fine cooking

just stopping in to say hello! almost forgot to share the december/january issue of fine cooking that i styled! the fabulous croquembouche on the cover was shot by the talented miki duisterhof and the sweets & sparklers feature was so much fun to shoot at the gorgeous home of photographer pernille pedersen. it's a great story and gave me loads of fun ideas for a champagne and dessert party - the apple, fennel and cheddar cheese straws were SO delicious!

have you seen the redesign of jen's blog, nectar & light? love it!

the new amsterdam market this sunday is all about our favorite things - coffee & chocolate!

looking for some holiday gift ideas? check out a few of our favorite blog gift guides - a cup of jo, design sponge, simply photo & sassy radish, plus these beautifully put together gift baskets from one of our favorite stores in brooklyn!

have a happy weekend!


chocolate & pretzels

as you're busy planning your thanksgiving menu, here's a little treat to make you drool! after thursday, when you need a break from all things pumpkin and turkey, try making this rich, salty, sweet dessert. this recipe is adapted from an old issue of Food & Wine magazine and we decided peanut butter was a perfect addition to the pretzel and chocolate combination.

check out the latest post in our mad props series here - a warm german scene with gold crackle plates, weisswurst and sauerkraut.

finally got to the new amsterdam market for the smorrebrod table 2010 and the rye bread project which was great! also got to meet fellow big leo food stylist Heidi Johannsen and taste some of her delicious and beautiful tea from Bellocq.

Chocolate Pretzel Tart
serves 8

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups coarsely crushed pretzels
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 egg
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbs maldon sea salt for garnish
in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter with 3/4 cup pretzels and confectioner's sugar on low speed until creamy. beat in flour and eggs. add remaining 1/2 cup pretzels and mix, leaving some pieces intact. flatten the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes.
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. roll out the dough between the sheets of plastic wrap to a 12-inch round. peel off the top sheet and invert dough over a 10-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom. press the dough into the corners and patch any tears. trim the overhanging dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes. line the shell with parchment and pie weights or dried beans and bake 30 minutes. remove the parchment and bake 8-12 minutes more or until firm and set. let the shell cool completely. using a small offset spatula, spread the peanut butter into a thin even layer and refrigerate while making the chocolate filling.
in a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. turn off heat and add chocolate, let stand 5 minutes. whisk until completely smooth. let filling cool slightly before pouring into the shell and smoothing with spatula. sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.



we've pickled stuff before here and have been working for months on our own classic dill pickle recipe to share but here are two new pickled things we recently came across. lately we can't get enough vinegar, lemon juice or anything acidic - don't know exactly what this means but the honeycrisp apple kimchi with jowl bacon at momofuku ssam bar we had at dinner a few nights ago was a great way to satisfy our craving! the recipe for spiced pickled beets is adapted from this book and reminds me so much of the pickled beets that found their way onto our dinner plate many nights growing up. the pickled fennel is adapted from an old Food & Wine magazine recipe and we're still trying to figure out how to work it into an ice cold martini recipe!

Spiced Pickled Beets
makes 1 pint

1 1/2 pounds raw beets, unpeeled
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
6 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
wash the beets and trim the tops, being careful not to cut into the beets. leave roots intact. add the remaining ingredients to a large heavy bottomed stainless steel pan and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer 1-2 hours or until beets are tender when pierced with a skewer. left the beets out of the liquid and cool. peel and slice into 1/4-inch slices. pack into a pint jar and top with strained cooking liquid. keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Pickled Fennel
makes 1 pint

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
pinch ground cloves
pinch ground cinnamon
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored & cut into matchsticks
in a shallow dish, combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar, cloves and cinnamon and stir. fill a jar with fennel and cover with liquid. refrigerate overnight and serve lightly chilled.


sweet paul

we have been holding our breath with excitement for the last few months since we were asked to be contributors to the wonderful magazine sweet paul!! for those of you who are not familiar with him, paul is an amazing talented prop and food stylist who we are happy to share a agency with. he started this fantastic magazine and this holiday issue is issue 3 of many to come. and well, today is the day, we can share and see our fun little holiday brunch spread, complete with a great layout and surrounded by a great cast of photographers, stylists and writers. please click to visit the new issue and check back soon for updates full of recipes and photos.


white ale

we've mentioned our love of belgian-style white ale before here, and especially the adorable owl on the hitachino label. while reading grub street a few weeks ago, we saw that alton brown shares our love for this great japanese beer! so when we came across this recipe from an old issue of Food & Wine magazine using white ale, we knew it would be right up our alley. the recipe is from Sang Yoon, owner of the awesome gastro pub Father's Office - an institution with two locations in southern CA. thinking of the amazing beers on tap paired with their famous burger makes us miss the sunshine state a little! make sure to serve these mussels with a big spoon and lots of bread to mop up the delicious sauce.

Curried Mussels in White Ale
serves 4

2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs thai red curry paste
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
1 large fresh lemongrass stalk, bulb only, smashed & chopped
2/3 cup mirin
15 oz coconut milk
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbs asian fish sauce
1/2 cup basil leaves
2 12 oz bottles white ale
2 lbs mussels, scrubbed & debearded
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
in a saucepan, heat the oil. add red curry paste, garlic, ginger and lemongrass and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. add mirin, coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce and basil leaves and simmer for 15 minutes. strain the red curry sauce into a bowl.
in a large saucepan, bring ale to a boil. add mussels, cover and cook over night heat, about 5 minutes. discard any mussels that do not open. divide mussels between four bowls. add the red curry sauce to the ale and boil about 1 minutes. pour sauce over mussels and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. enjoy!


simple supper

here's a quick recipe for a very simple meal to whip up for lunch or dinner that's loaded with amazing middle eastern flavors. it's based on the herbs and spices in traditional lamb kofte, which are basically kebabs, and is served with a few easy accompaniments, like store bought hummus and pita, that make for a super quick meal for those busy weekday evenings.

also, we've been busy working on lots of great projects like shooting for martha stewart living & styling for the nest over the past week - can't wait to share these with you! we're excited to watch this starting on wednesday and maybe we'll have to eat one of these during the game.

