Tag Archives: New York City

Hurricanes and Hunger

Speaking with Chef Seamus Mullen at Tertulia during the Sandy blackout, photo GrillWorks

Life is such a cacophony of beauty/horror right now.

The holidays are coming, and I thrive during the holidays. There’s the beauty.

The horror is that two weeks ago my city was hurt badly. This morning I wept openly on the subway reading this article from the New York Times about the 8 who died in Midland Beach on Staten Island. The other day my buddy Johnny Iuzzini (who, like many chefs, is doing some great volunteer work out there) tweeted this video on what’s happening in the Rockaways that sent chills down my spine. I can’t stop watching it. Another video – NYC Dark – captured how eerie and foreign lower Manhattan felt during the blackout.

I’m not suffering-by-association. I’m incredibly fortunate that my apartment didn’t even lose power and I only lost two days of work from lack of transportation.

But this is my city, man. And my city is hurting.

Because of my health there are some things that I am just not able to do. Sometimes it render me feeling helpless, but I’m not even going into what they are for fear of sounding ungrateful.

I need to contribute.

So last week I did what I was able: amongst other things I wrote a series of three pieces on what a group of four chefs are doing to help out with what they’re calling the “NYC Food Flood“. The chefs (who also took big losses when their restaurants we closed due to blackouts) are taking turns bringing their skills to those in the hardest-hit areas of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The pieces – an introduction to the NYC Food Flood, a narrative on dining during the blackout at one of the chef’s restaurants and coverage of the fundraising dinner that raised over $20,000 for their efforts – went up on Serious Eats NY last week.

I also organized one on a Gnosis, a chocolate company based out of Queens that is donating 5% of profits this month to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief, on Easy Eats magazine’s blog, which I edit.

If you have a few minutes, please check out the pieces, available at the links below. And for other ways to help, check out the links that Venessa at Gnosis compiled for us.


For those of you in the NYC area who are looking to volunteer, here are a list of organizations who could use your time and energy:
– Google Crisis Map (shows nearest shelter/evacuee centers)
– New York Cares
– NYC Service
– Food Bank for New York City
– Follow the hashtag #sandyvolunteer on Twitter

For those of you who are looking to make donations, here are a list of organizations who are doing great work specifically to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy:
– Red Cross (text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10)
– Red Cross Blood
– New York Blood Center
– Operation USA
– International Medical Corps (helping those affected by Sandy in Haiti and Cuba)
– Salvation Army
– Save the Children (text HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $10)


Help and Healing with Chocolate, on Easy Eats Magazine’s blog, Nov. 7, 2012

Rise Up, New York. (and Big Apple Cupcakes)

My friend Robbie…

There’s something about when the lights go out in New York City.

When restaurants are closed, Broadway stages are dark, and bridges and tunnels flooded.

I’m incredibly fortunate. Washington Heights is called the Heights for a reason in that we’re elevated, so my neighborhood wasn’t in danger of flooding – though ten blocks away and the highway below me got wiped. We passed a relatively uneventful night, the howling outside and occasional crash of something flying and falling a soundtrack to the news we couldn’t look away from and the movies we eventually distracted ourselves with. Eerily, the streets were empty. But, though it flickered, we never lost our electricity. We woke to quiet.

Everyone I know is safe, though many are still without power and a few have flooded homes.

I am very fortunate.

Anytime something strikes NYC – a madman with a gun, a massive transportation strike, a blackout, a hurricane – I become even more in love with where I live. I truly love New York City. I love the community, the diversity, the possibility. Yes, it takes energy to live here, but it gives me energy as well. It doesn’t feel like a big city at all. It just feels like… home.

So, thank you to those who are working to repair our home. To those who helped evacuated the hospitals without power and on fire. To the emergency responders who helped people out of collapsed homes, evacuated the areas in danger of being crushed by a falling crane, who worked to put out fires through floods and who are still working in teams to bring help to those in need. Thanks to those hauling away debris, washing muddy roads, pumping out the subway tunnels and working to get the millions of us without power back into the light.

My heart is downtown…

…and for all those who have made sure we’re safe and sent loving energy from Toronto, Cape Town, Denver, Tampa, California… please hug someone you love.

Because hugging is awesome. And we should do more of it.

For a NYC-inspired recipe and more blubbering about why I love my city so much, check out my Big Apple Cupcakes with NY Cheesecake Frosting.

– Jacqueline

Milk Bar Mondays – Carrot Cake Truffles (gluten and dairy free)

Carrot Cake Truffles

Around the holidays, I was at Barnes and Noble flipping through cookbooks for my chef roundup feature coming out in March for Easy Eats magazine.  Content with a decaf Americano, the rain pouring out over Union Square and my shared table stacked high with books from Blue Ribbon, The Meatball Shop, Frankies Sputino, Eleven Madison Park and such NYC food havens, I merely flipped through Christina Tosi’s Milk book.  Tosi has almost a cult following (Chef Stephen Collucci admitted to calling one of her creations so good it was “stupid, it’s just dumb”).  I’ve never partaked.

Because milk – a featured ingredient along with sugar and glutenous flour in Tosi’s work – will send me into a flu-like state for days if I accidentally imbibe.  Not that I don’t admire and respect what she does, at all, but I remember setting the book aside thinking, “there’s no way I can even adapt 1% of these recipes”.

