Monthly Archives: October 2010

Big News!

Today I found out I’ll be attending a taping of The Martha Stewart Show on Monday! They’ve invited a group of 10 food Twitterers to Live Tweet the cookie episode that tapes live at 10AM, this Monday, November 1. I’m so excited! And so honored. Follow the live Twitter feed (I’ll have the link Monday from the show!) and if you’re not already my follower on Twitter… what the H are you waiting for?

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Grape Lady: Fail

One of my VERY few flaws (quiet, you) is laughing when people fall. I just can not help myself. YouTube is rife with clips of people tumbling off tables, diving boards, stages… But in the interest of keeping this blog food-related (and seasonal!) I bring you this. I watched it at my desk at work and snorted trying to keep my laughter inside.

Ouch, Grape Lady. Ouch.

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Hey Punkin!

Even though the temperatures in New York feel more like June than October, I can not help but crave everything pumpkin. I suddenly remembered a point last year when I went to the grocery store to get a can of pumpkin and they were sold out. I would not let that happen again. Thankfully, they were fully stocked and I am now the proud owner of six cans of pure, delicious pumpkin. Don’t judge.

On the menu:
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
Adapted from this recipe at AllRecipes.com

1 cup pure canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp milk
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, soft together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk. Add to the flour mixture. Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture until completely blended. Add vanilla and chocolate chips.

Drop cookies by spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the edges are brown*. Let cool for at least ten minutes, or until you literally can not take it anymore. Pour a glass of milk. Eat your cares away.

*Note: these cookies are like little pillows of heaven, soft and cakey and essentially perfection. They will still be soft when you pull them out of the oven. Also, they do not spread so you can put them close together on the tray.

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The Return of Cheesy Pasta

Happy Monday, friends! Today’s post is a bit of a throwback but with a twist. Remember this? A Sunday dinner, to me, is always made up of some sort of pasta and carbonara sounded like just the kind of warm sleep-inducing dish I needed. And when The Boyfriend requested tortellini, I knew exactly what to make.

On the menu:
Tortellini carbonara
Adapted from Epicurious.com

1 lb. multi cheese tortellini
12 strips of bacon, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 medium sized yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
4 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Cook tortellini in salted boiling water until cooked, according to package directions. Drain. Save 1 cup of pasta water.

Saute bacon in a LARGE skillet until crisp. Drain bacon on a paper towel and reserve 3 Tbsp of grease in the skillet. Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the skillet and cook until mushrooms are softened. Add 1/2 cup pasta liquid to the skillet and raise heat so the liquid boils. Whisk egg yolks and cream together in a small bowl. Add pasta, cream mixture, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese to the skillet and mix together quickly so the pasta is completely coated. Keep constantly stirring the mixture and scraping the bottom of the skillet for ten minutes over medium-high heat until the egg is cooked. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more reserved pasta water. Add bacon and mix in. Cook for another 3 minutes. Plate pasta immediately and sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese on top.

And in case the cup of cream, 12 slices of bacon, and 4 egg yolks didn’t tip you off, this is not a particularly healthy dinner. Maybe don’t make this one twice a week.

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Crusty

Is there anything better than pie? Well okay, maybe cake. Cake is better than pie. But in the fall, there is nothing better to ME than a beautiful concord grape pie. I’ll never forget the time my mother, the strict vegetarian, gave me a concord grape pie from a shop in Rochester and one of the main ingredients was lard. She was appalled. I was delighted. This particular recipe uses vegetable shortening as opposed to animal fat, but if I could bring myself to buy a tub of lard without literally feeling like a tub of lard, I’d use it.

Salted caramel apple pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn

On the menu:
Ruth’s Grandma’s Pie Crust
from Allrecipes.com

4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups shortening
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup water

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, shortening, sugar, and salt. Blend together with a pastry cutter until crumbly. In a small bowl, mix egg with water. Blend into flour mixture. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

*Note: I realize this is just the recipe for crust and not for filling, but that’s because this is my standard, go to, fool proof crust recipe. It is deliciously flaky and not too sweet to use in literally any fruit pie you can come up with.

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Le Weekend!

Happy Friday, friends! I’m ashamed at my week of blogging, or lack thereof. Sometimes you have big plans to make ground chicken tacos and you end up eating DiGiorno instead. Pretend I never said that.

I hope you all have magical weekends, and to get you in the autumn mood here are some things that are currently on my radar.

If you’re in New York City this weekend, go to New York Magazine’s Grub Street Festival! There are so many incredible vendors that will be there, you’re sure to get a jump start on packing on that holiday weight.

I’ve always had mixed feelings on Halloween because on the one hand, it is a holiday about ghosts, monsters, and being scared (none of which I have ever enjoyed) but on the other hand, it’s about CANDY. And sweets are something I can get on board with. Look at this cake! I want to make it. So, so very much.

Are you carving pumpkins this weekend? I am! And with all the beautiful leftover seeds, I’ll be making snacks. Roasted pumpkin seeds tossed with a little salt and oil are standard and delicious, but why not try something really tasty like rosemary/sea salt, brown sugar/bacon fat, or garlic/parmesan (for this last one, roast whole cloves of garlic on the baking sheet with the seeds and then toss with grated parmesan straight out of the oven).

Speaking of pumpkins, can you believe this? It’s a tiny pie inside a tiny cake topped with a tiny cookie! Did Jesus hear my inner most dreams?!

If you’re inclined to stay indoors this weekend, check out How to Cook Your Life (a documentary about Zen food master Edward Espe Brown) or Pressure Cooker (a documentary about three high schoolers from Philly fighting for spots in a citywide cooking competition), both streaming instantly from Netflix.

And lastly, if you’re really in the mood for fall food (and if you’re not then I don’t think we can be friends anymore) check out the newest issue of Food and Wine magazine. The cover alone will make you salivate. Not that I did. I’m just saying.

Have a beautiful weekend!

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Viva Italia!

 

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Joseph Bastianich, and Mario Batali: three of the brains behind Eataly (photo c/o Serious Eats)

 

On Monday, in honor of Columbus Day and being Italian and all, I finally made the trip to Eataly! I’ve been reading about it for months now and figured since I have my new camera and (I hoped) the crowds have died down a bit, I thought I’d make the trek.

Eataly is chef Mario Batali’s newest venture. It is essentially a mecca of Italian food, wine, and culture in the form of meats, seafood, cheeses, wine, gelato, espresso, homemade pasta, pastries, and even books. If it has something to do with Italy, you can find it at Eataly. Chefs and specialists prepare your food and answer any questions you could have about how to cook something, what to pair it with, and other details you never even knew you wanted to know.

Sounds pretty perfect, huh? Sure. Kind of. Uh huh. Every time I picked up a block of cheese or a slice of prosciutto I thought, “Yikes, that’s expensive.” Every time I walked by a table of people snacking on salami and sipping wine I thought, “Really? You like standing in this echoing warehouse packed with people trying to enjoy your twelve dollar glass of pinot noir?” Every time I smelled something delicious I was instantly distracted by the flashing flat screen TVs advertising trips to Italy and sponsors of the market.

I began to dream of the little Italian shop in Chelsea Market called Buon Italia with endless Italian cookie imports and meats and cheeses but at standard prices served by traditional little Italian men and women who barely speak English.

Call me a traditionalist (or maybe I’m just poor?) but Eataly struck me as a glorified Whole Foods, and I’m a simple girl myself. I think for now, I’ll keep my distance.

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