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"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate – you know someone's fingers have been all over it." – Julia Child

Posts from the Summer Category

Juicing may be trending, but we’re more interested in things that taste good and are good for you. Our green juice is packed with kale, celery, green apples, parsley, ginger, and the occasional beet or carrot. You can include other greens (sometimes I add a piece of cabbage) and fruits like lemons. A juicer is the easiest (well, aside from the tedious clean-up duties the machines need) way to go since its powerful motor and blades chew threw fruits and vegetables in a snap, but, a good blender will do. If using a blender, cut the ingredients into small pieces and strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve, a mesh nut milk bag, or several layers of cheesecloth to sort out fiber and unprocessed bits.

And now, the pièce de resistance! This is my very favorite breakfast on the go shake. It’s basically a cold take on the basic oatmeal and fruit bowl. This shake is healthy, keeps you full for hours, and tastes absolutely delicious. Here’s the recipe:

BANANA-PEANUT-OATMEAL SHAKE

Makes 1

½ cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons salted and roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seeds (optional)
1 banana, peeled and broken into chunks
1 cup almond, cashew, or dairy milk
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
½ cup ice cubes
– Pulse the oats and the peanuts in a blender until powdery. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the drink is smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Our bodies are about half water, making us, essentially, land-friendly fish. Makes you think, right? Those 8 glasses of water a day are a must, but we like to give them a little more oomph. Delicately flavored and iced waters are livelier, lovelier, and more refreshing than plain Jane tap. A few of our standards are watermelon cubes and fresh mint sprigs, cucumber and lime slices, lemon rounds and green apple slices, and mint tea. The construction is not difficult: ice, the fruits, vegetables, or herbs you prefer, and cold water. Stir gently and allow to chill thoroughly. Another cool suggestion: add iced coffee to your fridge and morning routine, and for an extra wake-me-up, a swipe of chilly toner on your face is a must-try.

 

Cheeses for Bruschetta

Bruschetta

“Bigger is better!” is a creed that in our modern American food lexicon translates into super-sized meals and foods that have morphed into concoctions worthy of sci-fi. Ever curious about culinary innovation  hungry eyes and minds and mouths sometimes mislead us and feed us disastrous concoctions.

We are guilty of eating out a lot: sometimes it’s convenient, other times it’s because we’re running around for work, and most often because restaurants are where we meet with friends, celebrate, and relax. Don’t get us wrong, we love it! We’re so lucky to live in New York where restaurant choices are unlimited, but, after stuffing ourselves to the point of waistband button explosion, we return to our kitchens and scale back to the basics: meals made with local and seasonal items, cooked without much fuss and fanfare.

Ripe tomatoes, plump strawberries, slender asparagus, and herbs from the garden are a good place to start. Douse thick slices of  good bread with peppery olive oil and grill until charred: the exterior will crunch between your teeth, and the sturdy crumb will soak up the berry and tomato juices.

You can top your bruschetta with whatever you like, just remember to mind the basics: Start with the freshest and ripest produce, bread that has a thick crust and a dense crumb, quality extra-virgin olive oil, flaky sea salt, and just-ground black pepper. If adding cheeses, go for full fat and have a variety on hand, like mozzarella, spreadable mascarpone, and crumbly Parmigiano.

Tell us what you top your bruschetta with!

 Are you thinking what we’re thinking? It’s just too hot and sunny to wait for the weekend. Go for it!

Summer lovin’…

THE PLAYA

Serves 1

The classic Sex on the Beach is made with vodka, peach schnapps, orange or pineapple juice, and cranberry juice. This variation relies on seasonal peaches, infused liquor, and bitter Campari for a decidedly more sophisticated cocktail.

1 peach, scrubbed, pitted, and cubed, or ¾ cup frozen peaches
1 ½ ounces vodka or gin
1 ½ ounces fresh orange juice or pineapple juice
1 ½ ounces Campari
½ ounce Chambord or crème de cassis
½ cup ice cubes
Maraschino cherries, orange wedges, or pineapples cubes, for garnish

` In a blender, pulse peach, liquor, juice, Campari, Chambord, and ice cubes until well blended. Garnish with maraschino cherries, orange wedges, or pineapple cubes and serve immediately.

FOR THE CLASSIC SEX ON THE BEACH:  In a shaker, combine 1 ½ ounces vodka, 1 ounce peach schnapps, 1 ounce Chambord, 2 ounces pineapple or orange juice, and 1 ounce cranberry juice. Add a handful of ice cubes, shake, and pour into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with Maraschino cherries.

Get ready for fireworks! This 4th of July we’ll be making hot dogs with a little more than just ketchup and mustard. We can’t decide which is our favorite. Tell us what you settle on!

 

POTATO SALAD WITH HOMEMADE RANCH DRESSING
Serves 10

Fresh, fresh, fresh! We’re getting ready to perk up basic potato salad with a series of recipes, but we couldn’t wait and broke this one out for the weekend festivities. No more powdered spice mixes or bottled dressings! This dressing is all fragrant herbs. Take note of the 2-step dressing process: your potato salad will have more flavor than ever.

