SUMMER TIME / RECIPE: SUNGOLD, CORN AND ROASTED ONION SALAD, July, 2016, Orient, NY

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All of a sudden it’s summer and things are growing! I’m not sure how
spring went by so fast… it seems like over night the farm went from
a brown/grey dirt patch to a lush bright green garden! It’s crazy how
many things and how much has grown just from Calvin and Peter working
the land – I must say I’m very impressed. Grass and weeds are
everywhere and we even have some food! Raspberries are popping up on
the bramble bushes – red, purple and yellow! Some veggies are ready to
pick – already made a salad from radishes, shallots and baby kale.
Meanwhile, the North Fork went from shuttered winter to open for
business summer. All the restaurants and attractions (aka the mini
golf place) are open and the summer crowds are coming out every
weekend. All the other farm stands are open for business and we
finally have a bounty of local produce – garlic scapes, kale, herbs
and hella zucchini. We’ve been making crazy fresh meals every night,
and on nights when we eat early enough ( we usually don’t eat till 10
pm) we even eat outside al fresco!

I have to say, I liked the North Fork in the winter but I love it in
the summer. It’s so nice to lounge by the pool or on the beach all day
and then just walk to the nearest farm stand to make dinner. It’ll be
even better in August when I can have Calvin pick our dinner from all
the veggies he grew himself!

Today I’m sharing a recipe I’ve already made several times this season
– sungold and corn salad. TBH almost none of the ingredients are
available locally (corn and tomatoes usually aren’t in season till the
end of the summer on Long Island) but its’ just so yummy and fresh I
can’t stop making it. It’s also a real crowd pleaser, super simple and
most importantly, can be made ahead of time! In the summer, I don’t
want to be in the kitchen for hours, I just want to have light and
simple meals that don’t require to much cooddeling. This is one of
those recipes.Though there are a few steps there are only a handful of
ingredients. This recipe is based off of one I read in Food52 a few
years back but I’ve tweaked considerably.

As per usual, recipe and farm photos below!

SUNGOLD, CORN AND ROASTED SUMMER SALAD ONION SALAD

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INGREDIENTS

3 ears of corn – sweet corn is preferable if you can find it
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 pint Sungold Tomatoes (those sweet little yellow guys), halved
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

PREP

1. Boil water and set oven to 375 degrees F

2. Chop onion and spread out on a cookie sheet – cover with olive oil,
salt and pepper and roast for about 30 minutes – until pieces are
cooked and slightly brown. Let onions cool so they can be handles and
then place in a large bowl.

3. Shuck corn, snap or cut cobs in half and boil for three minutes.
Let cool then carefully cut kernels off the cob and throw into the
same bowl as the onions.

4. Add halved sungold and thinly sliced scallion.

5. dress with 1 tbs of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Eat
right away while slightly warm, keep out and enjoy at room temperature
or refridgerate and eat later. It’s all good!

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SIX MONTHS LATER…/ RECIPE: SHEPARD’S (AKA COTTAGE) PIE, March, 2016, Manhattan, NY

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I’ve never been very good at keeping resolutions. One year for New Year’s not so long ago I decided to give up my bottled water habit – I have a thing for Evian – it just tastes better – but I knew bottled water was bad for both the environment and my wallet. I was so proud of this decision I flaunted my resolve to my friends and roommates, bragging how easy it would be, how much money I would save. By January 8th I’d totally caved, walked around the corner to Hana Food and indulged in a $3 bottle of water. When a roommate came home and caught me in bed with that tall drink of water, I humbly confessed, “I gave up.”

This year (of my birth, not the calendar), instead of setting resolutions I set goals. I realize that benchmarks are a more feasible alternative to my ambitious and perhaps unrealistic resolutions. But if you read my last post (from SIX MONTHS ago) you probably noticed that I have set A LOT of goals. Eating better, working out, writing more, traveling, success! I mean, I know I had a whole year ahead of me but I also have much I need to accomplish. I must say I’ve done pretty okay on some of my goals. Six months into my twenty-eighth year (okay, technically it’s my twenty-ninth) year I thought this would be a good time to evaluate my progress and finally update my blog. First and foremost, I GOT MY FUCKING DRIVERS’ LICENSE – something I’ve been putting off for 12ish years (I mean, I am a New Yorker, crazy good at the subway and a top-notch passenger), but an adult needs driver’s. Now I just need to master stick shift… I also renewed my passport, which will help me attain future goals! I’ve already pampered myself with a two-week vacation in Hawaii (travel blog-post coming soon) AND a trip to Uruguay (blog posts about both coming soon!). I’ve reshuffled my restaurant staff and have been booking parties left and right. At one point I was working out daily, though recently my work out schedule has dwindled, but hey, that’s way better than my exercise commitment over the past few years, which was never.

Going forward I plan to focus more on my blog and my diet. So here I go blogging about my eating habits AND sharing a super cozy recipe for the last cold nights of winter! Cold grey weather almost guarantees poor diet choices. The homemade pastas at my restaurant have been beckoning me with their delicious sauces and fresh meats and vegetables. I’ve also imbibed a fair amount of booze. But over the past few months I have to remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect. Everything in moderation is my mantra now; not exactly the Party Girl Plan, more like the Party Girl Plan Lite (but still pretty heavy). If I want to have gnocchi for lunch I’ll have a salad for dinner, not only because salad is the healthy choice but also because I know those greens will help my body digest the gnocchi, and TBH I really like salad. Smoothies in the morning instead of bagels. Dessert once (or twice) a week instead of every night and usually homemade. And for good measure, I’ll throw in a Pilates class here and there. It’s sweater season and I’m feeling good about myself and so should you!

In honor of the cooler weather and my dabbling with indulgence today I’m sharing the recipe for my mom’s Shepard’s Pie. I know, with a name like Isabella Gambuto you’d think I’m 100% Guido, but alas that conclusion is flawed. My mother is Jewish, of South African and English decent. My Grandmother Patricia is a very proper Londoner (accent, marmite, Sainsbury’s Red Label tea, keep calm and carry on and all that). This recipe is my mom’s version of one of her grandmother’s signature dishes. Though classically made with lamb, mom now makes hers with ground turkey and the rest of us make it with ground beef, which in the UK they call Cottage Pie. But this one is my recipe and I’m going to call it what I damn well please! Caramelized onions and seasoned ground beef, topped with layers of peas, roasted sweet potatoes and creamy mashed potatoes, all covered with grated sharp cheddar and baked in the oven. It’s the perfect one pot meal, great for a crowd or family dinner. Preparation is a little time consuming but totally worth the effort. It’s also even better the next day! I mean, I’m pretty sure this recipe could win a Shepard’s/Cottage Pie competition, if such thing existed…

 

FullSizeRender-3.jpgSHEPARD’S  aka COTTAGE PIE

Shepard’s pie is pretty much an entire meal – meat, potatoes and veggies – stacked into one delicious casserole. I apologize for the so-so photo – I made a super fun GIF of all the layers but an too computer illiterate to figure out how to post it on wordpress (help?!).

Serving size: 8-10 people. This is a good dinner party dish!

INGREDIENTS

2 LBS ground beef

1 large Spanish onion, chopped

2 tbs olive oil

1 beef boullian

1 cup water

3 large sweet potatoes

4 large potatoes

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)(I know, a lot of butter)

1/4 cup heavy cream (yea, I never said this was particularly healthy)

1 bag frozen peas

1/2 cup sharp cheese of your choice SHREDDED (I used a mix of parmesan and white cheddar)

salt and pepper

***heavy bottomed pot like a Le Creuset 

PREP:

  1.  peel potatoes and chop fourths. place in a medium pot and cover with water and bring to a boil. once water has boiled uncover pot and lower heat to a simmer and let cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. once cooked, drain water and mash with butter and cream. salt and pepper to taste.
  2. while potatoes are boiling prick your sweet potatoes with a fork two or three times each and place on a tin foil lined baking sheet. put in over and heat to 425 degrees feranheit. bake for 30-45 minutes, until fork tender. once cooked, scoop out roasted potatoes and discard skins, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. while your sweet potatoes are roasting heat a large pan with olive oil and brown ground beef. make sure to drain any liquid released from beef from the pan – do this by covering your pan and carefully pouring out excess liquid into a bowl. you can discard this excess liquid
  4. once meat is nice and browned set removed from pan and set aside. add onions into same pan and sauté, making sure to pick up any little bits of beef stuck to the pan (that’s flavor baby!) you may need to add another glug or two of olive oil here. cook until tender and sweet about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and turn down heat to 400 degrees farenheit.
  5. add meat back in with onions, throw in beef boullian cube and cover with water. let cook until water is fully reduce and taste. if too salty or too dry add another 1/2 cup of water and let reduce again. salt and pepper to taste.
  6. the final step before layering your pie is to defrost your frozen peas! this can be done in the microwave, a steamer or a shallow pan filled with 1/2 inch water. just make sure to drain any excess liquid post defrosting!
  7. at this point you should have all five (YES FIVE) components of your pie ready and waiting! In your heavy bottom pan layer your ingredients in this order: : beef and onions, peas, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes. Make sure you are evenly spreading the sweet and mashed potatoes.
  8. once put together it’s time for your final finishing touch: CHEESE! sprinkle the cheese of your choice all over the top. also feel free to add a couple pats of butter if you’re feeling crazy!
  9. once fully assembled place pie uncovered into oven (which should still be heated from your roasting) and cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is melted and the top is lightly browned. Let cool at least five minutes and then dig in!

***Optional eating advice — I like the mash my pie all together, unto a big ugly mess, that way you get a bit of beef, peas, sweet and mashed potatoes in every bite! But that’s just a suggestion!

And now a smattering of photos from the last half year of my life just because!

