Author Archive

the state i am in

May 6, 2010

Our kitchen goes through states, which may or may not reflect the general life states the roommates are going through. Right now, in general, there is a sense of unexpectedness, of disorder, of a little anxiety of what’s to come for all of us. (See: canning.) Usually our kitchen is a near perfect balance between cleanliness and disorder, not so clean you feel like you have to pick up every crumb you spill (well, god knows I don’t) but not so dirty you don’t want to spend lots of time there, either cooking or hanging out. Because we do, we love to spend time together in the kitchen.

The other night the kitchen was cluttered, it was filled with canned goods and rice and dirty dishes and my computer and shredded coconut and the millions of water glasses I am currently going through.  The next morning it was a little better, as all cluttered nights feel better after you sleep on it. And I think as the week goes on, it will most likely stay on the cluttered side, but I kind of like that. Life is never a shiny, clean kitchen. Especially when you’re graduating. But regardless, even the most cluttered kitchen has the potentiality to produce the best kind of cookie: Coconut Oatmeal white and chocolate chip. Yeah. These cookies go into the baked goods hall of fame.

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cheesy dreamy

April 26, 2010


There was some protest to the photograph I chose to lead my last post with, so this begins with a picture unarguably adorable. Looking at pictures of cows, being around cows, listening to cows moo, these things all make me indescribably happy. So you can imagine the state I was in the other week when I went to visit Hawthorne Valley Farm with Zoe. (We also took a visit to Zoe’s new home and I got a preview of her awesome new digs!) I was doing research for a piece I’m just finishing on the raw milk movement in New York City. Hawthorne Valley Farm, at 2 and a half hours away (if you don’t get lost, but that’s a different story), is the closest place for New Yorkers to legally buy raw milk. A lot of raw milk is delivered from various upstate farms into the city through the ‘raw milk black market’ (not making this up) but in the State of New York, the only way to legally purchase it is buying straight from the 20 or so farms with a milk permit.

There are a lot of legal issues, heated emotions, debatable health risks and debatable health benefits behind raw milk. After speaking to many, many people on the issue, I’ve come to something of a conclusion. I believe you take a risk drinking raw milk comparable to the risk you take eating ground beef from the supermarket. As long as the farm your milk is coming from is clean, small, and humane, the milk you’ll get is going to be good. It’s a great way to support local dairy farms, as milk is one of the few real money makers left for smaller farms. And, raw milk just tastes incredible. After you’ve tried it, ultra-pasteurization seems like a criminal thing: milk is not supposed to be watery and bland! It’s just not, and that’s that. And oh yeah, raw milk makes awesome cheese.

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comings and goings

April 23, 2010

It has been a long semester, in both wonderful and challenging ways. It began, honestly, with this blog. We had been planning to write here in previous months, practicing our camera work and recipies, brainstorming blog names and themes. I got my beloved Canon Rebel for Christmas (thanks, mom and dad!) took a few pictures of the mason jars in our kitchen, borrowed the name Zoe cleverly thought of, and here we are. It’s overwhelming, really, to think of where we are now. I have a job! After many many many months of not knowing where to go after graduation, I have been lucky enough to get a job I am really, really excited about. And will keep me in Brooklyn. So I’m not going anywhere.

But roommates travel, leave, and hopefully come back. Not all of us are staying in the city, but I think you find something really wonderful around here after you put enough time in New York to call it home. Every time you leave, it feels like a breath of fresh air, but nothing is like returning to New York. Even if only to visit, the cold city becomes welcoming, friends from all across boroughs gather to reunite, and adventures happen. This post is about an adventure we had my first night back in New York this past semester, our last semester. And yes, it has something to do with food.

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a sweet return

March 4, 2010

Whew! We have been missing in action over here, but not for the wrong reasons. Every winter this point in the semester seems inevitable – the weather remains stubbornly cold, cloudy heads and stuffy noses come and never seem to go, classes begin to drag. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve generally been exhausted and/or cold for the past few weeks. But it looks like the sun is out today, I’m taking the morning off, and we have spring vacation in a week. To Paris! To Greece! To Berlin! To New Orleans! The five of us will be around the world in a matter of time, and hopefully writing about it here. And on the topic of worldliness, I have Italian cookies to share with you.

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on winning hearts and minds

February 14, 2010

There’s something really very wonderful about baking, and that is you can never bake only for yourself. I’ve made cookies and cakes before in which yes, probably, I could polish off one lonely evening or a day the refrigerator is lacking. And after living in smaller apartments with less people I’ve often found that tempting. But now living with four other people, we bake and cook for each other. Which is good because cookies are never meant to be eaten alone.

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snow day

February 10, 2010

No recipes today. Snow day pictures…

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on eating meaty

February 6, 2010

This is Jake Dickson.

He’s Zoe’s boss over at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats in Chelsea Market, and a recent subject for a profile I’m writing for my food journalism class. I had a really wonderful time taking a tour of his store and becoming an enlightened meat consumer, and want to tell you guys about it. After recently reading Michael Pollen and looking into Jonathan Safron Foer’s new book, Eating Animals, I’ve been struggling with the ethics behind eating meat. Although we mostly eat vegetarian at this apartment, I really, really truly love eating meat. Jake took me back to the meat freezer and with the smell of the meat and the spices, all concentrated within a very small space, I was convinced that Heaven would be a freezer, and that I would be happy to spend eternity here, assuming I had a very warm jacket and means to actually eat all this meat. Anyway. I digress.

