When writing the title for this post, I hesitated to include the word subway, as I didn’t want you to think I was talking about the less than favorable sandwich chain! I’m actually talking about the subway, as in public transportation. Maybe I should back up a bit?

Last week I went to a dinner party at my friend Carey’s apartment. I brought a salad for a group of 10 or so. Since the subway is my main form of transportation, I didn’t feel like carting some massive bowl and a separate container for dressing all the way to her place in 100° weather.  The salad needed to fit nicely in a large Tupperware container and ideally already be dressed.

This whole situation got me thinking about the best salads to carry when traveling on public transportation- one’s that taste even better when dressed ahead and can easily be thrown in a Tupperware container, while still working well for a crowd. Whether you’re a city dweller or not, these are my simple summer go to salads for pot lucks and entertaining:

  • Israeli/ Greek Salad: 3 large tomatoes diced, 1 English cucumber diced, 1 cup kalamata olives roughly chopped, 1/4 cup minced red onion, 3/4 cup feta cheese, 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Gently toss together all ingredients. Dress with1/3 cup olive oil, 2 T red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad:  3 large tomatoes diced, 3 ears of kernels sliced from the cob, 2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese, 3 strips of cooked bacon roughly chopped. Gently toss together all ingredients. Dress with1/4 cup olive oil, 2 T red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. (Can sub out bacon and add avocado!)
  •  Grapefruit and Avocado Salad: 3 large avocados slides lengthwise, 5 grapefruits- segments removed. Layer the ingredient in a Tupperware container and dress with 1/3 cup olive oil, juice of half a lemon, and salt and pepper to taste
Do you have any go to easy salads that can be dressed ahead? I’d love to have more up my sleeve!


Image Credit

For the second week of our Summer in City  series, we’re featuring the fabulous Kris Schoels from the lifestyle blog, Young Married Chic. Kris is here to share some NYC and summer favorites, and we’re so happy to have her!

1. Favorite restaurant? I’ve got two actually- Il Buco on Bond Street and ABC Kitchen. Both have amazing service and the best food you will ever eat. Fresh and seasonal! There is a roasted carrot salad at ABC that is out of this world and don’t forget to order one of their delicious desserts to end the meal.

2. Favorite savory dish? My favorite savory dish for summer would have to be grilled pizza- of any variety! I also do this grilled corn avocado salad that is delish- if I do say so myself.

3. Favorite sweet? In case you can’t tell, I like to break out the grill most nights in the summer. So I would have to say that my favorite summer sweet to make would be grilled peaches with vanilla ice cream topped with a drizzle of honey.

4. Drink of choice? I’m from the south- so a lemon iced tea is my summer drink of choice.

5. Favorite NYC summer activity? Boating on the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty.

6. Summer entertaining tip? My entertaining tip actually has to do with being a guest, always bring something when you are going to someone’s house.. never show up empty handed. I make fun hostess gift baskets like the one shown here.

Thanks so much, Kris! Boating on the Hudson River sounds divine. Something to add to the bucket list, for sure.

Image Credits: Il Buco, peaches, pizzatea, river

For today’s Plate to Pixel post, we’re talkin’ ISO. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been staring at those letters on the screen of my camera for over a year now and had no idea what they meant until, oh, yesterday. So here’s the breakdown: ISO indicates how sensitive a film is to light. Low numbers make it less sensitive and produce a crisper image, while higher numbers make it more sensitive and produce a grainier image with more “noise.” Noise is not always a bad thing though, it can add style and character to a photo.

If your camera is in auto mode, it will automatically adjust the ISO based on your shooting environment. But it’s interesting to play around and see how the different levels on the scale effect the photo.

If you’re shooting in natural light, you’ll want the ISO on a low setting, either 100 or 200. You can’t see much of a difference between these two photos, but when drawing a comparison I find it helpful to really look for the grainy-ness or noise in the photo on the right in comparison to the one on the left.

