The end of summer is coming and in New York, you can really feel it right now. The other day, my walk to work was like a crisp fall day. Clear, blue sky, cool air – if you live in the city, you know the feeling that fall brings – I can smell it coming, or at least I like to think I can.
To savor our last moments of summer, Jon and I made a big spread for a fire escape happy hour and spent last Saturday evening sitting outside, drinking cold beers and enjoying our summer nubbins. We made our usual shopping rounds – at the farmer’s market we bought fat heirloom tomatoes, cavolonero kale, chives and basil. At our Italian shop, Russo’s, we got a loaf of ciabatta, olives, aged spicy sausage, and mozzarella.
We also used a new tool to put together our happy hour – a website called Cooking Planit. As part of our Cooking Planit T-Fal Giveaway, we explored this menu-planning site, where you can search for recipes and build meals. But the site goes a step further than others I’ve seen, in that it allows you to create your own menu, then customizes a step-by-step cooking plan so that all your dishes are ready together, on time and hot. It’s a real live thinking application that tells you exactly what to do and when. In addition, the site organizes your shopping list in the aggregate – ie, if you have a meal and every recipe calls for an onion, it lists your ingredients by grocery section and tells you how many onions you need total.
As a professional cook I don’t often use sites like this, since it’s my job to understand the timing of a meal. But I haven’t seen a site as comprehensive and user-friendly as Cooking Planit – it’s definitely worth trying out, and even helped me and Jon plan our happy hour and try out a great, healthy new recipe for kale and crispy chickpeas.