11 Fall Recipes to Try

October 12, 2015

11 Fall Recipes to Try | The City and Us

How was everyone’s weekend? Do anything fun? The weather was amazing in Brooklyn; it was a crisp, sunny Fall weekend. The shift in weather has me excited to try hearty, Fall-inspired recipes. Here are 11 recipes on my list to try…

1. Pasta with Mushrooms in a Creamy Mustard Sauce (pictured above) by Seasons & Suppers.

2. Spicy Sweet Potato Chip and Avocado Sandwich by Dolly and Oatmeal.

3. Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Arancini (vegan) by Minimalist Baker.

11 Fall Recipes to Try | The City and Us

4. A Skillet Pizza (above) by Faring Well.

5. Garlic Sesame Broccoli Rabe with Panko Crusted Chicken by My Name is Yeh.

6. Apple Chips by Hello Natural.

7. Spaghetti with Sun Dried Tomatoes Sauce, Spinach, and Cremini Mushrooms by Pratos and Travessas.

8. Everything Bagels from Scratch by The Amateur Gourmet.

11 Fall Recipes to Try | The City and Us

9. Vegan Rose and Chocolate Chip Spelt Waffles (above) by Local Milk.

10. Quinoa Orzo with Asparagus and Preserved Lemon Dressing by Yummy Supper.

11. Jambalaya Pasta by Belle Annee.


What Fall recipes are you excited to try over the next few months? I’d love to hear–share in the comments, if you’d like.

Exploring the Newly Renovated Brooklyn Bridge Park

September 9, 2015


This past weekend, Dan and I wrapped up our month long house-sitting stint in DUMBO. But before we moved out, we took advantage of the long weekend and soaked up as much of our adopted neighborhood as possible.

On Sunday, we strolled through the newly renovated Brooklyn Bridge Park and explored the waterfront under the Manhattan Bridge. Here are a few photos, if you’d like to see…


Before heading out, we mixed up some rosemary lemonade to take on our walk. We followed this recipe, which is quick and simple and the hint of rosemary makes it feel a little extra special. (It’d also be great as a cocktail mixer.) We used our new Cuppow drinking lids, simple adaptors that allow people to upcycle canning jars into easy travel mugs.

I was thrilled to discover Cuppow, a New England-based company, that develops everyday products that help us live a low-impact life. Cuppow started by developing a product that would help decrease our environmental footprint, and they continue to design products for utility and simplicity. I’ve also been using the BNTO canning jar lunch box adaptor for yogurt and granola parfaits and sliced veggies with hummus.


Then we headed to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. We strolled through the newly renovated section of the park and by Jane’s Carousel, stopping often to admire the incredible view of the NYC skyline.




Finally, we checked out the new home of the Brooklyn Bridge Conservancy’s Environmental Education Center. A former NYC Department of Environmental Protection maintenance building, the Environmental Education Center is now home to a number of exhibits and modules that showcase the birds, fish, insects, plant life, and geology of Brooklyn Bridge Park, including a nine-foot scale model of Brooklyn Bridge Park. We decided to leave a visit to the center for a different weekend, but you can read all about it here.




If you’d like to visit the Brooklyn Bridge Park, check out this site. I’d definitely recommend it!


PS. Subway art, how to feel settled in a new place, and a beautiful stained glass house in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

(Photos by Dan O’Brien. I received product in exchange for creating this content in collaboration with Cuppow, a company whose values and mission I believe in. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to bring you fun and original stories!)

What’s the Best Meal You’ve Ever Had?

August 31, 2015

What's The Best Meal You've Ever Had? | The City and Us blog

Recently, during a dinner with coworkers, Dan had the best meal of his life. “Top three meals of my life” he told me, but he couldn’t remember the other two. Any guesses as to what he ate?

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Bogota Latin Bistro in Park Slope

April 21, 2015

Bogota Latin Bistro -- Patio

Dan and I are slowly working our way around the many great restaurants in Park Slope–there are lots! A few weeks ago, our friends recommended Colombian-inspired Bogota Latin Bistro on 5th Ave, and it’s easily one of the best restaurants we’ve been to in the neighborhood. The lively yet casual atmosphere and bright decor make this spot perfect for Friday night dinner and drinks. The empanadas are delicious–try the sampler empanadas (my three favorites are chicken, vegetable, and  goat cheese), and the spinach and mushroom quesadilla and guacamole appetizer are great choices too. They make tasty margaritas and serve plantain chips and dipping sauce before dinner. Yum. Tip: For brunch, try their Bloody Mary–the star of their brunch drink menu–and sit out on the patio for a fun afternoon outing.

