Orange Tea Cake


Raise your hand if you have old leftovers sitting somewhere in your fridge or on your countertop. Come on, stand up and be counted. Me? Oh, that’s me in the corner. That’s me in the spotlight, raising my hand sheepishly and asking you to please step away from my refrigerator, where there are two giant buckets full of old dough, a container of chickpeas and sauteed onions that I’m afraid to even open to dump out, and some pizza sauce from when I made that first bucket of dough, for pizza, I don’t know how long ago. Step away from the fridge. Nothing to see here, folks. Other times there’s that one cookie or scone that my fella and I are both leaving for each other. And we leave it until it gets stale, because neither of us wants to eat the last one. We’ll never learn.


And then there’s the marmalade. The sweet, sticky, beautiful clementine marmalade that I overcooked thanks to a faulty thermometer. Sure, I spread it on toast and mixed it into oatmeal, and it’s been delicious, but it was a bit too candy-like for some of my concoctions, and the jar was still almost full at the start of this past weekend. I made it in January. In my recipe, I said keep it in the fridge for up to two months — just to be on the safe side. Whoops.


But just in the nick of time — or just after the nick of time, depending on whether you abide by the “rules” — a friend of mine posted a recipe for orange marmalade cake on her Facebook page. The recipe’s author, Melissa Clark of the New York Times, recommends good marmalade — caramelized and chock-full of bitter seville orange peel. Caramelized? Accidentally or not — yes! Chock full of peel? Oh hey now! I checked for mold, threw the “rules” out the window, and got to work. Continue reading →

Herbed Chicken Pasta Salad


The cherry blossoms are blooming in Central Park. The magnolias are bursting in front yards all over Astoria. Daffodils are everywhere, and so are the people. Spring has finally sprung in New York, and nothing says spring, especially after an active day outside shaking off the last of winter’s hijinks, like a crunchy, herby salad filled with chicken, tomatoes, feta, and pasta.


It’s the perfect segue: ingredients that are available all year round, ready to be consumed the first day of the year you truly really want to put effort into making a savory meal that tastes like a warm, sunny day. And because it’s a salad, you can throw as much of this, as little of that as you’d like and it will be amazing every single time. That’s sort of the way I learned this one. I was visiting my friend Erin in Boston, probably a good ten years ago, when she suggested we make this for dinner. It hails from a possibly ancient issue of Cooking Light magazine, but we never measured anything. A handful of basil and parsley, a bunch of scallions, a bag of lettuce. And, okay, fine, a little too much penne that one day. I think once it was cooked it barely fit in the pot. I swear, it wasn’t me — but of course it was so very me. She just knows me so well. Needless to say, I have been hooked since that day, and this salad is a staple in my warm weather dinner arsenal. Continue reading →

Flourless Chocolate Cake

All too often, we spend too much time apologizing for words and actions, or silence and inactions, for which we have no reason to apologize. For speaking too quietly, for asking someone to repeat something he said. For having dinner ready half an hour later than we intended. For asking for help. And for not baking, or writing a blog post, for two and a half weeks. I want to say I’m sorry. I want to throw myself at the mercy of the few of you who read this blog, apologize for having external deadlines, interviews, a raging stomach flu. But I won’t.

IMG_5452Instead, I’ll present to you this gorgeous flourless chocolate cake. Hailing from the brain of the wonderful David Lebovitz, it has four ingredients that you very well might already have in your pantry, and is an easy go-to for a last-minute dinner party — or, hell, a last-minute chocolate craving. I made this for the second night of Passover, when I was no longer sick but hadn’t had any energy to go running around looking for matzoh meal or cake meal or even almonds or hazelnuts or coconut. What I did have was nearly a whole Pound-Plus Bar of bittersweet chocolate, eggs, sugar, and butter. And, with only a few minutes of prep, it was probably the only thing I had the energy to stand in my kitchen for.

Continue reading →