Cherry Cheesecake Paletas

made with real fruit

How is it that summer’s almost over? The temperature will probably stay on the warmer side for a bit longer, but it’s time for fall. That means we’re all just in limbo, waiting to buy holiday presents or finish up big projects for the year at work. I was never a big fan of summer. I heat heat. I hate having to use the air conditioning. But we really did it right this summer and after living in New York for almost 5 years and dealing with some nasty winters, I love any chance to be outside. This summer was incredibly mild and we were outside a lot. We went to the Catskills, had a few picnics on Governors Island, got in some Zombie Hut time, played bored games outdoors, and went to Rockaway Beach plenty of times, with one more trip planned for this weekend, and had a few barbecues with, again, one more planned for this weekend. We traveled to Montreal, DC and North Carolina, too. It’s been perfect. Sure, we’ve both been really busy with work on top of it all, especially Kramer, but we made the most of this summer and I officially love the season. That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to fall sweaters and holiday meals, though. I can’t wait for Halloween candy and Thanksgiving stuffing. But I will definitely miss beach hair, fish tacos and eating cheese and drinking wine on a sunny day in the park. Sigh.

Cherry Cheesecake PaletasI love summer.

Have you heard of a paleta before? I’m sure you’ve probably eaten one. Paleta, you see, is Latin America’s version of a popsicle. The key different, though, is that a paleta is actually made from chopped fruit, not just syrup or juices. A paleta is one of my favorite things to enjoy on a hot summer day. They’re generally a bit richer and more substantial than the average popsicle, and they come in fun flavors – my favorite is coconut with little bits of coconut in it. I recently purchased a popsicle mold, and I’m only lamenting the fact that I didn’t get one sooner. Summer means popsicles, and we should all be eating them! I’ve made an almond butter and Greek yogurt variety already on the blog, but this time, I decided to make favorite New York traditions into a treat on a stick.

Cherry Cheesecake Paletas

As you may know, I’ve partnered with the Cherry Marketing Institute and ChooseCherries.com to bring some tart cherry recipes to you this summer. I’ve already given you a couple of breakfast and lunch ideas, so let’s focus on the best part of a meal: dessert. Frozen tart cherries work beautifully here because you don’t need to thaw them! You just add them to a blender with milk, cream cheese and a little sugar, puree, add a little graham cracker for tradition, and ta-da! Cherry cheesecake paletas ready to go, made with real tart cherries – you won’t find anything artificial here. If you’re someone who thinks ahead, I would even consider adding in some dried tart cherries, too, for texture. They would probably make these look even prettier than they already do. And don’t forget! Choose Cherries is giving away Le Creuset cookware and an Anthropologie apron! You can Tweet to enter or comment on this post to win!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

