Recipe Rookie: Pizza

There was a pizza disaster in my kitchen a few months ago. I tried to make a simple pizza topped with zucchini and tomato, but something went horribly wrong. The combination of bad dough and the moisture of the toppings led to a blob of undercooked, misshapen crust and vegetables that not even our agile hamster would want to nibble on. Ramsey and I ordered take-out instead.

My pizza stone and peel went unused until last week when I finally worked up the courage to try again, inspired by my abundance of homegrown basil. I was also armed with a different dough recipe and the determination to keep trying until I got it right. Luckily, I got it (mostly) right on my first attempt. Continue Reading →



Farmers’ Market Pick: Heirloom Tomatoes

I’m sad to say the first time I had a true heirloom tomato was only a month ago. I’d been hearing all of the buzz about them, but it wasn’t until my birthday dinner at Dressler that I finally had a chance to try a stack of heirloom slices with my halibut entree. So, is the hype true? Do heirloom tomatoes really put their standard supermarket brethren to shame? I say absolutely. Not only do they have a superior taste and texture, they look fabulous, with a variety of colors ranging from green with zebra-like stripes to deep purple.

There are hundreds of varieties, but they can all be defined by a few key factors: they aren’t genetically modified in any way, no hybrids, they are the result of open-pollination (natural pollination), and the seeds have been passed down for decades, some saying at least 50 years, while some define heirlooms at 100 years.

I picked up a pint of small heirlooms last weekend at the Union Square Greenmarket from Tim Stark’s stand, however the photos above are from this week’s late day remains from another stand. Recipe-wise, they can be used in all of the ways your standard tomato can, but I think any recipe that overpowers their unique flavors is kind of a waste. I like chopping them into 1/2″ by 1/2″ cubes, tossing with a bit of olive oil and small bits of basil, sprinkling with a pinch of salt, and serving alongside any meat or veggie entree that could use a kick of acidity.
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Planning Ahead: Mac & Cheese

Mac and Cheese

I have a fairly set schedule every Sunday. I wake up, make my shopping list for the week, and once my boyfriend wakes up, we head to the grocery store. The afternoon is usually wasted by walking around Brooklyn with an iced coffee or lounging around the apartment, so what better time to get a cooking jump start on the week and save some prep time after a workday.

The plan-ahead meal this week was 21st Century Mac & Cheese from The Splendid Table cookbook, How to Eat Supper. It’s a great mix of the comforting favorite from childhood days, while the addition of Gruyere and chopped onion add a new twist. With just 20 minutes of prep time on a lazy afternoon, I was able to come home and throw it in the oven after a very long Monday. Thirty minutes later, a classic is ready to serve.

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