Archive for BAKERIES

 Tuscany on the Eastern Shore

photos: m&j

A magical evening occurred last month on a beautiful farm by the bay in Wittman, Maryland – an al fresco dinner, to which a few of us lucky souls were fortunate enough to be invited. Both the meal and setting will be remembered for a long time to come. And even more impressive than the natural beauty of the site, the graciousness of the host and hostess and the many talents of those who caught, grew and skillfully prepared the bounty of sumptuous offerings we gorged ourselves upon was the company, itself. It’s hard to recall an evening coming together so perfectly. It was supposed to rain, but instead the sun came out and set with a lovely blush to match the delicate Charles & Charles and Sancerre Rosés. Some of us had not previously met, but we are now communicating regularly and planning future escapades. The event and, indeed, the menu was only casually discussed, but suddenly it all seemed to come together as if it had been planned for months.

This is one of those great evenings that we see in photos and wish we could’ve been a part of. And, delightfully, we were. And it all came together in a relaxed and flawless manner that is the hallmark of great entertaining – thanks to the deft hand and eye (and taste buds!) of delightful Carol Bean (our hostess, chef, stylist and farmer), her charming husband Mark Connolly (a third generation waterman, who, along with his brother, caught the delicious fish we ate), Rachel Vecchio (a super-talented baker and pastry chef who supplied the desserts) and Kathy Bosin (a local blogger who graced us with her presence and charming dinner company).

We began with the lovely wine and worked in some freshly pressed & chilled watermelon juice for pacing. Then came the Red Cloud goat cheese served with grilled French bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and Carol’s special, handmade “fish” crackers with sesame seeds and black lava salt. While the whole rockfish – stuffed with lemon, garlic & fresh mint and wrapped in fresh fig leaves from one of the farm’s three fig trees – was grilling along with eggplant brushed with olive oil & sea salt. The parade of delicacies began to emerge from Carol’s magical kitchen; quinoa cakes with slow-roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes, yogurt and finished with the tiniest micro-arugula we’d ever seen, fresh honeydew melon salad with blackberries and radish micro greens – tossed with a lavender white balsamic vinaigrette, barley salad with fresh, local raw corn, slow-roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes with fresh basil and fresh feta cheese, freshly grown and made chilled cucumber gazpacho “shooters” with a hint of lemon and garlic topped with beautiful, tiny micro greens – all fresh from the garden and Carol’s French green beans, pickled in her own chive flower-infused vinegar. As we ate, drank and enjoyed every nuanced bite of these super-fresh, simple yet complex culinary delights, the dessert table started to beckon …

Carol popped the cork on a bottle of Domaine Du Pre Semele and we started nibbling dates stuffed with mascarpone cheese, rolled in chopped, dark chocolate covered espresso beans, then fresh, local peaches, soaked in a lemon verbena simple syrup, dusted with fresh lavender flowers, drizzled with balsamic reduction which had been grilled on the fire and finally ripe brown Turkish figs fresh from Carol’s incredibly productive tree, sliced over the most delicate and decadent St. Angel cheese, drizzled with local honey. It cannot be stressed how delicious this cheese was (it will be eaten again. Soon!).  And then, just when we all thought things couldn’t get any better, Rachel brought out her now famous honeyed-thyme brown Turkish fig crostatas (made with local figs picked in nearby Neavitt and honey from Sand Hill Farms) served with homemade orange blossom whipped cream and an absolutely out-of-this-world rustic peach galette (made with peaches from Caroline County, and served with lavender-scented homemade whipped cream. Wow. Wow. And wow. We are still quite floored by it all and frankly, just longing for an encore! September, anyone?

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High Tea fit for a Chelsea Queen

photos: m&j

When Betsy saw fit to give the most gorgeous, modern, subtle and tasteful set of hand-thrown pottery in the form of teacups, cream & sugar and teeny tiny spoons from abc carpet & home for m’s most recent birthday, there was only one thing to do: serve tea!  But not just any tea for these beauties would do. We brewed a fabulous pot of what we think is the ultimate – Bellocq  No 42 “Little Dickens” – laced with goodies like vanilla beans, calendula flowers, rose petals and raw cacao nibs available from our dear friends at Haven’s Kitchen, along with HK’s own freshly baked petite almond meringues, slices of girly, pink strawberry cake from Books of Wonder Cafe on 18th and fragrantly blushing white pineberries via Belgium from Eataly. After all, when you decide to do justice to high tea, one really must pull out all the stops – thanks for the inspiration, B!

