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Wednesday, 27 February 2013 08:28

Winter Shortcake Stuffed with Jam and Whipped Cream

Happy Wednesday!

This week we're all about Our Favorite Things. We love supporting local boutiques, farmers markets, butchers, and most especially bakeries. In fact I love our little artisan bakeries so much that I did an entire roundup of my favorites a couple of years ago. In the last year or so, I've really grown to love biscuits. As simple as they are, I really look forward to heating up a butter biscuit from my favorite local bakery, Bittersweet, smothering it with jam and pairing it with a mug of French pressed coffee. For this week's Food Network post, I wanted to find a recipe  that I would realistically want to make during the work week, wasn't too unhealthy, and was just sweet enough to satisfy my relentless morning sweet tooth. After spending a little time on the magical World Wide Web, I found it - Biscuits stuffed with strawberry jam and whipped cream.



Winter Shortcake Stuffed with Jam & Whipped Cream
adapted from Bon Appetit; January 2013


What you need:           biscuitsfinalIMG 2742

  • 2 Cups of BA Biscuit Mix 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and sliced into 1/2" thick pieces
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup dried figs, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbs raw sugar
  • 3/4 cup jam
  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream, whipped
  • all-purpose flour, for dusting surface

What you do:

    Preheat oven to 425°F .  Combine biscuit mixture and butter into a food processor, until it's similar to coarse meal. Transfer to bowl. Add buttermilk. Stir to mix. Add figs and zest. Stir to combine. Flour a flat working surface. Transfer dough to floured surface and kneed for 4-5 times. Dust your rolling pin with flour and roll out dough until it's approximately a 7" square and about 3/4" thick. Slice dough in half. Slice each half into 4 rectangles. 

    Transfer shortcakes to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and then sprinkle with raw sugar. 

    Bake shortcakes for 13 - 15 minutes or until just golden brown. Let them cool for 15 minutes. Slice each piece in half and and fill with jam and whipped cream. 


    What's Gaby Cooking: Cheddar-Bacon Buttermilk Biscuits
    Jeanette's Healthy Living: My Mom's Beijing Biscuits "Shao Bing"
    The Cultural Dish: Pineapple Biscuits
    And Love It Too: Coconut Flour Country Biscuits
    Red or Green?: Green Chile and Olive Oil Biscuits
    Napa Farmhouse 1885: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Drop Biscuits With Cheddar and Garlic
    Made By Michelle: Swiss Chard and Feta Fritters
    Devour: The Best Mix-Ins for Your Biscuits
    Virtually Homemade: Strawberry-Tangerine Shortcakes With Bisquick Drop Biscuits
    Daily*Dishin: Quick Cream Biscuits and Slow Bacon Jam
    The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Buttermilk Biscuits
    Thursday Night Dinner: Winter Shortcake Stuffed With Jam and Whipped Cream
    FN Dish: 15 Takes on Biscuits

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Tuesday, 15 January 2013 17:56

        Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

        And we're back. After a slight hacking incident over the last few days, we're finally up and running again! And just in time too! Today's recipe has been on my mind ever since New Years.  Dave and I spent the holiday upstate with his dear friends, Dan and Erin. Lucky for us (and most especially for his wife, Erin), Dan is an avid baker. For three days we ate loaves and loaves of fresh bread, gooey cinnamon rolls (without raisins...after a heated debate) and some of the best coffee cake I've ever had. I may or may not have eaten three slices in just one day!  For weeks now, I've been meaning to make my own and was thrilled to find a recipe that also included chocolate!



        Chocolate Chip Coffee Cakechocolate-chip-coffee-cake-MG 9262
        by stephania stanley (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

        What you need:

        For the cake:             

        • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) room temperature
        • 1 1/2 cups sugar
        • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
        • 2 cups sour cream
        • 3 large eggs, separated
        • 3 cups all-purpose flour
        • 1 tsp baking powder
        • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
        • 3/4 tsp salt

        For the filling and topping: 

        • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
        • 1/2 cup sugar
        • 1 tsp cinnamon

        What you do:

        Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter or coat with cooking spray a 13"x9" pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Mix well. Add egg yolks one at a time and vanilla. Mix until eggs are beaten and well blended. In a separate bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to mix. Alternating between flour mixture and sour cream, combine with butter mixture. 

        In a medium sized bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. I recommend using an electric mixer for this part unless it's also your cross training day in your half marathon preparations. 

