All posts filed under: Food

Best Tomato Season Ever

This long, warm summery fall has extended tomato season in our little garden. Last year, we harvested only green tomatoes. This year, we’ve had the best harvest ever, growing this heirloom variety for first time. I don’t know their official name. My husband grew them from seeds he saved from an heirloom tomato we bought from Sport Hill Farm the previous summer.  They’re multi-colored, showing shades of yellow, orange, pale green, blushed with red. They grow to be over a pound.  The sweet flavor takes well to quick sauces filled with fresh herbs.  They also slice up beautifully as a side dish for dinner, or for sandwiches. For a size comparison, here’s one of our Peachy Giants (which is what I’ve named them because when I chop up a quart to freeze, they look a lot like the quarts of frozen peaches)  with tomatoes we got at the Black Rock Farmers Market. Of course, those tomatoes were delicious too. Juicy and ripe. Sliced, sprinkled with salt, drizzled with olive oil, and scattered with fresh herbs, basil, chives, fresh mint, …

Bringing Something to the Party

What to bring to a summer party? I got beautiful carrots and beets from the Black Rock Farmer’s Market. The beets came from Sport Hill Farm. My friend Red Bee Marina, who was hosting a little gathering in her garden, suggested coleslaw, but the carrots were too cute to shred. So I cleaned them up, blanched them, and pickled them whole. The brine was one cup of apple cider vinegar, one cup of warm water, salt, pepper, onions, ginger, herbs from the garden–lemon balm, thyme, marjoram, chives–and a little honey. Beets Because it’s summer and I didn’t want the house to get too hot, I boiled the beets. (Roasting in the oven is my preferred method.) After they were tender, I slipped off the skins, sliced the beets, and put them in brine.The carrots and beets rested in the brine, in the fridge, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., till we left the house. I repacked them in Ball jars for travel. After a glass of prosecco, everyone went to Marina and Vic’s garden, and picked greens for pesto.  I picked mint and …

What to Forage Now: Dandelion Leaves and Wild Onions

My basic theory of gardening is that plants want to grow. And if they want to grow — if they spring up on their own and we can eat them, don’t interfere. That means dandelions in the yard and vegetable garden (they grow strongest in the sun). Wild onions have shot up everywhere too. I’m very much against poisoning them.  Pulling up “weeds” is the most effective way of dealing with them (despite what you’ll read on the internet about vinegar solutions). Dandelions aren’t “weeds” to me. Picking and eating dandelions in the early spring is an ancient ritual. They are filled with minerals and vitamins, and are good for the liver. Dandelion leaves can be bitter. The are less bitter when small and the flowers haven’t bloomed. Large leaves from blooming dandelions can be cooked to mellow their flavor and make them tender. Dandelions don’t have poisonous lookalikes, according to Wildman Steve Brill, an expert forager who leads tours in New York and Connecticut. Chicory looks like dandelion and is edible, so if you’re foraging, you’ll probably pick up both. To …

Lunch at The Modern

A great meal, the three-course prix fixe at The Modern in New York City. First, an amusing amuse bouche. Glasses of shredded, dehydrated beets, into which the server poured warm broth. With it, a bowl of fresh cheese with beet chips.  A waiter appeared with a tray holding six adorable mini rolls. I think the waiter told us we could have as many as we wanted. We demurely (so I like to think), took one, a pretzel roll for Paula, and a whole wheat roll for me. It was light textured, slightly sweet. My first course, sea bass with sunchokes and watercress. No words needed. Paula started with this gorgeous salad. There’s burrata beneath the leaves. For my second course, beef with marrow, celery root and black truffle. A waiter holding a little copper saucepan spooned truffle sauce onto plate. Paula’s second course was seared salmon. Sensible girl. It had Meyer lemon confit, endive and radicchio. And then, dessert. I had chocolate marquise with earl grey ice cream. Paula’s dessert was ricotta cannoli with picked rhubarb and crème fraiche sorbet. …

Video Prep Chili

After prepping the food for a cooking video last week, I came home with extra prep from a chicken ranch salad. At first I thought I’d make soup, so I sautéed the vegetables. There was extra chopped red onion and chopped parsley from another dish (we shot five ), so I added those. Chopped the remaining half of a jalapeno that had topped the cheese on another dish from the shoot,  deconstructed stuffed cabbage, otherwise known as cabbage-beef casserole. Crumbled bacon was the finishing touch on the Ranch chicken salad. Tossed into the pan, along with an extra slice of cooked back-up bacon, rough chopped.  I was reveling in not having to be precise.  I decided to make chili rather than soup. Added a can of whole tomatoes and their sauce. In the freezer, I found chicken stock, and added about a cup and a half.  Chili powder, from the cabbage-beef casserole, and a teaspoon of homemade habanero sauce from the fridge. Used my favorite little spatula to cut the tomatoes into quarters.  Look at all those vegetables! Makes me feel healthy …

Spring Breakfast

It’s the first day of Spring and the ground is covered with snow, but there’s a change in the light and air. And I didn’t burn the toast. My friend’s chickens are laying eggs. I felt very lucky when Lynn gave me these beautiful eggs. Her chickens have the best diet, non-gmo grains supplemented by foraging. Just look at that yolk. Here’s a 5-minute breakfast. Toast some bread. My favorite morning toast is The Luncheonette, which is baked by Fairfield Bread Company. I’m a taste-tester for Fairfield Bread Company. Scramble the egg, add lots of chopped parsley because it’s growing in the garden already and it’s filled with minerals, and it will help distract if you’re not using cheese because it’s Spring and it’s time to eat less and move more. Pour egg-parsley mixture into an oiled hot cast iron pan. When the eggs are set, remove, fold and place on the toast. Assemble and serve.

No Shopping Blizzard Baking

We don’t go shopping before a storm. Storms have taught us that we have enough/too much food in our house. When the storm baking bug struck, I foraged through the cabinet. I found a bag of plantain flour. Must have bought it at the International Food Bazaar supermarket in Bridgeport. I wasn’t sure what it would be like. I once used a fresh yellow plantain to make dough for empanadas filled with chicken, olives and raisins, and it came out great. But this soft plantain flour was different from a mashed plantain. To understand the flour’s properties, I mixed some water with it. It took on a batter-like consistency. It smelled sweet like a ripe banana and tasted sweet and banana-y. Marion Cunningham’s Fannie Farmer Baking Book, unfailingly reliable, has a recipe for rum-raisin banana bread that’s not too sweet. I followed the recipe, with a few substitutions. Plantain and water mixture replaced the banana, Amaro grappa replaced the rum (a fitting end for a raisin), and they soaked and pumped up while the ingredients were assembled, rather than overnight. And because we had no walnuts (and …