A Brief Hiatus plus Giant Chicken Parm

pizza parm
Happy Friday, friends! My day job has been so chaotic lately that I’ve been running home every night to my beloved DVR boyfriend and eating myself to happy until 9pm when I slink off to bed. And to top it all off I’m going to London next week! I’ve never been, but I do know I love British Special K (trust me, it’s different) and British candy so I’ll be leaving some room in my suitcase for treats.

In the meantime, a quick recommendation for a midtown (yes, midtown) Manhattan restaurant. I know. You’re speechless.

Quality Italian (57th Street and 6th Avenue) is a steakhouse that serves an incredible special: chicken parmesan for two (it fed us three girls with some leftover), served like a pizza. I know, you thought that photo was a pizza. It’s not. It’s a GIANT portion of chicken parmesan, perfectly crisped up with a little arugula salad with parmesan beneath it. Let’s just call it: magical.

The spot looks so swanky, you might be intimidated to enter – don’t be. It’s only been open 3 weeks so you might not be able to score a reservation but my friends and I sat upstairs in the lounge and were treated impeccably. We ordered one glass of wine each and the manager gifted us with a second round on him. Everyone on the staff was attentive and congenial and the food was fresh and delicious. What more can you ask for in midtown? Not a whole lot.

The only note I can give you on the negative side is that it is a bit pricey. The chicken parmesan claims to feed 2, at $26 per person. It fed 3 of us but $52 still seems a bit steep to me. Just know before you go.

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Dive!

Dive-Jeremy-SeifertHappy Monday, friends! Just a quick post to let you know about a fantastic documentary I watched on Netflix over the weekend called Dive! about dumpster divers and the staggering amount of food that Americans throw out every single day. The whole film is based on the fact that Americans throw out HALF of all the food the country produces in a year. Unreal, isn’t it?

My only criticism of the film is that it left me wondering what I could do to help and the ending feels a little bit hopeless. If anyone reading this has recommendations on what to do to help curb the food crisis, let me know!

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California Summer Spice Shrimp Salad

I mentioned I’m working with Spice to Meet You, a monthly home delivery spice service, and I was super fortunate to shoot some cooking demos for them! The first installment (do you recognize that kitchen??) is on California Summer Spice Shrimp Salad. Head on over to Spice to Meet You for the full recipe!

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Marble Cookies

marble cookies
One of my favorite food memories (of which there are bajllions) is from when I was really little, maybe 4 or 5. My grandmother used to take me to her local bakery to get the kuchen that inevitably showed up at every family meal, and she’d let me get one thing for myself. It was always a marble cookie. As a kid I never questioned what I liked about that cookie but my little kid brain always went straight for it: a cookie with chocolate and vanilla swirled dough and a delicious but faint hint of almonds. Crispy on the outside, soft in the middle (is there any other way?)… New York delis have these cookies in scores but they always disappoint. They’re always stale and usually hard as rocks. So in the interest of dredging up nostalgia, I dug up a recipe to make them in my own kitchen. And a pleasant surprise: they are so freaking easy.

On the menu:
Marble cookies
Makes 2 dozen

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 oz. unsweetened baker’s chocolate

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, blend the butter and sugar until combined. Add egg and blend well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and blend with electric mixer until combined. Add vanilla and almond extracts and stir together the dough by hand.

In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt the chocolate. Little by little, add the chocolate to the cookie dough, intermittently using a knife to swirl the chocolate. Do NOT stir! You want to be able to see the chocolate and the vanilla within the dough.

Chill dough for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. When dough is nice and chilled, roll dough into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the edges are just started to turn light brown. Cool on a wire rack.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

cookie bars
I don’t have to tell you guys how much I love dessert, and it’s never too late in the evening or early in the morning to retreat to the kitchen to create something sweet. Last night around 8:30PM I was dying (DYING) for a dessert and M&Ms just weren’t cutting it. So I turned to the amazing blog Dessert for Two where the blogger develops recipes specifically for small batches. Want two cupcakes? 8 cookies? Lasagna for you and your significant other with no leftovers? This girl has a recipe for it.

