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 … Read More

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 … Read More

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 … Read More

Shaved Summer Squash and Nectarine Salad

It doesn’t take more than a couple fresh ingredients at their prime to make an appetizer that you might spend upwards of $10 for in a restaurant. But in a restaurant, a dish like this–even with so simple a philosophy that I can agree with–nags me a little. It’s just too precious. Too plated. And often, too skimpy.

Roasted Eggplant “Salsa”

What do you get when you mix two classic condiments: a creamy roasted eggplant dip and a tangy, fresh tomato-based salsa? A colorful cross. And why not? I always liked the brightness of adding fresh citrus juice to roasted or grilled eggplant. It sort of livens the greyish thing up. I also get frustrated, sometimes, spilling the juice of a fresh tomato salsa while trying to scoop it up with a tortilla chip. Or getting one piece of onion on … Read More

Fresh Tomato and Smoked Salmon Salad

Do you ever edit yourself, after something’s been said and done? After you’ve cleaned off a meal that you enjoyed to its fullest, then start believing that it wasn’t all that it could be? I have this compulsive habit sometimes, and right now I’m really wishing that I’d scattered crisp red onion across this dish, like slivers of orchid petals. And maybe pinched speckles of Maldon sea salt and black pepper on top of those tomatoes and lettuces, and–eh… it … Read More

Sesame Marinated Steamed Cauliflower

When it’s warm out in the midst of summer, one doesn’t feel as inclined to eat, much less cook. Then hunger kicks in, and heavy foods like fried oysters and hamburgers from street vendors and such come into the picture and, well, why not dig in? A certain fatigue that leads to throw-your-hands-up-in-the-air lapses in eating judgement is an expected part of summertime. Problem is, you just want to throw-your-head-on-the-pillow sleep afterwards.

Charred Green Bean and Summer Squash Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

I needed a green detox after cookout fever this holiday weekend. I found myself stationed at the grill this 4th of July, where one after another, people lined up to give me things to char: chicken wings, sausages, lamb chops, chicken breasts, hamburgers, hot dogs, kabobs. Thank goodness it was overcast and not very hot that day. I also managed to grill some zucchini and eggplant, but didn’t get a chance to snag any while tending the flames. The chops were … Read More

Potato Salad with Wasabi and Nori

There’s German potato salad, Southern potato salad, curried potato salad, mustardy potato salad, boring potato salad, spicy potato salad, and there are lots of thick, mayonnaise-based Japanese-style potato salads, but I’ve never tried one with wasabi in it as well.

Blanched Asparagus Salad with Cucumber, Hard-Boiled Egg and Bacon

I’ve been seeing a lot of folks drinking green smoothies these days. By folks, I mean women, for the most part, and those living in NYC, by geographical default, and, in particular, again by sheer observational default, those coming from and going to their offices for a morning or midday pick-me-up-instead-of-coffee. So I feel a sort of social pressure being of this class to partake in green smoothies (or juicies), too. But I prefer to eat, not drink, my greens. … Read More

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