Aug 25th, 2010
I was at a backyard party in Brooklyn a few weeks ago hosted by my friend June. I'd been to her paella party at about this time of year last summer, and so I knew what kind of yumminess to expect from this event. I got there a little late, again. June was just adding the shellfish to a paella pan, plunking clams and mussels hinge side down into the rice. The wide, cast-iron pan was placed on top of a blazing hibachi grill on a small space of concrete. On top of another grill, there were sliced zucchini just going down, the smell of blackened shisito peppers was in the air, and trays full of grilled sausages, browned chicken, rabbit meat and beans flocking the station all told me that June had been laboring over open fire for some time now. My cocktail, served up by a guest/friend behind a makeshift bar, must have gone straight to my sun-weary head. I stood before the barbecue, transfixed, and watched the mussels and clams slowly open in the pan and continue to gape wide, as if they were all preparing to sing the Hallelujah chorus.
Here’s Lookin’ At You Cook (Paella), June Russell
Jun 9th, 2010
It's summer. There's produce, plenty of it local. It's coming to supermarkets, restaurants and Greenmarkets throughout New York City. But one place you won't hardly ever find it at is a bodega, those convenient, often round-the-clock shops where you can get toothpaste and telephone cards or tonight's dinner of ramen and chips. Unfortunately, this is the only type of grocery store that exists in increasingly more communities here.
That's why the Healthy Bodegas Initiative was formed in 2005, aimed at increasing access to fresh food and improving the health of all New Yorkers through its bodegas. Targeting the most underserved areas, or healthy "food deserts," the mission has partnered with many bodegas and local organizations, such as the Greenmarket of Grow NYC (previously called CENYC). Check out Kerry Trueman's great interview with the initiative's founder, Donya Williams, on Food Systems NYC. And read below for an interview with Justone Bossert, Director of NYC Operations for Red Jacket Orchards, an upstate, family-operated fruit farm that's joined the cause.
Help Healthy Bodega Initiative & Red Jacket Orchard Bring Local Produce to Bodegas
Apr 27th, 2010
Make no mistake: food is trend-oriented. Each region has its own fixations; we recycle them once they're in season each year, and other times, toss them out to make way for newer trends. It's a monkey-see, monkey-eat philosophy, and one thing that's been made abundantly clear to me these past few years is that an unassuming, often-wild allium called ramps is definitely in
, around here.
Flatbread with Ramps, Coconut Milk & Green Curry
Apr 21st, 2010
Two ingredients thought to be past their prime -- the broccoli plant, once it's gone to flower, and bread, a few days since baking -- revitalized. I do love using up food scraps. This recipe came after a few rounds of making really good bread pudding. Could anyone have conceived of a better way to use stale bread than that? I wondered. Then I began to think of French toast, and how custardy and warm the centers of those thick slices get. How crisp the outside is, grilled in butter. And how quick it is to cook this in a pan, as opposed to the pudding, which must be baked. So it was French toast, with a savory twist the next morning: this frittata, with a local green that's particular to spring.
Flowering Broccoli & Stale Bread Frittata
Feb 25th, 2010
Getting into the midst of the Week of Eating In, I figured it was time for a good gathering over (homemade) grub again. As I discussed in The Art of Eating In
, everyone can use some time in the middle of their day to relax, sit down and eat. Especially with your friends, fellow workers or family. Just like we all need to sleep, this communal time is restorative and constructive in many ways, even if it's not a business or "power lunch."
Week of Eating In Day Three: Making Time for Lunch
Feb 19th, 2010
All too often, I hear the same question from home cooks: what do I do with fish? Not terribly much, is usually my answer. And as soon as you bring your catch home. But while most of us know that fresh fish is best at its freshest, the simple feat of cooking it deliciously has evaded some. So I'm going to share my latest favorite preparation, an unlikely hybrid of hearty winter vegetables and summery lightness.
