Raspberry-Cherry Galette

simple and rustic

Hello, old friends. I know I’ve been absent, but it’s been tough to get back into the swing of things after our glorious California vacation. We had a wonderful time on the other coast, soaking up the sun, eating our weigh in tacos (literally), and seeing a pair of good friends get married. We started in Sonoma, then worked our way down to LA. I’ve got plenty of photos to share at some point, of course, but for now, I proudly present the below photo of Kramer and me all dressed up and looking fine, if I do say so myself. We can look pretty good when we put the effort in, don’t you think? Funny enough, I’ve recently received a handful of comments chastising me for posting vacation photos. These particular readers feel that I am “forcing” people to scroll through too many vacation photos, and that it is “selfish” of me to do so. How dare I! How dare I post personal photos on my blog and not simply a recipe. How dare I use this space to not only write about the food I love to cook and bake, but share stories from my life? The nerve, really. I should have remembered that this isn’t my blog, but a public forum in which I am to test, develop, photograph, and write up recipes for the masses. That is apparently my only purpose, according to these jerks. That’s what they are: jerks. The vast majority of people who stumble across my little space are incredibly encouraging, super nice, and totally inspiring. So to you fine people, I say thank you very much for always making me feel like I can share and ramble and be myself here. To those few and far between who want to be rude: please just go somewhere else. The internet is full of wonderful places to find interesting things to cook. If you don’t want to stare into the sunglasses-clad eyes of my husband or myself, or gaze upon the mounds of tacos I ate in the past few weeks, I’m certainly not going to ~force~ you. For now, anyway.

raspberry cherry galette

What we look like when we try.

Annnyway, galettes! Who doesn’t love a galette? I was recently inspired to make some of my own after working on this galette video with Yossy of Apt. 2B Baking Co. She makes it look so easy, and while I don’t find it quite as breezy as she seems to (you go girl), I do love that a galette is totally free form and open to interpretation. You don’t need to worry about much when you’re setting out to make a galette. It’s totally rustic, and meant to have that not-so-perfect charm to it. Folding over the edges of a galette is a wonderful dream compared to the pain in the ass that is folding over the edges of a pie that you are worried about making looking ab-so-lute-ly perfect, you know? In the summer, I know it can be daunting to turn on your oven, but there are often random cool days in between the sweltering ones, and on those days, I highly recommend turning the oven on for 45 minutes so you can bake yourself two of these golden, bubbling treats. I used cherries and raspberries here, but really, you can use any summer fruit you like, and in the fall, maybe hit up some pears and apples in place of the stone fruit. It will be equally delicious and smile-inducing, I promise.

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Baked Coconut Curry Wings

with mango chutney

Welcome to the last photos from our trip to Nevis last month. I can’t believe it’s already been a full month since we were laying on the beach with rum cocktails and no other humans in sight. Nevis ruled. I look at the photos and I can almost pretend I’m still there. Almost. I’m definitely ruined for other beach vacations after this trip. Having a friend on the island who knows everyone and knows where everything is was absolutely fantastic, and the fact that we didn’t have to share the beach with hundreds of other tourists was especially wonderful. At times, it really felt like we were the only people on the entire island. I’ve never experienced that before, but I hope that we can go back again soon (hint, hint McHobbys). While these are the last of my glorious tropical vacation photos for now, they won’t be the last of them forever. I’ll weasel my way back–you’ll see!

baked coconut curry wings

It’s only fitting that I share this recipe for coconut curry wings with you today, as I used Amanda’s mom’s mango chutney, which she makes with mangos from the island itself, as a marinade. I actually made these months ago, but here we are–time really does fly. The chutney added a nice amount of acid to the wings, as well as the right amount of sugar, which helped the chicken really crisp up and caramelize as they baked, which is why they are so perfectly crispy and charred. I had never used anything sweet like this in a marinade before. Usually I’ll add maybe a touch of honey or a teaspoon or two of sugar, but I went in with a full half cup of chutney with these. Paired with the coconut milk and curry paste, I was a big fan of how these came out. If you’re not lucky enough to have handmade mango chutney that your friend’s mom gifted you, not to worry! You can use apricot preserves or orange marmalade instead, and you’ll achieve very similar results. It’s a great way to use up that last bit of jam that’s been sitting in your fridge. Enjoy!

