Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

"There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch."
(Robert Brault)

Happy Halloween! I hope everyone is safely enjoying the candy and costumes. I stayed in tonight -- and watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown in its entirety for the first time, and now we're semi-watching Ghostbusters -- but went out in costume over the weekend for a work-related event in the West Village, and then to a bar in the East Village.

All Halloweens Past

As a kid, I was all about the candy on Halloween. I didn't really dress up, but would sometimes don very simple accessories, like kitten or bunny ears, or wear a trash bag with holes to look ghost-ish. As an adult, I've had more fun dressing up for Halloween, but was initially spurred on by the excitement of dressing up Emma, my puppy niece.

My favorites were Pez, Tom Brady, and Martha Stewart

This Halloween

Last year was our first married Halloween, and the first time we went out together, dressed for the occasion. We were the wooden crate and leg lamp from A Christmas Story; I had Sam wear the lamp costume since it was skimpy, but funny on him.

This year, we also had a coordinating costume: flight attendant and pilot. Sam was crafty and added black tape to the sleeves of a white shirt and pinned cardboard cut-outs to the shoulders, and I just bought a costume (the most covered up one I could find!).

Once a year, his craft skills come out
Ready for take-off at Sotto 13
Flying the friendly skies at The 13th Step

Update: Lifestyle website Miss A -- which covers philanthropic people, businesses, and brands in over 20 cities -- posted a recap of the Halloween event I attended on October 26. A photo of us made the cut!

Recap of Halloween event

Tonight I received text messages with photos of our nephews and nieces in their Halloween costumes, and they were so cute! The best part about Halloween is seeing all of the adorable kids... and, of course, the candy.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Summer 2013 Brooklyn Eats

"Some of the best memories are made in flip flops."
(Kellie Elmore)

It's almost a week into October, and we're experiencing Indian summer here in NYC. Below are photos and links of some previously unposted summer recipes. I meant to do this over a month ago; better late than never, right? I haven't cooked in a while, but I'm trying to get back into it just in time for the warming recipes of fall and winter.

Fresh Fruits and Summer Sweets

In July's "Summer Family Weekend Trip" I showed my strawberry-rhubarb jam, which was actually the third fruit jam I made over the summer. Before that, I had made peach jam and blueberry jam, which are shown below along with other fruity or sweet treats.

Instapic before the jam-making commenced
Peach jam in process
Easy peach jam
Blueberry jam in process
Easy blueberry jam
Blueberry almond streusel galette
I baked this galette for a 4th of July party
Lemon blueberry pudding cookies in process
Lemon blueberry pudding cookies
Almond bread in process
Almond bread
Later, using my almond bread for French toast
Lavender lemonade
Meyer lemon pound cake in process
Meyer lemon pound cake
Using berries we picked for berry summer pudding

Simple Salads

The first salad, heirloom tomato caprese, was so fresh and tasty that I quickly found another recipe that included juicy summer watermelon. The orange and arugula salad would be good any time of the year -- especially in the colder months when citrus is at its peak.

Heirloom tomato caprese salad
Watermelon caprese salad
Orange and arugula salad
Avocado egg salad
Neiman Marcus chicken salad

Chicken Tacos

Sam made 2 kinds of chicken tacos this summer: cilantro-lime and tomato-braised. The cilantro-lime tacos were grilled, and the tomato-braised tacos were cooked in a skillet and shredded. Both were really good, but I think we liked the tomato-braised a little more.

Cilantro & lime chicken tacos
Tomato-braised chicken tacos

On the "Grill"

Like the cilantro-lime chicken tacos above, other meals that called for grilling were cooked on our panini pan, and that's how we'll have to do it until we have a bigger place or outdoor space!

Grilled balsamic salmon kabobs
Buttermilk chicken kebabs with chopped salad
Ginger tofu kebabs with bok choy and soba salad

Pasta, Seafood, and More

The following meals -- which don't quite fit into the other categories -- include soup, pastas, a turkey burger, and baked salmon.

Winter tomato soup
One pot wonder tomato basil pasta
Spicy turkey and zucchini burger
Tuna casserole
Linguini with shrimp and olive tapenade (gift from France)
Baked salmon with garlic and dijon

Summer Meals by Local Restaurants

We've lived in Brooklyn for 16 months now, and there are still so many nearby restaurants we haven't tried yet. Lots of new places have opened up, and 3 of the restaurants we went to last summer have since closed down: Carlton Park, which was replaced by Ideya; Five Guys, which was replaced by Starbucks; and Moutarde, which was replaced by Le Pain Quotidien.

American/Bar Food: MeltPork Slope
Burgers: The Burger Bistro
Chinese: New China Tung
Chocolate/Desserts: The Chocolate Room
Colombian: Colombia in Park Slope
Indian: India House
Italian/Spanish/Portuguese: Convivium Osteria
Italian Sandwiches: Zito's Sandwich Shoppe
Japanese/Asian: Amber Sushi, Kiku Asian Bistro
Korean: Moim
Seafood: Crab Spot Restaurant
Thai: Spice
Vietnamese: Ha Noi

As much as I love summer, I'm ready to put away the flip flops and really begin a new season. Fall brings crisp air, cozy sweaters, breathtaking foliage, more baking, everything apple and pumpkin, football games, Halloween, Thanksgiving, the build-up to Christmas... What's your favorite thing about autumn?