Tuesday, July 27, 2010

fresh peach & basil frozen yogurt

homemade froyo on a hot summer evening that's bursting with fresh juicy peaches straight from the farmers market and flecks of basil straight from my patio herb "garden"...can't get much better than that.  here's a recipe I adapted from one of David Lebovitz's Parisian culinary musings.

fresh peach & basil frozen yogurt

4 peaches, peeled, halved and pitted
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup basil syrup*
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons basil leaves
12 ounces low-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice

*for basil syrup, simmer 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water until sugar dissolves completely, about 7 to 8 minutes.  remove from heat, add about 1/2 cup basil leaves and allow to cool. strain and press excess liquid from basil through a sieve.

simmer peaches and water for about 10 minutes until softened.
place peaches in a bowl in fridge until cool.
combine cooled peaches, basil syrup, sugar, basil leaves, yogurt and lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth.
pour into a container or covered bowl and freeze.  stir after 30 minutes or so, and again after 60 minutes to evenly distribute ice crystals.

Monday, July 26, 2010

sunday saute :: summer squash, fresh corn, feta & mint

After coming back late last night from a relaxing weekend in the Hamptons, I wanted to do nothing more than make a quick, light and fresh dinner (to rebound a bit from my cocktail consumption over the course of the weekend) and cozy up to my couch for the season premiere of Mad Men - which was pretty amazing if you've yet to see it.   Inspecting my fridge, I pulled together a few ingredients--heavy on the summer produce.  Some zucchini, yellow summer squash, local corn, garlic scapes, fresh mint and feta cheese and you've got the makings for a refreshing (and super fast) saute when it's a little too late (and definitely far too hot outside) to eat a full-on heavy meal.  The veggies pack in nutrients after a long weekend, garlic scapes provide a punch of antioxidants and great flavor and the feta...well, the feta's just creamy and delicious.  Just a tiny dollop of it is all you need to elevate the dish and make it even more interesting.  Before I detail out the recipe, I will note that while sauteing away, I had the opportunity to test out a brand-spanking new non-stick titanium (and eco-friendly) saute pan from Scanpan CTX Cookware, a Danish brand.  My review: love the weight and the ease of cooking with this pan as well as its sleek, streamlined Scandinavian design.
ingredients prepped...

a simple dinner for a hot Sunday night

summer squash saute with corn, feta & mint


2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic scape, minced

2 small zucchini, diced
1 yellow summer squash, diced
1 ear fresh corn, kernels shaved off
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or about 1/4 of a lemon)
a pinch or two of red chili pepper flakes
salt to taste

about 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, julienned
about 2 tablespoons mild and creamy feta (like French or Australian)


in a medium or large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  add garlic scape and saute for about 1 minute.  add zucchini and squash, saute for 1 minute.  add corn kernels along with lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt.  saute for about 5 to 7 minutes longer until squash and corn are lightly browned in some areas.  turn off heat and toss in mint and feta.  mix gently and serve.    

Friday, July 23, 2010

a little weekend inspiration...

what a perfect way to kick off the weekend.  happy friday, cheers!

*photo credit: FLATT magazine

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Friday finds :: 5 things we love

A few of our favorite picks to kickoff your weekend...

1. People's Pops :: who doesn't love a refreshing popsicle in 90 degree weather?  People's Pops combines the freshest of fruits and seasonal ingredients provided by local farmers for a killer-tasting summertime (or anytime) treat.  Checkout their new space in Chelsea Market and starting this Sunday, on the Highline. If they've got it, try the sour cherry-plum...seriously to die for.       

2. Rick's Picks :: because pickles are just plain cool and Rick get his goods from local farms.  yup, we're big on community support.
3. Claudia Pearson's summer tote :: so adorable and absolutely perfect for shopping at the greenmarket.  love that Claudia's totes (and dish towels) feature seasonal produce - winter, spring, summer and fall.  finds her goods and other fun items like seasonal coloring books at The Hester Fair on Saturdays and Sundays.

4. summer peaches! :: because they're bursting with flavor right now and are great for a quick, light and juicy summer snack.  grab em at your local farmers market and get creative.  i just whipped up a batch of fresh peach-basil frozen yogurt earlier this week.  don't worry, recipe is on it's way.

5. Jill Malek :: Brooklyn-based designer and wallpaper-queen.  Jill's graphic prints are incredible and she's branched out to fabulous printed yoga mats.

