apple cinnamon compote + fluffy buttermilk pancakes

A few weeks ago on a crisp fall Saturday morning, A & I drove two and a half hours to an apple orchard upstate. Naturally, I created a small itinerary the night before and packed some snacks to sustain our energy for the festive day head; sharp cheddar + rosemary crackers, red grapes, and a jug of cool water.

We picked up breakfast & coffee at one of our neighborhood bagel shops and were on our way, hoping that A's '98 Honda Civic would keep it together if only for this trip.

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We chose the route with no tolls and consequently, the more scenic route with fall foliage and hazy mountains in the distance. Once we were close to the orchard, we discovered a beautiful waterfall that we would venture to on the way back.


Stone Ridge Orchard stood out to me while I was doing my research on which orchard to visit. Their apples are sustainably grown with minimal use of pesticides, and they grow many different varieties. We'd later come to find out that Stone Ridge is a small town that seems to be rich in art and history, which we couldn't have loved more.

Because the orchard is a bit far from the city, I was really hoping that it would be free of people, and lucky for us we felt like we had the whole orchard to ourselves.

We stocked up on some locally made cider and donuts from the orchard's small market, and set out to pick a whole lot of apples.


We picked wild flowers, relaxed under the giant oak tree, took a ton a photos, tasted apple after apple, and basked in the serenity of the birds chirping and the bees buzzing. It really couldn't have been a more perfect fall day with A.


Sundays are notably known for sleeping in and making pancakes for brunch. And so we did just that. There was no question about incorporating apples in some way, so I decided on an apple compote and make-shift buttermilk pancakes. The apples are cooked down with brown sugar and apple cider; the pancakes are incredibly fluffy and use lemon juice + organic milk, a suitable substitute for when you don't have buttermilk. Simple and no-fuss, it was the perfect way to top off the weekend.


---- Read more for the recipe ----


natural ginger ale

I was sitting on my back porch on a warm summer evening last week, watching the sun fall lower and lower. Sometimes I forget the simplest of things. To take a step back. To reflect. I am constantly in a rush here. Everyone is. It dawned on me that this time last year, I was in Florida, studying for my second to last physics 2 final, dreaming that I'd be moving to New York City once I graduated in a month. I wouldn't have imagined that one year later I'd actually be here, with a soul full of so much growth, experiences, and accomplishments. It's a damn good feeling. 
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It's July, which means a few things. Summer is in full swing. It's hot, and incredibly humid lately from all of this rain. My birthday is coming up at the end of the month, as well as my one year anniversary of leaving Florida for this crazy place. I also can't even believe I haven't posted since March. I think I say something like that in every post, but gosh life moves so fast here.
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Some updates I've been looking forward to sharing with all of you: I moved into a new apartment with a backyard (!!!) in a pretty wonderful, charming, still-somewhat-Italian neighborhood. My dad and little brother paid a visit to the ol' big apple. And, possibly the most exciting of them all; I wrote an article for Food52
ginger ale_2014_ac_web_1Food52 has been one of my biggest inspirations since I made my career change a couple of years ago. When Sarah, one of the editors, reached out to me to contribute I truly couldn't believe it. "Me? They like MY blog?" Really, I was in shock. But I am so grateful for the opportunity. Honestly, I needed it too. I've been working between three to four jobs, hustling hard to make it here, which can be a bit draining when none of them aren't what you really want to be doing. But you have to start somewhere though, and really give it everything you have.


grapefruit, cucumber, and arugula salad with mint and citrus dressing

Monday morning I awoke, my eye-lids glued three-quarters of the way shut due to lack of sleep, due to last-minute photo editing/blog writing, due to my obsession of making sure last Monday's post was up first thing in the morning. My hand still grasping my phone from pressing snooze one twenty-too-many times. I sat up, instantly remembering the dream I wish I didn't have to leave. My feet were so cold. I applauded myself for coincidentally placing my slippers at my bedside the night before. In one foot, in the other. Staring at the window, I dreaded walking over to it. "If there's snow, I'm not going to work. I'm just not doing it", I said to myself with justification.
I peered over at the window again, then back at my bed. "It needs me", I thought with even more justification. Then again back at the window. The fire-escape appeared to be free of snow. It gave me the push I needed to climb out of my warm sheets.
Eyes now halfway open, I found myself at the window sill looking down at a snow-less sidewalk, and even though cold air was sneaking through the crack in my window, I was filled with so much relief. "Thank you. Just, thank you." I said to the universe. "You really understand my feelings of not wanting to wear ankle-weights snow boots ever again." (Well, at least until next winter.)
I know I touched on this in my last post, but I really cannot think about it/talk about it/shout it from the fire-escape enough. I've got a serious case of Spring fever, people. I need warmth and sun and cuffed jean jackets. The days where scarves cause my hair to become knotted and nappy at the back of my neck need to be long gone.
To speed up this transition of the seasons (at least in my mind,) I conjured up a simple salad with flavors that are illustrative of both. Grapefruit; winter's best, and fresh mint; a perfectly complementary spring herb, both combined with arugula, cucumber, toasted walnuts, and tossed in a citrus dressing consisting of grapefruit juice, lemon juice, freshly grated ginger, and extra virgin olive oil.
grapefruit_cucumber_salad_acp_2014_web-0120 Again, it is simple. But it's refreshing and makes me think of brighter days, which I think we all could use a bit of. There isn't much of a recipe to it, but I will estimate the proportions I used. Feel free to adjust the amounts to your liking.