The first time we went to Portland, we hiked, biked, and drank and ate our way around the city and developed a serious crush on the Pacific Northwest. It was July, a perfect time to leave overheated Florida for lush Oregon.
The first place we went was Deschutes Brewery. We ordered beers immediately because a drink with lunch means it's vacation. We often order a vegetarian meal when we go out to eat because those dishes are often more interesting than the meaty ones. This was never more true than the day we ordered the Deschutes beet burger. It was so good, we went back to the brewery for a second time that trip to order it again....
By the time I watched New York Times food writer Melissa Clark put the finishing touches on the prettiest cheesecake I'd ever seen, I knew Double Strawberry Cheesecake had to be part of my weekend plans.
I messaged my friend Leanna and said: "I'm making cheesecake this weekend. Help me eat it."
Turns out she'd just been reading the recipe for the very same video I was watching. I invited myself over to her house to make the strawberry cheesecake together....
We dream about someday running a little B&B. If it did happen, Dutch baby pancakes would be in the rotation. It's the kind of thing I'd always welcome on a weekend morning.
I say this is a weekend breakfast because it tastes like a treat, not because it's a very involved recipe. It's a simple batter with basic ingredients you probably always have around. You can dress it up as you like, with spices in the batter or jam swirled throughout. I found the most important thing here is to preheat the skillet. When I didn't take that step, my pancake did not puff up at all. Sad, like a kid realizing summer break doesn't actually start until next week. You can't imagine the joy when I pulled the next one from the oven: bold, proud and towering high above the skillet. You've got to preheat, people....
06/02/14 Bars & Spirits
Everyone thinks they know where to get the best Bloody Mary. But, while any spot serving brunch usually has a bloody or two on the menu — right next to the mimosas— the surefire way to sip one you like is to mix it at home. � Some people are crazy for horseradish and others just want a vehicle for garnishes. You can let your friends have their drinks the way they want them by setting up a DIY Bloody Mary bar. Put out glasses, a large pitcher of homemade Bloody Mary mix, straws and cubed ice and let your friends decide on their vodka and garnishes. This allows you to prep the ingredients before everyone shows up so you don't have to play bartender all day. � You might want to try making fresh tomato juice but I found it easier and just as tasty to use high-quality tomato juice I bought at the store. Blending fresh tomatoes to make your own juice base will yield a thicker juice than what we're used to buying. I included a Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary, which uses fresh tomatoes and offers a striking option at the bloody bar. This fresh tomato juice will also have a more robust flavor. Feel free to thin out the juice to the texture you like using water or, the obvious choice, more vodka. ...
I remember exactly when Danny and I met: Oct. 1, 2010. We were newspaper interns sharing a breaking news beat and an address, each renting a room in a house with another woman and a cat.
One night, walking on Bayshore Boulevard after dinner, he almost kissed me.
On a trip to Ikea, he almost kissed me.
Until finally, one day, he did. By Thanksgiving, we were together.
By February, I said I love you. By spring, we had keys to our first apartment. And by this time next year, we'll be married....
I flipped through Megan Gordon's Whole Grain Mornings cookbook seeking breakfast inspiration and began with her recipe for the Very Best Oatmeal, of course. Oatmeal is a morning staple in our house and I couldn't resist that title. You know how roasting nuts brings out their flavor? They are greatly enhanced by heat, especially when we're talking hazelnuts or walnuts, which are almost inedible without first being toasted. Gordon figured out the same move works for oatmeal. Toast the oats in melted butter until they get a little color and you can smell the aroma. It's a big improvement to everyday oatmeal. She also has a different method for cooking the oats, a sort-of steam method requiring less stirring, which makes things easier when I'm running around in the morning trying to get ready....
Brunch is my favorite meal these days, and I know I'm not alone.
One of my favorite spots recently said it would be more than an hour before we saw any eggs or pancakes. The Portlandia episode in which a long line evolves into a brunch village complete with an overlord suddenly doesn't seem so outlandish. For our next Sunday out, I reserved a table.
Wait, what? Brunch is supposed to be easy. Lazy. Indulgent. We smooshed two words into one for this thing and yet there's nothing shortened about the meal itself. ...
