Recipes

marbled banana bread

Less than a week after I delivered the ostensibly completed manuscript for that my second cookbook (just 40 days now!), I received an email from someone was looking for a recipe for a chocolate-vanilla marble cake like the one her grandmother had made, one that had great texture and wasn’t too sweet. She said that no recipe she’d tried had achieved this, and could I help?

what you'll need
the batter begins in one bowl

I became obsessed; I loved the idea and I fiddled until I came up with a marble cake I loved, moist, deeply chocolaty in the dark swirls, but no throwaway blandness in the light ones… and then I added it to the book. Editors love this, by the way, almost as much as mine loved the ten recipes I swapped in in December and the three in January, and the introduction that I didn’t write until February. Seriously, just let me know if you ever want me to write that How Not To Write A Book Book.

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Recipes

tomato bread + a bit about spain

Before we had kids — you know, when we got to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, or so it seems in glowy hindsight — we went on vacation whenever we found an intersection of cheap airfare and unused vacation time. Then (and I bet this isn’t an unfamiliar story) we had a kid and travel abruptly stopped. What with all of the upbeat stories of angelic children on airplanes, enthusiastically staying seated for 8+ hours and effortlessly adapting to new time zones and cuisines, I can’t imagine how, can you? Plus, between naptimes and nappies and strollers and sippies and snack cups, wouldn’t we just be spending a considerable amount of money just to find a new group of strangers to apologize for our kids-being-kids to?

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Recipes

corn chowder with chile, lime and cotija

I evicted a longtime resident of my To Cook list this week with this corn chowder. I have no argument with traditional corn chowder — it has cream, bacon, and potatoes and thus would be impossible not to love as soup or salad — but I adore to the point of boring everyone around me with my gushing, Mexican-style corn either elote-style (on the the cob rolled in butter, mayo, lime juice and coated with salty crumbled cotija cheese and chile powder or a chile-lime seasoning blend) or esquites-style (all of the above, but in a cup). This corn chowder attempts to celebrate the best of both.

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Recipes

cheesecake bars with all the berries

This has been my go-to cheesecake for as long as I have cooked. Gourmet Magazine published it in 1999, but the recipe hailed from Santa Fe’s Three Cities of Spain coffeehouse* a place I didn’t know a thing about until this week, when curiosity got the better of my intentions to something succinct about cake for once in my food blogging life. Up the road from an artists’ colony, it was apparently a popular hangout in the 1960s for local bohemia, hosting an eclectic mix of entertainment from poets and musicians to foreign films. It closed in the mid-1970s, probably around the time Santa Fe was starting to become too expensive for starving artists. Canyon Road, once dirt, was paved. From Googling, it looks like the old adobe home that housed it (apparently built in 1756) became Geronimo restaurant (named after the man who built it) in the early 1990s, and is still open today. What does this have to do with the cheesecake they kept in the pastry case? Very little, friends — and please correct me if this Manhattan-ite got any Santa Fe details wrong — but I can’t resist a cake with a story.

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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, just 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.

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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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