My Lunch: Jealous much?

Nothing too fancy, just something I whipped up in a few minutes. There are the Roasted Carrots (thank you again, Dan), sauteed Red Russian Kale and Leeks Vinaigrette. I had prepared the carrots and leeks on Sunday, and then quickly sauteed the kale before lunch. So colorful, seasonal, flavorful, local and nutritious! For the kale, I sliced up a few cloves of garlic, sauteed them in olive oil, tossed in a dried chili pepper and then piled on the kale. It always looks like you’re preparing a massive amount of hearty greens, but then the big, bunchy leaves wilt and collapse and shrink into 2 good portions. I didn’t bother to remove the stems since they didn’t seem that tough, which also made for a super speedy preparation. Like I’ve said before, just eating kale makes me feel virtuous.

For the leeks, I trimmed off the tough green leaves, then split each one down the middle and rinsed away the dirt. I had the limited quantity challenge occasionally associated with a CSA Pick-up: only 2 mismatched leeks, both of different dimensions , one very large, and one slim. I brought a small saucepan of water to a boil, salted it and cooked them for about 15 minutes.  I removed the slim one, but let the larger one cook for another 15 minutes or so, until tender.  I then placed the leeks in a colander to drain for a few minutes.In the meantime, I prepared the vinaigrette for this classic French preparation. In this picture, I also sprinkled some shredded Parmiggiano on top, just because I had it leftover in the fridge. If I had a larger batch of leeks, I would have prepared in the oven, maybe a gratin, but having only 2, it was more like a taste of leeks for 1, than anything else.

Doesn’t this plate look so great? I love eating a sampling of different dishes – something about it feels so luxurious. I wouldn’t be happier if I had lunch in one of my favorite restaurants. Thank you, Wolfe Spring Farm.

Here is my Mustard Vinaigrette recipe, which is also great for green salads.

1 medium shallot, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
6-8 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium-sized bowl, place shallots in red wine vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes to soften. Whisk in mustard, then slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use on cooked vegetables and salads. Enjoy.

The Best Form of Flattery…Ode to Dan’s Carrots

I love having a partner in crime and it is so fun when Dan jumps in a with a post on this blog. I thought Dan’s preparation of roasted carrots looked so interesting (not to mention his Elton John song title reference), I had to try it out for myself. Making the interesting out of the seemingly ordinary.

WSF Multi-hued Carrots ready for the oven

What I did: I washed and trimmed the WSF white and orange carrots, leaving the skin on for some rustic appeal (as Dan did). I tossed them in the pan with a hearty glug of olive oil, a sprinkle of kosher salt and a twist of fresh ground pepper. I am such a copycat, I even used the same cast iron pan as Dan. Baked for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, and then lowered the temp to 250 (per Dan’s instructions), and baked for another 20 minutes or so until they were nicely browned. I tested them with a fork and noticed that the larger carrots were still tough in the center, so removed the smaller carrots and returned the rest to the oven for another 15 minutes or so. Next time round, I’ll select all similar sized carrots for the pan.

The result:  savory and sweet, easy on the eyes, rich-tasting carrots. NOT your mama’s cooked carrots. A MUST TRY, taking preparation of an everyday vegetable to the next level.

CSA Pick-up 10/20/12

The funny thing about autumn in the Northeast is that it can be freezing (literally) one night and soar back to the 60s another. After last weekend’s frosty temps, we were surprised to feel the need to peel off layers on Saturday morning as we stopped by the farm for our pick-up. Penultimate pick-up of the season. My bag felt a little lighter than usual, but there were still some great new veggies on hand: Red Russian kale, butternut squash and escarole.

Penultimate pick-up – 10/20/12

I was also delighted to see another pair of leeks, a box of brussel sprouts and bunch of multi-colored carrots. With our house guests on the way, I knew we’d make short order out of this pick-up in no time at all. Here’s what I had on tap:

– My “almost-famous” Minestrone-style veggie soup
Leeks Vinaigrette (very French, I know)
– Roasted carrots, copycat pt 2 (see guest blogger Dan Doern’s post for inspiration)
Crispy Caramelized Brussel Sprouts
– Sauteed kale

And, any other year I’d be psyched to see the ornamental gourds, but they didn’t do much for me this year. We found a “volunteer” squash vine in our garden this year and it produced a prodigious crop of yellow and green bumpy creatures.

Saturday Night’s Alright For Flyin’ (butterflying as in chicken, that is)

So the chicken was not from Wolfe Spring Farm. They were all out. Its no surprise because theirs was some of the best chicken I’d ever tasted (a close second to the free roaming grubandwhoknowswhatelse eating Rancho Margot birds we had in Costa Rica)  Otherwise, the meal was a celebration of WSF’s bounty.