Lamb Meatballs
makes 20

1 lb ground lamb
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp olive oil
4 persian cucumbers, thinly slices on a mandolin
1/4 cup greek yogurt
juice of 1 lemon plus wedges for garnish
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
salt & pepper
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. in a medium bowl, combine lamb, onion, feta, mint, parsley, garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne with a big pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. mix well with your hands until everything is incorporated. form into about 20 small meatballs by rolling between the palms of your hands. heat olive oil over medium high heat and sear meatballs on all sides, about 5 minutes. transfer to the oven and cook 10-12 minutes or until done.
while meatballs are in the oven, in a small bowl combine cucumbers with yogurt, lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. serve with meatballs with cucumber salad, sliced red onions, lemon wedges, warm pita & your favorite hummus. enjoy!



as you can tell from the last several posts, we've been digging into the recipe tear outs. doesn't everyone have a huge three ring binder filled with recipes for great sounding desserts, salads, thanksgiving sides, cocktails, etc. from articles published six years ago?! well, we do, but it often gets overlooked on a day to day basis when thinking about what to quickly throw together for dinner. we are trying to make an effort to pick out just a few recipes each week to finally try, see if they're keepers and even better, to see if they're worth sharing with our readers. these amazing little treats are definitely worth sharing! each layer adds another texture and level of richness that you'll find irresistible.

Chocolate Caramel Slice
(from Bon Appetit)
makes 16-20

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tbs ice water
1 egg yolk

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tbs unsalted butter, diced
2 tbs dark corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tbs Maldon sea salt

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. grease a 8 1/2-inch square metal baking pan. blend flour, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt in a food processor. add butter and pulse until a coarse meal forms. add ice water and egg yolk and blend just until moist clumps form. press dough onto bottom of prepared pan evenly. pierce all over with a fork. bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. cool completely.
whisk together condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, butter melts and mixture comes to a boil. insert a candy thermometer and boil gently until caramel is thick and temperature reaches 225 degrees F. whisk constantly to prevent from burning. pour caramel evenly over cooled crust and let set 15 minutes. melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring occasionally. spread melted chocolate evenly over caramel layer. sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate until set, at least one hour. can be made three days ahead if covered and refrigerated. cut into bars and enjoy!


chocolate ginger cookies

these cookies are adapted from an old martha stewart living recipe i ripped out a few years ago. something about a simple sugar cookie combined with the flavors of chocolate and ginger seemed very appropriate for fall. perfect for a midnight snack with a glass of milk or cup of tea on a cool rainy october evening! or as you start to think about holiday cookies, this is a tasty one to keep close.

we celebrated our third wedding anniversary yesterday with a perfect new york afternoon. we had a great lunch at gramercy tavern (one of our favorites), a walk through central park, and a stop here for some cheeses and charcuterie for dinner - have you tried barely buzzed from beehive cheese co? the rind is rubbed in ground coffee & it's delicious!

hoping to finally get to the new amsterdam market this sunday - has anyone been? any vendors we shouldn't miss? also excited to get a copy of this new cookbook featuring recipes from many of our brooklyn faves. happy weekend!

Chocolate Ginger Cookies
makes 24 2 1/2-inch cookies

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
vanilla sugar for sprinkling
preheat oven to 325 degrees F. whisk together flours, cocoa, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda. cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until pale and fluffy. add egg, molasses and grated ginger and mix until combined. add flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined.
wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour. roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thick. use 2 1/2 cookie cutters to make shapes and place 1-inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets. refrigerate 20 minutes or until firm.
sprinkle with vanilla sugar. bake until cookies are firm, 11-13 minutes. let cool on wire rack and enjoy!


crab wontons

what to do with leftovers from a few recent shoots and a pot of oil for frying? goat cheese crab wontons, yum! we try not to fry things very often but this is one recipe that baking just doesn't do justice. everything in moderation, right? wonton wrappers are a great item to have in your freezer for a quick appetizer, garnish or even as a fresh pasta substitute. try baking or frying them with just a little olive oil and sea salt and breaking into pieces for a crunchy salad garnish. or fill them with fresh herbs and cheese, boil and toss with a little marinara for a quick pasta dish. or of course, fried wontons - our take on a traditional chinese take out favorite!

Goat Cheese Crab Wontons
makes 10

1/2 cup cooked crab meat
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 tsp old bay seasoning
10 square wonton wrappers
olive or grape seed oil for frying
in a small bowl, combine crab meat, goat cheese, green onion and old bay. stir with a fork to break up crab and evenly combine. lay out wonton wrappers and fill each with a heaping teaspoon full of filling. brush two of the four edges with water and bring unbrushed edges over filling to seal tightly. repeat with remaining wontons. heat about 1/4-inch deep amount of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. carefully fry wontons for about 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. drain on a paper towel. serve immediately with a little soy sauce for dipping. enjoy!



yesterday was a great day for pictures and say the least. we were "gooped" as they say, by being mentioned in the blog and newsletter from goop, by gwyneth paltrow. we were included in her favorite food blogs along with some company that we are flattered to be with. blogs like orangette, matt bites, what katie ate and some great others, were chosen by goop for being some of gwyneth's favorite reads to sit down and have a glass of wine with after the kids are in bed and her feet are up. having a new auidence is always amazing, and this is a great opportunity to write and take pictures for a whole new group. thanks to eliza and gwyneth for loving the blog, we are humbled, and to all the new readers who we will try hard to please. we hope you all enjoy!

now for some more fun, and our favorite part, the food!! now that we have tried to suck you in to the tart world on our last two posts, its time for a little change...but i do mean little, sticking in the dessert department. simplicity is always something we like to stick with whenever we can, and this is a dish that will take just a little time for a tasty result. try this with seasonal fruit or really any fruit you have around the house!