        In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for filling and topping. Stir to mix. 

        Pour half of the coffee cake batter into the pan.  Sprinkle half of the cinnamon mixture and 1 cup of the chocolate chips evenly for the filling. Dish out the remaining batter.  I used a rubber spatula and then gently spread batter so that it forms a nice, even layer.  Add remaining cinnamon mixture and sprinkle the last cup of the chocolate chips. Gently press chocolate chips into batter so that they're a bit more stuck in there, but not submerged. 

        Bake for 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. 


        Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookie Breakfast Bars
        Jeanette's Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Cookies
        What's Gaby Cooking: Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
        The Lemon Bowl: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
        From My Corner of Saratoga: Chocolate Chip Cookies
        Napa Farmhouse 1885: New Year's Resolution Chocolate Chip Cookies
        Red or Green?: Tao's Double-Chocolate Chip Cookies
        Made By Michelle: The Best Blondies, Ever
        Cooking With Elise: Chocolate Chip Cookies
        Sweet Life Bike: Dulce de Leche Chocolate Chip Cookies
        Virtually Homemade: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
        The Cultural Dish: Chocolate Chip Cookie Goodness
        Thursday Night Dinner: Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
        Dishin & Dishes: Chocolaty Chocolate Chip Cookies
        Daily*Dishin: Chocolate Chip and Candied Bacon Cookies With Pecans
        Devour:5 Takes on Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
        FN Dish: The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie 

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Thursday, 26 July 2012 07:35

        TND: Mason Jar Cooking & Crafting

        Happy, happy Thursday! I am officially back in Brooklyn and could not be more excited to catch up with the ladies.  I had a lovely trip to Saugatuck and then was able to hang at home for an extra couple of days. It's always difficult leaving Indiana.  I tend to get a little anxious the night before knowing that I won’t see my family for a bit, but once I get settled back into my apartment I remember why I chose to move here six years ago.  I love it here.  The energy, the museums, the samples sales, the Brooklyn Flea have all become what makes this place home for me and now for my little Ophelia.  We may be NY transplants, but I think it’s safe to say that we are New Yorkers.

        In honor of my little trip home and Mason Jar Week, I thought that I would share this homemade strawberry jam recipe that my mom and sister made together (a special thank you to Mer for using her superb photo skills!).  There are dozens of ways to pair this jam but a few of my favorites are on pancakes, spread on a slice of toasted sourdough bread, or mixed in plain Greek yogurt.

        For the craft this week, I'm sharing this lace gold mason jar that we made for a fun DIY gifts guest post with Casa Sugar awhile back.  




        Homemade Strawberry Jammason_jarIMG_2268

        by Pam Christy and Meredith Stanley (taken from Ball recipes)

        What you need:

        • 5 cups crushed strawberries (we crushed them with a wooden spoon in a larger mixing bowl)
        • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
        • 6 tbsp Ball RealFruit Classic Pectin
        • 7 cups granulated sugar
        • 8 (8oz) half pint preserving jars with lids and bands (we found our mason jars at Target)

        What you do:

        Boil a medium sized pot of water.  Reduce water to a simmer and add jars and lids to heat until ready for use.  In a separate pot add strawberries and lemon juice at medium - high heat.  Stir to mix.  Increase heat to high and gradually stir in pectin.  Bring to boil. Add sugar mixture and leave at high heat for one minute, making sure to stir constantly.  Skim foam if necessary.

        Carefully ladle hot jam into hot jars (make sure to leave about 1/4" headspace.  Keep water simmering for later use. Wipe rim of jar clean and tightly apply lid and band.  

        Add closed jars back to simmering water.  Increase the heat to high and boil canned jars for ten minutes.  Carefully remove jars and let them cool to room temperature.  

        After 24 hours, check lid seal. It should not flex up or down if done correctly.




        Gold and Lace Mason Jar Utensil Holdermason_jar-2576

        by stephania 

        What you need:

        • mason jar
        • lace (cut to wrap around mason jar evenly)
        • gold metallic spray paint (or color of your choosing)
        • Mod Podge matte glue
        • newspaper 
        • paintbrush for glue

        What you do:

        Lay down newspaper on a flat, open surface.  Turn your mason jar lid side down (with lid off) and place on newspapered surface.  Carefully spray an even coat of paint on the jar.  I found it's easiest for me to move around the jar to cover the entire surface area, versus physically turning the jar.  If you accidentally apply too much paint to an area and it begins to clump or heavily drip, simply wipe the area with a paper towel and lightly spray again.  