*and to sign-off this week on a charitable note, check out this Monday night's "Food for Thought, Captain to Captain" dinner in support of The Greater New Orleans Foundation's Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund, supporting fishermen and their families.  Feast on NOLA fare by Chef Brent Sims of The Green Table and Chef Emilio Fujimoto and Pastry Chef Gabi Ladson of The Cleaver Company.  Purchase tickets here
$40  6:30-9:30pm
632 Below
632 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10011

photo credits: seriouseats.com, thedieline.com, simpledailyrecipes.com, jillmalek.com   

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

how to :: store fresh herbs

So you've a gorgeous bunch of fresh basil straight from the greenmarket, or you've got more mint growing on your windowsill than you know what to do with, or far too much cilantro to use in just one or 2 meals.  What's a gal to do?  Store those lovelies and keep them fresh and bright for future use - ok, future meaning about 3 to 5 days if not more, but still.  An enlightening dinner this past weekend at NYC's Hencho en Dumbo (Bowery & 4th St.), alerted me to a genius - and gorgeous - way to store fresh herbs.  Mexican food and fresh herbs?  Yup.  There I was, sitting at the bar with a friend, watching the bartender make endless mojitos and margaritas (both are phenomenal by the way).  When grabbing fresh mint for the mojito, he reached for a mason jar -- outfitted with a damp paper towel on the bottom then packed with fresh mint leaves to the brim.  Lightbulb!  Why hadn't I ever thought of this before?  Sure, I've stored fresh herbs wrapped in a damp paper towel and I've also stored them in a small glass filled with an inch or two of water.  Both ways do the trick, but not for very long - at least not in my fridge.  The jar and wet towel create the perfect moist environment for delicate herbs and the mason jars just look utterly cool and stylish sitting pretty in your fridge or even on the kitchen counter.  Keep in mind that long-stemmed herbs like mint, cilantro, basil, parsley and tarragon will work best in a jar.  For herbs like rosemary, thyme and chives, wrap them loosely in plastic wrap and store in the fridge - too much moisture may cause them to mold.     

use a mason jar to create an indoor "herbarium" - add some potting soil, a few rocks and a spot on your windowsill and you've got the perfect moist environment for growing

Monday, July 19, 2010

grow your own : summer herbs & tomatoes, urban style

I'm lucky enough to have a patio, albeit a small patio, but it's still outdoor space which is a cherished rarity in NYC.  I've attempted to make the most of my little space this summer by planting tomatoes and an array of herbs (chives, mint, basil, rosemary, tarragon and more basil) - and I'm happy to report that my first batch of mini heirloom tomatoes are about ready for harvest!  Whether you've got outdoor space to maximize or simply a city windowsill, get an herb garden going in small pots.  It's not exactly urban rooftop farming, but if you have some partial sun, the herbs will do the rest.   
my patio: small, but sunny
chives, rosemary, tarragon and of course basil

the result of my tomato harvest: 2 ears fresh corn kernels + 1 avocado, diced + 2 cups yellow & red cherry tomatoes + drizzle of olive oil & fresh lemon juice, salt and just a touch a basil-chive oil (the easiest way to make use of extra herbs - puree herbs of your choice with a good amount of olive oil until well-blended.  refrigerate oil blend for up to 3 weeks).  the puree will solidify, but leave it on the counter for 5 minutes, and you've got a flavor-packed oil ready to use.  [serves 3 or 4 as a simple side dish]

And if you're still not convinced, check out some of these super cool indoor herb garden alternatives. 
uber modern and innovative from New Zealand, Boskke hanging planters 
available at Velocity Art & Design

the vertical Urb Garden by Xavier Calluaud. if you can get over the worm farm inside which makes for great growth, this is one hot piece of gardening from Inhabitat, where good design = green design

Back from Brimfield: Vintage Pieces for the Table & Kitchen

To report back, the Brimfield Antique Show was well worth the trek and having to sweat out the blazing hot weather.  Check out some of the great finds I scouted out, though sadly didn't have room to take home with me!  If you're looking to furnish a country home, vintage boutique, rustic restaurant or just love the 'hunt and find' of antique shows and flea markets, this tri-annual event is an absolute must!

an incredible antique dry sink, a true statement piece

an impeccably restored kitchen cabinet/dry bar and a fab vintage marble table!

it was all the talk among show-goers and sellers that Restoration Hardware is selling these vintage wooden factory carts-turned-coffee tables for nearly triple the price!

an amazing wicker chair that was bigger than me, for the bargain price of $170! why isn't my apartment double the size?!

proof of a great day of flea marketing hunting!  a gorgeous lilac-gold glass pitcher dating back to 1900; a set of marble/stone vases; 6 pebbled green glass salad plates (I'm in love!) and a darling English rose creamer

