Nov 13th, 2011
Think spring is the best time of year to eat leafy greens? Fall's cabbage, Swiss chard, lettuce and spinach are just as great, if not better, having been sowed in summer's warm soil. In this region, it's usually a sure bet that they'll mature in time for the first frost to hit, but before they wilt in strong sun. And despite the recent snowstorm on the Northeast, New York's local greens are looking ship-shape, especially the spinach.
Palak Daal (Spinach and Lentil Curry)
Sep 19th, 2011
I had guests over for dinner last weekend and came up with a five-person entree on the fly. I'd zoomed through the Greenmarket, picking up a pint of multi-colored cherry tomatoes, a firm eggplant, and a couple small, pattypan squashes. These all went into a pasta with a hearty portion of Italian sausage from Flying Pigs Farm for the meat-eaters in the crowd. We all loved it. Loved how the dish was colorfully studded with well-sized chunks 'o stuff. Loved the fresh tomato sauce. Loved the way the eggplant, roasted in rounds and added to the sauce later, melted to a custard to thicken it all, and clung to the al dente-cooked pasta.
Heirloom Beans with Roasted Eggplant, Tomato & Zucchini
Sep 7th, 2011
The most enjoyable aspects of Vietnamese summer rolls are their coolness, contrast of textures, and copious fresh herbs. This suits us most in mid-to-late summer, when herbs are taking over the garden, humidity reigns, and late-season rain and tropical storms can feel like a monsoon. So take it from the Vietnamese, and have something cold and refreshing to keep you awake.
Fresh Veggie Summer Rolls with Shiso and Thai Basil
Sep 1st, 2011
Here's one way to eliminate fattening nuts from your salad: dry-toast a whole grain to toss in. You'll still get a similarly satisfying flavor and the energy-packing proteins and fullness. But with more fiber, and less fat.
Watercress Wheatberry Salad with Cucumber & Yellow Tomato
Jul 6th, 2011
Who needs rice with black beans when there's sweet corn, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, Swiss chard, and if not peppers just yet, then new, sweet-tasting potatoes, in season now? That's my summertime take on the Latin American classic, with the black beans on the bottom this time.
Black Beans with Summer Vegetable Sauté
Jun 26th, 2011
Last week, I got a beautiful, billowy head of napa cabbage in my CSA share. There were only about three other people picking up their shares at the same time as me, but I was able to overhear the same concerns: "What do I do with napa cabbage?" Naturally, I was determined to find a crowd-pleasing application.
Napa Cabbage with Chili-Garlic Sauce and Szechuan Peppercorns
Jun 22nd, 2011
I've been hearing the term "warm salad" being tossed around a lot lately, and feel it might be a new menu buzzword. Perhaps it inspires curiosity, still carries an unlikeliness that hasn't been as indoctrinated into our culture as, say, "chilled soup." Sometimes it makes perfect sense (roasted beets, dressed in a light vinaigrette), other times, seems more of a stretch (sorry, sauteed vegetables are just that). I've used the term for this dish because of its middle-road temperature. The potatoes are piping-hot and crisp, and when tossed with cool vegetables the combined effect is perfectly warm. It's the best way to enjoy it, I think.
Warm Potato Salad with Tomatoes, Olives & Garlic Scapes
Feb 15th, 2011
Today was gusty like a regular dust storm, at least in Red Hook where I was a-working. And there was some music playing, by a feller named Woody Guthrie, and he was a-talkin about some dust storm in a song called "Talking Dust Bowl Blues." In one verse, he sings, "My wife fixed up a tater stew," and it got me hungry and thinkin' food. So I'll stop with the bad sing-song writing here, but now you know the reason for it.
Roasted Potato Leek Soup with Kale
Feb 9th, 2011
In the summer, beans were for dressing in a gloss of olive oil, tossing with a confetti of crisp, chopped vegetables, and having as salad. In the winter, we simmer them with rich fats, sometimes with finely chopped (less colorful) vegetables, which dissolve into the resulting soup or baked casserole. While it's definitely winter, I tried to make a compromise between these two polar opposite ways to eat beans. Starting with the king-size fava (or "broad") bean, dried.
Hearty Fava Bean Stew
Feb 7th, 2011
I would have named this recipe tom yum
since the popular Thai dish is certainly its inspiration. But it's missing a few crucial -- and difficult to find -- ingredients, and prepared rather on the fly instead of slow-simmered. It wouldn't seem quite right to purists of Thai cuisine. It is, however, absolutely right to those looking to quench their appetite for something a little exotic, restorative and refreshing, and you don't have much time.
Hot-Sour Lemongrass Soup with Mushrooms & Tofu
Jan 25th, 2011
If the fashion sensibility "peasant chic" were translated to food, this would be a runway highlight. It's a melange of the penniless pantry, but manages to come out vibrant with flavor, and chock full of nutrition. A little funky, offbeat, and very magenta (is that an "in" color?), it's what I call making the best of the least -- and the cheapest -- ingredients. It's also filling enough for a one-dish dinner alone, but plop in a poached egg and have with a crust of bread the next day for a hearty breakfast, too.
Red Cabbage & Black-Eyed Pea Soup
Jan 21st, 2011
No, I didn't just sneeze, it's oshinko
! A simple, no-sweat type of Japanese pickle. If you like a salty, crisp snack in the middle of the day, or something to refresh your palate at the end of a meal, try making a big batch of these pickles to keep in the fridge. It takes just three days for them to sit at room-temperature, to their slightly fermented state.
