Fall is here and proving to be much needed and even more appreciated than past years. Although the weather could be about 12 degrees cooler (spoken like a true Minnesotan) and the colors could be a deeper hue of reds and oranges, I still feel Autumn’s presence and welcome it with open arms.

Perhaps it’s my first start-to-the-school-year as a new teacher along with the building anticipation among my students over costumes, candy and pumpkins. It could also be the two cakes baked in new tradition to celebrate my favorite Fall birthdays. Or perhaps it’s my recent jaunt up to the Catskills with John that pushed me over the edge (apparently altitude provides fall foliage, cool breezes and envied country-style living) but the new air feels crisp and full of excitement.

I absolutely adore this time of year between Summer and Winter.

During our brief stint in Phoenicia, we made a stop at our favorite vegetarian haven: Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, where mistreated farm animals are rescued and saved from being slaughtered. I don’t really like to get too heavy with the animal preaching, but I think we can all agree that what’s going on with factory farming is cruel and disturbing and frankly we all can agree that animals shouldn’t suffer. (right?!?) These are all animals that were saved from such negligence. They are the lucky ones. Worth the stop if you’re open to it.

Sarah and Dylan the cow

Now for a whole slew of Fall recipes that I have sadly been neglecting to post. Some are obviously out of season, but good to file away for future recipe reference

Tomato Salad with Crushed Croutons

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Crushed croutons:

4 slices crusty bread
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Tomato salad:

1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, mixed colors if you can find them
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

Handful basil leaves, slivered.

Prepare the crushed croutons: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear bread into chunks and pule them in a food processor until coarsely ground (largest chunks can be lima bean sized). Don’t feel like dirtying the food processor? Keep tearing the bread up until it is in ragged, mixed sized crumbs. Spread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and parmesan until croutons are evenly coated with oil. Bake until golden brown and dry, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Assemble salad: Halve each tomato lengthwise and arrange cut side up on a platter. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt, sugar and a few grinds of pepper in a small dish. Drizzle over tomatoes. Sprinkle tomatoes with crushed croutons. Garnish with slivers of basil.

The completed tomato salad

Next up: Macaroni Salad (A new staple in our house!)

Scallions ready to go for macaroni salad (see below for recipe)

Scallion Macaroni Salad

adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 pound elbow macaroni

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced green onions (3-4 bunches)
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
fine grain sea salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper
zest and juice of one lemon
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

4 big handfuls arugula
1 large apple, diced

Cook the macaroni in a large pot of well-salted water per package instructions. Set aside at least 1/2 cup pasta water. Then drain pasta and set aside.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Add most of the green onions, all of the garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions soften, and the garlic begins to take on some color, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a couple minutes.

Use a hand blender or food processor to puree the green onion mixture along with 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, zest of the lemon, half the lemon juice, and the reserved pasta water. Puree and taste. The green onion flavor should be intense. Stir in the Parmesan.

Combine the macaroni with the green onion sauce in a large bowl. Toss well. Add the arugula and most of the apple and toss again. Taste, and add more pepper, salt, or lemon juice if needed. Serve topped with the remaining apple and green onion.

Not enough for you? Here’s some more! (and this one is actually still in season)

Winter Pasta Recipe (recipe below)

Winter Pasta Recipe

adapted from 101 Cookbooks

4 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 small shallots, peeled
1 small bunch of kale (roughly 1/2 lb) stalks removed, washed well
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (or 2 oz) goat cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons + hot pasta water
fine grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
fresh lemon juice – optional
12 oz  dried penne pasta
fresh thyme

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water generously, and add the garlic and shallots. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the kale and cook for another ten seconds. Don’t overcook. Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the greens, garlic, and shallots from the water. Use a food processor to puree the ingredients along with the olive oil and goat cheese. Add a couple tablespoons of hot pasta water if needed to thin things out if needed. Then season with a touch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Taste. Depending on your goat cheese, you might need a little extra acidic oomph if your sauce is a bit flat. If so, add fresh lemon juice a bit at a time until you’re happy with it the sauce. Set aside.

Reheat the pot of water and boil the pasta per package instructions. Drain and toss immediately with the green sauce. Serve topped with a few pinches of fresh thyme, and more crumbled goat cheese.

Serves 4-6.

Before blended up...

