brian’s birthday at blue hill stone barns / best meal of our lives

Today is ma husband’s birthday. Happy birthday, Brian!

brian blowing out birthday candle at blue hill stone barns

But this past Sunday, because he makes me feel so special, so at home every single day… I wanted him to feel the same as we celebrated him turning 29. So special, so at home. So I took him to see his family at the farm!

beef cow at stone barns

Kidding! I did take him to a farm though. But not just any farm: Blue Hill Stone Barns, a magical place just 30 miles north of the city. If you haven’t been, you must add it to your list.

open farm field at stone barns

It’s a once in a lifetime experience. You can take a tour of the farm with their staff to see where your entire meal is coming from, or, if you’re lucky like me your husband will grab a map from the farm store and take you on a self-guided tour of all the vegetable gardens, chicken coops, and open pastures to see animals like this guy! (Thing I learned: sheep are much cuter than they are friendly.)

sheep at stone barns

You can even play on some of the farm equipment (and dream about your own future farm)! It’s always fun to get nice and sweaty and dirty before the fanciest dinner of your life.

me on a tractor, stone barns

And I mean fancy. There are no menus, just a 20-course tasting feast made from whatever’s been harvested from their fields. You can get the official wine pairing to go along with it, or you can opt for a la carte drinks as we did, which I highly recommend. See this rose champagne cocktail? The flowers were edible!

dooryard rose champagne cocktail at blue hill stone barns

Speaking of edible flowers, here were some that we had for one of our courses… served alongside some kind of cola made from a plant. (Don’t ask / this was during my second cocktail, and I’m not much of a drinker.)

edible flowers and smut cola at blue hill stone barns

For another course we had all different kinds of beans foraged from the garden, some delicious piece of dried meat served atop a glass of what tasted like the best apple juice I’ve ever had, salted cucumbers with fresh yogurt, and a canteloupe/cheese plate that made me drool. Literally, drool coming out of my mouth. What I really loved though was the waiter dropping off a bag of forks, knives and spoons and saying, “Use whatever silverware you like.” We ate with our hands.

beans cheese meat course at blue hill stone barns

We noticed during the meal that each table got taken outside by the waiter for a little while. Brian’s reporter curiosity kicked into high gear and he made me try and ask the woman two tables down from us what happened out there. “We saw the composting.” The composting? We thought, based on our cocktail-induced mathematics of when other tables were whisked away, that we were getting the shaft and wouldn’t be taken outside. But alas! Just as we were giving up hope, we were escorted to this little slice of heaven: our own private farm table to enjoy one last course before dessert. (Doesn’t he look sexy in this setting? We really need our own farm.)

brian in outdoor farmhouse at blue hill stone barns

Every detail at this place — from the soft bathroom towels, to how they catered every course of mine to my grain-free needs — was perfectly executed. It’s a seamlessly orchestrated experience, like none other. To wit: this adorable nook inside the private farmhouse room. So cute, right?!

outside corner : shelving

And finally, here it was! Brian’s favorite course (besides dessert, of course): the goat.

goat main course at blue hill stone barns

Before we left we hit up the farm store for some eggs, a souvenir tote bag (of course, cause I need another tote bag), and some fresh vegetables from their farmer’s market. Ya have to bring a little Stone Barns home with you! And I’m so glad we did, cause the next day I sauteed these shishito peppers with some olive oil, garlic and sea salt… and it almost felt like we were back at the farm. Almost.

shishito peppers from stone barns

But let’s not forget why we came. One more time, altogether now: happy birthday, Brian! It was the best meal for the best husband. I am the luckiest girl in the world. I love you.
brian blowing out birthday candle at blue hill stone barns

One Part Podcast / Jessica Murnane’s One Part Plant

OPP Podcast Image 2I had so much fun talking to Jessica Murnane earlier this week for her One Part Podcast. You may remember when I was featured on her site One Part Plant as a “Babe in Plantland”; since then, she’s created an e-cookbook all about cookies and started this delightful (and super successful!) podcast.

We talked food / arthritis / love / so much more — so I’ll hope you’ll check it out. Jessica’s doing really great and really important work / spreading the good word about eating good food and living the good life, so it was an honor to be a part of it.

More recipes coming in September… til then, happy Labor Day weekend!

grain-free, dairy-free ice cream sandwiches

final paleo ice cream sandwichesAt overnight camp when I was a kid I had a chipwich almost every single night of those 8-week summers. Man, I loved my chipwiches.

This right here is basically the adult version of that… minus the grain and the dairy. Lest you think it’s minus all the flavor, too, both my husband and best friend tried them — both of whom love their carby sweet treats — and loved ‘em. What’s not to love about cookies and ice cream though, in any form?

So before summer’s over, get in on this recipe.

me holding final paleo ice cream sandwich

Grain-free, Dairy-free Ice Cream Sandwiches

MAKES 15-20 COOKIES

Ingredients

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips (or any dairy-free brand)
  • 1 pint of your favorite dairy-free ice cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another small bowl mix eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract together.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together until combined.
  5. Melt coconut oil, pour into batter, and continue to blend until combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips. (The batter will be very wet.)
  7. On a parchment lined baking sheet, drop balls of cookie dough about a tablespoon in size. They will expand when you bake, more than you think.
  8. Flatten cookie balls with back of a spoon — flatter is better for ice cream sandwich-making. If you want, leave some fluffy for straight cookie-eating.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Let cool outside the oven, then put them in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.
  11. Scoop ice cream onto half the cookies, topping them with the other halves. Push down and freeze them for another 10-15 minutes… then enjoy!