Roasted Fall Fruit
serves 4

2 cups seedless red grapes
4 plums, pitted and quartered
2 bartlett pears, quartered and cored
1 pint vanilla ice cream
2 tbs honey
preheat oven to 450 degrees F. place grapes, plums and pears in a single layer in a shallow sheet pan and roast, tossing the fruit occasionally, until the fruit is soft, about 24 minutes. serve in a bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of honey. enjoy!


fall tart

can you believe that your calendar says it's october already? even though time has flown by, we're so excited for the fall season, our favorite time of year. october is one of our favorite months for the cooler weather, changing leaves and all the wonderful fruits and veggies in season - by far the best season for eating! this tart celebrates the last bit of summer with strawberries and the beginning of fall with figs, all brought together in a wonderful nutty filling.

Fig & Strawberry Tart
(adapted from Martha Stewart Living)

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water

3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
3/4 cup brown sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 figs, halved
8 strawberries, trimmed & halved

in a food processor, pulse the flours, sugar and salt to combine. add butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. slowly add ice water and pulse until mixture just begins to hold together. press dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. roll dough out to 1/8-inch thick on a floured surface to fit the tart pan you are using. fit dough into bottom and up sides of tart pan with a removable bottom and trim excess flush with edges using a knife. refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. preheat oven to 350 degrees F. prick bottom of tart all over with a fork and fill with pie weights or dried beans in foil. bake for 30 minutes. remove weights and bake 5 minutes more. let cool.
to make the filling, pulse hazelnuts in a food processor until finely chopped. add sugar, zest, butter, eggs and vanilla and pulse until mixture is almost smooth. spread filling evenly into tart shell. top with figs and strawberries and bake for 30 minutes. reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake until set and dark brown, about 30-45 minutes more. enjoy!


apple tart

even though the weather really doesn't feel like fall quite yet, the apples and pumpkins at the market sure make it seem autumnal already! here's a super quick and easy bite to make that takes minimal time and ingredients but is big on flavor and simple beauty. puff pastry is a great thing to have in your freezer at all times (like to make this or this) and is perfect in this recipe for a lovely dessert with ice cream, breakfast treat or a little snack with your afternoon coffee.

Apple Tarts
makes 6-8

2 tart apples, cored
1 lemon, juiced
1 pkg frozen puff pastry, defrosted
4 tbs honey
preheat oven to 400 degrees F. thinly slice apples and toss in lemon juice and a little water to keep from browning. set aside.
roll out puff pastry to about 1/4-inch thick on a board lightly dusted with flour. use round cookie cutters to cut out six to eight 2-inch circles and remove excess dough. transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. drain apples well. arrange slices on each of the circles and drizzle with honey. bake tarts for 12-18 minutes or until golden brown. serve immediately & enjoy!


mad props two

almost forgot to share the second installment of our mad props project! check out the details here and be sure to see the first edition here in case you missed it. this one is all about beautiful seafood.

had some great meals for andrew's birthday this week - happy birthday! lunch at gramercy tavern and dinner at craft were amazing ways to celebrate.

if you're a food blogger or just happen to have a great recipe you'd like to share for a good cause, be sure to check out the readymade community cookbook - we're excited to be a part!

these are two newish cookbooks we've got our eye on purchasing - 'good to the grain' and 'my sweet mexico' - any other recommendations?



just a quick hello with some lovely images from a small part of our recent CA and AZ vacation - we spent labor day weekend relaxing on a boat just off Catalina island. it was so beautiful and a perfect end to our trip - swimming in the cool ocean, drinking cocktails on the flybridge, paddle boarding between boats and cooking simple meals in the galley.

it's good to be back and we've been busy working hard and playing a little too. we can't wait to share a project with you that we just shot for the winter issue of sweet paul magazine - it's going to be beautiful! also excited to share that the baking cookbook i styled, Fast Breads, is finally out. it was a great project that i had so much fun working on with photographer susie cushner and prop stylist randi brookman harris. we finally got to explore the new mario batali & bastianich collaboration, eataly, an amazing marketplace, wine shop, cafe, and space with seven different restaurants. it's huge and so much fun to wander around for everything italian - and we're sure it'll inspire some beautiful new blog posts in the very near future! we had a quick trip to newport, rhode island and can't say enough about this amazing hotel - what an adorable little town and by far the cutest license plate in the country!

have a happy weekend & we'll be back soon with some edible posts, promise!


mad props one

remember this project we mentioned a few weeks ago? well, here's another shot from our collaboration with prop stylist Sarah Cave - antique strainers. you can read a detailed explanation of the concept here and a description of the first instalment of what we're calling mad props here in the Big Leo den. such a unique and inspiring project to work on together and we're really in love with the results. enjoy & check back soon for the next image in our series!



here's a quick summer cocktail for you to try this weekend and for the rest of those warm evenings we have left as summer fades to fall. it's a guest recipe from our good jenae in boston - she said the inspiration was the need for a refreshing summer libation after discovering chinotto at a little italian market around the corner. chinotto adds a bitter citrus flavor similar to campari (which is delicious like this!) and is popular in certain regions of italy. this cocktail would definitely be nice on a beach under a colorful umbrella somewhere on the coast of italy! we found a few other cocktail inspirations wandering around the isles here - always one of our favorite places to get lost when we're in town. enjoy!

