Roasted Orange Beet Salad

with red onions & oranges

It’s another sad, cold, rainy “spring” day in New York. I am hesitant to even say spring. I’ve been told by multiple people that winter is technically over, but we’ve had a few teaser days of sunshine here in between what seems like endless dreariness. It really takes a toll on your morale, I’ll say that. Getting up and getting ready for work is definitely harder, anyway. My brain wants my body to get out of bed, but there’s only gray and it makes that harder. It probably doesn’t help that my aesthetic leans more towards neutrals, also, so my apartment isn’t exactly a bustling ray of sunshine. BUT NO MATTER. We’re headed on vacation tomorrow! A real, long, non-working vacation. Well, maybe I’ll squeeze in a little work, but that’s only because I actually like my job and shooting my friends eating food at a market barely qualifies as work. BUT. You’re probably wondering where we’re going, and the answer is Singapore! Then Vietnam! I am equally excited about both, though if you know me, and you know my love of Anthony Bourdain, and you know that two of his favorite places are Singapore and Vietnam, then you can only imagine how intense my excitement actually is. I’ve wanted to go to both of these places for a very long time, and I can hardly believe it’s finally happening. I can’t wait to browse through the hawker centers of Singapore or sit on a chair outside and eat fresh noodles swimming in rich broth in Ho Chi Minh City. Will travel for food. We have some friends in Singapore, so I’m excited to have some people there to show us around, and then we’ve gotten some great tips on things to do and places to eat in Ho Chi Minh from some friends of friends who live there, but of course, I am always open to hearing any suggestions you might have. Lay ’em on me! We’ll be traveling for around 30 hours tomorrow, so I’ll have LOTS of time to look into more things to do.

roasted orange beet salad

My latest tattoo of a garlic bulb from Nadia at Fleur Noir, a giant piece of pizza that I shot at Pizza Barn in Yonkers, cheese curds from Burnside, and crazy stacked cones from Ice & Vice in Brooklyn (that I also shot!). You can always find more from me on the ‘gram.

In honor of this trip, I’m posting yet another recipes from Appetites. This one is simple, but eye-opening all the same. I roast beets a lot at home. Kramer used to hate them, but in the past few years, he really came around to them and now they’re one of his favorite vegetables (much like eggplant, which he is also a huge fan of now). Typically, I’ll just roast them in some olive oil and then add some salt or maybe ricotta or something simple like that, and these are still simple, but the bite of cider vinegar, the crunch of the red onions, and the brightness of the fresh oranges really transform this staple into a more exciting dish that I can’t wait to devour. I could easily eat two servings of this in one sitting, especially with some wilted greens or maybe a piece of fish. It’s light enough to keep you going back for more, but obviously, seeing as how it’s beets, it’s not going to make you feel bad about having a second helping. Bourdain says in the book that his daughter absolutely loves this dish and he makes it for her all the time. Smart girl.

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Thick and Chewy Lime Bars

with a shortbread crust

Long time, no see, dudes. I’ll give you the usual excuse: I’ve been busy at work and often, once my ass hits the couch around 9 PM, I’m ready to just watch some TV and chill and not do more editing. That doesn’t mean I’m not cooking every day! I’m just trying to achieve some sort of balance in my life. Maybe that actually means blogging more and going out less, but let’s be real, it’s New York and there are too many tempting things to do (and eat). Last night, I was determined to get home and edit some photos and get a post up, though. I was supposed to work out, but I told myself that I deserved to spend some time here. I even got off the subway early to stop over at my favorite place ever, Osakana, to pick up some fish and pickled veggies for dinner. They always have these wonderful cuts of fish marinated in koji miso or sake kasu (I got some cod AND some tuna belly last night because I couldn’t decide), or sometimes they’ll have these delightful tiny sweet shrimp that taste like butter and Kramer and I will just eat raw as a snack. I could buy everything there. They make the most amazing roasted fish bone stock that they sell alongside freshly made ramen noodles that you can take home and heat up and bliss out over. ANYWAY, I grabbed the fish and started walking home, which really is barely half a mile away, but nobody told me that it was windy as shit outside and also apparently freezing. That’s what I get for being in the office all day, I guess. But yeah, that walk sucked, so I threw the fish in the oven with some carrots and eggplant and couldn’t wait to curl up under a blanket and watch Netflix and get to blogging. Aren’t you lucky?

thick and chewy lime bars

We visited my brother in Atlanta over the weekend and ate lots of good stuff (plus one rogue leftover photo from Austin). You can follow me on Instagram to see more!

