snow day. amy chaplin's brownies.

So, the snowpocolypse didn't really materialize here in NYC. I am a little disappointed. I was hoping for a record to breaking storm to rival the Blizzard of 1888. I love quiet unexpected days off.  in our house on these days, there is generally something bubbling on the stove and the house is warm and cozy. Everyone sleeps in and the city wakes up  so slowly. I haven't heard one horn today which for Broome street is a minor miracle.

Mid way through my editing today, I decided to take a break to bake something. I picked up Amy Chaplin's book At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen and flipped to the sweets. A couple weeks ago my friend Nancy snuck a few of Amy's gluten free chocolate apricot almond cookies into the movies.They were pure heaven. So, I and no doubt that I would find something delicious to make from her book. I am a brownie maker since way way back It was one of the first things I was allowed  to make on my own. Page 444 of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook was thoroughly smeared with chocolate and butter and the fingerprints of four children.

These are not your mother's brownies. They are rich and soft and decadent with dark chocolate, maple, almond butter, dates and seas salt. They happen to be gluten and dairy free.

Make them today or tonight or tomorrow, just make them soon. You won't regret it!

ALMOND BUTTER BROWNIES WITH SEA SALT

Toasted almonds, dark chocolate flakey sea salt are a divine combination . When you are in the mood for a rich chocolaty treat, these brownies really hit the spot.

 

MAKES FIFTEEN 3x2 1/2 INCH BROWNIES

EQUIPTMENT: 13x9 INCH PAN (ALSO KNOWN AS A QUARTER SHEET PAN)

 

1/2 cup packed pitted deglet moor dates (you can use medjool dates if you prefer, and if they are super moist and soft, you can skip the soaking step

1 1/2 cups whole spelt flower

3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of almond butter

3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil plus more to oil pan

3/4 cup of maple syrup

3/4 cup of maple sugar (I did not have this so I used organic cane sugar)

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons almond milk

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

3 1/2 ounces of dark (85%) chocolate. coarsely chopped and decided. or about 3/4 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup of toasted almonds (I used raw)

Maldon or fleur de sel or other flakey sea salt

 

Place dates in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. let soak for 20 minutes or until softened then drain well

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line pan with parchment paper: brush paper and sides of pan lightly with oil and set aside

sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder, into a medium bowl; whisk toto combine and set aside.

Place almond butter, olive oil, maple syrup, almond milk, salt, vanilla, and drained dates in  food processor: blend until smooth. (it's ok. if all the dates are not blended). Pour into sifted flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until  almost combined. Reserve 2 tablespoons of chopped chocolate and stir remaining chocolate into batter. Be careful not to over mix. Transfer batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with almonds, remaining chocolate and a large pinch of Malden or fleur de sel sea salt. 

Bake for 30 minutes or until edges pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick , inserted into the center, comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. (FOR BEST RESULTS, REFRIGERATE UNTIL COMPLETELY COLD UNTIL CUTTING.) This will help to hold the brownies together. These brownies will store for three of four day in an air tight container.

 

recipe copyright amy chaplin

 

 

 

 

modern nomads. dara artisans.

We recently worked on a super fun collaboration with Dara Artisans. They flew us out to Joshua Tree where we spent a couple days shooting Modern Nomad.

It was a dusty hot wild windblown time in the desert.

Thank you to our crew. You all worked tirelessly.

A bonus to this shoot was being introduced to Dara Artisan artist Andrea Crescioni. I am now completely obsessed with her line of leather necklaces and belts. The only problem being which one to choose. I love them all!!

Much of this story was shot at the beautiful cabin of JT Homesteader. Thank you Jay and Stephanie!  You saved us and you really came through with that horse!! We heart you.

Catch some desert vibes and stay at one of their remote and beautiful cabins.

http://jthomesteader.com

See the full story and shop for all these beautiful pieces and more at Dara Artisans.

 

sountrack. the eagles.

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buvette and chef jody williams profiled on dara artisans.