And I swears this is the last one, but probably my favorite (I’ve only made it about 3 times in the last month)

Golden zucchini sandwiches (recipe below!)

Golden Zucchini Sandwiches (omg soooo good!)

adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen

2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, 1 minced, 1 made into paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large zucchini, grated ( used 2 small)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped basil, tarragon, or other fresh herb (optional– I used none because I had none)
2 tbsp mayonnaise
4 slices good sourdough bread, lightly toasted
1 cup freshly grated white cheddar (from about 4 ounces cheese)

In a small frying pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is just barely golden, about 1 minute. Add the grated zucchini and a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is cooked down and all the moisture is evaporated, about 15 minutes. It should be an almost jam-like consistency. Add the fresh herbs if using, then taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, combine the garlic paste with the mayonnaise in a small bowl and mix to combine. Spread one side of each slice with the garlic mayo. Top the un-mayo’ed sides with a quarter of the cheese, each, pressing down so it doesn’t slide around.

Distribute the zucchini mixture on top of the cheese on two of the slices, then top with the remaining two. The mayo should be facing out on all sides.

If your frying pan is large enough to hold two sandwiches, rinse it out. Otherwise, find a pan that is and heat it for about 2 minutes over medium heat. (You can also of course make the sandwiches one at a time.) Place the sandwich(es) on the pan and cook 4 minutes on the first side side, until golden on the outside and gooey on the outside, then flip carefully and cook 3-4 minutes on the second side. Remove from the pan, cut in half if you wish, and eat immediately.

Hey, remember how I used to write things here?

It might seem totally narcissistic, but I recently went back and read several of my entries and thought to myself: this is f*%ing cool. I get to remember moments of my life and whatever food or drink happened to be a part of it. I mean, honestly, even when I don’t cook (which has been few and far between over the last few months) I still pretty much base the quality of my day on how good the eating was and whether or not it was consumed on my own or with the people I’m loving-on.

I also am very much like my father in that I often times base my happiness on the “quality and quantity of my poos” on any given day. See how it all comes full circle?

So, I am once again taking a stab at this whole blogging thing- if not for a continuation of staying in touch with some people I love dearly, than just to have a recipe archive of what I’ve eaten that is worth making again. I’m proud to announce that I’m no longer the only crazy vegetarian in my family (Hi, Paul. Hi Kevin. Hi, Teresa. Welcome to the club)…so maybe someone else might benefit from the recipes I try?

Since it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, I will quickly attempt you catch you up: traveled to Hong Kong with Mom, missed Dad a whole lot after losing him over a year ago (feels like only a day has gone by, while simultaneously feeling like it’s been an eternity since I last spoke to him), played lots of great gigs, wrapped up my first year of teaching at IS 220, scored a new teaching gig for this coming school year at PS 29 in Brooklyn, had an amazing summer off with family and friends, sang at my brother’s wedding (congrats to him and Michelle…Mom somehow married us all off), currently recording my first album with my band Waiting for Jerry, witnessed the birth of my beautiful twin nieces, survived Hurricane Irene and started my Masters in Music Ed at NYU.

Sae and Tae in Hong Kong

Balloon for Steve

Waiting for Jerry at Rockwood Music Hall, New York City

Charlotte and Norah

Needless to say, it’s been awesomely busy and things feel good for the first time in a long while. Cooking up some new recipes is a goal again, but I thought I would start with an easy one that we make a lot around here. It’s great for when you’re in a pinch with no fresh produce. As long as you have garlic, salt, pepper, oil and pasta, you’re good to go. Substitute herbs at your own will.


Garlic Pasta

1 lb pasta

7-8 garlic cloves, minced


tsp each of sage, thyme, pasley chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

crushed red chili flakes

Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and saute over medium heat until they start to look brown. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper and any herbs you wish.

Drain your pasta, reserving about 1/2 a cup of the pasta water. Add to the skillet of herbs and toss briefly over medium heat once again.



‘Tis the season to be so incredibly busy that it takes a summons for Jury Duty to give me an opportunity to write something down here. It also takes another two weeks afterward to actually finish this post, while sitting at JFK waiting for my flight to Minnesota.

Under normal circumstances, I would have envisioned myself baking up a storm this holiday season and hopefully blogging a few recipes to share with the many people I wish I could be near right now. Instead, I found myself barely penciling in a night that my husband and I could sit by the tree and exchange gifts.

