I Left You For Food

imageI blame New York. We’re back together. But, I didn’t forget about you. I hope you didn’t forget about me. It’s like falling back in love with someone from your past. I always knew it was there. I romanticized our past together. Then, when you’re really back together it’s like you didn’t skip a beat. The best part is that we both changed. Now I’m getting to know the New York that happened while I was away. I’ve been eating out instead of cooking. Exploring instead of blogging. Our new courtship is winding down though and we’re starting to get comfortable again. So, I’m here. I’m back. I’m sorry.

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My new challenge is I have a new kitchen (large for NY standards, I’m not complaining!). It is an adjustment I am working on. I also have three roommates. I hate to hog the kitchen. So, learning people’s schedules and when to grocery shop is taking time to get used to. I wanted to talk to you again, dear reader. I don’t have a new recipe just yet. What I do have is some pictures from the eating I’ve been doing.

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I also have a few new recommendations of places I’ve come across. Places I can’t shut up about.

Via Della Pace (7th Street between 2nd and 3rd Ave)- cozy Italian place with exposed brick in the east village. Hard to pass by without wanting to go in. Cheap for the great quality of food. Try: the pasta carbonara (real way no cream sauce here)

Black Seed Bagels (on Elizabeth St. Between Spring and Kenmare)- wood fire oven roasted bagel joint. Recently opened in the East Village as well. The bagels are soft and chewy. I could eat them forever. Fresh toppings and herbs make sandwiches stand out. Try: lox and horseradish cream cheese)

Barney Greengrass (On Amsterdam between 86th and 87th St.)- famous Jewish deli on the Upper West Side. Hailed as “The sturgeon King”. The kind of place you only see in movies about NY. Cheap, delicious, quick, feels like home. Try: a fish salad plate with a bagel and toppings)

Elio’s (on 2nd between 84th and 85th St.)- Classic old school Italian restaurant. Upscale and hard to get into. Everyone calls the matre D by his first name. The food is divine and so fresh. The service is amazing. Everyone dining seems like an important person you should know. Cozy. I never wanted to leave. Call weeks ahead for a reservation. Try: a seasonal salad, the pastas, mussels, their green beans, and you have to get the bread pudding. Trust me.)

I also HAVE to throw in…

Big Gay Ice Cream (7th st. Between 1st and Avenue A)- this isn’t new to me but I just have to share it on this list. It’s simple great quality ice cream with inventive toppings and execusion. I go once a week. Don’t judge me. My friends live on the block, so I haveee to *wink*. You can’t go wrong with anything. Try: the salty pimp

When I find somewhere new I love, it becomes a religion. I love to talk about it. I love to share it with friends. I love to visit it so often they quietly mumble “wasn’t she already here this morning?!” Please enjoy my findings. Talk again soon.

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Ps. I missed you guys

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Roasted Cherry Icebox Cake

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Icebox cake and I have a love story. We met in New York. We met on the Upper West Side. We met in a cafe from my favorite movie. Said cafe has a very long dessert case that will stop your heart. Usually, I walk around and figure out what catches my eye. But, not this time. On a cool autumn night, I dragged my roommate Amanda across town to get dessert with me. This was only my second time at this cafe and I couldn’t stop talking about it. It was as if the universe had captured my whole heart into one place (if you hadn’t guessed before, I am a romantic). On this night, with the help of my waitress, I decided on a slice of vanilla icebox cake. It arrived very tall and soft from the many layers of whipped cream. I took one bite and fell in love. I don’t know if it was with the cake or the moment. I was in love with it all.

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An icebox cake, for those who don’t know, is a “cake” made from chocolate wafers and whipped cream. It sits overnight in the refrigerator which is how it gets it’s name and it’s texture. The whipped cream moistens the wafers so they are soft. They are layered so high. One bite is heaven. I am a pie person. If there’s ever an option for cake I choose the other. But, this cake changed my life. It’s the birthday cake I always want and the treat I always wish was in my fridge. The version I made is with roasted cherries. I combined two summer classics. I made the whipped cream with the cherries and also topped the cake with them. My version is also not perfect. It is messy and made with love (that’s why it’s pink). No matter how it looks, it always tastes the same–unforgettable.

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The next time I went to my cafe after I tried the cake, they didn’t have it. This was almost three years ago now. Every time I’ve been back since, they don’t have it. I always ask, they always tell me no. I always tell them to bring it back, they always politely smile. It breaks my heart. However, it does give me the chance to try other things. No new proclamations of love yet, but there are contenders.

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Roasted Cherry Icebox Cake

Makes one 8-inch cake

  • 11/2 packages Nabisco Chocolate Wafers
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 cups sweet cherries
  • 1/2 teaspoon cherry extract
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Put the cherries in a roasting dish or two and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Roast in oven for 30 minutes until the cherries have released juices and are dark in color. Remove from oven, and wait until cool. Pit 2/3 of the cherries and blend them until smooth in a food processor/blender/etc. Reserve the rest for later.
  2. Add the cream, extract, and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer (with whisk attachment) and whip to soft peaks. Add the pureed cherries. Continue whipping until stiff peaks are achieved.
  3. On a large platter/plate, arrange 6 cookies in a circle with one in the center. Spread whipped cream gently over them. Repeat those steps until you run out. Top with whipped cream.
  4. Let sit in refrigerator overnight. Top with reserved cherries (remember to remove pits as you eat). Slice and enjoy.

Note: I don’t strain the pureed cherries because I like the look of small cherry bits in the whipped cream. If you don’t, I would strain after you blend so you have a smooth syrup.


A Summer Night Dinner (with friends)

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I never thought August would come. I find myself in a race. A race to spend time with as many people as I can before I move at the end of the month (!!!!). My favorite way to spend time with people is over food. I like throwing a dinner party because I get to plan something, be in charge of something, and very often try new recipes. Summer to me is a very low maintenance cooking season. Fresh produce is king and anything is praised when cold, in fact it’s preferred. Read More


Brown Butter Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

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This spring was the first time I really tried rhubarb. I had tasted it before, overpowered by strawberries in a pie or two. Never on its own. I am usually a person with two speeds; “not interested” or “utterly in love with”. Feeling pure love for food is not something new to me. But feeling pure love for rhubarb was, and boy is it great. Read More


Lee’s Chocolate Whipped Cream

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Eating homemade whipped cream for me is a religious experience. Then I made chocolate whipped cream one night and was basically re-born. If you’ve never experienced the magic of watching plain heavy cream turn thicker until it has reach stiff peaks in the fluffiest valley, then I encourage you to grab a whisk and go to town. Read More



Buttermilk Cake with Raspberries

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I have fallen in utter love with baking cakes. The simplicity. The ease. The fun. I love that it’s one thing, not a bunch of little things. No individual molds, scooping equal cookies, or cutting dough up. I mainly fell in love with what happens to butter and sugar when it’s mixed on a fast speed for many minutes. It turns fluffy, creamy and white. It may have captured my heart. Read More



Lemon Bars

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I grew up watching my Nonni cook and then my mother, never really knowing how I fell into the mix. Cooking brought our family together as did an after dinner viewing of the food network (we really couldn’t get enough). That’s probably where I began thinking about my next meal while I was currently eating one. Read More


Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

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Have you all heard of Food52? It’s a website that houses everything from seasonal recipes to kitchen decor. Let’s just say, when I found it, I felt like I had come home. Every morning I start my day by checking in on what’s new and what everyone is talking about. Basically, I’m not just drinking their Kool-aid I’m guzzling it (also they would serve more of a thyme lemonade). Read More