Boulud Sud

About a week ago, I went to one of the best restaurants I have ever been to. If it takes second place, it is only to Locanda la Pieve in Semproniano, Italy, where we delighted in a 4 course meal. But that’s Italy. It’s a whole different category. Before I get too sidetracked with tales of raspberry semifredo (did I mention the stuffed zucchini blossoms?), I need to refocus.

This place was Boulud Sud, Daniel Boulud’s restaurant near Lincoln Center, specializing in innovative Mediterranean cuisine.

To start, they handed us a basket of garlic and cheese bread with a small dish of olive oil, pepper and a slice of garlic. The bread was deliciously tender and soft, melting in your mouth, with a delightfully crispy crust that was made by the flavorful cheese.

For a drink, I ordered a Shirley Temple that had just the perfect amount of cherry syrup and just the right about of soda to make a sweet but refreshing drink.

The first appetizer we ordered were fried artichokes, that came with a Nipatella Aioli. Nipatella is a flavorful herb from Europe and complimented the artichokes perfectly. The artichokes were hot and crispy, wonderfully juicy and tender on the inside and crisp on the outside. Next, my sister and I split the tuna tartare. Taking a bite was like eating silk. It was such good quality fish that it melted on your tongue, the freshness almost overwhelming. It was served atop a green sauce with herbs and a crispy slice of bread with smooth, flavorful olive tapenade.


Artichoke with nipatella aioli


Tuna tartare

There was a lentil soup with lamb sausage that had a creamy broth and tender lentils, served with a cheese cracker that was perfect for dipping. We had a delicious dish of succulent roasted mushrooms and potatoes. It was topped off by a poached egg, the golden inside leaking out over the vegetables appealingly.


There were long homemade potato chips sprinkled with za’atar and served with a creamy caviar dip. Those were an example of elevated classic fare that is served at Boulud Sud.

For my main dish, I ordered steak. The steak was perfectly cooked, tender and pink but not raw, with a crisp sear on the outside. The meat was simple– sprinkled with salt and pepper to allow the other flavors on the plate shine through– an excellent choice. The steak rested atop a light balsamic sauce. This was outlined by a thin line of porcini puree, the distinct mushroom flavor worked well with the meaty steak. There was a little roasted mushroom and onion on the edge resting in puree… the mushroom was a tad cold. However, this was made up for by the sweet potato dish in the middle. There were paper-thin layers of sweet potato layered like phillo dough with a sprinkling of cheese, crisped and it tasted heavenly. Next to it was a roulade of raddichio, seperatable with a knife and crunchy and flavorful.

My dad ordered a whole grilled fish with lemon and herbs that was shiny inside. It was served atop rice that was long and light with pistachio.


My sister got a delicious roasted salmon filet, rare and pink. It was served with a beautiful surrounding of baby beets and microgreens. A waiter then poured a sweet blood orange sauce around the fish– it was perhaps the most beautiful dish of the night.


We had a ravioli, the dough light and thin, stuffed with creamed white truffle. It sounds too rich, but it was surprisingly light and flavorful, perfectly complemented by a light sage sauce.

Dessert, however, is where the restaurant is most famous and where I experienced possibly the best dessert I ever had.

We first had a caramel lava cake, with melting caramel inside the moist cake, topped with chopped walnuts, thin apple carpaccio and a light whipped cream, surrounded by salted caramel.


Now, though, I will move on to the best thing of the night, a mind blowing dessert that rocked my world. It is not rich, nor chocolatey, nor fattening. Its base is grapefruit, but you will see soon how very special it is.

A bowl is brought to you. The bowl is filled with ice chips and preserved rose petals, creating a flowery aroma. In the bowl is a hollowed out frozen grapefruit, with no fruit inside remaining. Inside this grapefruit “bowl” is an incredibly refreshing and smooth grapefruit sorbet. There is also pieces of fresh grapefruit, and a crunch made of halvah, the Israeli sesame candy. Then, there are light cubes of rose flavored Turkish Delight, flowery and light gelatin candies that taste fairy like and heavenly.

Then, there is a crunchy brulee shell, closing off the delicacies. Atop this sugar top is a fluffy, cotton-candy like spun halvah concoction. The sorbet is smooth and refreshing, and the grapefruit is fresh and chilled.

The rose candies are surprisingly delicious, melting in your mouth with sweet floral taste. The surprising combination of sesame and grapefruit works perfectly, the nuttiness rounding out the sour taste of grapefruit.

It is an unexpected, incredible dessert that you could eat a million times over.

I highly recommend Boulud Sud for its perfect food, impeccable service and beautiful modern atmosphere.

Boulud Sud


Address: 20 W 64th St.

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Service: Excellent and formal


Atmosphere: gorgeous, modern dining room with moderate noise and an open kitchen.

Recommended: Tuna tartare, fried artichokes, mushrooms and onions with poached egg, lentil soup, grilled or salt baked whole fish, steak, salmon with blood orange, white truffle ravioli, caramel molton lava cake, grapefruit givre.

Reservations Necessary


Oreo Cake


I have a massive problem with cakes in that unless I try super super super hard, they typically are dry.

Yeah, it’s a problem.

So, every year when I am tasked with making a cake for my little cousin’s birthday, I want to make it really good. Typically, I lean towards naturally moist cakes like banana.

But this year, I was brave! My cousin’s third birthday was on the 12th (yes, he has the same birthday as Lincoln). He is obsessed with Oreo ice cream… so why not make an Oreo cake?

This cake is one of the easiest things I’ve made.


The batter takes 10 minutes, bakes for 20 minutes and then you decorate for what, 10 minutes?


So I am telling you now that if the weather where you are is like mine (as in -17º), you should get your butt to the kitchen and make this cake.

close up

PS I decided to give PHHHOTO a try, so you’ll see some of those:cake



Oreo Cake

Serves about 10

adapted from SeriousEats


for the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (good quality, if possible)
  • 1 cup + 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup + 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup + 4 tbsp sour cream
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla

for the cream: (if you want a bunch of extra and a generous amount on the cake, double it, as I did)

  • 50 Oreos
  • 4 1/2 cups cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Make cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°. Line bottoms of 2 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly coat the inside with non-stick pan spray.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into large bowl; set aside. Don’t worry if it is not totally combined.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until smooth. Pour batter into the pans and bake until cakes are just firm and toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan to completely cool on wire rack, about 1 hour.
  6. While cake bakes, carefully cut 6 Oreo cookies in half (I find a heavy and large knife with no serrated edge to be best); set aside.
  7. Chop remaining cookies into 1/4-inch pieces; set aside.
  8. To Assemble Cake: make the Oreo whipped cream in 2 batches. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whip attachment, whip 2 cups cream (or 4 if you doubled) on medium-high speed to soft peak, spoon into large bowl and refrigerate. In same mixer bowl, whip remaining 2 1/2 (other 4 if doubling) cups cream, sugar, and vanilla to soft peak. Fold into already whipped cream.
  9. Place about 1 cup whipped cream in bowl and refrigerate until ready to decorate cake. Fold chopped Oreos into remaining whipped cream. Place bottom layer on serving plate. Spread about 1/3 of Oreo whipped cream onto cake. Top with second cake layer and use remaining Oreo whipped cream to frost top and sides of cake. Chill in refrigerator for about 2 hours to allow cookies to soften.

    Place reserved whipped cream in pastry bag fitted with star tip (re-whisk if necessary). Pipe 12 whipped cream rosettes around perimeter of cake and garnish with reserved Oreo cookie halves. Serve. Enjoy!

    Hope you enjoyed!

    We have some warm drinks coming up (shout out to Mr. McCollum)!

    Keep Cooking 😉


Nutella Pecan Pie

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I feel like pies are kind of forgotten about between Thanksgiving and Memorial Day.

After Thanksgiving, the “real” pie holiday, people just assume that everyone is sick of pies (I’m not sick of pies) and so they are lost in the holiday season, which I think is very unjust.

Very, very unjust. As you may know, I am a fan of fruit pies, but what fruit does winter bring? Citrus brought in from far away. And I don’t know about you, but citrus custard pies don’t seem very wintry cozy.

So nut and other pies are the best we can do. And pecan pie happens to be one of my favorites. The best kind of pecan pie has a super crackly crust and a smooth and creamy filling. It has notes of maple and spice warms your throat.

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At least, that’s what MY perfect pie tastes like.

Besides that, Nutella is a food I will never, ever be tired of eating. No matter if it is in crepes, waffles or anything else. I once had an incredible slice of Nutella pecan pie at my favorite bakery.

How I did it was that I baked the crust, then spread it with Nutella and rebaked it with the filling.

I highly recommend this.

Nutella Pecan Pie

makes one pie


for the crust:

  • 1 1/8 cups (about 5oz) flour, plus more for work space
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 8 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • About 3 tbsp ice water

for the filling:

  • 2 cups shelled pecans
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Nutella


  1. FOR THE CRUST: Preheat oven to 425ºF. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse a couple times to combine. And butter and turn on machine, process until blended and looking like cornmeal, about 10 seconds or so.
  2. Place mixture in a bowl and drizzle the ice water over it. Use a rubber spatula to mix together slowly into a ball. If it seems dry, add a bit more water. Make the mixture into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten to a disk, and freeze for 10 minutes (or place in fridge for 30 min).
  3. Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on a smooth surface, being sure to spread evenly. Roll out the dough to about 1/2-inch thickness. Lay over a pie pan and trim with kitchen scissors. Flute the crust if you like. Add a layer of aluminum foil and place pie weights or dry beans in the foil.
  4. Bake the crust for 12 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 and bake for 10-15 more minutes until golden. Remove and cool. Remove foil and spread a thick layer of Nutella in crust.
  5. MAKE THE FILLING:  Roast pecans in oven with pie crust for about 5 minutes. Chop half of them, leave the rest intact.
  6. Beat the eggs well until foamy. Beat in the sugars, salt and butter. Warm the mixture in a saucepan while the crust is baking over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Do this until it is hot to the touch. DO NOT BOIL. Stir in vanilla and pecans.
  7. Place parbaked pie on baking sheet. Pour in the filling into the hot crust and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until it is moist, but top is crispy.
  8. Slice and serve warm.

Please enjoy. As always,

Keep cooking 😉



I Feel Like Cooking: PBB Breakfast Panini


Do you ever have those moments where you just feel like cooking? Sometimes you just randomly want to cook… you want to get creative, you want to dress up a snack or most likely, you’re hungry for something good. And though cooking is fun, ingredients are expensive, equipment is scarce and time is, well, not always on our sides. So really, when you just want to cook, there aren’t many options.

Fortunately, I feel the same way, and due to my aggressive obsessive procrastinating focused personality, I am starting a new line of posts on this very blog: I FEEL LIKE COOKING. Like I said, I’m very to-the-point.

This recipe uses ingredients you most likely (or should) have at home, and takes not-very-long. If you have a panini press, by all means, use it, but pressing it down in a pan or just toasting it in a toaster oven will work as well. (There are many reasons to buy a panini maker, but don’t buy one just for this recipe.)