A Bitter End
makes one

1 1/2 oz vodka
3 oz san pellegrino limonata or sparkling lemonade
1/2 oz chinotto
orange wedge
mix all ingredients in a highball glass filled with ice and garnish with a squeeze of orange.


zucchini muffins

isn't the squash lovely at the greenmarket lately? we recently had lots of leftover zucchini from a shoot and i realized that it's been ages since i baked with zucchini. both of our moms used to make great zucchini bread and we grew up loving it but for this recipe i reached for a book off our much neglected cookbook shelf. this recipes is adapted from apples for jam, a beautiful book full of simple comforting recipes and chapters that are organized by color. we've made a few things that are delicious so far but just love flipping through the pages for inspiring stories and images.

we are taking a little vacation - happy to be in sunny CA & hot AZ with lots of morning walks on the beach, breakfasts here and fish tacos here. we'll try to post some of our eating adventures and travel pics from the road so stay tuned.

Zucchini Muffins
makes 12

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 small lemon
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
3 zucchini, coarsely grated
2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned & coarsely chopped
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. in a small bowl, beat sugar, olive oil and vanilla until smooth. add lemon zest and stir to combine. add eggs, one at a time and whisk until pale yellow and thick. in a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. gradually fold together wet ingredients into the dry just until combined. mix in zucchini and hazelnuts and stir. fill a greased muffin tin with batter and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. if making a loaf, bake for 55-60 minutes. enjoy!



so every once in a while you need to do something different, something out of the box. in this business, there can be a lot of the same, the same colors, layouts, thoughts and props. don't get us wrong, we love each and every job, and they are all totally different, but sometimes, as in all of life, things start to feel a little the same. that all said, something needed to happen, and quick. we put a team together and started to brainstorm. what came out was a eye opening, adrenaline pounding, fun project that made us rethink what we do in a whole new way. with a little thought from the amazing prop stylist sarah cave, we were off and running. we shot an eight pic series of prop first photos. what we mean by that is sarah, carrie and i went to prop houses all over nyc and searched for the props first and thought of the food and layout second. we searched for the props that get no love, the ones that sit on the back of the shelf, the ugly duckling that needed to see the light of day. we then worked the food with the props and let the layout and the light work its way around that. what we got was an organic feel from a premeditated idea. we will soon have a promo that we will share with a few of the images, but first here is a taste of a shot inspired by coffee and a few props that grabbed our attention on our search. we hope you enjoy, and we will keep you posted on the rest.


cuban black beans

we had a fun weekend celebrating with fellow photographers & stylists at the big leo bbq on saturday - got to chat with some amazing artists like jim bastardo and bjorn wallander while eating great food, enjoying delicious cocktails and a even whole pig roasted by photographer hector sanchez. we contributed our gin & ginger cocktail as well as these amazing cuban black beans. julia diaz is a family friend who graciously passed on this recipe and has convinced me that dried beans really are better than the ones we get from a can. don't get me wrong, i still use canned beans in recipes, but for this one it is absolutely worth the effort to soak dried beans over night. these perfect with some fresh tortillas and a little queso fresco or scrambled eggs and sliced avocado - a delicious addition to any meal!

Julia's Black Beans

1 lb dried black beans
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into quarters
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
4 tbs red wine vinegar
salt & pepper
in a large pot, soak beans overnight with quartered green bell pepper. transfer beans to the stove in the soaking water and simmer for 45 minutes. heat olive oil in a saute pan and cook garlic, onion and bell pepper until softened, about 8 minutes. add 1 cup drained beans and mash together. add to pot with oregano, cumin and bay leaves and simmer about 1 hour or until beans are tender. add vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.


link love

happy weekend! we are excited to sleep, shop at the green market, catch up on blogs, drink lots of coffee and get outside to enjoy the sun. we've had a few busy but wonderfully creative weeks working with some amazing people. can't wait to share a beautiful project we shot with our friend prop stylist sarah cave. shooting all week with the talented photographer frances janisch and prop stylist paul lowe - having way too much fun to call it work! check out this yummy cocktail recipe paul posted on his blog sweet paul. you can also see some of the styling i did in the recent issue of Fine Cooking on the big leo den here.

went to an amazing show featuring ben sollee, daniel martin moore and yim yames to raise awareness for appalacian voices - check out the website to learn more about the cause.

have you seen this beautiful collaboration between jenifer altman & martha mcquade? don't wait too long to order a set.

have a wonderful week everyone and we'll try to post something edible soon!


bloody mary

just a beautiful image and no bulky recipes to give you some inspiration for your weekend libation. i know we've already discussed bloody mary recipes here but if you don't feel like whipping up a batch from scratch, these guys make a delicious spicy mix that we just discovered and adore! like we said before, don't forget the mean beans from rick's picks and a dash of our homemade worcestershire. can't wait to start cooking out of this cookbook that we just picked up - maybe we'll be sharing some of our favorites very soon. just bought one of these today and we're so excited to make our first cup of siphon brew with some blue bottle retrofit beans!



the artisanal and local cheeses out there are endless and we love trying everything we can. we were inspired by this ricotta made in brooklyn and this recipe in bon appetit from andrew carmellini to try making fresh ricotta from scratch. it's so easy to make with only three ingredients and so incredible to watch come together! why have we never done this before?! so now we have this beautiful homemade cheese - what to do with it? how about a little crostini - ricotta is a great base for showcasing lots of different flavors but we chose to make an onion jam. make both of these ahead of time and assemble the crostini for a delicious & simple appetizer.

just read about an urban winery opening in brooklyn this fall - looks like fun and you can take hard hat tours while the building is under construction! excited to check out this surf art exhibit at three different galleries in chelsea - but hurry cause the show ends august 6.