Enter the Milk Bar Monday swap.

This title intimidates the crap outta me

A few weeks ago Meagan of Scarletta Bakes emailed me asking if I’d consider participating in a bi-weekly swap, all of recipes from the Milk Bar book.  I was walking to a date on 9th avenue and literally my heart started shaking as if I had just swallowed a Tbsp of white sugar.  I was scared.  Tosi’s recipes have a ton of steps to them like soaking cereal in milk and then using the milk in recipes (or drinking it straight, according to some of my friends in the know).  Adapting was gonna take planning.  But I really admire the ladies of this swap, and when something scares me, it usually means I should do it.  So of course I concluded, “this is gonna be awesome”.

Welcome to the first installment of Milk Bar Mondays, folks!

Meet the Ladies!

Meagan of Scarletta Bakes

Erin of Big Fat Baker

Cassie of Bake Your Day

Audra of The Baker Chick

Nicole of Sweet Peony

Krissy of Krissy’s Creations

Follow the group on Twitter!

I have to say I am particularly enamored by this collection of bloggers.  Just check out their sites for today’s creation and for their work and writing style in general.  Stellar photos, clever ways with words, mouth-watering recipes… I’m truly psyched to be in such company.

And now… the recipe.

I have to hand it to her, these are goooooooood.  Like, so good they are indeed stupid good.  I’ve passed them along to friends who all had an eyebrow raise when they started chewing.  Dumb.

If you follow me on twitter you may recall that last weekend I spend hours making (and cursing over) cake pops for an event.  They came out adorably, but hurt my soul in how long they took and at how little skill I have with white chocolate and craftiness.    But everything happens for a reason, and last weekend made this one actually a cinch.  Because Tosi’s truffles are actually cake balls.  And since these didn’t require sticks, double dipping, dyed chocolate or lettering, I felt like a pro.

For this swap in general I’m going to try to keep as much as I can to the original recipe, making versions of Tosi’s recipes that gluten and dairy-free eaters can enjoy without putting my own spin on things.  So for this I simply used gluten-free flour, almond milk and Earth Balance in the cake, soy cream cheese in the liquid cheesecake and dark chocolate instead of white.  For the milk crumbs I used crushed Classic Butter Cutout Cookies I’ve had in the freezer for just such an occasion.


Carrot Cake Truffles (gluten and dairy free)

recipe adapted from Milk by Christina Tosi

Ingredients: Cake

  • 8Tbsp / 1 stick butter flavored Earth Balance, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled, grated carrots

Directions: Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 6×12 inch cake pan or a quarter baking sheet with cooking spray and line with parchment or Silpat.
  • In the bowl of  a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium/high until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides, add the eggs, and beat another 3 minutes until fluffy and smooth.  Scrape down sides again, turn the mixer to low, and slowly stream in the oil.  Return to medium/high and beat about 6 minutes until the mixture is almost doubled in size and looks almost like Fluff.
  • Meanwhile, combine flours, starch, powder, soda, gum, cinnamon and salt in a bowl ad whisk to combine.
  • Turn mixer to low and slowly add in flour mixture.  Mix to combine.
  • Remove from mixer and fold in carrots.
  • Pour into pan and smooth top.  Bake for 25 minutes, until it is puffy and almost doubled in size.  The edges of the cake should be springy and the center soft but not jiggly.  Bake another 3 minutes if it’s not at this point.
  • Cool completely.

Ingredients: Liquid Cheesecake

  • 1 8-oz container “Better Than Creamcheese” Tofutti cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg

Directions: Liquid Cheesecake

  • Preheat oven to 300°.  Line a 6×6″ baking pan with plastic wrap – yes, with plastic wrap. I had never done this before but it worked just fine.
  • Beat “cream cheese” on medium/high speed in bowl of standing mixer with the paddle attachment until soft and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the sugar and beat again for another 2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch with salt, then add 1 Tbsp milk and whisk to combine.  Add 2nd Tbsp and whisk to combine.  Add egg, and whisk thoroughly until smooth.
  • With the mixer on low, stream in egg slurry.  Return speed to medium/high and beat for 4 minutes until mixture is smooth and loose.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until the edges are set but the middle of the cake is still loose and a bit jiggly.
  • Cool completely so that the cake has time to set.

Ingredients: Truffles

  • 6oz 70% dark chocolate
  • 2 cups crushed sugar cookies (I used this recipe from Christmas and had them in the freezer, then ran them through a food processor so they were incredibly fine)


  • In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment beat the cake and 2 Tbsp liquid cheesecake. If you can shape it into a ball, it’s good to go. If too dry, add more cheesecake 1 Tbsp at a time. It should be a tad moister than a cake pop combo, if you’ve made them before.  I found this cake already quite soft so I only needed 2 Tbsp.
  • Roll into balls a tad bigger then a tablespoon, and set on wax paper.
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute, then stir to completely incorporate and melt chips.
  • Place the cookie crumbs in a second bowl.
  • Roll each ball in a thin layer of chocolate then in two coats of cookie.  Set back on wax paper and chill until hard.


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