Yeah, you heard right. We’re throwing out the pastry books and heading to the bodega—why? Because it was my friend Karol’s birthday last weekend. And—still—why? Because she requested specific foods for her potluck party menu, and one of them happened to be a mushroom tart. Another one was Cool Ranch Doritos.
Sour cherries, unlike sweet, are just about the sharpest taste you can get from a stone fruit. Eaten raw, these little gems will make your mouth hurt and your face flare up with weird expressions (just try one without making a face). They’re as crimson as cranberries once crushed up. But when cooked with a little sugar, sour cherries take on a unique, classic-candy flavor, which you can’t get from sweet cherries. Not by a long shot.
I don’t have many photos of this one, but it’s because I was covered in strawberry sludge and whipped cream while making 80 portions of it for a country wedding upstate last weekend. Phew. I think the name of this recipe tells you everything, though: it’s strawberry season, so seize the day when you can get super-sweet, local ones in the spring. And, if you’re tasked with making dessert–particularly cake, which can have such fascinating descriptors as “yellow,” “white,” “sponge” … Read More
Last weekend was Karol and Dave’s wedding. And Karol — as evidenced by numerous blog posts chronicling her bake-off victories — is a master of making apple pie. The perfect golden crusts, tall mounds of apple-y ooze, and her signature crimped, lattice-woven tops, were the delight of many parties she has treated myself and friends to throughout the years. I wanted to honor that at her wedding somehow. But a wedding must have cake.
Easy as tart, the saying would be better put. The elegant, refined-looking, open-faced pie — tart — is a holiday crowd-pleaser that requires about half the work. This recipe will also yield a treat that’s about half the height of an average fruit pie with a top crust, but top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and I don’t think you’ll hear any complaints. With juicy pears now in season, I’ve added just a touch of sugar to … Read More
I can never really get bored with cooking zucchini and other summer squash when they’re fresh, firm and in season. I generally grab a couple bright, cheerful varieties any given time I’m at the farmers’ market all summer, but this often leaves me with a surplus of squashes that aren’t so terribly awesome-looking later in the week. But a few age spots on the outsides doesn’t mean they’re any more austere; I went ahead and baked these ones, in a … Read More
I’m just mad about saffron. And saffron’s mad about me, lately. For the last three Saturdays, I’ve been helping out my pal Andrew Gottlieb with his new pop-up food business, Tapas Shack, which serves paella among other Spanish delights at Brooklyn Flea’s Smorgasburg. I have pinched saffron into wide, open paella pans until my hands turned a not-so-mellow yellow hue. And I’m not stopping at rice with my current saffron streak. After seeing the first, juicy orbs of peaches for … Read More
Have you done some spring cleaning of your old recipe ideas? I mean, turn over a new leaf in the way you see ingredients and process how you might prepare them? I’m always looking to evolve from my gut instincts on what to do with a certain familiar food, for better or for worse (sometimes, the simplest, most instinctual answers are best). But spring seems especially fitting for turning that equation on its head, and coming up with a new … Read More
Never pass up the chance to buy rhubarbs whenever you can. Even if you only have the means or capacity to get a few stalks. You don’t have to make a whole pie; and you can always put them up as a jam. So bright and tart-tasting, easy to prepare, and limited to a short window of spring, rhubarb is worth the risks of getting creative with — or adding to whatever you’re making anyway.
When no longer firm enough to enjoy fresh, bananas take on dramatic flavor that carries far. It’s like a second career as a lounge singer instead of receptionist. Pocked with brown age spots on the peel, the overripe flesh is perfect for mashing up into a smoothie, or baked good. But one way to increase the sweetness — even of underripe fruits — is to caramelize it on a pan. That’s what I’ve done with these bananas, before folding it … Read More