4 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 bunch dill, chopped (about 1 cup)
½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
½ cup parsley leaves, chopped
Worcestershire sauce
Fresh lemon juice

– Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover them. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the head to medium and simmer the potatoes until fork-tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle them with the vinegar and oil and gently stir them with a rubber spatula.

– While the potatoes are cooling, whisk the buttermilk and mayonnaise together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the garlic, dill, cilantro, and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Add Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice to taste.

– Pour about half of the dressing over the potatoes and stir gently to combine — while warm, the potatoes will absorb the dressing.  Reserve the rest. When the potatoes come to room temperature, transfer them to a large bowl and refrigerate until chilled. When ready to serve, add the reserved dressing to the potatoes and adjust seasoning, as food tends to lose flavor when cold.

 

GRILLED FRANKS’N’BEANS
Makes about 6 cups beans

Sure, you can buy canned baked beans, but these are sparkler-dazzling. Also, you probably have most of the condiments in the recipe lurking in your pantry already. Make them a couple of days in advance and reheat them in a cast iron skillet or a disposable foil pan right on your grill when you’re ready to serve. Add a little water to the beans if you need to loosen the sauce up a bit.
For the Beans
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
2 slices smoked ham, cut into cubes
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons molasses
1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brown mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup water
4 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
– Heat the lard over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or other large pot until shimmering. Add the ham and bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and brown. Add the onion, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and brown sugar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in the molasses, then the ketchup, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and water.

– Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and stir in the beans. Cook until the sauce is thickened and the beans are warmed through, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust with vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, if desired.

For the Franks
Franks, of your choice
Hot dog buns
Brown mustard

– Grill the franks outdoors or cook them on a grill pan, or even a standard skillet with a pat of butter, until they’re nicely browned.  Place them in the buns and top them with baked beans and mustard.

L.A.-STYLE BACON-WRAPPED HOT DOGS
Serves 6

I can’t get enough of this recipe. My soon-to-be sister Whitney took me to downtown L.A. years ago and introduced me to these hot dogs. They were cooked on a bunsen burner on a sheet tray, right there in the middle of a busy street. There was a huge bowl of fresh guacamole on a cooler in the front, surrounded by bottled Jarritos sodas. Bacon-wrapped, grilled, topped with charred onions and jalapeños, and topped with creamy guacamole, you’ll have a line of customers at your own grill. Oh, and, yeah, there are chicharrones in the guacamole.

For the Hot Dogs and Jalapeño-Onion Topping
6 jalapeño peppers
Vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 hot dog sausages
¼ cup cornstarch
6 slices bacon
6 hot dog buns
Mayonnaise, for serving

– Set a grill or grill pan to high. If using a grill, set a large cast iron skillet on the grill to preheat. You can also use a grilling basket. Drizzle the jalapeños with oil and set them directly on the grill, if using. Season the onions with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.  Cook them in the preheated cast iron or on the grill pan, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. Transfer to a serving platter.

– Roll the sausages in cornstarch. Wrap 1 bacon slice around each sausage: the cornstarch will glue them together. Cook the hot dogs in the skillet until the bacon is crisped and browned.  Tuck the sausages into buns spread with mayo, and top with the onions and jalapeños. Serve with guacamole.

For the Guacamole
Makes about 3 cups

4 ripe avocados, pitted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2 to 3 limes
Worcestershire sauce
Pork cracklings, crushed

– Scoop the avocado flesh into a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher or a large fork to desired consistency. With a rubber spatula, fold in the onion, jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro. Stir in the lime juice and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Adjust seasonings, top with the cracklings, and serve.

ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS
Serves 4

4 bell peppers in assorted colors, seeded and sliced
1 large onion, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
4 fresh Italian sausages
4 sturdy rolls, split in half

– Set a grill or grill pan to high. If using a grill, set a large cast iron skillet on the grill to preheat. You can also use a grilling basket. Toss the peppers and onions together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.  Cook them in the preheated cast iron or on the grill pan, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. Transfer to a serving platter.

– Poke the sausages a few times with a fork and lightly coat with oil. Grill until lightly charred and cooked through. Transfer them to a cutting board and cut the sausages into thick slices.

– Brush the insides of the rolls with oil and grill them just long enough to toast.  Stuff the rolls with the peppers and onions and sausage. Serve with banana peppers and pickled vegetables if desired.

This was our tiny guest at the shoot: Paloma. Little but with a dinosaur appetite! Yes, this is a very kid-friendly post.

 

 

Father's DayFather's DayThis Father’s Day focus on spending time with your dad rather than slaving away in the kitchen.  It’s summer — time to get the grill out.  These beef skewers are easy to make, casual to serve, and completely satisfying, especially when paired with our chimichurri and homemade mayo.

It’s really a nonrecipe: start with good steak, like NY strip or ribeye. Upgrade with dry-aged steaks— a bit more expensive but extra-flavorful, just like a steakhouse. Cut the steak into 1 1/2-inch cubes and skewer them (if you’re using wooden skewers, remember to soak them for at least 15 minutes prior to using so they don’t burn on the grill), alternating with assorted mini-peppers and cipollini or pearl onions still in their skins. Season the skewers on all sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper and brush them with vegetable oil. Grill until nicely charred.