I made these lime bars a while back and brought them to a bar for some friends to eat. Their reaction was as I had hoped it would be. They were in love. And I was in love, too. These bars rule. I love lemon bars, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about these lime bars that kind of blow them away. Yes, you could use Key limes, but look, I already have tendonitis as it is, so I’m not really about to spend time juicing 1,000 little limes. Regular ol’ limes will do the trick just as well. Juice and zest some of those bad boys, bake off your shortbread crust, and get ready to bite into the thickest, chewiest lime bars of your life. These aren’t wimpy little thin, sad bars. Nope. I refuse to have any of that. If you’re making a citrus bar of any kind, you better make it at least two inches thick. That’s what the people want. These are the perfect thing to sort of tease spring out, especially if you’re like me and you’re looking at your PTAC unit and it doesn’t even say a temperature, it just says “LO.” Fear not! Make some lime bars–the oven will warm up your apartment AND you’ll be a hero among your friends and family for bringing a little sweet sunshine into their lives.

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Buttermilk Pound Cake

keep it simple, stupid

Today is International Women’s Day, and while I won’t be striking, I will be donating and showing my support for women everywhere I can. I am obviously extremely lucky to have a job that I absolutely love, where I am appreciated and valued and paid fairly for the work that I do. I don’t know many straight up human beings that can say that, let alone people that identify as female. I encourage you to do what you can to show solidarity today, and just as importantly, educate yourself on the issues that are being brought up as a result of this strike (and the Women’s March this past January). It’s crucial that our feminism is intersectional. It has to be inclusive. White women especially need to understand these concepts. We need to help each other, build each other up, and have the capacity to understand the struggles of those around us who identify as female. It’s not always as easy as showing up to march or making a donation, though both of those things are hugely important in carrying out the cause. I am personally always learning and reading about issues that days or months or years ago I was totally ignorant to, and owning up to that ignorance, correcting it, and learning from it are important steps to making modern feminism something that everyone feels welcome to participate in. I’m certainly no expert, but I’m also not going to sit here and say that what we’re doing is good enough. We can always do more. I really enjoyed this piece by Jia Tolentino about the strike and everything that comes with it. It gave me a little more perspective and helped me start to come to terms with my own contradictions. I hope you’ll read it! And I also hope you’ll take some time to donate today, if you’re lucky enough to do so. My choices today are the Transgender Law Center and the Center for Reproductive Rights. Each are fantastic organizations dedicated to using the law to fight for the rights of the people that they represent. Of course, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations are all excellent places to donate, if you’ve haven’t already. I have very small monthly donations set up for each of them. I used to think I couldn’t afford to do something like that, but then I looked at what I had been spending at bars and on manicures and whatever other stupid crap I was buying and decided it was time to redirect my money to a place that actually did something good. But again, not everybody can do this. Donating your time via protesting or volunteering are equally important and impactful ways to help do good in the world. AND one more thing: THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of the wonderful people leaving such amazing comments here in the past few months. There have been some extremely hateful comments, but others have been there to stand up and take those morons to task, and for that, I am so grateful. It really gives me hope for the future!

