Monday, October 24, 2016

The Red Rooster Cookbook: A Party, Recipes, & A Whole Lotta Inspo!

If you've been following the blog for a while, then you're likely aware of a few of my favorite things, places and people.  As things go, there's no doubting that books--particularly cookbooks--hold a dear place in my heart and food journey.  And favorite places can never be a topic without New York City being squarely on the list.

Then there's the matter of favorite people.  Over the years, we've done our fair share of highlighting the work and genius of internationally acclaimed chef, restaurateur, author and all-around-dynamo, Marcus Samuelsson.  So when the opportunity presented itself to combine all three during a recent evening of celebration, naturally I couldn't resist.  The fete was a private soiree to celebrate the launch of the Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem.

Although it seems like only yesterday that Red Rooster opened its doors to the world, now in its sixth year, the restaurant has cemented itself on the Harlem--and New York--food and entertainment scenes for many years to come.  Like most great memories, I still recall the excitement of my first visit (a hot summer's night with faulty air-conditioning that somehow didn't matter, Questlove spinning in the basement now known as Ginny's Supper Club--music has been a staple of the venue from the very beginning--and a vibe that radiated community, pride, and, yes, a whole lotta hustle.)

Several years and visits later, that initial excitement was as palpable as ever, not only for me, but for every person who showed up to participate in this moment of celebration for Red Rooster, Chef Samulesson--and Harlem, itself.  A night to remember unfolded with words of recollection and gratitude from the founders, the local community, and well-wishers from near and far.  Exceptional music, food and ambiance rounded out the occasion in true Uptown fashion.

Back home, with my own personal copy in tow, I'm excited to take in more of the inspiration and legacy found between the pages of this cookbook.  (I already have my eye on a recipe and playlist, or two, to break it in.)  And as the Red Rooster story continues to evolve, I look forward to every delicious nuance.

Happy Eating! 

Buy the Book


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Apple Tarts

Something about the Fall season has stirred up my desire for baking more recently.  I bought an adorable cake pan a couple of weeks ago and was feeling the urge to put it to use almost instantly.  Apple season is in full bloom, so I was seeking inspiration for a cake recipe that would deliciously showcase the fruit.  But, a curious thing happened, and my cake dreams were eclipsed by perfect, little apple tarts. 

Starting with one of my favorite short-cut ingredients, puff pastry, I piled apples coated with the warm flavors of cinnamon and allspice, and brightened with orange zest and juice, on top with child-like anticipation of the goodness that was about to unfold.  A few extra touches later, the tarts were in the oven to bake to golden perfection.   A dusting of confectioner's sugar, along with a scoop of ice cream to finish, make these easy, yet elegant, tarts one of the best additions to your seasonal eating repertoire. 

Happy Eating!

Apple Tarts

2 large, firm baking apples (Granny Smith is my preference), peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
Zest of an orange
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon cinammon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Sugar, for sprinkling
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
Flour (for surface)
Confectioner's sugar (for dusting)
Ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Toss apples, cinnamon, allspice, zest, juice and a bit of sugar to fully coat apples and set aside.  Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a long rectangle.  Cut in half crosswise and then cut each half to make a total of four squares.  Transfer dough to the baking sheet and prick with a fork in several places.

Pile apples in the center of each square and dot fruit with butter.  Beat egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl and brush pastry with egg wash.  Fold up the edges around the apples, leaving the center open.  Press along the folded edges to lightly seal.  Brush outside of pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with more sugar.  Let chill in freezer 10 minutes.

Bake tarts until puff pastry is golden, 15-20 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until pastry is deep golden brown and apples are tender, 15-20 minutes.  Enjoy! (Note: Tarts can be baked up to 6 hours ahead. Store uncovered at room temperature.)

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit



Monday, September 26, 2016

{Fall Eats}: A Guide to Apples

Fall has finally graced us with its presence once again and that means many things on the culinary spectrum, not the least of which is the prime season for apples.   As you prepare to head to the orchards, markets, and kitchen to indulge, you'll want this handy primer from Williams-Sonoma, featuring nine varieties, to keep you on your cooking, baking and eating toes.   Whether you're talking cider, applesauce, apple butter, and more, you'll know which apple perfectly fits the bill.

Photo Credit: Williams-Sonoma

Happy Eating!


Monday, September 12, 2016

{Style Files}: Cape Life

My favorite season happens to be on the horizon, with not many days to go before its official debut.  Judging by the crisp, refreshing temperatures, warm and cozy fare, and rich style and beauty trends, I'm guessing I'm not alone in my sentiments.  Fall is definitely a star season that beckons to be celebrated.

As the warmer temperatures give way to the cooler, breezy weather, it presents the perfect opportunity to don seasonal looks accented by scarves, hats, boots, and one of my personal favorites--capes.

Chic and purposeful all-in-one, adding a cape to your wardrobe mix provides instant style elevation and transforms even the most understated wares into something truly special.  Below are some looks that are inspiring me to wake up my 'Cape Life' once the season finally settles in.  Whether worn long, short, in the coat, sweater, or somewhere in between variety, you can't miss with a well-worn cape.

Here's to Fall...and Happy Styling!

P.S. Want more fashion and style inspiration? Follow me here.

Credits: Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5


Thursday, September 1, 2016

#DearSummer: Seasonal Food, Travel, Entertaining & More!

We've been taking in Summer with loads of inspiration--and before we say farewell to the season, I invite you to join in on the fun!

From scrumptious recipes, to travel scenes, style, entertaining and more, we love taking in all that this time of year has to offer, and we're not done yet!

I hope your Summer is going great and that our inspiration will only make it better.  See our featured highlights here and may your remaining days of Summer be filled with...

Happy Eating and Living!


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Salted Honey-Caramel Sauce

Not all great dishes require extended time and effort to pull off something remarkable and deliciously nosh-worthy.  Take decadent salted honey-caramel sauce for instance.  This homemade treat comes together like a dream in a matter of mere minutes, and from there the sky is the limit on the number of ways to indulge.

From ice cream sundaes, to milkshakes, to cheesecake, to pancakes (you get the picture, no?), a drizzle or two or three of this homemade confection delivers irresistible sweet-salty-caramel-y goodness to your favorite desserts and dishes.

Make. Drizzle. Nosh. Repeat.  All in a day's... Happy Eating!

Salted Honey-Caramel Sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Fleur de Sel (or coarse salt)   
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine honey, 1/4 cup water, and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium, swirling until sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil; cook until mixture is deep golden brown, 4-6 minutes.  

Remove from heat and carefully whisk in cream, butter, salt and vanilla (be careful, mixture will splatter).  Let cool completely.  Sauce can be refrigerated for up to two weeks in an airtight container.  Gently reheat before serving.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart   


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Roasted Red Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes with Goat Cheese

Tomato season is finally here--and if that excites you as much as it does me, then you'll be happy to add a simple, but superbly fresh and delicious recipe to your Summer eats rotation.  Vibrant, roasted red peppers provide the perfect canvas for ripe cherry tomatoes, sweet basil, tangy goat cheese and other savory flavorings.

The tastes of Summer are on full display in this simple, yet scrumptious, salad.

Happy Eating!

Roasted Red Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes with Goat Cheese
(Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)
  • 4 red bell peppers, halved, seeds and ribs removed
  • 6 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup basil leaves, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plus ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Preheat oven to 375°. Place bell peppers, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish and top with anchovies and garlic. Tear ¼ cup basil leaves over top, season with kosher salt and black pepper, and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil. Bake until peppers are tender but still hold their shape and are slightly charred around edges, 35–45 minutes. Let cool.

  • Meanwhile, blend remaining ¾ cup basil and remaining ⅓ cup oil in a blender until smooth; season basil oil with kosher salt and black pepper. 

  • Arrange bell peppers on a platter. Top with tomatoes, goat cheese, and more basil, then drizzle with basil oil and season with sea salt and black pepper.


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