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Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Beef on Weck

In Food on July 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm

If you didn’t grow up in Buffalo—or in my case, if your mother didn’t grow up in Buffalo—then chances are that beef on weck is not part of your culinary vernacular. Trust me, it should be. Weck, short for kummelweck, is a type of bread topped with salt and caraway seeds that is, to my knowledge, only made in the Buffalo-Rochester area. (Kümmel is German for caraway, and weck means roll.) A typical beef on weck involves thinly sliced roast beef piled high and the top of the bun dipped in au jus. It’s served with rip-snorting horseradish. And my god, it’s good.

A couple weeks ago, I got into a beef on weck love fest with our friend Jeff, who works at nfl.com and knows a thing or two about the finer points of Buffalo cuisine. One thing led to another, which may or may not have involved Jeff purchasing a beef roast the size of three footballs, and tomorrow we are cooking up a tailgate-style feast. I just pulled out the weck hot out of the oven (above). Amazing. On tomorrow’s menu:

Beef on Weck

Bocce Club Pizza (flown in from Buffalo!) – one cheese, one pepperoni

and of course…

Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing

Time to get your tailgate on, Buffalo style!

Update: Check out the final results of beef on weck. Spectacular!

Leftovers, Pizza Edition

In Food on July 20, 2011 at 9:40 pm

A couple weeks ago my friend Lizzie mentioned that she had a couple black truffles burning a hole in her pocket. Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. I also had a bunch of kale, a couple slices of bacon and orphan pieces of cheese kicking around in the fridge that were looking for a home so we decided to have a pizza night. In addition to truffles, Lizzie and Matt brought over a fantastic watermelon, feta and arugula salad drizzled with olive oil. Mr. Foodinista picked up a couple merguez sausages and three rounds of Whole Foods Pizza dough, which he stretched onto baking sheets and then prepared the grill. And then I cleaned out the fridge. We ended up with…

Black truffle with caramelized onions and mozzarella. Everyone’s favorite.

Bacon, kale (sautéed in bacon fat), fresh ricotta and red sauce.

Merguez sausage, fontina and chimichurri (leftover from the previous evening’s grilled steaks). I’d make any of these pizzas again in a second, but it’s unlikely to happen unless the same mix of leftovers converge again in my fridge one day soon. But other pizzas await. The true satisfaction comes from seeing what you can come up with using the contents of your fridge. What are some of your favorite combinations?

Dark ‘n Stormy

In Drink on July 16, 2011 at 5:11 pm

And what kind of pirate party would it have been without Dark ‘n Stormies for the grown-ups? When I was at the ACE in Palm Springs last summer, I had a great one made with Bundaberg Ginger Beer and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s Australian and super spicy, which is excellent in a dark and stormy. (Bonus: Bundaberg also offers a diet version that is pretty delish in a cocktail.)

Important to remember in a Dark ‘n Stormy, in addition to a spicy ginger beer, use a dark rum like Goslings Black Seal. And that’s it. Just two ingredients. Three, if you count a lime wedge swashbuckled with a sword.



A Pirate’s Birthday

In Baby Love, Design, Food, Recipes on July 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I’m still recovering from the sugar coma that was my son’s third birthday party, not to mention the (completely justifiable) death stare another mother shot me when the cotton candy cart rolled out. But you only turn three once. And Tiny G wanted a pirate party, and pirates love sugar, so arrggh! Tiny G’s preschool classmates were arriving at 11 am, so this morning—because I’m a supreme procrastinator—my sister and I got up at 6:30 am to make and assemble the party favors: little treasure bags for little pirates. First, I printed out a recipe for Tiny G’s Desert Island Cookies (my favorite sugar cookie recipe from my grandmother) on mottled paper, rolled up each and tied with a red string.

Meanwhile, Claire rolled out the dough and cut out little sharks using a cookie cutter I got at Sur la Table for $1. (I ended up getting a few dozen for favors.) Claire frosted the cookies and dusted with pale turquoise sugar crystals I found at Surfas in Culver City. They have the BEST colors of sugar crystals.

While at Surfas, I also grabbed some cellophane treat bags. I was concerned about the shark tails snapping off, so I cut out 4″ x 2″ red card-stock rectangles to put the cookies on, then slid into the cellophane bags and affixed the backs with pirate stickers.

