Friday, May 30, 2008


There's this commercial--I don't think it's even on TV anymore--for these gross-looking pre-crumbled bits of Kraft cheese. The jingle is EMF's (I had to look that up) song You're Unbelievable except the song goes, "You're crumbeliveable!" And it really does sound like the guy from EMF is singing it. Anyway, every time the commercial came on Dan and I would dance around and yell "You're soo crumbelievable!" Yes, we have a very fun household.

Which brings me to my strawberry-rhubarb crumble, also made for Jamie's birthday. It is quite crumbelievable. (Oh!)

I admit this is not exactly a glamour shot above, but that's really the whole point of this dessert. Fruit crumbles (or crisps) are the opposite of fussy which makes them great for dinner parties. No cake knives, or fingerprints in the frosting, or having to make sure each person's serving is exactly the same size. They are easy to stick in the oven and bake while everyone is eating dinner, so they emerge hot and bubbly just as people are starting to finish up. You can use whatever fruit you have on hand, but since rhubarb season is quickly coming to an end it's the perfect time for this particular recipe.

I originally found this recipe in Diner Journal, a neat little quarterly by the folks who run Williamsburg's Diner and Marlow & Sons restaurants. The magazine has a very handmade-by-hipsters feel, but somehow manages to not be annoying and always has at least a handful of recipes that I make and like.

Strawberry rhubarb crumble
(Serves 4-6 people)

For the crumble:
4 cups rhubarb, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
4 cups strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch salt

For the topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
2 tsp. orange zest (optional, but really makes a difference)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the rhubarb and strawberries in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients and lemon juice and mix until combined. Place the fruit in a baking dish. To make the topping, place the ingredients in a food processor and process until the butter is pea-sized. Or just mix by hand. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is browned. When cool enough to eat, serve with ice cream (strawberry, vanilla, or cinnamon would be great) or Greek yogurt mixed with a little honey.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

a menu for jamie

Jamie is one of my oldest, dearest friends. Our friendship has withstood questionable high school fashion choices, month-long not-speaking-to-each-other drags, college in different states, and now both of us living on opposite coasts. He is, quite simply, a dream of a guy. So when I get a chance to see him, on his birthday no less, there is cause for celebration. And cupcakes. And steak.

Even though it's not quite summer yet, I wanted to make something summery for his Memorial Day weekend birthday--like an indoor picnic. In addition to a spread of tasty snacks supplied by myself and my lovely friend/kitchen helper Mindi (thanks, Min!) I put together this menu:

Jamie's Birthday:
Grilled sirloin
Roasted new potatoes with lemon-tarragon vinaigrette
Mixed tomato salad with blue cheese and basil
Caesar salad
Strawberry-rhubarb crumble with honeyed yogurt
Red velvet cupcakes

Because it's sort of boring to kick off this site with a recipe for grilled steak (and I am certainly no expert on the subject--we had to strategically position a fan to blow the smoke away from the living room) I'd like to share an adaptation of this terrific roasted potato salad recipe from Deborah Madison's Greens cookbook. It has an acidic dressing that's kind of like a German potato salad, but the fresh tarragon brightens the whole dish up a bit and makes it really delicious. It's too bad I don't have a photo of it (it's in that putty-colored bowl up there), so you'll have to use your imagination.

Yellow Finn Potato Salad with Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette
serves 4-6 people

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the olive oil. Slowly whisk in the oil until combined. Set aside.

For the salad:
2 lbs. Yellow Finn or new potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Champagne (or white wine) vinegar
1 Tsp. drained capers
*Optional, one can drained artichoke hearts (The original recipe includes an additional recipe for artichokes with lemon and mint, which I am sure is amazing, but I am lazy and skip this step.)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters and toss with a little oil and salt in a baking pan. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes. In a small bowl, toss the shallots with a little vinegar to draw out their color, and set aside. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, toss them a large bowl with the vinaigrette, shallots, capers, and artichokes, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.

well hello there

Dearest readers (hi, mom),

I realize I am desperately late to the blog game, but here we go.

I really love to cook. Things don't always turn out the way I imagine they will, but I love the process, the anticipation, and the end result--eating. But mostly I like sharing food with people. This site is a place to catalog menus, cooking experiments good and bad, delicious cocktails, and other food-related adventures. While it's easy to make a pot of pasta, or a salad, or a bowl of cereal for yourself, this will hopefully be a place to inspire you when other people are coming over and you need to make more than one thing. Or just one really great thing. I can't promise that all recipes will be exact, but hopefully there will be ideas here that make those people clean their plates and want to come over to your apartment again and again so you don't have to go to them. Because isn't that what dinner parties are really all about?

Thanks for reading.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin