Simple Summer Cake

Everyone needs a simple summer cake recipe in their baking repertoire. This lovely cake is mine. (And maybe it'll become yours, too?)

Grilled Peach Caprese with Pickled Onions

I felt like painting today. Not with paint, but with peaches. (And fresh mozzarella. And basil. And pretty pink pickled onions.)

Unpacking the groceries

The doorbell buzzed just after 7AM on Saturday morning. It was Fresh Direct with the groceries I'd ordered the night before. I always choose the 6-8AM delivery time slot because it forces me out of bed early. "I'll do more!" I think. I don't always follow through, but at least I give myself a good head start.

I buzzed up the delivery guy, put on a bra, and stood by the door waiting for him to get up the elevator. At the last second, I glanced at my reflection in the living room mirror and was horrified to notice the large chalky pink smear of zit cream on my forehead. I spit in my hand and wiped it off just as the man knocked on the door. (Gross. I know.)

Hudson woke up when he realized I'd gotten out of bed, and whined until I went back and helped him jump to the floor (he gets scared so I have to put my hand on his back while he jumps). Eugene was still asleep despite the doorbell and the delivery guy and the boxes and the crying dog. He can sleep through anything. He sleeps through police sirens and illegal fireworks and loud thunderstorms and that time our upstairs neighbor had a 6-person jazz band playing in his living room until three in the morning.  He once slept through an FBI raid of the apartment next door. I sometimes worry this ability will prove problematic in the event of a home invasion or (more likely), when I finally agree to have a baby.

My current baby, happy to be down on the ground, ran back and forth behind me as I gathered dishes from the night before and put the groceries away. His whines started up again, so I gave him half a cucumber, which is (oddly) his favorite thing, and he wandered off to eat it.

The refrigerator was kind of a mess from the past week so I emptied it, throwing away old condiments and wilted herbs. I felt bad as I dumped a jar of chicken broth I made months ago and never used, but didn't feel like it was safe anymore. A jar of leftover passion fruit curd from last summer definitely had to go. As did a cup of moldy lentil soup and two limes that had shriveled and hardened into little black lumps.

Once empty, I wiped it down and then piled in the new food.

I love the way the fridge looks in the summer--full of vegetables and berries and colors. I tuck herbs in little vases with water and transfer cherries and little potatoes to bowls. Meat on the bottom, veggies piled loose. I style it just the way I would a bookshelf; utility can also be beautiful.

"This looks so organized!" Eugene said when he finally woke up three hours later, looking for food.

I took a picture of it, then made myself coffee (my homemade Bustelo cold brew concentrate over ice with a generous amount of organic local pastured heavy cream).

Coffee with cream is my breakfast most days. I drink it cold in the summer; hot in the winter. It fills me up and gives me energy; the fat and calories from the cream being enough to get me through the morning.

My doctor once told me that Americans need to become comfortable with the feeling of hunger. He said we eat on a schedule or out of habit, but rarely because we're hungry. "You should wait until you feel hungry, even if it's an hour or two later than you usually eat. And even then, just drink some water and wait some more. Don't eat until you feel very very hungry, and then stop before you feel full." At the time I thought he was kind of insane, but earlier this year I found myself doing it by accident and found that he was right. I like to wait for the hunger now. I stretch it out and then relish the meals when I do eat, stopping when I'm satisfied. I don't follow a schedule, I just listen to my body.

We threw on some clothes and took Hudson for a walk followed by a stop at the farmer's market that's located less than a block from my apartment. I've been living in this apartment on the cusp of Harlem and Washington Heights for nearly ten years, and am in love with the changes lately. A new coffee shop that's become a gathering place for the freelancers and the artists in our neighborhood. A gym within walking distance. A local CSA. And now this farmer's market. It's small, but the few things they have are wonderful.

I buy scallions and garlic and zucchini and tiny new potatoes. Some fresh mint for cocktails. Blueberries and tiny delicate raspberries. A half-gallon of apple cider for Eugene, little cucumbers for Hudson, and a couple yellow peaches for me.

One of the women at the market always likes to offer cooking tips when you buy her vegetables. I get a little annoyed because the tips are very basic and usually things I already know. ("You can eat every part of the broccoli. Use the garlic stems for stock.") I know this is just my ego and that I'm kind of a jerk and should just shut up and listen, but I don't. Instead I fake smile and nod and then rush off to the next stand as quickly as possible.

I'm like this about a lot of things in life, but at least I recognize it. That's a start, right?

