Wednesday, September 28, 2011
When I was a kid I used to love to go apple picking in the fall for the same reason most people do – apple cider doughnuts. So a few years ago when Kim suggested an excursion to an orchard outside of Manhattan, I jumped at the opportunity. Let’s just say I won’t be returning soon!
Many orchards advertise themselves as being 40 minutes from midtown Manhattan which in the dead of winter might be the case. However, as soon as the scent of seasonal apples starts to hit the city’s supermarkets, expect a mass exodus of screaming kids heading to pick their own apples. Imagine cars backed up for miles waiting to pass through quaint gates guarding the ripe apples. Imagine flocks of kids descending on the trees like crazed bees. Oh, and imagine crazed bees too.
Anyways, until Xavier begs and pleads to participate in this ritual, I’m getting my apples on the corner of 97th and Broadway. Last night I stopped in on my way home and decided to make what Heidi Swanson calls an “unfussy apple cake”. It’s no apple cider donut but it’s a delicious, hearty and somewhat healthy way to showcase fall’s prized fruit. I used a bit more than two cups of apples and added a pinch of nutmeg and ground ginger. I loved it. Xavier hated it. He’s probably holding out for an apple cider donut.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Anybody that has done anything with Mark knows that he likes excess. That’s his charm. Moderation is overrated. When you go to dinner, you don’t split an appetizer. When you travel to Cartagena, you don’t stay in a youth hostel. And when you go camping, you buy 36 eggs.
Only I would bring leftovers home from a camping trip! I wasn’t going to let those eggs go to waste though so yesterday morning I woke up with over 20 eggs in my fridge. It seemed like the right time to make a frittata. I loosely followed the recipe for an Onion Frittata on Bon Appetit that Rebecca recommended.
I tweaked it to incorporate the vegetables I had on hand and added potatoes to bulk it up a bit. I started by sautéing onions and thinly sliced red potatoes until soft and then I added a huge bunch of spinach. One the spinach was wilted I added the egg and gruyere (instead of Parmesan) mixture. Before I put it in the oven, I tossed some grape tomatoes that I had roasted ahead of time with a pinch of brown sugar and olive oil. (I roasted them ahead of time not because I wanted to be gourmet but because they were looking a little lackluster. This is a fantastic way to revive them.)
The result was a very flavorful, hearty and attractive frittata that was packed with vegetables and protein. Not bad for camping leftovers. Thanks Mark!
Friday, September 9, 2011
Regardless of whether or not I’m having eight people or one person over for dinner, I feel like I need to make something out of the ordinary. I think that feeling has grown stronger since I moved uptown and know most people have a longer commute to join me at my table.
Last Thursday I had plenty of food in my fridge, it was pouring rain, I was slammed at work and I was running late to relieve the sitter. I tried to convince myself to throw together a nice meal with the ingredients already in my fridge, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the beautiful heirloom mini-tomatoes I had seen at the market the day before. (Why didn’t I buy them the day before? My ability to be organized has gone down the tube.) So I pushed my way off the subway past a maze of umbrellas and made a beeline for the tomatoes.
Once dry and warm in my apartment, I got to work making a tomato cobbler that caught my eye on Lottie and Doof. It’s a fairly time consuming but easy recipe that lent itself well to slow preparation, a glass of wine and a chat with my friend Laura. I followed the recipe below fairly closely – carmelizing the onion and garlic mixture, making dough with cold butter, cream and Gruyere and baking it all for an hour. I added basil (I had to use something
Obviously the recipe’s success lies in the quality of the seasonal tomatoes so my rainy dash paid off. It’s very rich…deliciously rich but rich nonetheless. Next time I will try to substitute milk for the cream and cut back even more on the oil. And I’ll buy the damn tomatoes the day before. http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2011/08/tomato-cobbler/