Fresh Ricotta & Onion Jam Crostini

for onion jam:
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs grainy mustard
1 tsp worcestershire (preferably homemade)
1 tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
in a small saucepan, heat oil and saute onion until translucent, about 8 minutes. add garlic and cook 1 minute more. stir in mustard, worcestershire, sugar and vinegar and cook until slightly reduced. cool completely.

for crostini:
1 whole wheat baguette
1 cup fresh ricotta (see recipe)
salt & pepper
olive oil
1 cup onion jam
slice baguette and toast in the broiler or grill until golden brown. place a tbs of ricotta on each slice of bread, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and finish with a spoonful of onion jam. enjoy!


chocolate & ginger

as you've probably figured out by now, we love ginger - in our cocktails, in our scones, in our parfaits, and on and on. candied ginger is a wonderful sweet & spicy addition to almost any baked good. recently, we were looking for a healthier option for late night chocolate cravings (or mid afternoon or first thing in the morning!) and stumbled upon this simple recipe from whole living magazine, formerly body & soul. it's a perfect combination of chocolate, spicy ginger and crunchy biscotti to satisfy any craving and great to keep in the cupboard in case of emergency!

on a new york side note, we're excited to check out the New Amsterdam Market this weekend and can't seem to resist the coconut cookies from here every time we walk by!

Double Chocolate & Ginger Biscotti
(adapted from Whole Living)

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, plus 1 yolk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. line a baking sheet with parchment paper. in a medium bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg, yolk and sugar until fluffy. beat in vanilla and oil until combined. with the mixer on low, beat in dry ingredients until combined. fold in walnuts, chocolate and ginger with a spatula. with moistened hands, shape the dough into 2 logs, each about 9x2 1/2-inches. bake until set on top, about 20 minutes. cool 10 minutes and reduce oven to 325 degrees F. transfer logs to a cutting board and slice into 1/2-inch thick slices. bake 10 minutes per side until, crisp and cool completely on a wire rack. store in an airtight container for up to a week. enjoy!



where have we been?! it's been a busy several weeks of working, traveling, long train rides, catching up with friends, more working, eating bbq, laying on the beach and having amazing adventures. had a wonderful time food styling a cookbook with two amazing women - photographer ann stratton and prop stylist pamela duncan silver - beautiful images and a fun project i can't wait to share. we also took a long train/road trip to the beaches of north carolina for the fourth of july and then enjoyed some wonderful authentic bbq in durham & chapel hill. illegal fireworks on the beach, lots of icy beer from a can, flaky biscuits with salty country ham, vinegary pulled pork and lots sweet tea were just a few of the amazing things north carolina had to offer. but now we're finally home for a bit, happy to be back in this amazing city and back in our kitchen, inspired by our recent adventures. hope everyone is staying cool and eating lots of ice cream!


we saw this pear at the market and just couldn't resist his perfect shape and adorable dried leaves - isn't he cute? we bought a few extra and headed home with only a pear portrait in mind. so now what? this recipe from molly inspired me to make an incredibly easy & dangerously delicious little pastry. it's amazing what a little puff pastry can do! this is a great recipe to use with any extra fruit you have on hand (like apples & cinnamon), although watch out for very "wet" fruits making a soggy pastry. a pear turnover & a cup of stumptown coffee is a wonderful way to being your day. (we're currently working out way through latin america!)

Pear Turnovers
makes 9

1 1/2 lbs. firm pears, peeled, cored & cut into 1-inch pieces
1/8 cup water
2-3 tbs sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 package frozen puff pastry (this is our favorite), thawed
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
2 tbs demerara or turbinado sugar
place pears, water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. cook for about 5 minutes or until pears are very tender but not too mushy. you can add a few tablespoons of water if the mixture is much too dry. remove from heat and stir in cardamom. cool completely.
preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. roll out puff pastry into a 15-inch square. cut pastry into nine 5-inch squares. place a generous tablespoon of filling in center of each square and lightly brush the edges of pastry with beaten egg. fold half of pastry square over the filling to form a triangle and press the edges firmly with fingertips to seal tightly. brush the top of pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar. using a sharp knife, make 3 small slits on the top of each triangle to allow steam to escape. place triangles on baking sheets and refrigerate 15 minutes. bake turnovers until beginning to color, 15 minutes. reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking until golden brown, 10-15 minutes longer. serve slightly warm or at room temperature. enjoy!


carrot soup

as the temperatures rise and it feels more and more like summer outside, the last thing on our minds was a warm bowl of soup! but with several bunches of carrots leftover from a recent shoot, i couldn't think of anything i'd rather make. it's actually quite perfect to eat near the blasting air conditioner with a cold crisp salad for lunch or dinner. quick to prepare and with minimal time spent by a warm stove, this soup could even be served chilled.

might have to try this salad over the weekend from smitten kitchen via the wednesday chef.

it's now the perfect time of year to start drinking rose and this bottle was always one of our favorites! wonder if we can find it in nyc?

great recipes for icy treats here from design sponge. remember when we made boozy pops here? also, if you happen to be around brooklyn flea or chelsea market, definitely check out people's pops - they're great.

have a wonderful weekend!

Spiced Carrot Soup
serves 4

2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
1 lb carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
2 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock stock
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
cilantro sprigs, optional garnish
in a large saucepan, heat oil and saute onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute more. add carrots and broth and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. carefully puree soup in batches in a blender or in the saucepan using an immersion blender until smooth. stir in cumin, coriander and lemon. divide between four bowls and garnish with yogurt and cilantro.


spring risotto

how was your holiday weekend? ours was wonderful & relaxing - filled with beautiful weather, a rooftop bbq, a corn dog from the shake shack and a few long walks in the sun. according to the calendar it's still officially spring, so you've got a few weeks left to make this delicious spring risotto. or use the concept as a base to add your favorite seasonal vegetables all year long. we found a great stand at the green market with amazing sprouted and leafy goodness and decided to pick up some pea shoots (which scream spring!) and lamb's quarters (new to us, but so tasty). too many people think risotto is a labor intensive dish - but it really just requires a little prep and about 20-25 minutes of stirring - and the result is definitely worth it! in our opinion, there are two key elements to good risotto - the freshest ingredients, which should go without saying, and a rich homemade stock. whether you prefer veggie or chicken, make it at home and you'll love the depth it adds to your cooking. hmmm, i feel another blog post coming soon . . on stocks!

