Tag Archives: Apple

i8tonite: My Favorite Recipe from 2015: French Apple Cake and Becoming Us


Photo: Michael Stern
Photo: Michael Stern

I8tonite is simply about food. On the surface, we hope — along with the contributors — to engage the reader in what chefs cook, what makes them human and why they love their profession. (Chefs love their work.) We want to share new recipes we’ve discovered and talk to food industry people. We want to learn. As we’ve said in several posts – without food, we can’t be artistic, physical, intellectual or emotional. Food, water, and shelter are fundamental human needs.

Underneath, we want food to be a main topic of discussion  – whether it’s becoming a vegan, how to butcher a pig, pick coffee beans or discuss biodynamic wineries – but try and leave the politics out of it.I8tonite is not meant to be solely a cooking blog. As the creator of this blog, I don’t have that warehouse of culinary knowledge. Although, I do have a vast amount of food experience including working as a waiter and bartender as well as in hospitality marketing. From these practices – which meant a lot of travel – I ate very well and learned cooking techniques from culinary teachers including Michelin-starred chefs, well-known cookbook authors, and international epicurean eateries.

Photo: Michael Stern
Photo: Michael Stern

Working in restaurants taught me another thing: chefs love other chefs. They admire the work of their peers. Therefore, I8tonite is meant to be a storehouse of what other chefs and people in the food industry are cooking – for the professional and the home cook. I8tonite will not only focus on chefs who have publicists, but the unheralded cooks are who are chopping onions somewhere in Peoria, Arizona or  Ubud, Bali.

In the five months, since I’ve devoted myself to i8tonite, the blog has amassed unique monthly views of over 12,000. How? Well, I’m a damned good marketer plus i8tonite was meant to be different. It’s supposed to showcase the cook as a creative individual and where they get their inspiration. It’s also meant to inspire by learning what and who inspires them. For me, there is no better indication of who you are than by what you eat.

Photo: Michael Stern
Photo: Michael Stern

The other key to the blog is that I cook religiously. Others go to church, I go to a stove. People can quote scripture from their chosen faith, I can recite a recipe. Same thing…but not. The commonality resides in a spiritual devotion.

As the readership develops, we grow and learn together. With i8tonite; I want people to become motivated by the chefs, food people and places we cover.  Editorially, we want the reader to get inspired by the individual behind the recipe’s development, and then possibly become creative themselves and write a cookbook, a cooking blog, become a chef, start a garden, or just become a more conscious eater.

#             #             #

Photo: Nolan Williamson
Photo: Nolan Williamson

As my parting gift to 2015, I wanted to share my Favorite Recipe of the Year: Dorie Greenspan’s French Apple Cake from her cookbook Around My French Table. I’ve made it about a dozen times, and it’s now committed to memory. I also played around with the fruit and the required liquors which are not necessary but hey – everything is good with a glug or three.

It was a close contest between cake and poultry. I thought about Sascha Martin’s Hungarian Paprikash –I make it almost weekly — found in her memoir “Life from Scratch,” a book full of hope and lovely recipes. Ultimately, sweet won out over savory and adaptability over dependability.  Regardless, they are both delicious. I encourage you to read Martin’s book and her blog: Global Table Adventure. Both are memorable

Dorie Greenspan’s French Apple Cake


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Other adaptations and suggestions:

  • Chopped crystallized ginger and substituting Bloomery Sweetshine’s Ginger or Domaine de Canton for the bourbon.
  • Calvados, a brandy made from apples, is also an excellent choice instead of the dark rum.
  • Pineapple and peaches can be used in place of the apples. The cake will still be moist.

Let’s Make This Puppy: 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch Springform pan and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet parchment paper.
  • In small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt
  • Peel, core and cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and mix for a minute or so to blend. Add the liquor and vanilla.
  • Stir in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter
  • Fold gently after each addition so that you have a thick batter.
  • Add the apples fold in the apples, rotating the fruit so that it’s coated with batter.
  • Scrape the mix into the springform. Flatten the top so it becomes even in the pan and along the sides.
  • Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Run a butter knife around the edges of the cake before removing the pan.

