Summer’s a good time for a ‘mezze meal.’ With so many vegetables in season, you can easily pull together a colorful assortment of stuff to dip and mix from a plate with pita. This isn’t a very elaborate version of what that could be—try a colorful assortment of lots of salads and sides for a casual dinner party—but it hits the spot, and fills you up in all the right ways, making you feel both healthy and satisfied.
Summer comes as a sudden burst in New York City, a gushing declaration of heat, humidity and sun. Like a blast of fireworks or a Memorial Day hibachi grill, the heat is suddenly on for the long haul — no more stalling, sputtering, or beating around the bush. “Coffee” becomes cold brew; shoes become sandals; parties become barbecues; ramen becomes chilled noodles. This is science, and who am I to fight it?
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. … Read More
When pickling, you either ferment the food itself, or add something fermented to it–often vinegar. Both methods not only preserve the vegetables throughout a long winter, but add layers of flavor, piquant, pucker-worthy ones at that. For a refreshing experiment this summer, I eschewed my common brines and procedures for a pack of white miso, that fermented soybean paste, for a sweet and really simple traditional Japanese pickle, misozuke.
There are two very different cousins of the squash and melon family working together here. One is seldom cooked (and seldom should be), and one is most commonly cooked to some degree, usually on a hot grill in the summer. They are strikingly similar in appearance and easy to confuse; they are both harvested amply during the same time (mid-summer). They aren’t often served together in a dish, but here take off their fighting gloves and go with one preparation … 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
This cold appetizer is an extreme balance of yin and yang: cold, crisp cucumbers (yin) marinated with garlic and numbing-hot spices (yang). It’s kind of like Manhattan in the summer, when temperatures outside reach a stuffy ninety degrees but indoors, air conditioners chill you to the bone (or, if you’re in Brooklyn, someone unscrews a fire hydrant that splashes every passer-by).
This was a strange idea, for sure. One the one hand, it’s a rich and satisfying, all-American summer party staple, and on the other, fiery-hot, exotic fare. My inspiration for this potato salad was dan dan noodles, a savory and slightly sweet Szechuan noodle dish laced with red chili oil, pungent preserved greens, and Szechuan peppercorns. Actually, I was supposed to bring a potato salad to a party and couldn’t find much else to flavor it with in my fridge.
I made this dish twice to get it right. The first time, I was going for salsa. It had hot peppers in it, vinegar, oil and sea salt. The second incarnation was more of a fresh fruit salad. Both were mellow, juicy and crisp little concoctions, like a summer cocktail. When I finally decided on the right balance of flavors, I hit a wall on what to name it. Salsa, or salad? Then again, what is the difference — really … Read More