Last week, I cooked for a dinner party. We had roast chicken, stuffed with farro and chestnuts, a thick reduction sauce made from its drippings, and a crisp winter salad with shaved vegetables not including one stray fennel bulb that had gotten lost in the refrigerator. The next day, I simmered this soup on the stove with the remnants of the night’s meal. We had gone to see the Nutcracker, and this was our pre-show feast. I dare say that … Read More
I decorate my home with food, not flowers — a bowl of peaches or tomatoes to grab from in the summer, jaunty new herbs like mint in the spring, and a fetching squash of some type to plunk on the coffee table in fall and winter. A great pile of apples often paints the scene, from mid-September to about May. If you’re like me, you’ve probably found yourself equipped with a good squash and clutch of apples from a recent … Read More
I’m much more of a bean than cream person when it comes to soups. But I think you can find a happy compromise by slow-cooking white beans until so tender they’re luxuriously creamy on their own. So rather than following the formula for cream of broccoli (or cream of fill-in-the-blank vegetable), you might sate your taste buds for the mild taste and velvety texture of much the same with this soup instead. I’ve gone and added some cauliflower along with … Read More
If you have a few favorite ingredients to cook with, you’re bound to run into a moment of deja-vu pretty soon: “Did I just make the basically same thing last week?” Sometimes, you can set out to make a wholly different dish one night and find that you dined on an incredibly similar one the night before (and sometimes, this happens knowingly, like a weekly breakfast routine). But when it happens by accident, it’s a sure sign that that you … Read More
Gazpacho is a great way to get your soup, salad and bread all together in one cool slurp. It’s vibrant and refreshing, with a mixture of fresh summer vegetables, vinegar and some good olive oil. But like many true peasant foods, it has stale bread pureed into the mix, giving it a thick, creamy body. I like to pass my gazpacho through a fine-mesh sieve to make it smooth, then go back and add small chunks of vegetables for texture. … Read More
It’s very easy to hide a great deal of things in a pot of black beans. Good things, bad things, all kinds of things — and no one may notice. Cooked to a velvety sauce, with strange lumps that once used to be part of a bean suspended throughout, the soup is thick as tar and opaque brown-black as fudge. You don’t know what’s hiding in it.
Sometimes a food becomes so iconic for one dish that it’s rarely seen in preparations otherwise. This is certainly the case for split peas, which I’ve seldom eaten, seen, heard about, nor read about being used for anything else than soup. And that soup carries the stigma of being cooked with a ham bone, most commonly. This is still a soup-y dish, but it doesn’t adhere to the status quo for split peas. Because there’s really no need to.
Rutabagas might not look like much — a discolored turnip, a rounded daikon — but they have a fierce flavor that certainly sets them apart from the rest of the root vegetable pack. Pungently bitter when raw, their tight-walled, yellow flesh dissolves after long simmering, releasing earthy aromas and a subtly sweet taste. It pairs perfectly with cream, butter and leeks, I think, and your kitchen will never have smelled better from the combination.
You can fault me for being lax about a lot of things in the kitchen, but when it comes to being resourceful, I am a regular stickler. Therefore, when my family had lobster on a recent trip to the shore, I kept the shells and boiled them down to a concentrated stock. And when we grilled shishkabob sticks and fresh corn on the hibachi, I saved the leftover, blackened sungold tomatoes and few discs of zucchini to puree with it. … Read More