Recipes

fried rice with zucchini, tomatoes and parmesan

Fried rice is a triumph of resourcefulness. It’s budget-friendly, all leftovers are welcome, and there’s no strict formula or ingredient list, jus stir-frying cooked rice with whatever you have around — eggs, scraps of vegetables, seafood, or meat — and seasoning the lot of it with soy sauce and garlic. This single-skillet/wok dinner is ready to be torn into in 10 minutes.

what you'll needchop if bigi don't know the real name for this chop so I call it "teeth"hello pretties

Hailing from East, Southeast and South Asian cuisine, it has absolutely nothing to do with the vague Italian/Mediterranean terroir of these ingredients, but I have for almost as many years as I’ve made Zucchini, Tomato and Rice Gratin (from a 2008 Gourmet Magazine, so: many) wished it could be a kind of wildly inauthentic Italian fried rice too. The original dish is a bit bit fussy as written — two baking sheets, one pot in which to cook the rice, saute pan for the onions and more, followed by a baking dish for the assembled gratin — and while the rewards for this effort are great, the level of effort ensures I make it approximately once every two years, a shame when all of the ingredients are so readily available in August.

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Recipes

blackberry-blueberry crumb pie

I am completely and utterly failing at having a low-key, lazy summer. In part because, wait, didn’t summer just begin (NYC schools go to essentially the last day of June) and more largely because I seem to be jumping from big project to big project, we’re suddenly approaching the midpoint of August and I’m faintly panicked that this summer will be over before I have taken in sufficient levels of sun, sand, toasted marshmallows, vacation, and hot, sticky laziness that veers into boredom to fortify us for a big exciting fall and an always-too-long and always-too-cold winter. The fix begins now.

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Recipes

german chocolate cake + a wedding cake

Many years ago, with absolutely no experience or clue, I made a wedding cake for friends. It was fun and I learned a lot, but in the end declared it “fully out of my system.” Apparently, 9 years is the statute of limitations on such claims, which is how it came to pass that when one of my oldest friends asked me to make his wedding cake, the words “that would be so much fun!” flew out of my mouth before anyone could talk me out of it. Would you like to come along for the ride?

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Recipes

hummus heaped with tomatoes and cucumbers

Like clockwork every summer, I decide that the only thing I want to eat, maybe forever because when it’s warm out I completely forget winter is coming (I’m sorry, I had to), are variations on tomato-cucumber salad. We did a world tour of these last year and it might take me another decade of Smitten Kitchen-ing but I will get to them all. Left to our own devices, my husband and I probably would probably eat do exactly this for dinner at least a couple nights a week but when feeding kids, I always feel the need — I mean, what are they, growing rapidly and we’re supposed to fuel them with balanced meals or something? — to provide a little more than a bowl of cucumbers and tomatoes for dinner. You know, protein and stuff.

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Recipes

confetti party cake

There comes a time in every parent’s life when love must be expressed through buttercream, food dye, and sprinkles; I just didn’t know it would be so soon this time. For my daughter’s second birthday, I planned, as I had as had on her first and her brother’s 7 birthdays to date,* to do my best to heed the siren call of sugar and red dye 40 and then, you know, translate that into something that’s both tasty but not fully plastic. (This is all of parenting, by the way.) My plan had been to make a party-sized Swedish Princess Cake because have you had this buttery cake with custard, jam, whipped cream and a marzipan dome with a single pink rose in the middle? Nothing could be more fitting for our curly-haired wildling. But then Elmo happened.

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Recipes

grilled pizza

Before we snuck a grill onto our balcony one glorious day last May, I would regularly show up at friends-with-grills homes with prepared pizza dough and a few toppings in the summer; I love grilled pizza so much that I’d feed a crowd just to get my fix. It was one of the first things I made when we bought our own. The benefits of cooking pizza outside are manifold. With heat circulating all around the pizza and the dough resting on open grates instead of a flat tray, I find that you can get more texture — crisp on the outside but staying stretchy within — and flavor — charred spots that will immediately remind you of your favorite brick-oven pizzeria, without heating up your apartment, pretty much the last thing any of us want to do in the summer. Plus, it’s really quick. Once your dough is purchased or prepared, you could be eating your pizza in 10 minutes; not bad for a homemade dinner after a long day.

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Recipes

best hot fudge sauce

There are a lot of good reasons to put two small jars of homemade hot fudge sauce in your fridge in approximately 10 minutes and possibly forever:
• Hot fudge sauce is the easiest thing on earth to make, and absolutely nothing from a squeeze bottle compares. Not even the stuff at local ice cream parlors, even the kinds that boast about ingredient origins and write their menus on chalkboard walls, are the same. I’m still grumpy about the time I was a gazillion months pregnant ordered hot fudge sauce and someone poured chocolate syrup over my ice cream. I resisted, however, waddling back there and showing them how to make it correctly. I’m sorry I do not behave as well with you.

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Recipes

easy drop berry shortcakes

A couple weeks ago, and because I admittedly ask my husband to pick up strawberries on his way home far more often than I have an exact “agenda” for them besides, you know, breakfast, lunch, and dinner — I made the strawberry shortcake recipe in the archives. These famed shortcakes — my version is adapted from Claudia Fleming and Russ Parsons, but this same approach was favorite by James Beard and more, I suspect they all hung out together — are unique in that instead of using eggs or just egg yolks, they use the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs. This allows the yolks to do their wonders (golden color, velvety texture) without ostensibly toughening the dough. It’s all very sound. It tastes very good. And it is the reason that I make shortcakes approximately once every four years.

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Recipes

stovetop americanos

Last December, I announced to I’m sure at least ten thousand well-deserved eye rolls that after 10 years of food blogging and one (now two!) cookbook I had finally learned how to make coffee. I mean, yeah, it was melodramatic. I, too, can scoop whatever the Maxwell House can says into the filter and press the on button, as I did most weekend mornings as a kid. What I meant was that I had figured out how to make the coffee I most liked to drink and spent too much money on at coffee shops these days, and I had found this delight with the simplest old-fashioned thing, a stovetop espresso maker.

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