Risotto with Asparagus and All the Alliums


Sometimes, lo and behold, I get a little tired of pasta, and instead get a hankering for risotto. Creamy and indulgent, short-grain Arborio rice grains soaking up wine and broth and whatever flavorings have been sautéed and toasted on the bottom of my pan. What stops me is the notion that risotto is time consuming, risotto is difficult, risotto is easily-mess-up-able. Is it more time consuming that spaghetti with garlic and olive oil? Yes. Is it difficult? Hell no. Forget about standing over the stove stirring five cups of stock slowly, oh so slowly, into your risotto. Cook’s Illustrated has a no-fuss method and we’re never going back. What better way to give it a test run than with a lovely, allium-rich late spring risotto?

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Strawberry Balsamic Basil Hand Pies

Hear ye, hear ye! There are local strawberries at the NYC farmer’s markets! Thank the fruit gods, that rhubarb bridge really did bring us to summer sweets, and more quickly than I had imagined. I had gone to the Union Square Greenmarket last Friday for asparagus and ramps for an upcoming risotto I’m cooking up, but there was no way I was forgoing those gorgeous scarlet gems when I stumbled upon them. And the Pennsylvania farmer who prominently displayed them (the only one that day) took credit cards, which solved my “I only brought $15” conundrum, hallelujah. Six dollars for one pint and $10 for two wouldn’t be a bargain for giant strawberries trucked from across the country, but for small, sweet, tender berries grown locally and only just picked, that $10 was money well-spent. I brought them home after a couple of hours walking around downtown, and when I removed them from the bag I was reminded how delicate local berries can be. They needed to be consumed or baked into something lovely, stat. Good thing the fella and I were going to my baby nephew’s (um, and brother and sister-in-law’s) house for pizza Friday. Why yes, I would make us some strawberry balsamic basil hand pies for dessert.

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Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Cookies


It’s easy to get tucked into the cradle of comfort in the kitchen: bake the same things over and over, use tried and true recipes in your back pocket or from the very best food bloggers or cookbook authors. Tweak nothing. Why diverge from what works, has always worked, has been proven to work? But when you want to turn your favorite oatmeal into cookies, tried and true doesn’t always translate. So this week, with a little time on my hands, I experimented with versions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of peaches and cream oatmeal cookies.

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Rhubarb Orange Crisp Bars

IMG_7974Spring has finally arrived: the sun is out this week, and rhubarb has been spotted — and picked through and procured — at the Union Square Greenmarket. “O, frabjous day! Callooh, callay!” she chortled in her joy. But what to do with these nearly neon pinky-green, celery-like stalks? Especially when trucked-in, beat-up strawberries are still upwards of $6 or $7 at the supermarket? Can rhubarb stand alone? The answer, unabashedly, is yes. And with a sweet, crackly, crumbly crisp envelope and a touch of orange, they shine as brightly as that sun out there. Continue reading →

Coconut Banana Nut Muffins

This isn’t a post about moms. The ones who wake in the middle of the night at your slightest cough or gasp from a nightmare. The ones who schlep from one end of town to another, to the next town, and back again, for figure skating lessons, violin lessons, piano lessons, general shenanigans. The ones who give in and get you a cat when you’re six years old, have you jumping around your living room with your brother at the thought of bringing home a tiny grey kitten-friend. The ones who hold your hand as you wade through life’s murky waters, are okay with a phone call in the middle of the day while they’re at work just because you’re bored or lonely or wondering what to do about a weird burn. The ones who teach you “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” The ones who are there for you, every single moment of every single day, without you ever having to ask, because being a mom means being completely selfless.

No, this isn’t about that. My mom hates coconut, and I did not plan very well this week. This weekend I’m making my mom key lime pie, but this post is really about Coconut Banana Nut Muffins. After all, Mom did teach me to listen to my body and eat the things I crave.

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