I figured that, since we are short on time if you REALLY need this post, I would make the intro short. And so here are the reasons to make this ‘wich:

  1. It takes about maximum 7 minutes (not counting panini-press heat up time)
  2. You probably have the ingredients (bananas? cinnamon? bread? butter?)
  3. The bananas get caramelized by the butter and cinnamon and it’s like OH MY GOSH.
  4. What could go wrong with bananas, cinnamon and butter? (except if it involves a blender– NO SMOOTHIES)

Banana PB and Cinnamon Breakfast Panini

Serves 1


  • 1 english muffin, halved lengthwise (preferred), or two small slices bread
  • Peanut Butter
  • 1 banana, sliced.
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter


  1. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a small bowl in the microwave.
  2. Spread a bit of butter (not the bit you just melted) on one slice of bread, then sprinkle with a touch of cinnamon. Put a few banana slices on top, then sprinkle with more cinnamon. Spread butter on the other side.
  3. Brush a panini press or pan with the melted butter, then brush the top of the bread. Press with the panini press, or using another pan. You could also just toast the sandwich (in this case, omit the butter on the pan, keep the butter on top.)
  4. Cut in half and enjoy.

Hope you enjoyed this delicious post. AND AS ALWAYS,

-Keep cooking 😉

A Modern Local Farm: Fairview Farm at Mecox

When our Stone Age ancestors graced the land at the beginning of time, hunting and gathering was their main way of getting food. The nomadic tribes would travel around by season, looking for food. But in the end, this got tiring. In winter, food was scarce and often, tribes would battle for food. Things weren’t looking good. Until one unknown woman made a revolutionary discovery. Farming. That, if you plant the seed of a crop, new ones will grow. And it was a heck of a discovery. Fast forward a few million years, and farming is still our main way of getting food. Whether it’s farming sprawling aces of industrial corn, growing organic lettuce for Whole Foods, or whether it’s growing fresh and wholesome food from a family farm, farming gives us what we need. Milk. Eggs. Cheese. Meat. Fruit. Vegetables. Wheat. Beans. Corn. What we want (because it tastes good) and need for survival. And not to mention, fresh food makes GOOD meals, and a better cooking experience.


So, you’re probably wondering where I am going with this. Ever since I was a little baby (maybe 1 or 2?) there is a place I have been going to that has always made me happy. It’s called Fairview Farm. Fairview Farm, located in Bridgehampton, NY, where my family often heads for in summer, is a family farm. It is a community down there. Run by a family, Harry, Barbara, Nathan and Meredith, Fairview Farm is as close as you can get to the small farms of the past that supplied everyone with everything. In the summer, fresh veggies and fruits and baked goods make everyone happy, and their fall festivities are always fun. So here, dive into some memories, reviews and stories from Fairview Farm at Mecox. I hope you enjoy.

The Location and the Vibe:

If you go to Fairview Farm for long enough, they begin to recognize you there. Even if they don’t know your name, they will ask how it’s going, what’s up, what’s new. They will say, here try this new donut to the little ones, and they will help you choose what you need. And if you are a newcomer, they welcome you with open arms. It is located in a gorgeous location. In summer, the sun shines and a gentle breeze blows through the fields. It is hot, but not scorching, as the farm sits near Mecox Pond. In the Autumn, it is chilly and crisp, but there is a fresh feeling all the time. And no matter what the weather, it is always sunny inside the pretty little farmstand, decorated with wooden cutouts of pies and vegetables. Once, we arrived and Harry offered to take us for a ride on the tractor. He drove us around the farm and we gasped at the cornfields and turkeys and chickens and when we got to the trailer where they bake everything, he handed us each a fresh cookie. Welcome to Fairview Farm.


Harry helps a customer ring up their delights

Pies and Cookies and the Sort

The first thing you should know is that a few years ago, the New York Times just happened to call Fairview’s pies some of the best they’d ever had. Which is saying a lot. And it is true. But for those of us who are (*cough cough*) not the New York Times, Fairview’s pies earn a tippity top spot. As in. Best. Pies. Ever. Harry’s daughter Meredith makes the pies, and oh does she make them well. In the summer, classics like blueberry grace the case of boxed pies at the counter. The sweet little jammy pockets of berry hold their shape and spread their juice, and leak out the edges. The crusts are flaky and buttery and incredible and the crumble on top is delightfully crispy. They also feature medleys like Peach Raspberry, where slices of warm peach mingle with the tangy raspberry filling, making the summer flavor explode in your mouth. And around Thanksgiving, never miss the pumpkin, a creamy and spicy classic, or the pecan, which crunches delightfully and leaves the sweetness clinging to your tongue. The cookies are excellent, too. Bagged and wrapped in green twine, the chocolate chip variety is chewy and cakey and crispy at once, and sometimes you can be lucky and get ’em warm. The gingersnaps are very gingery in a very good way, soft and moist and molassesy. The donuts are to die for. He makes warm apple cider varieties, and pumpkin and banana when you are lucky. Harry makes my favorite challah on earth, soft inside and crispy on top and dotted with satisfying flakes of sea salt. And his bread isn’t half bad either. You can order quiches and other tarts custom, and they can make it for you to stop by and pick up. No matter the season, a good slice of pie will fill you up. In fact, now that I think about it, I have a peach Fairview pie in my freezer from this summer. No joke. Hold on. I need a pie break.

Produce and other Healthy Things

Outside the farmstand are large wooden crates full of produce, sheltered from the sun beneath white tents. Plump eggplant, colorful peppers, kale, lettuce, gorgeous tomatoes, avocados, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, gourds, onions, potatoes, corn of all the colors, and more overflow from the tables, and inside the farmstand, berries fill up green paper cartons, as do mushrooms, zucchini blossoms and more. In the fridge, sweet green tea and black currant juice (like grape, but with a tangy aftertaste) fill up bottles. Homemade Fresh Mozzarella and burrata sit in containers, and homemade guacamole from their fresh veggies lies in the racks. A cozy whiteboard in the back over the counter is covered in smiley faces and a list of in season delicacies. The produce is fresh and refreshing, too. You can taste the earth a bit, and you can feel the difference between that and a carton of Driscoll’s berries (nothin’ wrong with Driscoll’s, I’m just saying…) If you buy fresh food, you will feel better. It is simple. The simplicity of the local produce from Harry’s is amazing because you know where it came from. In fact, you might have seen it growing in a field a month earlier. That’s what makes the difference.


