Posts tagged photo

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic scapes, like spring itself, are fleeting. Scapes are intense, bold, and peculiar, and I like the look of them on the kitchen counter. One or two snaky strands are enough for one week of meals. If you have more on hand, try this pesto recipe.

Garlic Scape Pesto
Makes about 2 cups and costs $4

5-8 strands of scape, chopped
1/3 cup of pumpkin, pistachio or sunflower seeds
1/3 cup of basil leaves
Juice from one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of olive oil
Parmesan cheese (hold this if you are freezing the pesto)

Add everything except for olive oil to a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are roughly mixed. Slowly add olive oil while food processor runs and process to your desired consistency.

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Rhubarb Tart Bronx Style

Coming at you from the Bronx, where I’ve been spending a good amount of time lately. Dinner and pastries on Arthur Avenue, art installations in old mansions, and long walks through the unrivaled Botanical Garden (photos below). And this recipe, inspired by Bronx Bees, as featured in New York City Farmer & Feast, by Emily Brooks.

Rhubarb Tart
Serves 6 and costs about $8

Bundle of rhubarb
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of anise-flavored liqueur
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup of heavy cream (or milk if you’d like)
Dash of salt
1 pastry dough or tart crust

Wash and dice rhubarb, toss in a bowl with 1/3 cup of sugar, and refrigerate for an hour or so. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain rhubarb in a colander over a large skillet. Heat the juice over high heat until syrupy. Remove from heat and add the rhubarb and liqueur.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, additional yolk, cream, salt, and remaining sugar. Place a pastry dough or tart crust in greased pie plate, add rhubarb, and pour half of custard, wait a minute, and then add the rest.

Bake the tart at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool to almost room temperature and enjoy.

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The Garden is Busting Out All Over

June brings surprising growth, rain, hot sun, and pests. I used to think those yellowish moths were pretty little things. I’ve now learned that they like to drop off their eggs on plants like kale and broccoli. Jerks.

The bok choy and mustard greens have been completely harvested. Some chicory and lettuce remain. So far, a handful of ground cherries in their delicate paper husks. A few strawberries. Endless herbs and chives.

Bottom three shelves: purple broccoli, beets, chard, broccoli, garbanzo beans, fennel, ground cherry, parsnip, oregano, rosemary, artichoke, broccoli, zucchini, purple broccoli, mint, tarragon, and cucumber.

I’m in love with this artichoke plant.

Scarlet runner beans aim to block the view of those unpalatable storefront roofs across Broadway.

View looking north and east. Tomatoes are doing well. Pepper not so much. I think the carrots will be ready in a couple weeks.

I marvel at this ground cherry plant. When the fruit is ready, it simply drops to the ground. As in, ground cherry.

Oh hey there moth. I’m on to your deceitful ways.

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Radishes Expect More From You

At a recent farmers market class, someone commented that, although radishes look appealing, the edible root usually gets relegated to the salad bowl. I used to feel the same way. Well, radishes expect more from you. And here are two simple ways to spice up the peppery orbs and tops.

Roasted or Sauteed Radishes
Adapted from a handful of sources, including Beekman 1802 and Bon Apetit
Serves 2-4 as a side and costs about $2

2 bunches of radishes with greens (could easily decrease to 1 bunch)
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
Dash of salt
If roasting: 1 tablespoon of butter and couple dashes of lemon juice
If sauteing: 1 tablespoon of sugar and couple dashes of cider vinegar

If roasting, preheat over to 475 degrees.
Soak radish greens in cold water, then coarsely chop and set aside. Wash and trim radishes. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat, add radishes and salt, and saute until browned, about 5 minutes.
If roasting, place skillet in oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and return to burner. Add butter until browned, then lemon juice, and then radish greens. Cook for just a couple minutes and serve.
If sauteing, add sugar and vinegar to skillet for a couple minutes, and then add radishes. Cook for just a couple minutes and serve.

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East Village Puff Pastry

it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it.

