The thing about early spring, at least here in the Hudson Valley, is that it basically looks and feels exactly like winter. For most of March and even into April, it’s cold and damp, and nothing in the garden will grow. During these dog days, a bright and zingy citrus salad feels like a life-saver. And it’s simplicity itself: juicy, sweet blood oranges (and a few mandarins for variety’s sake), tossed with crisp endive and some quick-pickled red onions. Toss over a little peppery mint and pistachios for crunch and that’s it. A drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky salt is all the dressing it needs.
Yes, this pink, frothy cocktail is perfect for a romantic Valentine’s celebration but don’t let its good looks fool you, the Clover Club is a serious drink. And one originally imbibed exclusively by men – specifically the literary, legal, and financial men who, from 1882 until the 1920’s, met once a month in Philadelphia. The drink, named after their gentlemen’s club, was published in the New York Press in 1901. It called for gin, lemon juice, sugar, raspberry syrup, and egg white. Fast forward to modern times, and it’s also the name of a gorgeous cocktail bar in our old Brooklyn neighborhood. This new Clover Club, the bar, is where we first sampled Clover Club, the drink.
We call this “half-baked” instead of “no-bake” cheesecake, because the Graham cracker crust gets a few minutes in the oven, but the filling is the real prize: whipped vanilla and blackberry batters swirled into a beautiful pattern. Using freeze-dried berries lends stability and turns this into a year-round treat — though we love to top it with fresh berries to celebrate berry harvest season.
Even though we have a food blog (this. This what you’re reading now is a food blog. Honest to goodness it is.) we’re not great at keeping up with the regular “National FOOD THING Day” celebrations. Everything has a National Day. There’s a National Peanut Butter Day (March 1). A National Pickle Day (November 14). There’s even a day (August 16) which is simultaneously National Bratwurst Day and National Rum Day (if only someone would write a book which combines food and alcohol OH WAIT THEY DID). And last week, July 30, was National Cheesecake Day.
[We’ve been running around this week literally spinning plates and juggling knives, so here’s a repost from a few years back. It’s one of our absolute favorites from the blog, and is an absolute crowd-pleaser whenever we make it. It’s super-easy, and, other than the crust, doesn’t need baking. We just planted our own redcurrant bushes this year, so we’re hopeful that within a couple of seasons, we’ll have enough gorgeous berries to decorate a tart entirely from our garden.]
Besides being nerdy about movies, television and all things culinary, Matt and I both share a dorky fascination with etymology (the history of words). I’ve written about my most hated words in a previous post (which had to be titled Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad because Matt despises the word ‘slaw’). Now I thought we’d list some of our favorites (join us and write yours in the comments!).
Emily: Luminescent, gloaming, nixed, defenestration
Matt: Ramble, button, spandrel, pickle
“Great,” you mumble. “But can I have the recipe for that tart now?”
Our ruby-hued blood orange and hibiscus curd makes a delicious and luscious filling for this beautiful seasonal tart. The crust is made from crushed gingersnap cookies, and couldn’t be simpler. With a great balance between sweet, tart and spicy, this is a real showstopper of a dessert.
When blood oranges are in season, we just can’t get enough of them so when we found a local shop selling a big bag of them for under 5 bucks, we knew we couldn’t pass them up. But what do you do when life gives you lem… oranges? Make curd!
We are legit curd crazy in this house. Curds with knives, they call us (no one calls us this). Lemon curd is pretty much a bi-monthly event in our kitchen. We’ve made blueberry-lemon curd, strawberry curd, even rhubarb curd. In fact, it was our experience with rhubarb curd that led us to add an extra ingredient, hibiscus, to our blood orange version (more on this later in the article).
Sweet, fruity, cheesy blintzes are a great Mother’s Day treat for the Mom in your life. But let’s face it, they’re equally awesome as a weekend splurge you can make for yourself!
Breakfasts at the Nerds household are probably a lot like breakfasts at your house. During the week, we never have time to indulge in anything luxurious – it’s grab-a-slice-of-toast, open-a-yogurt, pour-a-quick-coffee time. So the weekend is when we really get to enjoy ourselves. And when it’s a special weekend like Mother’s Day, we really feel like going for the luxury option. These blintzes … well, let’s just say, if they were on the breakfast-in-bed menu at a classy hotel, I would not look at anything else. No, not the pancakes. No, not the eggs benedict. Well, maybe the eggs benedict, but I’d ALSO order a round of these blintzes. But here’s the thing – I’ve never seen them on a hotel menu, and maybe I’m going to the wrong hotels. but that’s all by-the-by because I’m making them at home now. And yes, they are as good as they look.