I’m going to start with Autumn. In the Fall, Fairview overflows with ripe pumpkins and pies and it’s a whole new ball game. Across the road is the Milk Pail, where you-pick apples dot the trees, and you can pick up a few. But after that, head back to Harry’s, and that’s the real treat. I have so many memories of running through the dry grassy area, my tiny hand clutching the dollar bill that my dad gave to me, the wind blowing my hair, and the crispness of fall and brightly hued leaves surrounding me. The dollar is for the corn cannon, a Fairview contraption. You pay a buck, and you get three chances. They hand you a piece of dry corn to stick in the cannon, and then you aim at a target, and shoot. And if you win? FREE PUMPKIN TIME! 🙂 Over by the stand, they pop popcorn in an old movie style machine, and someone mans the ribbon fries, made with a machine where you place a potato in a hole and push it through a grater-like thing, adding up to ribbons of sweet and white potatoes, fried to a crisp and topped with salt and pepper, or good old fashioned Heinz. A cardboard sign advertises “FRANKFURTERS: HEBREW NATIONAL” over the wooden shack, and someone inside dishes out pumpkin pie by the slice, creamy and spice filled. The corn table, for little tykes is filled with unpopped popcorn, shimmery and smooth, that they use instead of sand. A ginormous pyramid of pumpkins is piled on straw bales in the center of it all, next to the makeshift farmstand. The main attraction, though, is the corn maze, affectionately dubbed the Fairview Corn MAiZE. You head in to the inviting white tent where Harry waits at a desk, and you choose a category. The way the MAiZE works is that you pick a category of trivia (the categories go from Girl Scouts to Teambuilding to History to Baseball) and head into phase 1. As you move through the maze, you encounter small signposts with trivia questions and a list of answers [i.e.: Who was the 44th president of the US? a. Barack Obama (turn right) b. Ronald Reagan (turn left) c. George W. Bush (straight forward)] There are lookout spots along the way allowing you to check out the maze from an aerial view– an awesome sight complete with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and breezy salty air. But never fear, you will get out eventually and it is immensely fun in the process.

In summer, the air is warm and breezy, because FFAM is right near the beach. You can arrive early in Spring to coo over the tiny newborn piglets writhing around in the mud (so cute!), or check out a cow milking session. On hot days, the stand is crowded with people seeking Key Lime Pie, and you can stop by for a free Edible East End magazine, where Fairview was featured a few years ago. I often bike or jog with my mom or friends down the little carless lane past Fairview that leads to a little bay beach looking out on Sagg Pond, and a frigid carton of currant juice is a refreshing prize. When I was much younger, my favorite thing in the world was to stop by Fairview on a car ride or on a bike trip (at that point I was still riding in the mini seat on the back of my dad’s bike) to grab a honey stick, a plastic stick filled with sweet honey. These gems rest in the back of the store on a little shelf. The flavors range a lot, from almond to regular to root beer to vanilla to cinnamon to pink lemonade (I know, right!). The sun shines crisply, and you can watch the fresh donuts draining on paper towels before being bagged and sold, and ribbon fries galore are available. Often, you can catch Harry smiling behind the counter, dishing out Meredith’s pies, Nathan’s fresh honey or his own challah (don’t forget to buy a “Harry’s Challah” T-shirt). The atmosphere is electric, and you can feel the warm summer energy simmering through the tomatoes and potatoes and zucchini blossoms. It feels free, like summer will never end (unfortunately, it did because here I am, procrastinating while I should have been studying for my math unit exam).

The Animals

They are adorable. You can pass the horses wandering in the pasture on the way down the lane, and when I was younger, if we got there at the right time, I loved watching them milk the cows. The pigs are so cute and you can see the brand new piglets in spring. The chickens are cute, too, and the rooster crows above it all. There are sheep, and more and you can almost forget you are just 98.7 miles from the city.


This has been a long Long LONG post, but I hope it has taught you to treasure the small farms you have around you. The world is filled with industrial organic businesses and sprawling pesticide filled cornfields. But the food from these farms tastes better, and we feel better eating it. Not just because it is healthy– it has soul and heart that makes you happy. You can taste the corn cannon, and the crisp fall days, and laughs in the corn maze, and summer heat, and bike rides and oceans and spring piglets. You can taste Fairview Farm.


The Farm’s Own Website

The Farm’s Facebook Page

The Washington Post Raves About Fairview’s Produce

Hampton’s Magazine Writes Up Fairview’s Phenomenal Corn

The New York Times Deems Fairview’s Some of the Best Pie in the Area

The New York Times Writes About Fairview’s Farmstand Opening (Circa 2001)

The New York Times Talks About Summer Fashion and Hampton Experience Cred while Using Fairview’s Shirts as an Example

Thanks for reading! ALSO: Thanks to WordPress for these incredible new picture design formats– super cool (all photos from this post taken by yours truly this August).

And, as always


Next up: Nutella Pecan Pie (swoon)

Norma Paninis


One of my favorite types of pasta is Pasta alla Norma, a traditional Sicilian dish. Typically made with Rigatoni, heavily garlicked roasted eggplant is tossed with tomato sauce and long twirls of ricotta salata, a harder, feta-like version of ricotta. Sounds delicious? It is. And you should try making it. But, again, this is not the point. The point is that my mother had made a whole container of roasted eggplant at the beginning of the week for sandwiches, omelets and such. I was hungry today, and I needed something rich, good and Italian. I found some of the eggplant and– hey! Why not make a pasta alla Norma panini, minus the pasta, plus some good bread.

gonnabrushthatoilontothebread ohholy

I rubbed garlic and oil over some sourdough I had on hand, spread some tomato sauce and the eggplant on one slice and thin slices of mozzarella on another.


