Monday, March 28, 2011

A Thank You

There is no new recipe to post this week. Which is sad, but also appropriate for the week that we had. So instead of skipping a post or trying to throw something together just for the sake of posting, I decided to post a quick thank you. We were dealing with some scary health-stuff this week, which I'm not ready to share, but I do want to say a sincere thanks.

To our amazing family who were here to help out with everything, which we so desperately needed. And to my fellow law students who sent me notes from missed classes and did a little extra work to make up for my slacking on a team brief. And to my professors who were so incredibly understanding that I had to miss some classes and even said they wouldn't cold-call me until I gave them the go ahead. And Tom's work that is more worried about him, than when he'll be back. Thank you.

So we're not totally out of the woods yet, but it is profoundly beautiful to be reminded in tough times that people are good. And compassionate. And will do the best they can to help.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


These cookies are further proof that everything sounds better in French. Langues-de-Chat (pronounced approximately: long du shat) means "cat's tongue," which references the shape of these delicious buttery cookies. I made these "plain," but, if I had had good chocolate in the house I would have dipped one end. I think you could also spread chocolate between 2 cookies and create a homemade milano.

These are light and go perfectly with milk, coffee, or tea. But are also delightful on their own. They are also a snap to make and bake up literally in 6 minutes. One of my favorite aspects of this cookie is that you use a piping bag to form the cookies, which adds to the "fun factor" and ease.

I think I will revisit these and play around with different flavor combos. Next time I might do lemon/poppy seed, with a higher lemon flavor. Or maybe dipped in chocolate and rolled in pistachios.

8 tbs. butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
2 egg whites, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. With a rubber spatula mix butter and confectioners' sugar thoroughly. Add salt, zest, and vanilla. Mix to incorporate.

2. Add half of the flour, mix. Add all of the egg whites, mix. Add the remaining flour and mix until combined. It should be truly mixed, but do not over work the batter.

3. Pour batter into a piping bag and snip the end. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe 2 inch straight lines about 2 inches apart on the sheet. Bake for 6 minutes. The cookies should begin to brown around the edges, but still be light on the insides.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pete & Elda's Pizza

(picture from

If you had asked me a few years ago where to get the best pizza, I wouldn't have hesitated to think about the answer. I would have sent you on your way to John's down on Bleecker Street. It's the best thin-crust pizza in New York, in my (and a lot of people's) opinion. I mean, it's been there since 1929, so they have to be doing something right.

But then I met Tom, and when I took him to John's his response was lukewarm. I was stunned - how was this even debatable? But he explained to me that the best thin-crust pizza was actually in Neptune, New Jersey. It's probably no surprise that I was incredulous, but the next time we were down visiting his family, we stopped in and I sit here today a convert.

Not that I don't still love John's, but my pizza-heart belongs to Pete & Elda's. With crust so thin it's almost like a cracker. And the perfect ratio of sauce to cheese. It really just doesn't get any better. So when we went down this weekend to visit Tom's parents, it was no question where we were going to dinner on Saturday. And no question what I had for breakfast this morning!

So if you find yourself in Neptune (or even within a 20 mile or so radius), do yourself a serious favor and check it out. I promise - you won't be disappointed.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Whoopie Pies

I was already toying with making whoopie pies this week as a great way to have more chocolate in our lives and to use up the extra cream cheese frosting I made for the red velvet cupcakes last week. And then a friend of mine posted this New York Times article and (as though I needed extra encouragement) there was no way I would make anything else this week.

The article surprised me because, being from Lancaster County, I couldn't believe that anyone
other than the Pennsylvania Dutch would lay claim to having created such a rich, chocolate-y, sugary treat. The people who brought us shoo-fly pie (so named because it is so sweet the flies had to be shooed away while the pies cooled on the windowsill). So in honor of the county of my birth, and the ever-popular Amish baked goods stand on Rt. 741, here is a great whoopie pie recipe. Be forewarned that these are a pretty big hit with law students, husbands, and obviously anyone from Lancaster County - so be prepared to share.

Whoopie Pies

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, dutch processed

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl combine buttermilk and vanilla extract.

2. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on high for about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Add the egg and mix until fully incorporated; scrapping down the sides as needed.

3. Reduce speed to low. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and then 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat, ending with adding the last of the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and continue to mix until fully incorporated.

4. On a pan lined with parchment paper, spoon about 1/8 cup mounds of the batter about 2" apart. I did 6 per pan to make sure they didn't bake together, but they didn't really spread too much.

5. Bake for 7 minutes on the lower oven rack and 5 minutes on the upper oven rack. Remove to a cooling rack and, when completely cooled, ice the flat sides with
this frosting and sandwich two halves together.