Going to college in rural New England was when I first learned that people went out to eat for breakfast. That sticky diner tables (which I mostly frequented in the late evening hours) probably became sticky because people consumed waffles doused in syrup at normal breakfast hours. That restaurants other than diners actually served breakfast. But upon my return to Westchester I dolefully discovered that there was not quite the plethora of restaurants churning out breakfast that I thought.Read More
Despite this endless summer we've been having I've been craving mushrooms. Like sauteed, tender, meaty mushrooms. I've also been really into baked pasta since they provide ample leftovers, which is clutch during coaching season. Ergo, I want mushroom lasagna.Read More
The title of this recipe alone has so much good stuff going on I don't know where to start. I suppose why I made it is as good a place as any. The lovely Christie invited the girls over to christen her cozy new patio and usher in fall this past week. While it would be nice to survive on wine and s'mores alone, we were going to need something more. To relieve our gracious host of at least one burden I offered to bake an entree.Read More
It took a bit longer than expected but we finally reached fall! A season of some of the best scents and flavors the earth has to offer. One of the new flavors I've been experimenting with is balsamic cherry. Yep, you read that correctly. Balsamic vinegar does wonders for sweet stuff by adding its own sugars and that tangy zip only attributed to vinegar. I mixed 4 ounces of dried tart cherries with 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and let is simmer on low for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will initially let off some overwhelming vinegar fumes that will singe your nose hairs if you're not careful. Once the mixture has thickened I removed it from the heat and placed it in a small ramekin for safe keeping. I'm not sure how long it will keep for in the fridge but I used mine within a week and that seemed to be OK.
I used the cherries a few different ways, the first was on a flatbread. On a Trader Joe's frozen pizza crust I spread a generous layer of ricotta topped with caramelized onions, sliced smoked duck and apple jack brandy sausage (one of the many fine products at Oscar's Smokehouse of the Adirondacks) and dotted it with spoonfuls of balsamic cherries. I would like to think that any chicken apple sausage would be a decent substitute for those not lucky enough to visit Oscar's. A nice combination of flavors and textures, this flatbread is easy enough to pull off on a weeknight but seems way more elegant and complicated than it appears.
The second way I used the cherries was in brownie mix. I use the Food Network fudgy brownie recipe (rave reviews every time) and stirred in 1/2 cup of the balsamic cherry mixture, mixing until sufficiently incorporated. I brought them to school to share with coworkers with a little trepidation that they might not go over as well as my other baked goods. Well, I couldn't be more wrong. They disappeared by noon and a handful of people complimented my creativity and two asked for the recipe. I love when I make something that inspires others to say, "Wow, I never thought of that combination." It makes me feel like a culinary pioneer even though I'm more of a nomad.
Balsamic cherries would also be a nice base for sauces meant for pork or game meat. I even stirred a few extra spoonfuls into some yogurt for a pleasant burst of acidity to cut the dairy. The possibilities are finite but boy, are they delicious. Until the next dish, ciao!
I don't know about all of you but every trip to the grocery store in the last few weeks has bombarded me with another new pumpkin item. Toaster pastries to ravioli, baking mixes to coffees, this deluge of pumpkin has infiltrated even the most remote corners of the grocery store (Pumpkin mochi ice cream anyone?)Read More
The nights are cooler, sandals are traded in for boots, and Malbec has replaced rosé. I think it’s safe to say fall has arrived in my corner of New York. While I am seriously lamenting the loss of summer sun, I do love the coziness of fall. It makes for good cooking and baking. I’ve been eager to make a treat for my new co-workers because they are some truly amazing people. I wanted to make something that gave them the “warm fuzzies” that they have given me but since I’d probably maim myself with knitting needles, I decided to bake instead.Read More