The End. Go Eat.


i8tonite: Facebook, Newsletter and Kim Sunee’s Beet & Apple Salad

cropped-cropped-red-plate-with-knife-and-fork-md-logo-temp.pngLast week was busy at i8tonite, my newly deemed on-line lifestyle publication about food. I set up a Facebook page and then started a bi-weekly newsletter focusing on what lies ahead. I was very hesitant to create the Facebook page. The creation made the website seem realer. And that my career in public relations is morphing into an online publication. After years of promoting people to create content, I’m now creating content promoting people and food. I’ve now thrown out the middle man.

Photo by Mike Tungate
Photo by Mike Tungate

As I’m ensconced in mid-life, an age of more realized living — meaning how I want to live instead of just living —  I’m now exploring the United States.  With our move to Phoenix, Nick and I will travel throughout the Southwest, home to  breathtaking saguaros, the Sonoran desert, and red mountains. We are planning trips to Sedona, Tucson, Santa Fé, and Tombstone. (I have always wanted to go to Tombstone, Arizona just to say I’ve been.) Laramie, Cheyenne, Aspen, Denver, the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff are also on the ticket.

At some point, we will travel to Mukwonago, Wisconsin, where Nick was born and raised. It’s a small mid-Western town. You won’t find Kate Moss standing on the corner or a camera crew blocking the sidewalk. I don’t have to worry about the paparazzi or a traffic jam being created by yet another entertainment award show. It’s a significant destination for us because that’s where Nick’s family still resides. As a boy, with his siblings, Nick went ice fishing in the mid-western winters and swam in the lake during the summers.  I’ve never been ice-fishing. The closest I got to ice- fishing was in 1989. It was a New York City wet winter where I “fished” for my Marlboros in the pocket of my Moschino jacket before a Stephen Sprouse fashion show.  I don’t smoke anymore; the late Stephen Sprouse is now considered retro and I don’t know what happened to that Moschino jacket.

With possibly most of my global escapades behind me, I now travel outside the States without ever leaving my kitchen, gratefully letting international flavors take me away. I decided to use Kim Sunee’s “Mouthful of Stars,” an exquisite cookbook hybrid with personal essays throughout. Published in 2014, it’s a beautiful publication containing mouth-watering images with Ms. Sunee’s sublime prose.  The former food editor for the defunct Cottage Living offers her anecdotes about travels to Mexico, Sweden, Paris and her New Orléans home. As much as I would like to go to Sweden, it’s not going to happen before I get to Ecuador, Peru, Mexico or Paris again. I thought I would cook her Swedish Beet and Apple Salad…. just to do a little kitchen traveling before the beginning of my homeland discoveries. (In 2009, Kim also wrote one of my favorite food memoirs Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love and the Search for Home.)


The salad is tart and savory with some horseradish heat. I loved the combination with the herbal dill, the crème fraiche richness, the red onion’s bite and sweetness of the beets and apples. Easy to make and very colorful for the holidays.

Swedish Beet and Apple Salad (adapted from Mouthful of Stars, serves 2 – 3 people):

You will need:

  • Two medium-sized beets, cooked (You can find cooked beets in the produce section if you don’t want to make your own.)
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, coarsely grated.
  • One small red onion, thinly sliced with a mandolin.
  • Tablespoon of chopped and rinsed capers (or more to taste).
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh horseradish.
  • Tablespoon of chopped dill (or more to taste).
  • Several grinds of white pepper (Black pepper if you don’t have any is fine too).
  • 4 ounces of sour cream or crème fraiche. (Use the crème fraiche if you can find it. Most stores carry it in the fine cheese section. It makes a richer dressing.)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.

Let’s make this puppy:

Chopped the cooked beets into ¼ sticks and place in a bowl. Put in the thinly-sliced onions and apple.

In a small bowl and the remaining ingredients: crème, pepper, dill, capers, dill and horseradish. Stir. Add the apple cider to thin out the mixture. Stir until the desired consistency. (If you want a thinner dressing add a drop more vinegar.) Pour over the vegetables and apple, well-coating everything. Chill until ready to serve. Top with dill.

Beet Apple Salad

The End. Go Eat.