This weekend I killed a mosquito! All on my own! (It should say a lot about my capability as a human that this is news.) I feel like combating wily mosquitoes in old, not-quite-insulated apartments is a defining part of the New York summer for us every year. Before B2, I always figured dousing yourself with life-shortening amounts of DEET was the only way to win, or else end up miserably (and ineffectually) smacking yourself in the ear all night, huddling under the sheet, and waking up with a constellation of bites on the inch of forehead and the two toes you left exposed.
You know what I really love (besides pancakes)? The things that you just know are going to be good before you get to try them. Black sesame soft-serve. This nubbly sweater that just came in the mail. (But not the other one that I’m returning. Or the shirt.) Emoji updates. (Tacos! Cheese!) Everything about this. It’s like you see it, you just know, and that’s pretty much exactly how I felt when I saw this caramelized banana French toast last year. Cloaked in buttery brown sugar caramel, gently spiced, and cradled by carbs, it was Sunday morning perfection — I don’t know if I’d ever given thought to caramelized banana goodness in breakfast before then, but I’m now convinced it belongs in any and all breakfasts imaginable.
Before these little cheesecakes, my cheesecake experience was solely and shamelessly limited to this — the seven-ingredient recipe on the back of the Philadelphia cream cheese box. It was five ingredients if you bought the Keebler crust in its own ready-to-go tin, which my college self definitely did, it was easy, and it was good; sometimes I swirled blueberry jam or pumpkin pie filling (the recipe from the Libby’s pumpkin can, naturally) into it and felt fancy even though the pumpkin burned faster than the cheesecake could cook.
Thank you to Sanpellegrino for sponsoring this post and providing the products used in this recipe! All statements and opinions are solely my own.
It’s been hot again this week! I love it. Just as I was getting sad about the end of the summer and the evenings were getting seriously cool and crisp, the heat and humidity is back for just a little longer. It’s not too stifling, but it’s enough to comfort me that fall isn’t quite here yet — and it’s perfect for a few end-of-summer hibiscus spritzers to use up the surplus of hibiscus concentrate from these doughnuts on Tuesday. I didn’t anticipate exactly how much concentrate I’d have left over from that recipe, but it’s actually kind of wonderful to have on hand — hibiscus tea is gently tart and refreshing, full of good-for-you things that help lower your blood pressure and aid in digestion, and using up the concentrate hasn’t felt like a chore at all.
The first time I had a Dough doughnut was at a little sun-drenched picnic about a year ago. Linda graced us with a floppy box brimming with gems from this shop I’d previously never heard of (I live under a rock) and they looked glorious — plump and squashy, stacked two levels deep on sticky wax paper and cloaked in crackly, dripping glazes of all colors and flavors.
Overwhelmed by choice, I just went for the one with the prettiest color (because I evidently judge both books and carbs by their covers). It was an enormous and aggressively magenta beauty that turned out to be, as you might have guessed, hibiscus — and it was totally magnificent. The mouth-puckering brightness from the hibiscus is a perfect balance for the decadence of fried dough, and keeps it addictive long after chocolate or dulce de leche might have gotten heavy. Which was both a good and terrible thing, since I started with a lady-like half (ha) and ended up finishing a whole, another half … and the other half of that half. So crazy good.
It’s the last week of August and I’m sad about it! I know, technically summer doesn’t end for another three weeks and change, it’s still plenty humid here in Brooklyn and the heat in the subway stations still closes around us like a fist every morning on the platform, but my grieving has already started. I’m such a sucker for spring and summer. Sunscreen smells like happiness! Long days and sleeveless tees and flip-flops are the way to my heart.
A few months ago, a super exciting thing happened and I leveled up into my own office at work (we share for the first few years). OK, so it’s true, it has no windows. That comes after three years. But for the first time I have a little cave all to myself! I went a tad crazy decorating my haven with gratuitously shiny file racks and cups shaped like fishes and a couple of the dreamy cookbooks I’ve been coveting, like Karen Mordechai’s Sunday Suppers and Kristen Miglore’s Food52 Genius Recipes. It’s pretty much all the things I do not need to practice law. But it makes my new nook so homey! (And it gives me a neat little escape from work whenever I feel like daydreaming about food.)
When we came back from Japan, I didn’t think I’d try to recreate any of the magical, thoughtfully, wonderfully-made food we had while we were there. It all seemed way beyond my ken — a just-so balance of kombu and bonito, a dollop of miso and things I couldn’t even guess at, hand-pulled and long-simmered and much-perfected. That was true most of all for the multi-course kaiseki meal we had in Kyoto. We weren’t even sure if our uncultured palettes could even properly appreciate everything we were served — delicate, softly-cooked beef wrapped in thin slices of eggplant, vegetables cloaked in water jellies, cold soups with scallops and deliberately arranged tiger prawns — and I’m pretty sure a lot of it did go right over our heads.
Figs are here! We finally had our first figs of the year this weekend, and words cannot adequately express how excited I am. I feel like my first fig sighting is always one of the best days of the summer, even if it means fall isn’t far away, but this year I’ve been even more eager than usual to catch a glimpse of those plump little soldiers standing in their neat, blue-purple rows under the awning at our favorite produce store.