Brussel Sprouts, Apple, and Pomegranate Salad


I haven’t posted on the blog for a while because I was traveling. Steve and I celebrated New Year’s eve in Lisbon with out friends. We ate bacalao (salt cod) cooked with potatoes and eggs, pasteis de nata (the ubiquitous Portuguese egg tarts), and drank lots of vinho verde wine. We listened to fado music in a neighborhood restaurant, where the owners, a husband who cooked and wife who served us, both sang for us and brought us to tears with emotion.

We then went to Paris where we spent time with friends and observed the tail end of the latest Parisian food fad: hot dogs. Yes, hot dogs. Last year it was bagels, the year before it was cupcakes, and before them it was burgers. Despite the fascination with the worst of American cuisine, I’m happy to report that the food scene in Paris is thriving, with countless little restaurants offering home-cooked, delicious meals everywhere.

Before coming back to New York I went to Cyprus for a week to visit my family and a day after I arrived I was struck with a nasty case of stomach flu that pretty much destroyed my appetite, so I didn’t get to enjoy my mom’s cooking as much as I would have liked.

By the time I came back home, after being away for almost four weeks, I was craving simple and familiar food. My body demanded salads and grilled chicken. This brussel sprout salad with apples and pomegranate will soothe any travel-weary stomach. We made it for the first time last Thanksgiving and we loved it. It’s fresh and sweet-tart with a satisfying crunch. It holds well in the fridge so you can make it in advance or store left overs for next day’s meal.


Brussel Sprouts, Apple, and Pomegranate Salad – Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4-6


1/2 large red onion, diced small
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground sumac
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season salad
2 cups shredded brussels sprouts (you can shred them with a food processor or thinly slice them with a sharp knife)
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (from about 1/2 a large one)
1/2 a large peeled apple, cored and diced
Juice of half a lemon, plus more to taste
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup toasted, cooled walnuts, lightly crushed or coarsely chopped
Aleppo pepper (or ground chipotle chile pepper, urfa biber peppers, hot smoked paprika or another chile flake) to taste


Make the sumac-pickled onions: Combine red onion, wine vinegar, sumac and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients, or ideally at least 15 minutes.

Combine all salad ingredients, including red onions and their pickling liquid, in a medium bowl and season to taste with salt and red pepper. Taste and adjust ingredients as desired.

This salad can be prepped ahead, but keep the dressing off of it until at most an hour before serving so it doesn’t discolor the sprouts.

Whole Wheat Apple Cider Baked Donuts


I didn’t grow up with school-provided lunches or even school cafeterias where students sit down to eat. In all grades, school ended around 1:30pm and we all went home for lunch. There was a food vendor in the school that worked out of a small room with no tables and with one single window from which we could order sodas and sandwiches if we wanted them during class breaks.

However, I remember that for a little while when I was in elementary school, we would get a school provided mid-morning snack. I was going to an elementary school that a lot of refugee children attended (from the 1974 war in Cyprus), so the government was providing some food to those schools. It consisted of a giant pot filled with sweetened condensed milk that had been thinned with water to the consistency of regular milk and heated over a gas flame until it was almost boiling. We all brought our own mugs and a teacher would stand next to the steaming pot with a big ladle and fill our mugs with the sweet drink. Sometimes we could even get seconds.

But even better was what came with it. A plump donut, often filled with jelly, and covered in white sugar crystals. The combination of the sweet milk and even sweeter donut was what I looked forward to the most at school every day. Now that I think about it, it must have been a terrible idea to give a bunch of elementary school kids a giant sugar spike in the middle of the morning, expecting them to sit quietly in class afterwards.

Today’s recipe is for a different kind of donut. They are cake donuts that are baked, not fried. They are also made partly with whole wheat flour so they are a little more healthy than your regular fried donut. Nevertheless, they pack a ton of flavor from the apple sauce and boiled cider, as well as the maple sugar and cinnamon. They won’t give you the sugar high I probably got back in elementary school, but they will definitely hit the spot.DSC03569

Whole Wheat Apple Cider Baked Doughnuts – Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 12 donuts

Note: You can buy donut pans at King Arthur Flour or on Amazon. For the boiled apple cider, I highly recommend the one sold by King Arthur Flour. However, the recipe allows for substituting both the donut pans and the boiled cider if you don’t want to buy them.


