In the continually-evolving saga of life with two kids, we find ourselves, once again, at the hospital. This time around, we’re here for our 5 year-old. She gave us a serious scare, but got better quickly, and will likely be heading home tomorrow. And that’s really good, because we like her there. [Read more…]
Almost two weeks ago, I wrote this post from a plane while en-route to Sonoma County for Mighty Summit. Billed as a gathering of women in media, the summit is an annual event that brings together a group of super-cool ladies who run companies, generate innovative ideas, have incredible blogs, and create fantastic work. The weekend was dedicated to three important things: getting to know each other, cultivating a concrete list of life goals called the life list (and supporting and facilitating the goals of the attendees), and having the best time ever. [Read more…]
And so here we are, in the absolute middle of winter, with cold winds blowing and month-old, sooty snow piled high outside. My initial zeal for fresh root vegetables, citrus and kale is waning. But the things is, the year more than most, I want fresh vegetables and the creamy, buttery gratins of the season just don’t sound appealing. So, for now at least, we are still eating vegetables, even as they become harder and harder to procure.
Unless you go to the grocery store–there you’d hardly know it was winter at all. They even have tomatoes! But you know, I have my standards, so I walked right by the tomatoes and picked up a beautiful purple radicchio. And then this salad was born. I wasn’t sure what I was after, I just wanted something bright, crisp, and fresh. And that’s just what we have here. A vivid salad with tender leaves, a hint of lime, a little bit of pecorino, and a classic mustard-lime vinaigrette. A perfect counterpoint to the heavier dishes of the season. [Read more…]
As I’ve mentioned before, I recently took a jam making class at the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs with Kelly Geary of Sweet Deliverance. I loved the class and now really feel like I can make jam. My second attempt went very well and I am really happy to share this recipe for a small, 4 cup batch of blueberry grapefruit jam.
Grapefruit, especially ruby red, has such amazing flavor; it’s well-rounded, hitting tangy, bitter, and candy-sweet notes all at once. Combined with the blueberry, this jam has a rich, buttery flavor. Though we couldn’t wait more than a week to have some of the first jar, I am going to stash the other three in the back of the cabinet and savor the bright flavor on some snowy January morning. [Read more…]
I am not sure when my love of mint chocolate chip ice cream began. Likely on one of our regular family trip to High’s Dairy in Centreville, VA. There were a few places we went for ice cream back then, and I love a summer tradition of waiting in a long line and then standing around on steamy asphalt, or strolling along looking in windows while you lick a rapidly melting cone.
This mint chip takes things to the next level. Made from fresh mint, it has a bright, clean grassy-ness that you can’t get from the more standard peppermint oil. There’s also the delight of channeling your inner Pollock and splattering the chocolate over the cream. When it comes to ice cream, I turn to David Lebovitz and I tend not to tinker with the ice cream master. I used markedly less chocolate than the recipe calls for, but that’s because I’m in it for the mint, not the chocolate. Find his recipe here.
Brian and I are semi-vacationing with old friends in Virginia. I say semi-vacationing because I am printing up a storm in a wonderful print studio in Charlottesville, and Brian is taking care of our toddler all day. Still, the warm weather, good friends, art, and daily thunderstorms have been wonderful. We’ll be back in Brooklyn soon.
I have a pretty serious thing for cheese crackers and cheesy goodness in general. Because most crackers are really not that good for you, I have tried to put some distance between me and my beloved crackers. But when your two year-old shares your love and talks about them all the time, you get to thinking about cheese crackers.
And so yesterday my daughter and I made these crackers together. The recipe is straightforward and forgiving. Just use plenty of flour while rolling out the dough. I put some red pepper flakes and hungarian hot paprika into the dough, and though the crackers are delicious, you might want to add them sparingly for kid friendliness. I made my crackers into stars, but you could roll the dough and cut into strips for cheese straws.
Homemade Cheese Crackers (adapted from the Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook)
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 stick room temperature butter
2 tablespoons quark, sour cream, or half and half
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 teaspoon hungarian hot paprika (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a food processor combine the cheese, flour, spices, and butter. Pulse several times until everything is combined and crumb-like. Add the quark and give a couple of pulses. Check the salt levels, add more if needed, then lightly knead into a ball, divide into two flats, wrap in plastic and set aside for a few minutes.
Roll one of the dough rounds on a well-floured surface. Cut out into your preferred shape (I used 1″ stars and rounds, but strips or larger round would be great too). Place the shapes onto the cookie sheet and bake until set and slightly firm for 10-12 minutes.
Carefully remove from cookie sheet and serve. Store in an air tight container at room temperature for a few days.
