Pull-Apart Hawaiian Rolls

with crushed pineapple

Part of me feels like I shouldn’t re-hash this kind of thing all over again on my blog. I already explained my most recent uncomfortable interaction with the men of New York a few weeks ago, but lo and behold, it happened again. Part of me thinks, look – most women in the city deal with this kind of thing every single day. It’s nothing new and sadly, it seems to be an integral part of the New York experience. The other, angrier part of me feels like I, and others, should share our stories early and often. The only way to empower other women, to make other women feel not as alone, and maybe even enlighten men to how their actions are interpreted by the women around them, is to shout each and every detail from the mountaintops. You’d think this isn’t necessary. You’d think that we’re, as George Costanza so elegantly put it, supposed to be living in a society, but each passing day leads me to believe that so much of that just isn’t true. I feel like I’m a strong person. I can stand up for myself. I (generally) don’t let people push me around or make me feel like I’m less than. But there are occasions in which I’m scared or when I don’t quite know what to do. Sometimes I feel stuck. And I can only imagine that there are women out there who haven’t broken through their insecurities or gotten over the horrible things that have already happened to them, so when situations arise where they are made to feel uncomfortable or even threatened, they become paralyzed. My friend Melia at Business Insider wrote a great article on what to do when you’re being harassed on the street, and it’s important reading for any women, but still, you can only prepare yourself so much. When you’re actually being harassed or threatened, it’s hard to be brave. What happened to me last Saturday night wasn’t a particularly brave act, but I was scared and I stood my ground as best as I could. I escaped unscathed, but I’m lucky and who knows what any deviation in this scenario would have meant for me or whatever other women could have been in my place.

Pull Apart Hawaiian RollsHeirloom tomatoes, insane cocktails, my friend Val looking amazing at her baby shower and last night’s heirloom tomato quiche.

On Saturday night, around 10pm, Kramer and I were watching a movie, so I decided I’d run to the bodega about a block away to get some ice cream fixings. I grabbed the ever necessary can of Redi-Whip and took my place in line. A man in front of me turned around and asked if I was buying “boob cream”. My response was a shocked, “Are you kidding me?” He repeated his question, and I could tell he was way too drunk for 10 at night. I told him to back off, but he kept staring at me and asking me if I liked the way that he looked. I let him know that I would defend myself if I needed to, and his friend turned around to let me know that he was “just kidding”. “Yeah, that makes it so much better,” I replied, looking around the bodega to see if anyone else was as offended as I was. The bodega owner asked them to leave, but the man in front of me started aggressively insisting that I purchase my items before him. “If you think that I’m going to buy my stuff first and walk out of this store with you behind me, you’re crazy,” I told him. He kept pushing me to buy my things first, which is when I nearly snapped and started yelling at him to get away from me. The owner told him to get out, so he started to leave, but kept staring at me. He turned around and shouted, “I’m leaving now. Go ahead and buy your stuff. You know, people in Brooklyn are weird. People where I’m from, in the Village, they’re cool,” and after bumping into a rack of chips, turning around and giving me one last glare, he left. I was really shaken up, but even more upset that his friend let it happen and made excuses for this man’s unacceptable behavior. I bought my things and stood at the entrance of the bodega, afraid that he was outside waiting for me. I rifled through my purse to call Kramer, but realized that I had left my phone in our apartment. I cautiously stepped outside, looked around, and sprinted home. Maybe I was being paranoid, but I think it’s always better to be safe than sorry. As soon as I got inside my building, I started crying. I was scared. I was safe – I wasn’t hurt. But I was still upset and scared and so, so angry that men feel like they can just harass women like that whenever they want. Kramer was, of course, equally upset. He wanted to go outside and find this guy. We just sat on the couch together, had a stiff drink, watched our movie, and got some sleep. Part of me is afraid I’ll see this guy in the neighborhood again, but another part of me thinks that even if I did, he was probably too drunk to remember me. Hopefully.