        Let paint dry for about an hour.  When jar is completely dry, it's time to glue on the lace.  I found it was easiest to glue and wrap a little bit at a time.  Take the lace and add a thin layer of glue to one edge and carefully apply it to the mason jar (make sure your applying the lace so that it's going to wrap around the direction you would like and where you would like the seam to be placed).  Press down so that the lace is firmly glued onto the mason jar.  Continue adding a little bit of glue at a time to the more condensed parts of the lace (so that you don't see the glue when it dries), press firmly down to glue firmly and continue until you fully cover the mason jar.  Cut off any access lace and glue final edge down.  Let dry for 15 minutes and it's good to go! 




        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Monday, 11 June 2012 06:35

        Portable Breakfast: Fruit & Cereal Bars

        Happy Monday!
        To kick off Portable Food Week, I have a deliciously simple, four-ingredient breakfast to share with you all.
        If your morning routine is anything like mine, it’s a blessing to even be on time to work or class, let alone with a belly full of the most important meal of the day. Skipping breakfast is unhealthy, but spending 10 minutes making an omelet isn’t an option either. What’s a girl to do? Make Fruit & Cereal Bars, of course!
        These bars are portable and tasty…Grab ‘em and run! You may still be late, but you can’t blame breakfast anymore.
        Fruit & Cereal Bars (adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook)
        What you need:
        1 ½ cups dried fruit (dried cherries, craisins, and apricots are great!)
        2 tbsp canola oil
        2 tbsp honey
        1 cup cereal (or granola, I used a mixture of Udi’s Original granola and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Cereal)
        What you do:
        Put the dried fruit, honey and oil in the food processor and process until smooth. Put the fruit mixture in a bowl and fold in the cereal. When fully mixed, put the contents of the bowl in a small baking pan (or muffin tins, in my case!) and push it down with a spatula to make sure the corners are filled.  Chill in the refrigerator for an hour and cut into 12 bars. Store in the refrigerator.

        Happy Monday!

        In the spirit of Portable Food Week, I have a deliciously simple, four-ingredient breakfast to share with you all. 
        If your morning routine is anything like mine, it’s a blessing to even be on time to work or class, let alone with a belly full of the most important meal of the day.

        Skipping breakfast is unhealthy, but spending 10 minutes making an omelet isn’t an option either. What’s a girl to do? Make Fruit & Cereal Bars, of course!
        These bars are portable and tasty…Grab ‘em and run! You may still be late, but you can’t blame breakfast anymore.




        Fruit & Cereal Bars

        (adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook)

        What you need:

        • 1 ½ cups dried fruit (dried cherries, craisins, and apricots are great!)
        • 2 tbsp canola oil
        • 2 tbsp honey
        • 1 cup cereal (or granola, I used a mixture of Udi’s Original granola and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Cereal)

        What you do:

        Put the dried fruit, honey and oil in the food processor and process until smooth. Put the fruit mixture in a bowl and fold in the cereal. When fully mixed, put the contents of the bowl in a small baking pan (or muffin tins, in my case!) and push it down with a spatula to make sure the corners are filled.  Chill in the refrigerator for an hour and cut into 12 bars. Store in the refrigerator.


        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Monday, 30 April 2012 08:27

        My New Favorite Breakfast: Banana Flaxseed Muffins

        I have a little confession to make. As a foodie my daily breakfast during the work week is probably the most uninteresting meal ever. I have cereal with skim milk each and everyday. It's easy, healthy, fast and I can eat it standing while I do my hair and makeup in the bathroom. I must have picked it up from my Dad who ate Frosted Mini Wheats every single day of his adult life. I'm actually not exaggerating at all. He never changed cereal. Not ever. Even my earliest memories of waking up at 5 in the morning with him as I would watch cartoons and he would get ready to head to work at the hospital, we would sit together and eat Frosted Mini Wheats.  Now that I'm officially a grown up I tend to do the same thing (only I eat Honey Nut Cheerios with banana slices), except on the weekends. Saturdays and Sundays allow me to get a little creative and are my days to splurge a little (and sometimes a whole lot) with my breakfast.  The usual suspects that hit my kitchen table on Saturday mornings are blueberry pancakes and french toast, but this weekend I went for Banana Flaxseed Muffins.  They are absolutely delicious and are a great way to satisfy my sweet tooth without feeling like I'm in a total food coma for the rest of the day.  The best part is that the recipe makes a dozen muffins, so I'll be able to eat them throughout the week and give my trusty cereal bowl a little break.



