Tandoori Quesadillas – Cooking with “The Comfort of Apples” By Indian Simmer Nov. 15, 2010

You must be wondering that what the heck happened to me? I was wondering the same! I mean first our family was traveling to California for this tiny get together with friends and with us we brought some painful bug. All three of us were down with cold and A got flu too. Well, somehow when our health came back on track and I thought of connecting again with my blog and with you wonderful readers I realized that I’m having such a terrible writers block! I mean I try to just talk to you here just as I would talk to my friends sitting on a couch sipping a cup of tea but I still need some words right? And for a blog post one also needs some good food which I was not really cooking for the past one week. So to cure both my writers block and my cooking block I went to a (infact two) lovely people who are both great chefs and writers too and have just released a book. The Comforts Of Apples!


Well, I’m talking about Philip and Lauren. A GORGEOUS chef and writer duo who happen to be real life parteners too. How cool is that? The lovely world of social media brought me in touch with Phil and Lauren who are just really great people to say the least. One day on twitter I was chatting with Lauren and she told me about this new book which they were going to launch soon and I showed my excitement and told her how much I was looking forward to seeing it. And the next thing I know her publisher calls me to ask for my address as she wanted to send me a copy of her new book! I was so amazed and touched by her graciousness.


AUTHORS FIND COMFORT IN APPLES By Sandy Thorn Clark October 6, 2010

Cookbook authors Philip and Lauren Rubin are passionate about heirloom apples, as exhibited in their just-off-the-presses The Comfort of Apples (Lyons Press, $21.95).

The book offers modern twists on nearly 100 apple recipes, including Lauren’s favorite Salmon Burger with Apple Corn Slaw and Philip’s favorite Clam Cassoulet spiked with apple cider.

This week, Swap Shop is featuring two Rubin creations: the Best Twice-Baked Potatoes, which marries yams and sweet apples, and Apple Giardiniera — yes, giardiniera with apples.

Giardiniera is “almost a religion in Chicago,” the book says. Philip admits with a chuckle that Chicagoans might scoff at adding apples until they taste the balance that a sweet-tart apple adds to the otherwise sharp condiment.

For those readers watching their caloric and fat intake, there’s a yummy recipe for Low-Fat Double Apple Muffins — made with both applesauce and shredded apples — from South Dakota’s Department of Health.

To make 6 servings of the Best Twice-Baked Potatoes from The Comfort of Apples:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread with ¼ cup olive oil.

Roll 3 large yams (about 1 pound each) in oil to coat, and season well with salt and pepper. Bake until tender (about 1 hour), and remove from oven.

In a small saucepan, bring 1½ cups heavy cream to a simmer over medium-high heat; whisk in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Reduce heat to medium; add 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1½ tablespoons minced thyme and 3 cups peeled and diced (¼-inch dice) sweet apples (see Note). If desired, season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Cook until apples are tender (about 8 to 10 minutes).

Slice each yam in half; carefully scoop hot insides into medium bowl, protecting shell. Fold in hot cream mixture. Spoon mixture back into potato shells.

In a food processor, place 1 cup bread (cut in 1-inch chunks), 1 cup Parmesan (cut in 1-inch chunks) and 1/2 cup fresh parsley; pulse until fine. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over potatoes, return to oven, and bake until yams are lightly browned and crisp (about 30 minutes).

Note: The Rubins suggest any sweet apple such as Golden Delicious, Gala, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Rome and York.,swap-shop-apples-comfort-book-100610.article

“The Comfort of Apples” by Bob Townsend October 5, 2010

Philip Rubin admits he didn’t know much about apples before he began doing research for the new cookbook he wrote with his wife, Lauren.

“I grew up in New York City,” Rubin said. “I have the least agricultural background you could imagine.”

But a day trip spent picking apples at a nearby orchard with their son, Henry, led the Rubins to wonder, “What do we do with them?”

The answer became “The Comfort of Apples: Modern Recipes for an Old-Fashioned Favorite” (Lyons Press, $19.95).

The Rubins met at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and own the Manhattan catering company, 2 Peas & A Pot.

They put those backgrounds together to present nearly 100 recipes that go way beyond apple pie into bold savory realms with the likes of crostini with clams, bacon and apples and miso-and-apple-marinated hanger steak.

“There are apple cookbooks out there, but you see the same sorts of recipes for pies and cobblers,” Rubin said. “I thought the subject deserved a contemporary take.

“Apples lend themselves to all kinds of dishes. It’s one of the few ingredients you could use to create a complete cookbook from starters and entrees to sides and desserts, and even condiments. Of course, we use apple cider in a lot of the recipes.”

“The Comfort of Apples” also includes a short history of American apple growing, and tips for cooking with apples, including equipment to make the process easier and more creative.

“We love cutting devices like mandolins and peelers,” Rubin said. “And we use melon ballers to neatly remove the core and create interesting decorative shapes.”

The book includes a chart of apple varieties broken down by flavor (“sweet,” “sweet-tart,” or “tart”) and use (“eating” or “pie”).

While apples are available year-round, nowadays, Rubin said autumn is the season to find the best and most unusual varieties at orchards and farmer’s markets.

