Farmers Market Salad

Farmers Market Sungold Tomato Salad

So I’ve been incognito for a while—but it hasn’t been without reason. I adopted a cat, made an Instagram for said cat, deleted said Instagram once I realized it was a quick downward slope into Crazy Cat Lady Land, I moved into an apartment (more on that later), and I’ve been working a lot. Almost all of my time is taken up by my job—writing, styling, writing some more—not that I’m complaining.

I love my job—and I’m not just saying that because I know my boss may be reading this (hi!), but because it’s really a dream—I get to play with food, be creative, shadow my favorite bar because I think it might be a good idea for an article, and I get to take home a lot of food. I’m talking buckets of vegan chili, grilled chicken, and slow-cooked salmon. The challenge comes in making these foods into a meal (I’ve become a champion of the motley meal)—but the other day, all I had to do was pour the entire contents of my refrigerator into a bowl and call it a day: A shredded kale salad became the foundation for a pan-seared corn salad, which was pulled together by some Sungold tomatoes purchased at a farm stand in the Hamptons and a Dijon-honey vinaigrette. The result was a sweet and spicy salad that I couldn’t stop eating.

Farmers Market Salad Dinner Party

Farmers Market Salad
Serves 6
Corn salad adapted from Kendra Vaculin’s recipe on Food52

For the salad:

1 bunch lacinato kale, minced
1 cup fresh mint, minced
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2–2 tablespoons Sriracha
3 ears of corn, kernels sliced off of the cobs
1 red bell pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 cup packed, chopped parsley
1/4 scant cup crumbled cotija
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup halved Sungold tomatoes

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon honey, creamed if you have it on hand
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil

  1. To make the dressing, in a small dish or Bell jar (which makes for easy storage later), whisk together the honey and Dijon with a fork until fully combined. Add in the vinegar and mix, then, while whisking with the fork, slowly add in the olive oil, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, until well-combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large serving bowl, toss the chopped kale, chopped mint and the walnuts together, then set aside.
  3. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, warm the butter. Add the Sriracha, then, add in the corn, stirring with a wooden spoon until the corn is slightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add the peppers and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add in the parsley, cotija, and lime juice; mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the warm corn to the bowl of kale mixture and toss to combine.
  6. Add the halved tomatoes on top, toss with the dressing, and serve so that the corn is still warm.

 

Ramp-Stuffed Roast Duck with Baby Potatoes

Roast Duck with Ramps

Carried away by the beautiful weather, a trip to the local greenmarket, and an extremely persuasive farmer, my boyfriend and I found ourselves walking home yesterday with a bag full of ramps, baby potatoes, kale, and a five-pound moulard duck. While I’ll take any opportunity to order duck, I’d never actually cooked it, so we spent most of the walk home contemplating theories and weighing the differences between ducks and chickens (which, if you’re curious, I researched and included below in a fancy Powerpoint graph).

Chicken versus Duck

In the end, we decided to take the advice of the farmer who sold it to us (“You have to stuff it with ramps. It’s a once-in-a-season opportunity.”) and use the cooking directions from a Bon Appetit recipe for Roast Duck with Potatoes (sans the figs and rosemary). The recipe instructed me to score the backs and thighs with a paring knife to release the fat, then stuff it with vegetables of my choice before putting the entire bird in a roasting pan to cook at 425º F for 50 minutes, then with the potatoes for another hour. And you know what? It was delicious.

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All Good Things Salad

All Good Things Salad with Lemon

Last night, I returned home from 10 days in Guatemala for my cousin’s wedding. I try to visit my family there at least once a year, which is often my favorite part of the year, but this trip was unforgettable — I introduced my boyfriend to my enormous family and favorite country, tried to keep up celebrating and drinking with my cousins (and failed miserably), and ate all of the food. I started every morning with frijoles, fried eggs, and platanos, and sustained myself on the light diet of Gallo beer, TorTrix, quesadillas, Quetzalteca Especial, and Pollo Campero for the rest of the afternoon and evening. By the time I returned home, the only thing I was craving was a satisfying, colorful, and easy salad.

I walked into the vegetable aisle of my grocery store this morning with the sole goal of feeding my craving for something fresh and healthy — I ended up with armfuls of kale, radicchio, an out-of-season splurge of sun gold tomatoes and avocados, and fresh burrata (My boyfriend walked away with this). The best part about this salad is that the vegetables are so delicious that it doesn’t even need any dressing — but add an extra squeeze of lemon or a dollop of pesto if you’re looking for some extra flavor.

