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Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Posted by on Wednesday May 23rd, 2012

DINNER PARTY DESSERTS: Amazingly Easy Rich Lemon Tart; Coconut Budino; Whipped Mint Ganache and Blackberry Tart; Nutella Soufflé

My new favorite night for dinner parties is Sunday. Alex and I had friends over this past Sunday, and I have to say, cooking and socializing did a much better job of closing out a weekend than pasta, TV, work, and Monday dread.

Traditionally, Sunday nights are for Alex and me to eat pasta and get ready for the week. If we had AMC, Sundays would be for watching Mad Men. But though I find that it’s tempting to anticipate Monday–make To Do lists, draft emails, finish work–it turned out that seeing friends trumped all of that. We relaxed, sitting around over a simple dinner with some white wine (though not a ton–it was Sunday) and chatting. Dinner made the weekend feel long.

Plus, it gave me two luxurious days to figure out a menu. The whole meal came out great, so even though this post is about dessert, a crisp, I figured I’d tell you about the rest of dinner, too. First, we ate a white bean dip Leora had made. Then I served the Roasted Salmon with Herb Vinaigrette from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, using Arctic Char instead of salmon. It’s a fantastic dinner party dish–uber-pretty presentation, but hardly any last-minute work. I’m going to be making it a lot this summer.

Brie and Red Pepper Crostini

Posted by on Monday May 21st, 2012

FUN FINGER FOOD: BBQ Chicken Satays; Herb and Lemon Buttered Popcorn; Heirloom Tomato Brushetta; Sweet Pea and Crab Crostini

It’s a sad truth of NYC life is that hardly anyone just drops by, at least not without a phone call, email, g-chat, or text. It’d be nice if people did, but friends live all over the city, and I can’t imagine many of them winding up outside my door unannounced.

Yet somehow knowing that I have the ingredients to create an impromptu cocktail munchie (and an impromptu cocktail) should a friend buzz up unexpectedly makes me feel incredibly empowered, hostess-wise.

So if and when my neighbors and friends decide they’ll come by, I’ll have these easy cheese-covered crostini to serve them.

GOOD GRAIN MEALS: Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes, Avocado, and Pesto; Chipotle Barley Salad with Corn, Zucchini, and Radishes; Cous Cous with Blue Cheese and Pears; Vegetarian Fried Rice with Shiitakes and Cashews

Just dropping in to share the kind of recipe you, too, might make if you found yourself on a Thursday with a reasonably well stocked pantry, a lot of kale (or other greens you picked up at the farmers’ market back on Saturday), and two sweet Italian sausages that you bought from the very same farmers’ market for way too many dollars and which are threatening to go bad if you don’t find a way to integrate them into this week’s meal plan, a meal plan that has already incorporated more meat than you really like to eat.

When I make grain dishes, they’re usually vegetarian throw-together meals modeled, to some extent, off of the unexpected combinations of grains and veggies and nuts and dressings that Heidi at 101Cookbooks throws together so well. So when I committed to finishing the package of sausage, which, admittedly, was not a big deal, (it was excellent sausage), I decided that I’d balance out the flavorful meat with a selective handful of lighter components.

Miso-Roasted Asparagus

Posted by on Wednesday Mar 28th, 2012

MORE ASPARAGUS: Asparagus Spears with Burrata and Prosciutto; Asparagus with Tarragon Vinaigrette; Springy Frittata with Asparagus, Scallion, and Fontina; Potato, Corn, and Asparagus Stew

Asparagus: coming soon! The spring vegetables will arrive at the market any weekend now. And it’s about time asparagus, artichokes, and ramps displaced the winter greens and starchy potatoes occupying my vegetable drawer.

I do enjoy my weekly dose of kale. But if we’re being honest, I like pizza more. What’s the connection? Judging by Whole Foods’s nutritional ratings, known as ANDI scores, my budget and vegetable tolerance are well served by singling out the produce with the highest nutritional rating and buying only that. That way, I don’t waste money on cucumbers or iceberg lettuce, nutritional laughingstocks. I save my cash–and stomach space–for buying pizza and French fries. But I still get my kale-borne nutrients.

The major food groups for college students–cereal, pizza, and booze–are supposed to get a gourmet boost upon graduation. That’s when they morph into simple pastas, make-ahead stews, and hummus–what we’d call sort of entry-level quarter-life cooking. Yet according to New York Magazine, our demographic has now matriculated into a cultural foodie tier where we dine only at the best and the fanciest restaurants.

I never realized that my tendency to overbuy at the farmers’ market was a hereditary condition. If you open my mother’s refrigerator at any given time, you’ll probably find a bunch of chard, just waiting to be turned into a green soup. But just one bunch. Not three. It wasn’t until I visited my aunt and uncle in Los Angeles that I saw my own habits reflected in someone else’s refrigerator, and on their countertops.

Back in October, after Steph and Rodrigo’s Santa Barbara wedding, I decided to milk my West Coast trip for all it was worth, …

Cheddar Cheese Burgers with Charred Red Onions

Posted by on Wednesday Jun 29th, 2011

CLASSIC FOURTH OF JULY COOK OUT MENU: Guacamole with Tortilla Chips; Cheddar Cheese Burgers with Charred Red Onions; Sarah’s Herbed Potato Salad; Blueberry Crisp Tart.

For a while now, the burger has been a staple of my restaurant dining. Not because I didn’t think a burger homemade by me would be up to par, but because it’s often the thing that jumps out at me from the menu and lands onto my plate. In part, this trend in my order is a result of that fact that Phoebe and I always want the burger’s side, French fries. But …

Here are some more ideas for delicious summer drinks!

I can remember my first-ever chai tea latte. It was a Saturday in the early spring of 1998, and I had a terrible cold. Feeling sick, I had played hooky from a friend’s bat mitzvah (this was seventh grade, when every weekend’s activity revolved around bar and bat mitzvahs), yet I was somehow up to joining my family on a shopping trip to the Upper West Side. Not only was my nose running but it was also raining out, and at last my family and my whiny thirteen year-old self …