Steamed Turbot Fillets with Potatoes and Turnips
Feb 6th, 2010
I've gone grain crazy as of lately. There are so many different types of them to explore. It started with a pack of bulgur, coarse grinds of whole wheat with a muddy tan color and toothsome, chewy texture. If you like wild rice, you'll find some similarities here. Then I went freaky for smoky roasted spelt, also known as freekeh. Now I can't get Missy Elliot out of my head.
Bulgur and Freekeh Pilaf with Roasted Butternut Squash
Feb 2nd, 2010
You know how salads in restaurants tend to have eight things in them, at least? Or else, it's not really a salad, it seems. One of those ingredients is usually cheese; another is usually nuts (and it's usually crusted with something sweet). There's often meat, grilled and served hot in contrast with the cool greens. It gets more complicated, too. Dried or fresh fruit, oily crusts of bread or croutons, dressings that are an army of ingredients in themselves, and so many types of mixed lettuces when you couldn't identify one by name.
Tuscan Kale Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette and Pomegranate
Jan 19th, 2010
I've been having a love affair with beans lately. This may have happened by default, with so few fresh muses in season to cook with, or else a newfound appreciation simply gained on its own merit: beans are infinitely versatile, used in every cuisine, hearty, and nutritious. They are the main ingredient in comfort foods of so many cultures, like the French cassoulet. But beans also have a stigma attached to them, especially in our meat-loving culture -- that of a "poor man's protein." (And please hold the gas jokes.) "Beans are not enthusiastically embraced by everyone," Ken Albala wrote in Beans: A History.
"More than any other food, beans have been associated with poverty."
Yet thanks to them, and to a dizzying bar full of folks enthusiastically embracing them, beans have made the Greenmarket of New York City $2,500 richer.
Cassoulet Marocaine (and a recap of the Greenmarket Benefit Cassoulet Cook-Off)
Nov 12th, 2009
When Taylor Erkkinen and Harry Rosenblum opened their Williamsburg store for kitchen appliances and cookware in 2006, they'd had a notion about cultivating a community around cooking through occasional classes and demos. But who knew that the educational programs they would hold at the store would soon become The Brooklyn Kitchen's biggest draw, with classes frequently selling out a day after being announced?
Reason For Not Eating Out #37: Going Back to School
Nov 1st, 2009
Forgive the excessively esoteric sound of this dish's name. I had tried coming up with other things to call it: Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli and Braised Broccoli and Cauliflower Greens with Navy Beans and Creamed Potatoes? Too long. White Cauliflower, Cheddar Cauliflower, Broccoli and Their Combined Greens Braised with Navy Beans and Roasted Red Pepper and Served on Creamy, Truffled, Mashed Fingerling Potatoes? Too specific. Stuff That I Got From My CSA This Week, Cooked and Piled Ceremoniously Together on a Plate? That sounded better. But it was still pretty dense. I think the main thing to chew on with any dish should be the food, not the words.
White Bean and Brassica Ragout with Creamed Potatoes
Sep 18th, 2009
Do you like seafood? Goes the childhood tease. Yes, and you "see" an open mouthful of chewed-up food. I hope you like seafood, but I'm not going to show you that. I had meant to show you a whole fish here, a nice, fat, single person-portion sardine. Sardines are the poorman's seafood, and I thought that was very "me." They have a fragile little pane of bones that you have to pick around, hence them being more work to eat. They have a fuller fishy flavor, and they're healthy, yet cheap. Well, Spanish Mackerel isn't so far in kin.
Roasted Mackerel with Potatoes and Yellow Squash
Aug 11th, 2009
It's been a tough year for everyone, and small businesses -- farms, especially -- are no exception. That's why it's so exciting to see more consumers and the media rallying behind them. Today, Serious Eats posted a wonderful video about farmers at NYC's Greenmarkets, and how they've contributed to our food system. It's centered around a trip the Serious Eats team took to Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, and followed them as they packed up their harvest and trucked it into Union Square one Saturday. It was a long day for the Serious Eaters, who drove up to Roscoe, NY that morning to begin shooting. But perhaps a shade emblematic of the everyday toil these farmers go through. As Ed Levine exclaimed in the video, "The risks that they take every day!"
