Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Strawberry Buckwheat Shortcake


I don’t have many photos of this one, but it’s because I was covered in strawberry sludge and whipped cream while making 80 portions of it for a country wedding upstate last weekend. Phew. I think the name of this recipe tells you everything, though: it’s strawberry season, so seize the day when you can get super-sweet, local ones in the spring. And, if you’re tasked with making dessert–particularly cake, which can have such fascinating descriptors as “yellow,” “white,” “sponge” and “short”–seize the opportunity to make it a little more interesting and tasty, like the fine strawberries you’re using. Like putting buckwheat flour in the batter. It’ll still satisfy cravings for a classic dessert, and may even trump them, as I found at the wedding.

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Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Cast-Iron Roasted Chicken Salad with Chicken Fat Aioli Sandwiches

_F1B2917-2photo: Julia Sherman

Let’s say you’re going to a cookout, barbecue, potluck, or summer picnic this weekend. Let’s say you could really go for something like a cold chicken salad sandwich, but don’t want to opt for a hastily-made rendition like at the supermarket deli or something you might whip up from frozen chicken cutlets chopped and tossed with mayo. No, let’s say you want something savory and exciting, even if this sounds contradictory to what “chicken salad” generally means to you as a food item. You want to eat something tasty, but don’t think that you have the time to.
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Thursday, May 29th, 2014

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.
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Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Chutney Spiced Tomato Omelet


Do you have a lot of curious condiments lurking in the fridge? Like a strange bedfellow that you had a one-night stand with, but for whatever reason, life moved on, and you don’t feel the need to connect? Maybe it’s that Thai green curry paste that you thought was exciting and adventurous, but has since dried up and gone stale. Maybe it’s a bottle of salad dressing that you once genuinely loved, for a time, which is now squarely in the past. I don’t mean to sound distasteful of passing phases. Perhaps they served their purpose, if fleeting; you’ll never know how those might pay off again. Perhaps you’ll simply feel more determined when whisking a dressing from scratch someday, or assume a more sophisticated air in a Thai restaurant, detecting the nuances in a sauce. Maybe a friend will relate a curious encounter she had with someone, and you’ll feel yourself nodding knowingly, before doling out your piece of advice. Well, I’ve got a new fling that I — for now at least — intend to enjoy before its expiration date.

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Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

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. And I can think of one healthy green vegetable that would never be squeezed raw into a beverage.

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Monday, May 5th, 2014

Quinoa with Portobello and Peas


Doesn’t the sound of mushroom risotto just pull you by the tastebuds? Creamy rice, earthy morsels of mushrooms, and often sweet peas buried in between. This luscious dish appears on so many restaurant menus as a standard option, perhaps due to its vegetarian-friendly disposition, and I’m tempted to make it on chillier nights when I feel like eating somewhat “light.” But it requires patience, attention, and some good stock to cook well, three things I don’t always have on weeknights.
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Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Not Green Papaya (Broccoli Stem) Salad


I love the refreshing smack of a good green papaya salad. Sour, sweet, crisp, spicy and a little savory, it’s a world of flavor in packed, shredded piles. But let’s face it: green papayas are never in season in my part of the world. So what, then? Line up outside of Pok Pok, or some other Southeast Asian restaurant; hunt through the bins at Asian markets for the perfectly underripe papaya? Sure, you could do that. But you can also make a pretty darn tasty salad using something found very commonly, and wasted very commonly, in my exact part of the world (my kitchen): broccoli stems.
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Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Chickpea and Roasted Kale Salad


Kale is the new salad green. A couple decades ago, choosy eaters eschewed iceberg for the more nutritionally dense, greener, leafier types of lettuce like romaine. Then, they went onto fluffier, miniature, mixed ones often including — or solely consisting of — baby arugula (RIP AKA “rocket”). Their spicy kick lent complexity to sides, and they’re also very nutritionally dense, much more so than romaine. Baby spinach greens, too, played a role in this evolution, beckoning the health-conscious for its superfood benefits. Now, the “it” raw salad fodder may have delved even deeper into healthy realms with a once under-sung brassica, typically tougher and prepared braised: kale.
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Friday, April 11th, 2014

Vegetarian Ma Po Tofu, with Photography Lessons

_MG_8652photo: Brie Passano

Last week, I was delighted to sit alongside fellow local bloggers for a panel discussion on food blogging hosted by Edible Manhattan. One of the questions that came up was, how important is photography to you? And another question, or several of the questions, were aimed at understanding what drives readership in a claustrophobic spectrum of sites about food. I’m not a photographer (never learned the ropes formally), but I’d say that photography is important and something to just try, try, try to become better at. As it turns out, an opportunity to get more perspective on the practice came up a few weeks ago, when a photographer named Brie Passano approached me to take photos for a cooking series she was just starting.
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Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Spice-Crusted Cod with Baby Greens, Beets and Lemon-Yogurt Dressing


I’m not averse to wheat or gluten myself (knocking on wood), but I’m well aware of friends and general masses of folks who are looking for that delicious diversion from eating such products. So, for the crispy, crackly “crust” on a fish fillet, I crushed a grainy mixture of aromatic spices instead of looking to starch-based solutions. Then, since we’re creating such a textural complement to the otherwise tender fish, why not make fish itself the crusty crouton for a salad?
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