I was craving the coolness of some type of salad, now that it’s reached 68 degrees this early March in New York. Visions of cucumbers and fresh stone fruit danced in my head, but despite the warmth, it was still no time for such produce. Bah humbug, but here’s a tip for the midst of winter: fresh parsnip has a slightly tropical, fruity taste, especially when tossed with fresh lemon juice.
It’s very easy to hide a great deal of things in a pot of black beans. Good things, bad things, all kinds of things — and no one may notice. Cooked to a velvety sauce, with strange lumps that once used to be part of a bean suspended throughout, the soup is thick as tar and opaque brown-black as fudge. You don’t know what’s hiding in it.
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.
Rutabagas might not look like much — a discolored turnip, a rounded daikon — but they have a fierce flavor that certainly sets them apart from the rest of the root vegetable pack. Pungently bitter when raw, their tight-walled, yellow flesh dissolves after long simmering, releasing earthy aromas and a subtly sweet taste. It pairs perfectly with cream, butter and leeks, I think, and your kitchen will never have smelled better from the combination.
Happy New Year. I’m not one to really make solid New Year’s resolutions. But for any given reason, I might make new foodsolutions. My latest determination came after an extended Christmas vacation in Wisconsin. It was extended, because of the blizzard that hit New York City, just the day I was planning to return. And it was foodsolution-inspiring because Wisconsin is practically swathed in butter, cheese and beef.
If there’s one thing I learned from the Souperama this weekend, it’s that a big batch of soup is meant to be enjoyed by many. And, okay, sixteen batches of them, even better. But more importantly, I was reminded of this altruistic goal when it comes to cooking anything in large portion (and really, who’s going to make one bowl of soup?): to try to create something that’s kosher for almost any diet, sway or fancy, and still make it … Read More