Posts Tagged ‘brunch’

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

Retro Food Love at Mitzi’s Table

In case you are wondering, Mitzi does indeed refer to a real person. Mitzi’s Table, a vibrant retro spot from beloved local food luminary Susan Roth (NCC culinary program, formerly of Susan’s Catering in Nazareth) and chef husband Matt, is an homage to Matt’s late mother. Serving breakfast and lunch on weekdays and weekend brunch, Mitzi’s Table (and old-school diner counter, for that matter) offers comfort foods from around the world, rendered with an updated, fresh spin and local ingredients whenever humanly possible. Mitzi’s opened about a month ago. On a recent weekday lunch hour, it was jammed. And for good reason.

Mitiz’s is the kind of place that’s tinged with just the right amount of nostalgia; the Americana, vintage kitchen knickknacks behind the counter is evocative but not overwhelming, steering very clear of kitsch. It makes sense, because Mitzi’s is retro in vibe but not in its execution. You may be able to take home some rice pudding (her recipe, naturally), order Coke in a glass bottle, or a side of baked beans (also her recipe), but you’ll also find duck confit flatbread and four different versions of fries, ranging from classic and Old Bay to honey chipotle and parmesan and garlic. Furthermore, how many places have a menu that lists Philly roast pork with broccoli raab on a genuine Amoroso roll, followed by fish tacos with a sriracha slaw, a Kentucky Hot Brown and then a Vietnamese banh mi? (The latter is veg-friendly: order with tofu or roast pork). For breakfast, you’re going to encounter items such as biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, a daily quiche selection, house granola with Greek yogurt, but then you will also find vegan-friendly tofu scramble and a seriously updated rendition of creamed chipped beef, with wild mushrooms (Huh?!). While I was there, I tested out their black bean and quinoa burger, and picked a house salad as my side (the house dressing is a tangerine balsamic; oils and vinegars come from Seasons). See what I mean? You can have a lot of fun here, and I haven’t even talked about desserts.

Black bean and quinoa burger with corn salsa and crispy kale. Yes, it's vegan.

You’ll want to get here early, because they don’t take reservations (call ahead if you have a big party, though) and the soft turquoise -and-red colored place seats about 40-50. If you’ve lived here long enough or traveled here frequently, you know this already about breakfast places. And you likely know the Lehigh Valley is suffering from a serious dearth of breakfast joints; I can think of fewer than ten, not counting diners. The customary waits at places like Jumbars, the Quadrant, Billy’s and now, Mitzi’s, are indicators that we haven’t even begun to saturate this particular market. (I can’t speak for Griddle 145; I haven’t been there.)

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I agree, which is why I often cook it for dinner. Now if these diner-like places would just stay open for dinner, too, then they’d really be tapping into an underserved market around here. C’mon, people: We’re the third-largest metro area in the Commonwealth, and we’re growing. We can support this. Let’s do it. Breakfast for dinner. Brinner is a winner.

Mitzi’s Table,  3650 Nazareth Pike, Bethlehem, PA, 610-730-1670; Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, breakfast 8-11; lunch 11:30-3; Saturday-Sunday brunch 10am-3pm.


03 2014