The Christmas tree and Steaming Bishops

Steaming Bishop CocktailHaving lugged the Christmas tree up to our 4th floor walk up, Jon was in no mood to accept criticism of the specimen. “It’s not scraggly round the bottom! It has a perfectly nice bottom!”

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Pumpkin panna cotta

Pumpkin Panna Cotta

Think pumpkin pie, but creamier, and without the faff of pastry, and you’re thinking panna cotta. The perfect Thanksgiving-y treat, but one that seems generally Fall, not specifically just for Thanksgiving, which is always pumpkin pie’s limitation. Continue reading

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The Best Mushroom Ragu


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness well underway, and vegetarians set to come to dinner on Friday, Jon and I were faced with the inevitable Sophie’s Choice: Squash or Mushrooms?

As far as I’m concerned, squash. Every time, squash. Cannot get enough of it. Nowhere near done with it. Roasted, sautéed, pureed, soup-ed, stuffed, bring it, September through January.

“Mushrooms,” said Jon. “We always have squash.” Continue reading

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Blaze and pumpkin minestrone soup


Last week, we took my visiting parents to Blaze, a pumpkin festival in a somewhat mythical place that city-dwellers refer to as “upstate”, which turns out to be about an hour out of the city near Sleepy Hollow. It is a common urban-living fantasy to rent a car, and head “upstate” for the day to see fall colors and eat apple cider donuts, both of which we did. Continue reading

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The easiest caramel you’ll ever make

So you get a tin of unsweetened condensed milk, and you submerge it in a pan of boiling water, and you leave it for three hours. That’s literally it.

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Berry Olive Oil Cake to showcase fresh fruit

Blueberry olive oil lemon cakeThis is the cake I make to use up a glut of fresh berries, whenever I should be so lucky as to get them. It’s also a great batter for sliced peaches or nectarines, grapes – whatever’s really fresh, even ever so slightly over fresh, and just begging to be turned into dessert.

This version uses blueberries.

1 cup blueberries
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cornmeal (or just use another 1/4 cup of flour)
3/4 cups sugar (plus about 1 tbsp for sprinkling)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Blueberry Lemon Olive Oil Cake
  • Preheat the oven to 350f, and grease an 8 inch spring-form pan with a little olive oil
  • In one bowl mix the blueberries, 1 1/4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup of cornmeal, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp lemon zest and 1/2 tsp of salt
  • In a jug, whisk the 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of yogurt, 1/2 cup of olive oil and 2 tsp lemon juice – it might look a bit curdled, that’s totally normal
  • Add the wet mix to the dry and stir to combine
  • Spoon into the tin, sprinkle about 1 tbsp of sugar on top, then bake for about 1 hour – check after 45 and cover if the top is browning too quickly
  • Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then slide a knife around to loosen and pop out of the spring form. Cool on a rack then serve
  • This cake is delicious with a spoonful of sour cream on the side or with a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

If You Can Make That You Can Make This

  • Use a cup of any summer fruit that you love instead of blueberries – I’ve recently made a raspberry  and a peach version, and I love to make a purple grape version, in which case I lay a couple of sprigs of rosemary on top before baking and fondly think of it as being a little bit Tuscan
  • Or this spiced apple cake with maple frosting
  • Or these spiced peach sour cream muffins
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Did we get enough summer?

CornSo that’s it then. Last weekend of summer approaches. And, glad though I am to have a Monday off, and to be rolling into a Fall full of, with any luck, apple crisp and pork belly and butter nut squash, I can’t help but feel sad for a moment that summer is so fleeting. It’s time to take stock, and do that math:

Did we get enough of it? Continue reading

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Peach Sangria

White wine sangria

If it’s summer, then there probably should be Sangria, right? Ideally, peach sangria, made with white wine, because, honestly, even though the incident where Jon was carrying a jug of red sangria and did not see that the screen door (yes, we had to repaint the walls and ceiling)  was 3 apartments ago, that kind of drama lives on in memory.

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Picnic supper for Very Hot Nights and Sunny Afternoons.


This is my favorite supper in the summer: a picnic of great things:

a lovely cheese, good bread, a crunchy salad, maybe some avocado spritzed with lime and salt, maybe a plate of ham, maybe a salami. A little bowl of olives. And, ideally, bringing a little Liberace beauty to the table, a bunch of radishes.

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Pimms with ginger


Now I know it’s never usually a good idea to mess with a classic, and honestly, if I could only GET Schweppes lemonade here in New York, I’d never have bothered experimenting, but I can’t so I did, and honestly, Pimms with ginger and prosecco is absolutely worth having in your summer cocktail rotation.

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