Serious Eats (and I) Fall for Small Farms
May 23rd, 2009
Just because jalapenos haven't ripened in these parts yet, and neither have tomatoes (unless you splurge for the hothouse types), doesn't mean it's nach-yo season for nachos. Or at least, that's what the founders of Nachos NY think, year-round. And who am I to argue with that kind of authority? After a successful Guactacular Invitational, for which the site's founders Lee and Rachel asked me to be one of the judges of ten guacamoles, they suggested we get in the kitchen and make some nachos for ourselves. So I called for a bonafide "nachos party" at a friend's barbecue, and corralled a bunch of friends to join. And by corralled, I just mean that I merely told them it was happening. It's one of those things that's easier done than said.
Spring Nachos with Ramps, Asparagus, Smoked Cheddar, Roast Pork and Spicy Radish Salsa
May 18th, 2009
A couple months ago, I was given a challenge: cook a "date meal" for two that costs $15 or less, including a bottle of wine. It was thrown to me by a local newspaper that has yet to publish the story, and I suspect they might simply never. Which is fine, but it would be a shame not to share the recipe for the entree, while its wintery ingredients are still lingering around.
Turkey Legs with Apples, Parsnips and Onion
May 15th, 2009
-- asparagus season is here! This is no time for beating around the bush(el). At Greenmarkets and farm stands, you'll see plenty of sprue asparagus right now, too, the first tender shoots that are often as skinny as coffee stirrers. I had the rare pleasure of snapping a spindly green one straight from the soil at Sang Lee Farms last weekend, and eating it raw right then. (I'll bet that anyone who claims not liking asparagus has never tasted something like this.) So to enjoy the sweetness and crisp bite of young asparagus, fresh from a local farm, it's my edict that less cooking time is more. (It's okay, you can run off to get some, rather than continue reading.)
Asparagus and Tofu Cold Noodle Salad
Apr 28th, 2009
I love roasting carrots, in just a coat of olive oil and pinch of sea salt. But now that it's reached almost ninety degrees in New York City, cranking up the oven to 400 degrees seems less than appropriate. On the contrary, goading your friend with a rooftop patio to throw an impromptu barbecue absolutely does. So after a day spent lazing on Brighton Beach, on the first truly hot day of spring, last Saturday, I found myself successfully planted on said rooftop (Karol's) before a charcoal grill just like the way everything was supposed to be. Or maybe not everything. Because I'd had some carrots at home, I thought I'd bring them along to throw on the grill. Thing is, I've never grilled carrots before. And as I looked around at my friends, no one else had, either. (Once again, I defer to the almighty mantra of "Why not?" in situations with food like this.) Turned out, it ain't no thing at all.
Ginger-Glazed Grilled Carrot and Pea Shoot Salad
Apr 26th, 2009
Not so long ago, I tended to associate Long Island with being stuck in squawking traffic on the LIE and guys in wifebeaters who wouldn't think to eat an apple if the tree plopped one in his hand. True, the eastern trail of New York City never exactly conjured an agrarian idyll, replete with rustic farmstands and coastal pastures producing everything from grass-fed beef to tasty wines. But perhaps that's just the Jersey in me speaking (ironic as it may seem, New Jersey and Long Island kids have a long, stupid rivalry). Because after a trip out to Garden of Eve organic farm in Riverhead, I was introduced to a world of old-school farming values being led for the most part by young and fresh-thinking pioneers.
From Gardening to Farming: A Glimpse at Long Island’s Garden of Eve Farm
Apr 20th, 2009
I showed a photo of a gooey, poached egg like this once to a friend who thought it was "obscene." So if this offends, then my apologizes. But having seen many eggs cooked like this growing up, it calls to mind only the homiest, cleanest of thoughts to me.
Peppercress and Poached Egg Salad
Apr 4th, 2009
Every now and then I get the urge to test the limits of what's generally known as "good." So maybe this happens more than occasionally, and often, with food. But when I picked up a container of whole milk ricotta from the Greenmarket, dug into it with a knife later that day and slathered it on a slice of bread, I thought, "That's good." Really good. Second thought: "What can make this teeter upon the edge of being bad it's so good?"