That’s the final line of one of my favorite poems by Frank O’Hara (watch him read it below). I recently took a walk through his old stomping grounds in New York’s East Village, guided by the incredible “Passing Stranger - The East Village Poetry Walk.” The audio tour weaves you through the poetry-related sites of the famous Beats and New York School poets, like O’Hara, Allen Ginsberg (that’s the fire escape of where he once lived), Jack Kerouac, Anne Waldman, and even musicians like Charlie Parker.

The tour culminates at the Bowery Poetry Club. If you don’t live in New York, on the website, you can check out footage, scroll through photos, and hear some of the best poems ever penned.

While the tour focuses on poetry, you’ll also notice the many community garden plots throughout the village and Alphabet City. Which brings me to a puff pastry recipe. This is definitely the time of year for greens and handfuls of herbs. Here’s a simple way to use them while they are fresh.

East Village Puff Pastry
Serves three as main dish or eight as side and costs about $5
Inspired by the Fire Island Cookbook

3/4 pound of crumbled cheese, like feta or goat
3 tablespoons of chopped chives
2-3 tablespoons of chopped basil, or other herbs
Dash of nutmeg
1 egg beaten, plus 1 egg yolk
Homemade or store-purchase puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine cheese, chives, herbs, nutmeg and beaten egg in a glass bowl and set aside. Lay out pastry dough on floured surface, and stretch a bit with a rolling pin. Cut into 3-inch squares (about 14-16 of them).

Drop a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center of each square, wet all edges of the square with chilled water. Fold over the filling to form a triangle. Seal the edges with a fork and brush each triangle with the beaten egg yolk.

Place on a baking sheet (perhaps lined with parchment paper), and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve with asparagus and a mixture of greens.

Drop a heaping teaspoon onto each square.

12th Street

2nd Avenue

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Four Rhubarb Jams with a Twist

Making your own jam enables you to move beyond the expected, like mixing rhubarb with ginger, lavender, or even balsamic vinegar. Here are four simple rhubarb preserves recipes interspersed with scenes from the heather garden in Fort Tryon Park.

Lavender Rhubarb
6 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of local honey
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoons of lavender flowers, placed in tea infuser

Place all ingredients in kettle over medium heat, stirring occasionally for an hour or so, until it reaches your desired consistency. Discard lavender. Spoon jam into dishes and freeze, or process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Place lavender flowers in tea infuser.

(Does it look like there’s a baby in this flower?)

Ginger Rhubarb

(Slight variation from Lavender Rhubarb)
6 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of local honey
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoons of finely ground ginger

Place all ingredients in kettle over medium heat, stirring occasionally for an hour or so, until it reaches your desired consistency. Spoon into dishes and freeze, or process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Balsamic Vanilla Rhubarb
Inspired by Delectable Musings
6 cups of chopped rhubarb
2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons of honey
Dash of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar

Place all ingredients except for balsamic vinegar in kettle over medium heat, stirring occasionally for an hour or so, until it reaches your desired consistency. Add balsamic and return to boil for five minutes more. Spoon into dishes and freeze, or process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Rhubarb Orange
Slightly adapted from Ball Home Preserving
2 oranges (nope, not local)
5 cups of finely chopped rhubarb
1 package of natural fruit pectin
3-4 cups of sugar

Using vegetable peeler, remove peel from one orange and cut into very thin slivers. Squeeze juice from both orange and add water until filling one cup. Combine orange juice, orange peel, juice, and pectin and whisk until dissolved. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar and return to boil, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Spoon into dishes and freeze, or process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from one orange.

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Roasted Asparagus with Rhubarb Sauce

There comes a moment in late April when the earth seems to rustle from a cold, white winter. A pair of my favorite spring signals—asparagus and rhubarb—recently appeared at the farmers market. Here is one way to marry them in a dish, served with warm cornbread.

Roasted Asparagus with Rhubarb Sauce

Inspired by a handful of sources
Serves 4 and costs about $6

1 pound or so of asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 tablespoons butter
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon of grated ginger
4-5 stalks of rhubarb, diced
1 tablespoon of local honey

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place asparagus in an even layer in tin foil and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Wrap the foil around the asparagus, creating a tent with a small opening in the top if you’d like. Roast on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes.