with a graham cracker crust

On Sunday, I woke up and my right hand was partially numb. I, being an anxiety ridden ball of worries, immediately freaked out. This wasn’t my-hand-is-asleep numb. This was for real numb. I felt nothing from my knuckles to my wrist. It’s a scary thing. I had some work to do, though, so I got going in the kitchen. It was hard. I got exhausted really easily. I couldn’t hold things as strongly or hold my knife for as long as usual. I iced it, rested it, figured that it would be better tomorrow. On Monday, nothing had changed, except now there was tingling. I thought maybe that meant the feeling was trying yo return. I bought a compression brace on my way into the office and tried to make myself comfortable at my desk. On Tuesday, my left knuckles started feeling tingly and a bit numb. That’s when I really had a breakdown. I had to make a trip to Ikea for work, but after that, it was time to go to the doctor. Thankfully, I received good news. It’s most likely just a pinched nerve in my back or neck. It will go away eventually. But I have to wear elbow and wrist braces while I sleep and during the day if I need it, which sucks. It’s uncomfortable and I’m on day four of not feeling much in my right hand. If it doesn’t get better in two weeks, it may be something else and I have to go back to the doctor. This is on top of the physical therapy I have to do for my knees. I’m 25. What gives? It freaks me out and I’m not going to be okay until everything is normal again.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Whatever. Life goes on. Let’s talk about something happier, shall we? I’ve got a few more Outer Banks photos to share. While beach day one was sunny and lovely, day two was grim at first. There was rain and wind with no promise of sun in sight. Kramer was confident, though. He predicted that the sun would come out between 12-4, but we headed to the beach at 11 anyway to set up base camp. Kramer and my brother Dane got to work digging a small trench, which we put our beach chairs in to protect us from the rain. The bored life guards helped us build a small shield of umbrellas, too, since we were practically the only ones on the beach. After a few small tweaks, our shelter was ready, and believe it or not, right at 12, the sun came out! Kramer, ever the soothsayer. We enjoyed our last day on the beach, Tecates in hand, then headed back to the house for a dinner of steamed clams and crab, as well as a beautiful grilled beef tenderloin that Jill’s parents made for us. The next morning, we had a feast of pancakes, blackberries, bacon and coffee before hitting the road – Dane drove this time, all the way back to DC, where we had a few goodbye beers before he made his way back to Balitmore and we made our way back to New York. It was a great trip and I can’t wait until next year!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Let’s also talk about another happy thing: this pie. Kramer’s co-workers dubbed this “crack pie”, even though it is nothing like the Momofuku pie of the same name. I think it deserves its title, though. Start with a buttery graham cracker crust – it’s the only part you need to bake! Add in a rich chocolate pudding filling, then top it all off with swirls of peanut butter. Feel free to get fancy and garnish the top with chopped, salted peanuts and crushed graham cracker. Sure, it’s rich, but it’s almost no-bake and the classic peanut butter and chocolate combination is a favorite for everyone (unless you’re European or Australian and don’t like peanut butter, or you’re allergic to peanut butter, in which case, feel free to go back and scroll through the other desserts I have on here – there is plenty for you to choose from, but this isn’t for you). Kramer and I savored bites of this pie, looking at each other after each bite and thinking, “Is it worth it to have another bite?” followed immediately by confirming that yes, yes it was. A dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream would only amplify this pie-eating experience, but I don’t think it needs anything. It stands out all on its own, and with only 10 minutes of oven time needed for the crust, it’s a great summer dessert. Labor Day ideas, anyone?

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Mocha Ice Box Cake

no bake

I still have a ton of photos to share from our vacation. I apologize in advance if you are uninterested in seeing them. Consider my blog an updated version of the slideshow that your aunt made you sit down and flip through all of before you’re allowed to get up and have a piece of cake. I’ve even got a cake recipe for you here if you can make it through the photos. Don’t ever say that I wasn’t kind. So – North Carolina. On our last day in DC, we got up early-ish, had breakfast, then headed over to pick up our ZipCar and started the drive. I, of course, did not drive. I haven’t driven in over 4 years and the idea terrifies me now. I suppose if I moved and I had to start driving again, I could, but I’d have to take baby steps and there’s no way I would be able to just comfortably merge onto the freeway after my driving hiatus. Thankfully, my brother Dane was along for the ride to help share the driving responsibilities with Kramer. I chilled in the backseat, inserting my two-cents when it probably wasn’t needed, napping and eating pizza flavored Combos. What a life. When we finally arrived in North Carolina, we decided to stop at a farmer’s market stand before getting to the house. All of the fruit looked beautiful and I was curious to compare prices to New York (and overbuy because of said prices). We stopped at a stand and bought a ton of stuff: juicy blackberries, ripe tomatoes, a giant watermelon, pecan pie, peaches, zucchini and who knows what else. Arms full, we got to the register and because of Kramer’s New York Observer t-shirt, the first thing out of the cashier’s mouth was, “Are you from New York?” Yes, we replied. This guy then, completely unprompted, starts to name all of the boroughs and asks if he was correct (he forgot Staten Island the the Bronx, like a lot of people do, I would imagine – no big deal). After that, again, totally unprompted, he starts telling us about how he is “very conservative” and is a “big Rush Limbaugh listener” and that Limbaugh used to live in New York but then he moved to Florida and now he’s paying much lower taxes. Kramer and I stood there, said “Yeah, probably – New York is expensive..” and ran away. Ah yes – vacation, indeed.

Mocha Ica Box Cake

When we got in, we were thrilled. Kramer’s dad had rented an amazing beach house in Corolla in the Outer Banks and the hot tub was calling our names. Kramer’s dad grilled up some chicken while we cracked open a few beers, then called it early in anticipation of our beach day the next morning. Kramer’s aunt Beth joked that Kramer and I put too much effort into relaxing, but I would argue that we just know the best way to relax. We sunscreen up, to maximize fun-in-the-sun time, we have beach blankets that are sturdier and bigger than ordinary towels for plenty of space, and Kramer has perfected digging out little sand beds for each of us for optimum comfort. It does take a little while for us to settle in, it’s true, but give us 30 minutes to set up and then we’re ready to enjoy a full, stress-free day at the beach. What can I say? I like good, clean, organized fun.

Mocha Ica Box Cake

Another graham cracker recipe is here to greet you this morning – I don’t think anyone is going to have a problem with that. Kramer said that this cake was the best thing I’ve ever made, which I love because it was probably one of the easiest things I’ve ever made. Whip some heavy cream to make whipped cream, melt together a few ingredients to make a chocolate mocha pudding, layer everything with graham crackers and some chopped chocolate, and ta-da! The most luscious no-bake summer cake that you can imagine. Think a chocolatey, espresso-y (that’s definitely a word) banana pudding. I wouldn’t even be mad if you added bananas to this. I brought the whole thing into work and it was gone in about 5 minutes – I promise that is not an exaggeration. If you’re short on time, feel free to use Jell-O pudding and Cool Whip in place of the homemade versions – it’ll still be absolutely delicious. Make this a day before a party or barbecue and watch it disappear before your very eyes.

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S’mores Cinnamon Rolls

with graham cracker dough

I’m going to be inundating you with graham cracker recipes over the next few weeks. Prepare thyselves. You’re going to be drooling. Graham crackers are one of my all time favorite things. They’re a sweet, but not too sweet, and they pair perfectly with classic dessert ingredients: chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallow, vanilla, cinnamon, etc. It’s impossible to bake with them without snagging one or two to snack on as you go. Thankfully they aren’t so unhealthy that you feel awful about it later. Although I guess you might feel a little guilty if you, like me, stand in the kitchen tasting every element of every baked good you make, then building a graham cracker-marshmallow-peanut butter-chocolate sandwich. Whatever, that’s what the gym is for. That’s tomorrow-Sydney’s problem. Today-Sydney is going to enjoy her sandwich. Weekends don’t count, right? That’s how I like to live my life. One weekend to the next.

Smores Cinnamon RollsBeers, beach, doughnuts and drinking games in North Carolina.

Yeah, so, anyway – there’s going to be lots of graham cracker goodies ’round these parts. I figured the best place to start was with these s’mores cinnamon rolls. The idea came to me almost instantly. Sweet graham cracker dough rolled up with my homemade marshmallow fluff and chocolate filling sounded like heaven, and believe me, it was. I’m blissfully proud of these babies. I want everyone to try them. They taste exactly like a campfire s’more. It’s incredible. I brought the whole pan over to my friend’s house because Kramer and I would have gotten into them at midnight one evening and not stopped until they were all gone. The dough is pillowy and soft, and the marshmallow filling is addictive. You can certainly use a jar of Fluff if you don’t feel like making your own, but I would recommend just trying to make it because 1. When it comes together, it seems like magic and 2. It’s cheaper than buying it on your own, plus you’ll have enough left over to spread on top of the rolls like a a beautiful genius. Bake these off for your next brunch or summer party. People will love you forever.

Smores Cinnamon Rolls

This weekend, Kramer and I were really looking forward to going to a Battle of Brooklyn reenactment at Brooklyn Bridge Park, which sounded so nerdy and awesome, but we found out yesterday that it was canceled! I am so bummed out. I love reenactments. We went to a Civil War one on Governors Island last year, and I’ve even been to Tombstone, Arizona to see the O.K. Corral reenactment. Thanks a lot, Brooklyn – you’ve really let me down. I think in light of my disappointment, we’ll end up going to The Zombie Hut for a round of conciliatory tiki drinks. Hopefully followed by a meal of conciliatory Thai food at Pok Pok. I can be very convincing after a round of said tiki drinks. Tonight, though, is all about The Simpsons. I’m excited to finally have someone else pick episodes for me. We’re going to go to our friend’s house to watch, laugh and maybe sneak in a game of Pandemic or Settlers of Catan. We get pretty crazy, I know.

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Kale, Cherry & Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

