Been a while since I put together one of these month ahead posts for you guys! With just a few short weeks left of summer, it feels like an important time to take stock, set some intentions, and make the most of the remainder of the season. And when it comes to your BLTs, don’t forget to do it up with different breads, avocado, and supplement or swap out your butter lettuce with peppery arugula or fresh basil. The best! xx Clara
It’s easy to fall out of love with this city, especially in the winter and summer months. The bitter cold and miserable humidity, coupled with all the other not so nice things about New York (i.e. subway smells) can really push you to your limits. But this summer, oh man, is this city being kind to us weather-wise. The last few weeks of brisk mornings and breezy nights have made me fall so hard for this sweet city of mine and I could not be more thankful.
In honor of this glorious weather, here are a handful of my favorite activities/ eats to indulge in this time of year if you find yourself in NYC!
Rooftop drinks at the James Hotel
Riding the East River Ferry (such a great way to view the city!)
Numerous trips to Big Gay Ice Cream
Ice Lattes from Oslo Coffee (best iced lattes EVER) and walks around Williamsburg
Walks/runs along the West Side Highway
Chloe’s Soft Serve when I’ve been eating too much ice cream
Happy hour in the backyard at Gottino (get the ricotta fig crostini… OMG)
OH and this peach cake. It’s an Ina must. I toted it all the way to the North Fork last weekend (along with these scones), and it was the perfect thing to enjoy first thing in the morning with coffee or topped with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Get into it!
Fresh Peach Cake slightly adapted from Ina Garten
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup Greek yogurt, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (4 medium sized)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square or round baking pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the Greek yogurt and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon.
Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.
Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes (I found mine needed the full 55), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature. Keeps for up to 4 days on counter top, tightly covered.
Just a smattering of photos from a truly glorious weekend. For years my friends Kate & Andrew have been talking about this amazing house they rent in the North Fork, and this year I finally got my act together and joined them. If you’ve been following along on Instagram you know that last 48 hours have reflected a constant stream of seafood, fresh produce, seaside lounging and dining, and then some. It’s weekends like this that fill me with utter delight over the people I have in my life.
Hope your weekend was just as special. Can you believe this Friday is the start of August? We’ve got to savor!
Ps: That peach cake you see below? Recipe coming Wednesday!
One of my favorite summer pasta recipes of all time is Ina’s Linguine with Marinated Tomatoes. In the dregs of March, when I can’t bear to even look at another root vegetable, it’s this dish I fantasize about. I’ve essentially taken that same dish and subbed out the pasta for grilled bread. You might be thinking…. “This looks great, Clara, but like, I totally want to add some mozz to that tomato party.” I feel you. I get you. But please don’t do that. And I say that as a mozzarella/burrata fiend. There’s just something about the tomatoes and the way their garlicky marinade soaks into the grilled bread that is, one, to die for, and two, needs to remain untouched. Trust me (and then you can thank me).
And speaking of thank yous, thank you all SO much for your warm welcome back on Monday! It’s definitely nice to be missed, and I’m so glad to be back. Let’s do this, Wednesday.
Grilled Baguette with Marinated Tomatoes
- 2 T minced garlic
- 4 medium or 3 large heirloom tomatoes (you should have
- large bunch of basil, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- one whole baguette, cut in half and the each half cut lengthwise
Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, basil, salt, red pepper flakes, and ground pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for at least 1 hour before serving.
When ready to serve, brush the cut side of the bread generously with olive oil and place on a heated grill, cooking until golden brown and slightly charred (Note: My NYC digs does not allow access to a grill, so I just pan fried the bread cut side down in some olive oil). Cut the grilled bread into smaller pieces and arrange in a single layer on a large tray. Spoon the tomatoes over the bread and serve.
Guys don’t fret, that blogging sabbatical was totally planned. #saidnooneever
To be completely frank, the whole turn of life events at the beginning of 2014 has made blogging straight up hard. I’m in awe of bloggers like Grace and Jen who moved so gracefully through parallel personal transitions, barely missing a post. I reached a serious mental road block a few weeks back and had to put this space aside for a while. There were moments during that period where I didn’t know if I’d ever pick it back up again. And through that, the lifecycle of a break up became blatantly clear to me. My whole notion that the farther you got from it, the easier it became, was pretty flawed. Luckily I’m in a much brighter spot now, but I don’t doubt it’s going to take several more months for this whole experience to sort itself out. Recognition of the process, though, is really what got me to that brighter spot. Surrendering myself to the fact that life is simply not going to look at all like it did before is, in a way, a huge relief, and very liberating.
So with that fact in mind (and on the wise advice of a dear friend), I decided to spend the past week focusing solely on the basics. Eating, sleeping, exercising, and working. That’s it. Only those four. As someone who likes to take 24 hours and cram what couldn’t get done in one week into one day, this was hard. But I was determined. I needed to get back to my life roots- homemade food, consistent workouts, placing a priority on sleep, and not staring at the screen past 10 pm. In a way it makes perfect sense that I found myself back in this space this week. Life felt kinda right again. It felt so darn good to pick up my camera and style some food again this weekend. And if I learned anything, it’s that focusing on only the basics is exactly where I need to be right now. That and I should never give up my yoga practice, even if it means only practicing once a week. Seriously, someone yell at me if I do that again, ok?
Oh and one more life lesson- scones are one of the loveliest things ever. Add summer corn and basil and they’re even lovelier. When I pulled out my standmixer to make these yesterday, it was seriously like hugging an old friend! Yep, that’s real life. Clearly Kitchenaid mixer activity needs to be part of my weekly basics, too. Bring on the baked goods…
Thanks for hanging with me during this time. Have a great week! xx Clara
Savory Summer Corn & Cheddar Scones loosely adapted from Ina Garten
Makes 8 large scones
- 1 1/2 cups plus 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour (separated)
- 1/2 cup corn meal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 lb sharp cheddar, small dice
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- corn cut from one ear
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Mix the eggs and buttermilk and quickly add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss together the Cheddar, basil, corn, and 1/2 tablespoon of flour and add them to the dough. Mix until they are almost incorporated.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it for 1 minute, until the cheddar, corn and basil are well distributed. Roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. Shape in to a disc, cutting first in half, then in quarters, and then in eights. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outside is crusty and the inside is fully baked. Serve warm or at room temperature.