buttermilk pound cake

I figured I’d share a simple recipe today, given everything that’s going on and the fact that we should really be focusing on toppling the patriarchy and all. But a girl’s gotta eat, and more importantly, a girl’s gotta snack. This buttermilk pound cake is honestly just amazing. It truly brings a tear to my eye. I had like, I don’t know, half a jug of buttermilk a few weeks ago, and I was scouring the internet trying to find something that used more than two tablespoons of it. This recipe popped up and I’ll be damned if it isn’t one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. The crumb is buttery and dense, but not overwhelmingly so, and the crust on top, oh the crust! It’s crunchy and crispy and contrasts perfectly with the velvety cake. I could truly have made myself sick eating this, but thankfully I had the willpower to give some of it away to friends. Who knew that such simple ingredients could result in the most wonderful cake? It’s incredible on its own, really, but if you’re so inclined, spread a little jam and whipped cream over a slice, or take two slices and stick a few scoops of ice cream in between them for the best damn ice cream sandwich you ever did have. Maybe even bake a loaf and bring it out to the next protest you attend–you’ll make friends faster than ever before.

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Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Tart

on puff pastry

First thing’s first, before I get into recipes and vacations and all of that. If you haven’t already, please attend a town hall hosted by your local representatives while they’re out on recess. You can find out where they are being held here. This is especially important in areas with representatives who are not doing their jobs and questioning the constant insanity that President Trump and his team continue to push forward. Demand that your representatives listen to you. There are great lists of resources here to help you do everything from ask a question to organize your own town hall if your rep isn’t going to be holding one. I’m going to again encourage you to also give Pod Save America a listen if you need inspiration. Katie Couric was a guest this week, and it was both incredibly informative and also just plain refreshing to hear a well-respected journalist talk honestly and bluntly about the current state of our government. People are still being held up at borders, the government is rolling out a ridiculous program to deport good, hardworking members of our society, and people are in danger of losing their healthcare. If you want to feel really awful this morning, check out this article (with photos!) of people trying to actually leave the United States to seek asylum in Canada, only to have their family literally torn apart by border agents. I’m really hopeful that this week’s protests and town halls can make a huge difference. Keep writing, keep calling, don’t become complacent. Continue to have tough conversations with friends and family. It’s only been one month of this administration. If anyone is doing something that they want me to post about, too, please email me on sydney [at] crepesofwrath [dot] net and I’ll post it here. It’s not much, but it’s something. Keep it up, guys!

caramelized onion and mushroom tart

Wading through St. Edward’s Park in Austin last week.

After you’ve done your political activism for the day, I encourage you to sit back, relax, and take care of yourself. Maybe have some friends over this weekend, and over discussing the current political climate that we’re all living in (and how we can fix it), perhaps you could bust out some of these tarts? They’re incredibly easy to make, but they look super fancy because they’re made with puff pastry, which I actually hadn’t ever used before this. I had a package of it in my freezer for months, thinking I’d use it to make all kinds of tasty finger foods, but it wasn’t until New Year’s Eve that I decided to make these (wow, I’m really behind on posts). It’s always nice to have something vegetarian to offer to your friends, and while they are made with buttery pastry, the result is a light, crispy appetizer perfect for popping in your mouth and not having to worry about crumbs falling all over the place. You can use pretty much anything here–maybe use mozzarella cheese and add some olives, or sprinkle chives over everything to make it extra gourmet. You could add sausage or peppers or even just keep it simple with onions and cheese. The world of puff pastry is your ready-to-bake oyster. I made these earlier in the day on NYE, then popped them in the oven quickly to warm up before people came over. They were all gone by the end of the night, thankfully, or else I would have had to eat them all myself.

