Monday, June 30, 2008

No Meat Monday

I spent many happy hours cooking yesterday within the terms of food writer Michael Pollan's recommendation, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants." My market bounty was turned into a variety of dishes (all except the strawberries which were gone). Here we go.

Mark Bittman's Radish Salad. Thumbs up! Spicey, crunchy a great summery alternative to a green salad. It doesn't require a mandoline, but having one certainly helps.

Radish Salad

Yield 4 servings

Time 20 minutes

Mark Bittman


The trick is to slice the radishes thinly. For this, a mandoline is best. I love the inexpensive Japanese versions, which work as well as French models costing 10 times as much.

  • About 12 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • Ground Urfa or other mild chilies to taste (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint or cilantro
  • 1. Combine radishes with salt, and cover with water in a bowl. Let sit 15 minutes. Drain, and rinse. Meanwhile, stir together the pepper and fruit juices.
  • 2. Toss radishes with dressing and chilies. Taste. Add more salt, pepper or lime juice as needed. Garnish with herb, and serve.

Melissa Clarke's Garlic Scape Dip. Another success. I didn't have a can of cannelini beans so substituted black eyed peas which taste great, though yielded a brownish color that some might find not so appetizing.

White Bean and Garlic Scapes Dip

Time: 15 minutes

1/3 cup sliced garlic scapes (3 to 4)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, more to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling.

1. In a food processor, process garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Add cannellini beans and process to a rough purée.

2. With motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through feed tube and process until fairly smooth. Pulse in 2 or 3 tablespoons water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip. Add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired.

3. Spread out dip on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more salt.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

Lastly, I had clipped fresh tarragon from my parent's garden last week and was dying to use it. This potato 'salad' from Gourmet seemed the perfect vehicle. It turned out to be my favorite recipe of the bunch. Easy bbq side dish!

Fingerling Potatoes with Chives and Tarragon

Gourmet July 2008

We can't get enough of this method for braising potatoes. In this variation, their tenderness is emphasized by an unctuous olive-oil glaze punctuated with fresh chives and tarragon.

Makes 4 servings

by Maggie Ruggiero

1 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes such as Russian Banana
1 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon

Peel potatoes and halve lengthwise.

Bring potatoes, water, oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to a simmer in a 10-inch nonstick skillet, then cover and briskly simmer, shaking skillet occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove lid and cook, stirring gently, until most of water has evaporated and potatoes are glazed, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in herbs.

Happy plant eating everyone!

My Man in Cleveland

I just spotted this article from Saturday's NY Times that profiles my childhood grocery store, Heinen's. It's a small, family-owned grocery chain with stores all around the Cleveland area. They have been at the forefront of local food movement there and have the best service of any store I've patronized. I was really impressed, specifically, by the jovial deli counter attendants when shopping with my mother at their Green Road location last weekend. I'm thrilled to see them getting such great press, specifically about how to provide good food at good prices.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Market Bounty

One of the best things about summer is the cornucopia of fresh produce at the market. I just wanted to share a few things I picked up today: radishes, lavender, strawberries and garlic scapes. I've been meaning to make Mark Bittman's radish salad since I saw it a few weeks ago and was inspired by last week's times article (and a friend's endorsement of it) on garlic scapes.

Stay tuned....

Cauliflower and Red Peppers

Not a combination I thought went together. But when they're both roasted and topped with a briny, biting vinaigrette it all really works. A great, different side dish for summer. From this month's issue of Gourmet.

Note: I found I had way too much dressing. You may want to use a little at a time to make sure the veggies aren't drowned.

Roasted red peppers and cauliflower with caper vinaigrette

Makes 12 servings by Shelley Wiseman

4 red bell peppers
2 heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 2-inch florets
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup large capers (not salted), drained and rinsed

Preheat broiler.

Quarter bell peppers lengthwise and discard stems, seeds, and ribs.

Broil peppers, skin sides up, on a broiler pan about 2 inches from heat until skins are blistered, 8 to 12 minutes. (Alternatively, roast whole peppers on their sides on racks of gas burners on high, turning with tongs, until skins are blackened, 5 to 8 minutes.) Transfer to a bowl and let stand, covered, 10 minutes.

While peppers stand, preheat oven to 450°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Peel peppers and cut each quarter lengthwise into 2 or 3 strips.

Toss cauliflower with 1/4 cup oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper

in a large bowl, then divide between two 4-sided sheet pans. Roast cauliflower, turning it and switching position of pans halfway through, until just tender and browned in spots, about 20 minutes total.

While cauliflower roasts, whisk together lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoonsalt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large serving bowl, then add remaining 1/2 cup oil in a slow stream, whisking. Finely chop about 1 tablespoon capers, then whisk chopped and whole capers into vinaigrette. Add warm cauliflower and peppers and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature.

Cooks' note: Peppers and cauliflower can be roasted and tossed with vinaigrette 1 day ahead and chilled.

