video recipes

chocolate egg cream, a brooklyn classic

I know, you’re thinking “stop it, already”. You’re trying to stick to your healthy eating resolutions, and here I am sharing my chocolate egg cream recipe with you. Good news for us both—egg creams aren’t a calorie-laden treat. In fact, you can even make them dairy free, thanks to the recipe I shared recently for my homemade dairy free chocolate syrup.

Egg creams are part of any good Brooklyn upbringing. They’re as quintessentially New York as black and white cookies. And both are viewed as somewhat of an oddity outside of NYC. My vote for best is the long shuttered Dave’s Luncheonette in Chinatown. It’s been decades since I sipped one of their egg creams (I was a vanilla egg cream gal back then), but like my first crush, the memory lives on forever. Lou Reed even mentioned them in a song, which is news to me, so we never stop learning, it seems (also, I should come out of my cave more often). Continue reading »

passionfruit citrus sparkler

Well, that went by in the blink of an eye. Christmas, I mean, of course. I remember when I started my gift shopping some two months ago. Christmas shopping wasn’t even a goal on that particular day, but I stopped into one of the little shops at Wildwood near my apartment in Bethesda. Red Orchard reminded me very much of the local shops I used to support back in Brooklyn. Everything is well curated, with an eclectic array of affordable and extravagant items, mostly in tune with my sense of style and taste. So, when I happened to pop in there in early November, I unintentionally began my Christmas shopping.

This is how I usually approach the holidays. I’m not always a planner, but you’ll never catch me at the mall on Christmas Eve. Gift giving is one area where I don’t get caught up in the mad rush. But all that is for naught now, right? I mean, the advice or describing my approach. Soon, we’ll be taking down all the trimmings from the holidays. Before we get there, though, we still have some official goodbyes to bid 2015. It was a year filled with so much for which to be thankful. I’ll share more about that on Thursday. Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

peppermint cake truffles {video}

Isabella went on a cooking spree a few weeks ago. I’m not sure what inspired it exactly, but she pulled my cookbook off the shelf, and asked “mom, is it okay if I make cupcakes?” I mean, who says no to cupcakes, especially cupcakes baked by their kiddo? She proceeded to make a dozen cupcakes, a batch of vanilla buttercream frosting, my homemade chocolate syrup, and chocolate egg creams for all of us. Continue reading »

Easy DIY Candy Cane Sprinkles {video}

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, thinking about where I was both mentally and emotionally this time last year. A calm had washed over me mid-November of 2014. I began to settle in comfortably with the idea that I could be happy alone. I would throw myself into motherhood, and once the girls went on to begin their next chapters, I’d retire in a flat somewhere in NYC or Paris; maybe even divide my time between both places. And here I am now, one year later, so much for which to be thankful.

I wanted to pop into today and share a show and tell sort of post. It’s a silly, quick, and maybe obvious tip, but I think it’s useful enough to share with you all. I was making cake truffles last week (more on those later in the week!), and had one of those lightbulb moments. I went to the store in search of candy canes to crush and use as a garnish. My eyes caught sight of the minis, and they felt like the perfect size for what I needed. It was only when I got home that I realized they’re perfect for two reasons: you can crush them right in the wrapper, keeping the mess self-contained, and that same little package makes portion control a no brainer. Plus, they’re portable. Pack one in your purse, and you’re one step closer to enjoying a minty hot cocoa on the go. I’ll be using these candy cane sprinkles a lot this month!

my best pumpkin pie {video}

Last week my house was heavy with the scent of warm pumpkin pie. I know, I know. Who makes pumpkin pie a week before Thanksgiving? Me, that’s who. When my pie craving hit, I scoured the cupboards, convinced I had evaporated milk, but alas, there was none. I was going out to the store to get eggs and butter, and could’ve picked some up, but decided a pumpkin pie recipe sans the canned stuff might be more useful to all of you (spoiler alert: it was the best pumpkin pie, ever). We’ve all been there, at some point, a craving that seemingly can’t be fulfilled because of one missing ingredient, right? One day I might try making my own evaporated milk…(I can see Mikey doing an eye roll from above). For now, I decided to give it a try with heavy cream. I scaled back the amount of liquid, since my research told me it would be way too much cream if I just subbed in an equal amount for the missing evaporated milk. Continue reading »

no-roll pie crust {video}

Every morning I wake up, and promise myself I’ll get to bed early that night. And yet, here I am, almost midnight, talking about pie crusts. It’s a pressing subject this time of year. Literally. I know, the kids today use that word all wrong, but this is no joke. Tuck the rolling pin away, and let your fingertips do all the work to press the crust into the pan.

I’ve been hesitant to try this method for years now. I love rolling pie dough. Of course that only blossomed into deep affection once I developed a crust that didn’t result in tears. After years of working on creating a foolproof crust, would I have to abandon my tried and true recipe to use a new technique? The answer is no, thankfully.

The only tweak I made to my Foolproof Pie Crust is that I swapped in granulated maple sugar. It’s such a small amount, so don’t worry. Use what you have on hand. Here’s a quick video to show you how easy it is to use this no-roll pie crust method. So, I say put the kids on pie duty while you tackle the more challenging work to get the Thanksgiving meal on the table.

I’ll be back some time today, or first thing Wednesday with my new pumpkin pie recipe. If you’re not a fan of evaporated milk, or forget to buy it (as I often do!), you’ll want this recipe in your repertoire. The recipe also uses maple sugar, so it’s refined sugar-free. A nice option for a lighter dessert choice after enjoying the big feast.

Okay, time for some shuteye, folks. See you on the flip side.

Get my recipe for Foolproof Pie Crust here.

{how to} perfect mashed potatoes, every time

We grew up mostly eating mashed potatoes from a box. I once told that to my friend Carol, and she couldn’t believe such a thing even existed. The only time I really remember my mom making them from scratch was on Thanksgiving. Jokes about hanging wallpaper were inevitable. Mashed potatoes are the simplest thing to make, and yet, the easiest to mess up.

Many people reach for the hand or stand mixer to make them. Unless you’re careful, that’s a sure fire way to over work them, and make gluey, gummy potatoes. I’ve found four ingredients key in making the best mashed potatoes, ever: properly cooked taters, butter (and lots of it!), salt, and hot milk. And of course, the technique is crucial, too—ditch the electricity, and grab a hand masher. In fact, if your potatoes are cooked just right, a fork will even work for smaller, weeknight batches.

Continue reading »

{DIY} how to make brown sugar

It’s bound to happen, even if you’re a planner. You reach for the brown sugar, and boom—all out. No sweat; I’ve got you covered on this one. It’s so easy to make your own brown sugar at home that I rarely even buy it anymore. All you need is molasses and cane sugar to make it yourself. Of course, this means you need to have molasses on hand. Once you fall in love with molasses, the way I did a few years ago, that won’t be a problem. Here’s a quick video I made to show you just how easy it is to make brown sugar in the comfort of your own kitchen. And in case you need some inspiration to use up the rest of that molasses, I’m sharing links to a few of my favorite recipes. Continue reading »

{video} how to clean potatoes

I had a lightbulb moment this past summer while vacationing in Cape Cod. A trip to the farmers’ market in Truro brought this counter full of summer veggies into my life (along with some incredible olive oil and jarred olives). The potatoes were still covered with a good deal of the earth from which they’d been plucked. It reminded me of a funny story from when I was a kid. Continue reading »