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream

A quick note: I originally shared this post and recipe for Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream back in 2011 on Real Simple magazine's website, but after a redesign a few years ago, the article and recipe were deleted. With summer sweet corn season around the corner, I've decided to share it again here. I know the flavors might seem a little unusual, but I promise--they're amazing!

My husband and I have a favorite restaurant that we return to again and again on those evenings when we’re craving a night out, but don’t want to risk the chance of a bad meal at an untried spot.

We love this place for their big strong drinks, savory seafood dishes, and salty chips. The only problem? Their desserts are terrible! Seriously, seriously bad stuff. From chalky flourless cakes to stale churros, we’ve worked our way through the entire dessert menu in vain, each time with the hope that perhaps this dish will be good.

Malbec Wine-Poached Cherries

Cherries and red wine makes sense together. Both red, lush, equal parts sexy and intoxicating. Together, they're magic and an easy dessert on its own or served atop slices of cake, scoops of ice cream, your morning yogurt, a stack of pancakes--really anything you can imagine!

These Malbec-poached cherries are simple to make. A few ingredients in a pot, a bit of a simmer, and then your work is done.

You can enjoy them right away if you must, but I recommend dropping them into a jar and popping in the fridge for at least a few days. The longer they sit, the lovelier they'll taste.

I served these on top of a flan, but the options are endless.

(Sealed into a pretty jar with a label, these would make a beautiful homemade hostess gift, too!)

If you're looking for pairings, I suggest serving these with a simple cake like my favorite Olive Oil Cake or over a few scoops of Homemade Honey Ice Cream!

What would you love to serve these with?


Malbec Wine-Poached Cherries Recipe
These simple poached cherries can be served on their own or as an accompaniment to other desserts.

Ingredients
2 cups malbec wine
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds red cherries, pits and stems removed
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Directions
In a medium saucepan, combine wine, sugar, cinnamon. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a knife and scrape out the seeds. Drop the scrapped bean, the seeds and salt into the wine. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add the cherries and lower heat to a gentle simmer. Let simmer 20 minutes or until cherries are tender. Remove from heat, stir in almond extract, and let cool to room temperature. Serve immediately, or transfer to a glass jar and store in refrigerator. Can be served cold or slightly rewarmed, as desired. 


Orange and Smoked Paprika-Marinated Pork Loin Roast

Most of my favorite recipes start in the blender. I throw things in, puree until smooth, and then cook. It's the best way of getting maximum flavor with minimum effort.

That's how this easy roast pork loin recipe works. You start off by making a super simple puree of smoked paprika, garlic (tons of it), orange, and salt. Then you rub it all over a pork loin, cover and let it sit in the fridge overnight, all those badass flavors getting to know each other and making magic.

When you're ready to cook (the next day or the day after that if you prefer), you wipe off the excess rub and pop it in the oven for about an hour and change.

And that's it. Tender, juicy, full of flavor. You present it whole (oooh. ahhh.) then slice it up and serve with your favorite sides. Leftovers make for amazing sandwiches or chop and toss into eggs, quiche, pasta, soup, whatever. It's perfect for a party or just to keep you and your family fed for a couple days.

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Loved this recipe? Here are three other easy dinner recipes you might like:


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Thanks so much for reading!



Orange and Smoked Paprika-Marinated Pork Loin Roast
Serves 6-8. Adapted from a recipe in The Basque Book by Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero

Note: Must marinate for at least 8 hours before cooking


Ingredients
1 navel orange, cut into quarters (yes...the whole orange!)
1/2 cup orange juice
14 garlic cloves
1/2 cup smoked Spanish paprika (not the spicy kind)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup kosher salt
1 5-7 pound bone-in center cut pork loin roast with fat intact

Directions
In a blender, puree orange quarters, juice, garlic, paprika, olive oil, and salt until smooth. Rub paste all over the pork loin and place in a baking pan. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 48.

When ready to cook. Remove from refrigerator and wipe to remove excess paste. Leave on counter for one hour so that it comes up to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place loin in oven (uncovered) for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 300 and cook for an additional 45 minutes to one hour, until a thermometer inserted in center of loin reads 145 degrees.

Let rest at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. 

Watermelon Frosé Cocktail (Frozen Rosé)

Last summer I went to a party where they served frozen rosé wine slushies by the pool. I remember that I really loved the concept, but was left less-than-impressed with the execution; they tasted more like ice than anything else.

As I usually do in these cases, I got home and promptly tried out my own version of the frozen drink with raspberries and a touch of honey.

The result--these Raspberry Rosé Wine Slushies--was a hit and became one of my favorite recipes that year.

Then a couple months ago, I suddenly started seeing everyone talking about something called "Frosé."

Frosé?
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