Pull Apart Hawaiian Rolls

I’m sharing another bread recipe after telling this story because, as previously stated, bread is comforting. Bread takes time and patience, which can help calm shot nerves and soothe any anxiety. I feel like I am at my wit’s end sometimes, so that’s when I need to take a break and do a little baking. I love the smell of foaming yeast, of rising dough, and of course, of baking bread. These rolls were made a few weeks ago for the clambake barbecue we did at our friend’s house. I wanted to make biscuits, but buttery, flaky biscuits can sometimes fall apart when trying to soak up broth. I figured I’d do rolls, but I also wanted something sort of summery. Hawaiian rolls it was. These rolls are just a tad bit sweet, with a golden, buttery top and they pull apart like a dream. The insides are so fluffy and moist that you’d think they were store bought. Thankfully, any bread that comes out of my kitchen has what I like to call an “artisan” look, which is code for not symmetrical or slightly lopsided. That just adds to the charm, right? I doubled the recipe, so we had plenty of giant rolls to soak up any deliciousness at the bottom of your plate.

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Blueberry & Blackberry Pie

with an all butter crust

I’m really pleased to be sharing this pie recipe with you. There’s nothing better than pie, as previously stated, and I don’t feel like I get to eat it often enough. I think that now that Crumbs has (finally) gone under, people realize that the era of the cupcake is over. I am not a cupcake fan. They are hard to eat, and the size of the small cakes make for a potentially dry dessert. Don’t get me started on the frosting situation. There’s either an insane amount on top, making the cupcake impossible to eat, or it’s overly sweet. Sure, I have had the occasional delicious cupcake, but I’d probably pick almost any other dessert before going for a cupcake. Pie, on the other hand, is the dessert of the gods. The buttery, flaky crust, the sweet, curd-like fruit filling, and the must-have topping, be it ice cream, whipped cream or marshmallow fluff, is irresistible in every single way. Even when Kramer and I were in Montreal, having stuffed ourselves with foie gras and blood sausage, we still found room for a slice of heavenly lemon meringue pie. I think because pie involves a little bit of kneading, a little bit of waiting, and a little bit of rolling out dough, people make it less – it definitely takes longer to make than a sheet cake or something like that (for me, anyway – I am not a decorator). Maybe I wouldn’t feel so strongly about pie if I saw it as often as I saw a cupcake or a chocolate chip cookie, but we’ll never know because I don’t live in a fantasy world full of different kinds of pie. More specifically, this fantasy world would be filled with berry pies.

Blueberry Blackberry PieCocktails at Extra Fancy, a Monday morning breakfast, Union Square and Pies ‘n’ Thighs.

I adore this blueberry and blackberry pie. It’s filled with my two favorite summer berries. This time of year, they are plump, juicy and perfectly ripe. Just a touch of cinnamon, a little lemon zest and juice, and a bit of flour or cornstarch to hold it all together transforms a bowl of fruit into a seasonal dessert. Remember those pie cookies I shared with you? Luckily, this pie crust recipe makes a ton of dough, so you’ll be able to make this beautiful pie and a big plate of pie crust cookies, making you the surefire dessert king or queen of the day. I brought this pie to a World Cup party a few weekends ago, and only a small sliver remained in the dish by the end, which was of course picked apart by wandering fingers as people passed to and from the kitchen. I brushed the top of the pie with a quick egg wash, and sprinkled a healthy amount of sanding sugar over the top – this makes for the most crunchy, sparkly crust and believe me, nobody will be able to say no to a slice when they see it.

