august tomatoes.

It is August and you know what that means... tomatoes are out in full force by the bushel load!

The farmers market was bursting with every shape and size. Our little garden upstate is not too shabby either. It seems that hot spell was just what they needed. Delaware County has a ridiculously short growing season so when we get tomatoes we are ecstatic.

I am eating them every way I can. Last night I made a salad inspired by one I ate at the new restaurant Estela on East Houston Street in NYC. There is really no recipe here as I just kind of threw them together based on the flavors and ingredients I remembered from the dish.

This is what I put in mine.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Purselane

Canary Melon

I added some fresh herbs and topped it with olive oil and chive blossom vinaigrette.

Hope you are inspired to make something with tomatoes too! When January comes you will be craving a real tomato. So what are you waiting for?

You can see the completed salad on instagram here

Check out the August issue of Bon Appétit Magazine for some great inspired tomato recipes

xx

goodbye spring. hello summer.

Life is flying by at light speed these days. I am already feeling spring rolling into summer. What is with this crazy weather? My head is chaotic swirl of work and kid schedules. I am trying to eek out some time to just chill. The heady smell of these Lily Of The Valley, one of my favorite flowers, remind me now and then to just breathe and to take a moment to pause and appreciate.

xx

cider and babes

This morning as I look out on the grey city skyline, I am anticipating some extreme weather. I can't help but think what a perfect sky we had last Saturday as I headed up to a small town in Western Massachusetts to visit friends and babes. The remnants of summer’s leaves had turned a brilliant yellow and were positively glowing and illuminated. We did not even wear coats as the weather was so unseasonably warm.. It was pretty much the perfect fall weekend. Plans were a little loose, as they have to be with so many little ones around. So we kept things mellow and cooked quite a bit. On Sunday, we made a big brunch and went to a fall festival at a local CSA, Natural Roots, which is a horse powered small family farm on The South River in Conway. At the festival, the kids participated in feed sack races and beet in spoon races, which was pretty cute. We all climbed up onto the wagon for a horse drawn ride through the river and into the woods beyond the farm. We bought local apples and when we got back to the house I hunkered down and made a pie with Odette, one mini one for her and one big one for us. We were a little short on the crust due to the mini pie and a little underestimating on my part, so I winged the top and just made triangle shapes, something I picked up from the blackbird girls during our book shoot.

In the afternoon, Anna arrived to make cider with her recently purchased cider press. We started with five bushels of apples of a mixed variety. In the end after an hour or so we had ten gallons of cider. We bottled it up in a hodgepodge of old bourbon bottles and mason jars. After one last meal, we headed out into the early blue evening and wound our way back to the city.

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!

roasted radishes.

06.17.12

This is sort of a non recipe recipe...there is nothing much too it except that it tastes AMAZING!!

I was a little over zealous with the radish love at the market last week! I decided that before I buy another thing I absolutely have to use every last bit that is in my fridge… and let me tell you, there is some weird stuff in there!

Pineapple weed, strawberries, milkweed, radishes, daisy leaf, celery are only the tip of the iceberg!  It is time to get this situation under control. Last night, I made lentils and to jazz them up I roasted some radishes and celery to put on top with a little Greek yogurt! I cannot even tell you how good they were. I think roasted radishes are my new all time favorite thing to eat. One of my favorite slads in a chop salad of cerlery and radisk with celery leaf and lime. I love celery in any form, which is bizarre because as a kid, celery was that one thing next to onions, which caused me to sit at the table until the wee hours in a stalemate with the uneaten celery.

 You don't have to wait to top these on lentils, they are just as good alone! The other day when we were working on files I made some for an afternoon snack. They are super tasty and couldn't be easier... now on to that milkweed.

When I told my friend India about the radishes she mentioned Alana had made them with another favorite of ours... brocolli raab! For that recipe, click here and then spend a littel time perusing Alana's blog Eating From The Ground Up! I adore her blog and her writing! Check out her new book; The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying And Start Making.

Roasted Radishes

One bunch of radishes washed, trimmed and halved

Three stalks of celery with leaves (if you have it)

Generous toss of olive oil

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Cut the washed and trimmed radishes in half

Cut the washed celery in to one inch pieces

Place the celery and the radishes on a large baking sheet

Douse with a generous amount of olive oil

sprinkle with sea salt and fresh black pepper.