Below is recent profile of  Chef Jody Williams of Buvette and the soon to be open Via Carota.

I love this layout and interview pulled from Dara Artisans Journal using our photos from the Buvette book.

Thank you Dara

Tastemaker : Jody Williams

“I never wanted a restaurant,” declares Jody Williams, chef and owner of Buvette.

She’s turned her attention to our surroundings, to the dining experience she’s coined a gastrothèque. The charmingly snug space—wooden tables are squeezed convivially together, while aproned waiters breeze by with small plates—glows in the late afternoon sun. “With restaurants—particularly in New York–you have these formalities. I hate it—it’s not good for food, and it’s not good for creativity.”

Williams’s neologism feels justified. Both in New York City’s West Village and in Paris, where she opened her second Buvette one year ago, her gastrothèques remains distinctive. A place abundant in good food and creativity, Buvette is a “collage” of Williams’ experiences living abroad, which buck expectations of what a restaurant should be.

The desire to forge connections through hand-worked, artisanal touches is everywhere, like in Buvette’s drink menu, which is filled with charming illustrations and engaging descriptions, such as how to make the perfect martini. (Created with designer Max Poglia’s help, it’s inspired by Williams’ collection of vintage chapbooks and a desire to create a dialogue with her customer). That attitude persists at the bar, where a barman pours aperitifs just under our noses—Buvette’s bar is intentionally six inches narrower than most, quite literally breaking down the distance between wait staff and patron. It’s particularly palpable at brunch, where the tight seating and mutual delight in the food forges an unheard-of camaraderie among neighbors.

“Do you want a piece of our walnut-cranberry bread?” I ask. They beamed as I passed the basket.

It’s during experiences like this that I remember one of Williams’s comments: “I’m not sure I could point you to another place that feels just like this.”

Buvette is a deeply personal place—a uniquely Jody Williams creation. Physically, there are signs of her everywhere. To scan the room is to see her assemblages of curios and bric-a-brac artfully arranged throughout the room: The wall of presidential paraphernalia is a tribute to her sister, who was born on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Williams a self-admitted collector of antiques, counting Limoges porcelain plates, latte bowls, silver teapots, glass fruit presses, vintage toys, and old bee jars among her assemblies. “I’m a character that yearns for nostalgia all the time,” she says. “I think that’s why I try and create it in my places.”



The space also channels Williams’s experiences of eating and drinking throughout Europe. Whether squeezing in shoulder-to-shoulder for cicchetti (“small bites”) in Venice or wiling an afternoon away at a vineria in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori, these experiences shaped Buvette’s philosophy of providing an outstanding gastronomic experience within a casual setting. “At Buvette, I look to do high and low, all in a comfortable, non-judgmental environment,” Williams says. “I want you to be able to get a great bottle of Champagne on one night, and croque and a beer the next.”

Her welcoming attitude—which, in Williams’ words, “offers the guest a sense of freedom to come in”—permeates the space. There’s a tangible sense of being “at home” here, which, unsurprisingly, Williams has an expression for: “It’s what I call the ‘kitchen table effect,’” she says. “When you sit here, you’re almost at your kitchen table. You see the products around, and that’s the point. So if you didn’t have a menu, you’d know there’s coffee, wine, prosciutto. We orient our guests; you feel that invitation to grab a plate, pour your water, share in the mise en place. Part of the success of something is stepping back and letting it be.”

Williams’s appreciation for an experience that feels blissfully off-hand does not mean her approach to her work is similarly casual: Williams works with tremendous intention and a shrewd attention to detail. Everything at Buvette has a place and a way: During our conversation she shares the proper method to install a toilet paper roll, opines on how to arrange glassware behind the bar, and points out why her collection of straw baskets is hung right there. When we arrived, she was up on a ladder, fussing with a light bulb. “I love to get into the minutiae of everything, from the fabric of the aprons to the menu’s paper,” she says. “I know what I want, so I tend to be very involved.”

