Chris and I have been spendingmore weekends exploring the Hudson Valley over the last year. Highway 9 shoots up through Manhattan and winds along the river until slowly everything loud and crowded blurs and disappears behind us and all we see is lush green mountains. A few weeks ago we climbed Mt. Beacon in our best city slicker hiking gear (aka $10 shoes from Rainbow and skinny jeans) and took in the miles long views from the top. Last weekend we spent drove up to New Paltz and explored Lake Minnewaska. The city has its benefits but I’m sure wouldn’t mind trading it in to see this every day…
My mom used to make a similar pie growing up, but with walnuts in the crust. You could also do a filling with peaches or other berries if you’d like.
– 3 large Egg Whites
– 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
– 3/4 cup Sugar
– 3/4 cup unsalted Pistachios, toasted and chopped small
– Canola Oil
– 2 tsp Vanilla
– 2 cups fresh Strawberries, chopped
– 1 1/2 cup Whipping Cream
I left out the sugar for the whipped cream since the meringue is already so sweet.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use a small amount of oil to lightly coat the inside of a pie pan. In a bowl, use a handmixer with a whisk attachment to whip together the eggs, vanilla and cream of tartar until frothy. Slowly stream in sugar as you continue to beat on a high speed. The meringue is ready when it’s glossy and forms stiff peaks. Add in 1/2 cup of the pistachios and gently fold them into the meringue. Spread the meringue into the pan. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely, about one hour.
For the strawberries and cream, whip the whipping cream and vanilla in a bowl until stick peaks form. Fold in strawberries. Spread over the cooled meringue crust.
It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. I love Fall and everything, but considering that I only made it to the beach here ONCE, it seems a little too soon for it to be over. The good news is that the 2nd annual Gala Gala Hey! is coming up next month at The Drink.
Details coming soon!
As always, you should like you should like The Bored Vegetarian!
– 3 Cucumbers 1/2 cup Parsley, chopped
– 1/3 cup Mint, chopped3 Scallions, chopped
– 1 pint Buttermilk
– 6 oz strained Greek Yogurt
– Juice from 1 Lemon
– Salt & Pepper to taste
– 2-3 oz crumbled Feta Cheese (optional)
Peel cucumbers. Slice in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for about 30 minutes (this helps remove some of their water). Coarsely chop. In a food processor or blender, combine cucumber, mint, parsley, scallions, buttermilk and yogurt. Blend until smooth, season with salt and pepper (I used a food processor, so there was still some texture to the soup, but you can always strain through a sieve if you’d like). Chill in the fridge until… chilled. Serve garnished with about an ounce of feta crumbled on top.
I just returned from Chicago on Monday (pictures to come) and am entering the final month of the busy event season. I have 6 more events that I’m planning/managing before the end of June (3 Bat Mitzvah celebrations, 3 weddings!), so the long weekend was a nice refresh before a lot of intense focus.
I’ve said this before, but the adventures I take are almost necessary in inspiring me when I feel like I’m in a cooking slump. New York is an incredible city for food, but sometimes it takes being out of your routine to realize that there are still worlds of ingredients to experiment with. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice on where to eat in Chicago! I didn’t make it to all of them, but I had some incredible food during my trip. The best meal I had came from a restaurant I went to a few years back during my first trip there. Anyone else as in love with Lula Cafe as I am? We had a six course vegetarian tasting menu that was amazing… creative, beautiful and delicious! We managed to snag seats at the chef’s counter, so we got a nice view into the kitchen where all the magic happens. If you haven’t been there, I can’t recommend it enough!
What do you make when nothing is making you feel good? I spent the majority of today laid up in bed and had to cancel my conference calls in hopes of feeling better. Now I’ll be spending the rest of tonight catching up on work and hoping the waves of nausea pass. Sounds like prime time to talk about food! I bought a couple of mangoes the other day and figured I’d better put them to good use before they got overripe. This is a similar flavor to my mango salsa recipe, but is more fitting as a summer salad. Less juicy, more filling.
Mango & Chickpea Salad1 can of chickpeas, drained1 mango, chopped1 cup grape tomatoes, cut into halves1/2 red pepper, chopped1/2 cup green onion, chopped1 clove garlic, choppedCilantro (handful) chopped1 lime (just the juicesalt & pepper to tasteCombine all ingredients in a bowl, mix and season to taste.
Tofu is hard to get right. I still can’t, no matter the firmness, marinade or cooking method. I keep getting back on that bicycle, and hope to conquer this beast one of these days.
Sweet Soy-Sesame marinated Tofu
Firm tofu, sliced thickSoy sauceBrown sugarSesame oilGarlic powderSriracha hot sauceBlack sesame seeds (garnish)As I mentioned, I haven’t made a great tofu recipe, but this one worked. I mixed the various ingredients and marinated the tofu before cooking it in a hot pan. Topped with black sesame seeds. The combination of soy and sesame work well, but a grill would be nice. Have I mentioned my birthday is coming up?
In other news, I got my passport in the mail today, so Montreal is on! Also, my new Rebel Xsi SLR will be arriving tomorrow to fufill all of my food photography dreams. I signed up for a photography workshop class at NYU this fall, so an SLR was a needed investment. Needless to say, I’m insanely excited to get it into my hands and see what sort of magic it can work. Hopefully no more having to take food photos on the dirty backsteps! Oh luxury.
And we’re back! On the East Coast that is. Between work, the flight to Atlanta, pool lounging, seeing Tiffany and Clarence get hitched, attending a fish fry (I resisted a taste test,) and eating a vegetarian soul food brunch at Soul Vegetarian, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and rehash a meal I made way back in Washington.
I hadn’t cooked for my mom before, so I was definitely a bit intimidated. My dear mother used to spend days digging through old Bon Apetit magazines for the right cookie recipe and routinely throws epic parties at her house for friends and family. She has always had a flair for food and entertaining, and is one of the reasons I love it too. Luckily, I had a few ideas of how to win her over. 1. Blueberries – I often tell friends about how mom would drag along my brother and I to the blueberry field in town to help her pick pounds of berries to freeze for future use. At the time I felt enslaved (don’t get me started on having to pick blackberries from the sticker bushes on our street,) but perhaps those hours in the hot sun had a positive effect on me! I nearly fainted when I saw a recipe for Blueberry Avocado Salsa and I knew she’d feel the same.
Blueberry Avocado Salsa (via Manifest Vegan)
1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, quartered2 cups fresh blueberries2 tbsp lime juice + extra for drizzling onto avocados1/4 cup green onions, chopped1/2 cup fresh cilantro1 tsp sea salt1 tbsp chopped jalepeno pepper1 ripe avocado, cut into small chunks (I recommend two)1/2 cup chopped red onion (I wished the salsa had a bit more bite to it, so I would add this in for next time)
Pulse all ingredients (except for avocado) a few times in a food processor. Cut up your avocado and drizzle with lime juice. Stir in chopped avocado with the rest of your salsa ingredients. Add a touch more salt if desired. Serve immediately. (no joke with the serve immediately part. It was beautiful the day I made it, but lost some of its glorious color by the next day.)
2. Brie – My family loves cheese. My brother and I would
often always snack on slices of Tillamoock when we got home from school. We were not a fruit snacks family, we were a cheese family. Our tastes have since evolved (though I still find Tillamoock at both my brother and mom’s houses whenever I am in town) and now I always find a round of brie when I visit. This time I used it in a grilled flatbread sandwich.
Brie & Apple Flatbread Sandwich for one sandwich
1 piece of flatbread (you could make this with a variety of breads, but this is what was in the cupbaord at the time)4 slices of good brie1/4 of an apple, sliced thin (green apple is best for its tartness)1/2 red onion, chopped1/4 cup chopped walnuts2 tbls olive oilsalt & pepper to tasteOther things that might be good that I didn’t have:Handful of arugula (for its pepper flavor)Whole grain mustard Honey (for a bit of sweetness)Candy the walnuts with a bit of brown sugarHeat oven to 350 degrees and toast walnuts in a pan until brown. In a small sauce pan saute red onion, olive oil and salt over medium heat until onions caramelize, stirring frequently. Layer brie and apple one half of the bread and pile with onion and walnuts (you can add in optional ingredients at this time.) Fold in half.Heat up pan on medium heat (or panini maker if you’re fancy) and toast each side of the sandwich until cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately.
While I love the taste of apple and brie together, next time I make this sandwich, I will likely tweak a few things (namely the items listed under “other.) I love creating combinations as I go, but sometimes they require some adjustments. If you make this and have new ideas, please share! I’m looking forward to this week of downtime before things take off again. Montreal is in the air until my passport arrives, but Philly is on for next weekend and I’ll be going up to Boston for work at the end of the month. Perhaps it’s time to start looking at some fall recipes.
I’m convinced that my friend Melissa spends as much time staring wide-eyed at recipes online as I do. She sends me ideas several times a week – either things she has made, wants to make, or places where she wants to eat. The latest was this Baked Polenta recipe that she found on Epicurious. What’s great about a basic polenta is that you can go as wild as you want with the accompaning ingredients. Melissa and Sean made theirs with sauteed spinach, garlic and chicken sausage on top. I took an even more simplistic approach… a cheesy baked polenta with a fresh heirloom tomato salad on top. This could easily be served hot or cold, and would be a great idea for a weekend brunch.
Baked Polenta 1/2 cup vegetable broth1/2 cup milk1/2 onion, chopped1 clove of garlic, chopped1/2 cup yellow grain polenta1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for toppingsalt & pepper to tastePreheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring milk and vegetable broth to a boil in a sauce pan. Add in garlic and garlic and stir. Pour polenta in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Turn heat down on stove. Add salt and pepper and stir until mixture is a incorporated. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.Spray a ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Pour polenta evenly into dish and put into oven, cooking until the top is golden brown.Remove from oven, top with remaining cheese, and put back in oven until the cheese melts.
Heirloom Tomato Salad1 cup heirloom tomatoes, choppedchopped cilantrojuice of 1/2 of lemonsalt & pepper to tastedrizzle of white truffle oil (I finally ran out of this! I’ve made too much truffled popcorn over the last couple of weeks. Whoops!)
Toss ingredients together and pile on baked polenta.
You know, one of these days my landlord is going to discover me taking food pics on my dirty stairs leading up to the yard I don’t get to use. I look forward to that day.