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Weekend Guide :: Due North

I'm headed north this weekend for a much anticipated day trip to the renown Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, MA.  Always a lover of scouting, sourcing and the random 'hidden jewel' of a find (vintage or new), I can't wait -- even with the 4 hour drive that awaits!  The show runs through this Sunday, July and is back again Sept. 7-12th.   It's apparently the show of all antique/flea markets and is "flowing" with bargains according to the NY Times' assessment of last summer's show.  I'll report back with any fabulous finds, particularly for a well-styled kitchen and table.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Wake-Up Call for Calcium via Gwyneth Paltrow

Just yesterday I read that celebrity actress, food lover and founder of the wellness online newsletter GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow was diagnosed with osteopenia, the early stages of osteoporosis when bone mineral density is lower than ideal, and may lead to subsequent bone loss. 
I was somewhat taken back when I spied the news alert seeing as, from what I can tell, Gwyneth is committed to living, eating and exercising well.  Just goes to show that anything can strike us at any moment.  And with that, I'm calling for a widespread wake-up call.  Get on the calcium bandwagon and ensure you're getting your daily fix...because none of us wants to be hunched over like a little granny, especially at the young age of 37 (Gwyneth's current year).  
What's the most fast and furious way to ensure you're consuming enough calcium?  See the list of top notch food sources below, both dairy and non-dairy if you're lactose intolerant.  Aim for 3 servings of a calcium-rich food per day to reach your rec of about 1000mg or 1200mg if you're over 50.  And if you can't go the food route, consider a calcium + vitamin D supplement.  Just be sure to take it with food for best absorption. 

Calling on Calcium  

- cheese (1 oz is a serving...green light to have your favorite cheddar, brie, gouda and more.  in moderation of course!)
- yogurt (try to look for an organic or local brand and note that most Greek yogurts, although packed with protein and delicious, have slightly less calcium than most regular yogurts)
 - milk (soy, skim, low-fat, almond, rice, lactaid...endless options and about 20% of your day's calcium per cup)
-  sardines, canned salmon (those teensy bones have calcium!), oysters, clams 

- dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens
- fortified cereals such as Total and bran flakes
- fortified orange juice (make sure it's 100% fresh juice!)
- soybeans (aka edamame), tofu, soy milk

- almonds (about 20 is a solid serving, perfect for a quick snack or to toss a few into cereal, yogurt, salads and sides)
- beans (black beans, great Nothern beans, kidney beans and more)

I'll leave you with one of Gwyneth's own recipes from her TV series paired with Mario Batali, Spain on the Road Again.  Wonder if she realized those clams were so rich in calcium and iron when cooking up this dish?!

When the cast of Spain on the road Again ate at Casa Pintos after meeting the mariscadoras in Cambados, Gwyneth was inspired by the chef‘s use of laurel, bay leaves, in the steamed clams. When they got to the Vintona Winery, she volunteered to make everyone her special clams, with enough garlic to clear your sinuses. The healthy slug of AlbariƱo is key.

Serves 4

* 2 pounds berberechos or other clams, scrubbed
* 1 head garlic, cut in half across the bulb
* 2 or 3 fresh bay leaves
* 1/2 bottle AlbariƱo (or other good Spanish dry white wine)
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Put everything in a deep skillet, cover tightly, and steam over medium-high heat until the clams open (yes, it's really that easy)

how much do you LOVE Gwyneth's kitchen?!  i'm slightly obsessed.

*photos courtesy of Spain on the Road Again, Kaleidoscope Blog and Little Willow.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Weekend Guide :: What's Cooking

EAT some meat | July 11th - For all you foodies and (lean) meat-lovers out there, head to Governor's Island this coming Sunday for Meatopia: BBQ NYC which features over 30 of the country's best chefs.  Proceeds from the event benefit Slow Food NYC and Just Food NYC which connects local farms to NYC neighborhoods.

GIVE back | July 20th  The James Beard Foundation and the Food Bank for NYC Young Professionals are teaming up for an evening charity dinner of all things local and sustainable.  For more info and tickets click here.

GOALLL! | July 10-11th The World Cup finals are keeping things insanely hot this weekend.  Uruguay v. Germany on Saturday and Spain v. Netherlands on Sunday, 2:30pm EST.  Break out some ice cold beverages and bring back the goal-winning guacamole recipe from a few weeks ago and you're set for game watching.

