Well, it seems as though I have managed to screw up my knee again. This time, it’s my right knee, whereas it’s been dependably my left knee up until now. I’ve been enjoying running for the past few months, but given my history of injury and the fact that both my grandmother and my mother have had knee replacement surgery, it’s probably time to me to knock it off. Running it just so much easier than boot camp classes and less boring than the elliptical or exercise bike, but I know how bad it is for your knees so I guess my short foray into running has come to an end. I suppose I can learn to like the elliptical and, as both my mother and aunt have told me a million times over, I should try to get more seriously into yoga. For some reason it seems like such a crock to me, but they both seem really happy with it. I just need to find a place in Williamsburg or Bushwick that isn’t outrageously expensive and focuses more on the workout aspect of it rather than the whole spirtual mumbo-jumbo part of it. I’ve searched for a few on Yelp and keep running across lines like, “The teachers here are great – they don’t think of yoga as physical exercise, they remind you that it is a spiritual exercise.” Great. I’m glad that you guys are finding your spirituality. I just drank four beers and had two slices of pizza last night. I need to burn some calories so I can do it again tomorrow. Anyone in North Brookyln know of a good spot where I can get my sweaty yoga on? Either way, after consulting my aunt (who is a nurse and probably gets way more medical related calls than she wants), she said I should try the glucosamine supplement that a friend suggested to me, and my mother told me to keep it elevated as high as possible and to take ibuprofen every 4-6 hours, which I have been very diligent about. I’m on day three and it already feels loads better. I took my brace off today because I was worried it was getting too stiff with the limited movement, but the stairs up and down the subway are still pretty tough. My worst fears have finally been confirmed: I am a 24 year old woman trapped in the body of a 90 year old man. Where’s my walker?
My friend Danny and me. I am ultra-American while he is just regular American.
The worst part about forcing myself to be inactive and heal is that we are going to Montauk this weekend with Kramer’s family, and I have to be in a bikini during the week in which I basically didn’t exercise yet continued on with my usual eating habits. Oh well, they’re family – they have to love me no matter how jiggly and pasty I am. Right? Well, averting your eyes is always an option, too. It’ll be nice to get away from the city, even if it’s only 24 hours for me (I have to go back to work on Monday), but Kramer really needs the break so he can have some quality father-son time with good ol’ dad in the Hamptons. Not too shabby. I want to try to do some more grilling while we’re up there…corn, maybe some shrimp kebabs, maybe even grilled tomatoes. Will that work? Will they turn to mush? I guess I will find out and report back. On an unrelated note, but still kind of related because of grilling and whatnot, I’m sharing some photos from a barbecue we had on our friend Emily and Wesley’s beautiful roof two weekends ago. They were kind enough to provide us with a grill, beers and a phenomenal view, so Kramer and I cooked up some grilled chicken sandwiches, smoked hot dogs, and salmon kebabs, while others brought chips, dip, and some amazing Italian sausages. I think that everyone was fat and happy at the end of the day, which is my favorite way of being.
Summer cherry season is almost over, and the farmer’s market seems to have fewer and fewer every day. Knowing this, I snagged some last weekend without knowing exactly what I was going to make. We ended up having a pretty long day on Saturday, which you’ll hear more about next week, so when Sunday reared its ugly head, I wasn’t up for doing anything too labor intensive. This Sour Cherry & Cream Cheese Coffee Cake was just the thing to throw my bounty of cherries into. There are four layers in total: a layer of sweet, basic vanilla (or, in this case, almond) cake, followed by a cream cheese layer, then a layer of juicy cherries, and finally, a crunchy almond streusel to round things out. That may sound like a lot, but it’s quite easy to make and assemble, then you just pop it in the oven and let it back. The almond, cinnamon and cherry combination obviously smells amazing, but I promise that it taste even better with bite after bite of cherry popping in your mouth, the luscious cream cheese swirling through everything, and the much needed texture from the almond topping. It’s not necessarily what you think of when you think summer dessert, but for a breakfast on a Monday morning after a long weekend? It’s just the thing.
I will start you off with a photo of the star of the show: Barney.
Grill man Kramer working hard at grilling.
We had barbecued chicken sandwiches.
Delicious smoked hot dogs from The Meat Hook.
I also got this wonderfully patriotic tank top from The Meat Hook (here I am seen with hot dogs in hand, ready to get this party started).
We also did the salmon kebabs I posted about recently.
One of my favorite summer beers.
Kramer trying to steal some of Morgan’s kebab.
Trying to make myself horizontal so that you can get the full effect of my sweet shirt.
Kramer throwing some amazingly good Italian sausages on the grill.
A hard day of grilling means you deserve a few beers.
And some relaxation.
Almost time to call it a night after a drink at The Richardson.
Pretty summer sour cherries.
Prepare your cake layer and your cream cheese layer.
Then top with your cherries that have been tossed in sugar.
And top with your streusel. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Allow to cool, serve and slice!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- pinch of cinnamon
- 2 pounds sour cherries, stems removed and pitted
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- *If you are using sweet cherries, you can change this to ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup crushed or slivered almonds (or walnuts/pecans/oats/whatever you like)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- First, prepare your cake ingredients. Whisk together your flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and set aside. Beat together your butter and brown sugar until well creamed, about 3 minutes. Add in your egg and almond extract and beat until combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add ⅓ of your flour mixture to the bowl and mix until combined, then add in your whole milk and mix until combined. Add another ⅓ of your flour mixture until it is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, followed by your sour cream, then the rest of your flour mixture. This is called adding in your flour alternatively with your wet mixture, and it helps to keep your batter uniform and well mixed. Science! Kind of.
- Butter a 10-inch springform or bundt pan very well. If you are using a springform pan, I highly recommend laying a sheet of parchment paper cut out to fit inside of the pan inside and buttering that, too - it makes the removal of the cake much easier. Whatever you do, go nuts and really butter that sucker up. We're not worried about calories with this cake! Now spread your cake batter into your prepared pan. This batter will be thick, so using your hands to do the spreading it completely acceptable. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Now it's time to make your cream cheese later. I used the same mixing bowl that I made the cake batter in and just quickly wiped it out - it's all going to the same place. In your bowl, beat together your softened cream cheese with the brown sugar and almond extract until smooth. Carefully spread this mixture over your cake layer.
- Toss your pitted cherries in your sugar and let them sit for 10 minutes to release some of their juices and break down a bit. This is when you can make your streusel. Combine the ⅓ cup brown sugar, ⅓ cup flour, cinnamon, and almonds (or whatever else you are using) in a large bowl. Add in the cold butter and use your hands or a pastry cutter to combine everything together until pea-sized crumbs form. Evenly spread out your cherries on top of your cream cheese layer, then sprinkle the streusel over the top.
- Place the cake in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden and no longer jiggly when shaken. If you need to keep it in for an additional 10 minutes or so, that's fine. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing. This will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or cut up and frozen for up to 3 months.