Williams has found a formula that not only works, but one she brought to France, a concept that’s confounded many fellow chefs. With the success of the New York Buvette, plus some formative experiences and friendships along the way, Williams decided to expand to Paris’s Pigalle neighborhood. Given Buvette is a French restaurant in New York, the decision seemed both logical and risky—would the discerning French appreciate the idea? Moreover, would hergastrothèque feel as a distinct in this setting—in some ways, its native one?


The response has been a resounding yes. In Paris, Buvette feels standalone, yet for different reasons. “What Parisians love is that we’ve dropped some of the formality,” Williams says. “Where restaurants there are like, you don’t eat after three o’clock, or ten o’clock, we say, come in to Buvette anytime you’d like and eat whatever you want.”

Williams now attempts to spend several weeks in Paris every couple of months. Below, she shares her favorite spots in the city, with a focus on her newest place to call home: Pigalle.

________

Jody William’s guide to Pigalle

Shop

Causses ( 55 rue Notre-Dame de Lorett) is just fantastic. They have everything: foie gras, cheese, smoked slat, green almonds and hazelnuts, fresh-squeezed orange juice, wonderful butters . . . I love it there.

I also love L’Objet Qui Parle (86 rue des Martyrs), which is nearby. It’s an old vintage flea market store. In Buvette Paris, we have a collection of vintage latte bowls in blue, all mixed and matched.

Le BHV Marais (52 rue de Rivoli) is a big department store in the Marais, and I enjoy visiting the basement there, which is a hardware store. There you will find all the materials to fix your own shoes—leather, soles, hammers—[plus] beautiful blue enamel, tons of gorgeous stuff.

Stay

I actually cannot tell you my very favorite hotel because then everyone will know about it and it’s my little secret! But the Hotel Armour (8 rue Navarini), I really enjoy, too—and it’s just around the block from us. It’s got great outdoor patio for aperitifs, and inside it’s very modern and cool.

Eat & Drink

Oh, so many. In the neighborhood, we love going to Le Pantruche (3 rue Victor Massé) or Rose Bakery (46 rue des Martyrs) for lunch. La Fontaine de Mars (29 rue Saint-Dominique) is another spot, near the Eiffel tower—the owners also visit us at Buvette. For something more “old school,” I like going to Chez Georges (11 rue des Canettes). Picture a big pot of terrine on the table with your pickle. I’ll eat some Dover sole there.

If it’s later at night, we’ll go up to Montmarte to La Mascotte ( 52 rue des Abbesses). They do these great fruits de mer, so we’ll get couple of bottles of Sancerre and some oysters and hang out. For drinks, we might head up the block toGlass (7 rue Frochot) or Dirty Dick (10 rue Frochot)—there are so many bars in Pigalle.


the extended lp. the pines. table on ten. duck duck goose. or rabbit in this case. part one.

Well, I am a little late to the party as usual. This dinner happened weeks ago and everyone involved has done their own edit of the dinner on individual blogs and sites. I am afraid mine pales in comparison. I am partial to the edit Julian did for Table on Ten. I may have to steal his edit for part two of this post.

 

We were featured on The NOWNESS this past weekend. Below is the article by writer Tarajia Morrell. and a few words she wrote about us on her blog the lovage.

American Arcadian

On a recent Saturday, a coterie of food-loving friends spearheaded a feast at Table On Ten, the Bloomville, New York, restaurant that has become their nexus. The excuse—not that they needed one—was a celebration of the late summer season, the rich local soil and the bounty that springs forth from it, coaxed by organic farmers and foraged from nearby shrubs and streams by enthusiastic cohorts.

Everything for the feast—from chicory to flowering chocolate mint, bee balm and duck breast, even that pesky “immature sunflower”—was procured from within 25 miles of the restaurant. “We got dried mushrooms from a shoeless man who lived in a hut in Big Indian,” says chef John Poiarkoff of The Pines in Brooklyn, who conceived the nine-course menu. He was aided in the kitchen on dishes such as trout with dill crème fraîche, charred leeks, dill flowers and black mustard greens, by The Pines’ owner and Catskill native, Carver Farrell, and chef Camille Becerra of Navy. Brooklyn’s Four & Twenty Blackbirds bakery made the corn custard pie with pickled blueberries and poor man’s pepper.