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Gochujang Ribs

with a honey glaze

I forgot it was Valentine’s Day until I looked at the calendar, but that’s okay. Kramer and I aren’t the biggest Valentine’s Day people, though we’ll probably hit up a bar tonight and eat some chicken fingers. That’s romantic as it gets, as far as I’m concerned. We’re also headed to Austin tomorrow for a working vacation. Kramer has meetings, and I figured I’d tag along and shoot some video while he works. I’m planning to hit up some really delicious spots, so make sure you’re following all my adventures on INSIDER Food and INSIDER Dessert, if you’re not already. That’s my real-life grown-up job, for those of you who didn’t know! Now you do. Anyway, I’m really excited for Austin. We went once last year and really loved it. I feel like I haven’t felt warm sunshine in…well, a while. New York winters, man. So I’m ready for a little rest and relaxation…in between doughnuts and barbecue and breakfast tacos, of course. That’s why I figured I’d post these ribs today. They’re not traditional barbecue, of course, but they’re pretty good for a small Brooklyn kitchen. You just rub ’em down, cover them, and pop them in the oven for about two hours. That’s it! They’re as tender as can be and I promise they’ll disappear before you can count to ten.

gochujang ribs

Feeling fancy having my picture taken by Chelsea Pineda.

I was inspired to make these ribs by my friend Jeena’s mom. I’ve never met her, but she is an angel who always sends Jeena back from her home state of California with lots of goodies for me. I’ve gotten a big tub of gochujang, which is a sweet and spicy Korean pepper paste, a bag of gochugaru, which is a Korean chili pepper, toasted sesame seeds, different kinds of pickles and banchan, and more. It’s awesome. Jeena even once brought me a tub of some kind of paste that I can’t remember the name of, but it’s pungent and sweet and sour and spicy and all of the good things you want to use as a base for a soup or a marinade. You can, of course, get gochujang and gochugaru at a local specialty or Korean market, but it really makes me feel special to get these little packages from Jeena and her mom, especially because there’s always something new that I’ve never tasted before in there somewhere, and what’s more exciting than that? These ribs are fall-apart tender, but they’ve got that punch that you expect from Korean food, which Kramer and I love. I added a little honey for sweetness near the end of the cooking time, just to caramelize the tops and give the ribs a bit of crispiness, but otherwise, this simple four-ingredient marinade is all you need to make wonderfully delicious ribs.

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Polish Apple Pie (Szarlotka)

three layers of deliciousness

How’s everyone holding up? It’s scary out there, but thank you to everyone that’s been protesting, calling, sharing information, and not backing down. Now, more than ever, it seems easiest to just retreat back into ourselves and be quiet. Quiet sounds so peaceful, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, we don’t get to do that anymore, because there are people out there that need our help, from immigrants trying to get to the United States to make a better life for themselves and their families, to legal citizens who are just trying to get back to the lives they’ve already built here. Could you imagine detaining a woman and her young children, without food, at an airport for 20 or 30 hours? What kind of a monster lets that happen? My privilege is more glaring now, more than ever, but I hope that you will join me in using that privilege to do something good. Please continue to call and write to your representatives and voice your opinion on all issues, from immigration to Steve Bannon’s National Security Council appointment to Betsy DeVos. Continue to donate your time and money. If nothing else, if you are fortunate enough to be able to give, the best way to make a difference is still with cold, hard cash so that people can keep working day and night to stop these horrible things from happening. Set up a monthly donation to the ACLU or the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Council on American-Islamic Relations, even if it’s just a small amount. I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but honestly, this is what matters right now, and we should all be thinking about it constantly. We don’t get to sleep well at night until everyone gets to do the same, and I don’t foresee that happening any time soon with this administration. If you do want a little comfort, honestly, I suggest listening to President Obama’s last interview in office that he did with Pod Save America. I hadn’t listened to it until yesterday, and it just made me feel like we could do this. Give it a listen on your way into work this morning. It definitely reenergized me.

