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)
– ASPCA

————

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.

Voila.

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)

Assemblage:

  • 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.

Classic Butter Snowflake Cookies (gluten free) – the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

Gluten free cutout sugar cookies

I’m gonna get a sentimental for a moment.

I have a very clear memory of my first Christmas with Lyme Disease, when I was 12 or 13 years old.  I was upstairs in my room, having been excused from the dinner table.  It was a cold winter.  I was in a lot of pain.  I hadn’t eaten much food, because I could barely digest anything at that point.  I had been carried upstairs, as I had lost almost my entire ability to walk.  I could hear laughter, and smell delicious things, and I felt very alone and very sad.  I cried, all bundled in bed, and listened to Windham Hill Artist’s A Winter Solstice, which my mother would play to comfort me.  The song “Gift” has always stuck with me – a gentle bit of comfort when feeling ill and lonely.

I pulled out of that bout of Lyme, and two others, and walked again.  My ability to move from point A to point B is something I will never take for granted, and a reason I so fully love walking in the 60-mile Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure.

Changing my diet is what healed me.  Yes, I’ve taken a lot of antibiotics in my 18 years of battling Lyme.  But every time I’ve gone through treatment it has not been until I’ve worked with a nutritionist of some sort and been put on a strict diet with lots of supplements and vitamin drips that I’ve seen results.

As a child it was obviously hard.  There weren’t cookbooks and blogs on gluten or dairy free baking.  There was one alternative for gluten free bread, and it was horrid.  Rice Dream was no substitute for ice cream, and the only offering.  Whole Foods did not exist, at least not in Connecticut.  There was almost no “alternative baking”.  It was a huge adjustment for my parents.

So this holiday season I’ve found myself overwhelmed with joy, gratitude and a feeling of community.  In one weekend I participated in three cookie swaps.

The first, the NY Cookie Swap organized by Three Many Cooks for Bloggers Without Borders, benefited Cookies for Kids Cancers.  Obviously any way I can help other children fight their illnesses, I’m in.  I remember how hard it was for my parents, seeing me sick as a child, a college student and as a full adult, and how my father sometimes tears up to this day, knowing I will never be as free of illness as he wishes I could be.  On a crisp Sunday afternoon dozens of bloggers met for some barbecue, margaritas and cookie swapping.  It was a joy to put faces and voices to the blog names I’ve seen all over the web.  And there was an entire table set aside for gluten-free cookies.  Awesome.  (Getting misty-eyed).

My monthly Burwell General Store Swap went up that Sunday as well.  Every month I join a group of 25 or so bloggers in adapting a recipe to our heart’s content.  Mine, of course, are gluten free.  I love this group of talented home and professional chefs.  For the NY and Burwell swaps I made Mesquite Gingerbread Men (recipe soon) and Chocolate Almond Biscotti, the recipe of which was chosen for FoodBuzz’s Top 9!

And then there’s this: the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, which required me to ship out 1 dozen cookies each to 3 bloggers I had been paired with – all gluten-free eaters.  In return I’d get three dozen different cookies as well! Awesome, no?

I am so very thankful for my ability to walk, my ability to eat what some see as a limited but I see as an incredible diverse and dynamic scope of food.  And I’m so thankful to have grown with a community of those who need to eat the same way, who pool information and resources, and to be able to teach some of what I have learned in my 18 years of living this way.

While I look back on that first Lyme Christmas as a blue one, the only blue snowflakes that are falling for me now are the ones I’m dunking in my almond milk.

Thanks to Three Many Cooks for the NY Cookie Swap and Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen for organizing the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.

I don’t have pictures of the beautiful gluten free cookies I received in the swap because as soon as they came in they were either in my mouth or on a plate and out the door with a collection of others.  They were so delicious and looked so nice alongside others that I had made for gifting, and, well, I’ve seen myself on camera lately and I have to WATCH MY COOKIES.

Julie from Swim… Bike… Running on Empty sent some deliciously moist gluten, corn and dairy free vegan pumpkin bites that were laced with nuts and chocolate as well.  The perfect soft cakey-cookie.  Check out her blog for healthy living tips including balancing all these cookies with exercise (which some of us need to incorporate more, note to self).  Follow her Tweets, people!

