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).
Ratatouille is a soothing meal to enjoy on warm nights or as a light lunch (or brunch, topped with a poached egg). To me, it simply spells summer; common ingredients are zucchini and summer squashes, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes. To many, it epitomizes simply country fare from France, or brings to mind a children’s film of the same name. Since it’s a flexible dish of peasant origin, you can improvise with the ingredients used, and add any favorites of your … Read More
Apparently I’ve been mispronouncing hakurei turnips as “haruki” turnips for a long time. This was finally corrected by Keha McIlwaine, who was selling the most beautiful specimens of them I’ve seen at Queens County Farm Museum‘s stand at the Greenmarket last Friday. While shopping there, I witnessed a couple trying to decide whether to buy the turnips, and what to do with them. Keha suggested they could be sliced up and sauteed, along with their healthy, bright greens. But they … Read More
This would be filed under “stuff I eat when no one’s looking,” except I’m now sharing it. I eat a great deal of tofu as a pure comfort food — that and noodle soup. When it’s cold out, I’ll pick up a cheap pack of organic tofu and chop it up to sautee with a spicy, garlicky sauce. When it’s hot, there’s no greater coolant than a salad of just fresh tofu, and maybe a few cucumbers about.
It’s not your ordinary side of peas, carrots and potatoes, but they go together just as well as always. Here, instead of your standard frozen peas, are a cache of just-in-season sugarsnap peas, with their edible, crunchy pods. Something about their shape, especially once split open, reminded me of an oblong shellfish, like mussels. I love mussels in a coconut green curry-infused broth. So why not fresh snap peas, in all their green sweetness, for something like that instead?
Grilled asparagus is such a pure, seasonal delight it really needs little embellishment to serve. But if you want to round it out to a light meal, here’s an easy and healthful way. I went Middle Eastern with the accoutrements for this dish, blending up a creamy red lentil base and lavishing it with some tangy yogurt, fresh mint and lemon. Combined with some char on the asparagus, it’s both cooling and savory, a satisfying snack indeed.
My latest favorite way to eat my greens is in the Japanese style of ohitashi, which is to blanche, shock, squeeze out, and pour over with a soy sauce and dashi mixture. It’s an easy way to stock up on your greens for the day, which there are plenty of in the spring. It softens the leaves, but also the stalks, which are typically left on and are delightful to crunch on dressed in this sauce.
What a delight to find zucchini so early in the season at the Greenmarket last weekend. There was just one small crate of them at Grand Army Plaza early in the morning, and I snagged two ripe ones with shiny, lizard-green skins that appeared to be stretched across their juicy flesh like balloons. With such prime, squeaky-fresh zucchini like this, I don’t even want to cook them. I just want to slip a knife through them, and toss the lime … Read More