I guess it should go without saying that Christmas is like none other this year, fully equipped with bursts of sudden realizations and reminders that this is the first Christmas without Dad, a patriarch in the McCaffrey family household at Christmas. He who would adorn the wrapping paper and bows on his bald head after we had shredded open our gifts with shrieks of excitement and anticipation. The man who would eat my silly cut-out cookies on Christmas Eve, long after I had fallen asleep, leaving a note of thanks for the delicious treats (Love, Santa.) The man who drove through a blizzard to get us to the cabin, so that my fiance could propose to me, just days before Christmas.

Christmas 2007

Walking around the city at Christmas time doesn’t really drum up memories of Dad, specifically, so much as just memories all around. Christmas memories. Trees. Lights. Cold. Red. Green. Life. Happiness.


Christmas 2008 in Brooklyn

Dad and Baby Oliver. Christmas 2009

I was able to catch one of New York City’s old timey trains a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, they decided to run some really old subway trains to get New Yorkers feeling that nostalgia. I didn’t really need the boost there, but I took the opportunity and hopped on, only to find out it was from the 1940’s. Rickety. Smelly. Old.

Inside train.

Old, but certainly not dead. It ran perfectly and got us where we needed to be.

Honestly, I don’t know how much longer I can keep up this blog, but I can tell you one thing: in times of desperation and confusion, there is truly great comfort in food. Sometimes, we abuse that comfort and lose control. Other times, we find ourselves surrounded by some really great people, eating something delicious and sharing in new memories.

Here is something to hopefully bring more cheer to everyone I know. Merry Christmas to you all- and may you find the people in your life that mean the most to you and make many more memories, for years to come.

Apple Muffins:

adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 2 Dozen.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups coarsely shredded apples, such as Macintosh (about 1 3/4 pounds)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line mini muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; mix in apples. Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until just combined.

Divide batter among lined cups, filling halfway; bake until tops are springy to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tins; transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.

They say when it rains, it pours.

Much has happened since my last post, including a shiny new job and a much delayed return of my band, Waiting for Jerry to the stage. Read below for a slightly more detailed explanation of things which have come and gone, but first, I must tell you that Mac and Cheese will inevitably be the bandaid for all pain and frustration in this world. Especially when you add crimini mushrooms and an assortment of herbs.

Look! Look! http://www.30days30waysmacandcheese.com

See what I mean?

Oh, right. Shiny object. Back to the point:

It seems like so many people in my life are redirecting their focus and making huge changes in their lives. Going back to school, playing music again, creating, writing, having more babies, moving, shifting jobs…change!

Though I miss being slightly more social, I’m happy that so many creative people around me are being incredibly inspiring. It’s almost like a light bulb went on above everybody’s head, at the same time, and showed us just how miserable life is without the ability to focus on what we love.

All of the sudden, everyone I know is simply excited about the prospect of making something better for themselves, without the dream of “making it big” or surviving on their passion. We’re just doing it. Because it makes us happy. And it makes other people happy.

Win win.

So here’s some news, as well as a recipe that celebrates another inspiring person in my life, a woman who is grabbing her kimchi by the balls and sacrificing precious time to work out a way to communicate with her newly extended family (something I have a new respect for after trying to learn two Chinese words and realizing Asian languages are, I dunno… haaarrrrrdddd.)

New Job: That’s right! I left my comfy cozy job in early childhood music (that I actually loved quite a bit, aside from the weird hours and very little pay) and traded it in for an opportunity to work full time, with benefits and all kinds of security. So I traded in my folksy kids songs for some bilingual chorus music for the 6th and 7th grade students at IS 220 in Sunset Park. I wish I could tell you it was the right decision to make, but it’s much to early to really say… and honestly, much more difficult than I could ever imagine. Let’s just say this might be the toughest gig I’ll ever have and I can only hope in the end, I will be happy that I gave it a go.

Gig: The band is back and kickin’ with several new songs and a dummer to boot. Our first show back was last weekend and there are more to come. (Nov 20th, Rockwood Music Hall, 5pm)

So, without further ado, here is Dani’s Mac and Cheese. Add some hot sauce to really make it kick.


