Cauliflower and Sweet Corn Bisque

The first cream of X soup (or “bisque”) I ever fell in love with was cauliflower. My mom and I ordered it at a diner in New Jersey once when I was little; we ate the whole cup full and had to order another (should have gotten the bowl). That creamy, white velouté was something exotic to both of us, I think, but mild and unassuming at the same time. I found an appreciation for dairy, which my young palate had been … 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

Grilled Lamb and Peaches with Peach and Green Bean Succotash

You might consider a hearty red meat like lamb a more winter-appropriate food, not on your summer cookout menu. Or you might associate it with restaurants rather than your home-cooking menu, any time of the year. But I think it’s a secret weapon to creating a fun outdoor feast that tastes like it came from a gourmet gastropub.

Summer Succotash with Tomatillo Sauce

I’m not sure why tomatillos aren’t as popular as tomatoes. They’re as easy to grow as tomatoes, and they’re even covered with a natural, papery husk to prevent bruising or the need to even rinse dirt off. Yet tomatillos haven’t been integrated into cuisines outside of Latin America. Nope, I can’t think of one example — too bad. Because my favorite advantage about tomatillos versus tomatoes is their intense tanginess, and thick, jammy consistency when cooked. So I’m using them … Read More

Broiled Bluefish with Romano Beans and Corn-Kimchi Salad

I don’t get the hesitation over darker, oilier, “fishier” sort of fish. Bluefish, mackerel, herring, sardines — these are the flavorful dark meats to bland white meat chicken (of the sea). If you’re one who prefers full-flavored, juicy cuts like chicken thighs or pork shoulder instead of loin, you might find common ground in these highly undervalued types of fish. Then again, the fillet of bluefish I broiled here was so fresh, it tasted clean and just faintly of the … Read More

Roasted Tomato Corn Soup with Yogurt & Basil

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

Steamed Mussels with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes & Herbs

I really like mussels, clams, and shellfish of all kinds. You kind of have to, if you’re going to dig into a whole bowl of steamed mussels, served with bread to sop up its broth, or French fries in the classic “moules frites” tradition. But if you’re a little shy of encountering mussels in such quantity, then try perching a few kernels of sweet corn, soaked in a fresh tomato-based broth with garlic and freshly chopped herbs in the bowl … Read More

Gazpacho with Sweet Corn and Cucumber

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

Black Beans with Summer Vegetable Sauté

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.

Savory Corn Pudding, part of my Local Grill-Off entry

It’s the kind of cook-off that was my dream come true: the emphasis? Local food. The dish’s requirements? Nothing, aside from being local. The judges? Three established food writers whom I admire. The fundraiser’s cause? Slow Food NYC. The location? The sandy Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City, where I’d spread out my toes shoeless on several occasions. So maybe not everything turned out to be really dreamlike: it was raining all day, at some points more furiously than … Read More

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