Beer is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, after water and tea. Beer is refreshing in every season, and the crisp ales and seasonal brews of fall are no exception. Even in my local Harlem grocery store, the beer selection is superb this time of year, the shelves lined with dark IPAs, pumpkin ales, and new ciders.
In New York, we’re a grass-is-always-greener type people. When it’s hot and sweaty on the train in the summer, people fantasize about cozy, snowy days. When it’s actually winter, people walk around in 85 layers of polar vortex-proof clothing while they dream of warm days in the park. In fashion even, they’re always showing spring collections in the fall. Seasonally, we’re always looking to what’s next, and unfortunately I’m no exception.
Most mornings when I’m frantically scouring through the fridge and cursing my lack of night-before lunch preparedness, I end up grabbing a single-serve Greek yogurt, throwing a handful of granola in a ziplock, and snagging a ripe banana from the fruit vendor outside my work. As much as I love this little routine, I hate to admit it, but I’m a little fresh fruit and granola’d out. Luckily, this fruit-and-granola routine is a pretty satisfying lunch packed with protein and fiber.
Think hot toddies are reserved for only the coldest of cold days of winter? Think again! Call me antsy, but the the minute it’s the least bit chilly, my go-to cocktail starts heating up. Move over pumpkin spice latte, it’s toddy season! As we say goodbye to the zesty, refreshing cocktails of summer (I’m looking at you, gin and tonic), nothing quite hits the spot like a super lemony hot toddy.
Do you buy olives at your local grocer’s olive bar? I mean, who can resist those piles of glistening Castelvetranos and Kalamatas? As a person who will buy olives over potato chips any day, this area of the grocery is an absolute weakness. But is the olive bar really worth it? I began to wonder — why don’t I just make my own marinated olives? It seems so simple! The olive bar is just too tempting, normally.
Ah, yes. The age-old question that plagues us all: How on earth do I keep my brown sugar from getting all hard and crumbly like some sort of fossilized molasses treat? One would think perhaps I would have figured this out by now, but no — alas, I cannot learn. Store in an airtight container, you say? Put a tiny terra cotta thingy in it? What sort of prepared person do you think I am?
Did you get a little too enthusiastic with the fall spirit? Did this sudden influx of autumnal festivities happen to involve picking, say, 30 pounds of apples? Oops. Never fear, the slow cooker is here to help save you from eating these one by one until you surely overdose from autumn goodness. While we’ve been visiting a lot of delicious main dish slow cooker recipes this, the ole’ Crock-Pot can do wonders for the sweet tooth.
As a former bartender who gets a hankering to shake up fancy adult beverages again from time to time, it really pays to have a mixology-obsessed brother. Not only does he mix up a crazy obscure cocktail every time I’m in town, but he does things like gift homemade triple sec, amaro, and bitters for my birthday. With the holidays right around the corner, I’m inspired to dive into these spirits with a festive punch, one of my favorite ways to stay on budget when throwing a party.
‘Tis the season for smelly kitchen hands, right? It always seems that this time of year I find myself chopping away at clove after clove of garlic, or slaving at the cutting board as I attempt to slice onions “as thin as possible.” The result, aside from teary eyes on the onion end, is that it seems like my hands always smell like garlic, onions, or something even funkier from about November onwards.
Sometimes around the holidays, you’ve just got to give in to the cookie. They’re abundant, beautiful plates of small sweet bites everywhere you go. I can practically taste the powdered sugar now! While I love tradition, I often find myself maxed out on the sugar intake before we’ve even gotten to dinner, let alone dessert. So what about a a small savory bite to accompany cocktails? What about a savory cookie?
Perhaps you’ve heard about the great Cheesepocalypse of 2014? Sadly, it’s true. It’s not just a cleverly crafted marketing stunt. Yes, there is an actual real shortage of America’s favorite processed cheese product, Velveeta. What will we all do? How will Super Bowl snack tables be complete without a gooey vat of queso dip? And more importantly, what is Velveeta in the first place?
Just imagine: You’re out for happy hour drinks with work friends and you realize that you’re going to be home two hours later than you anticipated, and your Crock-Pot is bubbling merrily along on HIGH. Is anyone else home yet? Should you rush home, even though the whole point of the slow cooker is that you shouldn’t have to do that? Nope. Just use your iPhone.
You know that little kitchen project you’ve been meaning to cross off your list for ages? For me, it’s been re-covering a tiny, weird table in my kitchen, and I’ve been meaning to do it for oh, two years. This week, I finally tackled this one and the effect is dramatic. With its burst of springtime color, I’m over the moon for this very simple update.
We recently received a request from a reader working in a temporary rental kitchen, who realized that recipes that had a lot of “parts,” like lasagna, weren’t easily doable in her new, tiny space. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more! It’s really hard to make a multi-step recipe on a little patch of countertop. But it’s not impossible to adapt your cooking methods and become a more efficient, small space pro.
The first time I ate egg salad was surprisingly late in life, when I was 16 or 17. The memory wouldn’t be noteworthy except that it was so exceptionally un-noteworthy. All I recall is that a glob of yellowish gray mush devoid of any flavor, or even salt and pepper, sat in front of me. So this is it, I thought. Years later, I’ve become obsessed with the versatility of salads like this — egg salad, tuna salad and the like. But really, how can something so good be so bad so often?
This week I had planned to write about pizza. Four pies with perfectly chewy crust and gorgeous flavor combinations, created by my brother. The problem? The pizza stone broke, in all of its perfectly seasoned glory. Has this ever happened to anyone? We’re talking split, earthquake style, into two halves!
It’s the end days of summer and even though I’m pretty excited for fall (soups! sweaters! cider!), there’s one thing I will absolutely miss: gorgeous produce. Strolling through the grocery store this week, I had zero idea what to make for dinner. Luckily, the glowing August produce inspired a great meal. This summer I decided to forego my CSA in favor of a little more flexibility in my schedule.
This summer, there’s been a new ingredient trending in my kitchen. While it was once never to be seen, it’s now popping up in every other meal. It’s lean, perfect for weeknight meals, and a versatile base to layer on complex flavors. What is it? Ground turkey, of all things. Growing up in the Midwest, turkey only referred to two things: a big, dry bird we smothered with cranberry sauce once a year and the occasional deli sandwich packed in our cold lunch.
What do you usually cook for dinner on a Monday? If you’d asked me a few weeks ago I’m sure I might have replied, “Oh nothing special. Maybe leftovers from the weekend or an easy pasta.” This week though, I went full out Saturday night dinner on a Monday night — I roasted a chicken. If there’s one universal truth in the world, it’s maybe that Mondays are a drag no matter where you come from. It’s true, as evidenced by my kitchen behavior alone.
‘Tis the season for resolutions of the grandest scale — learn Chinese, join the gym, stop procrastinating. I don’t know about you, but my list is typically pretty ambitious. Unfortunately, resolutions are often a long-lost memory by March. This year, though, I’m aiming to follow through on a few more — especially a few in the kitchen.
Over the past few years, I’ve gradually found myself using an iPad more and more in the kitchen. I love the ease of searching for recipes, and simply prop the iPad up on the counter for easy readability. It can get a little messy at times (say, when I’m in wrist deep in scone batter and suddenly need to scroll) but in general it’s a good system. Now, I’m even happier to use the iPad in the kitchen with the release of The New York Times’ Cooking app.
Ever wonder exactly how that five second rule works? Does it apply to all types of food — five seconds no matter what? Does a Skittle absorb germs as fast as a slice of buttered toast, face down on the floor? Luckily we ran across this entertaining and totally scientific infographic to explain exactly how it all works. Oops, did you think there was an actual scientific explanation to the five second rule? Gotcha!
“How about a nightcap?” We’ve heard these words uttered dozens of times in movies, perhaps most memorably in The Graduate between Ben and Mr. Robinson. But what is a nightcap really, and why doesn’t anyone have one anymore? According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, a nightcap is an alcoholic beverage consumed right before bed. Typically it’s of a higher alcohol content than what might have been enjoyed earlier in the evening, like a bourbon or brandy.