“When you focus on one ingredient, like an apple, it really opens your eyes to the absolute difference between seasons,” Rubin said. “An apple in season is just so much better in every way.”

AUTUMN APROPOS By White on Rice Couple September 28, 2010

With apple season in full swing, our kitchen is always decorated with gorgeous apple specimens from green, to pink, to red and everything in between. The timing could not have been any better this year because of a new cookbook, The Comfort of Apples, that was sent to us from the amazing cooking instructor couple Phil and Lauren Ruben of Two Peas and a Pot.

The Comfort of Apples cookbook is brimming with seasonal apple recipes from comforting savories to simple, yet elegant desserts. With Fall Fest in full swing, it wasn’t difficult to be inspired by apples this week, especially with The Comfort of Apples recipes to choose from.

The flavor of broiled leeks are fabulous and to add the delicate touch of a sweet and tangy apple vinaigrette is pure genius. Actually, we can’t decide which is “more genius”, the apple vinaigrette and charred leek combo, or just making the vinaigrette from fresh apples. When blended together, the apple acts as a perfect emulsifier between the oil and vinegar, and the apple’s sweet-tart flavor adds a special flavor component to the vinaigrette.

The flavor of the vinaigrette can vary as much as the different apples varieties tastes please the palate.  And it makes the freshly made vinaigrette seem more autumn apropos.  Vinaigrettes made with lemon, lime or other citrus are so beautifully bright and summery but the apples give the dressing a more rounded palate.  It’s kinda like changing up from a Sidecar as the evening cocktail, to a Calvados Sidecar.  Both are delicious, but they each have their perfect season.


Try new recipes with apple varieties that are plentiful in fall By Janet K. Keeler September 28, 2010

“Why do we need so many kinds of apples? Because there are so many folks.” — American horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954)

Ms. Bailey wasn’t kidding about so many kinds of apples. In fact, there are 7,500 varieties of the pomaceous fruit of Malus domestica. That’s an apple tree, for the botanically challenged.

There aren’t thousands of apples available at our retail disposal, but there certainly are plenty. Some apples, like the tart Granny Smith, are always in the bins, thanks to imports and long growing seasons, but it is in the fall that we see other types. For many of the nation’s apple-growing states, fall is apple season. That’s why you’re seeing apples featured in magazines and TV cooking shows.

A survey this week at a large Publix turned up 10 apple varieties, and there will likely be more in the next month. Missing from the produce section were Braeburns, Pippins, Jonagolds, Pink Ladys and Ginger Golds, which will appear soon. In the United States, the second-largest apple grower in the world after China, 100 varieties are grown, but only half commercially.

Some apples in small production, such as the tiny but mighty white-fleshed Macoun of the Northeast, are rarely seen in Florida. Minnesota’s sweet Honeycrisp used to fall into that category, but they are now available at local grocery stores. The season is fleeting, so snap them up when you see them. By November they will be scarce.

The 2010 apple harvest is down about 4 percent from last year, according to the U.S. Apple Association, perhaps because of a spring frost that hurt the Michigan apple crop. Michigan is the nation’s third-largest apple-growing state. (Washington state is No. 1.) There are still enough U.S. apples so that each of us could eat 90 a year. Add to that imports from Chile, New Zealand and Canada, and doctor’s orders for an apple a day can easily be satisfied.

Which apple for what?

In the kitchen, apples are not interchangeable, which is why it’s good to know a little before you buy them.

For those noshers who like firm apples, a soft-flesh McIntosh will never do, and for those with a taste for tart, the only good apple is a Granny Smith. Some apples are sweet (Red Delicious), others are watery (Ginger Gold) and still others are best used in baked goods (Rome Beauty).

One way to get to know the attributes of different apples is to have a tasting. Buy a few varieties, wash, slice and dig in. Your particular likes or dislikes will come to bear. Know that most apples begin to brown when they are exposed to air. Lemon juice will arrest the deterioration for a time. Still, don’t cut into the apples until you are ready to eat.

Besides fresh apples, cooks take advantage of the fruit’s flavor by using cider or juice in sauces, marinades and salad dressings, or applesauce in baked goods. The Comfort of Apples, a new cookbook by Philip and Lauren Rubin (Lyons Press, 2010), takes apples beyond the traditional crumbles and pies.

The Rubins’ Salmon Burgers With Apple Corn Slaw — use a Granny Smith — is an interesting combination. The apple cuts the richness of the salmon and provides the tart yin for the sweet corn’s yang.

And how about a scoop of apple ice cream with a slice of pound cake or sour cream coffee cake, all of it sprinkled with cinnamon? For this recipe, consider Red or Golden Delicious apples because they hold their shape when cooked. Each bite of ice cream should come with an icy chunk of apple.

Apples are amiable ingredients in many baked goods, including Apple Streusel Coffee Cake and Apple Carrot Muffins. Both are nice fall treats, with the coffee cake being a good offering for a Thanksgiving morning breakfast. Even though there is so much heavy eating on that holiday, people still need to start the day with something in their stomachs.

It’s the season to eat and cook with apples. Rejoice in the choices and try something new, or at least new to you.


