Gina DePalma’s Zucchini Olive Oil Cake

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You say “chocolate cake,” and the masses come; you say “olive oil zucchini cake” and there’s a bit of a silence. “Ummm,” a timid voice emerges a few seconds later. “What kind of cake did you say?”

It’s olive oil zucchini cake, timid-voiced person! Or, rather, zucchini olive oil cake. It comes from Babbo pastry chef Gina DePalma’s book “Dolce Italiano” and one bite will make a convert out of you. It’s moist, it’s got terrific fall spices (cinnamon? check. ginger? you got it. nutmeg? who’s your daddy?) and there’s a “lemon crunch” glaze on top that’ll make you pucker your lips in delight. Craig’s friend Alena was dubious at first, but after one bite she declared “this is AMAZING” and asked for a second piece. The defense rests.

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Momofuku’s Ginger Scallion Noodles

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Bow down before me, mortals, it’s time to face facts. David Chang is one of the most celebrated, important chefs in New York, right? Right. His cooking is hardcore and bad-ass isn’t it? It is. So what does it mean that a mere amateur like me, a tiny speck on the giant tapestry of New York gastronomy, not only created one of Chang’s signature dishes at home–his Ginger Scalllion Noodles–but that I did it so accurately? So triumphantly? So magnificently? It means, I surmise, that I am the King of Awesomeness! BOW DOWN BEFORE ME, YOU HEATHENS.

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The First Meal

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The first meal that you cook in a new apartment is very, very important. We all remember what happened last time, don’t we? I attempted to inaugurate our Park Slope apartment three years ago with Edna Lewis’s fried chicken (fried in butter and lard) and didn’t get the fat hot enough. The result? Gooey, gloppy, undercooked chicken and a cursed apartment that gave us bad heat over three harsh winters. (OK, I exaggerate: I liked that apartment. But the heat did suck).

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Where To Eat in Park Slope

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As we close the chapter on my Park Slope existence, it’s time to reflect on all the food that I’d eat there, day in, day out. The food in Park Slope is very good, sometimes great, sometimes not-so-great, but almost always consistent. It’s best divided into two categories: the food you should eat if you live there and the food you should eat if you visit.

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Outstanding in the Field

[When my friend Jimmy Hilburn told me that he was attending an event called “Outstanding in the Field,” I asked him if he’d take pictures and do a guest post. As you can see below, Jimmy went above and beyond the call of duty. Here’s Jimmy with the story of an unforgettable dinner.]

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Is it still considered “eating locally” if you have to travel over 1000 miles by car, plane, subway and jitney just to get to your “local” destination? I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably not. Environmentalists and socially conscious foodies would probably frown on what my mom and I did, but ours was never a very noble pursuit. We just wanted to have an amazing, unique dining experience. And we did!

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Gorilla Coffee

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The big question, when we finally decided not to renew our lease here in Park Slope, was not: “How will we afford to move?” “How are we going to find an apartment as nice as this one in Manhattan?” “Will we get our security deposit back now that the apartment is caked in cat hair?”

No, those were certainly questions we asked, but the big question–the major hurdle to jump–was this: “How will we live without Gorilla Coffee?”

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A Response To C. Kimball

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[Last week, Christopher Kimball of Cook’s Illustrated wrote a rather nasty Op-Ed in the NYT, linking the closing of Gourmet Magazine to the proliferation of food blogs. Obviously, this hit a nerve with me, so I penned my own Op-Ed in response. I share it with you below, but recommend you read his first (click here), so you get the context.]

A few years ago, as my relatively new food blog began to gain in popularity, I turned to a mentor, John Kessler of The Atlanta Journal Constitution and asked him how I might break into mainstream food media. “Should I pitch stories to the Times? To Gourmet? Where do I start?”

Mr. Kessler’s response was surprising. “Adam,” he said, “What you’re already doing is what every newspaper and magazine is desperately trying to do, unsuccessfully. So just keep doing it and you’ll be ok.”

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How To Paint Your Kitchen

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This is the story of how two dunderheads, one who’d never painted a room before, the other who’d only painted a wall, spent a full Saturday (from 11 am to 1 am) painting a bedroom and a kitchen. For the purposes of this post, we will focus on the kitchen; a task that might seem daunting at first, but one that, as will be evidenced by the pictures, is well worth the effort.

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