garlic. Toss it in the pan after the tortillas have been cooking for a few minutes.
In a small bowl, scramble eggs. Pour over tortillas and garlic.
Add salsa over eggs.
Cook egg mixture for a few minutes and take it off the heat while the eggs are still shiny. They will continue to cook in the pan, but will retain their moisture.
Place a serving on a plate and top it with a little cilantro. So tasty!

watermelon slushie

September 12th, 2008


When we went to Thailand last year, one of my favorite treats was a watermelon slushie. They were so simple and refreshing and just sweet enough. Well now that watermelons are in season, I thought I’d try to make one.

All I did was cut a small watermelon into little cubes, toss those in a blender, add a few cubes of ice and a little lime. I gave it all a whirl in the blender and tada, I had myself a whole lot of watermelon slushie. The result was pretty tasty and just perfect for a warm day, although not quite the same as the ones we had in Thailand. I had lots of extra, so I just poured it in and ice tray for later.

Have a great weekend! Cheers!

watermelon slush

1 small watermelon, cut into 1 inch cubes
4-5 ice cubes
1 Tablespoon lime juice

Toss the cut up watermelon, ice cubes and lime juice into a blender.
Blend until smooth.
Drink up!