butter poached bon: brown butter apple tart

When we were musing on what to make out of November’s Bon Appétit, we were both drawn to two categories–potatoes and pies. There are some seriously good looking potatoes in last month’s issue. But, given that we are households of one and two respectively, we decided that having a whole dessert to go through might be wiser than a whole pan of potatoes. And from there, given our well documented love of browned butter, this apple tart seemed like an obvious choice.

Tho we each read the recipe through several times, the weekend we had set aside to make the tart we both realized that we should have started the dough a day ahead…as the directions clearly state. Whoops. We decided that Jessica would go ahead and make the tart with store-bought pie dough, and Laura would make the recipe’s recommended dough from scratch.

Update: The Bon included us in a feature with five other bloggers’ who cooked this tart. Click here to check out the round-up.

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smitten pea pesto

This is a simple recipe, and it is simply good. A lot drew me to this particular dish. Peas are maybe my favorite veggie, and I especially love them in pasta. I’m a big fan of pesto, but not always a fan of making it–sometimes rinsing and de-stemming and packing in basil leaves feels like a too tedious process, and this recipe offers much simpler steps. And really: peas, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. What’s not to love?

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thanksgiving crunch

It’s crunch time, alright. Exactly one week until we sit down to the year’s biggest food holiday. By now, many people have their Thanksgiving menus planned and might even be prepping sides and pies. I’m feeling a little behind because I haven’t yet decided on my contributions to this year’s family feast. I tried out two recipes this weekend, though, and I might just make them both next Thursday.

Ed made an observation a couple of weeks ago about the state of the Thanksgiving meal: he said there’s no crunch. At first, I argued with his point — what about the topping on the green bean casserole? Or the snap of green beans vinaigrette? But I knew I wasn’t going to win. He’s right — there is nothing on the table that can fairly be called “crunchy.” The meal has probably evolved to have minimal crunchiness because too much would fatigue the jaw and we wouldn’t be able to eat as much. Putting evolution and history aside, it’s hard to deny that Thanksgiving needs a little shake-up in the texture department. Continue reading

restaurant faves at home

Having lived in New York for 13 years, I have a lot of favorites. A favorite part of Central  Park (the miniature boat pond), a favorite work of art to visit at the Met (Jackson Pollock’s “One”), a favorite latte (at Cafe Pedlar in my new neighborhood), a favorite walk (Central Park South, running from 5th Ave to Columbus Circle). I could go on and on. Still, I struggle to answer the favorite restaurant question. I need it to be narrowed down: by neighborhood, cuisine, atmosphere, time of day, and I have an answer–several!–for each category. But if pressed to pick an absolute favorite, the restaurant I have loved longest and best is a little Greek place in Morningside Heights called Symposium. It’s nothing fancy and it certainly isn’t on any hot can’t miss culinary lists, but I love it. So much so that I have a copy of the menu hanging on my kitchen wall:

I started going in the fall of my freshman year, when I was hating all of the food at school so much that I was dropping weight. Everything at Symposium was delicious and tasted truly home cooked, and the space was so cozy that eating there was nourishing in more ways than one. Over the years my friends and I went more and more, for birthdays and special dates and eventually even our graduation party. I stayed uptown the longest, so I’ve had the luxury of going back the most. When I visit now, it feels a little like going home–the headwaiter asks after my old roommates by name, and always wants to know how my family is. If you’re really special to me, I take you to Symposium. Continue reading

pepper steak grows up

Until a few months ago, my opinion of pepper steak was not clearly defined. My overall view was neutral, leaning positive, but within the margin of error [sorry, I’ve been reading a lot of polling summaries lately]. We ate pepper steak fairly regularly as I was growing up. It was not only a frequent choice for take-out, but my dad crafted a really fresh and satisfying homemade version. When we had it, I enjoyed it — I liked the pieces of crunchy green peppers and I have a soft spot for big squares of sweet onion–, but to me it was just another item in semi-regular rotation on our weeknight dinner circuit. It was better than chicken soup, but not nearly as sought after as fajitas, for example.

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butter poached bon: pork loin braised in milk

Welcome to our first joint post! This marks the start of what we hope will become a monthly tradition. When we began talking about creating a food blog, one of our ideas was to have a monthly post in which we chose a recipe from the current issue of Bon Appétit, cooked it in our respective apartment kitchens, and shared our trials and tribulations here. We’re long time subscribers (Laura has given Jessica a gift subscription for Christmas for the last several years!) and admirers of the Bon and we have a habit of drooling over the magazines together, either in person or via text and email. Taking the next step to cook the same recipe together — albeit 228 miles apart — seemed like it could be even more fun. And it was.

Choosing a recipe from the October issue was tough because there were so many good looking items…but there wasn’t any single thing that jumped out for both of us. Through a series of texts, we narrowed the choices to some of the safe-seeming choices (shrimp and white beans, lentil cassoulet, milk braised pork) or something fancier and outside of our comfort zones (layer cakes, sage fried meatballs). Jessica wisely thought we should play it safer for now and get fancy for the holidays, which left us with shrimp, eggs, lentils, or pork. We went with the Pork Loin Braised in Milk, in part because, as Jessica said, “it just sounds so weird!” The recipe came from “The Providers” column, which is written by the authors of the tried and true Dinner A Love Story blog. Continue reading