maple orange butter

I like to say I’m opinionated, and not just judgey, but who are we kidding? I’m a New Yorker. Perhaps even worse (or is it best); I’m a Brooklyn gal, through and through. We judge, regardless of what we say, and sometimes without any sensibility to our conclusions. And so that is why my visit to Teaism in D.C. about a month ago was such a pleasant surprise. I grubbed a ride into the city with my guy, and was delivered door to door from suburbia to Dupont Circle. When he first suggested it as a good place to settle in with free WiFi to escape the noise of construction currently going on at our building, I shrugged my nose. You know that kind of shrug where it pushes your eyeglasses way above your eyebrows.

I’d come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t like the place just based on the name. It didn’t sound appealing, even though I understood the play on words going on with it. Well, later that morning I enjoyed my size seven shoe with a side of some pretty awesome French Toast & Orange Butter. It sounds basic, I know. And for all intents and purposes, it was, but it was prepared so perfectly. Nice, crisp edges, golden brown, and that butter elevated the whole thing to spectacular. Now, if you’re an experienced cook, you already know making compound butters is incredibly easy. And if you’re new to this whole notion of mixing flavors into softened butter, then listen up—this is a trick you want to use for every brunch or breakfast you host. The wow factor tops the charts, and will ensure your place as a domestic diva.

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pumpkin scones

Like the quick snap of a finger, October is upon us. Is it me, or did that seem to come out of nowhere? My mind is a jumble of confusion, not having settled into all the realities of 2013, and now there’s only three months left to it. If only we could press pause, and take a moment to catch up, but time is relentless.

I must confess, I felt downright annoyed when I saw people pinning pumpkin recipes in September. I wanted to scream from the rooftops to cut it out. Time pushes forward fast enough, with no need for us to nudge it along. And yet, what am I sharing with you today—a recipe for pumpkin scones. Thankfully I adore all of my shoes, making it easier to digest the proverbial foot in my mouth. In my defense, though, October is a perfectly acceptable month to talk pumpkin. Oui?

I just wanted to pop in here for a quick hello. Life has been one big rush since I got back from Paris last week. My feet barely touched the ground in Brooklyn, and I was packing a couple of days later to leave for Baltimore. It was a whirlwind 36 hours, doing a cooking demo at the Baltimore Book Festival on Saturday, and then up bright and early on Sunday for a 6:30am call time at WBAL where I made my apple breakfast bars on-air. I’m going to catch my breath a bit, and play around with some more new pumpkin recipes before I blink and the calendar turns to 2014. Continue reading »

broccoli rabe & fresh ricotta frittata {Homemade with Love}

To the rest of the world, this simply looks like a bunch of celery. Albeit an incredibly gorgeous, delicate bundle, with a flavor only celery from the farmers’ market could possibly capture. That bunch in particular probably came from Maxwell’s Farmstand at the Grand Army Plaza farmers’ market.

I feel the lump welling up in my throat as I write this, and yet I can’t pull my fingers away from the keyboard. I feel crazy even going “there”, but that celery is the last bunch of celery I bought while Michael was alive. It’s celery for heaven’s sake, and it’s capable of reducing me to tears. At moments like this I want to bury my face into a pillow and collapse into a pool of tears. I bought that celery the day before Mikey died. I came across it while looking through my photo archives for a recipe of the Broccoli Rabe & Fresh Ricotta Frittata from Homemade with Love, and suddenly found myself frozen as I inched closer to the photos I took in the days leading up to his death.

It’s not just a bunch of celery, just like these aren’t just a box of matches.

It’s a bunch of celery on the windowsill of our old apartment…in the kids’ old room, which was actually our bedroom before we even had kids.

That celery represents something I can never have again. That celery represents a routine I so loved, and have struggled to get back into the last 20 months. See, before Mikey died, I woke up every Saturday morning at 7:00am, got dressed quietly and snuck out of the house to go to the farmers’ market at Grand Army Plaza. I would beat the crowds, and get the best of whatever was in season before most people had rubbed the sleep from their eyes. Continue reading »

lemon poppy scones

Funny how after spending so much time with someone, you start to think like one being. This holds true for the partners you choose in both life and crime.

