Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tomato Time

Super Sweet Cherry Tomatoes

Here at Erin's Kitchen, I can't get enough late summer tomatoes. I knew I was over the edge when I paid a whopping $4 for one heirloom tomato--it was actually mealy and not particularly sweet, so that cooled my tomato fervor--or at least made me a more discerning farmer's market shopper.

Tomato & Corn Salad

It's hard to beat a simple salad of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, and I served Suzanne Goin's version at a dinner party last night--she studs hers with crisp, rustic croutons and tops it with an oregeno-scented vinaigrette. Another favorite is pictured above--tomato wedges tossed with salt, pepper, basil and plenty of fresh sweet corn.

Tomato Foccacia

More complicated tomato concoctions include this ridiculously amazing tomato focaccia, courtesy of The Wednesday Chef. I loved it so much, I made it two nights in a row and each time it disappeared within hours.

Mark Bittman's Tomato Jam

Finally, Mark Bittman's super-simple tomato jam provides a nice transition from summer to (gulp) fall. I'll smear some of this deep crimson, cinnamon and clove flavored concoction (with a hint of heat) on some crusty bread tomorrow and pack it in my lunch for the first day of school.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Upper West Side Dining Guide

My summer internship in DC ended last week, and school doesn't start until after Labor Day. So I've spent my free time lazing about and creating the Upper West Side Dining Guide. It's designed as a resource for my fellow grad students, but useful for all. Go check it out!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

American Flatbread Bakery-Waitsfield, VT

Clam Flatbread

And just like that--it was August. How the summer flew, and I with it--from DC to NY to DC to NY to Iowa to Wisconsin to DC to NY to DC. Whew. Now I'm back in NY for good--after a much needed long weekend with J in the mountains of Vermont. A friend's parents were kind enough to lend us their cabin and we did nothing but read, cook, and wander the hills.

Garden at Flatbread

Our one meal out was at the lovely American Flatbread Bakery, which becomes a restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights. The set-up is simple: you put your name on the list, grab a beer and then grab a seat outside--round the campfire, in the grass, on the porch--as you wait for them to call your name. This was the only restaurant where I've ever been disappointed that our wait wasn't as long as promised--I could have sat in the cool summer evening sun, staring at the green trees for another hour. It was heaven.

Wood-fired Oven at Flatbread

There's one salad on offer, and a slew of flatbreads. We ordered the special--a clam flatbread topped with local cheese, oregano and pancetta. The dining room houses the wood-fired oven where the breads are baked, and the young guys manning the stove will show off by twirling their wooden paddles used for sliding the breads in and out. While you wait, you can attempt to read the history of bread & fire posted chronologically around the room, though the print is small. One flatbread easily feeds two; J and I finished ours, leaving no room for dessert.

If you're not planning a trip to Vermont any time soon, you can try to simulate the experience with a frozen American Flatbread--you can find them many Whole Foods or other natural food markets. Invite some friends over, sit in the backyard, drink some beer and try to forget that summer's almost over.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Peach Tart with Raspberry Jam

Peach Tart with Raspberry Jam
This tart is a variation of the Aprium-Pistachio Galette (Galette? Tart? Difference?) I made last summer. You cheat with puff pastry, and top with fruit. I spread the pastry with Quaker Valley Orchards red raspberry jam, then topped it with fresh sliced peaches. I sprinkled a tablespoon or two of sugar on the top, then baked in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes. The crust was somewhat problematic because of the jam--it got a bit soggy in the middle, and I actually cut the tart into squares and then baked it a bit more to crisp up the edges of the individual pieces. Next time I might try pre-baking the crust a bit before spreading the jam. Still--delicious, summery, and my officemates devoured it before 10 AM.