Bogota Latin Bistro

Bogota Latin Bistro

Bogota Latin Bistro -- Empanadas

 If you have any restaurant recommendations in Park Slope or anyway in NYC–I’d love to hear!


(Bloody Mary photo by Sara, bar and empanada photos via Bogota, patio photo by me during brunch last weekend.)

Coconut Cake

March 9, 2015

Coconut Cake

Last weekend, my sister made this incredible coconut cake, and on our lazy Saturday morning, we enjoyed it with a strong cup of coffee. And it was delicious! Usually, I don’t really like coconut flakes in food (with the exception of Samoas), but something about the combination of the light, fluffy cake, subtle frosting and coconut flakes worked so well together, and I can’t recommend this recipe more. If you’re expecting house guests, this cake would be perfect to make ahead of time and serve it with morning coffee.


Here’s how to make it:



  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cub butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flaked coconut, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


  • 2 packages (one 8 ounces, one 3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 4-1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 2 cups flaked coconut, toasted


  1. Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 325°. In another large bowl, beat sugar, butter and oil until well blended. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Stir in coconut.
  4. Add cream of tartar to egg whites; with clean beaters, beat on medium until stiff peaks form. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into batter, then fold in remaining whites.
  5. Transfer to three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  6. For frosting, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and extract; beat until smooth.
  7. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting and sprinkle with 1/3 cup coconut. Repeat. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake; sprinkle with remaining coconut. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 16 servings.


Recipe from Taste of Home. Image by Kelley.

Sweet Potato Home Fries

February 23, 2015

Sweet Potato Home Fries | The City and Us

Brunch (read: Boozy brunch) is the thing to do on Sunday afternoons in NYC, but it can get pricy. So, recently, we’ve been making brunch at our apartment on the weekends. Typically, we’ll make eggs or breakfast wraps and a pot of coffee and just chill. But a few weeks ago, I was looking for something to take our brunch game up a notch so I made sweet potato home fries to go along with our fried eggs. We’ve had them every weekend since, and I’ve been making them as a stand alone meal–they’re that good.

Here’s how to make Sweet Potato Home Fries:

3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
2 shallots or 1 medium red onion
2-3 garlic cloves, adjust as desired
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Cut your sweet potatoes into one inch cubes. I roughly chopped them (as you can see), which gives a variation to the potatoes–some cook more than others making them crispier–but you can chop more accurately if you prefer! Chop the shallots or onion. Dice the garlic. In a large skillet, heat ~2 tablespoons of olive oil until it’s hot, and then add in the sweet potatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium to high heat. Then, add the shallots and garlic to the pan, sprinkle on salt and pepper and drizzle again with ~1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for ~15 minutes or until a fork will poke through the potato. Top with chopped parsley and serve with ketchup and/or honey mustard.

I use the stove to cook home fries, but the oven will work too. Preheat your oven to 450. Throw the sweet potatoes, shallots, and garlic on a pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat the potatoes with olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing the potatoes a couple of times as they bake. Top with chopped parsley and serve with ketchup and/or honey mustard.

Sweet Potato Home Fries | The City and Us

This recipe is easy to double and I almost always chop extra potatoes and onions and store them in the fridge so they’re ready to pull out if we need a simple dinner or snack. They will keep in the fridge for a few days. Or cook extra and have them as a quick week day breakfast. Enjoy!

What do you eat for breakfast?

February 4, 2015

What I wish my breakfast consisted of each morning: Two scrambled eggs, sliced portobello mushrooms and cheddar cheese in a spinach wrap with half a grapefruit on the side and a cup of coffee with milk. Or a small fruit and granola parfait (preferably with more fruit than yogurt and just a sprinkle of granola), half a cinnamon raisin bagel–toasted, always–with cream cheese and a cup of coffee with milk.

What my breakfast actually consists of each morning: A cup of coffee with milk and a side of rush around the apartment, shower, dress, apply makeup, and scurry to the train (with another cup of coffee in a travel mug).

Although we’ve heard time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it can be tricky to whip together something that is both delicious and healthy when all you’re doing is trying to make a 10AM meeting in one piece. When I’m on my game, I hard boil eggs and keep them in the fridge and down one before heading out the door, but mostly, it’s coffee…and coffee. And hard boiled eggs can get repetitive fast. Dan and I were on a fruit smoothie kick for a few months, but unfortunately, we’ve slipped out of that routine now that our schedules are all over the place. I loved a cold fruit smoothie to start the day.