polish apple pie

So, in the spirit of working towards the common good, a group of food bloggers decided to get together and share some stories about immigration from our own friends and families. Obviously, American food has been hugely influenced by immigrants. We really wouldn’t have the various foods we eat on a daily basis here without immigrants. Sadly, we certainly have a history of denying entry to people from a wide swath of places throughout America’s history, but for those that were able to come to the States for a better life, with them, they brought their food. My great-grandfather was Irish (though he went to Canada first before my mom’s parents moved her and her siblings to the US in the 60s/70s) and my great-great-grandmother was Italian. My husband’s family came here from Eastern Europe during the pogroms in the early 1900s. They came here and started a rope-making business, eventually turning it into a robe (yep) business, if you can believe that. Kramer’s grandmother still has a few of them. My own great-grandfather was from Poland, which is why I’m sharing with you this recipe for Szarlotka, or Polish apple pie. It’s sort of a combination of a cake, a pie, and a cobbler, but it’s not-too-sweet and perfect for breakfast or a light dessert. The top has a sort of biscuit quality to it, which I personally find to be irresistible and so did the people I shared it with. We never fully embraced the Polish side of our family as we did the Italian side, but I always loved hearing stories from my grandfather about growing up with a Polish father in America. My favorite story was about his class pet. Remember having a class pet in elementary school? Everyone would have to take turns watching it over the weekends or on long breaks. We had a hamster and I remember my mother absolutely hated it when I brought that thing home for the weekend. I was thrilled then, but now, if someone tried to make me take care of a hamster for the weekend, I’m not sure how stoked I’d be. Either way, my grandfather excitedly brought the class rabbit home for summer break. He put it out back and then left to play with his friends. When he returned, he discovered that his father had taken a liking to the rabbit…so much so that he decided it would make a delicious dinner. He cooked the rabbit before my grandfather could explain that it was a pet, a concept my great-grandfather was not familiar with. Dogs are pets, cats are pets, rabbits are dinner. For the rest of the summer, kids from school would see him on the street and bring him discarded vegetables from their gardens to feed to the rabbit. My grandfather didn’t have the heart to tell them what had happened, so he accepted their vegetables and gave them to his mother to cook. This was during the Depression, after all, so he felt extremely guilty for taking even these discarded bits of lettuce and carrots. He said that, eventually, after a month or so, the kids forgot about the rabbit, as kids are often wont to do, and he kept the secret to himself for years. My grandfather went on to fight in World War II, earn a purple heart, become a mason, and build his own typical American life for himself, but he always remembered that rabbit (and I will, too). I remember him talking about fitting in and feeling a little different than everyone else because his family ate food that others found weird, or that his parents didn’t speak the best English, but that also made him who he is today. Now, I think about who I’d be if my great-grandparents hadn’t been able to come to America in the early 1900s. Where would I be, if at all?

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Beginner’s Rye Bread

with caraway seeds

This past weekend was (and still is) a truly dark time in American history. It’s certainly kept me up at night. The audacity of this ban on “people from Muslim-majority nations” is beyond me. It makes me feel numb. When I look at pictures of people finally being reunited with their families at airports across the country, I want to cry, both tears of joy for them but also tears of anger and sadness because they had to go through SO. MUCH. already, and then to be put through this additional gauntlet is just heartbreaking. These are human beings. The United States should be a place of refuge, a place where people can feel safe, not a place of fear and hate-mongering. And of course the countries where Trump has business ties have been left off of his list. We are a nation of immigrants. We know that. Everyone knows that. And to turn people away, people that need our help, people that are already legally residing in the country, people that have put their lives on the line to help our military and government abroad, is sickening. I implore you to please donate to the ACLU on a monthly basis, if your budget allows. Go to protests (you can easily find them in your area by searching on Facebook). Find your local chapter of CAIR and look for volunteer opportunities. Call your representatives. And for those of you who have left comments about how you don’t like my politics (or worse), you are welcome to go elsewhere, because this is important and if you’re going to turn a blind eye to the world right now because it’s too hard or you just don’t want to deal with it, then I feel ashamed for you. This is about people and they deserve every chance and opportunity that every American deserves. We have to keep having these tough conversations, especially with people who disagree with us or people that voted for the current president. These recent actions are indefensible. Even Republicans think so. This is not the time to just wait around and “give him a chance” and see what happens. It’s clear what this administration’s priorities are, and we cannot stand for it.

