Month: August 2013

Cold Brewed Iced Coffee

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I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t drink coffee every single day. I might be one of the few people out there who would rather get a really good night of sleep over a venti mocha espresso Xanax Prozac cappuccino latte. Call me crazy.

So when I do have a cup of coffee, I want it to be REALLY good. I’m kind of a purist like that. For some reason, just chilling a pot of hot coffee yields the worst iced coffee. I don’t know what happens inside the fridge for those few hours, but the coffee definitely doesn’t win. This recipe for iced coffee makes an awesome cup of iced and is super easy if you plan ahead and set up to brew overnight for deliciously rich iced coffee in the morning.

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(a coarse grind helps to ward off bitterness)

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Italian Pasta Dinner with Spiced Up Sauce

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Although I love the taste of simmered-all-day tomato sauce on my pasta, the absence of an Italian granny permanently installed in my kitchen prevents me from having it more more than once in an extreme while. To make up for the gaps, I’ve learned to freshen up bottled sauce in a snap with bright cherry tomatoes, and freshly clipped basil leaves. For a fast (almost) authentic Italian dish, serve it over spaghetti cooked perfectly al dente. Bellissimo.

*Note: This dish is inexpensive to make and can be easily enlarged for groups or parties.

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(I can never resist dipping some bread into the sauce, can you?)

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Homemade Guacamole

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I was recently at a small summer pool party where the host decided to go super simple by serving hot dogs, hamburgers, and a HUGE bowl of fresh, homemade guacamole with chips. It was delicious. She didn’t stray from the classic pool party foods (which everyone, I mean everyone, loves.) and infused a little freshness and an exotic touch with the homemade guac. Here is my quick recipe for guacamole that has never failed me (or take more than 10 minutes to make when it’s just before kickoff time).

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(super fresh cilantro, love how bright green it is)

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(ground sea salt)

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Organized and Open Kitchen Counters

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(before picture of a messy and boring sink)

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(after hanging everything on the wall; look at the adorable folding dish drainer on the right!)

Just that title alone is beautiful sounding. There is nothing more awful then cramming a cutting board full of raw chicken onto a kitchen counter already overcrowded with stuff. Necessary stuff to be sure; you can’t think of a single item on there that you use infrequently enough to deal with having to pull it out from the cabinet every time you reach for it. You really don’t want to just throw the chicken into the hot pan with those gross looking bits of fat on it, but you also don’t want raw chicken rubbing up against your coffee maker either while you wrestle with it on your tiny cutting board wedged onto the edge of the counter. You’re pretty sure at least that the chicken didn’t make actual contact with the coffee pot, you think.

Thankfully, Ikea has swooped in with a brilliant and affordably priced organizational idea to save the day (again). The Grundtal Kitchen Series puts needed things like a dish drainer and a cup of commonly used cooking utensils in the airspace somewhere above your kitchen counter. You affix sleek looking bars just below the cabinets above the countertop and then use sleek looking hooks to hang whatever your heart desires. Every time I visit the store there seem to be even more hangable kitchen accessories (brief aside: now that I am in my mid-twenties, I get UNBELIEVABLY excited by hangable kitchen accessories. My bratty 10 year old self would have been highly skeptical of the sanity of my 25 year old self).

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(before of the area between the stove and fridge, which is too small for anything, but gets used for EVERYTHING)

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(after of the newly very spacious counter; this is Manhattan, it IS spacious)

Hampton Bays, NY

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(The most fresh and delicious lobster roll from Tully’s Clam Bar in Hampton Bays, NY. One of those sauces is maple butter for the potato fries, yum! This is a must visit if you are anywhere near the Hamptons this summer, they get their seafood from sister store Cor-J Seafood around the corner which practically plucks the fish and shellfish right out of the water minutes before selling it to you.)

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(Tully’s menu, I want to try everything 🙂 )

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(An antique stove damper by the Griswold Mfg. Co. found at Good Ground Antiques on Montauk hwy right in the heart of Hampton Bays. This is going on the wall in the kitchen to remind me how nice and convenient all of my modern appliances are 🙂 )

Melon Fruit Bowl

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Fruit bowls are always a great contribution to pot lucks, barbecues, and fourth of July parties. I always feel a little more original because I didn’t bring pasta salad or macaroni salad, and just a little more healthful even though I’m pretty sure the sugar content in an entire bowl of fruit is enough to match a big slice of cake. This recipe takes the plain fruit bowl up a level in creativity and makes a really nice presentation on the buffet table. Set the melon halves on a tray or platter on a bed of ice to keep the food chilled and delicious even on a hot summer’s day.

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(gorgeous in-season fruit)

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