Carrot, Cucumber and Radish Oshinko
Dec 20th, 2010
Crispety, crunchety, tang. That's all I taste when I sink an incisor through one of these slices of spring green. All it took was a splash of lemon juice, glug of olive oil, sea salt, and a few minutes' time marinating to bring something like broccoli stems to this level.
Quick-Marinated Broccoli Stems
Dec 14th, 2010
Here is a really good example of the fact that I'm half-Chinese. I have no idea what this is, but I just made it for a snack. It's sort of like hash browns, but with turnip slices, and condiments fit for dumplings. I gotta say, though, it was a lot simpler to make than either of the above, and its taste satisfied somewhere in between.
Pan-Fried Potatoes and Turnips with Chili-Soy Sauce & Scallions
Nov 29th, 2010
You could say I'm on a bit of a soba kick lately. I've been slurping up a great bowl of buckwheat noodle soup for breakfast, lunch or dinner almost every day these past few chilly weeks. Let's talk about the soba in a bit; a really good bowl of any noodle soup, in my opinion, is in the soup. It's generally thought that a good broth takes hours or even days to make right. But I've figured out a quick and easy system for turning out a savory mushroom stock that doesn't taste like instant powder and is, moreover, completely natural and vegetable-based. So there's hardly any time needed to prepare a bowl like this in the morning, no matter how hungover I am (and I won't be for long).
Mushroom Soba & Miso-Braised Mustard Greens
Nov 20th, 2010
Last Halloween, Dave introduced me to a dish that involves baking stuff inside a hollowed-out pumpkin. He explained that he'd taken it from a Ruth Reichl recipe in Gourmet
. This past Halloween, I hosted, and I copied Dave's (or Ruth's) dish to a T. (Only mine was in a white heirloom "ghost" pumpkin, and I served a side of beet-and-tomato "blood" soup
.) It's sort of like French onion soup, inside a pumpkin: you stuff stale bread cubes and pour chicken stock inside the pumpkin, and top it with grated Swiss cheese while it bakes. A great concept, I thought, and I loved the addition of the roasted pumpkin that gets scraped up along with each spoonful of the finished stuff.
Chipotle Baked Beans In A Pumpkin
Nov 2nd, 2010
Question: Why do we eat coleslaw in the summer, usually? Okay, it's crisp, sweet and cooling, and I even thought it was called "cold slaw" as a kid. But it's made primarily of... winter cabbage. And we'll be seeing lots of heads of those for the rest of the year.
Red Cabbage Salad with Quince, Pickled Carrots and Maple-Cider Vinaigrette
Sep 11th, 2010
Just another fun way to serve up eggplant, fresh and simple. Because it's got to be cooked, eggplant tends to get weighed down in heavier preparations -- parmiggiana, or an Asian stir-fry with lots of gloppy brown sauce. But I love just roasting a skinny eggplant half, face down like a spear, and eating it straight-up like that afterwards, soft and gooey inside. This was more or less what I did for cooking demonstrations two weekends ago at New York Botanical Gardens' Edible Gardens series, when the theme ingredient was this versatile nightshade.
Sep 7th, 2010
I was inspired to do this by one of my favorite Chinese condiments, pickled mustard greens. The greens are finely shredded, brined with salt, vinegar and soy sauce, sometimes chiles, and in some cases, slightly fermented before going into a can or a jar to be preserved. Then, they're served with almost anything: stir-fries with tofu, a bowl of noodle soup with sliced pork, and, when I was little, sometimes just sprinkled on top of a bowl of hot, soupy leftover rice. It's kind of like sauerkraut, only leafier. Or kimchee, only shredded finer, and not as spicy, garlicky and gingery. You get the drill.
Pickled Swiss Chard
Sep 2nd, 2010
First it was this on a plate with leftover roasted almonds strewn about, a salad. Then it was this, transported to crisps of leftover bread, a crostini. Next it was this, stuffed into my cold burrito from a take-out place that I didn't even go to (somebody else did, and gave me their leftovers). Soon it will be this, on leftover rice that's stuck to a pot in the fridge. Basically, this is really good. Any way you serve it.
Shredded Kale & Sungold Tomato Crostini
Jul 28th, 2010
I don't know anything that doesn't taste good with a slice of a fresh, juicy and tree-ripened summer peach. It doesn't need anything to accompany it, but it sure can give other ingredients a boost. For example, ricotta or goat cheese with a peach slice on crostini. A bowl of vanilla ice cream with peaches. Grilled peaches on shishkabob sticks, in salsa and gazpacho, on a pizza instead of tomato slices, peanut butter and peach sandwiches. I'm eating buckwheat pancakes with peaches on them right now. Life is peachy. So I decided to do as I've done before with citrus fruit wedges, and toss them along with some roasted beets.
Peach and Roasted Beet Salad
Jul 18th, 2010
I love it when a dish just makes sense somehow. Feels more efficient. This can often be achieved by using two parts of the same plant, or animal, if in unsuspecting ways. Hey, if eating meat from head to tail is all the rage, then how about vegetables from shoot to root? Stalk to flower? Waste not, want not, and why not cook 'em both together? That's what I thought when I bought a bunch of these lovely tri-colored carrots. Though prepared this way, you might not even guess it was all the same plant.
Grilled Carrots with Carrot Greens Pesto