beginner rye bread

It’s honestly hard for me to even put a recipe up right now. It’s hard to think about anything other than the current political climate and all of the horror that is being inflicted upon people, from this ban to the struggle of so many other people in this country, but it’s important to rest and stay focused and spend some time re-energizing yourself. If that means going for a run, watching a movie, meditating, or, in my case, baking or cooking, then that’s a good thing. One of my friends sends out a weekly email blast with various calls to action and ways to help, and one thing she mentioned was that it’s easy to burn out, so find the things that you are passionate about and make sure you take care of yourself while you work on them. I’m trying to do that as best I can. I am obviously very lucky and I am in a position where I am able to donate, protest, and try to spread information to others. Not everyone is so fortunate, and I realize that. That’s why I feel a responsibility to use this blog and whatever reach it has to try to do some good. But at the end of the day, it is a food blog, and I do want to share some recipes with you, if anything, to help alleviate some of the pain everyone has been feeling. And bread is a great way to do that. Kneading the dough together is soothing and therapeutic, and there’s really nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread. This is a simple rye bread recipe. It’s perfect for sandwiches or toast or even just snacking with some butter and salt. We made a brisket a few weeks back, had some friends over, made sandwiches, and watched a movie. This bread was wonderful slathered in mustard and piled high with tender slices of meat, pickles, and onions. If you’re new to baking, especially to baking bread, then this is a wonderful place to start. Bake some bread, take care of yourself, and while it rises, give your representatives and senators a call. Thanks to everyone who has been working tirelessly to make a difference, and thank you especially to all of the people around me who are inspiring me to be better and work harder.

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Anthony Bourdain’s Fried Pork Chops

Macau-Style

Today sucks. I’ll say it. Today really sucks. He-who-shall-not-be-named is being sworn into the White House, and I’m thankful that I have back-to-back video shoots to go on today so that I won’t have to look at televisions all day and see it happen. Nobody deserves the inevitable destruction this man is about to reign upon so many people. Just take a look at all of the important programs he’s already planning to cut. Violence Against Women Grants? Really, dude? The Minority Business Development Agency? Seriously? What’s your deal? The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and so many other programs committed to helping stop climate change? Do you hate the planet (answer: apparently, yes)? Ugh. It makes me sick. If you follow me, you probably feel the same way at this point, because I sure as shit haven’t been particularly quiet about my opinions on this matter, so I urge you, please do not tune into the inauguration. Please don’t add to the ratings. If you are marching or protesting this weekend, you’re a sweet baby angel and then you so much for your hard work. I know it’s going to be cold and crowded, but you’re doing something to show that we’re not going to sit back and do nothing during this presidency. If you can afford to do it, please join me in donating $20 to Planned Parenthood today. I already donate a small amount monthly, but if you are fortunate enough to be able to do give an extra $20 today, together, we can make a big difference. In a similar fashion, if you’d rather, the Southern Poverty Law Center is another excellent place to give your dollars if you can. Donate, volunteer, spread knowledge, be strong. Go out and have a strong drink or a piece of pie tonight. You deserve it. The next four years are going to be tough, but remember that midterms elections are in 2018 and your vote counts now more than ever before. Thanks for all you guys do. I know we’ll make a change.

anthony bourdain fried pork chops

My happy place is cooking, as you all know, and in particular, lately, it’s cooking from Anthony Bourdain’s most recent cookbook, Appetites. I’ve made at least five things from it so far, all of which have been phenomenal, and I’ve read it cover-to-cover. I even plan to get a tattoo of some of the artwork from the book at some point. That’s how much I love it. The book covers simple, straight-forward recipes that you can easily put together and readily make substitutions as necessary, if needed. It’s great, simply put. I recommend it to all of my friends. These pork chops are no different. They are incredibly flavorful, crispy as all hell, and are as wonderful between two simple pieces of white bread as they are atop a bunch of cooked greens. We ate them both ways. The five-spice and two kinds of vinegar are really what do it for me here, as well as pounding out the pork chops extra-thin so that you get the perfect ratio of meat to breading. If you need some comfort food this weekend, don’t worry. Tony’s got you.

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