All Good Things Salad with Radishes and Avocado

All Good Things Salad
Serves 2 to 3 hungry travelers

2 tablespoons extra-vigin olive oil
1 cup kale, shaved
1 cup red cabbage, shaved
1 handful Brussels sprouts, shaved
Juice of 1 lime, divided
1 head radicchio, leaves cleaned and torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup romaine, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 ounce burrata, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 handful sun gold tomatoes, cut into halves
1 avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch radishes, cut into dimes
Pesto, to taste (optional)

  1. Warm the olive oil in a small pan, then toss in the kale, red cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. Cook until lightly wilted, then add in half of the lemon juice.
  2. In a large serving bowl, toss the radicchio, butter lettuce, romaine, burrata, tomatoes, avocado, and radishes with the cooked kale mixture until well combined. Add the rest of the lemon juice and serve. Feel free to add pesto on top if you prefer more “dressing,” but the salad is so delicious, chances are that you’ll find that you won’t need anything to dress up the fresh vegetables.

Linguine Alle Vongole for Two

Linguine alle vongole

This past Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend and I traded in a prix fixe dinner for a classic homemade Italian meal by way of Chinatown fish markets. We headed out Saturday morning into a blizzard to catch the 6 train to Canal Street, at the end of which are vendors upon vendors selling crab claws, entire tunas, salmon, and lobsters on tables of ice. To say it was a madhouse on a Saturday morning would be an understatement. I pushed my way through throngs of people shouting, “CLAMS! TWO POUNDS OF CLAMS! I HAVE CASH!” (romance has never been my forte) until I was able to walk out thirty minutes later with a bag of shellfish and a king crab leg, for the grand total of $14. A piece of advice: No matter what the signs instead tell you inside, there are three steps to buying fish in the downtown fish markets:

  1. Push your way through the crowd and grab the attention of the fish vendor then tell him what you want to buy — don’t dawdle and know exactly how many pounds of what you want before you ask him for it.
  2. He’ll weigh your fish and put it in a bag, then give you a small piece of paper with the price written on it. Take this ticket to the back of the market to pay for your fish in cash. The cashier will sign your piece of paper.
  3. Go back to the fish vendor, and trade your ticket for the bag. There is a lot of yelling, pushing, and fish everywhere, so don’t wear your Sunday best and prepare to be a little aggressive!

Once home, we set to the task of cooking shellfish for the first time — which turned out to be surprisingly simple! For the sake of being extra cheesy (and because this is such a quintessential date night dish), I’ve broken down the steps into two parts so you can make this with your date:

Linguine alle Vongle (Linguini with Clams)
Serves 2, with some left over

Kosher salt
1/2 package linguine pasta
1 shallot
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
24 little neck clams
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
1 cup dry white wine
1 handful flat-leaf parsley
Red chile flakes, to taste

  1. You: Bring a heavily salted pot of water to a boil, then add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve a 1/4 cup pasta water, drain, and set aside. Chop the shallot and slice the garlic clove into paper-thin slices. Your date: Scrub the clams with water and potato scrubber one at a time, and place them into a colander in the sink under running water.
  2. You: Add the olive oil to a sauté pan over medium-low heat, then add the shallot once hot. Once the shallots are translucent, add the clams to the pot. (It will feel like you are adding a ton of rocks to a frying pan, but just have faith that they will open and become clammy goodness.) Cook the clams over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, at which point a few should be starting to open. Add the garlic and the wine, and then cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until the clams open and release their juices, about 6 minutes depending on the size of the clams. Your date: Chop the parsley and reassure your SO that all of the clams will open eventually. Pour yourselves (another) glass of wine and set the table.
  3. You: As each clam opens, transfer it to a small bowl and set aside. All of the clams should be open wide; discard any clams that are closed or only partially open. Once all of the clams have opened, toss the cooked linguine over low heat in the pan. Add the reserved pasta water, parsley, chile flakes, and clams back into the sauté pan. Your date: Light some candles, help serve, and enjoy!

Lamb and Radicchio Salad with Mint Pesto

Lamb and Raddichio Salad

One of my greatest inspirations for developing recipes comes from the back of my refrigerator, in the leftover food from nights before that could use some love. Since my office is moving to a new location next week, I found myself in the right place at the right time, with bags full of leftover goodies as they cleaned out the refrigerator. Carting home three bags of groceries on the subway at rush hour is not something I’d recommend to anyone, but it was worth it for the loot I came home with: boxes of Tofu, ice cream, grilled chicken thighs, mushrooms, bags of kale, mint, and a roast leg of lamb. Once home, I immediately set to combining the most enticing of the loot, the leg of lamb, with the vegetables already in my refrigerator to make a hearty variation on one of my favorite salads.