LOS ANGELES, October, 2014, Los Angeles, California

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The boyfriend and I went to LA in October. My little sister had just started her Freshman year at USC and the boyfriend has an office in LA so can work there any time. Plus he’d never really been and we have tons of friends to visit there. My mom, stepdad Robert (but we don’t really use terms like “step” and “half” in my family, as I’ve written about in earlier blog posts) and other little sister Sofia also flew out. The boyfriend and I stayed in Silver Lake with our good friend Tyler (you may remember from “My Week With Tyler” post). We saw a lot of friends, went to USC a couple times, including a football game (woah is USC different different than Oberlin)(Also you can’t drink at college football games and all people do is complain about how they can’t drink), I spent some  quality time with the fam and we all ate way too much (I mean, what else are you supposed to do on vacation?!). We even got to borrow our family friend’s JEEP CONVERTIBLE, so I was in full fledged “Clueless” mode (I may or may not have played “Kids in America” every time we got in the car)(and then dressed up as Cher Horowitz two weeks later for Halloween). My parent’s stayed with my Aunt Barbara in Studio CIty and she threw an early birthday BBQ for Robert and I invited all my friends. Studio City is technically the Valley so I had the chance to use the phrase “Looks like we’re going to the Val party”, which I said way too many times.  It was a fun trip and instead of giving you an entire run down here are some things I did/liked:

Mohawk Bend: This “vegan” restaurant was our first stop when we landed, still intoxicated after the plane ride. I say “vegan” because the menu has a plethora of “non-vegan” options, which they clearly mark “NV” (really). We got over the “LA-ness” of the place when we realized they had over 70 California beers on tap and the food was really good. Just try to forget that you’re eating veganaise and no matter what anyone tells you the “Buffalo Colliflower” does not taste like chicken wings.

The Real Inn: Our family friends who loaned us the Jeep recommended this place. By the way their names are Christine and Scott and they are awesome and have a awesome house in Laurel Canyon. Across the street from the beach in Malibu, right off PCH, this place is a fried food paradise. It’s an old school fisherman’s hub right by the Malibu trailer park and a defunct motel. I had chicken fingers because I don’t eat anything that swims, and even though they had a strong taste of fried shrimp, it still rocked. Definitely not the Malibu hot spot you think of but my favorite kind of place.

Lyft: Sure they have these cabs in NYC and Chicago but I really loved using it in LA. Anyone with a (newish) car and drivers license can drive so you meet a whole cast of characters while hitching pretty affordable rides. Plus it’s a great alternative to Uber and there less than ethical practices. (Literally too many links about this to post just one)

Sqirl: Everyone I know is obsessed with this place so I had to try it. Located in Silverlake, it’s a little lunch place that was apparently famous for its jams is constantly packed, serving strong coffee and fresh organic food. I had yummy shac\kshuka but should have ordered more bread. It was good, we tried to go again but the line was too long.

LACMA (LA County Museum of Art): I felt a little silly going to a museum in LA when I never take time to go to the amazing museums all over my own city but the boyfriend and Tyler were working and I felt like being a tourist (plus the Getty was closed). They have a very cool permanent collection of modernist: Picasso, Miro, Warhol, etc… as well as some interesting installations. My favorite was a light installation by James Turrell that made you feel like you were being abducted by aliens.

Waze: This app is the shit. It’s like google maps + twitter. It never lead me wrong and saved the boyfriend and I from countless fights driving around LA. Once again, this app is available all over, but people are super active on it in LA and is super helpful in such a driving heavy city.

Bottega Louie: My baby sister (the USC Freshman) wanted to go here. It was over the top but super delicious. Bonus points for every blogger ever posting photos of their beautiful desserts. Also pink himalayan sea salt shakers on every table. Plus every blogger and there mother LOVES this place.

Native: All week long I was trying to find a dress to wear to my friend’s wedding the following weekend and I stumbled into this place and found the perfect one! Right across the street from the Celebrity Center (Scientology is weird) in Franklin Heights, this little boutique is super cute and has great prices. They also gave the boyfriend and me beers while I tried on dresses.

Korean BBQ: For the life of me I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we went to and neither can Tyler. He says to look up “All you can eat Korean” on Yelp and this will be the top place. We gathered a bunch of boys and my one girlfriend and we ate all that we could plus some. I was beefed over on the plane ride home the next day.

Playa Provisions: It was my last day in the LA and we still hadn’t been to the beach so we decided to go on the way to LAX. Tyler took us to this adorable restaurant in Playa Del Carmen, everything homemade, organic and beautiful. Just across from the beach and 15 minutes away from the airport. It was the perfect goodbye meal.

We also took a little nudey photo shoot with Tyler and I may have posted a photos from it. But don’t worry, it’s super tame.

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CAPE COD FAMILY FIESTA, July, 2014, Sagamore, Massachusetts

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I need to preface this post with a quick explanation of my family tree. I have what you may call, a unique family situation. Both of my parents have been married and divorced three times each (that’s five marriages between the two of them) and I have several brothers and sisters of varying ages and colors. Even so, in my family we don’t distinguish between “step”, “half” and “full” siblings. We all love each other and that’s all the matters. But just for a  reference, I have attached a nifty family tree I’ve come up with over the years as a quick explanation. See below. Continue reading