Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and so today I'm baking pies (two pumpkin) and the Benjamin is making an apple cranberry crisp. Rather than make this post about the recipes we'll be using, I thought I'd post a few pictures that I've taken of the changing leaves over the last few weeks . 

Happy fall and happy Thanksgiving!! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

I cannot believe it is actually snowing outside! And not just snowing, but the snow is sticking. It's kinda early in the year for this to be happening...

Feeling inspired by the freak snowfall, I decided to make Heidi Swanson's Baked Oatmeal (it'll be breakfast tomorrow). Who am I kidding, it'll make a great light snack tonight. 

I have been wanting to try out this recipe for months (!). I had seen it on multiple blogs this past spring--it was the recipe that everyone was talking about when Swanson's cookbook Super Natural Every Day pubbed. A friend made the oatmeal right around that time and recommended it, but I never got around to trying out the recipe while it was still cool out.

I would have forgotten all about this oatmeal, except that I asked my mom for Super Natural Every Day for my birthday. 

I love this cookbook (thanks mom!). It totally lives up to its name--the recipes are approachable (read easy for weeknight cooking), healthy, and tasty. Ben and I have already made several of her recipes and haven't been disappointed, so I was excited to finally try out this one. Honestly, I knew it would live up to my expectations, but I didn't expect for it to exceed them.

It's the right combination of good foods and just might be my new go to breakfast.



[adapted from Super Natural Every Day]


  • 2 cups/7 oz/200 g rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup/2 oz/60 g walnut pieces, toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup/2 oz/60 g natural cane sugar or maple syrup, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 cups/475 ml milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch/1 cm pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups/6.5 oz/185 g huckleberries, blueberries, or mixed berries

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C with a rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch/20cm square baking dish.
In a bowl, mix together the oats, half the walnuts, the sugar, if using, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, if using, the milk, egg, half of the butter, and the vanilla.
Arrange the bananas in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle two-thirds of the berries over the top. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Gently give the baking dish a couple thwacks on the countertop to make sure the milk moves through the oats. Scatter the remaining berries and remaining walnuts across the top.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on the top and serve. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar or drizzle with maple syrup if you want it a bit sweeter.

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's too hot out and September...What should we have for dinner?

It has been unseasonably warm and humid in New York, which has made for some really bad hair days and why-did-I-decide-to-wear-my-boots-today days. It's also made it difficult to figure out what to cook for dinner--throwing acorn squash or a brisket in the oven (which we're tempted do this time of year) sound like a terribly gross idea when it still feels like August out.

Since we were both tired of the same stove top meals we've had on rotation all summer, I started searching for something new. And that's when I stumbled upon a recipe for what may be the perfect transitional meal: an onion frittata! Why so perfect? Because it's light on the fork and heavy on flavor. It combines sage, rosemary and ricotta, which tasted like Thanksgiving to me (before you start thinking I'm just excited for the holidays, which I am, consider how sage and rosemary often find their way into the best stuffing recipes). Though we had to use our oven, which I was hoping to avoid because of the warm temps, it was only for a limited amount of time. 

I adapted the following super easy recipe, which comes from Bon Appetit, via Epicurious. I omitted the basil, and used Pecorino Romano and a Spanish onion. The recipe should yield 4-6 servings, but we only got three out of it. It's that good! And did I mention it's quick and easy...Perfect for a weeknight!

Here's what you need and here's how you make it: 

  • 8 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

  • 3 large fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

  • 3 large fresh sage leaves, minced

  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion

  • 1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside. Heat oil in a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute until soft, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in egg mixture. Spoon dollops of ricotta evenly over.
    Cook until frittata begins to set, about 2 minutes. Place in oven; bake until just set, 7-9 minutes. Slide the frittata onto a platter. Cut into wedges; serve hot or at room temperature.

    Up close and personal with the onion frittata. This poor photo doesn't do it justice--believe me, it's delicious!


    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Our end of summer BBQ

    Yesterday we decided to check out a restaurant that NY Magazine recommended as one of the best in Queens: Mapo BBQ.  After spending nearly an hour navigating the narrow, busy streets of Flushing (we rented a car for the holiday weekend), we finally located the Korean restaurant and found a parking spot a couple blocks away from it.

    We were seated right away and ordered a couple Buds, before deciding on Mapo's specialty, grilled marinated short ribs (kalbi), and thinly sliced tenderloin. First, a waiter dropped off hot coals and a grill. Then, a few minutes later, a waitress arrived with the beef, which she set on the grill. I mistakenly thought each table was responsible for flipping the beef and started to play around with the tongs and meat, when our waitress came over, pulled out her scissors, took the tongs and showed me how it's done. I was enthralled.

    As the meat cooked, other waiters brought out lettuce (to make wraps), marinated onions, kimchi bok choy and other kimchi vegetables, creamy corn, and this eggy custardy thing that you're supposed to eat with the corn (sadly, I can't remember what it's called). It was a whole heck of a lot of food that we were sure we wouldn't finish, but we did. The beef was super tender and--in a word--meat-licious. And the vegetables were so fresh! I'm totally going to introduce my friends to Mapo, now that it's on the map-o (ha! I could't resist.).

    Actually, don't let that previous line turn you off--Mapo is definitely worth checking out, either by car or subway. 

    One of these days I'll take pictures with a nice camera instead of my iPhone...For now, these photos will have to do.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    when in Rome, or New York

    I'm lucky that my company offers summer hours, which translates to half-day Fridays. Holla! If you know me, you know I really can't pull that off...anyway...Last Friday I finally made it to Obika, a mozzarella bar in Manhattan that opened over a couple years ago. The menu is designed so that you can create a meal around one (or all three!) of their mozzarellas (Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, to be exact). I opted for only one mozzarella (decent size that--when combined with vegetables or meat of the Italian variety--can easily be considered a meal or can be shared as an appetizer) with grilled vegetables and pesto. The mozzarella was light and slightly sweet, and for a few moments eating it made me feel as though I was spending a summer day in Rome, and not a summer Friday in midtown.

    Half-day Fridays were made for this...

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    where it all begins

    A few weeks ago, while on vacation in Seattle, at the suggestion of my husband's boss, we went to Le Panier. While we weren't given the name of the bakery, we were told 1) it was located in Pike Place Market, near the original Starbucks, and 2) it sold the most amazing croissants. Um, say no more, I'm on it!

    So after mistaking (and taking pictures of) a random Starbucks for the original (for the record, it was located just outside of the market and anyone could have made that mistake), my husband and I spotted the bakery. As we stood in line, I struggled over whether to get my favorite--almond croissant--or to go with chocolate, which I started to crave when I saw it. Decisions!! I approached the counter slightly stressed, but also ready to ask for one of each (it's what you do when you're on vacation). That's when I spotted 'Chocolatine'. "What's Chocolatine?" I wondered and immediately asked. "It's chocolate and almond cream," the woman answered. I couldn't believe what I was hearing... "Uh, yes, I'll have a Chocolatine, please." 

    To borrow a line from Fools Rush In (none of that is a typo), it was what I never knew I always wanted. And NOW I can't stop thinking about it and wondering what else may be out there that combines what I love most (perferrably, though not necessarily in a flaky pastry). 

    What surprise food combinations made your day?