The shopping, the baking, the decorating, the caroling, the traveling — the holidays are never stressful, right? It’s just joy and peace and jolly and festive! Well, just in case the stress does happen to creep in, here’s an idea: make a cup of spiced tea, snag some quiet space in the kitchen and nosh on one of those gorgeous cookies sure to be within reach.
Every family celebrates Christmas differently. Some hold a big Christmas Eve dinner, others do a brunch with family on Christmas Day, and some (enviably) order Chinese food. Historically, my family has fallen in the first camp, with a more intimate dinner as we hang around the tree and open small presents. Last year, however we tried something different: small plates.
What is Branston Pickle you might ask? Only one of the greatest condiments to come out of a jar, that’s what. After acquiring the taste for cheese and Branston pickle sandwiches while studying abroad in college, I’m officially an evangelist for how great this sweet and tangy chutney is on practically everything. There’s nothing quite like Branston Pickle in the mainstream American market.
Love the idea of hosting brunch, but begin to regret it the moment your friends start recalling their hilarious evening while you toil over a pan of bacon grease? Join the club. While I don’t host brunch often, when I do, I frame my entire menu around the fact that I don’t want to spend the whole morning in the kitchen. Sure, that chorizo and leek omelet is fantastic at your local eatery, but are you a short-order cook? No. Skip the omelets and spend time with your friends.
Looking at the big pile of dishes in my sink, you might wonder why there are so many chopsticks in there. Did I recently have a dinner party for eight and serve stir-fry? Nope. I was simply cooking for myself day-to-day, using one of my favorite go-to utensils for anything from stirring the French press to eating pasta. It all started with a warning from my brother not to stir my French press with a metal spoon.
Looking to add a last minute spook to your kitchen for Halloween? Check out these five skull-inspired kitchen gadgets to add a ghoulish flair to your cooking this week. Don’t worry — priced at $30 and under, these spine-chilling frivolities won’t scare your budget. Plus, some are so stylish you’ll want to use them year round! 1. Halloween Skull Spatula, $10 from Williams-Sonoma: This silicone spatula is perfect for whipping up a ghostly confection. 2.
With the changeover from summer to fall, my kitchen also changes from cooking absolutely anything that does not require the stove to everything that requires cooking for hours on the stove. Giant pots overflow with stock, soups, and stews that sizzle and burn on my white metal stovetop. By the weekend when we’re ready to do a bit of cleaning, our poor little four burner rental stove looks like it doesn’t know what hit it.
One of my favorite go-to desserts in the colder months is shortbread. It’s ridiculously simple to make, the kitchen is always stocked with the four necessary ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, salt!), and the end result presents beautifully. However, shortbread need not always be sweet. Savory shortbread is an excellent, less expected pair with hearty fall soups and salads, or even as an elegant appetizer to nosh on over cocktails with friends.
Last week, while out for dinner at a little Italian restaurant in New York’s East Village, our table of eight gazed at the last item on the chalkboard menu with a collective blank stare: “Cencioni Bolognese.” Nobody, myself included, had ever heard of this pasta shape. Described by the server as, “larger than orecchiette, almost like a potato chip,” my curiosity was piqued. The result was surprisingly delicious.
Huddled under the covers, hitting the snooze button on these chilly fall mornings? Tell me about it! With the temperature creeping lower and lower, practically the only thing getting me to rise and shine is the thought of a hearty breakfast of steel-cut oatmeal waiting in the kitchen. In anticipation of busy mornings, I often cook up a batch on Sunday to eat all week. Here’s how I do it.
Admit it: Part of the charm of buying your lunch is eating a fancy sandwich. Sure, you know you could make it at home, but when it comes down to it, time is short and it just seems easier to fork over a small handful of cash at that adorable gourmet deli near work. Homemade mayo is a whole other story (a very delicious story!), but even a store bought jar combined with the right ingredients can do wonders to spice up that sorry excuse for a turkey sandwich thrown together in the morning.