In fact, the story of this meal—and of the motley crew who manifested it—is as layered as an onion, as potentially delicious and as versatile. Table On Ten owners, Justus and Inez Valk-Kempthorne, built a sanctuary where old pals and new come to languor and eat, chat and chuckle over Campari-laced cocktails and pizza from their wood-burning oven. It’s a place to rejuvenate after a day in the fields, whether those fields are literal or metaphoric. Theirs is a camaraderie of soil and harvest, life’s ineluctable cycles, the passage of time and the meals that connect it all. Tianna Kennedy, farmer and proprietor of nearby organic Star Route Farm, sums up the fellowship simply: “It’s the right time to be here amongst the best group I’ve known.”an Arcadian

 


Text by Tarajia Morrell, founder of food blog The Lovage and contributor to to Huffington Post, The Aesthete and various other publications.

Menu
Tomatoes, corn, whipped ricotta, garlic croutons, flowering chocolate mint and anise hyssop

Beet-stuffed napa cabbage, potato and yogurt puree, potato broth, wood sorrel
White pine roasted carrots, immature sunflower and white pine pistou, chicory, pine oil

Roasted and pickled cauliflower, Miranda cheese and roasted onion béchamel, jalapeño, flowering thyme

Trout, dill creme fraiche, charred leeks, dill flowers, black mustard greens

Shitake ciriole, braised rabbit, roasted garlic, bee balm

Duck breast and leg, cranberry beans, pepper and rosehip chutney, nasturtium

Ouleout ice cream, peach and beer compote, granola, honeycomb, beer caramel

Corn custard pie, pickled blueberries, poor man's pepper

 

 

you can see other versions of this dinner on the individual blogs of Table On Ten and Camille and The Lovage

 

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jim franco ceramics for dara artisans.

We have known Jim Franco for many years. First as a photo editor and then as a photographer and now as an amazing ceramicist. If you live in New York long enough you tend to see creatives move through different fields. As artists, we can never seem to sit still long enough to stay in one sandbox. We are surrounded by so much creativity that it is hard to stick to just one thing. I myself have worn many hats over the years as we tend to do in New York. I admire my peers who have branched out to explore other disciplines. Jim is no exception, though he has only been making ceramics for a short time what he has mastered is quite amazing. He is making mostly bowls at this point, in all sizes, but my favorites are those that fit snuggly into a cupped hand.  His glazes are really special, they remind me of muted stormy beach days, the kind of day that is both shimmery and dark at once. The kind of day when the light is soft and a little translucent. Perhaps it is his photographer self and his appreciation for light  and the way it hits objects that makes him such a good ceramicist.

We had a super fun day collaborating with Jim on this project.

You can see his work at the newly launched daraartisans.com

xx

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last days of summer. melon obsession.

It is hard for me to believe that these last days of August are here already. I think for me, this was the fastest summer yet. I wanted to share a few  out takes from a shoot we did with Bon Appétit. We had a great time smashing and cracking these melons. We made quite a mess. You can find some of the recipes on line at bon appetit.com Get to know your melons here.

This is the perfect weekend to savor all the flavors of summer. Mix it up, with melons and herbs stone fruit and tomatoes.Pretty much any combination is right at summers peak.Do it now, pretty soon that cold wind will be blowing.

 

Thank you Alex Grossman. Susan Spungen and Kendra Smoot.

 

Happy weekend.

xx

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honey honey. food for the bees. westwind orchard.

Last weekend on our way upstate with our friend chef Camille Beccera we made a stop to visit friends Laura Ferrara and Fabio Chizzola who own and operate Westwind Orchards. I remember when they bought the farm in 2002. At the time it was a bit of a defunct apple farm and Fabio brought the trees back to life one by one.  When we heard Fabio was going to be spinning honey that weekend we decided to head up.

