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Cooking & Food

cheesecake bars with all the berries

This has been my go-to cheesecake for as long as I have cooked. Gourmet Magazine published it in 1999, but the recipe hailed from Santa Fe’s Three Cities of Spain coffeehouse* a place I didn’t know a thing about until this week, when curiosity got the better of my intentions to something succinct about cake for once in my food blogging life. Up the road from an artists’ colony, it was apparently a popular hangout in the 1960s for local bohemia, hosting an eclectic mix of entertainment from poets and musicians to foreign films. It closed in the mid-1970s, probably around the time Santa Fe was starting to become too expensive for starving artists. Canyon Road, once dirt, was paved. From Googling, it looks like the old adobe home that housed it (apparently built in 1756) became Geronimo restaurant (named after the man who built it) in the early 1990s, and is still open today. What does this have to do with the cheesecake they kept in the pastry case? Very little, friends — and please correct me if this Manhattan-ite got any Santa Fe details wrong — but I can’t resist a cake with a story.

digestives!crumbscream cheese, eggs, sugarbaked, cooled

My cheesecake story is much less interesting; this site’s archives would tell you otherwise but I came late to it. My husband loves it, many of you who read this site seem to love it, and I don’t… dislike it, I just don’t need more than one or two slices a year. I find it so heavy and oven monotonous; I always wish the proportions were different, say, the same amount of buttery crust and whatever topping you wish but a thinner layer of baked cream cheese custard. It not a testament to my mental acuity that it took me this many years to figure out this was the easiest way to make it happen. As bars, the taste is less heavy, it feeds a lot more people, and it’s portable, meaning it can go anywhere you want to this weekend (your friends thank you, in advance).

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Ten Small Ways To Be Happy

Ten Small Ways To Be Happy

We all need a little spark of a reminder sometimes.  A little confetti in the air.  A little whipped cream on top.  A little something-something.  Here are ten small and simple ways to be happy in any given day.  When all else fails- champagne for breakfast and doughnuts for dessert.  

1  •  Do a chore that you’ve been putting off and immediately TREAT YOURSELF.  Maybe a door needs replacing or a floor needs deep cleaning or all the laundry needs putting away.

Continue reading Ten Small Ways To Be Happy at Joy the Baker.

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fried rice with zucchini, tomatoes and parmesan

Fried rice is a triumph of resourcefulness. It’s budget-friendly, all leftovers are welcome, and there’s no strict formula or ingredient list, jus stir-frying cooked rice with whatever you have around — eggs, scraps of vegetables, seafood, or meat — and seasoning the lot of it with soy sauce and garlic. This single-skillet/wok dinner is ready to be torn into in 10 minutes.

what you'll needchop if bigi don't know the real name for this chop so I call it "teeth"hello pretties

Hailing from East, Southeast and South Asian cuisine, it has absolutely nothing to do with the vague Italian/Mediterranean terroir of these ingredients, but I have for almost as many years as I’ve made Zucchini, Tomato and Rice Gratin (from a 2008 Gourmet Magazine, so: many) wished it could be a kind of wildly inauthentic Italian fried rice too. The original dish is a bit bit fussy as written — two baking sheets, one pot in which to cook the rice, saute pan for the onions and more, followed by a baking dish for the assembled gratin — and while the rewards for this effort are great, the level of effort ensures I make it approximately once every two years, a shame when all of the ingredients are so readily available in August.

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Let It Be Sunday, 132!

Let It Be Sunday, 132!

Hello my friends! 

Welcome to what we hope to make a fine day in the world.  Let’s be kind to one another, remembering that we’re all beating hearts and soaring souls in the world seeking love and safety.  Good grief.  If someone near you has forget these basic fundamentals, remind them with care.  Again… good grief.  

Here are some of the events of the week, everything but the hot-heads with the codes to nuclear warheads here and there: 

 NO.

Continue reading Let It Be Sunday, 132! at Joy the Baker.

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blackberry-blueberry crumb pie

I am completely and utterly failing at having a low-key, lazy summer. In part because, wait, didn’t summer just begin (NYC schools go to essentially the last day of June) and more largely because I seem to be jumping from big project to big project, we’re suddenly approaching the midpoint of August and I’m faintly panicked that this summer will be over before I have taken in sufficient levels of sun, sand, toasted marshmallows, vacation, and hot, sticky laziness that veers into boredom to fortify us for a big exciting fall and an always-too-long and always-too-cold winter. The fix begins now.

let's make pie!gather scraps, chillready to rolleasier to transfer folded

First up: pie. Look, I too enjoy the look of a stunning, woven lattice of a pie lid. Chevron, braided, plaid and twisted ribbon spirals too. I am not immune to the charms of elaborate pate brisee crafts. But I would like to postulate that were we all to eat pie in the dark, only a tiny fraction of those of us who respond to butterfly-leafed lids with heart-eyes emojis (that is, me, me, me) would choose the taste over that of a fluffy, rubbly, cobblestoned crumb lid.

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Giant Confetti Cookie Cup


Nothing screams PARTY like a giant pink cookie cup!

Lately I've had cake on the brain, so I wanted to switch gears and do something fresh and fun. I've always loved baking with color, so I began this project with the first thing in the pantry that caught my eye - pink candy and lots of it!
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Gumbo Poutine

Gumbo Poutine

It’s going to take me years, likely, the rest of my life to master the nuance of New Orleans cooking.  Luckily, it’s a delicious road to travel.

I’ve been making gumbo here and there for the past year.  Getting a roux just right takes trust and patience, a can of beer and a good chat with a friend.  More on that later. 

Gumbo, with it’s incredibly flavorful, gravy-live broth seemed a cheeky topping for French fries and cheese curds.

Continue reading Gumbo Poutine at Joy the Baker.

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Fruit Pizza with Brown Sugar Cookie Crust


Fruit pizza is great for hot summer days because it's chilly and refreshing. You can use your favorite combination of sliced fruit or the season's best berries for toppings. I've tried a few different versions, and this one is my favorite yet with its slightly chewy and buttery brown sugar crust. It provides a sturdy foundation for mounds of whipped cream and all the colorful sliced fruit you care to pile on top.
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Let It Be Sunday, 131!

Let It Be Sunday, 131!

Hello sweet friends,

How has this week been for you? I feel like I’m in observer mode these past two-handful of days, watching people sort of tumble around me with this and that.  I’m likely tumbling around too, but I feel like I need to take more in that I put out.  Also, it’s August and maybe I’m just lethargic. 

I’m looking forward to this Fall with 80% excitement and 20% dread.

Continue reading Let It Be Sunday, 131! at Joy the Baker.

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My Ten Favorite Things in Detroit

My Ten Favorite Things in Detroit

It was about 4 hours into my visit to Detroit that I realized I was in one of America’s greatest cities. Have you spent some time in Detroit? Did you fall in love with the architecture, the heart, the real the raw, the great people? 

When I only have a few days in a city, I have to hit the ground running and there’s no sense / not much time to linger in a tiny hotel room (Trumbull and Porter is pretty great if you need a place).

Continue reading My Ten Favorite Things in Detroit at Joy the Baker.

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