Shiitake Mushroom and Wasabi-Spiced Ricotta Crostini
Feb 27th, 2009
What happens when you: 1) make a great batch of something, eat it, and love it; 2) eat it for leftovers, and love it; 3) eat it for leftovers again, and kind of loved it more the first or second time you ate it; 4) can't stand to look at it in the refrigerator anymore? I know. Even with my favorite foods, there comes a limit to my tolerance to it after consecutive encores. That's where the brazen versatility of leftovers comes into play. In the case of this raw, slaw-like salad, it knows no cultural boundaries, either.
Cabbage, Pear & Pistachio Salad (and Leftover Chutney)
Feb 21st, 2009
There were many things that blew my socks off at a dinner Sunday night, held in a cozy Brooklyn ground-floor apartment. The basil-ricotta gnocchi was one of them. The lamb pot pies (above) were definitely another. But the one thing that really struck me the most was when, while casually biting off chunks of his garlic sauce-smothered lamb breast and duck fat confit hors d'oeuvres, Tamarack Hollow Farm founder/farmer Mike Betit said, "The first two years [of starting his farm], I lost money. The third year, when I started selling at the NYC Greenmarket, I broke even."
Here’s Lookin’ at You Cook, Mike Betit
Jan 21st, 2009
It was a frigid Saturday in New York when seven chefs gathered in the back room at Jimmy's No. 43 to unveil their steaming pots of the French countryside comfort food, cassoulet. A fluid stream of Greenmarket supporters sampled each one throughout the afternoon until pretty much every bean was scooped up. Asked to vote for their favorite takes, each taster turned their attentions to printed sheets describing the cassoulets, their creators and affiliations. Among them were local and seasonal culinary expert Kelly Geary of Sweet Deliverance, former Greenmarket Manager and chef-to-be Melissa Rebholz, Jimmy No 43's own chef John Crabbs, Italian chef and traveling pizza teacher Mark Bello, Rockaway Beach surf taco shop extraordinaire Andrew Field, and former Pegu Club and wd-50 (whoa!) chef Phillip Kirschen Clark. Then some blogger and cook-off fanatic of Not Eating Out in New York.
I'd be lying if I told you that the dish I prepared was pronounced the best cassoulet of the day. Actually, I'd be very publicly, foolishly lying, since the event has been recapitulated (promptly, I might add) by Time Out New York
already, as well as Jimmy's No. 43's blog. I'd be drawing out the non-suspense in lame melodrama to continue this post without just declaring a winner. So the top honor was given to...
Pommes de Porc Cassoulet (and Jimmy’s No. 43 Greenmarket Cassoulet Cook-Off Recap)
Jan 16th, 2009
photo courtesy of ABC News
Or rather, who is Cassoulet? as George Stephanoulos quipped on ABC when a large banner bearing the word was held above the crowds gathered in Times Square during the station's election night coverage. The question of cassoulet echoed throughout the world afterward, as the word rose to the top 100 most searched terms in Google on Election Day. I didn't know what cassoulet was, either, and I completely missed this bit of intrigue at the time. I first heard of cassoulet when it was announced by Jimmy Carbone as the dish to prepare for a cook-off at his restaurant, Jimmy's No. 43, to benefit the Greenmarket. It takes place tomorrow at noon!
What is Cassoulet?
Oct 2nd, 2008
This fall, we're starting something new. An idea fledged by myself and Liz Carollo, Greenmarket Publicity Coordinator for the Council for the Environment of New York City (CENYC), the Shopping Club & Tour Series begins this Saturday, October 4th at Brooklyn's busy Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. To kick it off, I'll be making an early-fall veggie risotto at the information stand at 12:00 noon beforehand, so I hope you can come for some freshly-made grub, and stick around for the first many weekly meet 'n greets.
Announcing the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket Shopping Club & Tour Series