Notes

These will keep in the freezer, inside tupperware, for about a week.


A Recipe From Jamie Stelter | www.thetvdinner.com

swiss chard farmer’s market salad

farmer's market salad with swiss chardThe best Sunday dinner is the kind made strictly from our Union Square Greenmarket haul on Saturday. This gorgeous (and spicy!) mix is:

> swiss chard (which was $2 for a giant bunch — still figuring out what to do with the rest. saute it?)

> broccoli sprouts

> peppers (I wish I remember what kind these are / but they’re bright, almost neon green, and stunning)

> teeny yellow cherry tomatoes

> I threw in some sesame seeds and tossed the whole thing in homemade dressing (apple cider vinegar, spicy mustard and a smidge of manuka honey)

Cheers to the end of another beautiful weekend / the start of what I hope is another magical week.

15-minute spicy steamed clams

steamed clams : dinner tableIf I’m gonna cook at all in the summer, I want it to be fast. Nothing should be baking, roasting, or simmering for too long… not when there are endless hours of sunlight to enjoy. (Funny coming from someone who goes to bed by 9 o’clock most nights / but you get my point.)

These steamed clams are not only super simple to make — 15 minutes from start to table — but they’re chock full o’ citrus-y, garlic flavor. Lightly inspired by a dish at The Clam, our not-so-new-anymore favorite restaurant in the ‘hood, this iteration kicks it up just a notch in the heat department with some sliced jalapenos.

Spice not your thing? No big deal; lose the peppers in the recipe, maybe the chili flakes as well, and you’ll still be in for a treat.

As for how many clams serves how many people, it depends upon your M.O. >>> I bought 3 pounds of littlenecks for the two of us and it was a small dinner, even with a side of broccoli. We could’ve eaten more; but isn’t that always the case with a batch of juicy clams? You feel like you can go on and on and on and…

steamed clams : le creuset

15-minute Spicy Steamed Clams

SERVES TWO

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 3 pounds fresh littleneck clams
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced thin
  • red chili pepper flakes, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot with a lid, warm oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until garlic is slightly softened, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add jalapeno pepper and wine and simmer for about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in clams and cover pot. Cook until clams open, about 5 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove clams from pot, dividing them between 2 serving bowls. (Discard any clams that don’t open.)
  4. Stir lime juice and red pepper flakes into the pan sauce and let cook for about a minute.
  5. Spoon that sauce over clams and serve.

A Recipe From Jamie Stelter | www.thetvdinner.com

Paleo cinnamon bun muffins and patience with baking

final muffin shotI’m not much of a baker. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth and if ya make cake, cookies and brownies, you’re gonna wind up eating cake, cookies and brownies. Good enough a reason for me to never do it. So I’ve always cooked. I love that making dinner isn’t an exact science. I can whip up different salads, sides and entrees based on what I have in the fridge and what I’m in the mood for.

But something strange has happened since I gave up grains and sugar 8 weeks ago; I’ve been craving baked goods, for the first time maybe ever. Is it because I haven’t had any bread in two months and I need something that has a dough-like consistency? Maybe. Are some of the new herbs, supplements and probiotics I’m taking messing with the chemistry of my body? Perhaps. Is it the challenge of showing myself (and others) that a grain-free existence can still be an enjoyable one? That sounds more likely. Whatever the case may be, I’ve got my mixing bowls and muffin tins out and I’m ready to start baking.

I went into it as I do most things, overly confident and optimistic. Like when I started seeing Dr. Lipman about my ankle pain… I was all, I’m gonna eat everything he tells me, take every herb he suggests, stop every exercise he thinks is bad — and poof — my pain will go away and I’ll be off my arthritis medications in no time.

Not so fast there, grasshopper.

This, like baking, will take time, care, and patience. You can’t just mix the wet and dry ingredients together haphazardly. As my intern Jessica taught me, you have to slowly add one to the other, letting them blend together to eventually become one batter. And you can’t just add more honey or egg because you think it will taste better or be better. Oh no you cannot, because then it won’t cook properly. You have to follow the instructions, give it the proper TLC, and then put your masterpiece in the oven and allow it to rise to perfection.

It doesn’t happen fast. Nothing happens fast.

It only seems that way once it’s done and you’re looking back from the other side, golden moist grain-free muffin in hand.

12 muffin shot

muffin closeup

Paleo cinnamon bun muffins

MAKES 9 MUFFINS

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP honey (topping)
  • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon (topping)
  • 1 TBSP grapeseed oil (topping)
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 2 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (I used Maldon)
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with liners.
  2. Combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate large bowl combine oil, honey, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Blend dry ingredients into wet and scoop 1/4 cup at a time into lined muffin cups.
  5. Spoon topping onto muffins. Here is where I used a toothpick to swirl some of the topping into the muffins themselves. Some I left as is, with topping on top.
  6. Bake muffins for 16 minutes, checking them after 10 with a toothpick for doneness.
  7. Let cool, then enjoy!.

Notes

I actually preferred the muffins without the topping on top — I thought they turned out more moist and a little less sweet — but that’s just me. Make half and half like I did so you can try both.


A Recipe From Jamie Stelter | www.thetvdinner.com