Archive | October, 2010

Apple Pecan Crumble

26 Oct

I have been going through an insane amount of apples lately. The empire and honeycrisp apples from upstate NY are just so good right now, I eat one for every snack and include them in so many salads and entrees and I decided it was time to make an apple dessert.

Thinking that I had a huge bag of rolled oats in the cabinet, I sliced up a bunch of apples and prepared them to make a crumble, but when I went to make the topping, I discovered that there were no oats.  I was not satisfied with eating the apples as they were – tasty as they may have been on top of a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream – so I had to improvise.

Instead of oats, I used pecans.  I put a few handfuls of them in a ziplock and crushed them up and mixed the topping out of that instead. I had actually bought about 2 lbs of pecans earlier that day with the intention of making pecan pie (which I still intend to do very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for the recipe!) which is why I had them on hand. I am so glad that this accidental dessert came about. The pecans became all candied and the apples sticky and sweet. On the scale of desserts, this ones not so bad for you!

Apple Pecan Crumble

Adapted from Gourmet


6-8 crisp apples, peeled and sliced

2 large handfuls pecans, crushed or chopped

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup water

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

Put oven rack in the middle and preheat oven to 375°. Grease a pie dish with butter. Peel, core, and slice apples. Toss with lemon juice and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Add them to the pie dish, then bake until apples are crisp-tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, crush or chop the pecans, then stir them together with cinnamon, salt, and the remaining brown sugar. Massage butter into mixture until it is evenly distributed and there are no large chunks. Sprinkle topping over apples and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until pecans begin to brown and apples are tender.



Tasteologie – Please refer to Sugar in my Tea

23 Oct

sometimes my worlds collide.


Risotto with Apples and Gorgonzola

21 Oct

This recipe is absolutely mouthwatering.  It’s another one that came from my mom – she tried it a couple of weeks ago and was raving about it. The recipe comes from – duh – who else? Jamie Oliver. Isn’t that where so many of the mouthwatering recipes on SS come from? He is so good at making spectacular dishes yet still prioritizing the purest ingredients.  He really just appreciates food and everything it does for you. Anyways, you have heard my ranting about Jamie, and you will hear it again in the future…now onto the risotto.

So, I had to alter it a bit due to my allergies, or more specifically, my oral allergy syndrome, which meant peeling the apples and omitting the walnuts.  I probably could have replaced the walnuts with a type of nut that I can eat, pecans (speaking of, quick survey: do you say pecans with a hard A sound or pee-kawns?), for example, but I chose to just take them out all together. My mom was right to rave about this recipe. But for once I have to say…it didn’t make the best leftovers. So eat up!

Risotto with Apples and Gorgonzola

Adapted from Jamie Oliver


2 pints chicken or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 head of celery, finely chopped

14 oz risotto rice

1 1/2 cups dry white vermouth or dry white wine

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

3/4-1 cup good quality gorgonzola cheese, diced

1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled

2-3 crisp apples, cored, peeled (if desired), and finely chopped, tossed in lemon juice

A small bunch of fresh marjoram, leaves picked and chopped

a handful of walnuts

Heat the stock. In a separate pan heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic and celery, and saute very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables are just soft, add the rice and turn up the heat.

The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring.

Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first cup of hot stock.  Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding cups of stock, stirring consistently, allowing each cup to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. If the rice is not cooked, continue adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, gorgonzola, chopped apple, and marjoram. Stir together and cover the pot to let the cheese melt in for a couple minutes. Heat the walnuts in a pan or toast them for few minutes (but watch them carefully!) Sprinkle with walnuts and freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve.


19 Oct

So I finally got around to checking out Eataly, Mario Batali’s brainchild of a grocery store – restaurant – wine bar – cafe.  I’m not even sure what to call it. It’s everything, really.  They have a wine store (separate from the rest of Eataly), a humongous grocery store with everything from fruits and veggies…

…to imported hand-twisted pastas to a massive selection of Italian EVOO.

And did I mention there is a meat and cheese deli with prosciutto and salame and mortadella and every type of Italian formaggio you can imagine?

Everything comes directly from Italy, with the exception of the fish, which is caught locally.

There’s even a section of the store where you can order fresh homemade pastas.  One corner is devoted entirely to desserts – baked goods, tiramisu and mousse, and sorbet & gelato. In the middle of the store is an atrium filled with high tables to stand at, where there are cocktail waiters coming around to take your order from a selection of wines, Italian beers, meats, breads, cheeses, and Crudo. It’s the perfect spot (although I hear EXTREMELY busy) for a lunch break outing or happy hour drinks and snacks with a friend.

Finally, scattered throughout the grocery store itself are restaurants. There is one for fish (” Il Pesce”), one for pasta and pizza (“La Pasta”), one for vegetables (“La Verdure”), and one for meat (“Manzo”,) that is considered their most “general” restaurant.  You cannot get meat at Il Pesce. You cannot get fish at La Pasta. You cannot get pizza at La Verdure.  I didn’t go to Manzo, but I’m pretty sure you might be able to get some of those things there. Each restaurant is open on every side so you can see shoppers walking by. Great for people-watching, but not the best for quiet dinner conversation, if that’s what you’re looking for. We ate at Il Pesce.

