fried eggplant salad with tahini

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, 

but the sight of the stars makes me dream. 

– Vincent Van Gogh

fried eggplant salad with tahini

This salad is as beautiful as it is delicious. The tahini dressing adds a tartness and creaminess to the crispy fried eggplant, while the greens and fresh herbs add a brightness. Serve this as a light summer dinner, or as a side course, when eggplants are in season. 


for the tahini dressing:

this makes leftovers – luckily, it is versatile – drizzle it over grilled chicken or fish, use as a dressing for a simple summer salad, as a dip for crudite, the possibilities are endless. 

1/2 cup greek yogurt (non-fat or low fat works just fine)

1/4 cup tahini

juice of 1/2 lime

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 cup water

pinch of salt

Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl until combined. 


for the eggplant:

if you are only making this for two people, you may have leftover eggplant. You can either wrap the extra medallions in plastic and refrigerate for another time, or fry them all and just reheat the leftovers in a warm oven. 

1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch medallions 

1 egg

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

olive oil

salt and pepper

Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place the medallions in one layer. Season both sides with salt, and allow to sit as you prepare the breading station.

Gently whisk egg with a splash of water in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl season panko breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. 

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, and add enough olive oil to fully coat the bottom of the pan. Working with one medallion at a time, gently pat dry with paper towel and dip both sides in egg wash, making sure to let any extra drip off. Transfer to breadcrumbs and coat both sides. Add to hot pan. 

Fry eggplant, turning once, until golden on both sides – about 3 minutes a side. Transfer back to paper towel lined baking sheet and allow to drain excess oil. 


assemble the salad:

2 cups arugula (or other peppery lettuce)

1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped (plus extra for garnish)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, rough chopped (plus extra for garnish)

1 scallion, minced, for garnish  

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Toss arugula and chopped mint and parsley in a large bowl. Coat lightly with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pile greens on a serving platter, and top with eggplant medallions. Drizzle tahini as desired over top and garnish with fresh mint, parsley, and scallion.  

summer tomato galette

We’re standing at a wooden gate. On one side of us, a field
is flecked with yellow wild flowers. On the other, our friends and family gaze
towards us.  The sun peeks behind
clouds, at one moment bright and golden, the next, dimmed and soft. You’re
looking at me with gentle eyes, brimming with pride, “And with this ring, I
marry you.” We kiss, we hold each other’s hand, and we walk towards the barn.
We’re married. In an instant everything is different, yet still the same. I’m
your wife and you’re my husband. I love you, and you love me.

I am soothed by the comfort in knowing that things are
different, yet still the same. Life feels familiar, but sweeter. Sweeter
because you’re my husband. Sweeter because we’ve promised each other forever.

We’re standing at a wooden gate. Your eyes are smiling, your hands are holding mine. And, in that moment, I’ve never loved you more.

Summer Tomato Galette

This galette is a perfect summer evening meal, when tomatoes are at their peak in sweetness. Serve this alongside a simple, fresh salad with a light vinaigrette. The buttery crust begs for something crisp and green to complement it. The goat cheese really just serves as a creamy component. The true flavor comes from the onion relish and sweet tomatoes. But, if you aren’t a fan of goat cheese, feel free to substitute another soft cheese – marscarpone would be delicious. 


For the pastry crust: recipe from happy yolks

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp sugar

pinch of salt

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup ice water


In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in half of the butter until small pieces are incorporated throughout (the mixture will be the consistency of coarse meal). Cut in the remaining butter. Pour in water and knead dough with your hands until the dough is smooth, and no longer sticky. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 


For the onion relish:

recipe inspired by

not without salt

1 medium onion (both red and yellow work well here)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme


olive oil


Heat a skillet over medium, low heat, adding just enough olive oil to coat the bottom (around 2 tablespoons). Slice the onion and add to the pan and season with a pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and slightly caramelized – about 20 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and thyme and stir to incorporate. Cover, and allow to cook on low until onions have absorbed most of the liquid – about 8-10 minutes. Uncover, and cook until the remaining liquid is syrupy and thick – about 2-3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set aside.


For the galette:

pastry crust (recipe above)

onion relish (recipe above)

the equivalent of about 2-3 medium tomatoes – I used a mixture of all sorts of sizes)

4 ounces chèvre 

3/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano, 1 handful reserved for garnish

1 egg for egg wash

salt and pepper

2 springs of fresh thyme for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

Line a separate baking sheet with paper towels. Slice tomatoes and lay in one layer over the paper towels. Season with salt and allow to sit to drain excess liquid. 

In a small bowl, mix together the chèvre and parmesan (reserving a handful for garnish), and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 

On a floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch round. Roll around rolling pin and transfer to the silpat. The edges of the dough may hang over the sides of the baking sheet – that is okay, as they will be folded over before baking. 

Spread cheese mixture evenly over dough, leaving a 1 and a half inch border. Spread onion relish evenly over cheese. Pat tomatoes dry with paper towels and pile evenly over the relish. Working around the galette, fold the border of dough over the edges, making sure everything is sealed. 

In a small bowl, beat 1 egg with a splash of water. Brush egg wash over the exposed dough. Sprinkle the top of the galette with the reserved handful of cheese and lay 2 sprigs of thyme over the center. Bake until golden and bubbly – about 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or room temperature.

a sunday worthy of cake

A few days ago, I discovered a truly inspirational blog, Bleubird.Like so many bloggers I aspire towards, James fills Bleubird’s pages withstunning photography, eloquent words, and endless ideas. It is her starkhonesty and boundless humility, though, that truly sets her apart. She doesn’t feignperfection, yet her creativity and talent abounds. Her style is eclectic andmismatched. She doesn’t follow trends, but instead makes her own. Her lifecould not be more dissimilar to my own, but somehow I found myself relating toher, and aspiring to her simplistic ways.

