New York Crumb Cake

If you’ve grown up in the New York metro area (or, in my case, in Southern Jersey with parents and relatives from said region), you know a few things. You likely know what makes a good pizza: it’s foldable, not too greasy and should hold up horizontally with the support of a thin crust. You probably know from bagels (they are not glorified rolls with holes), and what constitutes a killer piece of crumb cake. I don’t know what “coffee cake” is. People often use these terms interchangeably, but no coffee cake recipe ever has crumbs like small boulders, and that’s what you want. I came across a recipe for this so long ago, I can’t remember where I got it, but I’ve changed it so many times, it’s pretty much mine now. So you may not have a brunch coming up like we just did yesterday, for Easter, but whatever. You can make this whenever you like, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. You really do need a crowd so there are no leftovers.

New York Crumb Cake

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T milk
  • 3 T. canola oil
  • 1 T. vanilla extract

Crumb ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 T. light brown sugar
  • 1 T . ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and butter and flour a 9×12 pan (or douse it with nonstick spray), tapping the pan over the sink to remove excess flour if needed.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour through salt and set aside.

3. In a second, larger bowl (I like to use my 8-cup Pyrex measuring cup for this), whisk together egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. With a spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones.

4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan, using an offset spatula that you’ve greased or fingertips that you’ve also greased. The batter will be sticky and you’ll think there’s not enough there, but trust me, it will fit.

5. In a third, medium bowl combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon with a wire whisk, or work your fingers through it to break up any sugary clumps. Pour the butter over it, and combine with a spatula. Get your hands in there to form large crumbs and incorporate all that butter and flour and sugar. Take said clumps and distribute them evenly over the cake. You’ll have a lot, and you’ll be happy you do.

6. Bake for about 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and then bake for another 10-12 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Dust the whole thing with a generous shower of confectioner’s sugar. Cut it into whatever sized squares you want.


04 2014

Middle Eastern Buddha Bowl with Honey-Lime Tahini Dressing

Yeah, that sounds a little ethnographically confusing, doesn’t it? For one, what’s a Buddha bowl?

Recipes for Buddha bowls are easy to find online, and in fact, you can do one without a real recipe—except for maybe the dressing. Basically, the modus operandi here is to combine healthy, nourishing foods in a bowl and unite them with a dressing that invariably contains tahini, as Buddha bowls are usually a vegan thing and tahini packs a protein-laced punch. Some people take an anything goes approach, clearing out what they’ve got lying around and throwing it together, which makes the Buddha bowl a good candidate for end-of-the-week farmers’ market remnants, grain or protein leftovers and seeds in the pantry. However, I don’t believe the kitchen-sink approach always yields the best taste. Let’s be honest here, people: Some veggies just don’t necessarily belong together. I’ve decided to treat this more like a composed dish, inspired by the flavors of the Middle East/Mediterranean.

The bowl, before the dressing

If you like, swap out the beans for tofu, or switch out the greens for what you have on hand, or change the flavor profile altogether with different herbs and spices. I plan on making this a bunch of different ways as the growing seasons progresses, but this is one of those endlessly variable dishes that pack well (just store the dressing in a separate container) and feeds a crowd. This one more than amply fed three adults and three kids, ranging from 5-6 in age.

Middle Eastern Buddha Bowl

Serves 4-6

Bowl Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1-2 T of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • I bunch of kale, washed, ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • 2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained if using canned
  • 2 cups cooked millet
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut into thirds vertically
  • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup of Italian leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 T. tahini
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions for the Bowl:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss together the cauliflower, olive oil and garam masala, and season with salt and pepper. Spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until the tops start to brown and the cauliflower starts to soften a little. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. (This can be done ahead of time; Buddha bowls take kindly to room temperature serving.)

2. Find a large, preferably wide-bottomed bowl, and fill it with the kale as the base. Starting clockwise from the top, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, parsley, pumpkin seeds, and millet in any order of your choice.

3. Toss with the dressing, which you’ve assembled per below…..

Instructions for the dressing:
1. Combine olive oil through garlic in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add salt and pepper, pulse, and taste. Adjust ingredients according to your liking.


04 2014