thanksgiving. a few moments.

Now that the dust has settled and the soup is on the stove, I have a few moments to share some photos from the past couple days. Thanksgiving was spent rather spontaneously with our good friends Helen and Benoit and family as neither of our families had made a concrete plan as of Wednesday morning.  So, while I was at the Greenmarket, I spoke to Helen and we decided to join forces and do it at our place in the city. The reason we were ambivalent in the first place is that the kids protested so much about going upstate and to be totally honest we were a little beat from work  and somewhat incapable of making a decision. They wore us down. The city won and I have to say it was nice not to travel. 

 We had a lovely Thanksgiving despite our initial ambivalence. The day started at 2 and ended at midnight after a long meal, dessert and a walk to visit friends and more dessert and cheese and bubbly. All was perfectly as it should be, except for my insanity of trying to cook Thanksgiving and shoot at the same time.

Below are few highlights from dinner. 

I am not posting any recipes here just yet. I will get on it soon.

It goes without saying that we all have a lot to be thankful for this year. I can not get my mind off all those that have lost homes or family. It will be important in the next few months to keep on with the volunteer work and donations to those in need.

xx

Menu

Vermont Heritage Turkey with Wild Mushroom and Pecorino Stuffing

Cast iron Brussel Sprouts with Pan Fried Procuitto

Roasted Radishes with Juniper Sea Salt

Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Roasted Blue Pearl mushrooms with Olive Oil and Thyme

Butter Leaf Lettuces with a Concord Grape Shrub Vinagrette

Dragon Carrot Puree

Heirloom Cranberry with Maple And Shaved Ginger

Blushing Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie]

 

Objet for the table.

Objet for the table.

The basics.

The basics.

The cheese course.

The cheese course.

For the Blushing Apple Pie.

For the Blushing Apple Pie.

Heirloom Cranberry With Maple And Ginger. 

Heirloom Cranberry With Maple And Ginger. 

Cast iron Brussel sprouts with pancetta.

Cast iron Brussel sprouts with pancetta.

The bird. From Vermont's Tamarack Hollow Farm .

What remains. But not for long.

What remains. But not for long.

flying fox apples and french apple cake

10.27.12

This cold weather and early snow calls for a little something special with the afternoon PG Tips. I have been hoarding Maggie’s beautiful heirloom apples but yesterday's weather prompted me to finally use them.

I was recently in Southwestern France for work and was inspired by the small town farmers markets. It is fairly easy to find a market there on any given day. My favorite was a biodynamic market that sold organic fruit, vegetables and grains. Whenever we are traveling for work, I make it a mission to seek out these little markets. You never know what you will find. I am always on the look out for local specialties like honey and sea salt or liquor to take back home. At one of the markets in France there was a woman selling a very simple French apple cake. It was a plain and unassuming cake that tasted of butter and apples and not a trace of cinnamon which I find  to be highly overused where apples are concerned. The weekend before the storm I ventured down to New Amsterdam Market. The wind was wild and the rain was just settling in, but faithful vendors were there nonetheless. Maggie of Flying Fox had the last of the season's apples along with some beautiful medlars and quince.

Yesterday, I found a recipe worthy of her gorgeous apples, a simple French apple cake by Dorie Greenspan via David Liebovitz’s blogthat perfectly matches that simple cake from the French market. 

I made one substitution; instead of rum I used armagnac that I picked up in France.

This is a perfect cake for an afternoon tea or with a morning espresso. Come to think of it, it is just plain perfect anytime.

Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake

 recipe via David Liebovitzblog 

 Makes one 9-inch  cake

Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

ingredients:

3/4 cup (110g) flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

4 large apples (a mix of varieties)

2 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup (150g) sugar

3 tablespoons dark rum (I substituted armagnac)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 tablespoons (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.

2. Heavily butter an 8- or 9-inch (20-23cm) springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 1-inch (3cm) pieces. ( use a mix of kinds. I used a mix of hierlooms)

5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum and vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter

6. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.

7. Fold in the apple cubes until they’re well-coated with the batter and scrape them into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little with a spatula.

8. Bake the cake for 50 minute to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no apples are stuck to it.

Serving: Serve wedges of the cake just by itself, or with crème fraîche.

Storage: The cake will keep for up to three days covered. Since the top is very moist, it’s best to store it under a cake dome or overturned bowl.

Black Oxford, Old Maids Winter, D'arcy Spice and Hidden Rose... just a few of Maggie's beautiful hierlooms from The New Amsterdam Market.

 

The beautiful pink one is called Hidden Rose for it's surprising pink color.

The beautiful pink one is called Hidden Rose for it's surprising pink color.

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good butter makes the cake...

good butter makes the cake...

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121108_FRENCH_APPLE_CAKE-1611.jpg

roasted concord grape two ways.