Anyway, I’d love some new ideas! What are your go-to breakfast recipes? These Muffin Tin Frittatas with Asparagus, Dill, and Goat Cheese Filling look tasty and something that would be easy to make the night before (I bet they’re not bad cold either).


(Illustration and words by Maira Kalman, as printed in the July 22, 2013 issue of the New Yorker. Found on A Lovely Being.)

Blue Apron Meals

January 13, 2015

Blue Apron meals via The City and Us blog

The first couple times we tried Blue Apron we ordered vegetarian options and really liked the meals, but last week, we decided to order three meals with meat. We eat very little meat since moving to NYC, partly because quality meat is expensive in the city and also because our schedules are so irregular and we don’t want to waste meat (or food for that matter) by letting it sit in the fridge too long. So this time, we ordered one shrimp, one beef, and one chicken dish. Here’s a look…

Blue Apron meals with The City and Us blog

The three Blue Apron meals we got were the Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup with lemongrass and red curry, Pulled Chicken Tacos with jicama, avocados and cilantro salad, and Beef Bolognese with fresh pappardelle pasta and Brussels sprouts. We cooked the Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup first (Blue Apron recommends cooking meals with seafood first to avoid spoiling), which ended up being Dan’s favorite of the three meals. There were plenty of shrimp for two people and the serving size was just right. I’m not a big fan of coconut in savory dishes, but the coconut broth in this recipe was subtle and tasty. This soup has a spicy kick to it; if you like spicy seafood recipes this one is for you.

Blue Apron meals by The City and Us blog

Next, we tried the tacos and raw jicama salad. The chicken in this recipe also had a kick to it but the cool, citrusy salad complimented the spiciness. For my last taco, I topped the chicken with salad and wished I did that for all my tacos. It was great! Jicama, in case you don’t know, is a large tuberous root from Mexico and South America and looks very similar to a potato. The texture is also similar to a potato and it tastes like a cross between a potato and an apple. I’m not sure that I’d ever had jicama before this meal, but I would love to start cooking with it (any jicama recipe suggestions?). The jicama salad was so good.

Last night, we made the beef bolognese. This was my favorite of the three meals. It was a quick and easy recipe and the largest amount of food of any Blue Apron meal we’ve tried (if we weren’t starving there would’ve been leftovers which has never happened for us with a Blue Apron meal). The fresh pasta was so yummy, and the addition of Brussels sprouts to the recipe was also really tasty. I’d definitely make this dish again on my own. (The recipe calls for the leaves of the Brussels sprouts, so instead of throwing out the extra, I quartered them, seasoned with a small clove of minced garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper and put them in the fridge for lunch the next day.)

Blue Apron's Beef Bolognese with fresh pappardelle pasta and Brussels sprouts

Blue Apron's Beef Bolognese on The City and Us blog

Blue Apron meals on The City and Us blog

You can find out more about how Blue Apron meals works here, and also have a look at all their recipes here. If you use Blue Apron, I’m curious: What are your favorite recipes? My all time favorite Blue Apron recipe is the Spring Root Vegetable Casserole that we had last summer.

Do you use Blue Apron or another food delivery service? Do you like it? It’s a great way to try new recipes and foods that you might not otherwise reach for in the grocery store. We find it very convenient during busy weeks as well.


This post is NOT sponsored by Blue Apron. We really like the service and like sharing with our readers what we discover on a daily basis–and we hope you like it too! Also, we gifted Blue Apron meals, which is a fantastic gift!

Avocado Toast

December 18, 2014

Avocado Toast

I love avocados and I’m obsessed with guacamole, but I hardly ever think to make avocado toast. It’s super easy and quick to make (requires no cookings skills) and there are endless variations of toppings. Today, I mixed one ripe avocado with sea salt, cracked black pepper and a little garlic salt, spread it on a toasted whole wheat French baguette (that I got at our local market for $0.75!), and then topped it with cherry tomato wedges. It was delicious!

Here are hundreds of avocado toast recipes and inspiration.


PS. A wonderful cookbook (with a whole section on “Things on Toast”)!


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2014

Hope you have a delicious and happy Thanksgiving day and weekend!

(Photo by Sunday Suppers.)

Blogmilk | Brandi Bernoskie