1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup maple sugar (you may substitute with brown sugar)
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened preferred
4 tablespoons boiled apple cider; or substitute with 6 tablespoons additional applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans. If you don’t have doughnut pans, you can bake these in a standard muffin tin; they just won’t be doughnuts.

Whisk together the oil, eggs, sugars, applesauce, boiled cider, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder until smooth.

Add the flours, stirring with a spatula just until smooth. Do not overmix.

Fill the wells of the doughnut pans nearly to the rim; use about 1/4 cup of batter in each well. If you’re making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15, so you’ll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans).

Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. If you’re making muffins, they’ll need to bake for 20 to 23 minutes.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and loosen their edges. After about 5 minutes, transfer them to a rack.

In a medium bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar. While the doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently toss them in the cinnamon-sugar. If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle their tops with cinnamon-sugar.

French Apple Cake

DSC01299It’s that moment when you turn onto a dimly lit, narrow street, with sidewalks barely wide enough for one person, the pre-Haussmann medieval buildings curving over you as you look up, and you know that you are experiencing Paris as it was, and will be, decades ago and decades in the future. It’s the cool autumn day, when you are having lunch, sitting by the window, and you watch the two elderly Parisian women, warm in their fur coats, carefully unwrapping their chocolate squares before delicately sipping their coffee.

It’s the knowledge that the cheese lady will wrap each piece of cheese you’ve chosen like a precious small gift, which it is, a gift of land and sky and love and hard work, which you will taste with each bite as the Parisian sun (so precious in itself) streams through the big windows of your apartment and you clink your wine glasses, knowing that this lunch, of cheese and meat and bread and wine, is one you really can’t have in any other city in the world. 
DSC01307It’s that sense of magic, as you sit outside on a restaurant terrace with your friends on a warm summer evening, finishing dinner at 10pm while the sun is still stubbornly refusing to set, and the waiter smiles as he pours the final bit of wine for all of you and you are happy, because the night isn’t over, there’s still the lazy walk back home as the sky furiously changes colors before it finally gives up and goes dark.

It’s the giddy feeling you get every time you end up at the Eiffel Tower, wanting to be blasé about the whole thing, but being unable to resist the overwhelming beauty around you and the shared joy of so many people for whom being there is a lifelong dream. It’s the moment you take as you cross one of the Seine bridges to stop and look and take in the unquestionable beauty of this city that is loved and loves back. When you know that no matter what happens, you will always have Paris in your heart.

French Apple Cake – Very slightly adpated from Cook’s Illustrated


1 1/2 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Calvados or white rum
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting


Step 1: Adjust oven rack to lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil. Place prepared pan on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Step 2: Place apple slices in a microwave-safe dish, cover and microwave until apples are pliable, about three minutes. Toss apples with lemon juice and rum and let cool whilst you prepare the cake batter.
Step 3: In a large mixing bowl whisk one cup flour, one cup sugar, baking powder, and salt together.
Step 4: In another bowl whisk together one egg, oil, milk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients until just combined. Transfer 1 cup of batter to a small bowl.
Step 5: Whisk 2 egg yolks into remaining batter. Gently fold in cooled apples. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth surface.
Step 6: Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons of flour into the reserved batter then pour over the top of cake. Sprinkle the surface of the cake with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.
Step 7: Bake for one hour and fifteen minutes, until golden brown and set. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool, five minutes.
Step 8: Run a paring knife around the sides of the pan and remove from form. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack, 2-3 hours. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Apple Cider Salted Caramels


Happy new year everyone. I took some time off from the blog during the holidays because I was traveling quite a lot and wasn’t really up to writing up stories and recipes while packing and unpacking my suitcase.

The last three weeks included six different flights, two continents, three countries, and a lot of eating. One of those flights was probably the scariest one I’ve had so far. We were flying from Athens to Paris when the captain came on to tell us there was some turbulence over the Alps, “nothing major,” he said. Five minutes later, the plane is swaying left and right, up and down, like a leaf caught in a windstorm. My hands sweated so much from my anxiety, that the iPad I had been gripping was crusted over with salt from dried sweat.