        P.S. I have all of this leftover almond milk.  Anyone have any other recipe ideas where I can use it?


        Banana Flaxseed Muffinsbanana_flaxseed-7829
        by Stephania (adapted from Everday Food Magazine)

        What you need:

        • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
        • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
        • 1 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar
        • 2 teaspoons baking soda
        • 1 teaspoon baking powder
        • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
        • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
        • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini 
        • 1/3 cup mashed ripe banana
        • 3/4 cup plain almond milk
        • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
        • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

        What to do:

        Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat muffin tray with cooking spray.  In a large bowl combine flour, flaxseed, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Whisk to mix together.  Add zucchini and banana and mix.  I found that using an electric mixer here was much easier than by hand.  In a small mixing bowl, combine egg almond milk, and the vanilla extract.  Stir to mix (make sure not to over beat the eggs).  Combine almond milk mixture to the banana mixture.  Mix until well blended.

        Divide mixture evenly into the cups in the muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

        Scrumptious Orzo Salad

        What you need:

        • 1lb orzo
        • 2 garlic cloves, minced
        • ½ head broccoli florets
        • 1 small red pepper
        • 1 bunch asparagus
        • ½ cup veggie broth
        • ½ cup olive oil
        • 2 tbsp lemon juice
        • 2 tsp black pepper
        • 1 cup feta cheese (more or less to taste)
        Note: Serve as a side dish with Lemon-y Grilled Salmon. Or add one 16 oz can of chick peas when you add the veggies to the skillet to serve as a stand alone meal.

        What to do:

        Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Combine olive oil and garlic in a large skillet and cook garlic until soft.  Add broccoli, red pepper, asparagus and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add veggie broth and lemon juice.  Cover and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until broccoli is tender. Combine orzo and veggies in a serving bowl.  Add feta and mix well. Garnish with scallions.  Serve hot or room temperature.

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Thursday, 05 April 2012 08:03

        TND: Easter Brunch Style

        Happy Thursday! This week we’re all about Easter, so we’re doing a special Thursday Night Dinner tonight.  Last year I covered my family’s Greek Easter, so I thought this year I would embrace American Easter with my family’s tradition a big fat family brunch.  We’re kind of big on any excuse to eat loads of delicious food and since I’ll be celebrating Easter with my New York family, I am bound and determined to cook it up in style.  At the top of our menu is my favorite brunch item, pancakes.  Ever since I ordered ricotta pancakes at Dino a few weeks ago, I have been obsessed with the idea of making them at home.  They were actually quite simple and the lemon zest cuts through the cakey sweetness of the traditional pancake.  Obviously, we can’t just stop there, so we’ll also be making Say Oui to Quiche and Michelle’s Ricotta Pie (it’s a ricotta themed Easter this year).

        For the craft, we’ll be dying Easter eggs for our centerpiece.  I haven’t dyed Easter eggs since I was a little girl, so I took a few tips from Betsy’s post from last year and (as always) the one and only Martha Stewart.

        To make this simple centerpiece, all you need is a vase, taffeta and dyed Easter eggs.  Feel free to play around with different tones of a color to get a subtle, clean, and beautiful centerpiece.


        If you’re looking for a few more Easter décor ideas, make sure to check out our Modern Easter post here.

        Have a lovely holiday weekend.




        Lemon-Ricotta Pancakeslemon_ricotta_pancakes-6949 

        by Stephania 

        What you need:

        • 2 cups all-purpose flour
        • 2 cups whole milk
        • 2 cups ricotta 
        • 2 tbsp baking powder
        • 4 eggs, separated
        • 2 cups berries (your choice)
        • 1/2 tsp salt
        • 2 tbsp lemon juice
        • 2 tbsp lemon zest
        • 1/3 cups sugar; 2 tbsp sugar (separated)

        What you do:

        In a small mixing bowl combine berries, 1/3 cup sugar, and lemon juice.  Toss together and set aside.  In a medium sized mixing bowl combine flour, milk, baking powder, and salt.  Mix until smooth.  In a separate bowl whisk egg whites until frothy.  Add sugar and lemon zest and whisk together.  Add egg yolks to flour mixture and mix until blended.  Next, fold in egg white mixture. Fold in ricotta making sure to keep it's texture.  

