Baking with Friends, for Friends

The other night my husband and I got together with our friend Sophie to make some sweet treats for a friend who has been under the weather. This friend of ours is such a wonderful person who is always volunteering to help others and is well known for baking cookies to send to the troops overseas that we felt it was only appropriate to make some sweets for the lady who is always making treats for others.

To that end, Sophie made beautiful strawberry jam, I made a blueberry crumble pie and my husband served as the best sous chef we could have ever hoped for. For all the love that went into making these antioxidant rich, vitamin-packed fruity treats, I’m sure our good friend will be on the mend in no time!

Here are some shots of the pie:

Red Sangria

The heat is officially on here in New York City (Saturday and Sunday will be in the 90’s!), which means it’s a great time to make sangria.  I enjoy both the red and the white, but today I’m feeling a bit more traditional so I am going to make red sangria. 

I once made a batch of this sangria and gave a Mason jar of it to my favorite deli guy, Mr. Frank.  He drank it right on the spot, at work, and then proceeded to give everybody kisses and tell them that he loved them.   So, maybe this stuff is a love potion too…    

Red Sangria

2 750ml bottles Spanish red wine
3/4 cup brandy
3/4 cup simple syrup*
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup triple sec
2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 lemons, thinly sliced into rounds
2 oranges, thinly sliced into rounds

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher, stir, cover and refrigerate for 2 days.  Serve over ice.

*Simple Syrup is equal parts granulated sugar and water.  To make it, add boiling water to sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Cool before use.


Happy Summer!!!

Happy Memorial Day aka the unofficial start of Summer! Summer brings to mind barbecues and grilling and outdoor dining. Living in an apartment in NYC means I have no outdoor space to call my own so I do all I can to celebrate summer from my kitchen. Then, we pack up our goodies and walk over to Central Park for a picnic. This recipe for BBQ sauce is the best I’ve ever had. It’s great on ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, grilled chicken, burgers and adds fantastic flavor to baked beans.

Barbecue Sauce

2 Tbsp. liquid smoke
1 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

Stir all ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and use immediately or cool for storage in the refrigerator.