Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Indoor Herb Garden

Every year as spring hits I try my hand at gardening (if you can call the corner of a small NYC balcony a garden), and every year I end up with pots of brown, dried out plants. I think I'm neglectful because all the action is happening outside- out of sight, out of mind. This year, I decided to switch it up and move my greenery indoors. I bought two heavily discounted lanterns from Pottery Barn (the sales associate honored a mismarked tag and I got a major bargain), a bag of potting soil and two pots from Home Depot, and a variety of herbs from the Union Square Greenmarket. A little water and voilĂ - my indoor herb garden was born. Here's hoping it lasts...

I think the rosemary is the most fragrant of the bunch
Although the sign is misspelled, I couldn't pass up the $1 price
Pots of mint
Sage plants sitting in the sunshine
Thyme- the herb I tend to use most often
Basil, just peaking through the soil
Oregano with a recipe card for "pizza night"
One pot of herbs on my ledge
A close-up with the door of the lantern open for a quick watering

Monday, February 27, 2012

Market Mondays: Lazy Monday

This week's edition of Market Mondays is the perfect example of what happens when you're too tired to make dinner...a no-fuss, no-frills bowl of yogurt with granola and honey. Thanks to Ronnybrook Farm Dairy, Hot Bread Kitchen, and Andrew's Local Honey, it was one of the best I've had.

Ronnybrook Farm Dairy's yogurts in ice
Mom's Nutty Granola from Hot Bread Kitchen
Jars of raw honey from Andrew's Local Honey
A close-up the sweet, tangy meal

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fat Fridays: Stick & Pop

What could be better than a ball of cake on a lollipop stick? How about a ball of cake mixed with homemade icing, rolled in chocolate and covered in various toppings on a lollipop stick.

Stick & Pop, a purveyor of gourmet cake pops is a recent addition to Chelsea, having opened in early February. The menu of original pops (special order is available) includes a variety of inventive flavors, priced at $3 a pop. The Griswold, sold out every time I've visited the cozy 19th street outpost, combines marshmallow and vanilla cake with chocolate chunks and is dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in graham crackers. My go-to, and this week's Fat Fridays indulgence, is the Johnny Cakes; peanut butter cake dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in pretzel pieces and sea salt. It is the perfect bite-sized combo of sweet and salty, conveniently set atop a lollipop stick.

Stick & Pop's Johnny Cakes cake pop
The interior of the cake pop, a delicious blend of peanut butter cake mixed with homemade icing, is studded with peanut pieces

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Meyer Lemon Pudding

With spring in the air and Meyer lemons in season, I decided to make a bright dessert- lemon pudding. As an added bonus, I shaved white chocolate over top and threw in some fresh raspberries. I can't claim credit for the pudding recipe (save for using Meyer lemons as opposed to standard lemons), I lifted it from Martha Stewart- she never steers me wrong when it comes to sweets. Her recipe can be found here.

A little runny, but still pretty good
The raspberries and white chocolate were the perfect addition

Monday, February 20, 2012

Market Mondays: Greenmarket Cookies

Greenmarkets aren't just for veggies. For this week's edition of Market Mondays, I made Greenmarket Cookies- using fresh eggs, butter, flour, and artisan pretzels and potato chips (along with a few other ingredients from home). The recipe for this chunky cookie is below.

Greenmarket Cookies (yield, 14 cookies)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup smashed pretzels
1/2 cup smashed potato chips
1. In large mixing bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, cut in cold butter until mixture resembles crumbs. Add sugars and stir well. Add eggs and mix until dough forms. Stir in remaining ingredients.
2. Chill dough for one hour (keep unused dough in fridge while baking first batch).
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. Put half of the dough on an ungreased baking sheet in 7 large balls, bake for 8-10 minutes. Rotate baking sheet and continue to bake until light golden brown on top, approx. another 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Repeat with the remaining dough or freeze for later use.

At $7 a dozen- easily the most expensive eggs I've ever purchased
Delicious creamy butter
Flour from Cayuga Pure Organics
Martin's Handmade Pretzels are some of my favorite
A recent addition to the Greenmarket- Mountain Sweet Berry Farm's potato chips- I used the brown butter variety, made from German Butterball potatoes

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Breakfast At Winvian

My husband and I took our son on his first road trip this weekend. As soon as we buckled him into his car seat, he closed his eyes and kept on snoozing throughout the entire ride (the same thing happened on the way home). Unfortunately, once we were settled in our cottage and day turned to night, he had a hard time sleeping- so we had a hard time sleeping. Still awake as the sun was rising and incredibly tired, we indulged in an early breakfast, set off on a brisk walk to wake ourselves up, and packed up for the drive back home. Scenes from our gluttonous, delicious meal at Winvian in Litchfield Hills, Connecticut, are below.