        Heat griddle to medium-high heat.  Spray cooking spray or melt one tablespoon of butter.  Ladle about 1/2 cup of pancake batter onto griddle.  Cook until the pancake begins to bubble and the bottom side begin to turn golden brown.  Flip and cook for another 3 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from heat.  Repeat until you have gone through all of the batter.  Serve with berries and their juices.


        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Wednesday, 04 January 2012 19:38

        Thursday Night New Year Dinner: Egg Souffles and Spinach Salad

        To ring in the new year, the husband and I went up to stay with some friends in southern Indiana, and our dear friend Julia made these super yummy souffles the next morning. They were so delicious, I've been looking forward all week to sharing them with the girls tonight, and I just had to share them with all of you. As you may know, Stephania and I love having breakfast for dinner, so I think these will make a wonderful Thursday night dinner addition as well as a new breakfast item. I'm going to serve these rich souffles with one of our favorite salads, Goat Cheese, Please (feel free to omit the goat cheese if you're feeling like it's overload.

        Enjoy and happy new year!



        Scrumptious Egg Soufflessouffles

        by Julia Dixon

        What you need: 

        • 6 eggs
        • 1/3 cup milk
        • Garlic salt
        • Fresh ground black pepper
        • Pepperjack cheese, shredded

        What to do:

        Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, milk, garlic salt, and pepper. Set aside. Spray 3 ramekins with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each 1/2 full with cheese. Pour 1/3 egg mixture into each ramekin. Place ramekins on cookie sheet and bake 30 minutes until high and fluffy. Serve right away.  Enjoy!

      1. Goat Cheese, Please!!!
        by Colleen Reilly

        What you need: 

        • 1 lb spinach
        • ½ 6 oz package of goat cheese (for this recipe, I like plain, but use herb if you prefer)
        • ½ 16 oz package of ripe strawberries
        • 1.5 oz raw, unsalted slivered almonds
        • Raspberry vinaigrette dressing goat_cheese_salad

        What to do:

        Preheat oven to 350° F. If you are using unwashed spinach, fill a large mixing bowl with water and submerge the spinach in the bowl. Remove and momentarily admire the sediment in the bowl. Towel off the spinach thoroughly or run it through a salad spinner if you have one. You want the spinach to be mostly dry or the dressing will roll right off the leaves. Wash the sand out of the bowl and put the dried spinach back in. Wash and dry the strawberries. Cut each berry in half and each half into half. Toss the strawberries in the bowl with the spinach.

        Once the oven has preheated, spread the almonds on a cookie sheet and place in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes. The almonds should be starting to brown when you take them out, but keep a careful eye on them because they go from perfectly toasted to unsalvageably burned really quickly. I usually set a timer to remind me because I have killed many an almond this way. Take the almonds out of the oven and set them aside to cool.

        When the almonds have cooled, add to the bowl and toss the ingredients until they are all evenly distributed. Serve into bowls. Using a fork, crumble goat cheese from the package onto each salad. Top with raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

        Serves 4-8, depending on serving amount.

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Friday, 02 December 2011 08:42

        A Sunday Brunch Tradition Fit For a Thursdays Girl (or boy!)

        Happy Friday everyone! Well it has been one exhausting week getting back into the swing of things.  Did anyone else press snooze multiple times on their alarm clock/iphones this morning? Colleen reported that she even put her pasta into her wine glass last night! A relaxing weekend seems to be just the ticket for our Thursdays girls this weekend.  One of my favorite ways to relax on a Sunday morning is to curl up on my couch with blueberry pancakes, a strong cup of coffee, and my NY Times.  We're big on friend time traditions here so when I heard about Carli Vierke's weekly tradition that combines my two favorite traditions of reading the Times and cooking with friends, I knew that I had to ask her to share it with all of you! Make sure to check out Carli's scrumptious Three Mushroom Scramble at the end! 

        Happy cooking & crafting!



         New York Times Sunday Brunch

        by Carli Vierke

        The weekly event that affectionately became known in my friend circle as the “New York Times Sunday Brunch,” couldn’t have started off more inadvertently. Two summers ago, my girlfriend Tallay and I simply decided to combine two of our favorite things: brunch and reading the Sunday edition of the New York Times. The brunch provided an opportunity to eat delicious food, spend time together, and to ponder, discuss, and debate selected articles from the paper.

