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Pie Party NYC

What a wonderful time I had last night (Thursday) at the totally fabulous pie party hosted by Ken (hungryrabbit) and Jackie (divathatateny). There were more pie’s than I think I have ever seen in one place and every single one absolutely delicious. The event was held at the GE Monogram design center located in Manhattan on 58th St on the Upper East side. I was drooling not just about the pies but the beautiful stoves, wall ovens, cook tops etc… The pie party was sponsored by Smirnoff Vodka, Kerrygold Butter, Dubb Pies NYC ,Harvard Common Press and GE Monogram.

I met so many of my food blog and Twitter friends in person and was so happy to get to talk and hang out with them. I met the amazing Abby Dodge, Susan (littleredkitchen), Kate (foodbabbles) Chris  (the Peche) and many more including our fabulous hosts Ken and Jackie.

The setting was beautiful, imagine yourself surrounded by top notch kitchen appliances in a gorgeous showroom filled with some of the most amazing food bloggers, writers and cookbook authors, pies both sweet and savory as far as the eye can see, drinks flowing and delicious appetizers cooked fresh in the GE demo kitchen, it was a night to remember.

Drinks flowed

Everyone brought pie, that was a must, after all it was a pie party!! We all set our pie’s out on tables, mingled, drank and ate, watched a demo on how to make a fabulous pie crust and then we all dug into the pies. I brought a pecan pie (the pecans were macerated in cognac and then oven dried) and a goat cheese/ricotta tart topped with brandied figs and this was nestled into a tart crust with ground toasted walnuts. I cannot even begin to tell you what my favorites were they were all so good, we were encouraged to take some of each pie to taste and take home. I have a lot of pie waiting for me in the refrigerator.

Cooking Demo

When we left were given a beautiful gift bag,containing Abby Dodge’s new cookbook Mini Treats And Held Sweets, Fine Cooking magazine, stainless measuring spoons, a cake/pie server, our choice of salted or unsalted Kerrygold butter and a lovely box of Dubb pies.

Fantastic bag of goodies

Thank you Ken and Jackie for putting together a wonderful night of friends and food in the amazing GE Monogram Center. I know it must have been a tremendous amount of work and I have to say it was flawless!! I should have taken more pictures but I was so busy talking and eating and meeting people I forgot to snap the pics, I did manage to get a few pictures of the sweet pie table before we dug in.

Beautiful Pies

More pies

And more pies!!

How about more pies!!

Thank you Everyone!!

Sorry I have posted more than once today I just wanted to thank everyone who voted for my recipe, I found out it won the Whole Foods contest. I am thrilled and honored and so appreciative of your support.

Thank you again!!

Meatloaf Plain and Simple WF Winner Best Meatloaf

Online Bake Sale – Helping A Friend And Fellow Blogger In Need

When I first saw the post from Suzie whose wonderful blog Two Dogs In The Kitchen outlined a chain of events that had recently transpired my heart sank for her. Suzie was elated at the birth of her first grandchild but the joy was clouded by sudden and unexpected health problems. Please read the link to her blog, you will see what has happened to her. Suzie’s good friend Veronica knew that she needed help, she didn’t ask for help, but Veronica knew she needed it.

She came up with a brilliant idea to have an online bake sale, the proceeds will help defray the catastrophic cost of her medical care, I donated a cake  (my apple cider applesauce cake)that will be auctioned in November and other food bloggers, bakers and friends have also donated items. If you would like to donate a baked good for the sale please contact Veronica (links are below). Suzie recently lost her job and is uninsured ,we all know how high the cost of medical care is, it can literally bankrupt you. She needs surgery to remove her gall bladder once she recovers from Pneumonia.

If you would like to donate baked goods or buy something from the online auction it would be greatly appreciated  here is the link to her blog, Veronicas Cornucopia you can leave a comment or email her directly,  this will help Suzie pay for her mounting medical bills. All you talented and wonderful cooks have to do is let Veronica know what you will donate and after the auction you will be told where and to whom you will send  it to. Very easy and this will help Suzie a lot!!

We food bloggers are a generous and tight knit community, all you have to do is bake and we all love to do that, right? Thanks so much and even if you don’t donate or purchase something from the online bake sale, send your well wishes to her she is amazingly cheerful despite the circumstances. Thanks so much!

Award And Paying It Forward

Thank you!

You know what, these awards may not be James Beard awards but because they are awarded by fellow bloggers, culinary birds of a feather, at least to me it means a lot. What does it mean, well, someone reads or browses or notices my little blog, for that I am so grateful. it also means that someone may like what I am doing and that makes me feel good. So I want to thank Julia, from In a Small Kitchen whose lovely blog always inspires me and awarding to me the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

I have to admit I am not always good at following up on things and in the past others have given me these awards, I am thankful, but unfortunately forgot to post it and for that I am sorry. Sometimes things happen, I get busy and things slip my mind, that doesn’t mean I am not grateful just forgetful.