But there were also fun times and good food. There were the Christmas coffee cakes that Steve’s sister (and their mom before her) always makes. They are variations on Kulich, a yeasted sweet bread, studded with raisins and topped with a sugar glaze and colorful decorative sugar. Sliced, toasted, and slathered with butter, they make the perfect holiday breakfast. There were also tons of chocolates from Puyricard that we ate with our friends in Pressac, France, where we spent 6 days living in a house in the middle of a small farm with nothing around it but fields and animals. We celebrated New Year’s eve there, during which we ate fresh oysters, foie gras, and roast veal and cauliflower. The following week, in Cyprus, I had kolokotes for breakfast, traditional pumpkin turnovers that are filled with sweet pumpkin, raisins, and bulgur wheat. And my mom made koupepia, stuffed grape leaves. They were so good, I had them for three meals in a row. And I got to eat loukoumades, traditional fried dough balls that are soaked in honey syrup.


Now I’m back and getting ready for the next 2-3 months of cold weather and meager offerings at the market and the stores. This is the season for making things that have no season, using ingredients that are either available year-round or are preserved from the spring or summer. It’s also a good time to discover something new, that maybe you’ve never used before. Like this boiled cider that I bought from King Arthur Flour and which I’ve used in everything from oatmeal to quick breads to salad dressings, and these amazing caramels that I took with us on our trips over the holidays (Steve’s family loved them. Our French friends were not as thrilled with them, given their dislike for cinnamon in desserts). The boiled cider has the viscosity of maple syrup and is wonderfully sweet and tangy. The caramels I made with it are soft and slightly chewy, with a distinct apple flavor, sort of like a caramel apple, but smaller and less messy.

DSC03604Apple Cider Salted Caramels – Slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour


2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream or whipping cream
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup boiled cider
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice
flaky sea salt (like Maldon) for top


Lightly grease an 8″ x 8″ baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on opposite sides.

Combine the cream, corn syrup, sugar, butter, and boiled cider in a heavy-bottom, deep saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce to medium-high heat and cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 244°F-245°F on a candy thermometer, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your particular stove. (If you prefer hard caramels, boil to 248°F.)

Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the salt and spices.

Pour the hot mixture into the prepared pan. Let it cool completely. If you’re making soft caramels, put pan in the fridge for 20-25 minutes before cutting into 1″ squares. If you are making hard caramels, you can cut them without refrigerating them first.

Wrap caramels in parchment paper or wax paper. Place one caramel in the center of each square; wrap the opposite edges of the paper around the caramel and twist the exposed edges to close.

Chestnut and Apple Soup


When I was a kid, I remember my mom telling me that as she got older, she started remembering things from her childhood that she had thought she had completely forgotten. It seemed that some memories were like fermented foods, stored away and left to mature over time by themselves until the time was right to unveil them again.

As a kid, this didn’t really make a lot of sense to me. But now that I am doing my own older-getting, I understand what she meant. Flashes of memory will pop into my head unexpectedly. They are often little things. Unremarkable events and ordinary days from many years ago. And sometimes these memories carry their own smells.

Like the smell of charred corn on the cob, for example. It’s always tied to my memories of trips we took to see my aunt’s family, who lived closer to the sea. As we drove back in the evening with our windows rolled down, the car would fill with the smoky, sweet smell of corn cooking on coals. There were always vendors selling it on the sidewalks and sometimes, my dad would stop the car and buy some for us. I burned my tongue many times on that corn. It was impossible to wait for it to cool down.

Roasting chestnuts is another one. I grew up without central heating. We had one portable gas heater that we huddled around in the evenings as we watched TV in the living room. Sometimes, my parents would buy fresh chestnuts and bring them home. I remember my dad would score the tops with an X and then put them on the top of the heater. Their smell as they roasted would fill the room and my sister and I would wait breathlessly for my parents to take them off the heater, blow on them to cool them down, and peel them for us. The sweet and nutty flesh was as good as candy.
DSC03551Chestnut and Apple Soup – Slightly adapted from