An adorable book perfect for the Fall season that is upon us, The Comfort of Apples is as pretty to look at as it is useful in grasping just what in the WORLD to do with all the apples you picked (or purchased).  Filled with unique dishes such as Poached Eggs and Apple Butter, Miso- and Apple-Marinated Hangar Steak, and Coconut Panna Cotta with Caramel Apples, it also includes good old apple sauce and apple pie.

Miss Mandy tried her hand at the Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, and her toes are still tingling from the savory/sweetness of this pure comfort food.  Best enjoyed on a foggy evening with hot sourdough baguette and a beautiful chardonnay (or sparkling cider if you’re knocked up).

For the recipe click below:

BOOK REVIEW By Helen Gallagher September 24, 2010

Apples are the obvious mainstay snack and part of a good breakfast or lunch. But with the ideas in The Comfort of Apples cookbook, as you’ll soon see, apples are the right addition to salads, appetizers, pasta, and cocktails too. You’ll improve your knowledge and appreciation of apples for more than a quick snack, and stretch your food budget by incorporating apples in unique recipes.

To expand your apple-ology, start with the book’s apple tasting chart which provides guidelines for sweet to tart, for eating and for baking. There are about 40 common types included in the chart, although there are over 1,000 varieties of apples grown worldwide.

The authors, Philip and Lauren Rubin, run a catering business, and encourage you to move beyond your grocery store’s most popular varieties by trying apples from local orchards, roadside stands, or mail order specialty growers.

Beyond apple pie, The Comfort of Apples has many unusual recipes for meals and desserts. Most are simple and the preparation directions are written in a clear, relaxed style.

Innovative ideas include Lentil and Charred Corn Salad and Citrus Beet and Apple salad. Most of these dishes will liven up your dinner with esoteric additions to your routine, simply by adding apples in any of the nearly 100 ways suggested.

Perhaps most unexpected is the recipe for Apple Tzatziki, based on the traditional Greek dip/sauce. The Rubin’s version includes the addition of a grated tart apple to the cucumbers, dill, garlic and yogurt for a unique taste.

Most of these recipes can be used right away with what’s on hand, with simple ingredients for an apple vinaigrette dressing, or the baked mac and cheese with an apple/pear puree in place of breadcrumbs or flour. The twice-baked sweet potatoes with butter, garlic, and apple may become a tradition at your family dinners.

Maybe the only recipe you’ll skip is the arduous method for making chicken stock from scratch. Twelve pounds of chicken bones and a six hour process is beyond most of us, but the rest of the book’s creations deserve a place at the table.

The Comfort of Apples lacks calorie and nutrition information for the recipes, but apples are a healthful choice at any meal.

DYNAMIC DUO By Lisa Cericola May/June 2007

This husband-and-wife culinary team is spicing up events with their bold, seasonally inspired dishes.

A love of good food (and each other) inspired Lauren Morfoot and Phil Rubin to create 2 Peas & a Pot (212.362.1900), a full-service catering company, in November 2005, three years after they married. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in 2002, the couple began their culinary careers working long hours in restaurant kitchens—Morfoot at Union Pacific and Tribeca Grill before becoming a personal chef, and Rubin at Café Luxembourg and the Citigroup executive dining room. “I was getting up at 5 a.m. to prepare lunch, and [Lauren] was working nights, so we never saw each other,” Rubin says. As a way to spend more time together and still cook for a living, they started their own company. In addition to catering about 50 events a year, Morfoot and Rubin also offer cooking classes.

The duo has built a reputation for preparing flavorful hors d’oeuvres and multicourse dinners, often in challenging spaces like private homes, back-of-the-store kitchenettes, or on a beach in the Dominican Republic. “Working within limited spaces forces you to be creative, but it’s really satisfying finding ways to design a menu that tastes great and also overcomes those obstacles,” Rubin says. Recent gigs include an Americana-themed dinner party to celebrate the Democratic congressional races (mini apple pies and fried chicken were on the menu) and an in-store client event for Urban Angler, a downtown fishing supply store (where they served chicken tagine with couscous and roast leg of lamb). Since opening, Morfoot and Rubin have done most of their work on-site and in private homes, but they are finishing construction on a new full-service kitchen downtown, which should be open in May.

TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF By Charlotte Kaiser January 6, 2006

The New Year brings many good intentions but left on our own, we usually let them fall by the wayside within a few weeks. Enrolling in a class with others is a good way to keep yourself motivated through January and beyond. Whether the resolution is to become a poker pro or just lose a few pounds, here are some ways to make your changes long-lasting ones.

2 Peas and a Pot
Cooking Classes
Ongoing, New York

Many have sworn off indulgent eating for the New Year, but for those looking to cozy up to their kitchens, this catering company offers at-home classes. Menus are selected by clients, so variations are endless, but possibilities include A Night at a French BistroCountry Tuscan Dinner and Vietnamese Flavors. Classes start with hors d’oeuvres and menu discussion, followed by hands-on cooking with instructor demonstrations.

Time chosen by client.
Prices vary according to menu and number of students
Phone: 212-362-1910