Friday, November 21st, 2014

Green Bean Casserole with Shaved Delicata Squash and Onion Crust


Years ago, none of my friends would have pegged me to make green bean casserole for a potluck. I didn’t really know much about casseroles growing up, didn’t see them except for lasagna. But now, three years in a row, I’ve been bringing my own iterations of green bean casserole to my friend’s annual pre-Thanksgiving party. It began when my editor at the environmental site Grist asked me to remake a few Thanksgiving recipes traditionally thrown together from canned food using fresh, whole ingredients. From this experiment spurred many others, as I tried to get to know the dish better, and make it better-tasting to myself and my friends.
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Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Winter CSA Challenge: Cranberry Bean & Spinach Soup and Beet Herring Salad


What do you do with one whole week’s CSA share for a single meal? My friend Wen-Jay, who runs Local Roots CSA, decided to put me to this challenge to help kick off the winter CSA season. I was up for the challenge, but had another to contend with: what do you do with a big batch of food when you live alone and have no other mouths to feed? I eventually determined it would be a soup, and salad—preferably the kind that keeps.
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Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Chickpea Squash Tagine

For me, fall is the right time for entertaining. I spent a languid weekend preparing for that, post-Halloween hullaballoo (I was Kate Middleton for that, did you think you saw her walking down the street in Brooklyn?). It was the perfect antidote to a processed candy-strewn holiday, and one of the dishes I served for my friends was this vegetarian option, which I’ve been eating for lunches since. Like most long-simmered stews and soups, it just gets better every day. Read the rest of this entry »

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Apple Cheddar Scones with Rosemary


I frequently tell people that I don’t like baking. It’s not that I blurt it out, randomly, but when people learn that I like to cook they often casually ask about baking recipes, or what I like to bake. This is what I like to bake, when it has to be: savory stuff. Buttery baked goods that are bursting with unique flavors, not just sweet. From goat cheese oatmeal cookies to bacon chocolate cupcakes, I think a good baked good needs some balance and complexity. Fortunately, I don’t think I’m alone.

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Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Reason For Not Eating Out #55: Because You Can Pile Up


This weekend, I’m going apple picking at an orchard a little ways Upstate. I’ve never gone apple picking at a U-pick farm before (as lamented in this post two falls ago), so I’m pretty excited. I’m even more excited about all the fun opportunities for using the apples afterwards–in addition to just plain eating them, I wonder how I can smush them into more soups and stews, and envision being loved by all my co-workers for the apple tarts and other baked goods I can bring in for the next month. This hits on many “reasons for not eating out,” like sharing and learning new tricks, but the possibilities of piling up are a great plus in itself.
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Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Chicken Braised with Sake, Cider and Miso


Oh, happy fall. Like with many folks I’ve spoken to here and there in the past couple weeks–friends and strangers at the post office alike–fall is a favorite time of year. It ushers in cooler nights and breezes, colorful leaves on the trees, and that unmistakeable smell… of fall. I liken this to the scent of apple cider. It’s somewhat earthy but sweet. Of course, fall is when we see the annual harvest of apples, and cider is somewhere not too far wafting in the air.
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Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Black Beans with Salsa Roja, Kale Salsa Verde, and a Poached Egg


It’s easy to eat a lot of Mexican food in the late summer and early fall. You’ve got ripe tomatoes, corn, tomatillos, and chili peppers of all kinds. But it’s also easy to turn that idea into something really greasy, cheesy, and heavy; something more or less like nachos supreme (which we all know isn’t really Mexican but rather Tex-Mex as interpreted by fast-food and/or Midwesterners–taco dip, anyone?). So let’s take it back to a fresh, clean point of view.
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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Smoked Salmon Spread with Capers and Dill


Ruby-red smoked salmon is luscious alone on a good piece of crusty bread–or, if you’re a New Yorker, on a bagel. But a schmear of cream cheese along with it, too, adds richness that gives its strong flavor legs. For a smoked salmon (or lox) dip with cream cheese, I tried to incorporate aspects of my current environment, while nodding to traditions. It turned out that I had–favorably, and rather by chance–just the ingredients to make a total classic rather than some aberration or experiment. That was good thing; some classics are just meant to be.
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Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Corn and Clams


There’s been some talk about the new “never-ending” pasta bowls at the Olive Garden lately. It seems the franchise is disregarding the low-carb (or the fresh and local) dietary trends of the day, and beckoning diners with even more all-you-can-eat. (My favorite crack? “When you’re here… Why are you here?“) Well, I happened to eat at the Olive Garden in New York City recently, to celebrate my friend Kara’s birthday. It was a nostalgic gag that myself and 14 other friends surprised her with, since Kara used to work at an Olive Garden when she was in high school. It was my first time dining at the establishment, and the experience left me wanting.
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Friday, September 19th, 2014

Summery Bean Salad with Freshly Shelled Cowpeas


I love making new food discoveries, like making new friends. This late summer-almost fall, I came upon some warbled bean pods that were blushed with red on the bright green outsides. Fresh cowpeas, so the sign for them had read. This wasn’t at the farmers market, where I usually find my rare produce delicacies–but at the bodega down the block from me in Brooklyn, which catered to a mostly Caribbean neighborhood clientele and was run by Korean owners. I have relied on this bodega, and many like them, throughout Brooklyn for everything from last-dash needs like lemons or ethnic specialties like rice noodles. This time, though, thanks to the season’s harvest, they had a special of the day that I couldn’t refuse. Even though I’ve never cooked with freshly shelled cowpeas before.
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