Mushroom Herb Mac and Cheese

Adapted from 30days30Ways

11 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 shallot, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh chives, chopped
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Gruyère Cheese, shredded and divided
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) White Cheddar Cheese, shredded and divided
1 box (12 to 16 ounces) small pasta, such as elbow pasta
1 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Set a large pot of water (for the pasta) over high heat, cover and bring to a boil.

In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallot; sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have cooked down and are browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinegar and cook, stirring, until the liquid has cooked off. Turn off the heat and set aside.

For the  sauce, in a medium-sized saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk in flour and cook for about 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Add the herbs and, still whisking, sauté for an additional 30 seconds. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the milk. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer.

Meanwhile, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook to al dente, or 1 to 2 minutes less than the box calls for.

Once the sauce simmers, stir in 5 ounces each (about 1 cup) of the Gruyère and Cheddar Cheeses until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. In a small bowl, mix the melted butter with the breadcrumbs. Drain the pasta. In a large mixing bowl, toss pasta, sauce, and mushrooms. Pour into the baking dish.

Sprinkle with remaining 1 ounce each of  Gruyère and Cheddar. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Every now and then you just need some hearty food to make it all feel better. This is a recipe I’ve turned to several times over the last few years, especially when my belly longs to be filled with comfort.

Rosemary Dijon Potatoes

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lb. red-skinned potatoes, chopped into 3/4- to 1-inch dice

Heat the oven to 400°F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, wine, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Toss the potatoes onto a large rimmed baking sheet and spread them in a single layer. Roast, turning with a spatula a few times, until the potatoes are crusty on the outside and tender throughout, 50 to 55 min



Fresh out of the oven.


Two cakes.

That is what I remember most about my birthdays growing up.

Right around this  time of year, my father used to tell me the story of how I was born. It was September 24th, 1982, a lovely Fall day and his own parents were visiting.  My mom was crazy amounts of pregnant with me and apparently my Grandpa Fabian, an obstetrician, took one look at her and told my grandma, “she is going to pop tonight, no doubt.”

Sure enough, as soon as they left, I started raising all kinds of hell in her womb and managed to send them straight to the hospital. This next part of the story is what I doubt really happened, but I always loved hearing my dad tell it. You see, he would claim that as my mom was lying in her hospital bed he insisted that she “stop labor and wait just a few more hours,” so that his daughter could have her own special day.

You see, September 24th is my dad’s birthday.

Apparently, if anybody heard him, it was me, because I showed face at about 1:50am the very next day…on my very own birthday.

For as long as I can remember, my dad and I shared our birthdays at the end of each September. My parents both insisted that we truly make each day special, which meant I would have to painfully sit through his birthday, while bursting at the seams with excitement over my own pending day. The one thing that kept me patient as a youngster was the amazing concept of two cakes.

When growing up, we each got to choose our own cake and for two days in a row, we would get to eat delicious desserts in celebration of our own individual births. Chocolate, vanilla, marble, ice cream, homemade, bakery-made… every time it was something different and unique.

As I got older and moved off to college and grown-up life, two cakes stopped happening and instead turned into just a phone call… that is, a phone call two days in a row. Still something special.  Last year, we celebrated Dad’s 60th birthday by flying home to Minnesota and taking him out with the family. It was the first time he had seen me since my wedding and he put his arm around me and wished me a happy birthday. He looked at me differently, with pride and admiration almost. He joked with me about “giving him a grandkid already” and we spent the entire night drinking wine, eating wonderful food and feasting on desserts.

If I had known that would be the last birthday spent with him, I would have insisted that there be two cakes.

So, in a fit of nostalgia and longing, I decided to rekindle such memories and bake not one, but two birthday cakes. I racked my brain for what cake I wanted to make for my dad and finally settled on a cupcake created for what I remember to be his favorite dessert: Cookies and Cream Ice Cream.

For my own birthday cake, I made a Pumpkin Spice Cake with Honey Icing, something the younger version of me would have made vomiting sounds over. Now, I love it.

Two cakes. This might have to become my new tradition: two cakes that I share with the people in my life now. It can be a way that we keep Steve in our memory forever.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

1 (18.25 oz.) package Devil’s Food cake mix
1 (3.9 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup warm water

2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips

24 Oreo Cookies, save the tops for frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper baking cups.

Twist off each Oreo cookie top, separating the frosted bottoms from the cookie tops. Put one frosted bottom into each baking cup.