        Photo from the original brunch for two.  Photo by Carli Vierke

        Tallay and I would take turns doing the bulk of the cooking, usually alternating between our two houses, which at the time were only 2 blocks away from each other in the cozy neighborhood of Kitsilano in Vancouver, BC. I would make quiches and gourmet scrambled eggs on my weeks, while Tallay, who is a gifted cook, would outdo me on a bi-weekly basis offering up feasts fit for the gods. Roasted baby-tomatoes on the vine with rock salt and coconut cake with cream cheese icing were among my favorite dishes she would make. And why not have cake at brunch? There were no holds barred on Sundays.

        Heirloom tomato salad.  Photo by Christopher Banting

        Friends began to catch wind of these weekly meetings based in literary and epicurean enjoyment and, unsurprisingly, wanted to join us. Brunch for two quickly morphed into brunch for seven, even brunch for ten on some weeks. Each person would bring something to contribute. Toasted bagels with dill cream cheese, fresh fruit mimosas, cinnamon buns, and heirloom tomato salad could be found on the menu on any given week.

        Fresh Fruit Sangria. Photo by Christopher Banting

        The brunch would usually unfold something like the following: friends would begin to arrive at my place around eleven. For the next hour or so, we would chat, drink coffee, and work on cooking whatever hot dishes would be served that day. When everyone had arrived, we would serve ourselves buffet-style and energetically extol the virtues of each contribution. For example, one might overhear “Leanna! You have simply outdone yourself this week! These palmiers are divine!” To which Leanna would respond, “Why, thank you! Andrew was up at the crack of dawn making the dough. Have you tried the coconut cake yet? It’s absolutely exquisite…” And so on and so forth, essentially until the flattery had come full circle.

        Tallay's Dill & Cheddar Scones.  Photo by Christopher Banting

        Then, after most of the eating and general hubbub had subsided, the reading of the Times would commence. First up was always the Times magazine, with the Deborah Solomon interview being a surefire crowd pleaser. Usually, one person would read the part of the interviewer (Solomon), while another read the part of the interviewee - anyone from Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky to pop star Will.i.am. The dynamic made us chuckle, but no one could deny that we learned a thing or two while doing it.

        Next came everyone’s favorite section of the magazine: The Ethicist. In this column, Ariel Kaminer (and formerly, Randy Cohen) responds to real-life ethical predicaments submitted by readers.  One of us would read the week’s quandary aloud, and the rest would call out what we believed the ethical solution to be. This exercise could lead to heated debate, but it always remained cordial.

        Finally, anyone who wished to read an article out loud could now do so. This generally opened the paper up to op-eds, reviews, and current events. Everyone stayed engaged and everyone contributed to the discussion.  Often, thanks to the copious amounts of food and mimosas, the brunches would lazily creep into the early evening, with the last person bidding their goodbyes at five or six o’ clock.

        Carli being hugged by friend, Aubrie.  Photo by Chrisopher Banting

        The New York Times Sunday Brunches were always the part of my week I anticipated most. Now, however, I live in Toronto where I have yet to host an inaugural NYT feast. I would love the opportunity to host the brunches again, but a group like the one I had in Vancouver has yet to reveal itself to me here. Who knows if it ever will. I’ll continue to wait patiently, however, because the perfect group dynamic can never be rushed, and having a large group was precisely what made the brunches so much fun.

        Indeed, what began on a whim as a leisurely, weekly brunch for two, quickly grew into a panel of excited and hungry minds challenging the world and each other. This unique aspect of our brunch made it truly one of a kind, and I anticipate the day when I can recreate it again, in my new home.


         CV's Three Mushrom Scramble
        by Carli Vierke

        What you need: 

        • ½ Cup Cremini mushrooms
        • ½ Cup Shiitake mushrooms
        • ½ Cup Chanterelle mushrooms
        • 1 medium size onion
        • ½ Cup Gruyere Cheese or White Cheddar, grated
        • ½ Cup Milk
        • ¼ bar of butter
        • 12 free-run eggs
        • ¼ tsp Ground black pepper
        • ¼ tsp Truffle Salt

        What to do:

        1. Chop up mushrooms and onions. I like to keep both the mushrooms and the onions in fairly large pieces so I cut the mushrooms into quarters and the onions into skinny strips, but dicing the onions is fine too.