with creamy lime vinaigrette

Our second day in DC was even more fun than the first. My brother Dane lives in Baltimore, so he took the train down to meet us and wander around the city. We hadn’t seen him in a while, so it was good to get together. We started out with breakfast at Founding Farmers in DC, where we immediately hopped onto the fatty-fat train by ordering a huge plate of freshly fried beignets. They were worth every bite. After breakfast, we took a much needed walk down to the White House lawn, where we saw Marine One taking off. Honestly, it was pretty cool to see that giant chopper flying over our heads. After hamming it up for a bit in front of the camera (totally necessary on any vacation), we walked over to the National Museum of American History, putzed around there for a while, then made our way to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence and whatnot. The best part of this portion of the trip, I have to say, was the guest book in the archives. It was basically the comments section of a museum, with most comments saying something along the lines of, “Your guards are rude!” and “The lines here are too long!” I flipped through every page of that, believe me. We were pretty museumed-out after all of that, so we found a bar that had cold beer and lots of board games. Of course, we played Settlers of Catan and ate pretzels with queso. After Kramer beat Dane and me, we hopped in a cab and met up with some old Arizona friends in Adams Morgan, which reminded me of Williamsburg so I felt right at home. After dinner and some more drinks at Madam’s Organ, we headed back to our hotel, but not before having a piece of pie and one last cocktail at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe. Next up: North Carolina!

Kale Cherry Sweet Potato SaladKramer and me on the White House lawn.

On to recipe three of my tart cherry journey. If you’re unaware, I’ve partnered with the Cherry Marketing Institute to bring four lip-smacking tart cherry recipes to you this summer. And I’m certainly not mad about it! Plus, this post features an even more exciting element: a giveaway! Choose Cherries is giving you the opportunity to not only win some tart cherry juice and dried tart cherries like the ones used in this recipe, but they’re also giving away a Le Creuset stoneware set, Le Creuset cooking tools and an Anthropologie apron! Those are some seriously awesome prizes if you ask me – any cook covets stoneware from Le Creuset, and I love anything from Anthro. To win, just Tweet about the contest here or leave a comment on this post, making sure to add your email address. The contest will run through Friday, August 29th, so be sure to enter! Anyway – on to the recipe.

Kale Cherry Sweet Potato Salad

Who doesn’t love tart cherries? They’re much more nutritious than sweet cherries and add a more interesting flavor to your usual dishes. For example, this kale salad. A simple sprinkling of dried tart cherries packed a ton of deliciousness into my typical lunch, and added a great texture. Each bite of dried tart cherry was like a little treat – I’m sure you’ve all been there. You have a favorite part of your salad, and you try to savor the best parts so that the last bite is a combination of regular lettuce plus whatever the star of the show is that day. You know that my last forkful of this salad was a perfectly composed bite of kale, sweet potato, almond and dried tart cherry. Kramer is not a huge fan of kale, so I had to be creative with this salad. I’ve found that the best way to handle kale is to make a hearty dressing, first and foremost. Kale is a hearty green and needs a dressing that can hang in the game. I’m a sucker for anything with grainy mustard, so I did a simple dressing of mustard, a little mayonnaise and lime juice. Cherries and limes are a natural combination, so why not? The next, and most important factor in making the best kale salad you can, is to really man-handle those leaves. I poured my dressing onto the kale, added my ricotta salata (which is a salted ricotta and absolutely fantastic), and squeezed. You want to get the dressing into each and every crevice of the kale, so that the acid in the lime breaks down the greens a little bit and the cheese blends with the dressing for a creamier result. Don’t be afraid to get aggressive with it! Once you’ve sufficiently scrunched and squeezed, toss the kale with roasted sweet potatoes, a sprinkle of slivered almonds and, of course, your dried tart cherries. This is a vibrant salad, alive with both flavor and texture, that even the wariest of kale will enjoy. Perhaps the best part of this salad is that it holds up really well. I’d even go as far as to say that I liked it better the second day, making it the perfect plan-ahead weekday lunch.

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Cherry-Almond Overnight Oats

with chia seeds

So – our trip to DC. We took the train down on a Friday morning and got to our hotel by the early afternoon. We ditched our bags and headed out to be tourists. First, though, we required sustenance. We ate at DGS Delicatessen, where we split latkes, cabbage rolls with orzo, and a big pastrami sandwich with sauerkraut. It really hit the spot. Full, we began our tour. We saw the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the World War ll Memorial and the Korean War Memorial. We took a break in between to sit in the shade by the reflecting pool. It was a super hot and humid day, but it was a nice walk. We were a bit tired from waking up early, though, so we headed back to our hotel for some pool time. We both fell asleep on our pool chairs, ha. We had a glass of wine, did some reading, then headed out to start the evening. We had dinner and drinks at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, which was excellent. We ordered crab and shrimp ceviche, wood grilled oysters with chile oil, mussels in a buttery broth, and rock fish with mushrooms. We were completely stuffed, and walked it off a bit before stopping into 2 Birds 1 Stone for a couple of cocktails. I loved this little bar, especially because of its clean, all white decor and the fact that you had to enter through a somewhat hidden underground entrance. We were back at the hotel by 11 or so, where we immediately fell asleep. We needed our beauty rest for day two!

Cherry Almond Overnight Oats

As previously discussed, I’m working with the Cherry Marketing Institute to bring you four delicious tart cherry recipes for the summer. I started with breakfast, sharing my recipe for a Green Chocolate Cherry Smoothie, so let’s continue with that trend. If you’re not the kind of person who can handle a big helping of kale right when you wake up, then get in line for these Cherry Overnight Oats. I’m sure you’ve heard of overnight oats before, but if you haven’t, listen up. The process is amazing and it’s a welcome change from your usual bowl of oatmeal. The ratio will remain the same for any combination you try: 1 cup of oats to 1 cup of liquid. Easy, right? Not that mixing together a packet of oatmeal in the morning is tough, but this way, you can control exactly what you put into your food and into your body, as well as avoid fake sugars and weird chemicals that you usually find in packaged oatmeal.

Cherry Almond Overnight Oats

I drink almond milk every morning, so I used almond milk and tart cherry juice in my oats – the juice added a nice sweetness to the oats, while the almond milk provided enough liquid for the oats to soak up. I also included chia seeds, for extra fiber, and slivered almonds, for texture. I had to throw in some dried tart cherries, of course. After you’ve mixed everything up, just place your oats in the fridge and get ready to enjoy them the next morning. The cherries soaked up some of the tart cherry juice and almond milk, too, which was a nice surprise and made them plump and juicy. I added some extra slivered almonds and a drizzle of honey to the top of my oats because I’m starving in the mornings and I reach for anything that’s close to me. This is the kind of thing that will definitely fill you up and get you through to lunch, which is generally the biggest problem I have when I’m at work – it’s hard not to snack around 11! But this is the kind of thing that will keep you going until 12. I loved that this wasn’t your average sweetened oatmeal, like maple brown sugar or whatever your go-to is. Instead, the tart cherries gave the oatmeal a more complex flavor and woke up my taste buds, which in turn, helped wake me up and get moving!

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Green Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

with yogurt

Kramer and I had a wonderful vacation. Now, sadly, it’s back to reality, although we were smart enough to plan things out so that we can ease into said reality. We only have work on Friday this week, so it’s a good way to slowly transition back to normalcy. I can still feel the sand between my toes. Not to worry – that feeling will replaced with the smell of New York City’s famous summer hot garbage aroma soon enough. Ah, yes. It’s good to be home. It’s not that I don’t miss New York or think it’s the greatest place to live, but when you’re away from the subway for a while, you start to think that maybe you should leave your apartment and daily schlep behind in favor of something a little slower. Then you get behind a guy at the local supermarket who feels like telling his life story to the cashier when all you want it your gallon of cinnamon ice cream and bottle of rose. Those are the times when I can’t wait to get back to NYC. I’ll have to set aside some time to go through my many photos from the trip at some point this weekend, but for the time being, please enjoy this sickeningly sweet photo of Kramer and myself below from a party a few weeks ago. Look at us. So young. So naive. So full of beer. Those were the days, indeed. Little did we know we’d be longing for just one more day of vacation paradise while we try to squeeze a degree or two more out of our A/C unit in Brooklyn.

Green Chocolate Cherry SmoothieHey, look at us!

Okay – enough about how much I miss vacation. Let’s talk cherries. I love cherries and I crave them all year long, not just in the summer. I love sour cherries, especially. Their bright red color and sweet-and-tart flavor call to me. Thankfully, you don’t have to eat your way through carton after carton of sour cherries all at once to get your fill. Tart cherries can be frozen, dried or made into a juice concentrate, which allows you to enjoy them all year round. What a novel idea. I had tried frozen and dried tart cherries before, but never the cherry concentrate. It’s tart, sure, but there are still some trace amounts of natural sugars in there, so it’s been a great way to sweeten things without feeling guilty. I’ve also been mixing some of the tart cherry juice into a cocktail here or there…but that’s for another post. I’ve been having a great time coming up with recipes and snacking on a variety of tart cherries for the past week or so and I hope you’ll join me in trying some tart cherries, too.

Green Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

In the spirit of sharing my adoration of tart cherries with you, I’ve partnered with the Cherry Marketing Institute to create some recipes using a variety of differently preserved tart cherries. I’m basically in cherry heaven right now. I’ve got a huge bag of frozen ones in my freezer, a king’s ransom of dried tart cherries in my cupboard, and a big jug of tart cherry concentrate in my refrigerator. I had to start working on these recipes fast, because it was really hard to not just eat away at my ingredients! I figured that I’d start with a green smoothie. If you’re like me, you try to get your greens in but need a little motivation. The first thing I thought of was chocolate covered cherries. Tart cherries pair perfectly with chocolate, but I wanted to do something healthy. How about a green chocolate cherry smoothie for breakfast? A little unsweetened cocoa powder is a great pick-me-up in the morning, and the tart cherries contain plenty of Vitamin C, so you can swap out this smoothie for your AM orange juice. This is the perfect smoothie to down before a workout, too – it’ll make you feel full without weighing you down and the tart cherry juice can help with muscle recovery. You’re welcome!

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Summer Squid Salad

with avocado and lime

I’m counting down the days until our vacation! We haven’t gone on a long vacation in a while, and I’m not sure if this is even considered a long vacation, but it’s almost a full week! It’s always weird to be gone more than a couple of days. First, Kramer and I are taking the train down to Washington D.C. to spend two days. I’ve never been there before, and I even found a hotel with a pool, so I’m excited. My first stop is definitely going to be the National Museum of American History – that’s the museum with all of the old movie props and whatnot. Clearly that is a priority. I suppose we’ll hit up the Air and Space Museum, too, but other than that, I just want to chill out by the pool, walk around and have some good food. My brother Dane is meeting Kramer and me out there, too. He’s in Baltimore studying at the University of Maryland, so it’ll be good to see him. Dane isn’t meeting us until Saturday, though, so Kramer and I are trying to decide what fancy restaurant we should go to on Friday night. Does anyone have any suggestions? After DC, on Sunday, the three of us are driving from to the Outer Banks in North Carolina to stay at a beach house with Kramer’s dad and the rest of his family. I can’t wait to go to the beach, sit down and not move for hours. There’s a pool at the house, too, so we will be enjoying the best of both worlds. I’ve mapped out a few BBQ pit-stops along the way, but again, I am open to any and all suggestions.

Summer Squid SaladMy awesome Nirvana/Hansen shirt, chowing down at Dickson’s Farmstand, watching the experts do a little butchering, and walking around downtown Williamsburg.

Some of the photos I’m sharing today come from the class that Kramer and I took last week at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats. I saw an article about the class on First We Feast a month or two ago and was completely sold on the class. I’m a married, privileged, middle-class woman, so of course I enjoy taking cooking classes. We’ve taken a few at The Brooklyn Kitchen, so it was strange going somewhere else, but we really had the best time. We got to watch the pros break down and butcher a whole big, learned about the charcuterie making process, watched their head butcher break down pork chops like she was slicing through butter, and made our own sausages. We also ate our weight in sausage, pastrami, house made bologna, pork chops and more. I was honestly stuffed by the time we left. We also drank plenty of rose and beer. The class was $70 and I felt like I had a gourmet meal and a show all rolled into one. If you’re in New York or the surrounding area, I promise that they didn’t pay me to say this – you should really go. It was a fantastic time, plus, the butchering area is freezing cold so it’s a great thing to do in the dead of summer.

Summer Squid Salad

Speaking of keeping cool, as you may have guessed, there’s nothing I adore more in the summer than an icy cold glass of white wine. I love seeing the condensation collect on the glass, picking it up and taking a refreshing sip of a crisp, juicy white. Kramer used to eschew white wine when we would go out, but after seeing how delicious a big, cold glass looks, he’s started ordering it for himself. So, when Bridlewood contacted me and asked if I’d create a recipe for their Chardonnay, I said, “Yes, please!” I promise that I wasn’t mad that I had to do a little wine tasting to come up with my recipe. While sampling the California wines, I was happy and relaxed, so I wanted to cook something that wouldn’t eat up (haw haw haw) too much of my time. I landed on a simple, summery squid salad. The process is simple: quickly cook your squid in boiling water for 60 seconds, dunk in ice water to stop the cooking process and be sure that your squid stays tender, then toss with a little olive oil, jalapeño, lime juice and avocado. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so that the flavors develop, add a little salt and pepper to taste, and that’s it. I threw this together one night after work, then poured Kramer and myself big glasses of Chardonnay – the citrusy notes in the wine complimented the salad perfectly, so we may or may not have finished the whole bottle on a Thursday night. They do call it Thirsty Thursday, right? I know we’re not in college anymore, but sometimes when it’s humid and hot outside, my brain starts to fog over and the only sure is a refreshing summer meal and a chilled glass of white wine!

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