People like to look at animals way more than animals like to look at people. It costs $15 to go to the Bronx Zoo if you don’t want to see the tigers, the gorillas, and the butterflies, more if you do. (Word to the wise- skip the tigers. It’s depressing.) Animals, on the other hand, really only look at you if they think you are going to do something to them or you are going to give them some food or you are making a weird noise. Or they are going to eat you. It’s just as well, because it’s unnerving when an animal looks at you.
And the only thing people like more than looking at regular old animals is looking at baby animals. There are lots of websites devoted to pictures of baby animals. I don’t have the sense that our forebears had this need to see cute baby animals. Maybe because middle-class people have babies so much later than they used to, they need a way to get their cuteness fix. I just invented that theory now.
This past weekend, we braved the hardship of waking up early on a Saturday, a thunderstorm, and a bout of car-sickness so we could drive to Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture up in Westchester to look at animals. Totally worth it.
Stone Barns seems like the best place in the world to work. There’s this hair salon on the corner near our apartment where everyone seems to have a good time and on the weekends they throw parties there and all the employees hang out even when they aren’t working and I used to think that was the best place to work. But at Stone Barns every single employee we saw was smiling, even as they went to do physical labor in a muddy field early in the morning on a Saturday. That’s happy.
We were supposed to collect eggs, but the thunderstorm meant we couldn’t go into a field with metal baskets. But after the storm blew over, we fed some pigs eggs, which they seemed to get a kick out of. And then we had a little breakfast at the cafe. Elizabeth and I both had cheddar and ramp scones, which were pretty dang good.
Afterwards, we wandered around the farm for a little while. The highlight was the Berkshire pigs, which were fenced off in little pens in the woods adjoining the farm where they could root around and do piggish things. I think swineherd is pretty low on the animal husbandry prestige list. Shepherds are out in the rolling fields singing songs with their dogs and goatherds go up into the mountains by themselves, which is pretty rugged. But at least swineherds get shade and the pigs seem like they can take care of themselves a little better than sheep. I guess it’s dirtier work, but other than that, it’s got a lot going for it.
The sheep were also pretty cool because they’d just had their lambs and it was cute watching them scampering across the hillside. I’m kind of wondering these days if I’m going to keep eating lamb. With other kinds of ethically raised meat, I feel like the animal got a good deal. Those pigs, for example, got to live in an environment they loved, doing the kinds of things pigs do, while being protected from predators and disease. They really had a chance to achieve their pig potential. That seems fair to me. Lambs, on the other hand, don’t really get the chance to do all their sheepish things and, not to anthropomorphize, but it can’t be to easy on the ewes, either. It sucks because I really like lamb, but I think I’m going to look into mutton from here on out.
At the end of the day, we got a chicken (which was fantastic and which we made into our first chicken mole), some lamb stew meat (our last?), some bitter dandelion greens, stinging nettles, and some green garlic. After months of root vegetables and stews, summer eating finally feels like it’s right around the corner.
Among the things you can make with a grapefruit are tarts. And making tarts means you get to make citrus curd. I am even more in love with curd than I am with grapefruit. You heard it here first: curd is the new pickles.
A note on the recipe: I had only a small amount of crust, actually leftovers from a pie I made his weekend. Paired with the small crust the regular amount of curd yielded more than would fit into the shell. I am therefore the lucky owner of a half jar of citrus curd. So far it has been excellent on toast, or possibly in ice cream. Curd and cream experiments to follow.
I used pink grapefruit, but have to imagine that ruby would be marvelous.
1 pre-baked tart shell (I used this crust recipe)
6 tablespoons butter
zest of 1 grapefruit
a few grates of lime zest
1/2 cup grapefruit juice (in my case the juice of a grapefruit plus a few squeezes of lime juice)
2 yolks and 2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, gently heat the butter, zests, and citrus juices over medium-low heat. In a separate bowl whisk the yolks, eggs, sugar, and salt together. Once the butter and juice mixture is warm and starting to steam, stir constantly and add a few ladlefuls to the egg mixture. Slowly whisk all of the warm liquid into the yolks to temper, and then pour everything back into the saucepan. Stir over low heat for 7-10 minutes, until warm and slightly frothy. Uncooked egg whites make my mouth itchy, so I tend to push the cooking time.
Put the tart shell on a rimmed cookie sheet and ladle in the curd. Place 5 thin slices of grapefruit over the top and then add a bit more curd. Cook in the oven until the curd is set, 8-12 minutes.
Cool for 20 minutes and serve. I kept my leftovers in the refrigerator and they were delicious.