Life in New York City is hectic at best. Every day is afight through overcrowded streets and subways, just to get to work. Some days Ilove it – I live for the energy and momentum. Other days, I want to be anywherebut here, simply enjoying a quiet moment. What I tend to lose sight of, though,is that I AM capable of enjoying a quiet moment, amidst the chaos, if I createone for myself…

…which brings to me the “Sunday’s Cake” section on Bleubird.Last year, James made a promise to her family that they would bake a cake on Sundays, together. Do other plans get in the way? Of course. Do they sometimes bake thecake on a Monday? Yes. Are there weeks when they just don’t have time to bake acake at all? Absolutely. The point is, when possible, she makes the time toslow down, enjoy the moment, and do something she loves with her family.

This Sunday, I took some advice from James. I woke up, and started my day doing what I love– I baked a cake. And then, I spent a leisurely brunch eating the cake withsomeone I love. And then, we spent the afternoon enjoying what we so often “don’thave time” to enjoy. We walked through the park, and went to a museum. Weslowed down.

Something tells me this is the beginning of a weekly thing.
(Thanks, James from Bleubird, for the inspiration and thank you to Kate from Cookie + Kate for thedelicious recipe).

Orange Poppy Seed Cake (made with olive oil and yogurt)
 recipe from Cookie + Kate

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used just plain all purpose flour and it turned out perfectly)
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 medium orange or 2 small oranges, to be zested and juiced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest (zest from 1 medium orange)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a loaf pan (you can also line with parchment paper, to ensure your cake doesn’t stick. I buttered a non-stick loaf pan, and that worked well for me, though).
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Grate all the zest from the orange(s) (should yield about 2 teaspoons zest – I used 2 small oranges). Rub the zest into the sugar with your hands until the sugar is orange and fragrant.
  4. Slice the orange (I used one orange) in half for juicing. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out 3/4 cup yogurt and squeeze in about 1/4 cup orange juice to yield 1 cup total liquid. Whisk the yogurt and juice together until smooth. Add the yogurt mixture, eggs, and vanilla into the sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. When the mixture is well blended, gently whisk in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated. Fold in the olive oil with a spatula, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.
  6. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes (I did 50), or until the top is golden and the sides start to pull away from the sides of the pan; a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the sides of the pan to loosen. Unmold the cake by placing a large plate upside down over the loaf pan and carefully turning them over. Let the cake cool to room temperature right-side up on a wire rack.

Apple Spice Muffins

Apple picking is definitely one of my favorite fall activities. And, let me tell you – that is quite a tall statement considering that pretty much 90% of my favorite activities correspond with fall. 
With this in mind, I’m sure it is no surprise that I have apple picking on my mind the second September hits. Every weekend, I put apple picking as my top priority, and every weekend, life somehow manages to get in the way. Last year for example, after many failed attempts, Henry and I finally managed to get out to an orchard … in November. 
After a beautiful drive through the country, we pulled into the orchards. When I say we were the only car in the parking lot, I mean the only car – with the exception of one lone tractor that had already been retired for the season. 
Bundled in down coats and gloves, we made our way into the store and approached the lady behind the cash register. Feeling giddy – we were finally going apple picking!! – I asked the lady for the largest bag they had available to collect our apples. With a, “good luck” and a smirk, she handed us the bag, almost daring us to be able to fill the thing. 
Now, if you don’t know me – I can be just a tad stubborn. 
Okay, okay. Very stubborn. 
I’m sure the sweet old lady was, in no way, “daring” us to fill the bag. But, to me, she was – and I was going to prove to her that she was WRONG and that there were a TON of apples out there. She’d see!
Henry tagged along as I set out on my mission to find apples. Empty trees, circled by fallen, rotten apples did nothing to discourage my motivation. Finally, I spotted gold. A row of trees covered in ripe green apples. I countered Henry’s skepticism, as he assessed each apple’s mysterious black spots and misshapen bumps, “They’re FINE!! They’re great! I was right, I was right, I was RIGHT! Apple season is NOT over! HA! Take that, old lady!”
We filled that bag like there was no tomorrow. 
Of course the old lady was no where to be found when we returned. 
Oh well.
After returning home, I managed to put those apples to work. Regardless of their less than perfect appearance, I made homemade applesauce, deep dish apple cheddar pie, apple crisp, and Henry’s favorite – apple spice cake. It was all delicious.
This year, we went to that same farm – about a month earlier. Let’s just say that the trees and parking lot looked very different. And, the apples we picked …. were actually attractive.
Here is our first recipe – apple spice muffins. The same delicious cake, in muffin form. 
Moist, dense, with a wonderfully crisp, sugary top. You cannot beat them. Make these today, I promise  you will not be disappointed. 
Apple Spice Muffins
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Apple Spice Cake
follow the directions from this {recipe}
Instead of filling the Bundt pan with the batter, line two standard muffin pans with liners and fill each with a generous 1/4 cup of batter. Sprinkle coarse sugar (Sugar in the Raw or sanding sugar) on top of each and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or until the tops are browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of a muffin. Let pans cool on wire racks for about 5-10 minutes. Remove muffins and let cool completely on wire racks. Serve toasted with butter for a real treat :).