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Apricot, Plum, and Rhubarb Shortbread Crumble

a summertime dessert

Happy July 4th! We’ve had a really fun weekend so far, and we’re headed to a barbecue later this afternoon to round it all out. The weather has been absolutely perfect and we’ve seen fireworks everywhere we’ve been, too, which has been so great. We went out for sushi, spent the day at Governors Island, and even went to a wedding! We usually go out of town for the holiday, but we’ve got a vacation planned in two weeks, so we decided to stay around this year. I think it might be our first 4th of July in the city since we moved here, if you can believe it. The nice thing about being in town for holidays is that New York really clears out. I would imagine that Manhattan is crowded with tourists and whatnot, but our neighborhood is pretty empty and it’s great. You sort of feel like you have the whole city to yourself. I will, of course, have more photos to share, but for now, I’m going to bombard you with more of our Nevis trip. I can’t help it!

apricot plum rhubarb shortbread crumble

Kramer enjoying Nevis.

If you’re headed to a picnic or a BBQ today, this crumble is the perfect thing to make. It’s incredibly easy to throw together, and you can use any random fruit you have laying around. I went all out for this one: apricots, plums, rhubarb, and cherries that I had in my freezer. Pies are all well and good, but you have to plan ahead for that. You have to make the crust, chill it, bake the pie, and then let it cool for a few hours before you can slice into it. This crumble is the lazy man’s pie, and I’m fine with that! Toss your fruit together, add it to a baking dish, crush up some cookies and throw them on top, bake, and serve. If you have some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, hey, all the better. No worrying about cutting up the perfect slice here–just scoop and eat! You’re welcome.

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Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

rich & creamy

Long time, no see! Apologies for ghosting you all, but I was in the Caribbean last week, enjoying the sun, sand, and surf of Nevis. Nevis is an absolutely wonderful island where my friend Amanda and her family have been vacationing for her entire life. Her parents even own a home there, so when Kramer and I were asked if we’d like to join them for this past trip, we couldn’t buy plane tickets fast enough. It was absolutely dreamy and I keep looking at our vacation photos, trying to put myself back there. Amanda’s parents’ house is beautiful, with a big, white kitchen, a big patio, a pool, and a neighbor with the best dog ever named Snooker (not pictured below, but don’t worry, I’ll post photos of her, soon). Kramer and I felt like true VIPs during our trip, since Amanda and Matt knew everywhere to go and everyone to talk to. We didn’t have to do any of our usual vacation research, we just showed up and they told us where to eat, which beaches to go to, and where the best grocery stores were. It was perfect. Amanda’s mom’s kitchen was also amazing, obviously. There was a big, wash-basin-like sink (one of my many kitchen dreams), all of the tools you could possibly need, and, of course, an ice cream maker. Kramer insists that we don’t have room for an ice cream maker in our 650-square-foot Brooklyn apartment, and while he may be right, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have one anyway! That discussion is for another day, though, because I finally got to use an ice cream maker for the first time in my life and I was probably a little too excited about it.

toasted coconut ice cream

Kramer and the most chill beach dog we’ve ever encountered. Kramer and her quickly became besties.

I figured that I should start out with this toasted coconut ice cream, seeing as how it evokes tropical thoughts…and also, we had a bag of coconut to use. I meant to put the coconut in some cookies I made the night before, but I forgot and just make regular ol’ chocolate chip cookies, so my forgetfulness was actually a blessing in disguise (for once). I read over the recipe and figured, there’s never a better time than the present. I had never made ice cream before, not even the sweetened condensed milk, no ice cream maker variety, so I will admit I was a little wary. What if it didn’t freeze? It’s pretty hot and humid in the Caribbean, after all! But I went ahead with my little project anyway, figuring that if it didn’t work out, oh well, I’m on vacation, nobody has to know. Thankfully, the only hiccup came when I was churning the final mixture. It just wasn’t solidifying the way that ice cream should. So, I decided I’d put the ice cream in the freezer overnight. That’ll show it. And guess what? That’s all I needed to do, because the next day, it was perfectly frozen, but still creamy and custardy and absolutely delicious. Having said that, I do recommend making this the day before you plan to serve it, just in case you need some extra chilling time, like I did. It’s worth thinking ahead for: homemade ice cream rules. It’s so rich and luscious and unlike anything you could ever possibly buy in the store, probably because it’s only got a few ingredients, all of which are full-fat, full-sugar, and full of tasty goodness. I couldn’t resist buying sugar cones to scoop the ice cream into, and we all enjoyed ice cream for dessert on our final night in Nevis. Maybe this will finally convince Kramer to let me buy that oh-so-coveted ice cream maker after all?

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Green Bean, Broccoli Rabe, and Ramp Salad

because it's summer

Ramp season is basically over, and as usual, I’m late to the game, recipe-wise. But whatever, ramps are awesome and if you can find a last bunch or two, you should really make this salad. When it’s summer time and vegetables are at their best, you really don’t have to do much to them, as I’m sure you’ve been told over and over and over again, yet you still find yourself turning your oven to 400 degrees, even on hot days, and roasting the shit out of your broccoli or asparagus or whatever, because really, it’s delicious, as well as being incredibly easy. I usually do that myself, but the other day, I decided to veer from the norm and cook my green beans and broccoli on the stove. What a novel concept. I didn’t have much of a plan going into this, but I love peppery broccoli rabe and for some reason, I rarely cook green beans. Actually, scratch that, I know why I rarely cook green beans–I hate cleaning them! I remember it was one of the tasks my mother would ask me to help her with when she made green beans when I was a kid. I’d have to snap each stem off of the top of the green beans, which seemed like a never-ending task. I hated it then and I hate it now. But I love eating green beans! So every so often, I’ll return to this much maligned chore and clean some green beans for dinner. This being one of those nights, I tossed them with the super-easy to clean broccoli rabe, quickly rinsed my beloved ramps in a bowl of ice water, and got to work. Surprisingly, Kramer was a big fan of this salad. I kind of thought I’d have to convince him it was good, but he took to it right away, saying that he loved the almost wasabi-like flavor that the ramp dressing and broccoli rabe had when combined. He was right! Good observation, honey. This is the perfect thing to serve alongside burgers or chicken or whatever other protein you’re grilling this summer. If you want to keep it veg, though, I would imagine that some grilled tofu or rinsed chickpeas would make this salad into a full-on meal. Just a suggestion! Kramer and I ate this cold for a few days in a row for lunches with some pan-seared pork chops that I made earlier in the week, and I’ll tell ya’, it was good eating. As ramp season comes to a close, I can’t imagine a better way to say farewell to our garlicky friends. Until next year, little buddies.

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Korean-Style Roast Pork

with gochujang

Roast pork is definitely one of my favorite comfort foods. My mom used to always make it in the slow-cooker when I was a kid, and my brothers and I loved it. It was never anything wild, but it was simple and delicious and super versatile, so it was a welcome change from whatever healthy lemon chicken or steamed broccoli she was usually trying to make us eat (I know you meant well, Mom!). We would make sandwiches or sliders with it, obviously, but then we’d also maybe eat it with rice, or on its own alongside a simple salad. We were also known to just microwave some of it to eat after school. You can literally do anything with it. So, I’ve evolved a bit and while I’m no longer making my mom’s tried-and-true pulled pork in the slow-cooker, my new favorite treat is a roast pork butt or shoulder, cooked low and slow in the oven for hours and hours, until it’s fork-tender and the skin is a crisp, nearly blackened color. It’s a thing of beauty, really. I went and slathered this particular piece of pork with gochujang, which is a fermented Korean red chili paste. It’s a little spicy, a little sweet, and all-around awesome. I add it to anything that I’m not sure what to do with. It makes a great marinade, but you can also just use it as a hot sauce. My friend’s mom sent me a huge tub of it that I’m still working through, but I figured this would be a perfect use for it. The pork really doesn’t need much when it’s being cooked slowly, as the fat has time to make its way through the meat and that adds a ton of flavor all on its own. The gochujang adds a little heat and a little sweetness–just enough to get your tastebuds excited. I chopped this pork up and made sliders, then wrapped them in foil and brought them to a bar for friends where they were immediately consumed, but you can make whatever you want with it. I have feeling you could make some pretty killer stuffed quesadillas with some of this roast pork, or a really great salad with some summer peaches and maybe some sliced almonds. Go nuts! The world is your oyster…only the oyster is made of pork.

korean style roast pork shoulder
Frozen drinks stuff, beach stuff, and work stuff – follow what I’m up to on Instagram or on INSIDER!

Pork aside, things have been busy, as ever, but what else is new? I’m doing something different at work every day, either going to a restaurant to shoot some delicious food, or in our test kitchen working on recipe testing or whatever else. We’ve also got a ton of travel coming up. Next weekend, we’re headed to Denver, then the following weekend, we’re going to the Caribbean (Nevis, to be exact). Any recommendations for restaurants/breweries/etc. in Denver would be much appreciated! We only have two-and-a-half days there, but I’m looking forward to seeing these things called trees and riding a bike alongside what I’ve heard is a not-contaminated body of water. Very exciting, indeed.

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Rhubarb Cherry Tart

tart & sweet

I think it might be warm today. I don’t want to risk assuming that could ever happen after the World’s Longest Winter, but it looks pretty sunny out there, so I’m feeling good about it. In anticipation of that, I’ve started going to the gym again, and it s-u-c-k-s, let me tell you what. I heard someone say “summer bodies are built in the winter” the other day and I almost passed out from how miserable that sentence made me feel. Summer bodies are built from the blood, sweat, and tears of a million beers and pizzas in the cold winter months. Come to think of it, I’m almost certain that someone from a warmer climate said that. I don’t think they understand what it’s like to wake up in the dark, go to work in the dark and the COLD, then return home in the dark. It’s incredibly demotivating. But I want to go to the beach soon, and I am a human woman with all of the regular human woman feelings and societal pressures, and I have been known to enjoy the occasional sandwich or dessert or cocktail, so the gym it is. I’m not very good at diets, especially with work and everything, so I just have to hit the treadmill. UGH. Someone commiserate. Working out is not fun. I feel like death afterward. Until I finally get my next meal, anyhow. Then I feel like I’ve earned it…sort of.

cherry rhubarb tart

Summer woes aside, I’m here today to bring you the opposite of diet food: a rhubarb and cherry tart. A deep-dish tart, to be exact. I made it in my 10-inch springform pan and I’ve gotta say, it was damn good. Yeah, I had some. Summer bodies be damned. I’ve teamed up with over 50 other bloggers to bring you some kick-ass summer barbecue recipe ideas, all of which you can check out below. Thanks to Feast and West and The Speckled Palate for bringing all of us together. I’m looking forward to turning on the BBQ this weekend myself, and in order to do that, I’ve got to bribe the friends of mine that actually have ample outdoor space and a legal grill. The best way to do that, I’ve found, is to bribe them with food, so I’ll be bringing over this tart or any of the delicious dishes my fellow bloggers have made in order to secure my spot next to the grill. I have a feeling this tart would do the trick. It’s sweet from the cherries and slightly tart from the rhubarb, but still plenty gooey and delicious. The crust held up surprisingly well to being forced along the side of a springform pan, and the crunchy sugar on top really brought it all together. Just don’t forget the whipped cream.

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Chocolate Chai Banana Bread

this bread is bananas

Apologies for the lack of posts lately! Not that I think anyone is sitting here with bated breath, eagerly awaiting my next post, but, ya’ know, I like to get more posts up than I’ve been able to lately. Life gets in the way, but more than that, procrastination and wanting to just chill without worrying about working is really what gets in the way. I’ve got some good stuff coming up, recipe-wise, though, so don’t give up on me. I’ll always be around! You can head to INSIDER Food to see what I’ve been working on, lately. Most recently, it was teaching people what a porrón is the only way I know how–through demonstration. I’ve been going to tons of restaurants lately, talking to chefs, and even making recipe videos of my own in our test kitchen. It’s been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. I’m really energized every morning, even if I’m tired or if I was out late the night before. It feels good! I hope you’ll check out INSIDER every so often and follow me as I eat my way through New York, so to speak.

chocolate chai banana bread

Room service in Houston, baking cupcakes at work, biscuits, and pizza from Emmy Squared.

So, let’s talk banana bread. We’ve all made it a million times, but we’re not quite ready to ever stop. We’ve always got a couple of bananas sitting on our counter, ripening and, eventually, blackening, into those sweet little jewels that make for the best banana bread. I like to keep my bananas in the fridge for a week or two so that they get extra black, but that’s just me. The darker they get, the more sweet they become, so just keep that in mind the next time you think your bananas are too far gone for banana bread. They aren’t! Just throw them into a mixing bowl with some chopped dark chocolate and that late bit of chai concentrate that you have in your fridge. You know, that box that doesn’t quite have enough left for you to make a decent cup for yourself, but you still feel guilty for throwing it away. I’ve got a solution for you: throw it into your mixing bowl, too. Boom! Chocolate chai banana bread. You can, of course, make a spice mixture of your own (using cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cloves, and star anise), but it’s really satisfying to just pour something into a bowl and have warm, comforting chai-spiced banana bread in about an hour. Kramer took this into his office, and from what I hear, it got rave reviews, and I have to say, the end bit that I had with a cup of black coffee really hit the spot, too. I love bread butts, what can I say? They’re another one of those cook’s rewards that you’re always hearing about. Anyway, butts aside, just make this banana bread. If anything, it’s an excuse to splurge on that fancy chai you keep seeing at the gourmet grocery store but haven’t gotten up the nerve to treat yourself to. It’s spring! The sun is out! You deserve a little iced chai in your life. And chai banana bread.

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