So here are 15 bloggers I admire and am in turn awarding this to, but really there are much more than 15. More than likely most of you have received this before but thats ok, just know that you are followed, appreciated and read.

The Solitary Cook

Dabblings and Whimsey

Vina’s Delicious Recipes

Glutten Free Happy Tummy

Healthy Green Kitchen

Two Dogs In The Kitchen

Lapadia’s Kitchen

In Pat’s Kitchen

The Wimpy Vegetarian

The Nerdy Baker

Go Bake Yourself

Food Is My Life

Fig And Quince


Blue Kale Road

Food Babbles

Petit 4 Chocolatier

So it’s more than 15, I admire so many I couldn’t stop!!

Here are 7 things about me that you may not know (or maybe you do):

1. I work in Real Estate, primarily Historic homes in Brooklyn, NY

2. I am an animal lover and advocate for animals

3. I am hopelessly disorganzied at times

4. Love to cook but because I live alone I don’t cook that often for myself (I do cook every day for my dogs though).

5. I travelled extensively in Europe and Africa, living in several different European countries

6. I hate unloading the dishwasher, but like loading it (Weird right?)

7. I LOVE horror films my absolute favorite genre!

NOTE: The bloggers named above are not required to re-award unless you want to, have the time and feel compelled.

Bake Together-Caramelized Pecan Sweet Potato Skillet Souffle

Sweet Potato Skillet Souffle

This months Bake Together with Abby Dodge is a skillet souffle, Abby’s beautiful caramelized pear souffle was the base recipe and as always we are given creative license to make it our own, I used the basic recipe switching pecans for pears and sweet potato puree for the mascarpone, I made a few other little tweaks to the recipe and I must say this is like a super light pecan pie. It was not without mishaps, I had to make it three times, the first time I burnt the pecans (multi tasking doesn’t work when you have time sensitive food on the stove) the second time I didn’t burn the pecans but I caramelized the pecans in the brown sugar and found that when the souffle was done the brown sugar and pecans turned to hard candy, it was overcooked. To remedy this I roasted the pecans in the butter, added the brown sugar, syrup and rum and just let it sit until I was ready to put the souffle in the pan. This yielded the gooey caramel sauce i wanted.

I just want to give a shameless plug for Abby’s new book,  Mini Treats & Hand-Held Sweets I made her triple threat chocolate squares and they are so good, rich and fudgy I recommend you get this book, I want to make every single recipe.

Sweet caramel pecans

3/4 cup pecan halves
3 tbs butter
2 tbs firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbs Lyles golden syrup
1 tbs  dark rum
Melt butter in non stick oven safe 8 inch saute pan, add pecans and saute for 2 minutes or until you can smell the nuts, add the brown sugar, rum and golden syrup stir to combine  spread the pecans evenly in the pan and let sit until you are ready to add the souffle.
2 large eggs at room temperature separated
1/4 cup sweet potato puree
2 tbs heavy cream
1 tbs brown sugar packed
2 tbs flour
pinch of salt
Pre heat oven to 425 degrees, wash sweet potato or yam, wrap in foil place on baking sheet and bake for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of the potato. You will know its done by pressing on it with your finger and it will feel very soft. Remove from oven and let cool.
When potato can be handled comfortably blend in food processor or blender until very smooth
Make the souffle
 In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks, sweet potato puree, heavy cream and vanilla until well blended and smooth. Add the flour, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and salt and whisk until well blended.

In a (very clean) medium bowl ( you can use a stand mixer, if you’d like. I did.), beat the egg whites with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until the whites are frothy, 30 – 45
seconds. Increase the speed to to medium high and beat until the whites are very foamy and barely soft peaks. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, increase the speed to high. Continue beating until the peaks are glossy and
form soft, floppy peaks (see pic above). Scrape the beaten whites into the yolk mixture and gently fold until just blended.

Heat the skillet (with the pecans) over medium low heat.  Gently pour/scrape the souffle mixture into the skillet and smooth the top. Reduce heat to low and cook until the edges begin to look dry, 3 to 4 minutes.

Using a potholder, slide the skillet into the oven and bake until the top is puffed, golden brown and the center springs back when lightly pressed, 5 to 7 minutes. Working quickly and using potholders (the
handle is super hot), move the skillet to a wire rack (or cool stovetop and dust the souffle with a light coating of confectioners’ sugar. Gently place the serving plate on top of the souffle and invert. Carefully
lift off the skillet. Using a small serrated knife, cut into wedges and serve immediately.