Sherry Vinaigrette with Lamb and Raddichio

Lamb and Radicchio Salad with Mint Pesto
Serves: 2

1 head radicchio
1/2 head napa cabbage
3/4 lb boneless lamb leg, roast
20-30 mint leaves (roughly 1 package, stems removed)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoon honey
Coarse salt

  1. Cut the radicchio in half, then slice into half-moons and place into a large salad bowl. Do the same with the napa cabbage, then toss until well-combined.
  2. Cut the lamb into 1/2-inch by 2-inch slices, then set aside. In a food processor, pulse the mint and 1 tablespoon olive oil until well-combined, and the mint is coarsely chopped. Use a pastry spoon to scoop the mixture out of the processor and into a small bowl, set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients into a light vinaigrette. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss. To serve, plate the mixed salad with the sliced lamb on top, using the mint pesto as a garnish.

Homemade Peanut Butter with Ginger and Maple

Homemade Peanut Butter with Ginger and Maple

Every time I am within a two-block radius of a kitchen supply store, I walk out with a glass jar. I think my glass jar addiction, if you will, is fueled by my idea that in a perfect world, my kitchen pantry would be filled with jars of homemade hummuses, vinaigrettes, sun dried tomatoes, and pickles. Instead, my jars gather dust on top of my refrigerator as I reach for another cup of applesauce at the grocery store. Last week, I finally removed one of the jars and filled it up with a homemade version of something I eat nearly every day: peanut butter.

First, let me say that I would have done this much sooner if I’d had any idea how easy nut butters are to make, as long as you have a food processor! While the base (oil and nuts) can be tailored to nearly any flavor, I opted for a flavor that would go with my daily oatmeal and includes a daily dose of super foods.

Ginger and Maple Peanut Butter with Super Foods
Makes 2 cups

One 16 oz. jar of dry roasted peanuts
A few spoonfuls of melted coconut oil, to preference
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 tablespoons of maple syrup, more if desired
Salt, to taste

  1. Blend peanuts in a food processor until completely ground, roughly two minutes.
  2. Add one spoonful of coconut oil at a time, until the mixture becomes creamier and more peanut butter- like. (Be careful: While it seems logical that adding more oil makes the mixture creamier, too much oil can lead to oily, weird butter. If you prefer creamy peanut butter, blitz the peanuts in the food processor some more.)
  3. Add the chia seeds, ginger, cinnamon, and maple syrup then blend until fully-combined. Taste the mixture and add salt and more maple syrup if desired.
  4. Put into glass jar, add adorable label, high-five yourself every time you walk past it on the counter.

An Afternoon Snack: Butter Lettuce Salad + Love Toast

Butter Lettuce with Radishes, Tahini Toast, Vinaigrette

One of two things usually happens to me on Sundays: I either eat an enormous (boozy) brunch then have no appetite until the late afternoon, or I forget to eat breakfast altogether and don’t realize how hungry I am until two hours before dinner. For the days when I’m too hungry to wait till dinner, I’ll usually pull together something easy but healthy and satisfying, like a small salad and some toast for some extra substance.

This past Sunday, after a hard morning workout, I visited the grocery store and grabbed some small things that caught by eye: some crisp butter lettuce, amazingly red radishes, and some baby tomatoes, then came home and paired the sharp salad with some sweet tahini toast with jam, inspired by the Love Toast at Dimes.

Butter Lettuce Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Butter Lettuce with Radishes, Tomatoes, and Dijon Vinaigrette
Serves 1

1/2 clove fresh garlic, peeled
1 pinch salt
1.5 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 teaspoon red wine vinegar, plus some to taste
1 tablespoon honey
5 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/2 head of butter lettuce
5 radishes, greens removed and cut into disks
10 golden baby tomatoes, cut lengthwise

  1. To make the Dijon vinaigrette: Place the garlic into a small food processor, then add the salt, Dijon, red wine vinegar, and honey, blend until combined. While keeping the food processor on, add one tablespoon of olive oil at a time to emulsify. Set aside. (You can also do this all by whisking the ingredients together in a bowl, but I find it much easier to do let the processor do the work.)
  2. Tear the butter lettuce into roughly bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl, then add the radishes and tomatoes.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad, to taste. (You will likely have some dressing leftover, which you can use to dip any leftover radishes into for a perfect snack).