In a large bowl, combine the cake and pudding mixes. Mix in sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, and water until just combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into prepared cupcake pans.

Bake for 20-24 minutes, until tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cook in pans for 5 minutes before removing to a cooking rack to cool completely.

Mrs. Leeds Kim, sporting one of my own birthday presents while being my special helper!

Cookies and Cream Buttercream

2 Sticks of Butter, softened

4-5 cups confectioners sugar

2 tsp vanilla

24 Oreo bottoms (leftover from cupcake recipe), crushed.

1/2 cup milk

Combine butter, milk, vanilla and 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar and beat well. Once combined, slowly add remaining sugar. Once smooth, stir in Oreo crumbs.

Finished product. Dad woud have loved this.

Oreo Bottoms!

Pumpkin Spice Cake

from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice (or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon each allspice and cloves)

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. (I used a circular pie pan)

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin-pie spice. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, butter, and pumpkin puree until combined. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, and mix gently until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake 10 minutes in pan, then turn out of pan, and cool completely, right side up, on a rack.

Make Honey Frosting

Honey Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft

1 bar (8 ounces) regular (or reduced-fat) cream cheese, very soft

1/4 cup honey

Combine together and spread on cake

Fall has been trying to force its way in with cooler, crisper temperatures… but not without a good fight from the remaining days of Summer. All of New York is waiting with bated breath for the new season, with sweaters at the ready and ovens waiting to come out from their summer hiding. Of course, this cruel, cruel summer of 2010 couldn’t go out without a bang.  That “bang” came when the mascot of Summer visited us with not one, but two tornados in Brooklyn and Queens. Um, did you hear me? A tornado in New York City.

Being a true Minnesotan girl, I took one look at that dark green sky and instinctively grabbed my cats away from the window. Within seconds the entire street was being blown to shreds. It honestly felt like the twister was right outside the door and I found myself wondering what the hell a New Yorker is supposed to do under such weather conditions. Growing up, a siren would go off in our hometown, signaling us to scramble down to the basement and under the staircase. I debated crawling down to our boiler room in the basement, but decided to wait it out instead, which is apparently what everyone else in the city did as well. I guess that’s how they do things here. We hope for the best.

Thankfully, our lovely tree outside the apartment (the one that frames the terrace so beautifully and makes you almost forget that you live in an urban jungle) didn’t fall under the will of BK Twister Fest 2010.

Our neighborhood, however got slammed:

Car Bummer

A tree falls in Brooklyn (along with probably about a hundred others throughout the 'hood)

I can only hope that this was the last of Summer’s slam-down on New York City and we can now look forward to a pleasant turn of season with Fall’s arrival. The nights have cooled down a bit, which makes baking bearable once more. After a few trips to our neighborhood’s farmer’s market, I became obsessed with fresh tomatoes (I will never eat a grocery store tomato again!) and corn on the cob. Luckily, Deb over at Smitten kitchen had my back through this love affair and was two steps ahead of me with her Tomato Corn Pie recipe.

Seriously, this was curl-up-in-your-flannel-pj’s good. Welcome back, Fall!

Tomato and Corn Pie

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 3/4 tsp salt, divided

3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 teaspoons melted

3/4 cup whole milk

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 3/4 pounds beefsteak tomatoes

1 1/2 cups corn (roughly three ears of corn) coarsely chopped by hand (my preference), divided

2 Tbsp finely chopped basil, divided

1 Tbsp finely chopped chives, divided

1/4 tsp black pepper, divided

7ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1 3/4 cups), divided

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. (I used my fingertips) Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out one piece on a well-floured counter into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). You can put the other half of dough into the fridge until you need it later. Fold the round gently in quarters, lift it into a 9-inch pie plate and gently unfold and center. Pat the dough in with your fingers and trim any overhang.

Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.

Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. (If you’ve never done this, neither had I, but it’s super easy. I cut an “X” about an inch into the tomato’s bottom) Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Peel tomatoes, then slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick and, if desired gently remove seeds and extra juices. I wold recommend letting some of the juice out of these bad boys, so your pie isn’t too soaky.)

Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, 1 Tbsp of the basil, 1/2 Tbsp chives, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper and one cup of grated cheese. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper. Pour lemon mayonnaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush crust with melted butter (2 tsp).

Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pie can be baked 1 day ahead and chilled. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warm, about 30 minutes.