Cooks' note: Peppers and cauliflower can be roasted and tossed with vinaigrette 1 day ahead and chilled.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Biscuit Bungle

I'm running a little behind here at domestic agenda due to two weekends in a row of out-of-town weddings. But I read this very interesting article in the NY Times last week and had to share. It brings up a very interesting dilemma of terroir: if a food (or foodstuff) that is connected to a certain physical place is transplanted from there, will it maintain its essence? Happy reading.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

One dish wonder

Like a winter stew, this dish from June's Cooking Light is served all in one "pot" and has everything you need in a meal: protein, carbs, starch, veggies. Plus, it's a cool and tasty dish for summer, with a very light dressing. I happened to have frise and skinless chicken thighs, so I substituted those for the arugula and chicken breasts. I had an especially tasty sheeps milk feta which I used instead of goats cheese. If you're like me and would rather spend time than money, buy your veggies whole and put your knife skills to work and quickly grill your whole chicken breasts.

Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
3 cups chopped grilled chicken breast strips (such as Tyson)
1 1/2 cups trimmed arugula
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup prechopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

2. Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.

3. Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups salad and 1 tablespoon cheese)

CALORIES 295 (23% from fat); FAT 7.7g (sat 2.9g,mono 2.8g,poly 1.1g); IRON 2.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 55mg; CALCIUM 40mg; CARBOHYDRATE 32.1g; SODIUM 788mg; PROTEIN 24.4g; FIBER 2g

We all scream....for fro yo

There are a few ingredients I use more often than others. I love lime, and you already know I love rhubarb. My husband adores blueberries and greek yogurt. So when I came across this frozen yogurt recipe last year at Heidi Swanson's excellent website,, I knew I had to try it. Here's the orginal. Like Heidi, I used 2/3 cup sugar and no vanilla. It was tangy and delicious.

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Recipe

Heidi notes: First off, remember it is important to use good-quality whole-milk yogurt. The version in David's book is Vanilla Frozen Yogurt. This time around I skipped out on the vanilla, opting for straight, bright white yogurt with the sweetness playing off the tang of the yogurt. I also used slightly less sugar than called for here, more like 2/3 cup - but you can go either way depending on what you like.

3 cups (720g) strained yogurt (see below) or Greek-style yogurt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Mix together the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla (if using). Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

To make 1 cup (240g) of strained yogurt, line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth. then scrape 16 ounces or 2 cups (480g) of plain whole-milk yogurt into the cheesecloth. Gather the ends and fold them over the yogurt, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours. So, for the above recipe start with and strain 6 cups of yogurt.

Makes about 1 quart.

Today, I made a few adjustments and am thrilled with the reults.

French Vanilla FroYo

3 cups (720g) Fage 2% Greek-style yogurt
2/3 cup (150g) sugar
1 vanilla bean

Scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Mix together with yogurt and sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Enjoy alone or with fresh fruit.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tech Savvy(ish)

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tomato Terror

At my local farmer's market last week there was a sign on a bin containing some delicious looking tomatoes. It read "SAFE." The fact that such a sign was necessary was not just dismaying. It was scary.

I am a big believer in buying local and organic and the recent salmonella-tomatoes epidemic certainly hammers home why doing so is not just good for the environment and your taste buds, but may keep you from death by produce.

Slate has a good explainer article on how these tomatoes came to be contaminated in the first place. In the meantime, if gazpacho is a culinary craving for you this week, make sure the tomatoes you buy are on the vine.

Things go wrong

Hmmmm. Yes, this was supposed to be a lovely blueberry coffee cake. What happened? The recipe called for a "9-inch round baking pan" and since it was a cake, I used a (duh) cake pan. Well, perhaps I should have used a pie dish instead as the batter was clearly too much for the vessel. The cake turned out moist and tasty, though less than picture perfect. I'm going to write cooking light and see if they can be a little more specific on the type of pan to use and then maybe I'll give it another shot. Nobody (or baker) is perfect, I guess.

You can find the recipe here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

As requested - another summery drink!

Lisa asked for a drink with Rhubarb. Drink+Rhubarb? But of course!

This recipe is from Gourmet a few years ago, but couldn't be found on Epicurious. It's delicious as is, but can also be adult-enhanced with vodka.

Rhubarb Ginger Cooler
Makes 12 drinks

3 1/2 lb fresh rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (10 cups)
2 1/2 cups cold water
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger
About 2 cups sparkling water

Bring rhubarb, cold water, sugar and ginger to a simmer in a 4 to 5 quart pot over moderate heat, uncovered, stirring once or twice, then simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat and let steep uncovered. 1 hour.

Pour mixture through a large fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, gently stirring but not pressing on solids. Discard solids. You should have about 6 cups syrup. Chill syrup completely, about 45 minutes.

Serve syrup in glasses over ice with a splash of sparkling water.