        2. Heat an extra-large skillet (a wok could even work in this case) on medium heat, and add the butter, allowing it to melt.

        3. When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms and onions, stirring occasionally to ensure that they don’t stick to the pan. The mushrooms and onions should sauté for about 10 minutes while you get the rest of the dish ready.

        2. In a very large bowl, add the 12 eggs and whisk until the eggs yolks and whites are completely combined.

        3. Add the milk, pepper and truffle salt, giving the milk/egg combo a good hard whisk to ensure your eggs will be light and fluffy.

        4. Stir in the grated Gruyere or white cheddar cheese. Try to make sure it doesn’t all clump at the bottom by distributing the cheese throughout as best you can.

        5. When the mushrooms and onions have sautéed for long enough to brown around the edges, add your egg mixture and stir everything together with a spatula or wooden spoon.

        6. Stir the mixture in the skillet for approx. 10 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to a consistency that works for you.


        Bon Appetit!

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Tuesday, 18 October 2011 07:29

        Two Words: Maple Butter

        A few weeks ago I worked on a shoot for Food Network that was 50 different holiday desserts to give as gifts.  50 desserts! I was covered from head to toe in chocolate for four straight days and I loved it.  There is just something about baking something sweet for another person and there I was adding 50 new recipes to my repertoire (not to mention all of the tasting I got to do).  One recipe that for some reason I had never thought about giving someone was flavored butter.  Thankfully, Shoko thought of it for her guest blog today! I mean, who doesn't love butter? Its already in half of the desserts out there, so why not make it something extra special so that it becomes the true highlight of the dish?  




        Two ingredients, ten minutes tops – it doesn’t get much simpler than this.

        I like maple butter best on white toast, but I imagine it would work just as wonderfully on muffins (pumpkin, perhaps?). Or do as the original recipe recommends, and try it on pancakes, banana bread, or biscuits.

         Maple Buttermaple_butter_shoko
        by Shoko Wanger (
        Made using this recipe by Ellie Hoeve of Gourmand Recipes, September 2011.)

        What you need: 

        • 2 sticks of softened, unsalted butter
        • ¼ cup maple syrup

        What to do:

        Whip together butter and maple syrup in a medium bowl until smooth. (I used an electric mixer to maximize fluffiness - since your butter is already softened, this should only take a few seconds.) 

        Transfer maple butter to a lidded container and store in the refrigerator. (Alternatively, as Gourmand Recipes suggests, you can roll the mixture into the shape of a log using a piece of Saran wrap before refrigerating, to create a “stick” of maple butter.)

        I think packaging it in a pretty jar (wide enough for spreading) would make a lovely gift!

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Friday, 14 October 2011 10:33

        Weekly Roundup!

        Welcome to the weekend. Steph and I had so much fun meeting this year's DailyCandy Start Small, Go Big Winners last night. What a great group! We're honored to be lumped in the same "alum" category.

        This week at Thursdays we've been getting into the fall mood by celebrating the official fall color "Burnt Orange." Here's our recap of what's been going on around here and the world wide web at large. Enjoy!

        Happy cooking and crafting!

        xo. colleen

        This week we posted:

        Our Favorite Fall Color: Burnt Orange

        A roundup of Thursdays' favorite orange-inspired crafts and foods. 

        Orange Can make us Healthier AND Happier

        Jana teaches us why we should keep our 2nd Chakra healthy and gives us tips on how.

        An Appreciation for Goodness

        Steph shares one of her moving photos of the Dalai Lama and reminds us to appreciate the good.

        Down Home Tortellini Soup

        Colleen shares one of her favorite fall-time recipes and the story behind it.

        This week they posted:

        Apartment Therapy: Colorful Furniture

        Apartment Therapy gives us the courage to take the plunge and add some color to our lives with these fun furniture ideas.


         Made by Michelle: Charlie's Newborn Photo Shoot

        Our dear friend and contributor Michelle shares some adorable baby photos (taken by Stephania) 


        Sho & Tell: Dreamland

        After a teriible night sleep, Shoko, was yearning to be a subject in one of Jan von Holleben's photographs.


        Crafted By Lindy: Halloween Decor For Your Front Door

        Halloween is just around the corner and regretfully I don't have a single Halloween decoration up yet! This project may be just what I need! 


        You Are My Fave: Spotted and Hearted

        Loving this very clever idea for breakfast on the go! 





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