Beet salads. I have to admit that I used to think of rendering fresh beets into smooth, juicy, orbs of crazy magenta was such a taxing chore that I reserved cooking beets for pre-determined occasions. A special side dish, for a special purpose. It’s taken me maybe eight years to understand that cooked beets—and the endless beet salads that can be made from them—are one of the simplest, easiest things to prepare, and to keep on hand. And when you … Read More
Aren’t the holidays grand? You get to see your co-workers get drunk on the company tab, eat gingerbread to soak up eggnog, and see strangers dressed as Santa Claus on the subway if you’re in the city like me. Maybe that last part wasn’t a huge bonus of the season. But the point is, you get to party more. Throw off your shoes and–even if you’re not wearing elf socks–enjoy a little whimsy and respite from the weekly dredge more … Read More
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 … Read More
Being burglarized is not fun. You come home, find out someone’s snuck in through your window, pushing around your tomato plants on the fire escape to steal your stuff inside. I lost my Macbook Pro, and a camera. No, not fun. But what they didn’t steal were my plants, my food, my goshdarn enthusiasm for all that, and a crusty laptop tucked in the closet, going seven years strong.
I love the combination of earthiness, creaminess and pungency in a European herring salad, where the pickled fish is tossed with chopped potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and beets. This combination, sometimes including chopped apples, is enjoyed in Scandinavia, Russia and Northern Germany — essentially, wherever the ground is frozen much of the time. Well, the ground hasn’t been frozen for a while in New York, but we’ve still got rations of winter’s potatoes and beets before spring vegetables enter the scene. … Read More
If this isn’t a refreshing way to enter winter eating, I don’t know what is. I’m talking about the leanest, meanest days for finding fresh produce, the doldrums of harvesting. Yeah, we’ll be here for a while longer. Luckily, there are always some dried fruits, nuts and grains that have been stored away for safekeeping — and only the toughest of the fresh root vegetables survive, like beets.
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 … Read More
I’ve been bringing roasted beets to work for snacks a lot lately. A lot of people have peered over my shoulder and said, “Oh, beets — how do you cook them like that?” My first reaction, that of a not-so-helpful home cook-ophile, is usually to say, “How do you not cook them like that?” I don’t mean to sound snobbish here. Obviously, I’m writing this post in response to all these requests. But as long as you’re not simmering them … Read More
Don’t be swayed by the length of this rather unwieldy-sounding recipe’s name; the latter two ingredients, candied orange peels and fresh mint, are almost inessential to the sparkling culinary gemstone that is roasted beets and fresh orange slices. “Wow” hardly nips at the issue I’m talking about here. Okay, so it’s only food — two foods to be precise. But sometimes, all’s it takes, as they say, is two to tango.