Blueberry Blackberry Pie

So, yes, I loved this pie, and I hope to make it or something like it again soon, but I’m also looking forward to more pies and what is to come this weekend. We are having a happy hour at work tonight, which is going to be a good time. I’ve made chocolate chip cookies with chocolate covered pretzels for the office, as well as some spicy guacamole for our guac station (a key element to any happy hour). After the happy hour, I’m determined to have enough energy to meet up with a friend for drinks at Tradesman, which is near my apartment so I’ll probably feel good just knowing that my bed is close by. On Saturday, I’m planning a picnic on Governors Island. I’m hoping a lot of people come! If you know me and want to stop by and you’re reading this, please let me know! I’ll send details. I’m going to get lots of charcuterie, spread out my picnic blanket, throw on some music and enjoy the sunshine. The weather is supposed to be perfect, so I’m hoping that is still the case by Saturday. On Sunday, one of my good friends is having her baby shower – I can’t believe she’s due in just a couple of months! Time flies. I of course got her something Star Wars related. Babies really can’t have enough Star Wars stuff – they must be indoctrinated early on. My friend will thank me later, I’m sure.

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Crispy Oven-Fried Pickles

with Sriracha

Lately I’ve been thinking about how awkward I feel in social situations. Maybe it’s because I went to more than the usual number of social gatherings this weekend, who knows, but the older I get the harder it is for me to feel like I’m not floating aimlessly through space while trying to have conversations with people in a loud bar. Part of me feels like I’ve even developed a little bit of a stutter. I think the issue might be that my brain is running me through all these different levels of anxiety, so all I can manage to vocalize is something like, “Haw haw haw yeah!” or “Did you watch Lost?” or something similar (see: “Do you like Star Wars?”). I was much more confident at parties when I was a teenager, but that’s probably because I was a lot dumber and didn’t worry about spouting off some devoid-of-fact nonsense about some political cause that I happened to be worked up over that week. Now, though, I don’t know what to say. I don’t particularly love talking about myself because to be honest, there’s not much to say. I don’t want to talk about politics or music. I do clearly want to talk about Lost and Star Wars (very, very much) but there are only a select few people that I know who will entertain these subjects for too long. Sometimes I can find a new person who hasn’t heard me say the same thing over and over about these two things, but then the rest of the party they are just my Star Wars and Lost friend and I inevitably get over-excited about that, geek out on them way too hard, and then worry about it later. I don’t know why I do this, but I do. Part of me is a pretty quiet person, and another part of me wants to be noticed and talks too much because I want people to see whatever interesting side of me I think exists. These two sides of my brain are constantly at battle and they really do not like each other.

Crispy Oven-Fried Pickle ChipsMe in my happy place, fish tacos from Rockaway Taco, smoked chicken and potato salad from Breezy’s Barbecue and the egg-selent breakfast Kramer made the day before the beach.

I once heard someone explain the concept of a “human hangover” (does anyone know who/where I heard this?) and it’s the story of my life: You go to a party, you jabber on about whatever, then you go home and go over each conversation in your head, worrying about having talked too much or having been to eager, did you insult them, did you corner them and make them desperate to get the hell away from over-opinionated girl, etc. I feel like every day, while I take a shower or before I fall asleep, all I’m thinking about is this kind of stuff. Which, to be honest, isn’t so bad, and I know for a fact that a lot of other people do this. I know that other people aren’t at home, in the shower or laying in bed, thinking, “Jesus, talking to Sydney was the worst.” They’re probably either normal humans who can talk to other people and then go about their day not stressing out about each word that they said because people talk all the time and it’s no big deal, or they are like me, going over each sentence with a fine-toothed comb, wishing that they had just kept their trap shut all night so that they wouldn’t have to have hairs turn gray over it later. Having said all of that, life is pretty sweet and I’m a happy person. I’m just a happy person plagued by social anxiety. It’s cool. I’ll probably just be thinking about these two paragraphs for the rest of the day.