GROW, garden & shop |  Sundays  Looking to get active, get your hands dirty and give back to the community via food?  Volunteer at Eagle Street Rooftop Farms in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (6,000 sq ft of summer vegetable goodness atop a warehouse roof). 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

tabouleh :: a cool, quick lunch for a hot day

If you haven't yet stepped outside today, you're lucky.  It's a blazing 97 degrees in NYC.  I nearly melted just walking from my apartment to my neighborhood coffee shop, OST.  When the weather's this sweltering, I can really only think about hydrating to stay cool.  The more liquids the better.  Actual food tends to become an after thought and anything resembling an oven/toaster oven/stove top is absolutely out of the question.  
But because a girl does have eat, I went the incredibly easy, no-heat-required route of prepping a cool tabouleh salad for today's lunch (put together in under 10 minutes and easily packed up to bring to the office).  I must thank my beloved mother for inspiring me to love this summertime Middle Eastern dish.  Tabouleh was a constant staple in our fridge when I was growing up.  A big bowl sat ready for the taking - perfect for a fast  and energizing lunch thanks to the goodness of whole grains or a satisfying afternoon snack or even a colorful and  healthful side dish at dinner.  Tabouleh's traditionally made with bulgur (cracked wheat that's high in fiber, about 5 grams per serving), lots of parsley - curly or Italian works just fine, olive oil, lemon juice, scallion and tomato.  Plain, simple and shockingly healthy.  Clearly my mom was ahead of her time!

Lacking parsley this morning when I whipped up the dish, I substituted fresh mint and threw in some chickpeas and feta cheese for an extra-energy packed lunch.  Cool, refreshing and it's keeping me well-fueled all afternoon. 

makes 4 servings

2 cups bulgur
1 cup red or yellow cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
1 vine-ripened or heirloom tomato diced
2 kirby cucumbers, diced
2 stalks of scallions, chopped
1 15 ounce can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

put the bulgur in a medium bowl and fill with water just to cover.  allow to sit covered on a counter top for at least 30 minutes or overnight.  bulgur will absorb the water and will be ready to work with - no cooking required!  place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss.  lunch in under 10 minutes!

Monday, July 5, 2010

5 ways with fresh tomatoes

Get ready for a little post-4th of July inspiration.  Take an independent charge this month to freshen up your fridge and your plate.  If these gorgeous pics below don't garner some culinary, greenmarket-going inspiration, I don't know what will!  And I'm very pleased to mention that these photos are courtesy of Domino magazine, my fave design publication, which has just been brought back to life at Brides.com!!  For accompanying recipes check out the full article here.  Now is THE season to scout out fresh from the farm tomatoes - whether they're heirloom, cherry, grape, vine-ripened or plum - check localharvest.org to find a farmers market near you.

vibrant heirlooms...take your pick
a lovely lite lunch, simple take on pan con tomate...feels like you're leisurely lunching Spain
warm caprese salad...fresh mozzarella, tomatoes & basil. yum. (full recipe below)
frittata with tomatoes & leeks for a hearty breakfast or simple lunch or dinner
gazpacho bloody mary, hair of the dog to cure that 4th of July hangover (if there's a hint of it still left!)

Warm Caprese Salad
The savoriness of this classic Italian preparation is updated by grilling the tomatoes, which adds a hint of caramelization, and melting the cheese. Gooey heirloom heaven!
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 to 8 heirloom tomatoes
  • 10 oz. buffalo or fresh mozzarella, sliced and at room temperature
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup chives, cut into 1/2" lengths
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, mint, tarragon and/or soft oregano leaves
  • 2 cups baby arugula

Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium hot, and brush grates with olive oil. Trim the tops off the smaller tomatoes, and cut the larger ones into very thick slices (at least 1"). Place the tomatoes cut side down on the grill until they just begin to warm, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn over tomatoes and top each with a slice of mozzarella. Cook 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until the cheese "slumps." Remove the tomatoes from the grill, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix the herbs and arugula to make a salad, and scatter around the tomatoes.
Serves 4

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Scout :: A Nautical Table for the Fourth

In the spirit of the long weekend, beach weather and Independence Day, I pulled together some nautical and seashore-themed pieces to make your holiday meal that much more festive.  Fire up the grill for burgers, chicken, lobster, veggies and more and whip up a pitcher of fresh lemonade or margaritas and you're ready to roll this weekend.  Happy 4th!

Clockwise from the top...

America's Cup Tray | $59, Dabney Lee at Home
Volcano Vase | $150, Merchant 4
From the Deep Dinner Plate | $24, Anthropologie
Beach Stone Placements | $54.95 set of 4, Home Infatuation

Two Mile Hollow Square Dishes | $86 set of 4, Newport Nautical Decor
From the Deep Cup & Saucer | $14, Anthropologie
Sea Life Salad & Dessert Plates | $32.95 set of 4, Home Infatuation
Landscape Shibori Platter | $170, Rosenthal
Lobster Apron | $22, Etsy