June, 2009 Archive

Monday, June 29, 2009

cherry brown butter bars

cherry brown butter bars

I don’t know what’s happening to me — maybe it’s third trimester dwindling energy levels and an accompanying desire to get the most bang from my feeble bursts of productivity — but all of a sudden, I find myself saying that I don’t want to cook this thing or that because it’s not practical. Practical! Who am I? Certainly not the girl who baked a wedding cake last summer in her tiny, overheated kitchen. Certainly not a person who has [shh, can’t tell you]-making and a 12-layer cake on her summer cooking agenda.

sweet cherries

Take this recipe, for example. It was originally a delicious-looking raspberry brown butter tart from this month’s Bon Appetit magazine. And although I usually associate brown butter with winter cooking — hazelnut brown butter cakes, brown butter shorties, pear crisps and brown butter with chestnuts and brussels sprouts, yes please. — and although I’ve never met a dessert tart I didn’t like, all I could think was “these would be so much more practical as a bar cookie!” Practical, there’s that word again. It’s all over for me, isn’t it?

cherry pittingpits and stemscherries a-pittedliquid ingredients Continued after the jump »

Thursday, June 25, 2009

mediterranean pepper salad


I have to own up to something: I’ve lost interest in leafy salads. There was a time when we filled out every dinner meal with mixed greens with a light vinaigrette and any plate without them looked sparse. But somewhere along the line, the world of lettuce has been so co-opted by bagged and pre-washed, chlorine-tinged flavorless green leaf-looking structures (what, do I sound like I have a bone to pick with them or something?) that not even fancy restaurants are a reliable source of good leafy salads anymore, and so, for the most part, I’ve bowed out, making only occasional exceptions made for nice greens mix or crunchy, velvety Bibb lettuce at a farmers market.

red onionbell pepperskirby cucumberfeta

Leafy salads are overrated, anyway, especially in the face of the big crunch and longer fridge shelf life of mixtures like this. And well, I know that chasing chocolate snack cakes with such egregious healthfulness will likely encourage nothing but yawns, the truth is, little has changed since I coined myself months ago The Most Boring Pregnant Eater, ever, with my steady diet of grapes, raw broccoli and now sweet red peppers. [Don’t worry, I still had ice cream for dinner last night, except it was actually a frozen yogurt shake with a cup of chopped mango blended in — like I said, boring! ]

quick-pickled red onions

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

chocolate yogurt snack cakes

chocolate yogurt snack cake THIEF

Every summer, chocolate grows a little neglected in my kitchen. I don’t mean to let it happen — in my mind, there are few higher confectionery callings than brownies or ganache — but as soon as I start seeing rhubarb and strawberries and raspberries at the markets, and just today peaches (!) and blueberries (sorry NYC, there are none left. I bought them all), I start daydreaming about crisps and cobblers and grunts and crumb cakes and suddenly the winter’s stash of chocolate has grown soft and neglected in my pantry.

milk and dark chocolate fevesliquid ingredientsfleur de seladding chocolate

You could argue that a lot of chocolate desserts can feel too heavy in the summer, especially those flourless truffle bombs and their gooey warm restaurant-plated compatriots. I know, I know: What kind of pregnant woman rejects chocolate? But such weighty sweets have lost all appeal since I started carting around a tiny Bruce Lee in my abdomen; real estate needs to be carefully allotted so not to draw the ire of this 1.5-pound bundle of fist jabs.

chocolate yogurt cake batter

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

horseradish potato salad

horseradish potato salad

It’s Father’s Day around these here parts which is supposed to mean one thing, really (you know, aside from hanging out with the dads, and papas-to-be in your life): backyard grilling. Alas, New York City has moved to Seattle this June, and we’ve spent more time umbrella bumping on sidewalks and avoiding street juice puddles than actually being beckoned to suburban backyards for some sun and chaise lounge napping but don’t worry, I still made you some potato salad. You know, in case the weather decides to get out of its funk for an hour or two.

rainbow potatoes
rainbow potatoes, cooked

I’ve been mumbling about making a horseradish potato salad for a few weeks now, threatening I guess is more like it, because I know horseradish is another of those Great Divider ingredients. Many find it spicy, and well, many varieties are, but the vast majority of the jars that I grab in the grocery store aisle are about as ferocious as a kitten. What I was really after was that cool but heady sinus-clearing aroma, which I imagined that paired with creamy dressing and some fresh dill and chives would be a most welcome accent to whatever we throw on the grill. (Oh please please let it be Molly’s ribs!) And while we’ve only had the smallest of samples (see how giving I am?), this Russian I live with gives it his hearty seal of approval, and looks forward to next Father’s Day, when he won’t be stuck washing up the dishes when he’s done.


Continued after the jump »

Thursday, June 18, 2009

strawberries and dumplings

drizzle the dumplings with cream

Have you met my favorite chicken and dumpling dish? Well, let me introduce you to its sweet summer fling: strawberries and dumplings, or in this case, strawberries so tiny, one took a nap inside a soda cap and dumplings so plump, they nudged and piled upon one another like newborn puppies. Yes, in case that didn’t give it away: the cuteness of this dish nearly killed me dead.

in a soda cap, for scale

I caught this “Dessert of the Month” from Gourmet.com last week, and knew it had to be ours. I won’t lie, as soon as it becomes remotely summery around here I spend more of my time scheming ways to avoiding cooking than I do actually fixing things. Quick-stewed strawberries with an easy dough scooped on top? Sold, to the laziest bidder!

tiny south jersey strawberriesstrawberries, decapitatedstrawberries, maceratingmaking dumpling doughforming the dumplingsdumplings, all plumped

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