Serve them with grilled crusty rolls and a generous dose of chimichurri.

To make Homemade Mayo (it’s super-duper easy!) all you need do is whisk together 1 large egg yolk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Very slowly, start whisking in 1 cup vegetable oil. Whisk, whisk, whisk, and voilá! MAYONNAISE! It really is superb, but, of course, we are very partial to Hellman’s :)

 

It’s Friday, and I’m going out. Although I don’t suffer from hangovers (knock on wood), I’m always thirsty for a Bloody on the weekends (with gin, please).

There are quite a few ingredients in this drink, so I suggest making it today or tomorrow, before your headache strikes in the wee, too-sunshine-y, why-don’t-I-have-blackout-curtains? hours of the morning after your parranda. You won’t even have to get it together to go out to brunch.

(Ice + premade Bloody + straw) + 10 (water + Advil) = Good morning

CLASSIC BLOODY MARY
A special sneak peek from our upcoming book, Summer Cocktails

Serves 1

Hangovers happen, and cures for them have been peddled and promoted for as long as the perpetrator has existed. Magic cures, potions, rituals, whatever the antidote is purported to be, the Bloody Mary has withstood the test of time as the companion to that morning misery. This Bloody is a stepping stone: add and subtract condiments to suit your palate.

 

For the Salt Rim
2 tablespoons coarse salt, such as kosher or Maldon salt, crushed
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt, optional
Finely grated zest of half a lime, lime half reserved

For the Cocktail
¾ cup V8, chilled
2 tablespoons clam juice, chilled
2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish*
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 ounces gin or vodka
Ice cubes
Celery stalk, for garnish
Pimento-stuffed olives or Picholine olives for garnish
Beer chaser, optional

In a small saucer, combine salt, pepper, celery salt, and lime zest, rubbing zest into mixture with fingertips. Cut the lime half in two to make wedges, and run one along the rim of a chilled highball glass to dampen. Dip rim into salt mixture and reserve.

In a shaker, combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Adjust flavor with condiments to taste. Serve in an ice-filled highball glass and garnish with celery stalks and olives.

QUIT HORSING AROUND:
Freshly grated horseradish will be much sharper than prepared. If you’re unfamiliar with horseradish in general, think about eating wasabi or strong mustard. The nasal passage clearing effects are the same. The prepared version that you find in the refrigerated section of the supermarket will do in a pinch, but it will require a significant amount more to reach the heat level of the fresh root. Also, horseradish oxidizes quickly; don’t let it sit out once it’s grated.

AN INTERESTING THING:
There is some debate as to whether the original Bloody Mary was made with gin or with vodka. Allegedly, a Bloody made with gin is called a Red Snapper, but the famous King Cole Bar a the swank St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan claims the fishy moniker was the original name for the Bloody Mary, made with the usual vodka. Use and call it whatever you like — it won’t matter after a couple.

I always feel like I need to bring something to a party, aside from my sparkling personality. I’m a cook and a stylist, and it just wouldn’t do for me to show up empty-handed, or worse yet, with a store-bought dessert. Sometimes, I bring booze. When I do, I start stuttering through a series of excuses, “Oh! It’s been madness! All of this travel! I’m never home anymore! I…etc.etc.etc.” Ultimately, I’m sure no one cares, but I feel dreadful.

Enter this dessert. It’s one of those Key lime pie recipes that you can find in the Wild West that is the Internet, or even on the side panel of a box of Grahams or a tin of sweetened condensed milk. You can make this thing blindfolded, even those of you who proclaim themselves non-bakers. AND! While there is a crust recipe here, go ahead, get one of those ready-made things if you want.

Top this tart with the most seasonal fruits you can find, like raspberries and plums, and not only will this be a refreshing and delicious dessert, it’ll look very “wow!”

KEY LIME FRUIT TART

Makes 1 (9-inch) tart, serving 8

IF YOU’RE MAKING YOUR OWN CRUST:
1 ¾ cups Graham cracker crumbs
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

– Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula, then scrape into a 9-inch round pie plate. Press crumbs into bottom and up sides of plate.

– Bake until golden, 7 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and reserve.

WHILE THE CRUST IS COOLING, MAKE THE FILLING and TOPPING
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened*
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
Pinch salt
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from about 12 limes
3 cups assorted fruits, such as berries and sliced peaches, plums, and nectarines

– With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until light and fluffy. With machine running, gradually beat in condensed milk, lime zest, and salt. Slowly add the lime juice and beat just until mixture is combined.

– With a rubber spatula, scrape mixture into prepared pie shell. Top with fruits and refrigerate until chilled and set, about 2 hours. Serve.

*SOFT AND SUPPLE: Don’t try to beat this cream cheese when it’s cold: you’ll wind up with a filling that’s lumpy, like cottage cheese. If you’re in a rush and don’t want to wait for the cheese to come to room temperature, buy cream cheese in the carton with the foil wrapper on the cheese. Massage the cheese while still wrapped.

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