Sunday, September 5, 2010

Plum Cake

New City has a farmer's market! I can hardly believe it. New City, the town that inspired Gertrude Stein's famous comment, "There is no there there." has a small farmer's market every Sunday through November.

Today I bought plums to make this intriguing whole wheat plum cake.
It's simple. Wash, seed & slice the plums,make a quick batter of butter, sugar, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, vanilla & a little brandy too make sure the whole wheat doesn't make the cake too healthy,
top with the plums & a couple of tablespoons of demarara sugar (or brown sugar) and there you have it.
I think I'll be having cake for breakfast tomorrow. Thanks, New City Farmer's Market.

Oh & I also got a bottle of local wine from this place.
I'll be trying that tonight. I think a little Cabernet Franc will probably go well with plum cake.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

cherry tomato pizza margherita

88 degrees today.

88 degrees. In April.

What do I do when it's 88 in April? Heat the oven to 425 and make pizza!

As usual, I didn't have all the ingredients. But I made it anyway.

No garlic. (What?!) I sliced & sauteed an onion.
No basil. I finely chopped a little Italian parsley & sprinkled it on the pizza as it came out of the oven.
No mozzarella. I used (a little less) sliced provolone.

Serve with champagne. Because it was my birthday Monday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Woops" Cooking or Muffins vs. Cake

I do a lot of what I call "woops" cooking. As in, "woops. I'd better use this before it goes bad."

Now I'm not saying that I serve anything that's actually gone bad. Really. I'm talking about the celery that's not so crunchy anymore, the carrots that have gotten a little bendy. You know what I'm talking about.

Today I wanted to make muffins & I looked in the fruit bowl for inspiration. There were 4 little mackintosh apples that would have been crisper a couple of days ago. All I'm saying.

I turned them into apple muffins:

For those of you who may not watch hours & hours of Food Network like I do, Ellie Krieger has a show with healthy recipes. Works for me. Every recipe doesn't have to start with 2 sticks of butter or a pound of bacon. (although that does pretty much guarantee deliciousness.)

So when I saw Ellie Krieger's name on the recipe I thought, "she'll have a good muffin recipe that I'll like." But no. Not quite.

Let's talk about muffins. & the difference between muffins and cake.
Muffins are supposed to be a semi-healthy breakfast option. Cake is dessert. Are you with me so far?

In my world a muffin is not super sweet. It doesn't have a lot of sugar. For example, check the corn muffin recipe on the Quaker box.

Quaker Yellow Cornmeal 1.8 lb. - 6 Unit Pack12 muffins: 1/4 cup of sugar.

These muffins: 3/4+ cup of sugar. If you've added a cup of sugar you've just made cake. No matter what you call it.

Nothing wrong with cake. I love cake. I just try not to have it for breakfast.

OK. Rant over. Thanks for listening.

So if you want muffins healthy/delicious style try them with less sugar. I recommend 1/4 cup of honey.

& if you like them cake style I'm sure this recipe is still delicious. But either way: Apple muffins!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Crock Pot Conversion

It's 8:00 a.m. It's supposed to snow today. (In fact, it's already an epic storm, a "snowpocalypse" farther down the east coast.) Time to try out my new crock pot!

I missed the original crock pot trend in the 70's and was missing it again this time around until a friend at work got a beautiful new one & passed her gently used one on to me. So with snow in today's forecast I just dumped 5 ingredients into the cooker, turned it on & now I get what it's all about. Could this be easier? I don't think so.

I'm making "drip beef" from the Pioneer Woman.

These "drip beef" recipes look like French dip and Italian beef sandwiches to me.

I'm going with the Italian-style:

Italian Beef

4 lb. chuck roast
12 oz. jar of pepperoncini (including all the juice)
3-4 T Italian seasoning
28 oz. can of low sodium beef broth
salt & pepper
(I left out the salt because the pepperoncini are salty enough for me.)

Dump it all in the slow cooker & cook on low till the beef falls apart.
Serve on really good Italian rolls. Dip in sauce.

That's it. I get it now. Now I get it. Slow cookers forever!
Looking forward to beef happiness this afternoon. & maybe some snow.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Macaroni & Blue Cheese

Living in the northern suburbs of NYC has its +'s and -'s. On the upside we're very close to NYC. On the downside we're very close to NYC.

I'm sure you get how that's a plus.

But the minus is that Rockland County NY doesn't always have all the amenities that you'd like because local businesses can't compete with NYC, only 20 miles away.

So I was really happy a couple of years ago when I found out about Laraia's Cheese in Nanuet. Not only do they make their own mozzarella but they carry artisanal cheeses that you'd usually have to travel at least 20 miles to buy.

And today I made some pretty fabulous macaroni & blue cheese with some great French blue from Laraia's.

So what if it's made with cheese, butter AND cream. It's winter. I need the extra energy for snow shoveling. Anyway, that's how I rationalize it.