Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blood Orange and Sake Spritzer

Recently, I hosted one of the founders of The Drift for lunch and a cocktail photo shoot. The day we met up, it was dreary and humid. Today it's 90 degrees in Brooklyn, perfect weather for a cocktail like this.

I decided on blood orange and sake spritzers, inspired by a drink at my local ramen restaurant. They're light, vibrant and refreshing. With just three ingredients (including the adorable garnish), they're perfect for those nights entertaining when you don't want to spend all evening mixing drinks.

For me, it was just a treat to work with Jenn. Her camera and her photography skills far exceed what I've mastered with my iPhone. She shot at angles I'd never even considered, and she took such a variety of photos.

Visit The Drift to access the recipe for the Blood Orange and Sake Spritzer (it couldn't be easier!) and to see more photos of our afternoon together. While you're there, explore the site. They're quickly becoming my go-to resource for what to do in the city, and they're keeping me informed about the lastest music and fashion trends!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wheat Berries with Kale, Chickpea and Chard Pesto

Some people see vegan as a limiting diet, overflowing with sacrifices. They pepper me with questions about everything I'm missing out on.

Not that I've limited myself too much. I'm still using all those goodies in my baking, though I've cut down on the quantities quite dramatically, even testing out some vegan desserts here and there.

I just see things a bit differently. It doesn't feel like a sacrifice to me.

Here's how the conversation tends to go:

You're eating vegan? Really? What about butter?

I don't miss butter, really.

But what do you put on your popcorn?

Nutritional yeast, a generous amount, with a dash of olive oil. Delicious. 

Then what about toast?

I've been loving ripe avocado. And drizzled olive oil with za'atar. 


Tofu. Maybe with some nutritional yeast thrown in to give it that traditional flavor. Or tempeh. 

Huh. I could handle giving up eggs, I guess. Maybe even butter. But I could never, NEVER give up cheese. I just love it too much. How do you do it?

I just leave it out. I plan recipes without it. It's amazing how many beautiful recipes there are without cheese. Plus, BONUS, you can taste all the other ingredients so much more clearly. 

And there's this fantastic new pesto I just discovered. It's cheese free.

Really, Katie? Really?

Yes. It's loaded with chickpeas. It's so healthy. It's so tasty. It's perfect. 

Hmm.... I'm curious. Tell me more!

It's one of the best pestos I've had, and it's certainly the healthiest. I loaded it onto wheat berries and filled the bowl with green peas. It's hearty. Each bite is loaded with flavor. You should try it. Really. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

On Trader Joe's and Fresh-Baked Bread

I woke up naturally on Sunday at 8 a.m., a delightful surprise, and immediately decided to make the most of being awake by dashing off to Trader Joe's. I'd be there by 8:45 a.m., long before the mid-morning rush. I fantasized about walking through the aisles with ease, investigating every nook and cranny of the store, even making it to the sampling counter to get a bit of coffee to fuel me through.

I don't know what I was thinking.

A few minutes before 9 a.m., Trader Joe's was packed. The line weaved across the front of the store, down one long aisle, across the back of the store, and down another long aisle, despite the fact that more than 20 cash registers were open. That meant that carts blocked all the main walkways in the store. That meant no cornbread samples, fresh out of the oven. No eggs; navigating through carts three deep just wasn't worth it. And no coffee.

The cashier at Trader Joe's was the first person I talked with that day. After incorrectly telling him to put all my heavy canned goods in my tiny cloth bag and my fragile peppers in my huge canvas bag (he politely questioned my decision, suggesting that a different arrangement of goods might make more sense), he told me I was lucky to find the store "this empty" on a Sunday. "Usually you can't get your cart through a single aisle," he said.


Might I add that this Trader Joe's doesn't even carry wine?

No thank you.

I was reminded why I prefer the grazing method of grocery shopping, with a bigger grocery run to my local store on Sundays, lingering visits to farmers' markets, and lots of little stops on my walks home to pick up a fresh baguette or some creamy green olives.

Upon returning home, I whipped up my first loaf of five-minute bread. It took less time to make the bread, set it out to proof and get it in the oven than I waited in line at Trader Joe's.

This bread is pretty fantastic. It's the prettiest bread I've made by far, with a hard, golden brown outer crust, an interior studded with holes, and a taste somewhat reminiscent of sourdough.

I won't be visiting Trader Joe's anytime soon, but this bread is entering my everyday rotation. I've got a new batch in the fridge right now.

Visit Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for more information about this delightful bread and a whole bunch of recipes you can make from your master bread recipes. Here's a link to their master bread recipe. If you're looking for something a bit more substantial, try their European Pesant Bread, which includes whole wheat and rye flours.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Barley Risotto with Ramps, Peas and Cannellini Beans

Life is about enjoying all the little moments.

Like the gorgeous table overflowing with ramps in the Union Square Farmers' Market this weekend. I'm still kicking myself for not taking a picture.

Despite the fact that it was early afternoon, all the ramps were still crisp and fresh. Dirt clung to their green roots, evidence of how recently they'd left the ground.

Their rich, wild onion smell lingered around the table.

The ramps were so fresh, I could hardly wait to get started cooking. I whipped up a healthy, barley risotto that incorporated the ramps, green peas and cannellini beans. The greens from the ramps and the peas add a splash of color to the dish.

I'm a huge fan of barley risottos, both for cost ($1.19 for a big bag of barley at my local grocery store as compared to the price of arborio rice) and the health benefits.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, this dish has a secret ingredient.


Totally unnecessary. Wine is a perfectly fine substitute.

But on the incredibly rare occasion where you find yourself with an extra cup of prosecco, pull this recipe out. Put on your cutest apron. Pour it in. Watch it bubble up.

Then pour a glass for yourself.

It's a totally satisfying splurge only you'll know about. But you'll taste it there, just the faintest hint of it showing its face in the background of each bite.

You'll be filling your meal with all kinds of delightful little moments.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Dark Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies

In just a few short hours, New York City food bloggers are scheduled to descend on the Brooklyn Flea to raise money for No Kid Hungry. The list of food being brought looks incredible.

Mini flourless chocolate cakes.

Coconut lime shortbread.

Smoked bourbon chocolate.

Lemon bars with a lavender shortbread crust.

S'mores brownies.

The list continues on, and I'm delighted to be contributing these dark chocolate chip pistachio cookies. They're overflowing with pistachios and dark chocolate chunks (the quantities of those included almost mirror the quantities of all other ingredients, combined).

Anything with four minutes of butter and sugar mingling has to be delicious, and these cookies are no exception. They've got layers of flavor, and they make the typical chocolate chip cookie far more exciting.

We'll be at the Flea from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., unless we sell out before then! Stop by!