Watermelon Rind Pickles

_MG_6464I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making watermelon rind pickles since last summer, when I realized how much watermelon rind goes to waste when you eat the red part. I had also tried them at a great little restaurant in Williamsburg called Rye (get the duck confit), and I’m pretty happy with how well they turned out. _MG_6472

These are what you would call “quick pickles” – you don’t seal the jars, but if you would prefer to use that method I’m sure it would work.  Serve with pulled pork sandwiches, chicken liver mousse, or as part of a cheese plate._MG_6474 Continue reading “Watermelon Rind Pickles”

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Watermelon Rind Pickles

Pea Pesto

_MG_6162This is one of my go-to spring recipes, especially for entertaining. The pea and basil together are super refreshing (you can also use mint), and since everything gets thrown in the food processor, it only takes minutes to prepare. My favorite way to eat is with toasted bread, but since I spent hours (literally) rolling out these flat breads one Saturday, I thought they would make a nice accent. (The flat bread is SO good, but very time-consuming due to all of the hand-rolling, and if you are going to make these, you should definitely not go to P90X that morning or you won’t be able to lift your arms.)_MG_6172

 

_MG_6167I also served with this amazing whipped feta (all credit goes to my friend Arie for introducing me to this recipe). Seriously, the next time you have people over (or not, if you want it all to yourself), you must make this. It’s like whipped gold.

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Pea Pesto

Iceberg Wedge Salad

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_MG_5675Most of the time, my preferred salads are either of the crunchy Asian variety, or some type of arugula-blue cheese-pear mash-up. But every now and then, all I really want is crisp iceberg lettuce, creamy blue cheese dressing, crispy bacon, and of course, avocado – yes, it might be old-fashioned, but sometimes you just can’t beat a good iceberg wedge salad. I made these to go along with the wings while we were watching the Super Bowl, and I must say, it was pretty perfect. If you’re anywhere on the East Coast, you’re probably snowed in, or at least had a pretty bad commute this morning – and I think that this salad is the perfect antidote, hearty but crunchy, doused in a rich dressing and filled with salty delicious bits — just how it should be for a snow day. _MG_5674

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Iceberg Wedge Salad

Mushroom-Gruyère Tart

Happy 2014! Knowing me, I’ll continue to write 2013 for the next six months, then just as I’m getting used to the new date it will already be December.

_MG_5507My apologies for the silence over the holidays  – I was in Minnesota for about 10 days (which felt so long! In the best way) and Ari came along to experience a real Minnesota Christmas (though he missed out on the lefse-making – photos coming soon). Being home is always wonderful, but this time was particularly lovely because in addition to all of the flurry of holiday parties, I was there for long enough to really relax and hang out with my family and friends. And of course, enjoy lots of good food. What did you do for the holidays?_MG_5509

I made this tart a few weeks ago to bring to my book club holiday party (yes, I’m in a book club. It’s the best), and I think that it makes a great appetizer or main course served with salad. You could of course make the puff pastry by hand (or use a more traditional pastry crust), but I was in a bit of a rush, and honestly, the store-bought stuff works very well in a pinch. You might notice our little Christmas tree in the background – it’s the first one I’ve ever had in my own apartment and I love it so much more than I thought I would. It may or may not still be sitting in the corner._MG_5515

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Mushroom-Gruyère Tart

Maple-Balsamic Fig Crostini

_MG_4836This is one of my top-five appetizers. It was inspired by a lovely special at one of the best (and most underrated) restaurants in Minnesota, the New Scenic Café. A bright yet unassuming exterior with views of Lake Superior just across North Shore Drive hides wonderfully simple, local fare. Unfortunately, I don’t get to make it there as often as I would like, but a version of this crostini was served as a special appetizer one of the last times I was there. Once I got home, I had to re-create it — I love the contrast between the sweet balsamic-glazed figs and the salty gorgonzola cheese. You could also serve this as dinner with a salad (which I have definitely done)._MG_4813

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I’m actually in Minnesota this week (hooray for vacation!), and won’t be making it up to Duluth, but I can’t wait to check out some favorite restaurants, like The Bachelor Farmer (I wrote about it last summer here), Anchor Fish & Chips (best fish and chips I have EVER had), and hopefully a few more. But mostly, it’s so lovely to hang out with my family, see some friends, and relax. Are you taking any trips this summer?_MG_4845

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Maple-Balsamic Fig Crostini

Pear, Blue Cheese, and Caramelized Onion Focaccia

I actually made this focaccia for a dinner party several weeks ago, but of course am just getting around to posting it now. It makes a great fall appetizer, and I love the contrast between the salty blue cheese and the sweetness of the caramelized onions and pears. If you are feeling indulgent, it would make a lovely first course for Thanksgiving dinner. I chose not to core the pears because I like the rustic look of it, but you can of course core them and then slice them.  This would also be great toasted with a  little prosciutto the next day.

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Pear, Blue Cheese, and Caramelized Onion Focaccia

Ricotta and Roasted Cherry Tomato Crostini

You know, I was finally ready to accept the fact that summer was over. Ready to embrace apples, crisp fall nights, colored leaves. And then of course, New York goes and throws a slew of 80 degree days at us, and I’m back to wearing shorts and eating the last of the summer tomatoes before months of squash and root vegetables. Not that I don’t love squash — I’m just not quite ready to let go just yet. I made these crostini a few days ago as a quick lunch, and I love how the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes is balanced by just a dash of fleur de sel and the creamy ricotta. In fact, the cherry tomatoes I got from the farmer’s market were so sweet, I could have omitted the salt and drizzled a little bit of honey over them for another take on this easy appetizer.

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Ricotta and Roasted Cherry Tomato Crostini