Oh dear, I have been so delinquent in keeping up the blog lately! Life is getting the better of me and the days are flying by. Here we are mid October already! I want to share some of the things I have been making and eating lately. There are no recipes to accompany these as they are meant more for inspiration. The first is Roasted Concord Grapes With Olive Oil Maple And Sea Salt, on top of Greek yogurt with maple and flax seeds.. You can do it with any fruit as I been doing since the first stone fruits arrived in the Summer and unless you are really wild about Concord grapes like I am you might be better off with a simpler fruit like apple or plum The Concord grapes are real pain with the seeds and they require some serious work to get them out!breakfast I know I said I wasn't going to give a recipe but here is the gist of it in the loosest sense; Take whatever fruit you decie to use and spread it on a lined sheet pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and top with a touch of maple syrup. Pop the whole tray in the oven and slow roast the fruit at 350 degrees until it is soft. (With the Concord grapes, you must carefully split the grape and remove the seeds once they are soft and roasted... this takes patience and diligence and a small sharp knife!)

Once your fruit is roasted, Place a generous portion of it on top of your bowl of Greek yogurt and drizzle with a little maple, a tiny hit of sea salt and a good heaping tablespoon or two of flax seeds!

My other grape inspired recipe is Concord grape and Hen Of The Woods Crostini.

Place a generous amount of hen of the woods mushrooms on a lined baking sheet or in a big cast iron frying pan. Drizzle with olive oil, seas salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Cut a handful of concord grapes in half and gently remove the seeds. toss the Concord grapes with the hen of the woods and olive oil mixture. Throw the pan in the oven and roast at 350 degrees until the mushrooms are soft and some of the edges are a touch crispy.

Toast some really good bread and brush with olive oil after toasting. Top the bread with the roasted mushrooms and grape mixture. Shave some Pecorino Romano on top and get to eating! 

That's it! 

Have lovely Tuesday friends!!

I promise to be back sooner than later! 

where the wild things are. hello fall.

Hello friends. It's been a while and though this is not quite going to be a proper blog post, I am getting there!

It is hard to get back into the swing of posting. The last two months have been super busy with work and travel. I am not complaining, as I do love both! As soon I got back to New York, I made a visit to The New Amsterdam Market, one of my favorite city markets. Les and Nova of the Wild Food Gatherers Guild of Vermont, were there with pounds of mushrooms in all shapes, sizes and colors. I couldn't resist. I dried some and plan on making a Chanterelle vodka and a mixed mushroom ragu with the others. Those posts will hopefully be up soon. For the moment, all I have to offer are these lovely wild mushrooms from Les and Nova and some gorgeous walnuts I picked up off the ground in France. Yes, I did smuggle the walnuts back. Bad, I know. I am hoping they will make their way into a french inspired cake very soon!

Have a lovely Wednesday!

X

lunch for one. tomato and celery salad with shaved baby fennel and dill flower.

I am working from home today, and found myself making my go to summer salad for lunch. It is super similar to theone I made a few weeks back but tastes surprisingly different with just a couple substitutions. There really is no recipe, it is just thrown together based on whatever I had in the house. I can't seem to get away from this tomato celery combo this season... it is so good! This salad was a melange of  tiny summer tomatoes. I picked up a couple of mixed quarts of them at the Union Square Green Market along with some fresh dill flower, baby fennel and my favorite red celery. I went to my trusty mandolin for perfectly thin celery and fennel. It is my favorite kitchen tool hands down.  I have a really good French mandolin but I prefer a simple Japanese one (I use one fromMUJI) I use it through all the seasons! You can also find nice Japanese ones at a Japanese hardware store or a Japanese Mart.  I hope you are inspired to get the Greenmarket and make a version of this salad. Add a little fresh goat cheese if you would like to make it a bit more substantial.

x

Lunch For One ; Tomato and Celery Salad with Shaved Baby Fennel and Dill Flower.

A 1/2 quart of mixed cherry tomatoes

One stalk of red celery ( I used the nub end as all my celery was previously devoured.)

One baby fennel bulb

A couple sprigs of fresh dill flower

Juice of half a lime

Good Extra Virgin olive oil

crunchy sea salt

METHOD

Chop the tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on size

Shave the celery over the tomatoes with the mandolin

Shave the fennel bulb over the celery with the mandolin

Add the sprigs of dill

Squeeze the 1/2 of lime over the salad

Douse with some extra virgin olive oil

Top off with a little crunchy seas salt and toss the whole salad.

EAT. SMILE. EAT SOME MORE.

where the wild things are. no. 20. pick a peck of pickled milkweed.

I have gone a little mad for milkweed this summer! You could have knocked me over when I first learned that it was edible. I have always known that Monarchs are dependent on milkweed for survival but I was dubious about eating it but no more, I am now a total convert. I have made milkweed frittata, a tempura of the blossoms and buds and now i have come to the pickled milkweed pods! They taste a bit like pickled ochre  and have a caperberry like texture. Do not worry, you will not end up like Sylvester with a mouthful of fluff! The tiny pods get pickled when they are between one to two inches long and the fluff inside the pod is not really fully fluff yet. I have tried these out on friends and family and the consensus seems to be that they are surprisingly good.

So grab some milkweed pods before they get too big and get pickling.

