I went to Four Five Coffee Roasters with Newsday’s FeedMeTV. You can check out the full video on Newsday.
I’ve lived a lot of places in my life, but living in New York City is pretty special. The city is so diverse, and that diversity is apparent in the vibrant food scene. But, there are some delicacies that are more quintessentially New York than others, and bagels are one of those. In my house, we grew up eating bagels that one would perhaps consider weird: toasted and spread with cream cheese and sprinkled with sugar (it was something my older sister started) - looking back, it was probably to cover our lack luster, mediocre bagels.
Before I moved to NYC, I never had great bagels. Since you can’t miss what you’ve never had, I didn’t even know it. Now, I get to enjoy bagels whenever I want—whether they’re freshly-baked blueberry bagels for breakfast, or an everything bagel packed with meat and cheese for lunch, I probably enjoy a bagel at least two times a week.
I love bagels so much that I’ve made them from scratch multiple times, and I even hosted a New Year’s Day brunch for all of my friends—featuring homemade bagels with all the traditional fixings: cream cheese, capers, lox (the cousin of smoked salmon) and red onion.
As nice as it was to lounge around on a holiday with my closest friends partaking in homemade bagels, my everyday life doesn’t allow for such leisure. I’m typically on-the-go, and I love to have food options that I can grab and take with me. This bagel sandwich is just that. It’s hearty, satisfying and very NYC. It’s layered with Land O Lakes® Deli American, salami, smoked ham, tomato and peppers. Before packing it in my lunch, I cut it in half—just as a bodega would.
NYC Bagel Sandwich | makes one sandwich
2 slices of Land O Lakes® Deli American
1 bagel, sliced in half
2 slices of salami
3 slices of smoked ham
1 thick tomato slice
Spread mayonnaise on both sides of the bagel. Layer the bagel with Land O Lakes® Deli American, salami, ham, tomato and peppers. Cut in half. If not serving immediately, wrap in foil and take with you for a NYC lunch on-the-go.
Blueberry muffins are one of my all-time favorite things to bake (and eat!) I am somewhat of a blueberry fiend, and when I find plump, ripe fresh blueberries, the thought of doing anything with them other than eating them fresh is difficult. However, blueberries still seem to find their way into pancakes, waffles, cobblers, smoothies and even these muffins.
I just got back from a quick trip to Los Angeles. While I was in the sunshine state, I stumbled upon a Farmer’s Market full of ripe, fresh berries. Knowing that fall is in full swing home in New York, I knew I had to stock up on these ripe little beauties! I did eat an obscene amount of blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, but I had plenty of blueberries left so I made these muffins!
These muffins are amazingly delicious. Like all quickbreads, they are relatively simple to make, and the streusel topping elevates them to something more elegant. Plus, the sweetness from the brown sugar in the streusel pairs perfectly with the slight tartness from the berries.
This muffin batter was slightly thicker than most muffin batters that I'm used to, but the muffins have a great rise and an even better taste. Happy baking!
Blueberry Streusel Muffins Recipe
Makes 18 muffins
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1/2 stick)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 and 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces (1/2 stick)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with baking cups.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Add the 1/4 cup butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beating on medium until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
Pour 1/3 of the flour mixture into the batter, and beat until just combined. Pour in 1/2 of the buttermilk. Continue alternating the flour and buttermilk, beating until combined.
Fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into the muffin pans until each muffin cup is 2/3 full.
Prepare streusel topping by combining all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Use either a pastry cutter or your hands to combine the ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffins.
Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and continue baking until a toothpick entered into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 35 minutes in all.
Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack. Enjoy.
This tart is easy and tasty and I’m excited to share the recipe below, but first I’m going to recap some interesting going-ons that have been happening here in New York!
Last weekend was pretty eventful—I attended the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest, and I also had a real-time, in-person viewing of one of the most controversial happenings in sports, ever: The US Open Women’s Final.
But first, I’m going to recape the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest! I had the honor of attending as a guest of Filippo Berio, your favorite olive oil brand that is now tackling the ready made pesto market. It was a balmy Fall morning with temperatures in the low 50s! I had a great time meeting with the brand reps and mingling with the festival attendees. I also took an awesome quiz to discover my “pesto-nality.” I wasn’t even surprised when i got “classic”—I can be pretty traditional!
As much fun as the festival was, it was just hours after that shocking US Open Women’s final where Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams in straight sets. Being able to attend the US Open is one of my favorite perks of living in New York City. I had an inkling that Serena would make it to the finals, so I purchased my tickets about a week before the big event. I was so excited that both she AND Naomi Osaka made it to the finals. (I had been a fan of Naomi since the beginning of the tournament.) I thought this would be a win-win for me as a spectator!
But, as the match went on, strange things started happening. Unlike most sporting events, there’s no announcer speaking clearly; nor is there any way to see what’s happening on a scoreboard. All I could see was Serena talking to the umpire. I texted my dad, who I knew was watching from home, to see what was going on. And that’s how I learned about the debacle that was unfolding… via text message from my dad who was 2,000 miles away… even though I was just feet away. In fact, no one in the stadium knew what was happening. They never even showed close up video of anyone’s face, or the now-infamous racquet smashing. We were all clueless! Needless to say, the event was pretty upsetting for all involved, including us spectators. I was happy to wine & food fest my cares away the net day.