Crispy Oven-Fried Pickle Chips

That was a pleasant read, right? I hope I didn’t jumpstart any beneath-the-surface anxiety of your own. If I didn’t, congratulations for making it this far. Your reward is a recipe for oven-fried pickle chips! This is my last recipe for Farmer’s Garden by Vlasic for a while, so enjoy it while you can. I am a big fan of fried pickles and will generally always order them at a bar if they are an option. I know, however, that they are definitely not good for me. They sure taste good, though. I love dipping them in aioli or hot sauce, and they pair perfectly with an ice cold beer. Frying at home can be a pain, though, so these oven-fried pickle chips are an excellent compromise. They’re still surprisingly crispy, thanks to the Panko crumbs, and taste absolutely delicious. The batter consists of Worcestershire sauce (one of my favorite secret sauces for marinades and the like) and Sriracha, among other things, so you know there’s tons of flavor hiding under the crispy breading. Just dip, bake and serve piping hot. Kramer and I snacked on these and a bowl of popcorn while watching some relaxing mid-week television because, you know, we like to always have a balanced dinner. You can bake these ahead of time, if you like, then crisp them up in the oven just before serving. Any pickle fan will without a doubt eat all of these up in no time. Since this is my last Vlasic recipe, this is also my last reminder to go enter the Savor Simplicity Sweepstakes for a chance to win a summer entertaining package worth $1,500! That would make for one kick-ass end-of-summer barbecue, don’t you think?

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Pie Crust Cookies

with cinnamon & sugar

I still have some more photos to share from Montreal, but our final evening there was capped off by a visit to Au Pied de Cochon. If you’ve seen the episode of No Reservations where Anthony Bourdain visits and is nearly killed with food by Chef Martin Picard, then you know that we were in for quite the treat. We sat right at the bar, so we could see what the chefs were doing right in front of us. It really was dinner and a show. I felt no qualms about being over-eager to watch these guys work quickly and beautifully, and neither did Kramer. Sure, we spoke during our meal, but our eyes glazed over as we watched the cooks break down lobsters, make dough for tarts, slice off impossibly thick pieces of foie gras, and spoon out big dollops of butter laden mashed potatoes. If you go, I highly, highly recommend sitting at the bar, too. We started our meal with the pickled beef tongue, upon a friend’s recommendation. It was perfectly tender with the right amount of acidity, and bonus: it was $4! In New York, I always have to mentally prepare myself before I go out to eat at a nice restaurant, and remind myself that I am paying for both the quality of the food and the experience. But Au Pied de Cochon is different. It is fancy, to be sure, but it’s unpretentious and totally affordable. The portions were huge! We ordered twice as much food as we needed in the end because we were expecting the plates to be small, tasting-sized portions and we were hungry. In fact, they were big, hearty Quebec-sized portions. There’s no better surprise than that. After the lengua, we got to the hard stuff. We ordered the namesake item on the menu (au pied de cochon), which was a pig’s foot stuffed with perfectly cooked, caramelized pork and foie gras. We had to get it. And it was jaw droppingly good. Sitting on top of those previously mentioned buttery mashed potatoes and skin crisped to perfection, it was an incredible dish. Along with the trotter, we had some of the best blood sausage (boudin) that I’ve ever had, alongside some parsnips and spinach because, you know, vitamins. Kramer and I clearly couldn’t finish all of this, so we ended up taking the trotter and the blood sausage home and having some of it for breakfast the next morning alongside our bagels. I know, we’re monsters. But we were monsters on vacation. Anyway, while we didn’t have room for all of that porky goodness, we somehow found space for a slice of heavenly lemon meringue pie. We ate the whole slice and literally waddled home. Thank goodness we had a little bit of a walk ahead of us and a heavy doggy bag to carry (see: weightlifting). What a meal, indeed.

Pie Crust CookiesTrotter with foie gras, pickled beef tongue, blood sausage and the restaurant itself.

I don’t know why I haven’t made pie crust cookies before. I love making pie. I’ve made Pumpkin Pie, S’mores Pie, Berry Slab Pie, Mini Bourbon Pecan Pies, Mini Blueberry Pies, Old Fashioned Apple Pies, Apple Pies with Lattice Tops, Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies and probably a few more. Pie is the best dessert – it’s just a plain fact. I turn up my nose at cupcakes, cakes, cookies, brownies and all other things sweet in favor of pie, with its buttery, flaky crust and gooey filling, inevitably oozing out of whatever holes and cracks the crust allows. Every time I make a pie, though, I throw out the scraps and then think, “Dammit! I should have made cookies!” I do this every single time. I suppose it’s just muscle memory to open the trash can lid and throw the scraps of dough away before I even think about it. This time though, I won out over my stupid brain and thought about pie crust cookies before I even made the pie. Go figure. I’ll share the pie I made with you next week, but for now, let me count the ways I love these cookies.