I have known Laura and Fabio for quite some time. He is a fashion photographer and she a fashion editor and stylist. How they manage to run this amazing farm and a busy commercial work load is a  mystery! I know they both have farming and food culture in their roots so I easily see that for the most part they do it for the love of it and to share it with family. They are both Italian and that strong food culture runs deep. They are the kind of people who put a meal in front of you effortlessly and without you quite knowing what happened when your intention was to just stop by and pick up some eggs! The farm continues to grow in so many different ways. A wood fired pizza oven is in  process and a beautifully curated farm store is in the works and somehow they always seem so composed. Laura wears farm wear like no one else! total chic. Anyway, I really can't say enough about these two, they are simply inspiring in every way!

 

On they way upstate we talked about food because it seems we are always hungry and it always comes around to food in one way or another. Camille brought out a little bag with an octopus in it and we decided then  to make a lunch using the new honey. It was a great impromptu afternoon.

Below you can find the recipes. They were super simple and you can adapt them easily to use the honey and the citronette on other things. You can also easily make the heirloom tomato salad without the octopus. Now is the moment for tomatoes. We used fresh coriander seed that we found in the garden for the tomato salad and it was amazing.

We also made a coriander salt for the squash blossoms.

This is one of those easy summer days we hope will inspire you!

Grazie Mille Laura and Fabio!

xx

 

Notes from Camille:

 

 

Tomato and Octopus Salad

 

Start with a flavorful court bouillon and cook octopus till tender, depending on its size and type this can take 1/2 hour and up to 1 1/2  hours.  Once tender, remove from the pot and when it becomes cool enough to handle cut the tentacles from the body.  Cut an array of tomatoes and line them on a platter along with some fresh herbs.  We came across some coriander in the garden that had just gone to seed, they were green and the flavor subtle and used them as our fresh herb element.  Drizzle the tomatoes with half of the dressing.  To finish the salad get a pan, preferably a cast iron gripping hot and sear the tentacles, season with a little coarse sea salt.  Slice the tentacles and arrange them on the platter.  Drizzle with the remaining honey-chili citronette.

 

Honey Chili Citronette

 

This is not a recipe but a blueprint that's easy to remember and whip up.  Start with lime or lemon juice, add thinly sliced fresh or dried chilies then slowly add the honey, stopping every so often to incorporate well and taste.  Once it tastes like sweet lemonade start whisking in a neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed.  Whisk in a fairly rapid motion and add the oil in a slow steady steam until the dressing has body, pay close attention to it's gradually progression.  Adjust and balance at the end, you'll need to season with salt, maybe some more chili or a little extra honey or citrus juice depending on personal preference.  

 

 

 

 

Frito Misto Of Squash and Herb Blossoms 

 

Collect some herbs that are blossoming, we used basil and fennel.  

 

Carefully stuff the squash blossoms, we used goat cheese for its tart flavor and tight consistency.  

 

Gradually heat some canola oil in a sturdy pot, an enamel cast iron works great.  While your oil is coming up to temperature get your batter ready, in a large bowl add some rice flour and slowly incorporate sparkling water till you have the desired consistency.  A loose batter will give you a delicate coating were as a thicker batter will give you a hearty crunchy one.  Somewhere in the middle is perfect we feel.  Play around by adding more rice flour or sparkling water.  Carefully dip the stuffed blossoms and herb blossoms and fry till golden brown.  As soon as they are removed from the oil, sprinkle with salt, arrange them on a platter and drizzle liberally with chili honey.  Best eaten warm.

 

Chili Honey

 

Slice some fresh or dried chills as thinly as possible, mix with honey and allow to sit for at least 1/2 hour so that the flavors develop.  Usually one medium size chili like a jalepeno or 5 small ones like chili de arbol to 2 cups honey.

 

 

You can visit Westwind Orchard in Accord New York. They have a u-pick it season. You can find the times and produce available through the website. They are in the midst of building a wood fired pizza oven for those who get hungry while visiting the farm.The pizza oven will run on weekend through October.