bites out part two: near and far

Food photos speak to me. When I peruse a recipe, I can usually imagine what it will taste like and whether or not I’ll like it. However, when I look at a photo in food magazines or see a dish … Continue reading

summer food…a feast for the eyes

Lately, I haven’t had much time to invest in blogging. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been eating, obviously. Here are a few of my food memories from summer. And because pictures say more than my words can, here goes. … Continue reading

better late than never, a visit to sweet melissa’s

Many know that I have a daughter who wants to go to Yale and open a bakery. And while G and I ponder how those two things will work together, we continue to enjoy her experiments in baking.

The cookbook that started this welcome obsession was Sweet Melissa’s Baking Book. So a few months ago (maybe about 10 months to be exact), I took the little baker on her birthday to the source of all things Melissa – the Brooklyn patisserie itself.

We arrived an hour late due to traffic, but Melissa was gracious enough to wait for us at her charming shop to show us around the kitchen. She even signed K’s book and wrote her a note, including her cell phone number if K ever had any recipe emergencies.

After Melissa left to tend to business at her other store, the little baker and I got down to business ourselves and ordered a light lunch, knowing we’d need room for desserts.

After lunch, we ordered a brownie sundae, which came topped with a candle and crammed with enough brownies and chocolate to serve a football team. The brownie induced a kind of wild-eyed chocolate panic, which you can see as K had her first taste and grabbed her spoon to make sure she had her fair share.

And THEN, these little treats arrived, unsolicited. Just Melissa’s way of showing her love. Sugar never fails.

After we rolled out of the dining room, we ventured into the bakery storefront to bring home some goodies. It was a tough choice.

But ultimately, we chose the Bee Stings, a recipe that K had been contemplating from the baking book. We were not disappointed.

We figured three would be more than enough for the six of us to split.

We were so wrong.

chocolate and rosemary

Several weeks ago, I was treated to an evening of friends and food. I didn’t have to cook or clean, and I went solo. Just grown-up girls. Ok, there were a couple of boys there, but they were working for their food, making dessert and carving the meat.

When my friend Rebecca invited me for dinner, she told me she was making Beef Tenderloin with Chocolate Rosemary Sauce. Well, you don’t have to ask me twice. This intriguing combination had my mind turning for days wondering what exactly this dish would taste like.

I’m happy to report, it was a hit. The chocolate does not add a sweet flavor, but rather a hint of richness to the dark brown gravy. And rosemary is easily one of my favorite herbs, with its pungent rustic taste. Crispy roasted potatoes and spring asparagus rounded out the delectable meal.

And what topped off such a sophisticated menu? Crack. Actually, it’s called Cheesecake Sopapilla, but because of its addictive nature, my good-humored young friends call it Crack Cheesecake. I am so grateful I didn’t watch the whole preparation process or read the ingredients until after I consumed a fair amount of this dessert. It basically tastes like a Cinnabon exploding with sweet cream cheese filling.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary, Chocolate and Wine Sauce

Ellie Krieger, The Food You Crave

[click to print]

  • 1 (2-pound) beef tenderloin roast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Season the meat with the salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat until good and hot, then add the meat and sear until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total.
  3. Transfer the meat to a rack set on a baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140°F for medium-rare, about 30 minutes, or to your desired degree of doneness. Remove it from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest until the sauce is nearly done before slicing.
  4. While the meat cooks, make the sauce. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, carrot and celery and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the wine and broth and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan. Stir in the cocoa and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Serve on the side with the sliced tenderloin.

Cheesecake Sopapilla

from foodie friend Bryson

[click to print]

  • 3 cans crescent rolls
  • 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese
  • 2 cups of sugar, divided
  • 4 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Put 1 1/2 cans crescent rolls in the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan.
  2. Mix two sticks butter, cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and spread the mixture on top of the crescent rolls.
  3. Put the other 1 1/2 cans of crescent rolls on the top.
  4. Melt the last two sticks of butter and pour over the top.
  5. Combine the remaining cup of sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over the top.
  6. Bake at 350°F for about 45 minutes.
  7. Don’t tell your doctor or your trainer you ate this.

cupcakes and s’mores

For the past few months, I’ve been learning how to balance what so many other moms have been doing all along: life and work. After having the privilege of staying home with my tribe for their early years, I have been itching to get back into the work arena. But I wanted the best of both worlds, which means a paycheck without ever leaving home. Thanks goodness for the Internet.

Although I cannot blog as often as I’d like, I can do what I love most – eat and write about it. And get paid for it. Don’t pinch me yet, I’m still enjoying the dream.

So if you’d like to know how to  make this:

or this:

then click over to Newtown.Patch.com.

foodie cousins

Of my four brothers, I would say probably only one of them is a true foodie.  So on my side, I have a sore lack of foodie family.  Which I didn’t necessarily miss because my foodie friends provide many opportunities to share and glory in the obsession.  However, there is a certain envy I have of those who spend hours on the phone and weekends away with their sisters.  I used to beg my mom to give me an older sister (yes, older) as my birthday or Christmas gift.  She had the same reaction as I do now when my kids occasionally ask me for another sibling: hysterical laughter tinged with fear.

All this background to say that I had a wonderful girlie weekend with two of my cousins.  Our three mothers were sisters, and sadly there’s only one sister left.  Thus our time retelling family stories, rediscovering forgotten facts and bantering Wood family history has become precious to us all.  And at the center of our chatter, there’s always amazing food.  It’s not always fancy or elaborate, but certainly tasty.  A couple of weeks ago, the nearer cousin, Claire, and I jetted off (actually, we drove) to Rhode Island under the cloak of surprise and appeared on Mair’s doorstep.  We had secured an evening with her through her stealth husband.  On the menu:  gourmet cheese platter with grapes, pomegranate mojitos (click for a great video recipe), Chicken Marsala, salad with a delicious vinaigrette and Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie Cake from Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way.

I love this slate cheese tray!  I found one online here, along with another how-to video.  These slate trays even come with a pencil so you are able to label the cheeses.

I hate to say that I didn’t write down the measurements for Chicken Marsala, however, this is a basic dish that begins the same way as many others.  First, slice the boneless chicken breasts in half horizontally.  Pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until uniformly thin, then dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  Fry lightly in olive oil and transfer to an oven-proof dish to keep warm.  After all the chicken has been cooked, add a few tablespoons of butter and saute diced shallots and mushrooms and cook until softened.  Deglaze the pan with a cup of Marsala wine and simmer, adjusting the seasoning to taste.  Pour the sauce over warm chicken.  Yum!  And cheers to the best older sisters I could ever have wished for.

A little nod to every family's complicated history!