Pie Crust Cookies

These cookies are golden and crisp, flaky and buttery. I added a dusting of cinnamon sugar on top for crunch, and I couldn’t resist making a batch of Homemade Marshmallow Fluff to go with them – pie crust fluff sandwiches, anyone? I brought these to a World Cup viewing at my friend’s apartment and they were immediately devoured (albeit one marathon runner probably did most of the eating – Jessie, you know how to make a baker happy). I loved how when you bite into one of these cookies, there are little air bubbles of deliciousness on the inside, showing you each layer and reminding you that yes, these are pie crust cookies. I personally always reach for the thickest piece of pie crust on my plate when I’m enjoying a slice of pie, saving it for last to be used as a scoop to insert any remaining filling into my face, but there never seems to be enough of these treasured thick pieces of crust. Well, problem solved. I don’t have children and I am unfamiliar with their ways, but I would imagine that this would be a fun way to get kids involved in the kitchen, too. The pie crust is super forgiving and easy to cut out, so you can make any shapes you want, and hell, if you want to throw some sprinkles on top of these before you bake them, who am I to judge? I bet they’d be even more adorable that way.

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Harissa Roasted Pork

spicy Moroccan flavors

Finally, we get to our trip to Montreal. We had such a fantastic time. Neither of us had been before, so we went armed with a long list of things to do, places to see and, of course, dishes to eat and cocktails to drink. We were prepared. And, because we could, we decided to take the train up instead of flying. The train ride was even better than I thought it would be, although, as expected, we ended up being delayed about two hours as we made our way upstate due to a storm the night before. No matter, though. We had plenty of books to read, plenty of podcasts to listen to, and I packed plenty of snacks to keep us placated. I went to Eataly the day before and picked up all the ingredients for a seriously delicious Italian sandwich, complete with fresh ricotta (think smoked pork loin, salami and prosciutto). We chowed down on those, napped and read while we gazed out the window at the green scenery passing us by. When we finally arrived in Montreal, we hopped in a cab to meet our AirBnB host, who greeted us with a beer, a list of bars and restaurants close by, and a map. We chatted with him for a bit before doing a bit of bar hopping. We first stopped at Bily Kun, which was a little loud and crowded for us (sigh), so we drank our drinks and headed over to a little tapas bar across the street from our apartment. The tapas there were underwhelming, but we did have a really nice Cuban rum. We still wanted to find the perfect spot to end our night, and not wanting to do that with mediocre tapas, we just happened to run into our host while walking around and he took us to Le Lab, which was lovely. We had a few creative cocktails, watched the bartender make insane looking shots for a brave table near us, then headed home to get some shut eye.

Harissa Roasted PorkHanging out in Montreal.

The next day, Kramer and I immediately headed over to Patisserie Au Kouign Amann, thanks to my friend Emily’s recommendation. The namesake pastry, the kougin amann, was by far the most interesting and delicious pastry that either of us have ever had. Insanely buttery with a crystallized sugar top that crunched with each dreamy, sticky bite, I could easily have eaten a whole pan of this stuff on my own. We grabbed a coffee to go, then wandered around the Plateau/Mile End area. After walking a bit, we landed at Schwartz’s for a famous smoked meat sandwich. I hate to say it, but this place blows Katz’s out of the water, both in how good the sandwich is and how reasonably priced everything is (the sandwich you’ll see below was a mind blowing $7, versus the $15+ you’d spend at Katz’s). After splitting a sandwich, we continued walking, checking out the cool shops and street art along the way, before heading to a little cafe for a beer and to watch a soccer game (remember the World Cup?). The game ended and we continued on our way, then ended up at Bishop and Bagg to watch the next soccer game, followed by drinks at The Sparrow and dinner at Lawrence. We had told ourselves that we’d go home, rest up a bit and go out for poutine later, but we just couldn’t stomach more food, if you can believe it. We had a glass of wine in our little balcony back at the apartment, then went to sleep to prepare for round two the next day.

