Coming at you from the Bronx, where I’ve been spending a good amount of time lately. Dinner and pastries on Arthur Avenue, art installations in old mansions, and long walks through the unrivaled Botanical Garden (photos below). And this recipe, inspired by Bronx Bees, as featured in New York City Farmer & Feast, by Emily Brooks.
Serves 6 and costs about $8
Bundle of rhubarb
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of anise-flavored liqueur
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup of heavy cream (or milk if you’d like)
Dash of salt
1 pastry dough or tart crust
Wash and dice rhubarb, toss in a bowl with 1/3 cup of sugar, and refrigerate for an hour or so. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain rhubarb in a colander over a large skillet. Heat the juice over high heat until syrupy. Remove from heat and add the rhubarb and liqueur.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, additional yolk, cream, salt, and remaining sugar. Place a pastry dough or tart crust in greased pie plate, add rhubarb, and pour half of custard, wait a minute, and then add the rest.
Bake the tart at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool to almost room temperature and enjoy.
Last night, I watched a girl trying to make a snow angel on floor of the 14th street subway station. I saw another misjudge the distance between the street and a taxi. And another in a prom dress flirting with a police officer.
Just another Saint Patrick’s Day in New York.
Here’s an easy recipe for Irish Soda Bread using local-when-possible ingredients you probably have in your cupboard and refrigerator.
Irish Soda Bread
Slightly adapted from Cook this Now
Serves four and costs about $5
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cup raisins (I used gold)
Up to 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a pie pan. In a large bowl, sift together flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, eggs and butter. Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Add raisins and caraway seeds.
Pour batter into pie pan, cut a cross in the top and bake for 45-50 minutes. Drizzle with honey and a cup of Earl Grey tea.
Slowly combine wet and dry ingredients.
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I’ll be the first to admit that I spend far too much time browsing sugary food blogs featuring impossibly cute cookies, cheesecakes, crumbles, and cupcakes. Those quaint treats with dainty sprinkles nestled upon pastel fabrics with impossibly soft lighting would make anyone drool.
But sometimes an occasion calls for a baked good that is more…gentlemanly. Sometimes there’s a need for a cupcake that holds open the door for the glittery cookie at a party, smells of earthy spices and a hard day’s work, feels weighty in the hand, is made of ingredients sold by a farmer and a local chocolatier, and—perhaps most importantly—is never found on a stick or called a cake pop.
Enter the Gentleman’s Cupcake. Made simply from local sweet potatoes, flour from New York’s Cayuga Pure Organics, dark chocolate, sugar, and sea salt, these cupcakes add a sturdy confidence to any occasion.
A Gentleman’s Cupcake
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens (Yes, I see the irony..)
Makes 12 cupcakes for about $7
1 cup of flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
Few dashes of salt
1 stick of softened butter
3/4 cups of sugar
2 sweet potatoes, roasted, peeled and mashed (in oven at 425 degrees for 45 minutes)
2 tablespoons of milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 bar of dark chocolate, chopped into small triangles
1 bar of sea salt chocolate, chopped into small triangles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line twelve muffin tins with 5x5-inch rectangles of parchment paper. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter until whipped. Add sugar and beat until light, about two minutes. Add eggs, then sweet potato, milk, and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add dry mixture to wet and beat until just combined.
Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full with batter and bake for five minutes. Remove from oven, press in dark chocolate triangles, and return to oven. Bake 15 minutes more, remove from oven and top with sea salt triangles. Cool on wire rack.
Refrigerate for up to three days.
Dark chocolate adds complexity to the cupcake without making it too sweet.
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