Wednesday, September 28, 2011

dessert math

File this under "totally no-brainer," but when you're pressed for time, this is the simplest, fastest dessert idea. Or dessert equation, if you will.

One part seasonal fruit:
Fall: pears, Concord grapes, apples, Asian pears, figs
Spring: strawberries, apricots
Winter: Apples, dates, dried figs, citrus
Summer: berries, peaches, plums, cherries

Plus one part store-bought cookies

Plus one part chocolate (milk, white, or dark)

Equals the perfect dessert plate.

The next time someone asks you to bring dessert and you don't have the time or inclination to bake, here's your solution.  This also works super well for weeknight dinners where you want to serve something sweet but can't deal with anything fussy.

Monday, September 26, 2011


So maybe my last post seemed a little sad. A close friend moving away IS sad! But one of the upsides of having friends spread out all over the place is that occasionally they visit and reconnecting with them is pretty wonderful. Knowing you have limited time together creates an urgency that makes everyone talk a little faster, laugh a little more and stay up way, way later than they should.

The other week, our friend Vanessa (of Kitchen Conniption fame) and fiance Trevor paid us a visit and I made dinner for everyone on a Thursday night. Weeknight dinners aren't my favorite thing in the world--all that rushing and post-work exhaustion--but I love Vanessa and Trevor and I knew we'd have more time together if we spent the evening at home rather than being rushed through dinner at a crowded restaurant.

And, you know, I needed to get back on the dinner party wagon.

The short window of time between the end of summer and early fall is amazing for produce and I wanted to make the most of all those beautiful late-season tomatoes and sweet corn. Throw in some deviled eggs, a little grilled steak, some chimichurri, and you've got the perfect summer menu that's quick enough to toss together for a post-work dinner. We sat down at the table and passed around a colorful tomato and mozzarella salad, dug into the buttery sauteed corn. The window was open, blowing in the cool night air. It felt like the perfect convergence of summer and fall.
When we hugged goodbye, close to midnight, I wished we could do this sort of thing all the time with Trevor and Vanessa. But maybe the night was so special because we hardly ever see them. Maybe there's an upside to long-distance friendships.

Late summer dinner
Deviled eggs
Radishes with chive butter
Flank steak with chimichurri sauce
Sauteed corn
Heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella and arugula
Cookie plate

Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
From Mark Bittman via Food & Wine
(Serves 4 to 6 people)
2 cups chopped parsley
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 lbs. skirt (or flank) steak 

In a food processor, combine the parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and crushed red pepper. Process until smooth. Pour the sauce into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add extra lemon juice, if needed. 
Season the skirt steak with salt and pepper and grill on a grill pan or cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat, until the meat is charred on the outside and rare within, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a carving board and let it rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain. Serve right away, passing the chimichurri sauce at the table. 
Tomato and mozzarella salad with arugula
(Serves about 4 people)

1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra
salt and pepper
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into rounds
2 small plum or other small-sized heirloom tomatoes, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (mixed colors are prettiest)
1 cup mozzarella, either small balls cut in half or one large ball cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups arugula

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the Dijon and vinegar. Slowly stream in the olive oil, whisking until it emulsifies and forms a nice dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Arrange the large slices of tomatoes on a large platter. Sprinkle the cherry tomatoes and smaller tomatoes on top. Add the mozzarella.

Place the arugula in the salad dressing bowl and toss the greens gently until they are coated. Place the greens in a mound in the center of the platter. Drizzle a little extra oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle a little extra salt and pepper.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

good riddance

Another month, another friend leaving New York. Over the past few years, we’ve watched our friends take off in different directions – Vermont, Washington D.C., Austin, San Francisco, Anchorage(!) – for new jobs, homes, cheaper rent and a different sort of life. Living in New York is hard. It’s expensive and can wear you down, and for those reasons and others, our circle of friends is getting smaller.

Monday, September 19, 2011

hi there

I'm back! Did you miss me? I made you these deviled eggs to apologize for my absence. (I'm sorry if you were expecting cookies.)

I didn't intend to be away for so long. But sometimes you go on vacation, and then the computer dies, and then you get really busy with work. Which means not a lot of blogging, not a lot of dinner parties.

To be honest with you, my new job has been keeping me even busier than I expected. Which is fantastic. But to be really, really honest, being a food editor and thinking about food all day long and even in my dreams (ask Dan--I was sleeptalking about tomatoes last weekend), has put a bit of a damper on my food blogging appetite. I'm still going to post here, but maybe not as frequently. Maybe only when I have something really exciting to share or an especially great or disastrous dinner party to write about. Which will hopefully be quite often. (Not the disastrous part.) And I hope you'll still visit and comment and enjoy this space. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Classic deviled eggs

My go-to, never-fail recipe. You can easily dress these up with fresh herbs, curry powder, chipotle, five spice powder, pesto or anything else your deviled egg-loving heart desires. This is just a jumping off point.
(Makes 12 deviled eggs)

6 eggs
1/4 cup mayo, or more (or plain, low-fat Greek yogurt)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

Put your eggs in a saucepot and fill the pot with cold water until the eggs are covered by an inch of water. Place the pot over medium heat. Once the water comes to a boil, let the eggs cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let the eggs stand for 10 minutes. Drain the eggs and let them sit in cold water for five minutes. Crack the eggs and peel off the shells. Slice the eggs in half diagonally and remove the cooked yolks into a small bowl. Using a fork, mash the yolks into a paste. Add the mayo and mustard and stir until smooth. (If the mixture seems a bit dry, add a little more mayo.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the filling into each egg half as neatly as possible. Place the filled eggs on a plate and sprinkle with paprika before serving.


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