Maria from Gluten-Free Girl in Chicago‘s White Sugar Cookies with Pecans reintroduced me to the love of dipping cookies in milk.  Don’t know why, but I’m as excited about this practice as if I’d just discovered the combo myself.  Her crisp, delicate cookies were made with Earth Balance Coconut Spread (which I’d never heard of) and Better Batter All Purpose Flour.  So two new things for the DB.  I’m making them asap.  Since I have a big thing of almond milk waiting for me in the fridge.  Also check her out on Twitter.

Lastly, Clean Eating Chelsey’s Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies were just the perfect way to round out this trio.  I loved how they weren’t that sweet.  I find a huge difference between gluten-free and/or vegan eaters: we generally use less sugar. When adapting some recipes I’ll think something is WAY too sweet and my regular eating friends will disagree.  So these soft, chewy cookies (also perfect in almond milk) with big chunks of vegan chocolate and a strong coconut oil flavor were divine.  Follow her on Twitter too.

When those blue snowflakes start falling...

Classic Butter Snowflake Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen large snowflake cookies

Ingredients:

Adapted from the Classic Sugar Cookies by Saveur

  • 3 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 cups arrowroot or tapioca flour
  • 1 cup quinoa or millet flour
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter (3 sticks), soft
  • 2 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 Tbsp Meringue / Egg White Powder
  • 1/2-1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or almond, cinnamon etc.)
  • Gel food coloring
  • Colored sanding sugar and edible glitter

Method: Cookies

Whisk the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes (especially when using organic sugars or sucanat, you need to mix longer as they don’t break down or dissolve very well).  Add the eggs, one a time, beating thoroughly between additions and scraping down the side of the bowl as needed.

Slowly add the flour, and mix until the dough just pulls together and the flour is blended in.

Divide in four, wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill for 45 minutes or until a bit firmer.

When ready to cut and bake, preheat oven to 325°.  On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with 3 inch snowflake cookie cutters (or cutters of choice, of course).  Bake for 15 minutes or until just brown at edges.  Cool for 5 minutes on sheet before removing to cooling racks.  Cool completely before icing.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Note: It’s easier to re-roll gluten-free cookies than regular cookies because you don’t have the presence of the gluten protein to make them tougher.  However, the softer the dough gets, the less crisp and crumbly it will be.

Method: Royal Icing

To make the icing, place sifted powdered sugar and meringue / egg white powder in bowl of standing mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add 1/2 cup of warm water and mix on medium low to incorporate.  If it is very dry, add a bit more water.  Increase speed to high and beat until glossy and stiff, about 6 minutes.

Now, some people freak out with royal icing.  I find it fun.  Because if you need thinner icing for piping a trillion cookies smoothly, just add warm water a teaspoon at a time until you get to the consistency you want.  Mix gel food colorings in a desired amount in small bowls.  This mixture makes about 3 cups, which is plenty for this batch of cookies.

Have fun with icing tips to pipe thick frosting on the snowflakes, and immediately sprinkle with shimmery sanding sugar or edible glitter as you go.

White Christmas...

{gluten-free} Cranberry Walnut Scones

I love the holidays, and I love my friends and family.  I love my dog, and my apartment, and my city (NYC or bust, baby).  I love nights out with a good friend (hi Erin!) and long conversation over a bottle of red (why would he ever tell you those things? I’m still pondering).

I love waking up tired, sitting in front of a huge monitor working on sourcing and writing and recipe-ing, and pondering the big questions, such as “have I ever seen the rain coming down on a sunny day?”.

I love uploading photos on my computer and then unearthing one of something sweet.  That I baked a few weeks ago.  And drafted a blog post of.  And never finished.

Dusty Jacqueline, tricks are for kids.

I love making scones.  They’re incredibly quick to whip up for a family/friendy brunch as I learned from my dear friend Ruark’s father, Kevin.  He would make the biggest, fluffiest, sweetest looking scones that I would drool over as I watched them being eaten (he or Ruark or Ruark’s mom Chris would have also made me some incredible omelet or something so trust me I wasn’t playing a sad song on his sister’s violin or anything). 

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,216 other followers

%d bloggers like this: