Apples and Autumn

Apples and Autumn
“At rural kitchen tables, apple pies and tarts were served as routinely as bread. For families on hardscrabble farms in the Northeast, suppers through the winter might consist of nothing but apple pie and milk, day after day. For those with means, the better city restaurants served dessert apples in little individual boxes, stem and two leaves attached, with a card noting variety and grower…Apples were so much a part of the public consciousness that people came to be described in pomological terms: crabs, bad apples, apple polishers, apples of one’s eye.” –Roger Yepsen, Apples

One of the best things about Autumn, aside from the brilliant colors of falling leaves, is apples. And with each new autumn, there seems to be a new variety of apple that I spot in the grocery store confirming that there is, in fact, an Apple Renaissance that has been taking place in the recent years.

This year I read about “Pink Pearl”, an apple that is, according to Roger Yepsun in his book Apples, “descended from Surprise, an old English variety named for the pink flesh that hides beneath its ordinary yellow exterior.”

Frances McDormand, in a recent article in the New York Times Magazine, mentioned carrying the Pink Pearl and some cheese with her on a hike up a mountain, one of my favorite things to do with an apple – pairing it with some good Vermont cheddar for a snack after an autumn hike. Read more

All Things Corn: Sweet September and the Ebbing of Summer

All Things Corn: Sweet September and the Ebbing of Summer
“Biting into summer. Sitting on the lawn, feet bare eating hot buttered corn. Just picked. So good.” –Ruth Reichl, My Kitchen Year (2015)

September is a month of abundance to savor. From the heavenly days of blue skies and just-right temperatures, to the dreamy cool-night-open-window-sleeping, there is an abundance of all things good that infuses the September air.

You can hear the abundance in bites of crisp apples just picked from a local orchard; you can see the abundance in the roadside farm stands along country roads; you can feel the abundance in the buzz of city farmer markets; and you can smell the abundance in blueberry muffins, apple pies and apple cider donuts baking in ovens – and in the vegetable soups and chowders simmering on stoves.

So in these last days of sweet September, gather some of this month’s abundance and simmer it on the stove, taking one last bite into summer with the “All Things Corn” recipes below. Read more

Seven Summer Salads

Seven Summer Salads
“You need to have the soul of a rabbit to eat lettuce as it is usually served – green leaves slightly lubricated with oil and flavored with vinegar. A salad is only a background; it needs embroidering.” –Paul Roboux (taken from M.F.K. Fisher’s The Art of Eating)

Just as dreamy summer days are a background for endless possibilities of outdoor entertainment, summer salads are a background for endless possibilities of gastronomic entertainment.

Below are seven different recipes for your summer salads, one for each day of the week (note: we’ve included three different versions of the Nicoise Salad at the end). Happy Summer! Read more

One Perfect Meatball for a Perfect Spring Day

“You’re gonna love ’em.”

Bob Dylan Perfect Meatball RecipeFor a perfect ending to April, and after a month long celebration of poetry, and in recognition of the “changin’ times” wrought by the Swedish Nobel Committee awarding, for the first time in its history, a songwriter (Bob Dylan!) the Nobel Prize in Literature, have a listen to Bob Dylan’s song “Series of Dreams” (from The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3, rare & unreleased):

“…If my thought-dreams could be seen they’d probably put my head in a guillotine”, while making “Bob Dylan’s Perfect Meatball Recipe” below.

…and then listen to “Caribbean Wind” and then “Abandoned Love” and then “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and then, before you know it, you will have One Perfect Bob Dylan Meatball! Read more

Happy Spring, Happy Sugar Cookie

Happy Spring, Happy Sugar Cookie
“Today me will live in the moment, unless it is unpleasant. In which case me will eat a cookie.” –Cookie Monster

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that can bring us the most joy, such as a steaming cup of hot tea and a homemade sugar cookie with buttercream frosting and sprinkles. Below are three recipes for sugar cookies, two of which are plain old-fashioned recipes with basic simple ingredients, while the third recipe adds a couple of twists and turns to a basic recipe, giving it a little extra dash of ultimate spring flair! Read more

Springing into March and Maple Syrup Time

Springing into March and Maple Syrup Time
“March is a month of considerable frustration – it is so near Spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away.” –Thalassa Cruso (known as “The Julia Child of Horticulture”, 1909-1997)

While waiting for the March Lion to turn into a Lamb, for the snow to melt and the ground to thaw, consider baking one of the three cakes below (taken from “The Food52 Cookbook” by Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs, 2011). Read more

ATG’s Winter Waldorf Salad

Waldorf salad recipe

As a tribute to the historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City, currently under renovation with plans to reopen with condominiums, we’re featuring our own recipe for a winter Waldorf Salad, along with a few more “official” recipes. A healthy addition to any meal, or even a meal unto itself, we hope you enjoy!

Waldorf Salad

Ingredients for the salad:
1 head of Romaine Lettuce
1/4 – 1/3 cup of Roasted Salted Pecans
1/4 – 1/3 cup of fresh bite-sized chopped Parmesan Cheese
1/4 -1/3 cup dried cherries and cranberries, roughly chopped (we use Mariani brand)
1/2 of bite-sized large apple (we use Crisps Pink or any crisp firm winter apple) Read more

The ‘Key’ to Key Lime Pie

best key lime pie recipeThe Key Lime* – different from Persian or Tahiti limes that one typically sees in the grocery store – was introduced to the Florida Keys during the 1830s by Henry Perrine, a diplomat and botanist who discovered the plant in Mexico.

It is little surprise, then, that the combination of refreshing limes and sweet condensed milk, which was also invented around the same time, eventually evolved to become Florida’s State Pie.

In fact, it was only on a recent trip to Florida that I discovered just how many varieties there are to Key Lime Pie – and how delicious the perfect one can truly be. From light and fluffy to a heavier custard-like filling, one quickly develops a discriminating palate for a dessert that is offered in just about every restaurant in the state. Read more

Late Spring, Early Summer: The Perfect Time for an English Trifle

“A dessert typically consisting of plain or sponge cake often soaked with wine or spirits (as brandy or rum) and topped with layers of preserves, custard, and cream.” –Definition of English Trifle, as found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary

English trifle recipeI can still remember the first English Trifle I tasted years ago. Its soft airy whipped cream, comforting creamy pudding, fresh sweet berries and crumbly texture made for one memorable, heavenly dessert.

Having scoured my cookbooks (this was pre-internet) for an English Trifle recipe, but failing to find one that reflected the culinary vision I had in my baker’s mind, I set out to create my own.

I had just read Frances Mayes’ 1996 memoir Under the Tuscan Sun, in which she shared a Lemon Cake recipe that I had made, served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Deliciously moist and fresh, I decided to make my first trifle with her lemon cake in place of the more typical ladyfingers and sponge cake that one finds in traditional English Trifle recipes. Read more

Springing Green With “All Things Asparagus” and Sweet Spring Dream Cookies

asparagus recipes“I look forward to the spring vegetables because the season is so short. Mushrooms, edible foraged herbs, wild leeks, early season asparagus.”
–David Chang
“The first thing to look at is the tip of the spear or the bud. It should be tightly closed and erect, not open and droopy. The hue of green asparagus should be fresh, bright, and with no hint of yellow. White asparagus should be a clear, even, creamy color. The stalk should feel firm and the overall look should be dewy. Although asparagus, like nearly everything else, is now marketed through most of the year, it is freshest in the spring, from April to early June.”
–Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (1992)

Spring, like life, is short. Celebrate the sprouting of Spring with the recipes below for “All Things Asparagus”, the ultimate Spring vegetable.

For something sweet, enjoy a recipe for Drömmar Swedish “dream” cookies. Read more