Tiramisu, one of my first dessert loves, is one recognized by you, me and everyone else in America. The Italian treat of creamy mascarpone cheese and coffee liqueur-soaked ladyfingers comes in all kinds of versions, many delightful and some bastardized and served in places that don't offer anything else Italian on the menu.
I still carry a torch for tiramisu, but there's a new Italian dessert in my life: fregolotta. I wish everyone knew it just as well. This one is a shortbread tart topped with jam and nuts, and it's my go-to dessert. ...
The Saturday Morning Market in St. Petersburg is a trek from our place in the 'burbs of north Hillsborough, but the trip is worth it every time. We hit up the first coffee stand we see and mosey around the rest of the market in search of this morning's pastry.
We head to my favorite tent, the big one for Worden Farm. Their tables are always stacked high with fresh organic produce, but today, we're late. They're out of that deeply green savoy cabbage I can never get my hands on and the line stretches long and loops several times around like a garden snake. I hustle over to the greens and fill my basket with arugula, kale, and Brussels sprouts. I grab a bunch of perky sunflowers and start to slow down near the kohlrabi, propped up like purple roses, when I see the radishes. The French breakfast ones with their elegant, long shape and pink and white tones....
The family of cruciferous vegetables seems to be taking turns with its members, thrusting one or two into the spotlight at a time for its 15 minutes of fame. We've had Brussels sprouts every which way and kale found its way onto all our plates. • Now, cauliflower takes the stage. • Yes, I'm talking about the paler, less popular — though that's less true lately — cousin of broccoli. The variety most commonly found is a creamy white color, but more and more you'll find it in shades of purple, orange and bright green. Romanesco, a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower, is especially striking with its fractal-like clusters and lime green color. ...
The single-girl meal. For me, it had always been eggs or a tuna sandwich.
These days, I turn to a tin of high-quality sardines. When I'm hungry I just peel back the top of the can to find glistening, plump fish. Halfway to dinner. On nights I find myself alone, I make my dinner for one. This is a meal that is to the point and often involves things on toast.
To make sardine toast, I heat up a drizzle of oil in a small frying pan and gently saute a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Toss in sardines to warm and infuse them with the flavor of garlic. Spread on toast. Sprinkle with salt. Dinner for one....
A weekend with my sisters is a jaunt to the basics. Chocolate. Carbs. Sugar.
So when it came to breakfast, I knew I had to sweeten the deal. Lila, the youngest, is the trickier one to appease. She wants a fluffy, tender pancake rather than a crisp-edged waffle. Danny and I love the texture of waffles, so I tried to sway her with chocolate. I didn't mention that it was dark chocolate rather than the milky, more sugary kind she's used to eating....
A sponge cake waits on the kitchen counter. Several candles are lit and the flames flicker in front of kids eager to blow them out. My grandfather starts his song. We shout along.
“Ya queremos pastel. Aunque sea un pedacito, ya queremos pastel."
A dessert lover's rendition of the happy birthday song, "We want cake. Even if it's just a little piece, we want cake now." Everyone from Miami knows this song. Sometimes my abuelito started the song before the cake was even brought to the table. He couldn't wait for a piece. Or two....
The latest issue of Bon Appétit arrived with a timely soup on the cover. Broth-based, somewhat prudent, and very January. Delicious, I bet, but I'm just not ready to switch gears yet. I'm still catching up on all the cozy recipes intended for the holidays. Gratins. Roasts. Comfort foods.
No resolutions here.
Rather than put away these recipes until next year, I want to work my way through the stacks of magazines now. ...
Twelve grapes at midnight. Black-eyed peas. Flutes of Champagne, clinking and bubbling. The spread for New Year's Eve is one we all know. We want drinks that sparkle and food that will bring us luck in the new year. But what about the morning after? We should be thoughtful about the first meal of the new year, too.
Nothing too ambitious. Or sweet. I don't mean that in a resolution-sort-of way but by this point you don't really want another cookie. You want a meal. Something savory. And on Jan. 1? Something that doesn't ask too much of us, please. It's the first day of the year, we watched the ball drop not too many hours earlier, and I think I still have glitter and confetti in my hair....