With two wooden spoons toss the radishes and the celery on the tray until they are evenly coated in the olive oil and salt and pepper.

preheat your oven to 500 degrees

Roast  the radishes and celery until just browned approx 10-12 minutes.

(Open the oven and toss the veggies around a couple time s during the cook time, to get all sides browned)

DEVOUR.

shaved asparagus and pea salad with rhubarb vinigrette.

I love the Friday Greenmarket at Union Square, It is my favorite day to go as it is usually quite mellow there early in the morning. This week I met my friend Nancy Jo there. She is a crazy wild amazing intuitive cook and we generally bond over the baby Tuscan kale, the sweetest berries and the eggs from the Amish farmer. She gives the wave off to any produce she deems unacceptable like my Nonna in her flowered house dress. We talk about we ate that week and what we are going to make that weekend and then we dash off to work.

This past Friday we bought peas, pea shoots, asparagus, rhubarb, radishes, beets and summer savory. She had a plan to recreate a salad from Roman's and I wanted to continue my rhubarb lust by making a simple spring salad  with a rhubarb dressing.

 

Shaved Asparagus and Shell Pea Salad With Rhubarb Vinaigrette

This is a raw salad.

 

For The Salad

Ingredients;

 

6 stalks of asparagus

A handful of Fresh shell peas

 A handful of Fresh Mint

A handful of Pea Shoots

Shave the asparagus into long ribbons with a mandolin or a small shaver.

Arrange half on each plate

Shell the peas and divide between the two salad plates

Add a few pea shoots and some fresh mint and a few micro greens.

 

Makes 2 portions

 

 

Don't feel limited to my suggestions; throw on a few your favorite microgreens if you feel like it or some chives or chive blossom. I used beet micro greens and a ramp scape to pretty it up because that is what i had on hand and they are deliscious.

 

For the Dressing;

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

 

1 stalk of Rhubarb

1 shallot (I used a ramp bulb because I was out of shallot)

2 tblsp. raw apple cider vinegar

2 tblsp. sugar

3 juniper berries

1/3 cup water

Makes about 1/2 cup

 

Chop the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces

Crush the juniper berries with a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon until just broken

Combine the rhubarb, the juniper berries the sugar and the waterr in a pan

Simmer the rhubarb, the juniper berries,the sugar and 1/3 cup of water in non reactive pan for about 5 minutes or until soft and tender. It should fall apart. Puree or strain through a sieve into a small bowl and set aside to cool. 

In the meantime; chop the shallot finely.

Add the shallot to the cooled rhubarb vinegar mixture.

Spoon the dressing over the salad and top with a really good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

.

Add a pinch of sea salt and cracket black pepper on top

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last week's plums

Here is the basic method... 

 

Galette crust. I generally stick to my standard method of 1 stick of unsalted butter 1 cup flour plus a little more (sometimes even a 1/2 cup), a little bit of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a tiny bit of ice water.

The way I make a pie or tart crust depends a bit on the weather and how many I am making. I know it sounds crazy but I don't really stick to a recipe. I add a little more flour or butter or water depending on the feel of the dough. Yesterday as it was unseasonably hot in the Catskill's and I wanted to have extra dough on hand, I used 3 sticks of butter, 4 cups of flour, a pinch of salt, 1/4 cup sugar and a few tablespoons of ice water. This made 4 rounds of dough which I wrapped and chilled for 1/2 hour before rolling out. Ths was enough to make 4 small galettes or two whole pies (top and bottom crusts). Pie crust is something so many people seem to be intimidated to make but it is really quite easy. Just experiment and get used to the feel of the dough, before you know it you will have your own recipe and method. I always use butter, never shortening.

To assemble.

After chilling the dough...

Roll out one of the rounds on a lightly floured surface. once it has been rolled out place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spoon the fruit into the center of the round of dough. I used plums and peaces cut into small slices and tossed with a 1/4 cup of muscavado sugar, but you can you use any fruit you want and add sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit.

Once the fruit is in the center of the dough, fold the excess dough in towards the center of the galette, this  will seal the fruit in and will give you a nice rustic free form edge.

As I have two pie crusts left, I will make another once I get back to the city. Post a finished one soon.