Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thank goodness for summer

Yesterday, I thought to myself "I should probably blog about something, I've been doing a pretty good job getting posts up lately and I shouldn't blow it" and then I realized that I had absolutely nothing to blog about. No food. No pictures. Nothing. What's a girl to do? I headed over to the farmer's market in Long Island City for some summer vegetables that my CSA doesn't provide (like eggplant - something about beetles spoiling their crop - and corn - we got some, but none for the last few weeks) and got to cooking.

My parents have heard me complain a lot about salad over the years, but truth be told, I don't mind salad all that much (if I make it myself. Or if it's from a really good restaurant). The kind of salad that I enjoy usually involves some sort of cooked component (roasted beets, warm bacon, candied walnuts, etc) and no Romaine lettuce. I can't help it. So here's my new salad of the evening:

Warm Corn and Tomato Salad

1 ear of corn
1 red pepper
1 roma tomato
1 shallot
1 clove of garlic
goat cheese
a few basil leaves
a handful of salad mix
olive oil

1. Chop up a red bell pepper, a shallot and garlic.

2. In a large pan, heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the pepper, shallot and garlic to the pan and cook until the vegetables soften (a few minutes). Chop up the tomato and add that to the pan. Let the tomato break down a little, but not so much that it all turns to mush. Then cut the kernels off the ear of corn and add those too. Cook until the corn is just warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Throw a little salad mix at the bottom of a salad bowl. I coated it with a little bit of basil oil and freshly ground pepper, but it's not really necessary.

4. Pour the warm vegetable mixture on top of the leaves. Add some freshly crumbled goat cheese and torn basil on top and enjoy!

This salad was really delicious. The cool goat cheese and warm corn played off each other well. It was a great way to get some end of the summer vegetables into our meal (please say summer's not over! I'm not ready for winter!!!!!!!!!).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good lord, this cake is amazing

As far as desserts go, there is nothing I love more than a nice warm cookie and a big glass of milk. I love to make cookies, eat cookies, give cookies to other people, whatever cookie options there are, I love them. However, I've been trying to use all the fruit that I get in my CSA each week and as far as I'm concerned, the more baking I can do, the better. So when I saw this recipe on The Amateur Gourmet, I figured, what the hell. Gotta use that local seasonal fruit.

Good lord, it is amazing. I'm not a huge cake fan, but a slice of this straight out of the oven? I'm kvelling. It rocks.

Nectarine Golden Cake
from Gourmet Magazine (I'm still sad about no more Gourmet by the way. Bon Appetit just isn't cutting it)

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
Rounded 1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
3/4 cup plus 1/2 Tbs sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp pure almond extract
2 nectarines, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges - I love it when you don't have to peel fruit by the way. Yay!
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

Equipment: a 9-inch springform pan - I totally have one of these now! Thanks, Alex! Yay for wedding presents.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F with rack in middle. Lightly butter springform pan.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt (Full disclosure: I totally skipped this step).

3. Beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in extracts. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined.

I have a stand mixer now as well! Wedding presents are neat. Marriage is pretty neat as well.

4. Spread batter evenly in pan. It'll be pretty short - but it'll rise later.

Scatter nectarines over top. Stir together nutmeg and remaining 1/2 Tbsp sugar and sprinkle over top.

Bake until cake is golden-brown and top is firm but tender when lightly touched (cake will rise over fruit), 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove side of pan and cool to warm.

The cake is delicious. It forms a kind of crust around the edges that gives way to a light airy cake dotted with fruit. The almond extract and nutmeg give it some deep flavor that regular yellow cake doesn't have. It's perfect with a little bit of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Make it now. But be careful - I ate about 1/4 of the cake before Zack got home. Whoops.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Alli makes a pie

Alli sent me this picture from her travels this summer:

And I said "I want one, please." So when she came to visit, she made me one. She's not big with the recipe following and she's not sitting here right now, but I'll do my best to remember all the steps.

First, blitz one bag of Newman's chocolate cookies in the food processor.

You could use Oreos, or chocolate wafers or whatever. I'm pretty sure Alli picked Newman's because she's so healthy. But they were good.

Melt about half a stick of butter, mix it with the crumbs and pat it into a pie pan.

Aren't Alli's nails cool? She's so funny. Anyways, bake the pie crust for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

In my amazing stand mixer (you could just use a spoon - or a hand mixer), Alli mixed 1 cup of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of sugar, one 8 oz package of cream cheese, half a stick of melted butter and 1 tsp of vanilla (I think).

She also whipped up a pint of cream.

Then she folded it into the peanut butter mixture.

She's a happy kid.

Then she poured the peanut butter mixture into the pie crust and we chilled it for a while.

Now it's pie!!!!!!

Doesn't it look good? All creamy and amazing and not too sweet - but you could amp up the sugar if you wanted. Chocolate and Peanut Butter = everybody wins.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Here's a little break from pictures of my sister. I've been making popsicles all summer long and there are a billion ways to do it. My favorite way to make a cool summer treat?

1) Mash up some fruit.

Whatever you've got, berries, peaches, melon, whatever. It's all gonna be good.

2) Take some greek yogurt (I use non-fat - healthier) and thin it out with a little bit of milk. Add a bit of honey and vanilla (if you have it. If not, that's okay too). Mix in the fruit.


2b) Just add some juice/water, whatever. Mix in the fruit.

3) Pour the mixture into super awesome popsicles molds!

If you don't have popsicles molds, you could pour the mixture into paper cups and stick popsicle sticks in. That would be fine too.

4) Freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

5) Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!

This one is a peach blueberry yogurt pop. It was delicious but had to be eaten to make way for pureed watermelon with lemonade. Which was also delicious. I love summer.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I love my parents. A lot. They are great parents and they took me, my sister, Zack and my uncle Steven to a beach house this past week. It was relaxing, warm, and fun.

The one teeny tiny complaint I might possibly have about going on vacation with my parents? They are really healthy eaters (which, you know, is great. And admirable. But not always the tastiest). For several days, I cooked vegetables. And more vegetables. And they tasted pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. But at some point, a girl's gotta sneak off for some homemade ice cream.

John's is a classic beach-y drive in, complete with burgers and shirtless dudes at the counter.

My sister, the all-american outdoors-y type, ordered a strawberry milkshake with homemade ice cream.

I have severe food envy, so I ordered the same thing.

The shakes were cold, creamy and fruity. Alli and I both loved this quick break of sugar and fat. Don't tell my parents!!!! (Sorry guys, you know I love you. Vegetables are great)

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year

No, not Xmas time. It's Alli visits Lena in NYC time!!! Every August my sister comes to New York to shop (I mean visit me) and we always have a really good time (see us eat knishes! Or cook eggplant!). Sometimes we try on matching dresses.

And sometimes, we eat ice cream.

The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck is a legendary New York City truck. It travels around the city serving crazy cones like the Bea Arthur or the Salty Pimp. It's not very old, but I've read about it several times this year and this seemed like a great time to try it out.

We both ordered the Salty Pimp - vanilla soft serve with dulce de leche and sea salt, dipped in chocolate.

Holy Moley, it was good. There is almost nothing I love more than sweets with salt. The caramel sauce mixed with the chocolate and salty goodness? I'd eat this every day. But then I'd get fat, so I'll just stick with sometimes. Here it is all eaten down.

And then Alli got some awesome new glasses and ate ice cream and all was right with the world.