Pickled Milk Weed Pods

4 cups of milkweed buds (between 1-2 inches in size)

5 cups raw apple cider vinegar

1/4-cup sugar in the raw

2 sprigs of fresh dill flower

1-tablespoon whole juniper berries

1/2 teaspoon crushed juniper berries (crush them with a mortar and pestle)

1 tablespoon of black pepper corns

3 tablespoons grey sea salt

 To Make The Brine:

Add the spices and sugar to the 5 cups of vinegar

Heat to a boil in a non-reactive pot

Turn off and allow steeping for 20 minutes for the spices to infuse

In the mean time, clean and wash and de-stem the milkweed pods 

Blanch the milkweed pods for 30 seconds and then plunge them into an ice bath

Place the blanched milkweed pods in two 4-cup sterilized mason or Weck jars.

After the brine has infused for 20 minutes or so, return it to the heat and bring it to a quick boil and turn off.

Remove the brine from the heat and slowly pour it over the milkweed pods.

The pickled milkweed pods will last a couple of weeks in your refrigerator.

stone fruit. purslane. and korean watercress salad. lunch for one.

The other day as I walked around the green market I had a stone fruit story churning in my head. I wasn't sure what I was going to do but I knew I wanted to make a salad of plums or peaches. So, with that in mind I started to pick up beautiful bits of this and that and slowly a salad began to form.

Two plums or one peach and one plum

A handful of purselane

A handful of Korean watercress

Mexican gherkins

Fresh dill flower

1 garlic scape

Sea salt

Extra virgin olive oil

Juice half a lime

1 teaspoon of rose syrup

Or maple syrup

The main ingredient in this salad is plum; everything else is just there to add a little bit of flavor and to play off the flavor of the plums.

Nothing here is that exotic, I found it all easily at the farmer’s market here in NYC. You can substitute and play around if you can’t find these exact ingredients. Embrace a little whimsy!

Stone fruit. Purslane. and Korean Watercress Salad.

Cut three medium size plums into small slices. Discard the pit. Use any kind. I used Elephant Heart and Santa Rosa plums.

Arrange the plums loosely on a plate.

Add a few sprigs of purselane ( a lemony tasting wild green )

Add a few sprigs of Korean watercress, which looks nothing like regular watercress. You can substitute celery leaf or parsley if you can’t find the watercress.

Cut in half a handful of Mexican Gherkins and sprinkle on top of the plums, again if you can’t find these use some other tender early cuke.

Add a few sprigs of dill flower, substitute dill if you can’t find dill flower

Thinly slice about an inch of garlic scape, use a finely chopped shallot or chive if you can’t find scape.

Sprinkle with a pinch of good crunchy seas salt

Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the salad

Drizzle with a good extra virgin olive oil

Finish with a teaspoon of rose syrup (I made my own from rose petals) If you can’t find a rose syrup then add a teaspoon of maple syrup!

It is all about improvising and throwing together whatever is in season.

Have fun! Let me know if you come up with any interesting summer salads!

Enjoy!

This salad is just about being inspired at the green market and then tossing it all together! Don’t be scared of combinations just be inspired by them. What is the worst thing that can happen?

More stone fruit recipes to come!!

heirloom tomato and celery salad.

07.24.12

The first of  summer's tomatoes have arrived at the markets. Green Market stalls are  filled with piles of gorgeous and unusually shaped heirlooms in purples, stripes, blacks, whites, deep reds, orange and yellows. I love the wabi sabi-ness of heirloom tomatoes. I particularly like the ones that look as though they have been carelessly stitched and scratched like a beautiful Lousie Bourgeois sculpture. 

Tomatoes are one of those foods that are in my blood. If I were on a deserted island I  could get by if I had stockpiles of my great grandmothers marinara sauce.  When I think about the things I love to eat most... they almost always involve this diverse fruit! Foccacia with cherry tomatoes sunk deep into little wells of crunchy bread and pools of olive oil...marinara with a punch of garlic and hint of basil, Panzanella a delicious bread salad, a BLT with a  thick chunky slice of  a fresh garden tomato, tomato soup and grilled cheese, the ultimate in comfort food or a very simple summer salad of tomato and basil, olive oil and a little sea salt or in this case some crisp shaved celery. Just give me a piece of crusty Italian bread to soak up that juice and I will be in heaven!

More tomato love to come 

 Heirloom Tomato and Celery Salad (for two)

This is sort of a non-recipe. It is just an inspiration! As with most summer salads they just kind of get thrown together!

4 large heirloom tomatoes

1 stalk of celery with leaves

A handful of fresh basil

Really good olive oil

Sea salt

Cut the tomatoes into pieces and put in a large bowl

Shave the celery stalk into ultra thin slices with a mandolin and scatter on top of the tomatoes

Tear the celery leaf and basil into small pieces and add to the salad

Add a pinch of really good crunchy sea salt

Douse with an extra virgin olive oil 

Toss and Devour!

As simple as that and DO NOT forget some crusty bread lest you waste that amazing tomato juice!