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nice surprises

January 29, 2010

As is evident in the short period we’ve had this blog, we like carrots over here. And we like carrots on surprising things, like pizza or in this case, sandwiches. I can’t remember where I heard the idea for a carrot and cheddar sandwich combination, but I didn’t see anything about this simple recipe not to like. And, hey, I like it quite a bit! The best part is how simple it is to make:

There you go. I guess I didn’t need pictures, but who knew that carrots photographed so beautifully? And while I took at least fifteen pictures of the process of making this sandwich, not once did I notice that my bread was the wrong side up. Only until I showed a friend these pictures (yes, I make my friends look at my pictures of carrots), did he mention the confusing placement of the bread. Oops. Here’s one more shot for the road, bread placement be damned:

Seriously. Don’t those carrots look sexy?

lets make it official

January 24, 2010

It was a big weekend, and a good place to officially start this blog. First, introductions, because there are five of us.

Zoe is our resident cook, and a food policy/sustainable farming/community activism student. She’s worked at East New York Farms, for McClure’s Pickles, and now for Dickson’s Farmstand Meats. And, she just won a pie contest. So, people! This girl knows about food.
Nicole just returned from a month long trip to the Philippines, where she realized she has more aunts, uncles, and cousins than she can count on her hands and feet. She studies reproductive rights, gender and sexuality, and interns with the Pro-Choice Public Education Project. She also makes a mean pasta/kale combination.
Claire is a journalism student interning right now for Allure. She has a keen sense of place and is an even better dancer. She has the astounding ability to compile random, healthy things on a plate and make it look really, really good.
Sami is a public policy student, and worked with NYU dining halls to provide food to homeless shelters around NYC. She has traveled around the world, makes her own yogurt, and is working with Zoe this semester researching chicken-coop models around NYC.
I (Emily) am a writer; I love food: cooking, eating, writing, and photographing it. I wanted to start this blog because we’re always cooking, eating with friends or with each other, and that’s a big part of why the five of us work so well as roommates. We’re here together in Brooklyn, until we graduate in May, and we thought it would be wonderful to share our apartment with our friends in a larger way. Hence, this blog.

So, maybe a recipe to start? This weekend we invited over friends to eat lots, and lots, and lots of cake. It looked a little something like this:

We were celebrating Claire’s birthday, and because my birthday falls during the holiday and I have always spent it at home, I wanted to bake a sort-of birthday cake for myself. All I wanted was a banana cake. With peanut butter. And, okay, if there’s going to be peanut butter, there had better be chocolate.

This cake was kind of a mishmash of recipes. The banana cake is adapted from Eat Me, Delicious, it’s the recipe I ALWAYS use for banana cake because while it has a wonderful banana flavor, it resembles cake more than it does banana bread. The peanut butter frosting isn’t too difficult to whip up, and chocolate ganache…. well, I could make that in my sleep. And eat it every night before I go to sleep, and when I wake up, and for a mid-afternoon snack. With the chocolate, the peanut butter, and the banana combined…. yikes. It was a mighty fine cake.

Banana Cake:
two cups ap flour
one & one-half cups white sugar
one stick butter
one cup milk
three & one-half tsp baking powder
one tsp salt
one tsp vanilla extract
three eggs
two mashed bananas, about 1 cup (good to be super-ripe, but mine weren’t and this was fine.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two nine inch cake pans, put parchment paper on the bottom, and again, grease that sucker down.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating just to combine. Stir in vanilla and mashed bananas. Pour the batter between two pans, cook for around 35 minutes, or, you know, until that toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting, just beat a cup or so of smooth PB with a stick of room-temp butter until light and creamy. Add about a cup and a half of powdered sugar, beat it, and then add and beat in 1/3 cup heavy cream. Beat in another cup and a half of powdered sugar, and there you have it! Add more sugar or heavy cream depending on how thick/thin/or sweet you want it.

Chocolate Ganache: I used about 6 oz of extra dark chocolate and 3/4 cup heavy cream. Heat your heavy cream until its boiling, and then pour that baby into your chocolate. Whisk like crazy! It always looks gross when you start but then it will become one of the more beautiful visions on this earth. To drizzle, let ganache cool, spoon into a sandwich bag and cut one end of the bag off. This recipe makes more than enough for this cake, so, if you really want to, you can incorporate into your next week of meals.

This was wonderful and sweet, but we have a savory pie recipe coming that will knock your socks off, because it literally knocked 60 peoples socks off last night at a pie competition we entered in Williamsburg. Yeah, dudes, this pie WON THE COMPETITION. It’s a samosa pie, and I don’t have pictures, so that must mean Zoe will make another one for us in the very near future, we will eat, and she will post. Look for it soon!

our kitchen

January 19, 2010

For the first time, hello!

This weekend we’re making six cakes and five pies, so we’ll be off to a good start here.