Spring Risotto
serves 4

4 cups chicken stock
3 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled & diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 small carrots, peeled & diced
1 cup carnaroli or arborio rice
1 cup fava beans, shelled, blanched & second skins removed
1 cup lamb's quarters, roughly chopped
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup pea greens
in a small saucepan, bring stock to a simmer and keep warm over low heat. in a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil. saute onion, garlic and carrots until just tender, about 5 minutes. add rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. add 1 cup of warm stock and stir constantly until all or nearly all the liquid is absorbed by the rice. add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time and stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed. stir in fava beans and lamb's quarters and cook for 1 minute. remove from heat and stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. garnish each portion with 1/4 cup pea greens and serve immediately. enjoy!



here's a quick cocktail to get your holiday weekend started off just right! pimm's no. 1 cup is a gin based liqueur and the drink of choice if you're headed to any polo matches this summer. we love the pimm's cup so much it was one of the signature drinks at our wedding! there are several different versions - some with lemonade, some with sliced apple, some with mint or basil, and they're all equally delicious but this is our favorite right now. have a wonderful & safe memorial day weekend!

Pimm's Cup
serves 1

fill a highball glass with ice. add 2oz pimm's no. 1. top with ginger ale and stir. garnish with 2 slices of lime, 2 slices of tangerine, a slice of english cucumber and a small sprig of lemon thyme. enjoy!



i went through a serious bread baking phase in culinary school. if bakers didn't hold such odd hours, i definitely would've loved to be one. the simplicity of fresh baked bread still amazes me - yeast, flour, water and salt - so simple! and such a wonder to watch the dough grow, filling with tiny air bubbles and rising tall within the bowl. and then that yeasty smell - aromas just as delicious from the raw dough as when it's baking in a hot oven. we've had a few bad experiences with unsuccessfully baking focaccia but can now say it no longer turns out heavy and dense. after 2 1/2 years of marriage, i can also finally say that i've found my husband's weakness - warm rosemary garlic focaccia! the recipe is adapted from this book which is one of our favorites and a fantastic reference for any bread recipe you can think of. baking is a time consuming process but most of that time if taken up by simply waiting for the dough to do its thing - so make a cup of tea, grab a good book and get baking!

Rosemary Garlic Focaccia
makes one 12x17-inch loaf

2 3/4-3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/8 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups minus 2 tbs water (70-90 degrees F)
3/4 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs fresh rosemary
8-10 cloves garlic, roasted in olive oil until soft and lightly brown
1 tsp maldon or large flake sea salt
in the mixer bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 2 3/4 cups flour and yeast. with the mixer running on low, gradually add the water and mix until the dough comes together, about 3 minutes. increase the speed to medium and beat until dough thickens a bit and is very smooth. add extra flour a few tablespoons at a time if needed until a bit stiffer but still a very runny dough resembling melted mozzarella. add sugar and salt and beat until just incorporated.
spray or oil a large stainless steel bowl and scrape the dough into bowl. lightly spray the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. allow the dough to rise in a warm place until at least doubled, about 2-3 hours. coat a 12x17-inch sheet pan with a heaping tablespoon of olive oil. pour the dough out onto the sheet pan and coat your hands with some of the remaining olive oil. spread the dough as thin as possible without tearing it. let it relax for 10 minutes and continue until the dough fills up most of the pan. cover with greased plastic and let rise about 1 hour or until doubled.
preheat oven to 475 degrees F. once dough has risen, use your fingertips to gently dimple the dough. place the whole cloves of roasted garlic in some of the dimples, sprinkle with fresh rosemary leaves, drizzle with remaining olive oil and salt. place the pan on the lowest shelf in the oven preferably directly on top of a hot pizza stone. bake 13-16 minutes or until the top is golden brown. remove from the oven and serve immediately - enjoy!



hi all, we wanted to tell you how blue we are that we haven't posted in a while, but it's all for good reason!! we recently decided that after a year and a half, we needed a blog change, an update. new york can make you rethink everything... it just happens to coincide with changes in our professional life as well. we are excited to report that we are both now represented by big leo productions, happy to be part of mary, mason and willie's amazing team!! we are currently working on updating portfolios, websites, new promos, our blog and everything in between. we are looking forward to sharing new work, new ideas, new loves, new recipes and new blog posts with you. we recently worked on a job for a cheese company overseas and we still have enough cheese in our fridge to open a cheese shop. check out this new promo we put together featuring just a taste of the masses of cheese! we have had our fill with all the different things you can do with blue, but this english stilton makes a wonderful blue cheese dressing that is so simple and we can't get enough of. it's great on an iceberg wedge with crumbled bacon and slices of heirloom tomatoes or as a dip for celery and carrot sticks!

Blue Cheese Dressing
makes 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 cup blue cheese, crumbled plus 2 tbs
fresh cracked black pepper
in a blender, combine buttermilk, yogurt, 1 cup blue cheese crumbles and black pepper. blend until smooth. stir in remaining 2 tablespoons crumbled cheese and serve. can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.


tart & tangy

like i mentioned earlier, a friend gave me the big sur bakery cookbook for my birthday and i couldn't wait to make something out of it! it's a wonderful cookbook about a quaint eatery in one of the most beautiful places on earth and is filled with great stories of local farmers, fishers & butchers, including the story of a woman named Clovis and her bearss limes. i didn't use that variety of lime for the tart this time but it was still amazing - perfectly balanced between the salty homemade graham crust, tart lime custard and fluffy white meringue topping. reminded me a little of the super tart lemon meringue pie my grandma always made that had everyone around the table puckering. the graham crackers that you make for the crust are a real treat to nibble on while you're making the rest of the pie - or stash them away for later.
have a great weekend!

Clovis's Lime Tart
makes one 10-inch tart

for the graham cracker crumbs:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs honey
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
cream the butter, sugars and honey with the paddle attachment of an electric mixture until light and fluffy. add the remaining ingredients and mix until dough comes together. roll the dough between two pieces of parchment until you have a rough 1/4-inch thick rectangle. chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 3 days. preheat oven to 375 degrees F. peel back the top layer of parchment and place dough on a cookie sheet. bake for 20-25 minutes or until brown. let cool to room temperature. break the graham cracker into pieces and pulse in a food processor until fine.

for the shell:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (see above)
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. in a medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and melted butter. lightly grease a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. sprinkle the crumbs into the pan and use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs evenly over the entire pan and up the sides. refrigerate for 20 minutes. bake 7-10 minutes, remove and cool completely on a rack.

for the filling:
1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
1 cup sugar
6 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
reduce oven to 325 degrees F. whisk together all the filling ingredients in a medium saucepan. cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. pour into cooled crust and back 10-15 minutes or until the filling is set. let the tart cool to room temperature and then place it in the freezer until the filling is firm to the touch, about 25 minutes.

for the meringue:
6 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
increase oven to 400 degrees F. place the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of barely simmering water. whisk the mixture constantly until the sugar dissolves. remove bowl from heat and whisk the whites with an electric mixer on high speed until medium peaks form. add vanilla and whisk to combine. remove tart from the freezer. spread the meringue over the top of the tart, leaving the edges of the shell uncovered. bake 2-4 minutes until the meringue is browned. refrigerate until ready to serve & enjoy!


raspberry bars, etc.

we've been so busy these past few weeks - eating, working, eating some more, entertaining & enjoying spring in this amazing city. we had a good friend & fellow foodie here for a long visit and hit up many great places for food, drinks, coffee, etc. it's tough to pick any favorites from the past few weeks but several food related highlights include a great cheese & beer dinner here, small tasty plates and wonderful atmosphere here, an icy treat before brooklyn flea, best deviled eggs ever here, and awesome sangria here!

got a few great cookbooks recently that i'm sure we'll posting recipes from soon - Molto Gusto and The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook. both are filled with beautiful images of amazing food! also excited for new music from one of our favorite voices and these guys too.

not much time for cooking or baking lately but we're excited to get to the green market this week to see what's in season and inspiring. in the meantime, these raspberry crumb breakfast bars from Baked are a perfect treat with a cup of coffee any time of day as we anxiously await the release of their next cookbook. enjoy!

Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bars

for the crust & crumb:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces

for the filling:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbs lemon zest
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs all purpose flour
1 lb fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted & cooled
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan and set aside. combine flour brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until just combined. add butter and pulse until loose crumbs form. reserve 1 cup of the mixture and set aside. pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands to push the crust into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. transfer pan to a wire rack and cool.
in a medium bowl, whisk sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and toss gently until the raspberries are evenly coated. spread the raspberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. top with reserved cup of crumble mixture and bake 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown. let cool completely before cutting into squares.


we're still recovering from this year's urban family easter and definitely still enjoying all the leftovers! doctor pepper & mustard glazed ham, horseradish deviled eggs, homemade pickles, burrata with melted leeks and italian style cheesecake with blood orange marmalade were just a few of the favorites. lots of leftover ham so we had to make some scalloped potatoes with ham, fennel and irish cheddar. this dish makes a nice meal for two with a simple side salad.

we've also got a a few other things we're excited about right now. thrilled to get this book in the mail yesterday - we love the art of jason munn, and so do our walls which are covered in his fabulous concert posters. check out jen's newest etsy shop, feather & bone, filled with beautiful prints from a trip to the university of colorado museum of natural history. and finally, we're very excited to see molly speak at her book signing here tonight! oh, and yesterday was opening day in ballparks around the country, so make some purcell dogs and start watching baseball!

Scalloped Potatoes & Ham
serves 2

2 tbs olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
2-3 small russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced ham
2 cups shredded cheese, such as sharp irish cheddar or gruyere
fresh ground black pepper
preheat oven to 400 degrees F. grease a 1.5 quart baking dish and set aside. in a medium saute pan, heat olive oil and add red onion and fennel. cook over medium high heat until wilted, about 6 minutes. layer 1/3 of the potatoes on bottom of baking dish, overlapping slightly. layer with 1/2 of the ham, then half of the onion and fennel, and top with 1/3 of the shredded cheese. continue with another layer and finish with remaining potatoes, a few grinds of pepper and remaining cheese. loosely cover with foil, tented so as not to stick to the cheese, and bake 35 minutes. remove foil and bake 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and brown. let cool 10 minutes before serving. enjoy!

northern spy

we've probably mentioned Northern Spy Food Co. a few times since moving to new york - it's a cozy spot in the east village focusing on sustainable, local, snout-to-tail cuisine, putting out creative dishes in a beautiful space and we love it! this kale salad is a favorite of ours and has gotten a lot of attention from food websites such as tasting table, who published the recipe a few months ago. just in case you haven't tasted it or seen it yet, we wanted to share this simple tasty recipe. getting ready for urban family Easter this weekend - the menu planning has begun and we'll be sure to take lots of pictures and share recipes. what will you be cooking?

Kale Salad
serves 2

2 1/2 cups shredded kale, preferably Tuscan
1/4 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup crumbled aged cheddar
1/2 cup cubed roasted kabocha or butternut squash
juice of 1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil
pecorino, optional garnish
in a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with almonds, cheddar and squash. season to taste with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. divide salad between two serving plates and garnish with shaved pecorino cheese if desired. enjoy!


corned beef

if you still have any corned beef leftover from saint patrick's day on wednesday, here's a great thing to do with it. and if not, it's a great reason to get out the slow cooker and make some more! we have a special place in our stomachs for deli sandwiches, especially from Katz's or Brent's, but sometimes it's fun to make it at home just the way you like it. this is the way we like it, but you could always add sauerkraut, sliced tomato, swiss cheese, spicy mustard . . . how do you like it? have a great weekend.

