Posts tagged summer recipe

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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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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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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Goat Cheese Stuffed Burgers

There’s a couple of things I know for sure: the world would be a much better place if people held doors open for one another, and burgers are best served with cold beer. I don’t claim to be an expert on supreme kindness, but I do a thing or two about making a good burger at home.

Start with one pound of ground turkey or beef that you can trust. I’m talking meat from animals that were raised the old-fashioned way, like the folks at WildCraft Farms in New York. They make the journey every Saturday to my farmers’ market in Manhattan, and I’m more than happy to spend $8.99 on a pound of their product. (I’ll bet you have someone like them near your hometown.) Next, add one egg you can trust. (I like Knoll Krest Farms in the Hudson Valley.) Then a cup of oats, a handful of chopped spinach, half of a chopped onion and seasonings to taste.

Using your hands, form the mixture into a ball, then grab a small piece to form a burger, and then add about one tablespoon of goat cheese to the center. Toss them on the grill if you’re lucky enough to have one. (Manhattan folks like myself have to make do with our stove tops.) Cook to your liking, add a slice of kale or extra spinach, condiments of your choosing, serve with some roasted Brussels sprouts or paprika potatoes and a local beer.

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Pear Bread

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how a simple smell can conjure a thousand memories of childhood. Like Proust and his madeleine cookies. Idgie Threadgoode and her fried green tomatoes. How many of us would add McDonald’s chicken nuggets to our list? I know I would. How depressing.

Smell your way beyond the fast food fryers, and I bet you’ll encounter a fragrance from your childhood kitchen. Chocolate chip cookies, maybe. Or a chicken casserole. Lately, I’ve been remembering homemade bread cooling in small loaf pans on the counter. In our house, the table knife stayed right in the pan, beneath the aluminum foil, for easy access to another sliver.

My mother has this recipe called A-Z Bread, and I’m lucky enough to have a typewritten copy of it. (In fact, I have a whole cookbook of typewritten recipes from her. Pretty great, right?) The idea is that while the base of the bread is the same, your main ingredient can vary depending on your taste. A for apricot, R for rhubarb, Z for zucchini, etc. I’ve modified the recipe a bit, but it still stands up after all these years. Try it now with some seasonal fruit, like apples, quince, or pears.

A-Z Bread
Makes two loaves and costs about $4

3 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of oil
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
2 cups of chopped pears (or other A-Z ingredient)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup of chopped nuts
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs in large bowl, adding in oil and sugar. Add pears and vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients and nuts. Spoon into two greased loaf pans and bake for one hour.

Remove and cool slightly. Add a scoop of ice cream, pour a cup of tea, and watch an episode of Downton Abbey. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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Thyme Shortbread with Cardamom

I’m not much of a baker, although I give it a shot from time to time (like here, here, and here). I usually get my baking fix by perusing the gazillion baking blogs out there. My taste tends to land on the savory-sweet, or salty-sweet. When I saw a few recipes for shortbread, my mouth got feverish. I came up with a concoction of my own, in which I used too much butter (America’s health crisis is nestled in that muggy crust), so I’ve adjusted the recipe below for what I think will make the ideal amount.

Thyme Shortbread
Makes a baking sheet of shortbread for about $4

2 cups of flour (check for local options)
13-15 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup of sugar
6 sprigs of thyme, leaves pushed off of stalk
3/4 teaspoon of cardamom

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a pastry cutter or two knives (Edward Scissorhands-style), cut together all ingredients until they resemble a coarse meal.

Press dough mixture onto a baking sheet, and smooth with your hands. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove pan, cool for 5 minutes, and cut shortbread into wedges. Cool completely and serve.

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Infinite Varieties and a $5 Challenge

I organized another installment of "Shop Like a Pro at a Farmers’ Market" today. After leading the group through the Union Square Greenmarket, I began my hunt for the best end-of-summer produce. A wonderful thing about a farmers’ market is the seemingly infinite varieties of many vegetables and fruits. From S & So Produce Farms, I grabbed a handful of Jersey tomatoes, three persimmon orange tomatoes, and one that looked like Black Krim. I asked a worker at the Sycamore Farm tent about the differences in their ample medley of eggplant. He explained that the name eggplant was originally coined because its white color resembled the eggs of geese. It was only later that the plant was refined to develop a deep purple skin to mask the bruising that occurred during shipping. Today, white eggplants are softer and less seedier than their purple counterparts. Softer yet is the smaller heirloom variety, great for Eggplant Parmesan.

Today also marks the Slow Food USA $5 Meal Challenge, encouraging everyone to “take back the ‘value meal’ by getting together with family, friends and neighbors for a slow food meal that costs no more than $5 per person.” I made a late lunch for my husband Ryan and friend Kent using food from my farmers’ market purchase.

Costs are approximate:

Tomato Cobbler
(source unknown)
3 tomatoes, peeled and diced - $0.80 per person
1 chile, seeds and stems removed - $0.05 per person
2 garlic cloves, diced - $0.05 per person
1 shallot - $0.35 per person
Seasonings like cumin, salt, pepper to taste - cents
1 stick of organic butter - $0.50 per person
1/2 cup of flour - cents
1/2 cup of cornmeal (also purchased from farmers’ market) - cents
2 teaspoons of baking powder - cents
1 teaspoon of salt - cents
1 cup of milk - $0.25 per person

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix tomatoes, chile, garlic, shallot, and seasonings. In a large cast-iron skillet, melt butter on low heat. In a bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Add milk and stir until batter forms. Pour over melted butter in skillet, and spoon the tomato mixture on top. Bake for 35 minutes.

Corn on the cob - $0.50 per person
Butter - $0.15 per person

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No recipes for this late evening meal. Just wonderful summer food from the Inwood greenmarket.

No recipes for this late evening meal. Just wonderful summer food from the Inwood greenmarket.

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Local Food Lasagna

Eggplant and zucchini lasagnaI sometimes think that eggplant looks better than it tastes. The vegetable (well, actually the fruit) drips with a deep, earthy purple, and it reminds me of home-cooked Italian meals. That said, it can be a hassle to prepare in dishes.

It’s the end of the work week, and a biblical thunderstorm is descending upon New York City. Warm. A bubbling, gloppy dish seems fitting. You notice the absence of noodles. In their place, I’ve used slices of eggplant and zucchini.


1 eggplant and 2 zucchinis, sliced lengthwise (around 3/4” thick)
Salt, pepper, other seasonings to taste (oregano and basil are a must)
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced
15 oz. of low-fat ricotta
3 eggs
1-3 cups of your favorite cheese (Parmesan is typical, but I like Vermont cheddar as well)
1 jar of pasta sauce (local or homemade if possible)
Olive oil 

Arrange sliced eggplant and zucchini on baking sheets, brush with olive oil and a dash of salt and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning slices halfway through

Saute mushrooms and garlic in a skillet over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.

In a medium bowl mix eggs, ricotta cheese, 3/4 cups of cheese of choice, and selected seasonings.

Oil an 8x10 baking dish and spread about half of the pasta sauce on the bottom. Cover with an layer of eggplant, followed by ricotta mixture, then mushrooms, then a layer of zucchini. Finish with the remainder of the pasta sauce and as much cheese as seems humanely possible. Bake at 350 degrees until golden and bubbly…30 minutes or so.

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