This Saturday I participated in the blogger-organized NYC Bake Sale to support No Kid Hungry – a charity organization dedicated to eradication of child hunger. I’ve been feeling spring-tastic, so I decided to get fresh and floral with some lemon lavender bars. And to package them in ridiculous pastel-colored boxes with teacup cutout windows.
So, I made a wedding cake this weekend. It was my present to a dear friend from law school who was putting together a small, DIY wedding. She and her fiance (now husband!!) did an absolutely stunning job decorating and self-catering out of their Brooklyn apartment; they came up with a million beautiful touches – from delicious pre-mixed cocktails inspired by the bride and the groom to bunting strung across the living room from the vintage chandelier. The whole event, from invites to tablecloths, was done in shades of teal and gold, and I tried to incorporate these colors in the cake by using a light teal frosting (perhaps a little reminiscent of certain blue boxes) and gold-dusted gardenias and jonquils. In any event, the bride was happy and we all had a grand old time.
Breaking news! A month later, and my coppa is done! And it is delicious! A little heavy on the cloves, but deeply flavorful, gorgeously marbled, and perfectly textured. Now how to get rid of a whole stick of meat?
Looking for a last minute dish for your Mad Men party? Then this is not for you; get some shrimp cocktail and make up for it with a fabulous dress. If you want an utterly amazing 1960s dish worth prepping in advance for future Mad Men parties – or for life in general – read on and you will find amazing pastry secrets, and a recipe (for duck turnovers) in which to use them.
This year, as they have for the past few, Easter and Passover overlapped. I actually grew up celebrating Easter more than Passover; my Dad always took me through the Exodus story, but never got around to staging a full-on seder – egg hunt and chocolate bunnies, however, were an annual occurrence. So, I decided to continue my Easter tradition, and to look back to my Italian roots to do so. I made a classic Neapolitan Easter dish – a ricotta pie called a pastiera – and then decided to give a nod to Passover as well by throwing together a matzo kugel. And what did I do with all this food? Brunch, of course!
I don’t know about you, but I can practically taste spring. I even went a little crazy last week and bought several pairs of sandals. Though maple syrup is available year-round in this day and age, the “Early Spring” section of my New England cookery book Rain, Hail, and Baked Beans tells me tree-tapping and syrup production used to be associated with this time of year – that spring signaled a switch from heavy, wintry, molasses-based sweets to the lighter flavors of maple syrup. My spring fever thus led me down the path to…Maple Gingerbread Cake.
You my have noticed that many of my posts lately have been baked goods. This is due to two factors: (1) baking is my favorite, and (2) I’ve been really busy with work, and it’s so much easier to whip up something sweet and work while it’s in the oven. I had some free time this weekend, though, so I decided to chill out and turn to slow food – the slowest food I know: cured meat. Coppa, specifically.