Harissa Roasted Pork

I’ve made harissa before, but Mina Harissa is made right here in New York, and as I am always happy to support local small businesses, I couldn’t wait to give it a try when Mina herself contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in sampling and giving away a few jars of the good stuff. Harissa is a traditional Moroccan pepper paste, packed with flavor and just the right amount of heat. This jarred variety has a little more olive oil in it, which makes it perfect for marinating. This is my preferred method for roasting pork if my end goal is to just shred it with two forks and add it to a salad, tacos or buns. Cutting it up beforehand helps the meat cook more evenly without having to bother with meat thermometers or worrying about the pork drying out. You can use this same method with a chuck roast or a piece of lamb. I chose to use the green variety of harissa because I love green peppers along with a good punch of spice. If you want to give this recipe a go, and you’re curious to try a delicious Moroccan harissa, leave a comment or retweet this post. Mina has been kind enough to offer up three jars of her harissa to three lucky people. Even if you don’t win, check your local specialty food store for a jar of harissa, or even try making it yourself. Not only is it a terrific marinade, but it makes a tasty alternative to your usual addition of hot sauce, salsa or Sriracha.

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Roasted Garlic Scapes & Radishes

with lemon

Have you ever heard of garlic scapes? They are one of those things that I only discovered once I started checking out the farmer’s market in Union Square when I moved to New York. They are the stems and unopened flowers of the hard-neck variety of garlic bulbs, like the fancy kind you see tied into bunches at the market. They are pungent in the best way possible, and make a great replacement for other tasty summery, garlicky greens, like chives, scallions, ramps or spring garlic. This time around, I decided to use them as I might use a green bean. I roasted them simple with pretty French breakfast radishes, tossed them in some olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and 30 minutes later, I had a beautiful side dish for my roasted chicken. Kramer and I ate the leftovers the next day on a salad with some of that same chicken, and I enjoyed these veggies just as much cold as I did warm. The addition of lemon zest and a sprinkle of sea salt at the end adds a punch of bright flavor and is just the kind of vegetable side you want to have on a sunny day. May I also suggest serving these alongside a dollop or two of good ricotta? Just sayin’.

Roasted Garlic Scapes and RadishesHanging out on Governors Island.

I still haven’t gotten around to going through my photos from our Montreal trip, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more photos to share. Kramer, my friend Jessie and I went to Governors Island a few weekends ago, and it was an excellent little day trip. You just have to hop on the East River ferry, enjoy the view as you travel along the water, then bam! You’re on a giant park of an island before you know it. A lot of the island was either damaged during Sandy or was in general disrepair over the past few years, but after the hurricane, the city has done an awesome job of making Governors Island a lovely place to visit. This year, they’ve nearly doubled the area available for picnics and playgrounds, not to mention the plentiful food and drink options. There are even food trucks!

Roasted Garlic Scapes and Radishes

We, of course, brought our own little charcuterie platter: salami, mortadella, cheese, roasted tomatoes and olives. Kramer did a great job picking it all out. We watched a bit of the soccer game that was on that day, then laid out on our picnic blanket, listened to music, read our books, and stuffed ourselves with meats and cheeses. After a while, we packed up and wandered around the island a bit. Jessie and Kramer were very excited to play on the oversized playground equipment (as were a few other adults, who all pounced as soon as all of the children had vacated the premises), and after tuckering themselves out, we grabbed a fresh coconut to sip on while we headed back to the boat. We ended up at The Woods to watch another soccer game, eat more (maple bacon on a stick, anyone?) and then Kramer and Jessie headed out to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah while my friend Danny and I grabbed a drink a Spuyten Duyvil. I’ve got a pretty low key weekend coming up, but plans always change. I hope we get to spend more time outside, as the weather is supposed to be perfect.