For the treasure bag itself, I found these 4″ x 6″ old-fashioned drawstring bags made of organic unbleached cotton mill cloth. They were 19 cents each. We stamped each with a red pirate.

Then we filled the muslin bags with a cookie and a treasure map recipe, and then tied a shark cookie cutter on the drawstring of each bag. The cost of each goodie bag came in at under $2. Which left plenty of room in the budget for Dark & Stormies for the grown ups…

Tiny G’s Desert Island Cookies


1 ¼ cups sugar

3 cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 sticks softened unsalted butter

3 eggs

1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract


4 cups sifted powdered sugar

3 tablespoons whole milk

1/2 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extra

Colored sugar crystals (optional)

To make cookies: In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, beat together sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir to mix well. Gather dough together; divide in half. Flatten each half into disk; wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour. Roll out dough (1 disc at a time) on floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out cookies. Transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Chill on sheets for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on rack.

To make icing, Combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in medium bowl. Stir until icing is well blended, smooth, and spreadable. Spread thin layer of icing atop each cookie. If using colored sugar crystals, sprinkle over cookies before icing sets.

Someday Farm Stand

In Food, Out of Town on July 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Don’t you wish this was your local farm stand? The Someday Farm Stand sets up shop in East Dorset, Vermont, every Wednesday and Saturday during summer. The Proft family farms 100 acres of organic produce, which they sell at their farm stand as well as local markets. Sometimes there are wee chicks on hand, like this day-old little fella that Tiny G got to pet:

There were also baskets of herbs and lettuces, berries and carrots, fresh eggs and roasting chickens on hand. For one drizzly Sunday lunch, we roasted a small chicken and some of these carrots with a little salt and olive oil. They were the sweetest carrots I can remember.


Garlic Scape Chimichurri

In Food, Out of Town, Recipes on July 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Garlic scapes! They’re pretty, they’re delicious, they’re here for a limited time only! If you see these mild-tasting stalks at the farmers’ market this weekend, pounce. These past few years the garlic scape window has coincided with a visit to my in-laws’ in Vermont. If you have favorite recipes, please share! Last year I tried garlic scape pesto.

Really, REALLY delish, especially over a simple caprese salad or tossed with pasta. Last week I experimented with a Garlic Scape Chimichurri. Chimichurri is a green sauce from Argentina to accompany grilled meats, and we spooned ours over Mr. Foodinista’s expertly grilled New York strip steaks.

To make, I threw a couple scapes in a Cuisinart with some parsley, cilantro and mint from my mother-in-law’s garden, and then added olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, some chopped shallots, salt and pepper and few red pepper flakes. Total prep time: 5 minutes. And leftovers were great on steak sammies the next day…


1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 garlic scapes, chopped

1 shallot, peeled, halved

1/2  teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

2 cups (packed) stemmed fresh parsley

1 cup (packed) stemmed fresh cilantro

2/3 cup (packed) stemmed fresh mint

Place ingredients in blender or food processor and purée until well-blended. Spoon over grilled steaks.


Your New Summer Cocktail: The Lulu

In Drink, Recipes on July 6, 2011 at 9:32 am

We’re back in the land of WiFi! And before I relive the past two dreamy, cellphone-free weeks at my in-law’s summer place in Vermont, I thought I’d share what is destined to become your new summer cocktail. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you THE LULU! The night before we left for Vermont, I was over at my friend (and celebrity caterer) Lulu Power’s for a girls dinner, and upon walking in the door, Lulu handed me a mason jar filled with muddled strawberries, fresh basil, with a splash of Aperol and St. Germain and topped up with Prosecco. Immediately I knew I would be drinking it all summer. It’s pretty, and pretty delicious.

Look for the juiciest strawberries you can find, like this pretty basket that we picked one afternoon at Dutton Farms in Newfane, Vermont.

Muddle a few strawberries and basil leaves in the bottom of a glass.

Add a splash each of Aperol and St Germain Elderflower Liqueur. I do about 1/2 ounce of Aperol and 1 ounce of St Germain. Throw in a few ice cubes, and then top with Prosecco.

Then settle into an adirondack and enjoy. For more entertaining and recipe ideas from Lulu (below), check out her fantastic book, Lulu Powers: Food to Flowers, and blog which currently features a sublime recipe for Chile & Cilantro Margaritas.