Tuesday, May 31, 2011

(kinda-healthy) rhubarb-raspberry crisp

Fruit crisps are one of my favorite desserts to make and eat. With crisps, you don't have to worry about whether the batter will rise, or roll out dough, or wait for butter to soften to room temperature. Crisps are just a tumbling together of ingredients baked until bubbly--the best sort of baking for the often-distracted, improvisational, inexact cook. That is to say, me.

It's rhubarb season and in my mind, crisps are the perfect vehicle for this juicy, tart vegetable. (Yeah, it's  a vegetable, not a fruit. The more you know!) Strawberries are the classic pairing with rhubarb, but I have to say that I don't always like the texture of baked strawberries. They get a little slimy, you know? I wanted something different. And then I clicked over to Alejandra Ramos's delightful blog, Always Eat Dessert, and saw exactly what I was looking for: rhubarb-raspberry crisp.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

giveaway! in the small kitchen

Today I'm giving away a copy of In the Small Kitchen, the just-released-this-week book by the ladies behind the food blog Big Girls, Small Kitchen. To win, please "like" Dinner Party on Facebook (if you haven't already) and leave a comment here. I'll pick a random winner at 5 PM EST Friday. Good luck!

"Il Fornaio" wins! Please email me at lisacericolaATgmailDOTcom with your address. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Monday, May 23, 2011

what's for dinner, big girls, small kitchen?

Today we've got a two-fer Q&A from the ladies behind the adorable (I kinda hate that word, but it really is adorable) blog Big Girls Small Kitchen, where friends Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine chronicle their kitchen adventures. As a fellow city-dweller with a minuscule kitchen, the make-it-work ethos of the site is dear to my heart. But even if you have a vast, suburban kitchen it's a friendly, useful resource for recipes and dinner party inspiration. This week, Cara and Phoebe are set to release their first book In The Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes From Our Year of Cooking in the Real World. Check back here later this week for a book giveaway!

1. Name, occupation, and city
Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine, founders of Big Girls Small Kitchen and authors of In the Small Kitchen, Brooklyn and Manhattan (respectively).

2. When was the last time you threw a dinner party, and who was invited?
Cara: I helped my mom throw a dinner party recently. She had invited some of our good family friends, as well as some newer friends. I made a fish dish that was great, and had a great timeline for a dinner party. First, you roast the potatoes. Then, just when everyone's finishing up drinks and appetizers, you douse the potatoes with a pungent tomato sauce and add filets of cod. By the time it's done, the flavors meld and the fish is lush. We also made sauteed broccoli rabe.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

mujaddara with spiced yogurt

While we're on the subject of weeknight dinners, I've got another gem of a recipe to share.

Lentils and rice might seem like the sort of thing you'd be forced to choke down at a vegan potluck or a hardcore yoga retreat. But when you add sweet, caramelized onions, a knob of butter, and a dollop of spiced yogurt on top, you'll find that they go down pretty easy.

The name of the dish, mujaddara, also lends a certain amount of exoticism. When you tell people that you're serving mujaddara for dinner, they'll most likely lick their lips. Saying "lentils and rice" probably won't elicit the same reaction.

Monday, May 16, 2011

crispy black bean tacos with feta slaw

Friday night is taco night at our house. Tacos (especially with a margarita) seem like a festive way to toast the start of two unencumbered days of freedom. They are also a good way to eat when it's the end of the work week and your fridge is looking a little bare. A win-win in my book.

What's inside the taco varies from week to week. I recently made some surprisingly excellent fish tacos (more on those later) or sometimes we go for the old ground beef-cheddar cheese childhood combo. But there's a black bean taco that's become a weekly staple. It's cheap, relatively healthy, and we usually have most of the components on hand, essential for those Friday nights when you're so fried from the week you can't think straight.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Hi, all. Apologies for the lack of posts this week. I spent most of it in an allergy-induced fog. So much for all that springtime romanticism! Just in time for the weekend, here are some links for seasonally-inspired desserts. If the pollen is doing a number on you too, at least you can stay indoors and bake.

5 ways to bake with rhubarb [via The Kitchn]
Super pink strawberry cake [via Saveur]
Swedish visiting cake [via Bella Eats]
Strawberries with lavender biscuits [via Food52]
Cornmeal-nut biscotti [via Lottie + Doof]

And from the Dinner Party archives:
Strawberry-almond yogurt cake
Strawberry-rhubarb crumble

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

spring on a plate

There's been a lot of talk about spring around here, I know. It was just such a long winter, guys. You have no idea. (Or maybe you live in New York and you do.) And now the trees are back and bright green things are starting to reappear at the markets again. People are strolling around in sandals. And it's glorious. (Well, not today. Today it is raining. And that's part of spring too.)

And there are these scallops, lightly seared and served in a pool of pale green, herby cream sauce. The dish is so light and delicate there's no better time to make it than right now. Sure, you could eat it in the summer or fall, but something about it feels so spring.

Monday, May 2, 2011

meyer lemon semifreddo

I've written before about my love of the semifreddo. It's basically just a fancy take on ice cream, but in my book, it is the perfect dinner party dessert: there is no baking required, the whole thing can be assembled in advance, and you can create an endless variety of flavors.

Another thing about this dessert is that plates come back clean. Like, noisily-scrape-up-every-last-bit-of-melted-ice cream clean. I may or may not have licked my own plate in the kitchen when no one was looking. Okay, I did.

The recipe is easy. You don't even need an ice cream maker. (I don't have enough counter space or willpower to own one myself.) All you have to do is beat egg yolks with sugar and your choice of flavorings in a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water. In this case, I used Meyer lemon juice and zest. (Meyer lemons taste like a cross between a lemon and an orange.) In another bowl, you beat a good amount of whipped cream, fold in the lemon mixture, then pour it all into a plastic wrap-lined loaf pan and freeze the semifreddo overnight.

Oh, you can also add something crunchy to the bottom of the loaf pan for a little textural contrast. I used thinly sliced, toasted almonds, but you can skip this step or substitute another type of chopped nut, or maybe chocolate chips or toasted coconut. A thick layer of finely ground cookie crumbs would be great as well. Actually, that would be very great.


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