Weekly Roundup: June 22

Not only did I walk across the Brooklyn Bridge this weekend, but I saw and tasted a number of amazing things. Here were some of my favorite moments:

Brooklyn Bridge | netflix & nutella

View from the Brooklyn Bridge promenade

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory | netflix & nutella

The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, the cutest spot at the base of the bridge

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk ice cream | netflix & nutella

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk ice cream, my light at the end of the promenade tunnel

Yankee peanuts | netflix & nutella

Peanuts taste better out of a brown paper bag at a baseball game

John's of Bleecker | netflix & nutella

My #2 favorite pizza in New York at John’s of Bleecker

Icey | netflix & nutella

“Icies,” as we called them, bring me right back to being a kid. And it’s the only thing in my neighborhood that’s still $1

 

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Monday Mélange: NY State of Mind

This Monday, it’s all about New York. I  go home on Wednesday. I haven’t been home since mid-August, so I there’s little on my mind besides what awaits me at home. Here’s a mélange of what I look forward to:

1. Sight seeing. When you’re from somewhere like New York, it’s easy to take everyday things for granted. I can’t wait to embrace the Empire State Building, the parade, and the Met Museum while I’m home.

Empire State

2. Chelsea Market is a fun outing for my whole family. It’s an old Nabisco factory, so looking for the brand’s logo while people watching always provides for an entertaining afternoon. And stopping by Lucy’s Whey is a must for fresh goat cheese.Chelsea Market

3. NYC Pizza. My favorite slice is at Patsy’s in East Harlem. The tangy sauce, the thin but doughy crust perfectly blackened. My idea of heaven.

Patsy's Pizza

4. I fly home on my mom’s birthday, so a trip to Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel is a must. It’s a classy piano bar whose walls are covered in art by the famous children’s author for whom the bar is named. It’s also nice to pay hommage to the man who created the “small but inside I’m tall” girl for whom I was named.

Bemelman's Bar

5.  Most importantly, I can’t wait to indulge in my mom’s homemade Thanksgiving dishes. From the stuffing to bacon-topped Brussels sprouts, I can’t wait.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza

It’s pretty safe to say that my sister has an obsession with butternut squash. I hadn’t had it much before I lived with her in Paris, but her constant use of the versatile ingredient made me a convert. It’s health benefits are endless; it’s low in fat and delivers a high dose of dietary fiber, boosts your nervous and immune system, and is a heart-healthy choice.

Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza | Netflix and Nutella

My initial hope was to make ravioli, but seeing has my middle-of-nowhere grocery store didn’t have wonton wrappers, I went with the next thing I thought of: pizza.

Since I’m a poor college student with low funds and little time, I bought Artisan Pizza Crust from Pillsbury. It’s a nutty, fluffy whole grain pizza crust that is so easy to use and is inexpensive. On top, I spread some pesto, goat cheese, broccoli, and blanched butternut squash slices. I baked it as the crust package instructed – at 400° for about 15 minutes – and topped it off with some crushed red pepper.

Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza | Netflix and Nutella

I had a bunch of squash leftover, which I roasted in the oven until it was tender. I’ll snack on it or add it to my noodles the next time I make pasta.

To blanch the butternut squash: Slice the squash into thin disks. Bring water to a boil. Add the squash and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. Strain, and add to an ice water bath to shock. Before adding them to pizza, pat dry with a paper towel.

Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza | Netflix and Nutella

American Summer

This summer has been a constant road trip. Whether it’s the trips between the city and the beach, a weekend in Rhode Island, or an upcoming weekend in Boston, I’m pretty much always on the road or thinking about having to leave my current place.

hydrangea

Though I’m loving my summer internship (and my office’s refrigerating A/C), spending days in Westhampton are the days I cherish most. I can usually be found at the pool in the backyard, at the beach, or in the kitchen/heart of my house. I feel super lucky to be able to cherish these days out here and escape the hot and sticky NYC summer days.

fireworks

Independence Day Weekend was the longest chunk of time I’ve spent in WHB all summer – 5 straight days of beach, pool, tanning, and delicious eating. I’m heading back into the city today, and I’m happy to have these photos to remind me of the relaxing weekend I was able to enjoy.

purple and yellow

pizza

fried chicken for the 4th

sunset

Pizza Crust: Healthified

After a winter of hibernating with boeuf bourguignon and toasty baguette with goat cheese, there comes a time where you have to detox.

crust        Crust

My sister and I (much to the dismay of her beef-loving boyfriend) have been on a serious veggie binge. Even though the vegetables are not even at their peak yet, after a winter of nothing, they taste like candy to our deprived taste buds.

Pre-cooked pizza

Veggie-pizza was one of the items on our menu for the week. In lieu of a wheat-heavy pizza crust, I suggested that we stray from the norm and try something I found on Pinterest: “doughless” cauliflower pizza crust.

Pizza

The recipe came from Lauren Conrad’s website and worked really well, though the crust never got too crispy, to my dismay. Next time, I think I’ll used  processed mozzarella in a bag instead of the kind that comes in a ball- I think the liquid from the cheese might have been a factor in the mushy crust. All in all, though this pizza is nothing like a triangular slice you can grab on a New York street, the cauliflower-based crust was the perfect base for pesto and roasted veggies.

*Don’t forget to spray your pan, even if you use aluminum foil like I did. Also, grab a fork and knife, because this crust will not hold up to gravity like a wheat one will!

Recipe via Pinterest courtesy of Lauren Conrad

Pizza

Slice of Home

Ah, the midlife crisis. Some men resort to ridiculously expensive cars. Others to scandalous affairs. But in my household, with a Sicilian father and a mother who loves to cook, there was only one possible, logical indulgence: a pizza oven.

My dad had a pizza built in the backyard about 6 years ago. What seemed to some like a silly extravagance turned into a vehicle for a family tradition.

            

With my mom’s fresh tomato sauce, caramelized onions, mozzarella, various salami and prosciutto and arugula at our disposal, we create our different pizzas which my brother cooks to perfection as my dad offers unwanted input.


And in the end, it doesn’t matter how many times my dad corrects my brother on how he’s handling the pizzas or who consumed the most pizza. The most important thing is that it has remained a family tradition. With the oldest kid in my family 25 and the youngest 19, we still come together every summer to make pizza. I’m off to Elon in 1 week and 1 day and am starting to get the knots in my stomach. But nights with family friends and loved ones surrounding our crazy family, it couldn’t feel more like home.