Because cooking always makes sense. The blending of ingredients, the science of the combinations and reactions, the emotions of people as a result. Cooking always relaxes me. Something about the ease I can move around my kitchen, or know how precisely to season, or adding salt in baking heightens the other ingredients, or that adding sugar helps caramelize onions without burning them… these things make sense to me. Food is also always at the center of bringing people together. It’s the foundation of holidays and parties, it’s how friends gather who haven’t seen each other in ages, it’s how you impress people you feel the desire to impress. Food makes people happy, it makes people fall into a dream state, it makes people emotional making new memories and thinking of old ones. Cooking makes sense. And so does this recipe throwback. For all the reasons above….
What’s better after a long weekend in the Hampton’s than a stop at Levain Bakery for their all famous chocolate chip wanut cookies? Not much in a line full of traffic out! It’s the perfect fuel for the drive home. Their original location is in the city but they opened up alocation on the east end of Long Island for city vacationers and I was told I needed to try it. And boy did their cookies live up to their expectation! Crisp on the outside, chewy warm melted goodness on the inside. And they are huge!! Definitely a must try but don’t be surprised when a long line greets you. That’s how good these are! 🙂
Missing my food? Here’s a good start to fall dish I dreamt up this Sunday afternoon. I’ve mentioned before that fall is my favorite time of year, and with it rolling in this weekend with cool weather, it felt wonderful having the windows open, the cool breeze flowing in, my pumpkin candle burning, and the oven on cooking this delicious meal. The smell of roasted chicken and apples which filled the apartment was incredible. Definitely make the time to try this one this fall after your apple picking adventures or just by picking some up at the supermarket!
2 tbs butter (I used my lactose free butter)
1 gala Apple, halved
1 clove of garlic
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 whole chicken
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small red onion, sliced
1 bottle beer
1/2 cup chicken broth
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Don’t these ingredients just look so pretty?
In a food processor, blend together the butter, half an apple, rosemary, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. This is going to be your rub for the chicken.
Place the chicken in a large roasting pan. Start by carefully separating the skin from the chicken, leaving it intact to form a pocket. You’re going to take some of the butter and rub it into the meat under the skin.
Use the remaining butter mixture to coat the outside of the chicken. This will create a beautiful crust and also drip down into the pan for flavor. I know, this doesn’t look the prettiest, but keep going!
As summer comes to a close, I’m taking the time to unwind and and enjoy what’s left. Life is short. Sit outside, eat your lunch, and make sure to tell the one you love that you love them. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring and don’t want to live with regrets. And turn those boring old lunchtime sandwiches into something enjoyable.
This week I’ve been packing a new favorite of mine: hummus, mozzarella, buffalo chicken and sliced cucumbers on a roll. Another favorite of mine is turkey, roasted red pepper, tomato, fresh mozzarella with a little mayo in a wrap.
If you’re home, I love to toast sandwiches. Salami and cheese toasted on a roll with hot banana peppers and olives is great. Or try mixing up grilled cheese by using a mix of Buffalo cheddar and Swiss with salami and avocado.
What’s your favorite sandwich? Switch up your sandwich routine and enjoy!
And all those impacted by the upcoming storms, past storm, wildfires and earthquakes. I know a lot of great hurricane tips are being thrown around and please make sure to listen to all them. Power will go out quickly and will stay out for awhile so ensure to stock up your pantries with canned food, fresh fruit and vegetables and water.
One great fresh dish you can make which will keep for awhile outside of the fridge is a simple pasta salad. Just cook up some pasta and mix in tomatoes, artichokes, chickpeas and olives. A dressing of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper will allow the salad not to spoil.
Keep safe out there everyone.
The love of two people is truly a magical thing, and I was both happy and honored to witness the love of two friends take the next steps in this thing called life. And in a gorgeous part of Europe no less. I traveled by trains, planes and automobiles to a small town in Sweden and toasted the newly wed couple in a beautiful and memorable celebration. “Skål!” (Cheers!) was shouted over and over while loved ones toasted the happy couple during the dinner portion. Smiles were a plenty, laughs were had (even when we didn’t understand what was being said!) and new memories with new friends were made. The wedding was gorgeous. And the next best part was being able to explore their home country and go on yet my latest food adventure.
Where do I even begin on this one? First I guess the flight! With a layover in Finland, I can’t say I explored that country at all, just looked out over the beautiful countryside as we landed and grabbed a coffee at the airport. Maybe on the list for a future trip?
But on to Sweden. My friends grew up in a town called Borås outside Göteborg which is where my first stop was. Staying at a hotel in the middle of town, despite how tired I felt from the flight (even though I actually slept!) I needed to get out and explore right away. The city has a strong history in textiles, with there being a couple of textile museums to learn the history. There were art pieces all around the city, a canal which ran through, cobble stone roads, and a Pinocchio statue called Walking to Boras. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this city, and the food was so good (I’ll get to that!). The wedding was held at a beautiful venue in the countryside about a half hours bus ride from town. Set in a barn on a lake, a little rain showered the closing of their wedding vows, but the sun shone brightly for them after.
A train ride north to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, brought a whole new atmosphere and wonderful city to explore. Exploring this beautiful archipelago must be done on foot, as there’s so much to take in that traveling from place to place by cab would be a huge disservice. Also recommended is some sort of canal ride or tour to really get a sense of the archipelago. Made up of 14 islands, some are far more touristy than others, but we took it all in. A boat ride to the closest of the islands from downtown Stockholm, Fjäderholmarna, made for a great afternoon. This island was a sight to be seen between the water, the greenery and the little shops and artisans, including a small brewery. For the rest of Stockholm, I made sure to take in the sights, visit the all famous Vasa Museum, visited the touristy yet a must-to-be-seen Gamla Stan (Old Town), walked past the Palace and visited some parks.
Now, on to the best part. The food. And oh my was it good. There are a few key dishes that Sweden is known for. Of course, meatballs is a must have. Served with the all famous lingonberries.
Or on a stick at a wedding!
Anything fish from fish soup, toast skagen (shrimp on toast), smoked salmon, cured salmon, fish roe, herring and shrimp salad.
And of course, my favorite, cinnamon buns. I love cinnamon buns. And no you American people, it’s not just an IKEA thing. This is a very traditional pastry to have during their “fika” which is a sociable coffee break. Well, I can say I had my fair share of these.
So that concludes my amazing Swedish food adventure. I checked just about everything off my food list. “Tack” (thank you) to my lovely friends for inviting me to witness their wedding and for sharing their beautiful country with me. I can’t wait to go back!
Oh, and no layover in Heathrow Airport is complete without the purchase of plenty of English chocolates. Because English chocolate is the best. And I really need my (good) Dairy Milk fix 🙂