For this sandwich, a panini press/George Forman is awesome, but not necessary. It will be just as incredible on a smoking hot pan pressed down with something heavy– a skillet, a pot, a pan, a brick– whatever you’ve got.

tongsong whoopsycheesy

You’ll want the bread crispy, so that if you flick it with your nail, it makes a sound. And the cheese should be VERY melted– not semi-hard. If it is rolling out of the sides, even better. (*cough cough* see picture)


In the end, I’ve won for now in the pasta into sandwich experiment. Let’s try it again soon.

Norma Paninis

Serves 1, but feel free to double, triple or sextuple this recipe


  • 2 slices good bread… Sourdough is amazing, but Baguette, Ciabatta or any of that type would be great, too. Even a good pullman would work. KEEP IN MIND: If you use a thinner bread like Baguette, make sure you cut your mozz a bit smaller. You may need to fold your eggplant, as well.
  • Tomato sauce. I am very partial to Dave’s Heirloom Tomato sauce, and slightly impartial to the oregano heavy marinara, but use your favorite.
  • Roasted Eggplant- use this recipe, but cut them into discs– You will need about 3 or 4 slices BUT please make the whole batch. It is good to have on hand for other ‘wiches, salads, eggs, pasta and such.
  • Fresh Mozzarella (the good kind. and please NOT SHREDDED.)
  • Olive Oil, salt, pepper and about 1 clove garlic (garlic is optional)


  1. Brush your bread with olive oil using a pastry brush. If you don’t have one, drizzle with a spoon, but make sure you get a bunch on there. Peel the garlic and rub the bread generously with it. You will taste it. Grind a little salt and pepper on here.
  2. Using a spoon, spread some of the tomato sauce on one slice. Not too much, because it shouldn’t be overstuffed, but there should be a good amount. Place eggplant slices atop the sauce.
  3. Slice your mozzarella thinly and add a generous amount to the other slice.
  4. Brush some oil onto a panini press or George Foreman grill, getting it sizzling hot OR heat oil in a pan. Put the sandwich on the press/pan and press down. If using a pan, apply pressure with something heavy. Cast iron skillets are good. The bread should be CRISPY and hard if you tap it, and the cheese should be fully melted, if not leaking out of the sides.
  5. ENJOY!

Hope you loved the recipe!

I have some great new posts coming up so stay tuned!

And as always,

Keep cooking 😉

S’mores Pie (!)

smorespie googoo

So. I had this idea a few months ago. I considered it a brilliant beyond brilliant idea- why not put chocolate cream pie in graham cracker crust and then put toasted marshmallows on top? S’mores pie! Turns out, a few other people already had that idea. Well, whatever. I thought of it first. And so I hared it with my dad, who being my dad, drooled at the thought of anything involving marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, pie and FOOD in the same sentence. And so it was his birthday pie. Birthday pies are a big thing in my world, because why did cakes get the birthday prize? Pies are just as good. In fact, pies might be (dare I say) sometimes better… so when do pies get their birthday justice? Apparently when I make them. A few years ago I did pies right justice by having a black bottom oat pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds (yes please) and everyone enjoyed it, needless to say. Who doesn’t like pie? Um, no one that I should know.

So back to the story, I knew I HAD to make my dad this “original” pie, which I still say is original because I DIDN’T KNOW IT EXISTED WHEN I CAME UP WITH THE IDEA. So there. Ha. Ha. And plus, it still sounded like heaven, sooo…

Then I decided that is was too much sugar and discarded the idea. Just kidding. Why would I do that?!

puddingPuddingPUDDING graham crust

It required quite a bit off willpower making pudding and about (no joke) 1 1/2 hours of doing this (don’t be scared off by this!!!)


Of stirring chocolate pudding over the stove. But heck, was it worth it. If you have a blowtorch (and if so, lucky you), PLEASE torch the souls out of those marshmallows on top. But for those of us who (sigh) lack a blowtorch, the broiler on HI for 3 minutes will sure get you that gooey crispy yumminess. Enjoy (really).

S’Mores Pie:

serves about 6-8

pudding recipe adapted a lot from Smitten Kitchen


for the graham crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups (155 grams) finely ground graham cracker crumbs (from about 10-15 crackers, I found) FOR MORE INFO ON GETTING THOSE GRAHAMS GROUND: check out this post.
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (not too cool!)

for the chocolate pudding filling:

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not more than 60% cacao), finely chopped OR milk chocolate if you want to go the traditional s’mores route
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

and of course:

  • Mini Marshmallows, or big ones will do (I’m a Jet-Puffed purist, but any fancy kind would be great too)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mix graham crumbs with the sugar and salt, and slowly pour in the melted butter, stirring to make a pasty type thing.
  2. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a standard 9-inch pie dish. Fingertips or measuring cups work great for this. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. If it starts to get too brown before it is solid, tent with foil.
  3. Let crust cool. Meanwhile: whisk the cornstarch, 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa powder and salt in the bottom of a heavy saucepan (2 or 3 quart is best). Slowly whisk in the whole milk (do not use skim or fat-free. Do not. This dessert is already not exactly diet friendly, so just use the whole milk.) Bring to a boil over medium/high heat, whisking constantly until there a re a ton of bubbles (you’ll know). This may take a little while, but be patient. It’s ok to leave it unattended but not for more then 7 minutes. I also increased the heat a lot at times. Stir if a skin forms.
  4. Boil for about 3 minutes until thickened a lot. Take off heat and stir in chocolate and vanilla until smooth. If it is too thick, add a splash of milk. I also stirred with a hand mixer because it got a little lumpy.
  5. Pour the pudding into the crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until cold. You can put wax paper on top to keep skin from forming. You can also put it in the freezer, but keep an eye on it. Right before you want to serve it, preheat the broiler to High. Top the pie with a lot of marshmallows, spread out, so you can’t see the filling anymore.
  6. Put the pie in the oven under the broiler (directly) and leave it there for about 3 minutes until the marshmallows are sufficiently toasted and gooey. Alternatively, if you have a kitchen blowtorch, use that the torch the marshmallows to perfection.
  7. Enjoy. Do not worry if the crust sort of falls apart. It happens. And also don’t be worried if the pie sort of turns into pudding once served. It will still be fantastic.

