BOOZY CARAMEL SAUCE with Kumquat Cupcakery

THOUGH WE MAY BE HALFWAY THROUGH JANUARY, I continue to wish friends a happy new year. Sometimes we need the reminder, I think, way beyond the first week. To help ease you into the next 350 days – or at least through winter – I joined forces with Keavy Landreth, the heart and brain behind Kumquat Cupcakery, in my first Stupidly Simple Snacks video of 2010! You may recall how I gushed about meeting Keavy at the Brooklyn Chocolate Experiment and then, of course, there was more enamored emoting on “Kumquat Cupcake Wednesday“. We got together earlier this week to make caramel sauce with a shot (or two) of whiskey to liven cupcakes, ice cream, and tart, green apple – not the worst way to start the year. amy january 15, 2010

WHAT YOU NEED 3/4 cup heavy cream | 3 tbsp unsalted butter | 1 cup granulated sugar | 1/4 cup water | bourbon (but whiskey will do just fine if you forget to buy bourbon) | 8 minutes to cook | 2 hours to cool

OPTIONAL apples, ice cream, mini cupcakes

MUSIC Peter Bjorn and John Young Folks

January 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Brooklyn, caramel, cupcakes, Greenpoint, Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos. 7 comments.

PUMPKIN PIE MILKSHAKE on YouTube

BAKING PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIE proved more trouble than it was worth, so I re-embraced my rule of KISS (Keep It Stupidly Simple) and made a pumpkin pie ice cream shake instead. In this video, I give up trying to be something I’m not – an expert kitchen navigator – and resume the role of Amy “Can’t Cook” Cao. I managed the pumpkin part just fine and even crushed graham crackers to bits. Next time, however, I might use less milk and more ice cream. Let me know what you think in the comment box below!

WHAT YOU NEED: blender | pumpkin puree | vanilla ice cream | milk | vanilla | ground cinnamon | ground nutmeg | ground cloves | graham crackers, crushed (optional) | cinnamon stick (also optional) | 2 minutes for prep & 5 seconds to blend

MUSIC: Toploader – Dancing In The Moonlight

November 6, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Dessert, milkshake, Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos. 6 comments.

Sweet & SALTIE • offManhattan.com

Scuttlebutt sandwich editedSALTIE CO-OWNER Caroline Fidanza wrapped a coat around her and spanned the café from counter to door in four quick steps. She was sneaking out to catch a glimpse of a neighbor’s recent discovery: newborn feral kittens. “We’ll rotate taking looks,” she assured her friend and co-owner, Elizabeth Schula, who was cutting a wide sheet of just-baked focaccia into large sandwich-sized squares.

Inside Saltie, an exposed brick wall warms the bold blue and white motif, making the eight-stool café feel more like your best friend’s beachside sandwich shop than Williamsburg’s latest edible attraction. The three owners, including third partner Rebecca Collerton, are longtime friends and former colleagues at South Side mainstay, Diner.

But the relationship is much simpler than that. Though Williamsburg enjoys a boon of reverse “bridge-and-tunnel” visitors for its buzzy night and dining scene (note brew destination Spuyten Duyvil and BBQ favorite Fette Sau within spitting distance), those who live and toil there don’t see themselves as business partners as much as members of the same community. So for the three girlfriends starting a business in a small space, specialty sandwiches just “made sense.”

The maritime theme is sincere without gimmick. On what inspired the nautically named offerings like the Scuttlebutt sandwich—comprised of colorful veggies, eggs, feta, and a dollop of aioli on house-made focaccia—Caroline says, “At one point, we were all reading Moby Dick, and we’ve always had an interest in the sea and the history of the water around us. Even though we don’t feel like we’re surrounded by water, we are.”

It’s like you brought the sea to the shop, I noted to Caroline, as Elizabeth put forth an ice cream sandwich. It was the salty caramel kind, which tasted like creamy vanilla with a slight hint of butterscotch between two chocolate cookies reminiscent of Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers—dark, firm, and not too sweet.

Saltie’s sandwich and pastry menu will change with the seasons, as will the ice cream sandwich flavors, which the owners plan to offer year-round. Perfect for those who are bound to seek some summery reminders in the coming months.

SALTIE 378 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.387.4777, saltieny.com | Featured at offManhattan.com

October 12, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . Brooklyn, offManhattan, Williamsburg. 2 comments.