This classy dressing is great with summer lettuces, tossed with potatoes, or spooned over a pretty piece of fish. I lightened it up by using plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise or sour cream.
To make it: Finely chop your choice of fresh, soft leafy herbs in a food processor. Parsley, tarragon, and chives are a common way to start, and I’ve seen recipes that include mint, basil, chervil, and dill. Optional: an anchovy filet, or you could try adding a squirt of fish sauce instead. Add lemon juice, plain yogurt, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil if you’d like. If it’s too thick, add water.
Seasonal pizzas are my jam (as you may have noticed on this blog). This one was made with the goals of 1. responsibly cleaning out the fridge before a weekend away, and 2. having something delicious and homemade to eat on a Friday night. From bottom to top it goes: whole wheat pizza dough, fontina cheese, sliced heirloom tomatoes, sliced fresh jalapenos, fresh corn, and goat cheese. After baking, fresh dill, basil, a sprinkle of salt, and several grinds of black pepper go over it.
You may have heard that eating Padrón peppers (and their Japanese counterpart, shishito peppers) is like some kind of mealtime Russian roulette — most are mild, but 1 in every 10 peppers are rumored to be wickedly hot. I’d like to re-frame eating these little guys as entering a lottery. Though none in my batch of pan-seared peppers ended up being spicy, it’s a gamble I’m always willing to take. Maybe next time I’ll be a winner.
As far as preparing Padrón or shishito peppers goes, all you have to do is blacken them in an oiled pan or throw skewered sets of them on a hot grill. Sprinkle flaky salt over them and you’re ready to play.
I’m a fan of savory peanut butter sandwiches (previously: PB + pickles), so it should come as no surprise that this crunchy spicy combo is in regular rotation for me.
FIGS you guys. Plump, lusciously soft, tooth-achingly sweet figs from California. I am pretty sure you can’t go wrong by combining them with a well-identified array of cheeses (chevre, Parmesan, mascarpone, blue cheeses), salty cured pork (prosciutto, bacon, speck, etc.), or nuts. I decided to maximize the experience and go with all of the above.
To make it: Crisp up prosciutto slices in a bit of olive oil. Set aside and cut into pieces when cool enough to handle. Add balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of honey to the pan, and let the vinegar reduce and thicken a bit. Mix in a little salt and pepper. Pour dressing over arugula, quartered figs, and prosciutto pieces. Top with toasted walnuts. Fresh goat cheese (not pictured) is also a welcome addition.
After browsing through a few recipes for Pasta alla Norma, I came to the conclusion that the key ingredients for the sauce are eggplant, tomatoes, ricotta salata, and fresh basil. Everything else that goes into it is up to you. Instead of frying the eggplant chunks in oil, I roasted them in a 500-degree oven which was, yes, not the most comfortable thing to do on a hot summer day, but also, yes, less splattery and oily (thanks for the idea, Saveur).
To make it: Three parallel processes that come together in the end.
1. Toss cubes of eggplant with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in a 500-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until soft and browned.
2. While the eggplant is roasting, heat up some olive oil in a saucepan and add some combination of chopped onion, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes, then add canned diced tomatoes (or break up whole tomatoes into chunks). Season with salt and dried oregano, and let simmer. When the eggplant is done, add it to the tomato sauce.
3. While the sauce is going, cook pasta (spaghetti, penne, rigatoni… whatever you prefer). Drain and add to the sauce, and toss to combine.
4. Serve with shredded or shaved ricotta salata and torn fresh basil leaves, and maybe an extra drizzle of good olive oil.
I keep buying summer squash at the farmers’ market. It’s kind of a compulsion; I’m drawn to the different colors, shapes, and sizes that I see every week and can’t help purchasing them. Then I get home and I’m like, what should I do with these? Today the answer was zucchini fritters. Healthy zucchini fritters, because they’re not deep-fried grease bombs, and I used whole wheat flour, and they’re good with plain Greek yogurt on top.
To make them: Grate (using a large-holed grater) or julienne (using a julienne peeler) about 7-8 ounces of zucchini or other summer squash (about 2 medium squash). Toss with a generous amount of salt and let it hang out in a bowl for 20-30 minutes. Squeeze out all the water that the salt has drawn out and drain the zucchini. Combine with 1 beaten egg, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1 chopped scallion, 1/2 cup of chopped fresh herbs (I used a combo of dill, cilantro, and basil), and some cracked black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Use about 1/4 of the zucchini mixture for each fritter. Fry until golden brown, then flip. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt and even more fresh herbs.
I just moved (back) to California after eight glorious years in New York. This post will not be about how many fantastic people I said goodbye to, or about how I cried during a movie preview last weekend because it was set in locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Instead I will focus on a few of the many positives about my new living situation: GORGEOUS weather, a really solid year-round weekend farmers’ market just steps from my new home, and a Trader Joe’s just another block away. And one really pertinent upgrade: a kitchen that’s bigger than my previous kitchen (which was actually quite respectable for a Manhattan apartment rented for less than $1500 per month). And while I can’t do all my usual cooking until the movers arrive with our many boxes of stuff, there are enough beautiful things at the farmers’ market that need nothing more than a rinse and maybe a little basic knife work to keep me from eating out for every meal. Perfect for breaking up our temporary reliance on takeout and cereal.
To make it: place nectarine (or peach) wedges and tomatoes (cherry or otherwise) in a plastic takeout container (or a plate if you are living normally at the moment). Nestle a ball of burrata in the middle (mine was some meh but really cheap stuff from TJ’s). Drizzle some flavorful extra virgin olive oil over the top, and add a sprinkle of salt. Top with torn basil leaves. Serve with crusty bread and extra olive oil for dipping.
Hello, spring! One of my favorite ways to celebrate: eating pounds and pounds of fresh asparagus. It’s fine simply sauteed with olive oil and a dash of salt, but I started grabbing things out of the fridge as I was cooking to create a tasty, light coating that added juuuust enough seasoning without insulting the loveliness of the asparagus in its natural form.
To make it: Heat olive oil in a pan. Add asparagus and saute for about 5 minutes, just until they’re barely softened. Add a few squeezes of lemon juice, a little spoonful of white miso, a drizzle of honey, black pepper, and a splash of water. Toss to dissolve the miso and combine everything evenly. Finish with a pat of butter.
Winter is (finally) coming to a close, so I decided to stop by the Union Square farmers’ market last week to buy as much spring produce as I could carry home. Sadly, asparagus was nowhere to be seen because restaurants show up early and buy it all. I did get my hands on some delightfully fresh baby lettuces though, as well as a huge bunch of over-wintered kale for just $3. Overwintered kale, in case you were wondering, is kale that shows up in the spring after the plant has been left in the ground all winter. Little flower buds appear (I don’t know anything about horticulture but I read on the Internet that this is called “bolting”), and the kale is typically harvested before those flowers bloom (“going to seed”), at which point it becomes less appealing as an edible item. Bottom line for my purposes: tastes the way kale usually does, but with smaller leaves and tender (easy to eat) stems.
While I was thinking about winter ending and the ins and outs of growing food, I found a jar of sweet, gingery, tomato jam made by my in-laws with their homegrown tomatoes. Another bottom line: so delicious, and perfect with a smear of goat cheese on good bread, topped off with a pile of sauteed kale.