Hope you enjoyed this little post. I’ll be back soon…

As always: Keep Cooking 😉

(and comment about what you cook)

6 Healthy and Quick Back to School Breakfasts!

Hi! So I haven’t posted in about a month and I thought it was time to post. I moved which is a huge step for us and I finally am reunited with my beloved stand mixer, Cuisinart, blender…I am so happy. I am hungry, tired and exhausted from the first two days of school. Back to school is a hard time of year, folks. Especially switching the wake-up time to 2 hours earlier. But I’m pushing through it, partially because my breakfasts are getting better. Here’s a life hack: Eat breakfast. As simple as it sounds, breakfast IS the most important meal because to be fair, you have gone 10 or so hours without food and you need it and also if you are me and you have lunch at 1:30 you won’t be eating for a while. So really, eat breakfast. And if your options are constantly limited to cereal, frozen waffles and poptarts, fear not. I’ve got you covered with some ultimate breakfasts…6 of them to be exact and they are going to rock your world… trust me. And don’t worry… my fridge is limited, too.

Basically all that is in my fridge is PB, rice pudding, leftovers, yogurt and fruit. And cheese. Obviously.

Basically all that is in my fridge is PB, rice pudding, leftovers, yogurt and fruit. And cheese. Obviously.

Here is a calendar plan for  a week of breakfast delight: KKBreakfasts.pdf

1. Yogurt Granola Layered Pops!


Credits to: Bethany Mota Youtube Channel for the inspiration.

These pops are delicious, impressive and oh-so easy, not to mention healthy and fun. You can prep them overnight and eat them in the morning, without wasting a bit of time.

Serves 3:


  • 3 cartons of yogurt, or one depending on the size. I used one Maple Yogurt from Wallaby Organics (mom), one Strawberry Blend Simply 100 Chobani Greek (me) and one Strawberry Banana Dannon Activia (my sister). Any will work.


  • Granola of your choice. I like Bread Alone Almond and Raisin, Moomoo Muesli and One Girl Cookie Granola. (Or homemade!)


  • Dixie Cups- 5 oz.
  • Popsicle sticks or skewers… preferably popsicle sticks.


  1. Pour a layer of yogurt into the Dixie Cup. Top with a generous sprinkling of granola and top with more yogurt, then granola, so on and so on.
  2. Stick the skewer/stick into the cup and put in the freezer in a safe place. Freeze overnight.
  3. In the morning, peel off the Dixie cup and enjoy. Eat with fruit.


2. Blueberry Coconut Almond Smoothie

Photo on 9-9-15 at 4.24 PM Photo on 9-9-15 at 4.25 PM #2 Photo on 9-9-15 at 4.25 PM

This smoothie couldn’t get easier and it is incredibly yummy. I did this to use up coconut milk, but if you don’t have it, sub banana or just skip it… this would also be great with strawberries or raspberries and cashews. You can make this the night before, even the toasted almonds and then just drink it in the morning, topped with the almonds.

Serves about 4


  • About 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 small carton blueberries
  • Slivered almonds
  • About 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (if you have sweetened, take out the honey)
  • Honey
  • Banana, if you have
  • Ice


  1. Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the ingredients in terms of flavor and texture.
  2. Toast almonds in the oven or a toaster oven until dark and you can smell them. Put the almonds and smoothie separately in the fridge and chill OR you can just eat it now.
  3. In the morning, drink the smoothie topped with the almonds, with some toast.


Raw Peach “Jam” In Seconds

Credits to Doodat for the original idea…

Quick! Go to the farmer’s market, go to the grocery store! Get the last of summer’s peach bounty before it runs out! Or nectarines! Or plums! Or pluots! Or apricots! And donut peaches would work quite nicely… This is incredibly yummy, and blossomed from my grandma’s idea of mashing peaches into buttered toast. This literally tastes like peach pie and takes seconds. What are you waiting for? Go get those peaches!

Serves 1


  • 1 very ripe peach, plum, donut peach, apricot, pluot, nectarine or any other stone fruit. The riper and softer and juicier the better.
  • Vanilla extract
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Butter or margarine
  • Bread- any, but I love Eli Zabar Baby Manor House Pullman-, toasted.


  1. Finely dice the fruit put it in a bowl. (You can do this the night before if you want) Using your fingers, a fork, a spoon or anything else, mash it up. Mix with vanilla and cinnamon.
  2. Butter the toast and mash “jam” into it. Top with a grind of good sea salt and enjoy.

See? Easy peasy!

Chia Almond Breakfast Pudding


From the October Issue of the Food Network Magazine

Serves 1


  • 1 cup almond milk or cashew milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • chopped fresh fruit


  1. Mix the chia seeds and almond milk in a glass or bowl. Stir after one hour, then chill overnight.
  2. In the morning, top with fruit and enjoy.

Super healthy!