Syrup can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered. Syrup keeps, frozen, 3 months.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summertime Drinks

Last year while on a rare trip to the Hamptons I was introduced to the delicious and refreshing cocktail, Pimm's Cup. Citrusy and a bit spicy, it quickly became my favorite summer drink.

Pimm's Cup
one part Pimm's No.1
three parts lemonade, sprite, or ginger ale
mints leaves
slices of cucumber and lemon

Pimm's No. 1 is somewhat of a mystery liquor. It is based on gin, but like coca-cola, its recipe is a closely guarded secret. Secret of deliciousness!

A little ago while at our local liquor store, 67 wine, a Swiss miss looking young lady was giving out free samples of St-Germaine. How could I resist? St-Germaine is made from Alp Elderflower blossoms and is absolutely tasty with hints of citrus and honey. Though we tasted it months before it was even near 70 degrees (let alone 95) I knew it was going to be my new favorite summer drink.

St-Germaine and Champagne (or Prosecco, or Cava)
1/3 part St. Germaine
2/3 part Sparkling Wine
Slice or twist of lemon

I was eagerly anticipating the cocktails to be served at a bridal shower I attended Saturday because the hostess is married to the mixologist at pdt and I knew they'd be top notch and creative.

And boy was I right to be excited. What was on the drink menu? Pimm's Cup AND St-Germaine Cocktails! How could I choose? Luckily I think there's room enough in my summer for two favorite drinks.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Yes. Dinosaur BBQ was good. Darn good! First off, if you care for super-strong and super-girly drinks, you must try their Donkey Punch. It is pink, contains rum and a "variety of fruit juices", no umbrella, but a veritable fruit salad of garnish. If not, their beer on tap selection is vast and excellent. Situated under the westside highway, near my favorite Fairway (because the refrigerated section is a huge room that you need to put on specially-provided Fairway puffy coats to enter!), Dino BBQ is a little like an enormous grungy garage, hence a perfect place to eat barbeque. The joint was jumping last night and we ordered as much as we thought we could handle. Because we were with a large group, we erred on the side of less-spicy sauces, though all Dino's signature sauces are provided on the table, so I was able to soup my meat up to proper near-atomic levels.

Hits: Deviled Eggs, Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade, Jumbo BBQ wings w/ Wango Tango Sauce, BBQ Ribs, Syracuse Style Salt Potatoes (probably the best and most unique bbq side I've ever had), Devil's Duel Habanero Pepper Sauce

Misses: Potato Salad, Cornbread, BBQ Beans, our waiter taking forever to bring water and then not bringing enough

I'd like to go back and try a few more entrees, especially the brisket and pork shoulder. Overall, tasty food and a very festive vibe.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Spicy and cool

As promised, my recipe using the pickled jalapeno wedding favor. This is adapted from a recipe I used to help my mom make for parties. It's simple, easy and can be made a day in advance and refrigerated.

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Appetizer Rollups

Two large flour tortillas
1 oz. bar 1/3 less fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
6 oz. pickled jalapeno peppers (use less if you're sensitive to the spice!)
1 large roasted red bell pepper (fresh or from a jar)
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt, pepper

Finely chop red pepper while cream cheese softens. In a medium bowl, combine both types of pepper, lemon juice and cream cheese with salt and pepper to taste. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over both tortillas. Roll up. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, cut into slices.


I had a tough day on Sunday. Some parade made me 45 minutes late to my appointments on the east side, and said appointments were unexpectedly difficult. So when I arrived back home 10 million hours after I left, I knew I needed a major pick-me-up. I had to go to Bin 71.

Bin 71 is the glorious and cozy wine bar on Columbus between 71st and 72nd Sts. They have a friendly, low-key staff who recommend and pour (generously) excellent wines and serve an array of delicious food that goes beyond meat and cheese plates (though they're good too).

When I'm there, I feel instantly relaxed and slightly indulgent. Its the closest feeling to being on vacation while still in the city.

Of course, I'm not the only one who feels this way, so it's often packed. Luckily they've added 5 two-tops outside for the summer which adds to their capacity by one third. Still, if you can, show up well before prime lunch time.

Favorites: Sancerre, Gruner Ventliner, Zinfandel, Octopus, Pork Panini, Ham and Manchego Panini

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ah, to be a summer associate

I couldn't be a lawyer...mostly because I didn't go to law school. But I think I'd make an excellent law firm summer associate. I would love to be wined and dined, socialize, and enjoy all New York city has to offer from to trapeze school to baseball games while being extremely well-compensated. Who wouldn't?

Eater is featuring some summer associate restaurant reporting which should include NYCs top restaurants and their lunch offerings. Especially interesting thus far are "topics discussed" and the bitter posts from attorneys clearly past the summer associate honeymoon.

I get to attend a summer associate event with my husband's firm this Thursday. Stay tuned for my thoughts on Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem.