Summer Peach Pie

with an all-butter crust

We made it to DC and after some good food, good drinks and good friends, we’re off to Virginia Beach with my brother in tow. Last night, we met up with some friends who live in town. We were originally going to go to Rose’s Luxury, but I decided that I didn’t want to spend half the night in the city we were in for only one evening waiting in line to go to a restaurant, even though I’ve heard it was awesome. Instead, we started at Eat the Rich for some oysters, hush puppies, and “redneck caviar”, which was salmon roe with potato chips (see: amazing). After that, we popped over to Mockingbird Hill for some sherry, Spanish ham, and cheese. We bar hopped around a little bit, then ended up at Two Birds, One Stone, which I had been to before and really liked. After that, Kramer and I returned to our hotel, then realized we needed water and wanted to grab a few beers, so we walked for a while in the wrong direction toward a store, only to find that it was closed, so we walked to another store, only to find that they didn’t have beer. We took that as a sign, bought two giant bottles of water and went to bed. Thanks for the good night, DC! Now it’s off to the beach for surf, sand, and waves.

summer peach pie

I wanted to share this peach pie recipe because it’s almost the end of summer and nothing says SUMMER! like a big, beautiful, juicy peach pie. I feel like we don’t see enough peach pies. I have a bit of a pie obsession. I also thought this would be the perfect thing to make in conjunction with this project I’m doing with Naked Juice about food deserts. A food desert is an urban neighborhood or rural town without access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Wholesome Wave and Naked Juice are teaming up to present Drink Good. Do Good to raise awareness of this serious problem that affects nearly 24 million American citizens. I’m happy to be a part of this campaign, as it’s a cause near and dear to my heart. You’d be shocked to learn how hard it is to find quality, nutritious foods in even the most population-dense areas. I’ve seen it in neighborhoods that I live in in New York, where I’ve personally had to go into different areas of Brooklyn or Queens in order to get real, whole foods. Honestly. It’s sad, and the more people are aware of food deserts and how they impact people across the country, the quicker we can help make a difference. Believe me, I love a good farmer’s market, but they can’t only be available to certain neighborhoods. We need real food available to real people in every neighborhood in the US. Check out #DrinkGoodDoGood on Twitter and Instagram and post a photo of yourself holding a fruit or vegetable to raise awareness of food deserts. Then, maybe, you can make that fruit into a pie.

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Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

with zucchini

Vacation, here we come! I’m so ready, especially for our road trip. I’ve got my phone loaded with new episodes of my favorite podcasts, and I even threw some music on there for Kramer, who gets sick of my podcast obsession really quickly (ugh), and right now we’re eating omelets before we head out on our little adventure. I think we’re going to try to get into Rose’s Luxury in DC tonight – we’ll see. I’m not sure how packed it usually gets. I assume very, but we’re an old, married couple who have no problem eating the blue plate special at 6 PM, so maybe we’ll luck out. Additionally, if anyone has any recommendations for places to eat in Virginia Beach or on the drive from DC to Virginia Beach, we’re all ears! We’ve got quite the drive ahead of us, so I’m sure we’ll stop somewhere halfway to stretch our legs. We’re picking up my brother in DC, too, so I’ll have someone to side with against Kramer, who would generally rather die than have to make a stop while driving anywhere. He’s a man of action, but I get really excited when I see a Cracker Barrel, so, ya’ know – what can you do? Sorry, Kramer – I’m going to that Cracker Barrel.

cheesy chicken and rice bakeFresh whipped cream, fruit and espresso at our friend’s apartment on Sunday, and making sun tea at work with Large Marge Cooks.

This is the last recipe in my five recipe series with Tabasco and their #TABASCO10 project! It was really fun to push myself to make these recipes using only 10 ingredients, as well as posting them all so close together. I’m usually so swamped with work and other things, that posting two times a week is even a bit of a struggle for me, but somehow I made this work. I don’t think I’ll be making a habit of it, because I definitely eschewed other things in order to get these recipes done, but it’s good to know that I can do it! Thanks to all of the other bloggers and, most importantly, i am a food blog, for cooking with me and inspiring me to get my act together. For my last dish, I decided I’d do something warm and comforting, since the season seems to be changing, it’s a little cooler in New York, and I’m ready to forget about the beach and drape myself in a nice, cozy sweater. Cheesy chicken and rice bake, anyone? This recipe is versatile and easy to put together, plus you can swap out any veggies for the zucchini, or even sub out the chicken for extra vegetables – may I suggest eggplant or sweet potatoes? And, as the old saying goes, everything’s better with cheese on top, so the bubbling mozzarella cheese here makes this a casserole everyone will love. Ease into the next season and get ready for bakes, casseroles, and cheesy goodness! The time has come.

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Crispy Fried Fennel

crunchy and peppery

This is it – one more day until vacation! Kramer and I are driving to DC tomorrow for the first leg of our trip, and shockingly I’m not totally terrified. After we left Arizona, I never wanted to step foot in a car again. Of course, I’m never nervous in a cab. I feel totally safe in a cab. Like that Seinfeld bit goes, I view these people are professionals. They know what they’re doing, and not short-stopping or rounding of tight curves is going to get me to believe otherwise. When Kramer or a friend is driving, though, I immediately freak out, be it internally, or externally, with me being that annoying backseat driver, warning whoever is behind the wheel that they are tail-gaiting or that there is another car in their blind spot. I’ve gotten a lot better about it, though, mostly because over the past year, Kramer and I have started to rent cars more often and drive places, rather than take Metro-North or Amtrak. It’s actually kind of nice, now. We get to pick our music, pick the car we want to drive in, we can control the air conditioning, and the views are generally pretty remarkable. I don’t want to say that I am totally over my fear of being a passenger, but I’m getting there. I think. Kramer might disagree, but what does he know?

crispy fried fennelGrapefruit and mint syrup made with mint from the garden at work, and my post-hike reward on Saturday afternoon.

Welcome to Day FOUR (I can’t believe it) of the five day #TABASCO10 challenge. In this challenge, i am a food blog and Tabasco, who sponsored this series, asked myself, along with a bunch of other super talented bloggers, to create five recipes over the course of five days using only 10 ingredients. The ingredients, other than Tabasco hot sauce, of course, were chicken, mozzarella, eggs, rigatoni, rice, honey, zucchini, ciabatta, and, obviously, fennel. I absolutely adore fennel, and I really wanted to fry it, but sadly, I had no access to breadcrumbs or flour. But I did have ciabatta! And eggs! So I made my own breadcrumbs and fried away. I wasn’t sure how these were going to turn out, and they certainly aren’t super pretty, but if you like buffalo wings or other fried sports-watching foods, then I think you might like these. I love the peppery bite that each piece of fennel brings, and the crunchiness of the fried breading is just what you need while you’re watching TV, be it football or your favorite sitcom. If you’re making wings this upcoming football season, then maybe you’ll consider making these, too, for those vegetarian friends of yours. I think even the meat eaters will be thanking you. Don’t forget to dip them in plenty of hot sauce! They were made to be dipped.

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Zucchini & Fennel Frittata

with mozzarella cheese

I make a lot of frittatas. Kramer and I are big on eggs, as I’m sure a lot of you kindred spirits are, as well. They just make everything so easy. Have a bunch of cheese and some random proteins? Throw ’em in an omelet. Leftover, almost stale bread? Toast it up, throw a fried egg on it, and watch it come back to life. Do you need a quick, but filling breakfast? Eggs only take about 2 minutes to scramble, then throw some salt and maybe a little avocado on the side, and you’re good to go. The possibilities are endless, and so, we eat a lot of eggs. Sometimes I worry that maybe there’s that whole cholesterol thing to worry about, but then I remember that every week one study says eggs are actually REALLY GOOD FOR YOU GUYS IT’S TRUE and then the next week, it’s all WATCH OUT EGGS WANT TO KILL YOU. I don’t really know what to believe, but I do know that eggs are incredibly delicious, and generally pretty healthy. Besides, I live in New York City. A lot of other things in this town have a higher likelihood of pushing me to meet my maker than eggs do. So, I’m gonna keep eating eggs. Lots and lots of eggs. Who’s with me? Hello, frittas. Good morning, sunny-side up. Nice to see you, sous-vide.

zucchini fennel frittataMaking bitters at the office with Mission Chinese and carrots from the MUNCHIES garden.

This is day three of the #TABASCO10 challenge. I’m so proud of myself for making it this far. As you probably know, I’m generally ridiculously busy, so finding a way to post five days in a row is kind of insane, but here I am. I guess it doesn’t hurt to see how awesome other bloggers’ recipes have been so far – check ’em out by heading over to Twitter or Instagram and seeing what can be done with just 10 ingredients. As a recap, we were allowed to use Tabasco (obviously), chicken, eggs, mozzarella, zucchini, fennel, honey, ciabatta, rigatoni, and brown rice. So far, I’ve made fried mozzarella toast and spicy chicken pasta salad, and today I present to you this zucchini and fennel frittata with gooey mozzarella cheese. Another egg dish, another day. Kramer and I actually ended up saving this to eat for lunch at work over a few days, and it was great with a side of bacon! Brunch for lunch was always the best day of the week in elementary school, so why not carry that tradition over into your adult life? Fresh from the garden zucchini, paired with flavorful fennel and rich mozzarella? Yes please. Just pop that sucker in the microwave at lunch time and watch your co-workers salivate while they hunch over their frozen burritos. Bon appétit!

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Spicy Chicken Pasta Salad

with zucchini and fennel

We’re rolling right along with recipe number two! The #TABASCO10 Challenge is upon us and I’m already impressed at what my fellow cook-off contestants have come up with. I don’t think that this is technically a cook-off, but I’m going to go ahead and call it that, anyway. If you’re late to the game, the challenge is this: create 5 recipes using only 10 ingredients, then share those recipes over the course of 5 days. The ingredients were Tabasco sauce, chicken, eggs, mozzarella, fennel, zucchini, rice, rigatoni, ciabatta, and honey. Not bad, right? You might look at this list and think that your options are limited, but I promise, once you get a little creative, you’ll find that you’ll have a plethora of recipe ideas buzzing around in your head. I actually had a few more ideas than what I eventually ended up doing, but time is my mortal enemy and I could only do these five. What would you make with this ingredients? Our fearless leader, Stephanie from i am a food blog, has a list of all the other ~contestants~ on her blog, as well as some tasty looking Spicy Chicken Meatballs for you to make. I didn’t even think about ground chicken! Next time, next time.

spicy chicken pasta saladMaking biscuits, roof garden tomatoes from work, and rosé (because it’s always time for rosé).

This week is already flying by, and it’s actually going to be a little shorter than usual, as Kramer and I are headed on a vacation starting Friday. We’re going to take the train to Jersey, pick up a rental car (because it’s so much cheaper to rent in NJ than NY, ugh), and then drive to Washington, D.C. for one night. We still haven’t decided on where we’re going to eat dinner (or breakfast). Thoughts? After our one night in the capital, we’re picking my brother up from the train station and driving to Virginia Beach to see Kramer’s family for four glorious days at the beach. I can’t wait to drink ice cold beers in the sand. A girl can dream. The house also has a pool, so I am equally excited to drink ice cold beers while floating in some kind of tube in said pool. A girl can dream bigger. I’m also pumped to cook and grill in a different kitchen – that’s always fun, or at least that’s always fun to me. Similar to this Tabasco challenge, cooking in a new kitchen presents its own difficulties, like why doesn’t this damn place have a cheese grater? But you make do and find ways around problems, which always makes your food taste even better. If anyone has any Virginia Beach or DC recs, hit me up!

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Fried Mozzarella Toast

with spicy honey

This weekend, our more adventurous friends, Kim and Mike, suggested that we, along with our friends Matt and Amanda, join them on an excursion to the unknown territories of, you guessed it, New Jersey. Our mission: to go on a little hike. We went to Alpine, which I just looked up and learned is one of the richest towns in America, but hey, us regular folk can go hiking there, too, so thanks rich people for letting us stink up your town. We went through the Palisades, which was really cool because you have the Hudson on one side and the woods on the other side, as well as some old foundations and “ruins”, if you want to call them that, of mansions that used to exist along the cliffs. I don’t think I had been on a hike since I lived in Arizona, where hiking is totally different (see: trudging through the desert), and after this trip I’d definitely go again. After we got home, Kramer and I both napped, then we grabbed dinner with our friends Jeena and Jess before stopping by our friend Travis’ seance-themed birthday party. There was black rosé and everything – very fancy, indeed. Then, yesterday, after sleeping in, we went to our friends Russ and Sarah’s house in Park Slope to enjoy their gorgeous new roof patio, see their daughter, Esmé, and eat a grilled feast of sausages, broccoli salad, and caprese salad, along with plenty of spicy margaritas. We had quite the weekend, indeed, and now it’s Monday. S I G H. That’s okay, though. I’m ready to get back to it.

fried mozzarella toastLook at this group of healthy, active young people.

Speaking of getting back to it, just looks at this beautiful fried mozzarella toast. Over the next five days, I’m going to sharing five recipes with you, courtesy of Tabasco and i am a food blog. I, along with 10 other bloggers, were tasked with creating five recipes using only 10 ingredients (including Tabasco sauce, obviously). Those ingredients were ciabatta, mozzarella, eggs, chicken, honey, fennel, zucchini, rice, rigatoni, and, you guessed it, Tabasco. At first, I found this challenge a little daunting, but then I got into it and I had a lot of fun! I felt like I was on a TV show, being forced to get creative by limiting what was available for me to use. The Tabasco provided a surprising amount of flavor, so my initial fear of not having enough spices and whatnot to create something delicious was vanquished early on. I decided to go simple on this first dish. Fried toast has long been a dirty little secret of mine – they serve it at a few restaurants in New York, and it’s just the perfect thing to sop up a night of drinking or a great way to get energized for a long day of work ahead. The bread is wonderfully crunchy and crisp, and whatever you top it with it sure to make it even better. I went for gooey mozzarella this time, along with a good drizzle of sweet honey and spicy Tabasco. Kramer and I greedily ate almost all of what I fried up, then I had to stop myself from making more, because it was dangerously good. Come back every day this week to see what else I come up with during this challenge, and be sure to check out what others are making by going through #TABASCO10 on Twitter and Instagram!

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Really Easy Plum Cake

stone fruit summer

Summer is halfway over, people. More than halfway over, in fact. It’s been hot as hell in New York, so right now I’m kind of excited for September, when I’ll hopefully be able to bust out a jacket or two and not feel like I’m dying if I put on a pair of jeans, but I also know that New York is going to k-i-l-l me this winter and all of my friends who moved to LA are going to be posting pictures of themselves cooking a turkey on the beach or something while I’m shivering over a trash can fire in some back alley. That’s a pretty accurate description of New York winters. Everyone warms their hands over giant piles of trash. This is, of course, the opposite of what happens in the summer, where we use said trash piles to shield ourselves from the oppressive sun. Whatever happens this winter, we’ll always have sweet summer memories, right fellow kids? Rockaway Beach, Governors Island, day drinking on Sunday afternoons and eating all of the grilled and barbecued foods we could possibly handle. I’ll try to keep doing these things until my sleeves get longer and the days get shorter. I do it for you, ya’ know.

really easy plum cakePretty bar, pretty sushi from Salt + Charcoal, milk bread from the same place, and ice cold rosé.

The is the perfect end-of-summer, oh-god-when-will-I-see-another-plum kind of cake to make. You can really use any stone fruit here: peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots…whatever floats your boat. In the fall, try making this cake with apples or pears, too – why not? The base is simple and perfect. It’s a light yellow cake, with a slightly crispy top, thanks to a quick sprinkle of granulated sugar before going into the oven. This is a satisfying cake to make because it’s super easy, completely unfussy, and the result is perfectly simple: just cake and fruit. This is the kind of thing you want to bring to your next picnic or barbecue, because people can cut off a slice and eat it happily with their hands. Be sure to save yourself a couple of slices for breakfast, though – it’s great with a big cup of coffee or tea, and the final bit of crust is sturdy enough to use to pick of any remaining crumbs, a cake-eating strategy you should all adopt to get the most out of any delicious baked good you may come across.

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Liège Waffles

made with pearl sugar

Do you know how good real Belgian waffles are? I hope you’ve had the chance to eat one at least once in your life. No, I’m not just talking about the big, size-of-your-face waffles you get at diners, though those are, indeed, delicious. I’m talking about Liège waffles, which are made with yeast and, best of all, pearl sugar, which are hard little pebbles of sugar that don’t melt as easily as regular granulated sugar, leaving perfect little caramelized pockets in each bite of waffle. It’s heavenly, really, and yeah, you’ve got to go to a specialty baking store or order it online to get it, but it’s worth the effort for an extra special treat. I have honestly have a small container of pearl sugar in my cupboard for over a year, waiting for the right time to make real Liège waffles. Well, today’s the day, folks. Kramer and I couldn’t stop eating these things. I had to throw the rest away because we were making ourselves sick on waffley goodness. There’s something irresistible about them. They don’t even need syrup, making them the perfect hand-held breakfast, if you can keep enough leftovers from Sunday brunch to actually make them into your breakfast-on-the-go the next morning, but really, I doubt that’ll happen. Spread a little Nutella or cookie butter on these things for the real Belgian experience, or maybe even some whipped cream if you’ve got it. If you’re a waffle or pancake lover, I implore you to get yourself some pearl sugar and give these bad boys a try. You’ll be hooked.

liege waffles

The reason I made these waffles was because I was invited by Google Photos to go to an event with Wafles & Dinges, a legendary food cart turned actual restaurant in NYC, and play some games with their photo app. As it would just so happen, this was perfect for me, because I am an Android user and I actually do use Google Photos on a daily basis. It makes searching for photos easy, so I can find that photo I took three weeks ago of my fried egg sandwich to post on my social media accounts, and it also has some great editing tools to make my photos pop. When I went to the event, they were having a contest to see who could find images of specific things the fastest on their phones with the app, which really made me see how it categorizes photos for you. For example, I was supposed to find a picture of a cat, and I was scrolling through my already sorted photos that Google identified for me, but of course, I had a whole folder labeled “dogs” but nothing with cats because as it would turn out, I had zero photos of cats on my phone. Dog person for life! But anyway, despite being cat-photo-free (sorry, Amanda), I got a free waffle which I took to Madison Square Park to eat and chill out for a few minutes on what turned out to be a beautiful summer day. While this post is sponsored by Google, I heartily endorse this photo app and, as an Android user, can truly say that I think it’s a good product. SO THERE. Dogs for life and Android for life. That’s me. Now go eat a waffle and thank me later.

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