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The NY Times No-Knead Bread

and some mixed feelings

I have been so busy doing fun things this past week. I have wanted to share those things with you, but I want to talk about something more serious first. I’m on the subway as I write this, rushing home to try to squeeze in a quick 30 minutes of yoga before I go out and meet a friend for dinner. I was going to write this later, but figured it was better to write it quickly on my phone, balancing as best as I can without holding onto the pole so I can furiously tap away. Just now, I was speed walking through Union Square, flying down the subway station steps, trying to get to the platform as fast as possible, when I was stopped. The person who stopped me was a guy about my own age, with reddish hair and yellow sunglasses. He tapped my shoulder. Normally I’d ignore this entirely, but he quickly moved around the left side of me to stand in my way. Okay, maybe I dropped something? Maybe I knew this person and he wanted to say hi? I stopped walking and pulled out one of my earbuds. I looked at him, thinking I’d see someone familiar, but I didn’t recognize this person. When he finally spoke, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. “I saw you walking to the subway,” he said. “And I thought you were so beautiful that I had to stop you and tell you. Can I…” And I didn’t even let him finish. My immediate reaction to something like this is to flee. My other immediate reaction is to be as nice as possible, because this guy may very well be completely unhinged. You never know.

I cut him off, thanked him, told him that I had to get going, and raced through the subway turnstiles and down onto my platform. Then I started thinking. Was that incredibly mean? Should I have just let him finish speaking? Maybe he was just trying to be nice, trying to brighten someone’s day (albeit in the creepiest way possible). Maybe he was trying to sell me something. Maybe I’m completely overreacting? Maybe this, maybe that, maybe maybe. I don’t know. All I could think about, and all I can still thinking about, is that horrific shooting that happened in California. How that guy blamed what he had done on the women who didn’t accept his advances. I’m not so in love with myself that I think that this particular person is going to run off and cause some similar tragedy because I didn’t let him say his piece on the subway, but it was still on my mind. And then, all I could think about is the fact that I’m even thinking about this at all. It’s bullshit, to be quite honest. Someone approached me on the subway, completely unsolicited, made me feel very uncomfortable, and now I’m standing underground, thinking about how I upset him? What the hell is that? Where does that guilt come from?

The NY Times No Knead Bread

When someone catcalls you on the street, you at least feel completely justified in yelling at them, giving them the finger or ignoring them altogether. This is a little different, though, and it clearly shook me a little, mostly because I was surprised at how I couldn’t get this less-than-a-minute run-in out of my head. How am I supposed to behave in this kind of situation? I hate myself for spending half of my evening running through the things I could have done, or why I should feel one way or another. I shouldn’t feel bad for not wanting to talk to a strange man on the subway. I shouldn’t feel like it’s my responsibility to coddle this person and hear them out just because I’m afraid of making them feel scorned. I should be able to do whatever I want to do. I hate that I thanked him for his unsolicited speech and told him to have a nice day. I wish I would have been able to articulate that this kind of approach is scary and women navigate situations like this, and much, MUCH worse, all day every day, so get the hell away from me. I don’t know what that guy was thinking as I swiped my Metrocard and left, and I will never know. There’s no moral here; nothing that I learned as a result of this situation. This is the way the world is, and I can only imagine people reading this and thinking that I’m some privileged baby for whining about what was, at the end of the day, a pretty benign thing. But it’s not about the fact that this wasn’t a “big deal” where nothing dangerous really happened. It’s about how I’m still sitting here, worrying about how I’m supposed to act when in reality, this guy should have been thinking about how HE was supposed to act. That’s what pisses me off the most.

