Easy Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

I especially love lazy Sundays when Alex decides to make lunch… and as luck would have it, today was one of those days! It’s cold and rainy outside so he decided on tomato soup and grilled cheese. He thickened the soup with some ciabatta bread, and smoothed it out with the Cuisinart hand blender that we got as a wedding gift. It was super quick and easy and the only thing that was missing was the fact that we weren’t eating it by a warm, cozy fire.

Easy Tomato Soup

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 slice bread, crusts removed, roughly cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat until shimmering. Add onions, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently until onions are softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, bread, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
  2. With a hand blender (like this Cuisinart one from Crate and Barrel), blend at low speed until the soup is smooth with a few chunks. Add grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
  3. Serve with grilled cheese for dipping. Enjoy!

Tips For Decorating A Homemade Gingerbread House

GB House finalWhat is it about the holidays that makes everyone turn into Martha Stewart? Seriously, I love to cook and bake and feel immensely satisfied whenever I paint pumpkins or arrange flowers for my apartment, but  the fact that I’ve actually considered decorating my cubicle at work with homemade snowflake banners a la Buddy the Elf is a little over the top.

Regardless, it was with Christmastime euphoria that I signed up for a gingerbread house decorating party organized by JBF Greens, the James Beard Foundation’s club for foodies under 40.

I went to the event last night and as I sat down at my work station with heaping bowls of Jujubes, M&Ms and peppermints before me, I felt like I was in sweet-tooth heaven. Elated by the thought of building a gingerbread house myself, I forgot about the fact that I had never actually done it before and got to work. The end result wasn’t perfect, but it was perfectly cheerful.

Head to the jump for a few tips to to help you decorate a gingerbread house on your own.  Continue reading “Tips For Decorating A Homemade Gingerbread House”

Holiday Gifting: The Fashionable Foodie

Gifts for Fashionable Foodies 3

Chef whites may reign in the kitchens of fancy restaurants, but at home fashionable food lovers prefer accessories with flair. This season treat the stylish cooks in your life to colorful treats of the edible and visual varieties.

Start giving:

  1. Maison 24 White Purse Cutting Board, $38. maison24.com
  2. Antico Frantoio Muraglia Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tin, $14. deandeluca.com
  3. At The Meadow Himalayan Pink Salt Cooking Block, $10-$56. atthemeadow.com
  4. Milk Bar Karlie Kloss Perfect 10 Kookies, $22 for a tin of 6. shopmilkbar.com
  5. Missoni Home Kitchen Apron, $97. yoox.com
  6. Sugar Paper Raspberry Recipe Binder, $48. sugarpaper.com
  7. Cath Kidston Daisy Rose Kitchen Scale, $40. cathkidston.com

No Fuss Granola: A Thoughtful Gift for the Holidays

Granola 3 with writingIn the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I wracked my brain to think of a thoughtful food gift to bring my in-laws. We were going to be staying with them in Connecticut for four days and I wanted to bring something extra special to thank them for hosting us. We usually bring wine/cheese/salami/hors d’oeuvres, but this year I wanted to be a bit more creative. Plus, those gifts are always appreciated but never last after Thanksgiving day!

As I fixed myself an easy bowl of cereal before work one morning, a light bulb lit up in my head. The morning of Thanksgiving, we’re always too stressed about the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and pie to focus on breakfast. The morning after Thanksgiving, we’re too tired of cooking to make a big breakfast. So, I decided to prepare some easy breakfast foods for us to enjoy all weekend long. I baked a banana bread (recipe here), and also made some granola.

Granola is insanely easy to make, and there are so many different variations to play around with. My favorite recipe is a simple one that’s enhanced with pure maple syrup. The recipe is below.

No-Fuss Homemade Granola

Makes 6 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup of shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and salt together. Drizzle the maple syrup and oil over the dry mixture, and toss with a wooden spoon, evening out any clumps.
  3. Bake, tossing twice, until golden and crisp, for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and add the cranberries. Toss again and let cool in the pan.
  5. Store for up to 3 weeks in an air tight glass jar such as this one from Container Store. Enjoy!

Granola 1 with writing

 

Broadway Bites: An Outdoor Food Court in Greeley Square

Sign 2

One of the best things about New York is the way the city seems to sprout new gems over night. This week, one of those gems is the Broadway Bites by Urbanspace food market in Greeley Square. My oldest childhood friend, Ashley, emailed me yesterday to tell me about how she had unexpectedly stumbled upon the outdoor food market during lunch. She told me she had just eaten the best pretzel EVER and that there was a ton of other food we had to try, and could I meet her for dinner?? This was an invitation I could not refuse. Continue reading “Broadway Bites: An Outdoor Food Court in Greeley Square”

Crispy Chicken Parmigiana with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Crispy. Oozy. Spicy. Mmmm...
crispy + oozy + spicy = Mmm…

Confession: I’m a sucker for chicken parmigiana. The hearty dish is high on my list of comfort foods, along with ribs, mac ‘n cheese, and apple pie. It just screams “homey” and always makes me feel nice and toasty with each bite. Plus, I love that it’s the type of food that looks better when it’s messy. I’ve been working for a while to perfect my recipe and I think I finally have it down. Now it’s your turn to try it!

Important tips before you get started:
1.) DO NOT substitute regular bread crumbs for panko crumbs. Panko crumbs are the bomb (for lack of a better term) and will literally take your chicken parm from “yummy” to “yowza!” by helping make the cutlets as crispy as possible.
2.) Cooking the chicken in sunflower oil instead of olive oil is Continue reading “Crispy Chicken Parmigiana with Spicy Tomato Sauce”

Perfect Banana Walnut Bread

Baker's Delight: Classic Banana Walnut Bread
Baker’s delight: a classic favorite.

Banana walnut bread was one of the very first foods I ever baked from scratch on my own. It was a weekend during the summer—I think I was about 12—and I  remember wanting to try making the quick bread as a variation to one of my mom’s favorite breakfast treats, banana muffins. I used bananas that weren’t ripe enough though, and the cake came out tasting a little bland. It was also very dry. I was determined to keep trying.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed playing with different recipes Continue reading “Perfect Banana Walnut Bread”

Pretzel Pork & Chive Dumplings at Talde

Must-try dumplings at Talde, Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Must-try dumplings at Talde, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

My husband and I went to Talde last week while on a quest to find the best dumplings in the city. The restaurant’s pretzel pork chive dumplings were named best dumplings in New York by NYMag in 2012, and now we know why. The filling was salty, flavorful, and packed with oniony chives. The wrappers were chewy, crispy, and glistening with Continue reading “Pretzel Pork & Chive Dumplings at Talde”

Bid Farewell to Summer with Cookies from Elenis

Too bad they don’t serve these on the Jitney.

With summer coming to an end, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my next Hamptons beach day will not be until 2014. Alas, I must remind myself that this was an amazing season, filled with sunshine and family time. I’ll even miss those torturously slow trips on the Jitney! Lucky for me, I’ve found the perfect treats to help us bid adieu to the warm weather. Above, Hamptons cookies from Elenis. Pick them up in Chelsea Market, or order them at elenis.com.