2 Minute French Toast in a Mug


Photo and recipe from Pretty Prudent

Read that title again. Hear that? French Toast. In a mug. Two Minutes. Trigger words. Make it. If you want, you can prep the night before and soak the bread overnight, and microwave in the morning. If you don’t have a microwave, a low oven will do fine, but it will take longer.

Serves 1.


  • 1 or 2 slices bread, cubed
  • Butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • Vanilla and cinnamon


  1. Butter the inside of a microwave safe coffee. Put your bread cubes in the mug and smoosh them down. In a separate mug, mix the egg, cinnamon, vanilla and milk with a fork.
  2. Pour over the cubes and soak overnight or for 1 minute. Microwave for 1 minute and then do the rest in 10 second intervals. Serve with syrup.

Yay! Also: please try this:

Frittata in a Mug!

from Saint Louis Today

serves 1


  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 of a bagel (or similar amount of French bread, etc.)
  • 2 teaspoons cream cheese
  • 1/2 slice prosciutto (optional)
  • Fresh thyme leaves or fresh chopped chives
  • Dijon mustard
  • Chopped tomato or pepper


  1. Beat egg and milk together with a fork in a coffee cup, adding salt and pepper to taste. Tear bread into dime-size pieces; stir in. Add cream cheese; stir in. Tear or cut prosciutto into small pieces; add to mixture. Sprinkle with thyme.

2. Microwave on high until done, about 1 minute 10 seconds. Garnish with mustard and fresh thyme or chives. Enjoy!



And if you still only want cereal and waffles, here are my favorites:

  1. Basic 4
  2. Crispix
  3. Autumn Wheat
  4. Flax Plus Oatmeal
  5. Golden Grahams
  6. Strawberry Fields Cereal
  7. Mini Wheats
  8. Heart to Heart Cereal
  9. Van’s Mini Chocolate Chip Waffles
  10. Van’s Whole Grain Waffles

So. Hope you enjoyed the recipes… be back soon.

For now, I’ll rejoice with my stand mixer.

My face when I saw my KitchenAid for the first time in 5 months...

My face when I saw my KitchenAid for the first time in 5 months…

And, as always, keep cooking!

Another Summer Supper: Panko-Breaded Flounder, Watermelon Feta Salad and Ice Cream with Warm Berry Sauce


Sorry for super bad quality…

Hi everyone! Happy mid-August! With school coming near (ahhh), the summer feel beginning to wind down and the heat raising up to scorching heights, I figured I need to spit out all my summer dinners fast as I can so you guys can hopefully enjoy making them by the end of the summer!

I hate the fact that it is literally August 17th and I am already seeing back-to-school things in the media- well, that’s outrageous. All people talk about in August is how they are SO sad to end summer, but my logic is, why spend your time complaining while you could be enjoying the fun and soaking up the last rays of summer sun before, (sigh), it’s back to long days of math tests and long lessons.

This meal is an incredible meal for the summer. For a while, this fish that my dad would make was the only kind I would eat. And there is a good reason. For kids who don’t like fish, this is the perfect starter to get you into it. The thin filet of fish that glistens in the center is surrounded by the crispiest breading and perfect seasoning. Honestly, if you told toddlers that it was healthy french fries, um, they would eat it.

Watermelon is a word that sums up summer- refreshing, easy, delicious, fruity, sweet and liberating. Paired with tangy feta and bitter arugula to offset its sweetness, and vibrant tomatoes for a toast of summer, and dressed with a light dressing that enhances it but doesn’t steal the stage, well, it is stupendous.

Again, sorry for the bad quality...

Again, sorry for the bad quality…

For the dessert, I had a little fun. I wanted to make something easy, summery and perfect. We bought some vanilla bean ice cream, some fresh blueberries and raspberries and headed home. I literally put the berries in a pot with butter sugar, orange juice (of course) and some spices and stirred it until it was bubbling and saucy. Served hot over ice cream… so good.

These two past posts about summer dinners are really my pride and joy. If you are planning on cooking any of the recipes on my blog, cook those. Thanks! HERE WE GO:

Watermelon-Feta Salad with Arugula:

serves 4-6

Inspired by Brooklyn Crab


  • About 1/2 of a seedless watermelon, balled with a melon baller or chopped. You could also buy precut.
  • Arugula to taste. I trust your judgement. Not too much, not too little.
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved.
  • Crumbled feta, to taste.
  • Olive oil.
  • Balsamic Vinegar.
  • Balsamic glaze or crema, if you have it.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • A bit of lemon juice (optional)


  1. Mix together the watermelon and tomatoes in a large salad bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, oil and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the levels of different ingredients.
  3. Add the feta. Sprinkle the crumbles, scattering around the bowl.
  4. Dress the salad, then add the arugula and toss. Serve immediately. NOTE: Arugula wilts in liquid very quickly, so if you are making it in advance, always add the arugula right before serving. Pour some balsamic glaze over it if you have.

Panko Breaded Pan-Fried Flounder with Lemon

serves 4-6

Thanks to my dad


  • 4 thin filets of flounder (or other flat fish such as sole)
  • 2 cups of Panko (Japanese breadflakes. You can use regular as well.)
  • 2 egg whites
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Take out two flat dishes. They can be any size BUT they must be big enough that a filet can lay flat in them. In one dish, put the egg whites. In the other, spread the Panko. Have more on hand, because you might need it.
  2. Remove any small bones you may see on the filets. Lay one filet in the egg whites, then flip. Put the filet in the panko, and sprinkle some salt and pepper on the face up side with no panko on it. Flip the fish in the panko. Put some more panko on top of the fish in addition to the panko that stuck to the egg wash.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a pan on medium-high heat with olive oil. When it is hot, put the fish into the pan. When the edges of the filet are golden and the filet looks kind of opaque, flip. (3-5 min. on each side).
  4. Repeat with other filets. Garnish with lemon.

