groundhog day celery leaf and herb salad.

So, it looks like we are in for another six weeks of winter. I can't believe the groundhog could see much of anything today. We are in the  midst of a total white out here in NYC.

When I don't want to leave the house on days like this, I scrounge around the fridge to see what I can come up with. I have been juicing a ton lately and am totally in love with my Breville Fountain Juicer. I was trolling the Bon App sight late one night and saw that they did a whole juicer comparison article and the Brebville was the winner. My late night purchases don't usually turn out quite so well but I have to say this one is a winner. Seventy- five percent of the people in my house are obsessed with it. (teenage son not so much: give it time) My favorite juice, as of late, is celery/ginger/apple/ kale/parsley and lemon. So today, for lunch, I turned to those same standbys for a fresh, herby salad.

There is really no recipe here. It is meant more as an inspiration.


Clean and set aside a good bunch of celery leaf, mint and parsley

Chop the greens coarsely; leave some celery leaf whole and toss in a bowl.

Dice one shallot. Toss in Bowl.

Dice two radishes. Toss in bowl with greens.

Add a teaspoon of salted capers. I like the ones from Pantelleria. Rinse well before adding.

Add a little lemon rind. Bergamot lemon is really nice.

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the greens.

Dress with a really good grassy extra virgin olive oil. 

Sprinkle with a nice flakey sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Toss to combine.

Throw a poached egg on top if you so desire or serve wit a nice rustic toast and a great shard of cheese.

Happy Ground Hog day.




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heirloom apple sauce spice cake.

Sometimes, it is necessary to dig into those old fashioned cookbooks. I like the ones with the simple covers and no photographs like Fanny Farmer or my grandmother's very worn and battered Joy Of Cooking. I was looking for a recipe for an applesauce cake, as these chilly spring mornings bring on the need for childhood comfort foods.

Strangely enough, as I opened the worn and battered blue Joy of Cooking an aged index card fell out. It was a recipe for an applesauce cake. It was in my writing and it was dated 1983. There many days when I sat down with my grandmother and attempted to record her recipes that were in her head, passed down from my Nonni, raised in Puglia and transplanted to the streets of Brooklyn and Long Island City. This index card did not represent one of those recipes; instead it most likely came from the pages of Ladies Home Journal or McCall’s Magazine. I looked in the index of the Joy Of Cooking and there was a recipe for an applesauce cake but it was different from the one on the card, so in an attempt to make my own mark, I have transformed it one step further. I omitted the allspice and the cinnamon and added ginger and heirloom applesauce as well as whole-wheat pastry flour. I finished it off by grating an apple and some fresh ginger on top.


Heirloom Applesauce Ginger Spice Cake





 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour


Baking soda

Baking powder


Ginger (both fresh and ground)



Cream one 1/2  cup butter with 1 cup of sugar

Add 1 egg and beat well

Add 1 cup of applesauce


Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl

2 cups of  whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg



Mix well and slowly add to wet mixture stirring until all combined


Grease a round cake tin

Add batter

Grate 1 small apple on top and a healthy dose of fresh ginger


Preheat oven to 350 degrees cook for 1 hr or until done.