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In a Small Kitchen, Big Recipes

The authors of Big Girls, Small Kitchen give tips on apartment entertaining and cooking in Prospect Heights.

If there is one thing that Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine hope readers take from their blog Big Girls, Small Kitchen, it is that a tiny apartment stove is no excuse to eat take-out every night.

The two girls, both in their mid-twenties, started the blog on a whim in 2008, after catering a friend's birthday party.

"We both thought it would be cool to write for people in our demographic, who don't have much money and may live in a small apartment," says Eisenpress, who lives in Prospect Heights (Lapine lives in Manhattan).

Immediately, readers connected with the girls' approachable recipes and mouthwatering photos, and the blog took off.

"The beginning happened very quickly," remembers Eisenpress. "For people who were already interested in cooking, this made it more accessible for them – no expensive ingredients or crazy techniques."

In fact, the blog has proved so successful, that the girls have penned their own cookbook: "In The Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes From Our Year of Cooking In The Real World," which will be released by William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins, in May.

"It's about being sophomores in the real world, struggling a bit in life and the kitchen," Eisenpress says. "Finding out what what we wanted to do and what we wanted to cook."

Currently, Eisenpress and Lapine's blog is filled with holiday recipes – from an elaborate three-course New Year's Eve dinner to a round-up of fancy holiday cocktails easily made at home. It's hard to believe that they are both able to whip up such delicacies in presumably small urban kitchens, but Eisenpress says you have to make do with your space.

"Cooking is a feat in your standard apartment kitchen – you just sort of have to get used to your space and get to know the funny quirks about it," she says. "Sometimes you have to balance things on the fridge, put a cookie sheet on the stove. I've been known to put things in the refrigerator that don't need it."

"And entertaining is trickier by far, when you don't have a big old dining room – it can be intimidating," Eisenpress adds. "Usually our friends are just so excited to get a dinner invitation, that they don't care where they're sitting, or if plates are on their laps."

Up next, besides the cookbook, is a re-launch of the blog, coming in the first week of January. Eisenpress promises that it will feature much more room for contributors, as well as articles on eating healthy and cooking for dates.

In the meantime, she is still exploring her new home in Prospect Heights (she moved to the neighborhood from Park Slope about four months ago).

"I love – they make great baguettes on weekends. Perfect for cutting up for a Sunday night dinner party," she says, adding that the Brooklyn Flea and the Fort Greene Farmers Market were still warmer weather favorites.

Other neighborhood picks include and ("an awesome neighborhood bar").

"I even have a growing appreciation for the on Vanderbilt. It looks a little decrepit from the outside, but it's well-staffed and saves my life when I'm stuck," she says with a laugh.

bkk_bklyn January 04, 2011 at 06:32 PM
I love PH Patch! FYI, it's "make do" not "make due"
Amy Sara Clark January 05, 2011 at 01:29 AM
Thanks for pointing out the typo. I fixed it : )

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