My dessert criteria were: something I could mix by hand, something I only had to dirty one bowl for, and something I had all the ingredients for in the fridge. BAM. Blondies. Only I don’t really like butterscotch chips and I didn’t have any anyway so I substituted regular chocolate chips. BEHOLD. The most delicious, insanely chewy, un-freakin-believably good cookie bars you have ever had. All I have to say is, it’s a good thing this only made 6 small bars because The BF and I ate. them. all. Maybe I even put the pan on the AC unit to speed up the cool down so we could eat them faster… I don’t know.

On the menu:
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Makes 6 brownies
Adapted from Dessert for Two

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 3 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper*.

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and melted butter with a wooden spoon. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt and stir well to combine. Sprinkle the flour and baking powder over the brown sugar mixture and stir just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into the loaf pan and spread until batter is about 3/4 of an inch thick. My batter did NOT cover the entire base of the pan which is fine because this doesn’t spread. Bake for around 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out with moist crumbs stuck to it.

Remove parchment paper and bars from pan and let bars cool on a wire rack for at least ten minutes before cutting into 6 evenly sized bars.

*Note: If you don’t have a loaf pan you can still make these. You can spread the batter out evenly on a cookie sheet since the batter doesn’t spread. And let’s face it… you aren’t making these to look pretty for company. You’re making them to stuff your face before bed.

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Zucchini, Tomato and Corn Fettuccine with Walnuts and Feta

Dish shown here with parmesan instead of feta

Dish shown here with parmesan instead of feta

It’s a beautiful moment when you visit the farmer’s market in the summer and all the vegetables and fruits are bright and bountiful and you just know your chances of getting sweet, fresh produce is far better than say, the end of February. Sometimes I forget how produce is supposed to taste until sunny July rolls around and my taste buds are like, “HEYOOOO TOMATOES.”

This recipe celebrates summer produce. If you try this recipe in February, I hope you live in Australia.

On the menu:
Zucchini, tomato and corn fettuccine with walnuts and feta
Serves 3
Adapted from Real Simple

1 lb. fettuccine [full disclosure: I had half a box of linguine and half a box of fettuccine so VOILA mixed pastas]
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 ear of corn, kernels cut off
2 small zucchini, cut into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler
2 medium sized tomatoes, diced
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Cook pasta according to directions on box. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.

In a medium sized skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and corn and cook for about 4 minutes or until corn is cooked through. Add a liberal pinch of salt and pepper.

Add corn, zucchini, and tomatoes to pasta plus the 1/2 cup pasta water. Heat over medium heat for 8 – 9 minutes or until pasta is coated with sauce and vegetables are heated through. Add oregano and toss to combine. Plate pasta and top with walnuts and feta*.

*NOTE: The BF isn’t a big fan of feta, which does have a strong flavor. I thought this flavor made the dish but I topped his with freshly grated parmesan and he still went back for seconds. So if you hate feta, try parmesan. But definitely top with cheese. Always cheese.

Second note: I served this pasta with garlic bread (CARBS ON CARBS ON CARBS!) and The BF and my dad were preeeetty into it. Here’s the secret to incredible garlic bread: melt butter with garlic powder, stir to combine, spoon over slices of fresh bread, and broil for a minute or two until tops are lightly browned. De.Lish.

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Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins

Sour cream blueberry muffins
I love an easy muffin recipe. Baking in the morning for breakfast can seem a little daunting, but when you’re basically chucking all ingredients into a bowl, stirring, and throwing them in the oven, the workload is on par with omelets and pancakes. Don’t be scurred.

On the menu:
Sour cream blueberry muffins
Makes 10 muffins

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream (you can use non-fat or low fat if you prefer)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with muffin liners.

In a medium sized bowl, stir together vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and stir to combine. Add sour cream and stir until completely combined. Fold in blueberries.

Pour until cups are almost full. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and brown sugar. Sprinkle evenly over muffins.

Bake for 23 – 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean. Let cool in the tin for about 10 minutes and then move to a baking sheet to cool completely.

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