Category Archives: Food

Recipe: Rosemary Sea Salt Focaccia

I wish I had never discovered how easy it is to make focaccia from scratch. My first batch was out of the oven for less than an hour, and I’m already conspiring about the next flavor that I want to make. Then I remembered that I had an entire sheet pan worth of fresh focaccia sitting in my kitchen, ready to be made into sandwiches and snacked on all week long — bliss!

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Focaccia is that beautiful, puffy bread that comes cut into large squares at the bakery. This bread is completely saturated in olive oil, which makes it all the more decadent. I used Anne Burrell’s super simple focaccia recipe, adding a few tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary to the top just before baking it. This is more of a time-consuming recipe than a difficult one (like most breads, it has to rise twice before baking), and it was totally worth it when the bread came out perfectly golden and chewy. There was more than enough to share with friends and coworkers while still holding on to a stash at home, too! One night we made simple sandwiches by cutting squares of this bread in half, toasting it with a little butter and garlic, and stacking slices of grilled steak inside — such an easy and delicious dinner.

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Macaron class for all!

cayennemacaron

Super exciting announcement today! As you may know, I teach a monthly class on making French macarons in New York. Thanks to the awesome people over at Skillshare, I’m now able to teach classes that anyone can take, anywhere! That’s right, I’m taking French Macarons 101 online!

The class starts on February 25th, and will run over the course of a week and a half. You’ll learn everything you need to know to make your own French macarons at home through a combination of video instruction and class discussion boards — pretty sweet, right?

You can register now for just $15. I promise that I’ll talk about how to make the sinfully delicious cayenne chocolate macarons that you see above, as well as a ton of other flavors! Hope to see you there!

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Balsamic Beef Stew

balsamicbeefstew

Even though I’m not a big meat-eater, I seem to have an affinity for beef stew. Especially when the days get as cold as the ones we’ve had lately, there is nothing better than a hearty stew to stick to your ribs and keep you warm. Last night’s dinner of Balsamic Beef Stew went above and beyond my expectations, and couldn’t have been simpler to make!

You may remember the Kerala-style beef stew that I posted here a while ago. My one (easily addressed) complaint with that recipe is that the beef isn’t slow cooked, resulting in tougher cubes of meat. This recipe is intended for the slow cooker, both to help the meat get fall-apart tender and to meld the incredible flavors packed into the soup.

I know that some people use red wine in beef stew to bring a hint of acidity and a little richness to the broth. The addition of just three tablespoons of balsamic vinegar instead just took me by complete surprise. Not only did it bring a rich body to the broth (thanks also, in part, to the addition of tomatoes), but it also gave it the most pleasant tang!

You can really use any kind of vegetable in this recipe — I skipped the root veggies and instead just went with sweet potato (I live with a carrot-hater… compromises). The herbs are really what make this dish special though — fresh rosemary and thyme give the soup a fresh, earthy flavor that I loved. And the best part is, I have plenty of leftovers to last me another day or two! Yum.

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Recipe: Tofu Scrambled Eggs

tofuscramble

I’m going to pretend that we always eat healthy around here: you know, that this isn’t my feeble attempt to eat healthy because the calendar recently changed over to a new year, bringing me a new-found desire to take care of my body, go to the gym, drink more water… definitely not the case. Whether or not you are plagued by the “get healthy” bug this month, I recommend trying out this recipe because it is really quite delicious AND healthy!

Tofu has never been my favorite food. It’s bland and can be a little rubbery, so the dishes I’ve enjoyed most have usually been fried (what doesn’t taste good fried, really?). These Tofu Scrambled Eggs are now top on my list of tofu dishes for a number of reasons: The tofu is crumbled (like scrambled eggs), which gives it a nicer consistency than when it’s cut into blocks. You can add pretty much any fresh veggies that you’d like into this dish and have something tasty! You can serve this meal as a fun riff on breakfast for dinner, or actually eat it for breakfast. And finally, it has turmeric in it, which gives it the beautiful natural yellow color AND is thought to have some nice health benefits! I’d make this again in a heartbeat — the only change I’d make would be adding some freshly diced avocado into the mix!

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Lunch

nypl-lunch-newautomatCredit: NYPL, Jonathan Blanc

“How much time do you have?” asked my friend Morgan.