Ice Cream with Warm Berry Compote

serves 4

Spice ideas partially from Bon Appetit. They included garam masala in their recipe for peach pecan cobbler, for warmth and I thought it would add strong aftertaste.


  • 1 pack of blueberries, washed
  • 1 pack of raspberries, washed
  • Sugar
  • Orange juice
  • Pinch of ginger
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Vanilla Bean ice cream


  1. Put the berries in a pot over medium heat. Add the butter and stir. Let it simmer for a little while until the juices are partially released. Add a generous amount of sugar.
  2. Add the orange juice and spices and stir constantly until it looks saucy.
  3. Taste and adjust sugar levels. Pour on top of ice cream. Enjoy!


I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Comment if it sounds good, or “like” it!

As always:

Keep cooking 😉

Graves Mountain Lodge

Down in good old Virginia

Down in good old Virginia

Hi everyone! Though I promised more summer dinners, I had to share a bit about this experience with you. This summer, I went with my family, grandparents, aunt, uncle and two little cousins to Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia. My dad went here as a baby with his family, and now we came back!

Located in the tiny town of Syria, VA, Graves Mountain Lodge is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’ve been in 3 mountain ranges this summer that all have names with colors: the White Mountains (NH), the Green Mountains (VT) and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Syria mainly consists of a tiny convenience general store called Syria Mercantile, the Apple/Corn Stand that has no name besides the wooden sign out front reading “FRESH Apples and Corn”, a plant nursery, and some houses. And Graves Lodge.


The town of Syria, Virginia

The Mercantile doubles as a post office, and provided some quite yummy Good Humor Andes Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches after our White Oak Canyon hike. Post-hike fuel!

The Mercantile doubles as a post office, and provided some quite yummy Good Humor Andes Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches after our White Oak Canyon hike. Post-hike fuel!

As much as Syria is a dot-on-the-map town, it IS cute, the mountains are gorgeous and there is plenty to do around here. Shenandoah National Park is right nearby, and the trailhead for the White Oak Canyon trail is a 5 minute drive from Graves. Yay, waterfalls!

The Lower Falls on the White Oak Canyon trail-- lovely for an afternoon dip/shower!

The Lower Falls on the White Oak Canyon trail– lovely for an afternoon dip/shower!

We also stopped by Montpelier, James Madison’s house, where I begged for this book (all in vain), checked out the classic “Virginia Housewife Cookbook” (circa 1800), bricks of tea, and some pretty great gourmet sandwiches. Hickory Smoked Chicken Salad, anyone? Or perhaps some turkey and gouda on a demi-baguette with herb mayo? Sure? I thought so. All I have to say is: Dolley Madison was one fabulous lady.

A sandwich from eXchange cafè at Montpelier

A sandwich from eXchange cafè at Montpelier

A bit of history on James and Dolley (we like a bit of history here on KK).

A bit of history on James and Dolley (we like a bit of history here on KK).

Graves Mountain Lodge is also a farm that grows their own apples and peaches, and the apple butter served with every meal (along with homemade rolls and golden topped biscuits.)

Graves Lodge's Famous Apple Butter

Graves Lodge’s Famous Apple Butter

Graves Lodge is also a beautiful place to be, from the pool with its turquoise waters, to the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the old farmhouses that you stay in.

The website

The website

It was also fitting for me to be frolicking around the South, looking at giant plantations and eating down-home food because at the moment I am reading “The Great American Novel.”



Yup, none other than Gone With the Wind, taking place in Georgia. How lovely.

Of all the lovely things about Graves, a top contender was the food.


Some Southern Fried Chicken a Graves (Fried Chicken is always Sunday Dinner, along with Virginia Country Ham)

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 9.43.08 AM

A sample of the menus at the Lodge

Coming from a city filled with gourmet fancy pastries and ethnic foods and fancy fish and sauces, it was a bit of a happy relief to enjoy some carb/sugar/fried-food soaked classic Southern fare.

Among the delicious options, there was the steak buffet, laden with pasta salad, coleslaw, baked potatoes, beets, string beans, biscuits, apples (oh, my!). The rainbow fried trout was a favorite, but I coughed up some little bones from the breading, which made it not possible to eat the breading around the flesh.

Though the rolls were crusty, the chicken tender, the apple butter spiced and creamy, I felt at times the food was TOO heavy. You ate a lot and felt it and the fried food and the sugar and the carbs began to overload. I think I’ll stick to healthier most of the time.

But despite the fact that this is true, the food was superb. Fresh peaches from the farm in their own juices, or baked apples from the farm served at every meal were superb. Delicious biscuits, toast, rolls and more, smeared with apple butter are amazing (we took some of the condiment home and it was delightful on my toast), and the food was so delicious and filling.

I’ll have some, please.


Graves Mountain Lodge, Syria, VA

Buy Graves Mountain Apple Butter Online

Syria Mercantile Store

Montpelier: James and Dolley Madison’s Virginia Plantation

Monticello: Thomas Jefferson’s Home

White Oak Canyon Falls Trail

EXchange Cafè at Montpelier


Getting hungry from the apple butter? Here are some recipes to try:

Food Network’s Apple Butter (PS: Is anybody else excited about the Camp Cutthroat premiere tomorrow night on Food Network?)

Martha Stewart’s Apple Butter (I found a great website, coincidentally called “Not Martha”)

Simply Recipes’ Apple Butter (their PB Cookie recipe is scrumptious, as well)


I’ve outgrown ChopChop (3rd post ever, guys!) and am now loving Cook’s Illustrated in addition to the Food Network Magazine and Bon Appetit and they have an apple butter recipe as well…


More on all of this later, so I am signing off.

Keep cooking 😉