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Brooklyn “twee” artisanal products

food photos: m&j  artisan portraits: Jonathan Nesteruk for New York Magazine

After reading the New York Magazine cover story last week about the exponential rise of “twee” artisanal products coming out of dear and near Brooklyn, NY, we realized – not only did we want all of them – but we also already had a pretty fair share of these “food nerd items” on hand in our own pantry. And we happily recommend them all!

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teeny tiny cupcakes!

photos: m&j

Could there be a more perfect sweet birthday gift for a lady than a box of eensie weensie cupcake minis from Baked by Melissa? We do not think so! With eleven cleverly scrumptious varieties – each that perfect little bite of deliciousness and not a crumb more – a gal can really get a good many tastes for herself,  be a generous friend and do some sharing and even feel quite virtuous all the while because it is, after all, her birthday. Thank you, dear Daryl, for the perfect ending to the ever slightly less than perfect day xoxo

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Haven’s Kitchen shopping spree!

photos: m&j

Thanks to the lovely new downstairs shop that recently opened in the Haven’s Kitchen cooking school around the corner from our studio on 17th street, we’ve been doing quite a bit of prop and gift shopping. With such lovely and inspiring offerings, we can hardly control our purchasing impulses and ALWAYS come out with a beautifully designed bag full of stunningly art directed (and delicious – aka our new favorite blueberry cinnamon & raspberry cardamom muffins!) items – these porcelain, linen, cotton and wooden beauties are just a smattering of the vast collection for table, home and larder that are now available in this gorgeous space. We’re also super excited to be attending Haven’s Kitchen’s first Supper Club ever – wherein the two chefs of the Little Wisco team – Eric Milley of Jeffrey’s Grocery and James McDuffee of Joseph Leonard – will be collaborating on a menu for a lucky 40 of us, together. Dinner will be served in the upstairs space on March 27th – and we cannot wait … keep you posted!!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

photos: m&j

 
As usual, the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain comes through with their own special heart-shaped valentine cookie that’s rich, crunchy and not at all too sweet, as well as fudge bars, blood orange truffles and adorably soft, sweet & cute, handmade Sweater Toys (made out of recycled sweaters – ours is named “Pierre”!) just in time for February 14th and, not surprisingly, just so perfect – happy, happy!

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Libby’s big 5

photos: m&j

Barbara at Inatteso Café Casano outdid herself again. This time with puffy, pink and girly cupcakes in vanilla with vanilla butter cream and chocolate with her famous chocolate ganache to match a party of four whipped up little ballerina’s, a half-pint little sister ballerina and five pirouetting parents celebrating all things Angelina Ballerina and, of course, dear Libby’s fifth year on this earth – Happy Birthday, gorgeous one!

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11.11.11 11.11.11 celebration!

photos: m&j

At 11:11 on Friday, November 11th, 2011 we each made a special wish and celebrated our favorite and most magical number in quintuplicate with close friends, delicious chocolate ganache cupcakes from Inatesso Cafe in Battery Park City and a little toast of bubbly!

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peach mint tartlet to beat the band!

photos: m&j

City Bakery on West 18th Street makes the most out-of-this-world seasonal tarts on their super crispy and slightly salty buttery crust! Our personal fave – the Peach Mint ambrosia that crops up every summer. We can’t wait to savor this baby until it’s gone along with a nice, large iced coffee with a shot of cold chocolate, a dash of sugar and lots of half and half. We are so lucky to live and work close by!

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a lovely cake for the birthday girl!

photos: m&j

How do you top an amazing coconut cake from Amy’s Bread that J gave M for her birthday? The answer is: you can’t. You just go a completely different direction and hope for the best. And, fortunately for us and our dear friends, B and JJ, the results did not disappoint! The “Sublimity Jane” cake created by Lulu Cake Boutique in Chelsea was an artful combination of moist crème fraiche yellow cake, Valrhona chocolate pudding filling and magnificently designed vanilla buttercream. A wonderfully balanced group of flavors and not at all too sweet – thank you, Jim for your amazingly beautiful presentation and Happy Birthday, J!

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