The NY Times No Knead Bread

Anyway, I wanted to share this bread recipe because it’s the only thing I could think to share along with this story. I wanted to share something wholesome and comforting, something to take your mind off the novel I just spat out at you. Making bread is a stress reliever – I probably should have thrown together a loaf last night. This bread in particular can help calm your nerves because it’s of the no knead variety. That’s right – there is truly no kneading involved at all. I’ve seen this recipe over and over again on various blogs and websites, but I really do enjoy kneading bread every now and then, but this bread was made for a party in which I had already committed myself to making a few other things, so I ~needed~ to make something simple. Why not give this tried and true variety a try? I was pleased with the results. The bread was nice and holey (maybe even a little bit holy), but still firm enough to sop up leftover sauces and broths from a bowl of whatever delicious meal you’ve just eaten. I used all-purpose flour here, and while it worked well, I’ve been told that bread flour is even better, so next time I’ll be giving that one a go. If you’re afraid of yeast, this is a great beginner recipe to show you that it can, indeed, be tamed. Throw the dough for this bread together on a Friday night after you come home from a night out (yes, I did just that), then get it baking while you have your coffee in the morning. Slather a slice with some honey and jam and tell me that you don’t love baking bread, too.

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Korean Chili Tofu Salad

with kimchi chips

Over the weekend, I was invited to the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York to demo a recipe. Specifically, a Korean recipe. That may sound odd as I am definitely not Korean. I do love Korean food, though, and my hosts were looking to showcase how Korean food is becoming more popular, beyond just bibimbap (not that bibimbap isn’t amazingly good). I was happy to oblige. Kramer and I eat Korean food often. It’s one of my favorite things to order in after a long day when I just want something comforting, or it’s the perfect thing to eat out with a large group of friends, because Korean meals are very much a communal affair. Anyway, I was sent a variety of Korean products for inspiration. I was really interested in the dried kimchi chips. Sure, there were lots of tasty sauces and seaweed snacks, but I adore kimchi and the possibilities for crunchy kimchi goodness seemed endless. I had to put the chips on a salad, so I opted for a tofu salad because tofu is quite the opposite of crunchy. I marinated the tofu in a sweet and spicy Korean chili sauce, which is something you can find at most grocery stores now, then tossed the cubed and cooked tofu with bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, scallions and seaweed. I topped everything with my new favorite kimchi chips and got to eating. You can serve this hot or chilled, which is great for dinner one evening and lunch the next day. I served this salad on top of a big bed of arugula, ate it cold, and wished that I had just a little bit more.

Chili Tofu SaladClam bake seasoning from last weekend’s BBQ.

The demo went well. I arrived and was shown to two talented culinary students who got to work prepping enough samples to feed the crowd – I think they made enough for 150 people! Clearly they were much more talented than me, and their knife skills showed it. It felt weird to have someone else cook my recipe in front of me. Weird in a good way, though, because the end product tasted the same as what I had originally made, and that’s the goal, right? Anyway, I’m getting more and more comfortable cooking in front of people, so any chance to practice that is much appreciated. After the demo, Kramer and I walked the floor a bit. We couldn’t spend all day there because I would have immediately gained 20 pounds from all of the delicious food available. We had tons of cheese, dips and spreads, a few sweets here and there, and lots of fun snacks that I’d never seen before, particularly from Korea and Japan. I even had a baby peach! They were totally green and soft and super sweet. I’m going to be on the lookout for them. My other favorite was banana flavored soy milk. Delicious.

Chili Tofu Salad

After forcing ourselves to leave before we stuffed ourselves silly, Kramer and I met up with some friends to watch the World Cup in the city. Sadly, Mexico lost, but we still had a margarita because that’s just what you should do. We went home to relax for a bit before heading to a bar near us for the Greece and Costa Rica game, which ended up being quite the nail biter. Thankfully it was an exciting game, because Kramer and I woke up early after a late Saturday night for the demo, and if we sat on our couch for another second at home, we’d have fallen asleep and then not been able to fall back asleep when it was actually time for bed. That happens to us way too often. After the game, we watched The X-Files at home while I made curried salmon and snap peas for dinner, because we needed something green and healthy after our big day. Let’s see if I can continue to eat well this week before our big Fourth of July trip!

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