(Show me your teeth, Branzino.)

There’s also a rooftop beer-garden, but I’m not sure if its open yet.  If I haven’t sold you on this place yet, there’s no point in continuing to try.

Pumpkin Scones

15 Oct

Pumpkin season has finally arrived. That means its time for pumpkin soups, pumpkin breads, pumpkin cookies…not to mention JACK O’ LANTERNS and Halloween.  One of my favorite pumpkin recipes (okay, my favorite, by far) is Pumpkin scones.  At the risk of sounding like an upper-middle class suburban (or in my case, urban) white chick, you know it’s Fall when the pumpkin scones hit the Starbucks. This recipe is supposedly the one they use! I have made it at least a dozen times now, and they are better every time. And always a hit for Thanksgiving brunch (or any brunch for that matter). I highly recommend using the spiced glaze. Just run for an extra ten minutes. 🙂

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones




2 cups all-purpose flour

7 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

6 tablespoon cold butter

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

3 tablespoons half-and-half

1 large egg

Spiced Glaze

1 cup + 3 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 tablespoons whole milk

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 pinch ginger

1 pinch ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 425°. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Cut butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and there are no large chunks of butter  (I generally use my hands for this part). Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form into a ball. Pat out onto a large floured surface and form into a 1 inch thick rectangle, 12 inches long and 3 inches wide. Use a large knife to cut diagonally into 6 triangles (or more, depending on the size you want – I generally make 12 small scones with this recipe). Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes. (For the smaller ones, it will be more like 9-11 minutes.) Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

For the glaze, mix the powdered sugar, spices, and 2 tablespoons milk together until smooth.  Use a brush to paint over the scones, or use a frosting decorator or a bit of wax paper folded into a cone to decorate them more carefully.

You can wait for the glaze to harden up, but personally I like my scone and glaze still warm.



Whole Roast Duck

8 Oct

OK guys. I made my first duck.

It was a tough decision to go French or Chinese, but I went with Chinese style and it was DELISH. Next time I’ll try a French recipe.  I served it up for a small dinner party with friends, and it was a hit.  In order to get the most fat out of it as possible, and to get the crispiest skin, I placed it on a rack inside of a roasting dish and slashed a diamond pattern through the skin and fat layers all over. I rotated it every hour. When I was done, I had about 1 1/2 cups of duck fat, which I used to fry potatoes in for brunch the next weekend. Another thing you can do with it: slather it all over a whole chicken and roast it.  Chicken roasted in duck fat? Does it get any better than that?

Whole Roast Duck


1 Whole Pekin (Long Island) Duck 4-5 lbs (I used a Bell and Evans Young Duckling from Whole Foods, but you can also get one in Chinatown!)

2 tablespoons fragrant honey

2 tablespoons molasses

6 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons orange juice

4 scallions, roughly chopped

6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

4 bay leaves

1 handful basil and cilantro, torn

1 medium fresh red chili, thinly sliced

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 300°. Remove all the innards from the duck.  They might be in a bag, they might not be.  Mine were not.  If you want, you can keep the liver and make Pâté or sauté it with some butter, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and spread it on a rustic bread. I didn’t do that this time, but it’s a project I hope to take on soon.

Wash the duck inside and out and pat it dry with paper towels. Grab a pair of pliers or tweezers and remove any quills that you see (if there are any). Trim off any extra skin, which there most likely will be. Throw it away or render it if you want some extra duck fat.

Next, score the skin.  Using a very sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern across the whole top of the duck. Then prick it all over with the tip of the knife. Make sure you are only pricking and cutting the skin and layer of fat, not the meat! Tie the legs together with some kitchen twine.

Sprinkle the duck generously with salt, then put it in the oven. After 1 hour, remove the duck and prick it all over again.  When you do this, rich melted duck fat will seep out. Make sure you get the area around the legs where the most fat is. Turn the duck over, breast side down, and roast for another hour at 300°.

After the second hour, remove the bird, prick it all over again, and turn it breast side up. Roast for another hour at 300°.  After the third hour, pull out the duck again.  It should be starting to look pretty crispy.  Prick it all over and turn it breast side down. Roast at 300° for a final hour.

Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for you glaze in a small saucepan over Low-Medium heat for about 4 minutes.  The sauce should start to thicken.  When it does, remove it from the heat.

After the fourth hour, take the bird out of the oven. Raise the temperature to 400°. Pour the duck fat from the roasted pan into a heat-safe container.  Once the oven hits 400°, turn the bird breast side up back on the rack and stick it back in the oven.  Roast for ten minutes.  This helps the skin get a bit crispier. Brush the duck all over with your glaze, then stick it back in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so that the glaze doesn’t burn.

Let the duck sit for a few minutes until it is cool enough to cut, then carve it as you would a chicken and serve! And eat fast, because it will be gone before you know it.