I looked at the time. 12pm. I came in early that day, didn’t have another meeting until 2. “I think I can swing a full hour”

This made Morgan laugh. He was hours away from boarding a flight back to his home in Switzerland, where an hour minimum is a standard lunch break. And here I was, hemming and hawing over whether or not I could take a measly hour to catch up with a dear friend who I only get to see once or twice a year.

It’s no secret that Americans are some of the most stressed out human beings on the face of the planet, even if it is our own doing. We work long hours, bring our work home with us, and apparently don’t use half of our paid vacation time! AND we don’t take proper lunch breaks. Catch me on any normal day at the office, and there is a 99% chance that I’m eating my lunch in front of my computer — possibly while I’m still emailing.

Morgan shakes his head when I explain my routine. “You’re not meant to sit in front of the computer all day,” he says to me. “You need to take a break.”

This solution seems so simple, but in the back of my mind I can’t help but think, “it’s just not the way we do things here.” All the talk about lunch (and, I suppose, the unusual circumstance of sitting in a restaurant in the middle of the workday) takes me back to a fabulous exhibit that I visited a few weeks ago at the New York Public Library, Lunch Hour NYC.lunchhourIf you are in the city, I highly recommend that you visit this free exhibit if only for an excuse to wander inside the beautiful and historic library on 42nd Street (if you’re not in the area, you can check out the online exhibit!). Although the display is rife with nostalgic memorabilia, from menus to 1950s tin lunch boxes, there are some overarching themes that are so quintessentially American and which explain my lunchtime conundrum to a tee — everything was fast, convenient, and productive! The power lunch. Wonder bread. Food carts. All of the foundational elements that led us to the lunch break-averse culture that we are today.

I’m not saying that there is necessarily anything wrong with this. Sometimes I’d rather power through lunch to make my day go by faster and have one more thing crossed off of my to-do list before I head home. But I must confess that after lunch, a coffee, and a good conversation with an old friend (clocking in at an unthinkable hour and twenty-five minutes, no less!), I did feel more relaxed for the rest of the day.

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Recipe: Kerala Beef Stew

With the impending visit from Hurricane Sandy looming over us, Frank and I made a beeline for the grocery store to stock up on ingredients to make some hearty food that would keep us full and warm while we were stuck inside. I made this recipe from Bon Appétit a few weeks ago for the first time, and it was literally so good that I forgot to take photos before we devoured it, so this seemed like the perfect excuse to whip up another batch.

Kerala is a state in southwestern India (thank you, Wikipedia) where coconut palms are abundant, hence the addition of coconut milk into this delicious beef stew! When I saw that this recipe called for three serrano chilies, I was a little wary — we like some heat, but I’m a wimp when it comes to anything that hurts too much. As it turns out, the cooking seemed to mellow out the peppers, giving the soup a little zing without too much of a harsh bite. Honestly, I had a bigger problem with my fingers burning from the capsaicin (aka the chemical in peppers that makes them spicy) after just cutting the peppers.

I really love the chunky vegetables in this soup, as does my carrot-hating boyfriend who can just easily avoid eating them since they are in large pieces. The pearl onions are a special treat, as they really soak up the flavors of the soup nicely and add a texture that you just don’t get with a diced onion. Oh, and did I mention that this one is even better re-heated the next day? It’s a total win!

Hope everyone is staying safe and dry! As I write this, we’re watching our lights flicker and just waiting for the power to go out.

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Fall Flavors

I’m feeling very happy about the return of fall foods into our diets — I love incorporating carotene-rich foods like squash and sweet potatoes into our dinners. In a way, the natural sweetness of these kinds of foods makes them more of a treat to eat than a healthy food.

In other slightly unhealthy food news, I’m also having a great time incorporating some delicious fall flavor into my favorite treat: macarons! I tried out a new flavor combination last week that proved to be quite delicious: caramel apple! I’m a fan of caramel apples, but my one problem with them is that I am always tempted to just eat the caramel off of the outside and leave most of the apple uneaten (I know, I know… the point of a caramel apple is that there is an APPLE involved). These macarons were the perfect solution: sweet apple-flavored buttercream mixed with a buttery homemade caramel filling (Food52 had a great feature on making your own caramel last week). I dusted the top of these green beauties with a touch of cinnamon, and voila! Equally tasty parts of apple (ok, so it was in a buttercream — sue me) and caramel in a compact macaron bite! What fall flavors are showing up in your kitchen lately?

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