Love Toast with Fruit, a.k.a. Tahini Toast with Jam and Mint
Serves 1

1 slice bread
3 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoon boozy jam
1 tablespoon chopped mint
Raspberries (if in season)

  1. Toast the bread, then add tahini. Spread the jam over the tahini and add chopped mint on top. Add some fresh raspberries on top if in season.
  2. Shoo away your boyfriend when he comes over to steal a bite.

A French Fête: Frisée Salad + Shrimp with Shallots

Mimi Thorisson A Kitchen in France Cookbook Recipe

In middle school, I had listened to my Edith Piaf album enough times to have every lyric memorized — despite the fact that I didn’t speak French. (My rendition of the chorus to La Vie En Rose took several liberties, “Quand ilmepren dansesbra…”) This fascination with the French language, which manifested itself in Intensive French classes my senior year in college, has since made the jump to French food. Considering that the last four books I purchased have been French cookbooks, you could say I’m obsessed, actually.

This past Sunday, I dove head first into Mimi Thorisson’s A Kitchen in France and David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen to create a classic French feast. While I frequently look to Lebovitz’s traditional recipes for inspiration (and mouth-watering stories about sourcing crêpes in the Latin Quarter), I’ve shied away from Thorrisson’s time-intensive creations. I’ve often reached for her book off of the shelf, then hesitated after reading the name of an unpronounceable mushroom on the ingredient list or lengthy directions — it is not the stuff of weeknight meals. For this meal, I adapted Mimi’s Langoustines with Armagnac, subbing langoustines for shrimp and armagnac for more white wine, and paired it with a classic French frisée salad aux lardons.

Frisée Aux Lardons David Lebovitz

 

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Not Your Grandma’s Deviled Eggs

Cornichon Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs get a bad rap. Ask someone, “Care for some deviled eggs?” and they’ll instantly recoil. But I’d like to stand forward and re-market Deviled Eggs as the tasty, mayonnaise-y underrated goodness that they are (Can I get a sponsorship?). While incredibly retro, I’m all for revitalizing the Tupperware Party favorite and reinstating it on the millennial table with these three delicious renditions of the incredible, edible (Deviled) Egg.

Basil Deviled Eggs

Yield: One dozen eggs (2 dozen halves)

You will need:

Curried Deviled Eggs
3 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder

Basil Pesto Deviled Eggs
1/2 cup fresh bass leaves thoroughly chopped
3 tbsp mayonnaise

Crème Fraîche Deviled Eggs
3 tbsp crème fraîche
2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 cornichons, minced (about 1 tbsp)

To make:

  1. Peel hard-boiled eggs and cut them lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks; place 4 yolks in each of three bowls. Set whites aside. Mash yolks with a fork.
  2. Add mayonnaise and additional flavors to one bowl; mix. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add mixture to bowl of yolks; mix.
  4. Fill reserved egg-white halves with each filling; serve.
  5. Repeat for each variation.

My Boyfriend’s Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones

My boyfriend and I have the perfect culinary partnership: I cook and he bakes (I’ve been told on multiple situations that my chocolate chip cookies bear an uncanny resemblance to E.T.). On a particularly difficult Saturday morning after a night out, my boyfriend made me the most delicious hangover cure in the world: fresh scones. Previous to that morning, I had never reached for scones, and had opted for their more-buttery cousin, croissants, but these scones corrected my mistake. They were buttery, savory, flaky, and dotted with chocolate chips, but not too sweet – perfect to dip into a cup of coffee (which was also at hand that Saturday). When my boyfriend made them for me again this past Sunday – which tasted even more delicious without a headache – I decided those New Years resolutions could wait another day…

Makes 12 triangle scones (His usual batch is a half-recipe).

You will need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • chocolate chips or anything else you want to add
  • 1-2 tbs unsalted butter, melted for brushing
  • 1-2 tbs sugar, for dusting

For delicious scones:

  1. Preheat the over to 425 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together with a fork. Add the cold butter pieces and using a pastry blender (or your fingertips!), work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. (It’s ok if some larger bits of butter remain.)
  3. Pour in the buttermilk and vanilla and mix with the fork only until the ingredients are just moistened. You’ll have a soft dough with a rough look. If the dough is too dry, add small amount of butter milk. Add chocolate chips or whatever else you want (maybe try blueberries!). Gather the dough into a ball, pressing it gently so that it hold together. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it very briefly. Cut the dough in half.
  4. Press and shape each half of the dough into a circle about 7 inches across. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Cut the dough into 6 triangles. Place the scones on an un-greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes (or more, to your taste) until tops and bottoms are golden. Transfer to a rack and cool slightly.