And now for this tart of puff pastry covered with Filippo Berio Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, fresh goat cheese and fresh asparagus! This tart is super easy to make, and full of flavor. During the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest, I had a chance to taste the various Filippo Berio flavors - from Tomato Ricotta Pesto, to Classic and even Olive Pesto. The sun dried tomato pesto is perfect for this tart because the flavor packs a punch. And it pairs perfectly with the fresh goat cheese and asparagus. I have been known to make own puff pastry a time or two before (like here), but these days, I appreciate a good shortcut!
To make this tart, defrost the puff pastry according to its directions, prick the pastry all over with a fork, smear 1/3 cup pesto all over, sprinkle with 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, and line 1 pound of trimmed asparagus that has been tossed in olive oil. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. While the tart is resting, preheat the oven to 400F (It’s very important that the oven is hot when you are baking puff pastry!)
Remove the tart from the refrigerator and bake for about 20 minutes. The crust should be golden, and the asparagus should be cooked through. The aroma of basil, sun dried tomatoes and asparagus will waft through your kitchen!
Asparagus Pesto Tart Recipe
1 sheet of puff pastry
1/3 cup Filippo Berio Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F. Sprinkle flour on the work surface. Place a sheet of thawed puff pastry on the work surface (you can also place the puff pastry on parchment paper). Prick the pastry all over with a fork.
Cover the pastry with the pesto in an even, thin layer. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top in an even layer. Lastly, toss the trimmed asparagus with olive oil, and line the apsaragus on top of the goat cheese. Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until the puff pastry is golden and the asparagus is cooked through. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
I discovered a pesto that's more of a pesto, spicy tomato sauce hybrid--Filippo Berio's Hot Chili Pesto. I love making pesto from scratch, but Filippo Berio's pre-made pesto is a pretty great shortcut for a quick, tasty meal. I love how versatile this sauce is, and how robust the tomato and hot chili flavors are. You can use this sauce over pasta, but I had some fresh yellow squash and zucchini so I made zoodles. Zoodles are simply spiralized zucchini that make for a great pasta-like veggie. They've become so popular that they are sold at most grocery stores.
I simply sauteed the fresh zoodles in a little but of olive oil before topping them with Filippo Berio's hot chili pesto. To make this a complete meal, add you favorite protein-- chunks of baked chicken or even sauteed tofu would work great. Otherwise, it's a great side dish. Top with pine nuts, shaved parmesan and fresh basil to really spruce it up and add a punch of flavor.
Zoodles with Hot Chili Pesto Recipe
1 large package zoodles OR 6 zucchini, spiralized
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 jar Filipo Berrio Hot Chili Pesto (6.7 ounces)
Pine nuts, parmesan and basil, to garnish (optional)
Sautee the zoodles in a large skilled in the olive oil over medium heat until they just begin to soften, about three minutes. Alternatively, the zoodles can be lightly steamed. With the zoodles still in the skillet, add the jar of Filippo Berio Hot Chili Pesto. Stir until the zoodles are evenly coated in the sauce. Remove the skillet from the heat.
If adding chicken or tofu, add it to the skillet and stir. Serve immediately. This dish can be garnished with toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and fresh or dried basil.
I'm finally sharing my lemon curd recipe! I first referenced "making lemon curd from lemons" when the Great American Baking Show was pulled off the air back in December (I wrote about how I felt about winning an un-aired baking competition show here). What I didn't mention was how much I love lemon curd because of it's tart-sweet duality and versatility. In fact, one of the winning dishes from the finale (that you never got to see!) prominently featured this lemon curd. It made Paul Hollywood jump for joy-- it was his most theatrically joyous reaction and it caught me so off guard I was a little spooked!
Making lemon curd from lemons has become my mantra over the past few months. It's a reminder to me that you can make something delectable out of the most tart of situations. One of my personal philosophies is that we have to make the best out of our current situation. You use what you've got.
Making lemon curd is a metaphor for life. It only has 3 ingredients: lemons, eggs and sugar. And these ingredients transform from from liquid to silky, thick and luxurious with time and constant work. While the liquid is heating up over a pot of simmering water, and is being constantly whisked, it may seem like nothing is happening. But keep whisking! If you stop whisking, you'll end up with sugary, lemon-y scrambled eggs. If the heat is too high, it will cook too fast-- more scrambled eggs! But if you constantly whisk over low heat, eventually, it will transform into lemon curd.
I'm currently in a state of "whisk and wait." I'm whisking (putting in work), while waiting (and having faith in!) a transformation.
I recorded an awesome video with Buzzfeed that shows the process of me making lemon curd. Here's the recipe!
Lemon Curd Recipe
Zest from 3 lemons
1 cup granulated sugar (200 g)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (juice from 3-4 lemons)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (113g)
In a medium glass heat-proof bowl, combine the lemon zest and granulated sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until combined. Add lemon juice and whisk until combined.
Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the temperature reaches 170F and the mixture transforms from liquid to thick lemon curd.
Once the mixture has thickened, remove the bowl from the heat and pour the mixture through a strainer into a large bowl to strain out any bits. Once the mixture has cooled slightly, stir in the butter a few pieces at a time until all of the butter is fully incorporated. Use an immersion blender and blend to ensure that the everything is fully incorporated. Cover with cling wrap (touching the curd) and refrigerate until ready to use.
Uses for Lemon Curd
Filling for mini lemon tarts
To layer breakfast parfaits
Filing in cakes
To drizzle over pancakes, waffles or french toast
To slather on biscuits, toast or croissants