My Meatloaf is a Whole Foods Finalist!!

Meatloaf Plain And Simple

I was absolutely thrilled to see that my meatloaf recipe was chosen by the very nice folks at Whole Foods as a finalist. This is one of my favorite comfort foods and a real nod to my Mom who inspired this recipe. If you are so inclined and would vote for me here is the link. The other recipe is from one of my favorite cooks, Lapadia and her meatloaf roulade is amazing. Thanks so much Whole Foods for choosing my loaf and if you choose to vote for me, thank you very much!!

I posted the recipe here about a month ago if you would like to give it a try, it is really delicious.

Brandied Fig And Walnut Loaf

Brandied Fig And Walnut Loaf

During fig season I always buy a lot of them, not just because I love them and eat them fresh, but I have to make a batch of brandied figs also. As I have said before, I don’t can or preserve so I make a few batches of brandied figs and store them in the refrigerator until I am ready to make the loaf. I like to let them sit in the jar for at least 2 weeks so they become soft and take on the flavor of the brandy or cognac. I use Martha Stewarts easy banana bread recipe as a base for just about every loaf I make, I simply sub different types of fruit, I altered the recipe for the banana bread a bit adding spices. It’s moist, gently spiced and really delicious and the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.

This recipe makes 1 loaf

  • 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon  salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 cup brandied figs chopped and slightly mashed, I added a tbs of the brandy syrup to the figs.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts rough chop
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Chop your figs and set aside. Toast your walnuts and give a rough chop.
  2. In large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy with mixer either hand held or standing using a paddle attachment. Add eggs one at a time beating with each addition. In small mixing bowl add the flour, baking soda, salt and spices whisk to combine.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and egg and stir to combine. Add the figs, sour cream,vanilla and walnuts stir to combine and put in your loaf pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Tester or toothpick should come out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes turn out onto cooling rack, brush the top of the loaf with some of the fig syrup and cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Brandied Spiced Figs

1/2 cup brandy or cognac
1 1/2 cups water or apple cider
2 cups sugar (If you use cider reduce sugar to 1 1/3 cup)
1 cinnamon stick
2 slices orange peel
4 whole allspice
24 oz fresh figs (1 1/2 lbs)
Bring everything except the figs to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 30 minutes or until reduces by a third. Wash figs and cut in half and place in reduced syrup, let steep in the hot syrup for 30 minutes covered.  Spoon the figs into sterilized jars packing tightly pour enough of the syrup to cover the figs completely, put lids on and refrigerate.

Simple Concord Grape Jam

Grape Jam on buttered english muffin

The last two weekends at the farmers market I have found plentiful amounts of concord grapes, it’s that time of year you know. I love them, eating them right off the stem sweet and tart at the same time and an intense burst of concord grape flavor. I bought a lot of them, really way too many to eat so I decided to try my hand at making jam. I have never canned or preserved anything before, one day I will, but not this time, so this jam has to be used fairly quickly within a month or so but honestly, it’s so good it didn’t last more than a week. I sterilized some canning jars poured the hot jam in the jar, sealed and refrigerated it overnight, by the morning it was thick rich intense grape jam.  I have become somewhat obsessed with making jam now, giving jars to my daughter to take home for the kids and they are really enjoying it. This weekend I made a spiced plum jam following a recipe from Hannah and her beautiful blog, Blue Kale Road, it is amazing and you should try it. Back to the grape jam though, it’s so easy to make, and you can make it in small batches. This is going to make a really good PB&J sandwich.


2 quarts (about 8 cups) concord grapes, cleaned and removed from stems

4 -4.5 cups sugar

juice of 1 lemon

Add grapes, sugar and lemon juice to a medium saucepan mash the grapes to release some of the juices. Bring to a boil on high heat, when it comes to a rolling boil reduce heat to medium and let simmer uncovered for about an 1-1 1/2 hours. You will notice it is thickening and it will coat your spoon. Drop some of the jam onto a saucer and if it thickens it’s ready.

simmering grapes

While the grapes are simmering sterilize your jars and lids, let them boil for 15 minutes, remove to a clean tea  towel to dry. When the grapes have finished cooking take a large non reactive bowl, I used an 8 cup heatproof glass measuring cup place a sieve on top and carefully pour the grapes into it. Stir it so that the liquid drips into the bowl, stir constantly and scrape the bottom of the sieve from time to time.

Strain it well

All you want left is the skin and seeds, push the pulp through, there will be very little left in the sieve.

See not much left only seeds and skin

Place the liquid back in the saucepan and simmer on medium for about 15 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars, screw lids on tightly and let sit until it reaches room temperature. You then refrigerate overnight or several days. It will become very thick and jam like.