Corned Beef Sandwich
makes 2

1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 carrot, peeled & shredded
1/4 small jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/4 cup plus 1 tbs mayonnaise
1 tbs cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp celery salt
1 tbs ketchup
1/2 tsp sweet pickle relish
4 slices rye bread
8-10 thick slices corned beef
in a medium bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, jalapeno, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and celery salt. set aside. in a small bowl, combine remaining mayonnaise, ketchup, relish and worcestershire. spread 1-2 tablespoons of dressing on two slices of bread. top each with corned beef and divide coleslaw between two sandwiches. top with remaining bread and enjoy!


irish soda bread

a quick and easy recipe for irish soda bread packed with whiskey soaked raisins to help you celebrate today! it would be perfect with a cup of irish breakfast tea tomorrow morning, after a night of a few too many pints of guinness. the recipe is from this cookbook, a fabulous guide to baking all things bread which i'm sure we'll be posting many more recipes from soon. happy saint patrick's day!

Irish Soda Bread
makes 1 loaf

1 cup raisins
1/2 cup irish whiskey
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
3/4 cup plus 1 tbs buttermilk
soak the raisins in whiskey overnight or for at least 30 minutes. drain and set aside. preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. in a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking soda and salt. using your fingers, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. stir in the raisins. with a rubber spatula, stir in the buttermilk until just combined. knead lightly until the dough is smooth and fully incorporated. shape the dough into a 6-inch round and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. make 1/2-inch deep slits to across the top of the round, forming a cross. bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean. cool on a rack completely. this bread can be frozen for up to one month and reheated in the oven at 300 degrees F for 20-30 minutes. enjoy!


chocolate Guinness cake

this wednesday is one of our favorite food holidays - after thanksgiving, easter, christmas . . . ok, i guess most holidays are a great excuse to make something special and we really don't have a favorite! last year we celebrated st. patrick's day with colcannon and it will definitely be on our plates again this year with some corned beef, cabbage and a few pints of Guinness. this lovely chocolate cake combines stout and prunes for an extra moist and rich result. it's perfect with a little vanilla ice cream while sipping some irish whiskey after dinner! check back this week for a few more st. paddy's day recipes, including something to do with all that leftover corned beef.

Chocolate Stout Cake
serves 6
(adapted from

1/2 cup stout such as Guinness
1/2 cup pitted prunes, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, chopped
3 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. bring beer to a boil in a small saucepan and add prunes. remove from heat and let stand. melt chocolate and butter a little at a time in the microwave, stirring often, or in a heavy saucepan over low heat. sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick. add chocolate and beat until combined. reduce speed to low and add flour mixture. stir in prune mixture until well combined. divide batter between 6 greased 10-cm spring form pans, an 8x3-inch ringmold or a 6 cup capacity bundt pan. bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. cool cake 15 minutes on a wire rack, remove from pan and cool completely. enjoy!


gingersnaps & jam

if you happen to be looking for a very easy, nice & light dessert to whip up using ingredients that you probably have on hand any given day, then look no further. this is a recipe my mom made several years ago from an old issue of martha stewart and i immediately fell in love. there are endless flavor options from substituting different kinds of cookies and jam but some reason i can't get past gingersnaps and raspberry jam.

we also have a few random tidbits to mention today. be sure to check out the apr/may issue of Fine Cooking to see a great noodle article i styled along with the cover! we just picked up a bag of these amazing caramels at Marlow & Daughters and they sure didn't last long. also, if you twitter, look for us @picturenpancake - we don't tweet often but are trying to more & more. lastly, check out this fabulous article in the ny times about the coffee scene in new york - a perfect read as we sipped new orleans iced coffees from the newly opened blue bottle in brooklyn. have a great weekend!

Gingersnap & Jam Parfait
makes 4

3/4 cup raspberry jam
3 tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
8 gingersnaps, crushed
whisk together jam and lemon juice and set aside. beat sour cream, cream, sugar, vanilla, cardamom and ginger until stiff peaks form. layer about 1 tablespoon whipped cream mixture, 1 tablespoons crushed gingersnaps and 1 tablespoon of jam. repeat and top with a dollop of whipped cream. enjoy!


spring fever

it was too nice out today and for the past several days to cook much at home. we had a fun afternoon & evening today wandering around the city on foot - enjoying the bright sun, warm breeze and fifty degree weather! had a fantastic lunch here and can't wait to go back very very soon, nice ginger cookie & iced coffee break here and another sweet treat here. we are trying to spend a few moments every tuesday to go out and try something new in the city - we'll keep you posted on what's new & exciting to us as we explore. any suggestions for spots we just shouldn't miss?


celery root

celery root is a very strange and scary looking vegetable! but with a little love it can be turned into so many beautiful dishes. i was first introduced to the root as this classic french dish when recipe testing for this cookbook. this luscious rich soup makes a perfect lunch or dinner and pairs nicely with a lovely green salad. it couldn't be easier to make, especially with the help of this fantastic tool! immersion blenders make silky smooth soups in seconds and the whisk attachment means you don't have to lug out the kitchen aid stand mixer for a small bit of whipped cream. next time i grab some celery root at the greenmarket, i'm going to try this beautiful salad!

Celery Root Soup
serves 4

3 leeks, white & yellow only, cleaned & sliced
1 tbs olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 lbs celery root, peeled & cubed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 slices crispy bacon, crumbled
1/2 tart apple, cut into thin matchsticks
in a medium sized pot, saute leeks in oil until softened, about 8-10 minutes. add celery root, chicken broth and 3 cups of water. bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook 30-40 minutes or until celery root is soft. puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. return to pot, off heat and stir in heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. thin soup with a little water until desired consistency is reached. ladle into bowls and garnish with crumbled bacon, sliced apple and a drizzle of olive oil. enjoy!