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The Butterfly NYC

OK, I've been horrible about posting. Unlike pro-blogger Jen, I get too caught up in everything else. So it's fair to say something has to push me over the top in order to suddenly decide to post something.

This cute little place came up in a random search and I'm hooked - partly because the name of the place is my nickname for her, but mostly because the food shots literally made me salivate.  I mean – Coca-cola ice cream? Squash blossoms with mozzarella? I'm in!

Butterfly Patty Melt – diner food at it's highest

Needs no introduction

All kinds of appetizers

Does it even matter? Yum!

Coco-cola ice cream with caramel corn and cherries. Done.

The Butterfly
225 West Broadway
New York City 10013



Apricots are an amazing fruit. Aside from looking pretty in a plain bowl presentation, you can use them for a wide range of accompaniments:

  • Pit and cut the apricot into slices and put in a fresh leaf lettuce salad with goat cheese
  • Chop finely with pistachios, red onion, some oil, vinegar and sugar for a great meat relish
  • Chop and saute, then add soy sauce, sherry and a bit of brown sugar for a jam-like sauce
  • Add with raisins to cranberry sauce for a light twist on the traditional turkey side
  • Peel the skins and mash the flesh in a blender or food processor, add 1/2 package of unflavored gelatin and a bit of water then freeze into popsicles

Image from LiveStrong


Bobby Baker Chicken Revisited

Made this last night for dinner. Not a new dish - made it before - but seriously, you should try it :)

This time, I baked it - 30 minutes at 450°F - rather than broil. And I did it on a rack to drip out the extra fat, but the thighs stayed pretty juicy.


S'More Cupcakes

Do I actually need to say anything?

These are cool because you can make them in a number of different ways whether you use a mix or not.

What you need:
Graham crackers (I used a box of pre-crushed crumbs)
Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate cake mix
Mini marshmallows

Make a batch of the cake mix. Seriously, I never make a whole box - that's way too many for just 2 of us - so I usually make about 1/3. In a separate bowl, blend graham crackers with melted butter (about 1 tsp per 5 crackers) which will help hold it together. Carefully melt about 1/4 bar of chocolate (nuke it for 20 seconds then stir it until it's smooth).

Put cupcake papers into a tin. Distribute about 1-2 tsp of graham mix in the bottom, then drizzle a small spoon of melted chocolate over it - this will help hold it together. Pour cake batter in until cups are 2/3 full. Bake as normal but just slightly less (2 minutes) than recommended. Remove from oven and switch oven to broiler. Place 3-4 mini marshmallows on top and place under broil until they start to turn golden. When you pop them out, drop 1-2 squares of dark chocolate on the side.



Brussel Sprout Salad

If you're like me, sometimes Brussel sprouts are just about the best vegetable out there. Something about the nutty flavor that, when cooked right, just melts in your mouth.

I was inspired by a recipe from Lauren of Perpetually Chic on Jen's blog called Fall Harvest Salad but I skipped the squash and romaine and just went for the full on sproutage (ok, yes, I made up that word). It's a hit. For you new cooks - just make sure you don't cook the Brussel sprouts for too long or they will get bitter very quickly. Try to find young, small sprouts since they are much more tender and soften easier.

Brussel sprouts, trimmed**
Dried cherries (or cranberries - cherries are sweeter and softer)
Walnuts, crumbled
Blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 C Olive oil
Sea salt
3 Tbs High quality balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs Agave syrup

In a skillet over medium heat, saute the sprouts with about 1/2 Tbs butter and turn continuously until they just caramelize on the outside. Remove from heat and allow to cool (refrigerate them).

Mix the dressing - oil, salt, vinegar and agave - in a bowl with a whisk. Toss the sprouts, cherries and walnuts with the dressing, then put into a clean bowl and crumble the top with blue cheese (not shown in photo).

** For this I used 3 bags of the easy microwave ones but took them out of the bag since they were already trimmed. If the sprouts are large, halve them.


Bacon-Wrapped Potatoes

Got a party coming up and need some easy hors d'oeuvres? Try these little nuggets...use baby potatoes and wrap them in bacon! You can never go wrong with bacon, right? Even better, try adding different herbs or seasonings for unique flavors. Here I've used fresh rosemary sprigs but there's plenty of alternatives - sorrel, thyme, basil, cracked pepper. It's a superb comfort food in a tiny package!

Also, try different types of potatoes. In this batch there's a mix of red bliss and yukon gold but I'd bet some purple fingerlings would also work great because of the nutty flavor.

2-3 lbs baby potatoes (no bigger than 1 1/4" diameter)
1 lb bacon
Short bamboo skewers or toothpicks (I cut some 6" skewers to about 2")
Rosemary sprigs (or some other herb)

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Don't salt it - the bacon will provide enough. Boil the potatoes until just past parboil stage (not fully cooked). Meanwhile, line a baking sheet or deep dish with foil (remember that the bacon grease will drip so have a catch lip). Bring oven to 375°F.

Remove and cool the potatoes in an ice bath. Carefully peel each potato, removing a strip about 1/2"-3/4" wide around it but not removing the entire peel.

Cut the strips of bacon in half. Wrap one half-slice around the potato snugly and then poke a skewer into it to secure. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes until bacon is crisping.

Serve hot with garnish, enjoy the applause.


Fresh Raspberries

I had to share this shot just because the color looked so pretty.

Image by MadeForJen


Pumpkin Pie Cake with Vanilla Cream

Like many Americans, I love pumpkin pie. There is something incredibly soothing about the spicy taste, the smooth texture and the dollop of cream.  But there's also something about pumpkin cake or bread - the rich but dense texture with that pie-reminiscent taste.

Here's a twist on both - why not put the two together? Even better, this one is lactose-free!

1 12oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 C brown sugar
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon (depends how spicy you want it)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 C cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs

1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbs butter, melted

Vanilla Cream
2 egg yolks
1/4 C granulated sugar
2 Tbs + 1/2 tsp cornstarch
3/4 C soy milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Start with the vanilla cream since it will take at least an hour.  In a bowl, whisk the yolks until smooth. Separately in a saucepan, mix the sugar and cornstarch over medium heat, add the soy milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook until it begins to bubble and thicken.  Pour 1/3 of the mix into the eggs, whisk until smooth, then put the mix back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, 3-5 more minutes until thick. Remove from heat and put into a ceramic bowl and chill covered for an hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  In a stainless steel bowl, beat the eggs then add the puree, brown sugar, spices, flour and baking powder and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix the crumbs, white sugar, cinnamon and butter until crumbly.

Grease a cupcake pan with butter or cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment. Spoon enough pumpkin mix into each cup to fill 2/3 of the way. Fill the remainder with graham mix but not quite to the top, then pat down gently with your fingers.

Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325°F for another 6 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. To remove, place the top of a cookie sheet down onto the open cups and flip over. Allow to cool completely.

Note: a quick "cheat" for vanilla cream - prepare a box of sugar-free, dairy-free, no-cook vanilla pudding mix according to directions but use only 3/4 of the milk. Whip 2 egg whites in a bowl and once peaked, blend the two together.