As asparagus roasts, melt butter in skillet over medium heat until it caramelizes. Add garlic, ginger, and rhubarb, cover pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in honey and lower heat.

Remove asparagus from oven and divide stalks on plates. Spoon rhubarb sauce over asparagus, and add a dash of salt or pepper, if you’d like.

Rhubarb stalks may be red or green, and frequently somewhere in between.

Skillet Corn Bread
Adapted from Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook
Makes one skillet and costs about $5

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 tablespoon organic sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon local honey
2 eggs
1 stick of butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place 10-inch cast iron skillet in oven while preparing the batter. (Do this step first if making with asparagus recipe.) Whisk together all dry ingredients in large bowl. Combine wet ingredients (including honey) in a small bowl.

Remove skillet from oven and add butter. Add sizzling butter to wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape the batter into the hot skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Oven mates: roasted asparagus and skillet cornbread.

I’ve read that asparagus is costly because it must be harvested by hand. Conjures a handsome image of farmers stepping lightly near hedgerows. After you’ve purchased your bundle of asparagus, eat it quickly, as its flavor begins to flatten immediately.

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Simple Granola

Good morning. My standpoint on mornings falls somewhere between these two quotes:

“Mine was the twilight and the morning. Mine was a world of rooftops and love songs.” ―Roman Payne

“The morning always has a way of creeping up on me and peeking in my bedroom windows. The sunrise is such a pervert.”
―Jarod Kintz

Wherever you may land, enjoy this simple granola.

Simple Granola
Adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes 9 cups and costs about $8

1/3 cup local maple syrup or honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
Few dashes of salt
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups raw almonds, coarsely chopped (use an apple corer)
2-3 cups of dried fruit, like cranberries

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk syrup or honey, brown sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and salt in large bowl. Whisk in oil. Add oats and almonds and mix well.

Transfer mixture to baking sheet and spread into thin layer, and compress with back of spatula. Bake 20 minutes, rotate pan and bake 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, cool, and break into pieces. Stir in dried fruit.

Use apple corer to crush almonds.


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Earth Day Ramp Stuffing

Happy Earth Day. Mother Earth is celebrating with cold rain showers in Manhattan. Yesterday, my friend Chad bit the bullet and rented an apartment in Hudson Heights. (My secret plan to have all of my friends migrate to my neighborhood is working.) We celebrated over dinner, where I prepared stuffing using the ramps I picked up at the Inwood Greenmarket.

In case you haven’t heard of them, ramps are early spring leeks with a bold onion-garlic flavor. Folks forage for them and even have ramp festivals. The white bulb and the green leaves are equally edible and delicious.

Ramp Stuffing
Inspired by Food52
Serves six and costs about $7

6 cups of French bread, cubed and stale
12 ramps, minced, using green and white parts
1 tablespoon chives, minced
Handful of local mushrooms
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
Dash of thyme
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups homemade chicken stock

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread, ramps, chives, and mushrooms in mixing bowl. Pour melted butter over top and mix well. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper. Add eggs and mix until bread is evenly coated. Add chicken stock a half cup at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

Dump stuffing into a greased, two quart casserole dish. Cover with lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan if desired.

The original recipe called for 2/3 cups of celery, which I don’t like. Add it if you’d like a bit of a crunch. Or maybe rhubarb?


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Muffin Pan Mac & Cheese

Sometimes there’s a cool spring evening. With crumbly rain. And allergies. Sweatpants and single malt scotch. Season six of Weeds. Macaroni and cheese in muffin pans.

Muffin Pan Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 4 and costs about $8

1/2 pound of whole wheat elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
3/4 cup of milk
4 ounces of local cheddar cheese
4 ounces of local muenster cheese
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 bright orange egg yolk
Dash of paprika and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook macaroni in boiling water for 5 minutes and drain. Spray muffins pans with oil or grease with butter. Melt butter in large saucepan. Whisk in the flour for about two minutes, then add milk and whisk until boiling. Add cheeses and whisk until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in egg yolk and paprika. Folk in macaroni. Spoon mixture into muffin cups and sprinkle with a bit more Parmesan cheese if you’d like. Bake for 10 minutes.

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