2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 small Golden Delicious (or other sweet variety) apple, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 7.41-oz jar vacuum-packed chestnuts
1 large celery stalk, chopped
3 small fresh thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons brandy
3 cups (or more) chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
1/4 cup crème fraîche
pumpkin seed oil, for garnish (you can also use hazelnut oil, or simply olive oil)


Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, apple, chestnuts, celery, and thyme sprigs. Sauté until onion is soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add brandy; stir until liquid is absorbed, about 1-2 minutes. Add 3 cups broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until chestnuts are soft, about 15 minutes; cool slightly. Remove and discard thyme sprigs.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth. Return soup to pan and cook until heated through, adding more chicken broth by tablespoonfuls to thin as needed and stirring often, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide soup among bowls. Top with dollop of crème fraîche and drizzle with pumpkin seed oil. Serve immediately.

Apple Cake


It’s been a hectic couple of weeks. Recovering from my hip surgery has been relatively easy but, as I wrote in my last post, I missed cooking since I was on crutches the whole time. We ordered out for dinner every night and we ended up getting tired of it pretty quickly. Last weekend, we decided that we would venture back into the kitchen together and make something. Steve would do most of the work and I would do as much of the prep work as my crutches would allow.

I was craving something sweet and comforting. Something that felt familiar and nourishing. We went with an apple cake.

My mom always made two kinds of apple cake when I was a kid: a bundt cake with chunks of apple inside and an upside down apple cake. I don’t actually have either of the recipes that my mom used to use, but a few weeks ago, the incomparable Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for an apple cake that her mom always made. We thought we’d give it a try.

In many ways, it’s a pretty traditional apple cake. But there’s one little twist. The apples are added in two sections, one between the two layers of batter and one on top of the batter. This way, when the cake finishes, its top is studded with golden brown apple pieces, making it beautiful, as well as delicious.



Apple Cake – Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen


6 apples (we used Fuji)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs


Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir with spatula just until combined. Don’t overmix.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.

Teddie’s Apple Cake


We just came back from a lovely weekend in the Hudson Valley, where we were visiting friends who have moved permanently there and opened a shop in Hudson, NY (It’s called Finch, and it’s amazing). The weather was beautiful, but there was the unmistakable chill of fall in the air.

And if you didn’t know it from the dying leaves, still showing some of their riotous colors of copper and sienna and gold yellows, or from the bright orange pumpkins crowding the farmer stands along the way, you certainly knew that fall was here from the abundance of apples everywhere.


It’s a funny season, the fall. Despite the many celebrations it holds (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Rosh Hashanah), it’s really a season of decay. The glorious life of the spring and summer, the flowers and trees and fruits just wither away during the fall, until the winter comes and everything goes into hibernation, in anticipation of the next spring.


But there are many reasons to love the fall. One of the biggest ones for me are apples. I love apples. So much can be done with them. Every fall, I start to crave apple desserts. Pies and cakes and crumbles and compotes. So, this fall I started with this recipe, which I found on the great Food52 Genius Recipes blog. Simple to make, this isn’t the prettiest of cakes. But it makes a hearty breakfast or a great accompaniment to tea or coffee on a cold fall afternoon. Or serve it with some caramel sauce drizzled over and some whipped cream and you have a dessert to die for.


Teddie’s Apple Cake Adapted from Food52

Note: The original recipe calls for raisins but I decided to use dried cherries because I like their tartness better. I also used pecans instead of walnuts because…well, I just don’t like walnuts.

The top of this cake is really crackly, so you want to make it in a pan where you don’t have to invert it to take it out. You can use a tube pan with a removable bottom, or you can line two loaf pans with parchment paper that is long enough to hang over the sides of the pan. That way, when the cake is finished, you just grab the two ends of the parchment paper and pull the cake out of the pan.


Butter for greasing pan(s)
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting pan
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups peeled, cored, and thickly sliced tart apples like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith (from 2 large apples)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. Or butter two loaf pans and line them with enough parchment paper that it overhangs on both long sides of each pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups of flour, the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Set aside.

2. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer until well combined, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat until the mixture is thick and creamy. Add the vanilla, beat a few more seconds and then stop the mixer.

3. Add the flour mixture in the batter and fold in until just combined. Add the apples, pecans and dried cherries and stir just until combined.

4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan(s). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before lifting out.