The differences between the above four photos is very subtle, especially since these were taken in natural light (an ideal shooting environment). If you aren’t rushing to shoot a dish, play around between levels 100 to 800 to see how the increase in ISO brings more character and style to the photo.

Higher ISO settings are helpful in low light situations, supporting lower apertures (high f/stop!) and faster shutter speeds. It can also help you to create more depth of field. Since these photos were taken in daylight, you can see how the photo with an ISO of 3200 gets much lighter. That’s even more so the case when the ISO is set at the highest setting of 6400.

This is definitely one of those settings where you need to experiment. Photograph different objects, move around the ISO settings, and try it in different lighting situations. My goal is to work with ISO in conjunction with the f/stop settings and shutter speed to better define the style of my photos. Here’s hoping!

Have any ISO tips? I’d love to hear!

More Plate to Pixel posts: Aperture and White Balance


This season definitely seems to be the summer of the popsicle. They are everywhere I look these days, although I’m not going to complain about that! I love that they can be as simple or as innovative as you want, and because of this, they appeal to pretty much everyone. Recently, I’ve seen quite a few popsicles that share more similarities with a favorite cocktail rather than a childhood treat. In case there weren’t enough reasons to bring back these nostalgic summer bites already, be sure to add that to the list.

I love the idea of cocktail parties for entertaining, especially in the summer, because they are relaxed and have a way of making everyone feel at ease. I can imagine that not everyone has time to plan dinner parties in the summer, but an impromptu cocktail party is something anyone can do. I happen to think they’re just as much about the food as they are drinks. Brie with thyme, honey, and fresh figs is impressive, yet only four ingredients. Serve it with homemade crackers if you’re feeling ambitious. Of course, popsicles will quickly become the highlight when served drowned in champagne. String lights, paper lanterns, and the ambiance of a summer night will make this an event worth repeating.

1. popsicle maker, 2. glasses, 3. paper lanterns, 4. tray, 5. bistro lights

Image Credits: party, cheese, popsicles, crackers


Between last week’s sandwich, and today’s cake, you can probably tell I have a thing for buttermilk. It’s right up there with cream cheese as one of my favorite ingredients to use in cooking and baking. I was flipping through Joy’s cookbook on Sunday, looking for some inspiration on what to make for dessert for a dinner party we had last night, when I spotted it. A simple buttermilk cake. Her’s was topped with a walnut praline sauce, which looked delicious but didn’t feel so summer-y. Given the stack of berries I had in my fridge, I decided to make a simple blueberry sauce to go over the cake and topped it off with some lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream. I don’t think I need to tell you that this cake was absolutely divine. It’s definitely going to be a main stay in my kitchen across the summer- I can’t wait to top it with peaches, black berries, and more! Enjoy!

Buttermilk Cake with Homemade Blueberry Sauce and Whipped Cream adapted from Joy the Baker

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 6 T unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butermilk

Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan or cast iron pan and set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Using a stand or hand mixer, on medium speed beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and then the egg yolk, beating until just combined after each addition. Lastly add in the vanilla and beat until just combined. Lower the mixer to low speed, add in half the flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Add in the buttermilk and beat just until the flour disappears. Lastly, add in the remaining flour and beat until the flour disappears. Use a rubber spatula to bring together the batter and ensure everything is well incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is a deep golden brown and a cake tester or tooth pick comes out clean. Let cook completely before cutting and serving.

For the blueberry sauce:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 T corn starch

Place the blueberries, water, and sugar in a small sauce pan and cook or medium low heat. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer, stirring occasionally as the berries break down. Let simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes until most of the berries have broken down.  Whisk in the corn starch, stirring until it’s completely combined. Let simmer for an additional 15 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened. Turn off heat and set aside to cook. Sauce can be stored up to one week in fridge.

For the whipped cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Beat together the cream, sugar, and vanilla until it’s lightly and fluffy and stiff peaks form.

To serve: Cut the cake into wedges, spoon over the blueberry sauce, and top with a dolop of whipped cream.