A pastry basket, including 2 thick slices of the most outstanding carrot, sage and walnut loaf
A refreshing fruit bowl in a rather large serving dish
French toast with kumquats and a side of sausage and potatoes
Pancakes with juicy, plump blueberries

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fat Fridays: Downtown Cookie Co.

Downtown Cookie Co.'s cookies are dense, buttery, and utterly delicious. Varieties like chocolate peanut butter chip, Jane Street jam, oatmeal chocolate chip, ginger, peanut butter, chocolate chip, chocolate cherry, oatmeal raisin, and chocolate chocolate chip, are handmade daily in small batches using all natural ingredients and no preservatives.

The chocolate chip cookie, this week's Fat Fridays treat, is something I'd go downtown for any day of the week. Luckily, I don't have to- the cookies are sold in boxes of six at the Chelsea Whole Foods (24th and 7th). If you're not in the area and want to check them out for yourself, online ordering is available.

A few bites missing from one of Downtown Cookie Co.'s chocolate chip cookies

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Scharffen Berger's Valentine's Day Pop-Up

Trying my hardest to avoid chocolate on Valentine's Day (I still have way too much baby weight that refuses to go away), I happened upon Scharffen Berger's pop-up. While strolling through the Meatpacking District with my mini valentine snoozing away in the afternoon sunshine, bins of chocolate were calling my name- mocking any attempt at a sweets-free holiday. Passersby were free to line their pockets with as many tabs (extra dark, bittersweet, semisweet and milk) as their hearts desired, but I restrained myself to one of each...then made a trip around the block and back again for 3 more of the rich, creamy milk variety (and I wonder why I still look like I'm pregnant).

Signs lined the communal tables at the outdoor pop-up
A free-for-all chocolate extravaganza

Monday, February 13, 2012

Market Mondays: Roasted Carrot, Sweet Potato & Feta Dip

A bright, colorful sign advertising Bolero carrots for $5/lb. led to this week's Market Mondays creation- roasted carrot, sweet potato and feta dip. I roasted Bolero carrots and sweet potatoes with orange peel and juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Once tender, I let the roasted veggies cool slightly and pulsed them in a food processor with feta cheese and fresh thyme leaves. To complement the flavors in the dip, I served it with Consider Bardwell Farm's Vermont Cheese Crisps- made from a blend of the farm's cheeses and herbs. The three-step instructions for the tasty dip are below.

Roasted Carrot, Sweet Potato and Feta Dip
2 Bolero carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 navel orange
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 oz. feta
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Toss carrots and sweet potatoes with extra virgin olive oil, peel and juice from 1 navel orange, and a dash of salt and pepper. Roast until tender and allow to cool.
3. Remove orange peel and pulse roasted veggies with feta and thyme leaves in a food processor until slightly chunky. Season to taste.

The sign that started it all
Sweet potatoes were $2/lb., $3 less than the carrots
Salty feta packed in brine
Potted herbs, $2 each
Consider Bardwell Farm's new Vermont Cheese Crisps
A close-up of the addictive snack

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fat Fridays: LA Burdick Chocolate

LA Burdick Chocolate, a shop that consistently has what may be the slowest service imaginable, also has a variety of outstanding chocolate coated caramels. I picked a combo of five pieces for this week's Fat Fridays, and when I was done, I wish I had doubled that number. The combo is made up of the caramel trio and a duo of salted caramels. The three-pack includes vanilla infused caramel enrobed in dark chocolate with white stripes, mocha infused caramel enrobed with milk chocolate with dark stripes, and my favorite- apricot infused caramel enrobed in white chocolate with dark stripes. The two-pack includes cardamom infused caramel enrobed with dark chocolate (a close second behind the apricot) topped with sea salt, and a salty vanilla infused caramel enrobed in milk chocolate with dark stripes. As irritating as it may be, these confections are definitely worth the wait.

The trio on the left, and the salty duo on the right
My second favorite- cardamom infused caramel with sea salt
My number one choice- apricot infused caramel in white chocolate

Monday, February 6, 2012

Market Mondays: Black Bean & Butternut Quinoa Salad

For this week's edition of Market Mondays, I made a somewhat labor intensive quinoa salad using veggies I picked up at the Union Square Greenmarket and a jarred chile sauce. I roasted butternut squash with garlic and onions, sauteed kale, and cooked dried black beans (a little quicker than normal by breaking out my neglected pressure cooker). I added the veggies to prepared quinoa, tossed it with some mild chile sauce, salt, and pepper- and a healthy, tasty dinner was born.

Butternut squash- one of my favorite vegetables
I'm not a garlic connoisseur, so I can't speak to whether this is in fact the best garlic in the known universe
A basket of red onions at the Greenmarket
I picked up dried black beans and some farro for another time
Kale, at $6/lb.
The finished salad- a nutritious dinner