Hillary Pollak

Hillary Pollak

Hillary Pollak is a junior at New York University, where she is majoring in sustainable food and alternative health. She is currently taking a break from the city, studying sustainability in Copenhagen. When not cooking or reading cookbooks, she can be found doing handstands or twisting into crazy yoga positions. She is known for her healthy dinners and (un)healthy pastries, but is now learning to bake without gluten.

Best Breakfast: A bowl of peaches, berries, and Greek yogurt with honey on top.

Late-Night Indulgence: A banana with peanut butter and chocolate chips

Culinary Pet Peeve: Processed cheese slices—why bother?

Favorite Healthful Food: Kale. It just happens to be the hip leafy green.

Greatest Kitchen Disaster: When I was new to cooking, I tried to reduce apple cider for a sauce and ended up with a kitchen full of smoke and a visit from the fire department. I’m still a little wary of reducing things.

Dorm Room Bar: Blueberry Ginger Smash

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Though Labor Day has passed, I’m not ready to say goodbye to summer quite yet. The weather might be getting cooler, but I’m in denial. I’m still enjoying the corn, peaches, tomatoes, and warm summer evenings. As long as summer produce is still here, I see no need to start cooking with squash and apples. Instead, I’m taking advantage of late summer’s bounty by slow roasting tomatoes, devouring slices of watermelon, and snacking on raspberries. But my current favorite summer recipe is not a dish, but a cocktail.

A Blueberry Ginger Smash Cocktail contains freshly muddled …

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Gluten-Free the Healthy Way

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If you haven’t noticed, gluten-free is the diet of the moment. Suddenly, everywhere from chain restaurants to your local deli advertises a gluten-free menu. Is it just hype, or is a gluten allergy now far more common?

There’s no easy answer. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 3 million Americans have celiac disease and 18 million have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Given those figures, it’s no surprise that more and more people are choosing to cut out gluten. Even those without a medically diagnosed condition claim they feel better without gluten. So if you have any of the …

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Review: Petit Amuse

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If someone wants to cheer me up, they know to surprise me with food. Whether it’s an exotic chocolate bar or a new type of jam, I love trying new products. Clearly, I’m not alone, as there’s an entire market of subscription food boxes that will send you a monthly supply of goodies. One new company, Petit Amuse, combines this model with the growing artisanal food movement. For $10 a month, you get a sampler box of items from small food producers.

The box gives you a taste of each item, so you get to sample one or two …

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Procrastination Cooking: Homemade Ice Cream

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With the extreme heat this summer, ice cream has become a necessity. It’s perfect for those sweaty, so-hot-you-don’t-even-want-to-eat days. It’s sweet and smooth, but most importantly, very, very cold. While it’s easy to buy delicious ice cream, it’s far more fun to make your own. Not only do you get to create your own flavor combinations, but you can avoid all the artificial additives that go into the commercial version. Your frozen treat might not be healthy, but at least it’s a little less bad for you.

Like risotto or homemade caramel, making ice cream sounds far more intimidating than …

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Impulse Buy of the Week: Burrata

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Impulse Buy: Burrata
Store: Farmers’ Market
Cost: $6.50 for 4.75 oz. ($22 per lb)

Food jobs often lead to funny diets. For example, when I worked at a coffee shop, I drank too much coffee–which I quickly learned was a terrible idea. This summer, I’ve been working for a local cheese company that specializes in mozzarella and burrata. One of the perks of the job is a piece of cheese per shift. I love cheese, but sometimes just the thought of eating it after work is more than I can handle. I’ve gotten creative, though, and come …

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Sweet Dreamin’: Gluten-Free Cherry Clafoutis

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SWEET: Gluten-Free Cherry Clafoutis
MAIN INGREDIENT: Cherries
GREAT FOR: Everyday Baking

In my family, my mom and I are both known as “cherry monsters.” We will easily devour a large bag of cherries in one sitting, taking full advantage of the brief cherry season. Not surprisingly, we also love any cherry sweet, from ice cream to pie, but my favorite use of cherries is the classic French cherry clafoutis, a simple and rustic dessert. Like American cherry pie, it’s cozy and charming, the perfect end to a summer meal.

A clafoutis can best be described as

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Healthy Homemade: Mango-Raspberry Chia Pudding

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Chia seeds, like the Chia Pet? If that’s your first reaction to chia seeds, you’re not alone. Most people, myself included, are unfamiliar with the culinary uses of chia seeds. Most of us associate them with that kitschy toy that sprouts green grass. Yet using chia seeds in the kitchen is a whole lot more useful that your little green “pet.” They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and iron, among other nutrients. So yes, they’re pretty great for you.

Chia seeds also form a unique consistency when mixed with liquid, creating a gel that resembles …

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Impulse Buy of the Week: Chestnut Spread

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Impulse Buy: Chestnut Spread
Store: Whole Foods
Aisle: Baking
Cost: $7.99

In the U.S., chestnuts are far from popular. You might find them in a fall soup or a fancy French dessert, but it’s rare. In France, however, chestnuts are so ubiquitous that you can find them at even the smallest supermarkets. They’re generally sold as a sweetened chestnut spread, flavored with vanilla and sugar to draw out the sweetness of the nuts. The spread tastes like a more sophisticated, non-chocolate version of Nutella and is equally versatile.

In France, I initially picked up the tube …

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-Free Food: Gluten-Free Almond Rhubarb Rose Cake

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DISH: Almond Rhubarb Rose Cake
TYPE: Dessert
DIETARY RESTRICTION: Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Gluten-free baking can be rough. Simply replacing regular flour with the gluten-free kind can lead to dense or doughy cakes. Some recipes call for exotic ingredients like xantham gum and sorghum flour; others produce cakes or cookies that are oddly chalky or artificial tasting.

After a lot of sad and failed attempts, I’ve realized that almond flour almost always leads to great baked goods. Almond flour is just finely ground up almonds that you can either make yourself or purchase at a specialty food store. …

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In Season: Strawberries

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After a long winter, strawberries are one of the first fruits to come into season. With their bright red skin and juicy flesh, they are hard to resist. Their season is fairly short, so take advantage by tossing the berries into a variety of desserts and savory dishes. They are also very nutritious, containing a high amount of vitamin C, fiber, B-vitamins, and minerals.

**All About Strawberries**

In Season: Strawberries

When to Buy: Strawberries have a short season which varies depending on the region. Generally, they are in season from April to July. Look for the freshest berries at …

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