NYC

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Heyo everybody – some changes in the works for a bit. I’ve been a bit radio silent lately and I hope that changes because I miss blogging. I really do. So I went to NYC recently. It was my first trip there and honestly, it was a lot different than I thought it would be. Being a smalltown Midwestern girl, my ideas about NYC were largely formed by movies like Ghostbusters, Ghost, Trading Places, etc. I thought it would be dirty and crowded and scary and gross and that I wouldn’t like it. Isn’t it great to be wrong sometimes? Admittedly I’m sure I could find places in the city where it would be all of those things but everywhere I went was pretty great. Also, I found the people to be just as nice as anywhere else, which was refreshing.

IMG_3001First New York bagel – it didn’t occur to me to take a photo before I ate part of it so it’s not the best pic, but trust me when I tell you that it was an amazing bagel. A-MAZING. Toasted whole wheat with bacon-scallion cream cheese is the way to go when you visit Bagel Pub in Park Slope. And you should. Because they have great bagels. And chai lattes…

IMG_3087Due to the previously mentioned stomach bug plus some other stuff I haven’t really had much of an appetite lately but there was no way I was going to let that stop me for this trip. We basically ate our way through Brooklyn and it was really, really fun. There was a music & food festival in Prospect Park called the Great Googa Mooga Fest and even though it was a little chilly, we really had a blast. I’ll try to limit myself but the food was so delicious and fun that you’ll have to cut me a little slack.

IMG_3041First booth in the place was Milk and I just couldn’t pass up a real Compost cookie. I have their cookbook and have made a few things but I find it a bit daunting so I was super excited to see these guys there. We also ate a Blueberries & Cream cookie later in the night that was stellar, but I love the crispy, crunchy, chewy, sweet/salty thing that the Compost cookies bring to the table. Yum. The Milk booth was right next to the Baked booth so obviously I bought a Brookster brownie as well. First course of the evening = cookies and brownies. That’s normal right?

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Moving onto a little something I like to call the best sandwich in the world…

IMG_3043I’m ashamed to say I don’t even remember which booth we bought this from, but I know it was right next to the duck sausage corn dog booth which we scarfed down too quickly for me to properly photograph. By the time I remembered, it was nothing more than a nub and that’s just not something you need a pic of. The lobster roll was the most expensive thing we ate ($16) but it was soooooooo worth it.

IMG_3053Look how happy we are post-lobster roll! There is actual photographic evidence that great sandwiches make the world a better place. After this it got too dark to take proper pics but the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs put on a good show and I ate some real Beecher’s Mac & Cheese, so all in all it was a great evening. More on NYC in the next post because yeah, I ate a lot of things worth remembering.

Baking with Julia – Strawberry Bourbon Upside-Down Cake

IMG_0272Again, just like yesterday – so late. Supposed to have this baked and blogged by Tuesday but whatever. It is what it is. I made this last night and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Not only is this late, but it’s actually supposed to be several small little cakes and they’re supposed to be made with rhubarb, not strawberries. Obviously I took a slight detour. I’m all about working with what I’ve got these days.

We had a long winter here in WI and unfortunately rhubarb is not readily available yet. When I went to the grocery store I used my points (does anyone actually believe this saves $$? Obviously things are more expensive all the time to make up for these random freebies right?) to get some free strawberries and thought they might make an apt substitute. I’ll take any excuse to use my cast iron skillet so that’s what happened.

IMG_0254Sliced strawberries nestled in bourbon-laced caramel? Yes, please! The butter cake came together with no issues although I did have to substitute Greek yogurt in for the creme fraiche since I didn’t have that or sour cream. But really, there’s not a whole lot to say about this little cake. You can really use any fruit you have on hand (clearly) and as long as you don’t burn it or really mess up on turning it out onto a cake plate, you’re golden man.

IMG_0275Topped with a little homemade whipped cream and fresh mint from the garden, this simple cake is dessert perfection. The simplicity was especially nice for me since I’m coming off a weird stomach bug and haven’t eaten much of anything in the last week. Somehow I did manage to eat a small piece last night and another one for breakfast today. When you’re sick you can do things like eat cake for breakfast. It’s a thing. If you want to try your hand at this one, visit Erin’s blog for the recipe.

A final note: bourbon helps cure what ails you.

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French Fridays with Dorie – Creamy Mushroom & Egg Burrito

IMG_0265So not only is this almost a week late, I made it into a burrito. How’s that for tardiness and thinking outside the box? I came home from work today and just felt like catching up. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any bread or any way to get to the store and though I’ve waxed poetic about how much I love baking bread, neither Candy the mixer nor I were up for it tonight. So what could I use for a replacement?? The only bread-like substance in the house was a bag of tortillas in the fridge and voila! this weird little burrito was born.

IMG_0259Up until just a few months ago, this picture would never have been taken in my kitchen. I have never been a huge mushroom person. I could take them in small doses and cut up very tiny but big ol’ hunks of baby bellas like these? Nah uh. Not gonna happen. But then, someone made me this Creamy Basil Chicken with Mushrooms and I discovered that when covered in butter and cream, these suckers can be pretty damn good. Granted, if you cover almost anything in butter and cream the flavor will improve, no? So anywho, I was all on board for this mushroom dish especially because I have never poached an egg before and I was really excited to try it. I think I even did it right! Dorie’s instructions seemed a lot simpler than this:

Who doesn’t love Chris Messina by the way? Is everyone watching The Mindy Project? It’s probably my favorite new show of the year. I love it and I love him. Paging Dr. Danny Castellano, heart palpitations up in here!  And if you’re looking to just dip your toe in the pool Danny Castellano is My Gynecologist is probably the funniest episode so far in my humble opinion. But anyway, back to  food – so the mushrooms got sauteed in some butter and olive oil with a shallot & a little salt & pepper and then doused in a smidge of cream. I’m finally able to use herbs from my little herb garden (thanks Mother Nature!) so I threw in chives and mint to give this a little pop of flavor. I used a heated tortilla for the base and built myself a fancy little French burrito. And was it tasty you ask? Oui, oui!

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