Often, I talk to Olga and find we're on the same wavelength in the kitchen. Still, I chuckled a bit when I read her blog this morning to see she posted about scones just yesterday. Orange poppy scones, to be exact.

Our worlds collide, in a delicious way, yet again.

I know the scones she's talking about too. I had the great fortune to taste them, hot from the oven in the Everyday Food test kitchens earlier this week. It was as amazing as you can imagine, and like Olga, I want to live in the prop closet, amidst the rows of cake stands. I'd also like someone to organize my life as neatly as that closet. Yes, I'm jealous of a prop closet. Go figure.

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traditional cream scones

There's this wedding tomorrow, and I hear it's going to be a fancy affair. Instead of donning my Sunday best, though, I plan to arrive in my jammies.

I'm not even putting in contacts. My specs will have to do.

As for make-up—ha! Not so much as under eye concealer.

I think the Queen, prince and princess-to-be will understand. They have staff to attend to their needs, while I tend to play staff to my own princesses-in-waiting.

Yes, I'll be one of those dorks waking while darkness still covers New York City, to watch the Royal Wedding. There are lots of naysayers, perhaps even a few of you, who roll their eyes at this thought.

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Italian easter bread

Last night I hosted a Passover seder for my in-laws. Today my Easter Bread recipe is featured on The Washington Post. It's a poetic juxtaposition of the two worlds I float between.

But I have Kim in my head, whispering "be happy for the moment". So I will let my quandry of how to raise the girls with a spiritual guidance rest for just a few minutes.

I will push that feeling of limbo, my wonders of what really happens in the afterlife—if there is an afterlife, to the recesses of my brain for a few moments and enjoy what I have worked hard to achieve.

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french onion tart

A few years back Isabella and I were strolling through a neighborhood supermarket. Her eyes locked with a display of blueberries, and in her sweet little voice she asked if we could buy some.

It was January.

Close friends can already predict my answer. The rest of you might think me insane.

I told my then four year old daughter she couldn't have blueberries. I know, you're wondering why would anyone do such a thing.

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oat ricotta pancakes

A little birdy told me that today was National Pancake Day. Since I'm convinced Isabella could live on pancakes if given the chance, it seemed fitting to dedicate a special post to her favorite breakfast food.

There’s an ongoing joke during mealtimes. Once a plate hits the table Isabella asks “is there ricotta in here mom?”. Growing up it was relegated to baked ziti, lasagna and sometimes a dollop on a bowl of pasta. Nowadays you'll find me spreading it on toasted bread with marmalade for a late night snack, adding a spoonful of warm, creamy curds to oatmeal, in lentil "meatballs" and waffles.

I’ve never been a sneaky chef, so the goal of these pancakes is not to fool anyone. It serves a dual-purpose, feeding my addiction to homemade ricotta while fulfilling her favorite breakfast request. It's also a recipe born of thrift since I first started adding ricotta to pancakes and waffles to use up any extra hanging around the fridge.

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lemon poppy muffins

There was a period when my favorite lunch was a corn muffin and chicken soup. It was my senior year of college and one of my part-time jobs was working as a bank teller at Manufacturers Hanover Trust on 14th street in the city. 

I felt swanky commuting from campus at Brooklyn College in my business suit. Beneath the facade, though, was just a girl with simple needs. So simple, that my favorite lunch, when I wasn't brown bagging it, was at the local diner—a toasted muffin and bowl of chicken soup. It was a comforting and relatively inexpensive treat, especially on stressful days.

I still enjoy a bowl of chicken soup when the sniffles strike, but my love for muffins runs deeper than the occassional fever. Perhaps it's because I always fancied toasted muffins and a cup of coffee such a grown up thing to eat. Back then my favorite was corn, preferably split and crisped on a griddle—a totally different experience than simply popping in the toaster.

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brown butter pear & meyer lemon muffins

Foodie, but not a food snob.

That’s the description below Aggie’s name on her twitter profile. The words have been ricocheting through my brain for a few days now.

Food, like poetry is very subjective. Perhaps this is why Mark Bittman always gets under my skin. Sure he has great recipes, but all of his lead ins seem to negate, sometimes downright insult, something someone else likes as a means to justify why he’s created a particular recipe.

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