Grille Roasted Brussel Sprouts, cauliflower and Broccoli melange. So delicious. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, put on grill until done. I had this for lunch during the week.

Grille Roasted Carrots. Look at how gorgeous they are. They tasted even better. Again, a very simple preparation: Olive oil, salt pepper.

Now for the weird part: Grilled turnip planks. We’d tried grilled potato planks but nothing else. This turnip was farmin’ huge so we gave it a shot. Slice thick, toss with salt, let rest in salt for 20 mins or so, rinse, nuke  on low for 10 mins to soften up a bit. Toss in olive oil salt and pepper, grill on medium heat, off direct flame until done. Sprinkle some coarse salt before serving warm. I bet even Hubs would like these!!

Cauliflower, sprouts and broccoli, Oh My!

I bet you monsters lead the most innnnnteresstin’ lives……

Warning! Pic not safe for work

Our grille is really not filthy, its just the flash……..
Note modesty skillet and turnip planks

You must try these: smoky, earthy surprising.

A most fabulous un-fabulous meal.

Hard Frost: CSA Pick-up 10/13/12

Mid-October and the end of CSA season in Western Mass is growing nigh.

Warning: Temps dipped into the 20s last night

If you like your kale crispy, it’s your lucky day:

Frosty Kale

Despite the overnight freezing temps, we still had a wide assortment of veggies at today’s pick-up, including some new fall veggies like Brussel Sprouts (yay!), multi-colored carrots, acorn squash and leeks (double yay!):

New: Brussel Sprouts

New: Carrots & Leeks (hello again, potatoes)

I was already brainstorming on what to do with this bounty and knew I’d have to act quick. Everything looked great, but once the ice melted, I feared many things would go to mush, and worse, rot. Here’s what I’ll make once I get these puppies home:

  • Leek, Potato and Caramelized Cabbage Soup
  • Kale & Edamame Quinoa salad (inspired by Guido’s prepared foods counter)
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  • Acorn Squash with Chili-lime Vinaigrette
  • TBD

Here’s the full run-down of today’s pick-up:




Epilogue: Night Out at Northern Spy

A quick epilogue on our meal at Northern Spy Food Co in the East Village.  The name of the restaurant is taken from a local NY state heirloom variety of apples. We tried to pick some this weekend during an apple-picking expedition at Windy Hill Farm in Great Barrington, MA, but no dice.

Windy Hill Farm in Great Barrington, MA on Saturday, September 22, 2012

I liked this sign.

Night Out at Northern Spy

I had Northern Spy Food Co in the East Village on my restaurant hit list for some months, long before it was featured in Food & Wine. It had been recommended by long-time foodie and friend, Dave Wyman. Dave has an impeccable palate, so I implicitly trust his recos. Northern Spy did not disappoint. Yes, it’s your now standard “farm-to-table,” seasonal, local joint, but it has the distinction of superior execution.

With sister-in-law Rebecca and her husband in tow, we had enough people at the table to justify sampling almost every dish on the menu. Some highlights included the Fried Green Tomatoes with crabmeat on top, the Kale Salad, corn side dish (a bit of a surprise since local corn season is over, and an interesting entree of Smoked Carrots with Freekeh. Between the tomatoes and corn, the menu was still suspiciously full of summer favorites. But everything was so yummy, all doubts of freshness and ingredient origin disappeared.

Corn with roasted peppers, feta @ Northern Spy Food Co

Like the corn dish above, the chef takes a heavy hand with cheeses of all kinds. The Kale Salad was also particularly tasty and likely due to the generous helping of Pecorino cheese on top. Rebecca’s carrot entree, however, had flavors of a totally different kind. The carrots tasted like they were marinated in barbecue sauce – most unexpected

Smoked Carrots wild spinach, freekeh, almonds@ Northern Spy Food Co

The french fries fried in duck fat were also a hit. Yes, I admit, I tried them, despite my no meat stance. I rationalized that it was for research purposes only. Fortunately, did not feel sick afterwards despite this transgression.

Duck Fat Fries

And with that, I ceased my picture taking. My dining companions rightfully chided me and reminded me to get back to the real purpose of the evening – enjoying our meal and the company.

Next post: tomorrow’s CSA pick-up and back to the pots and pans.


Windy Hill Farm in Great Barrington, MA on Saturday, September 22, 2012

Epilogue: The name of the restaurant is taken from a local NY state heirloom variety. We tried to pick some this weekend, but no dice.


Ye Grande Olde Yakitori

“Greetings from Nashville, Tennessee,” said my father-in-law in a recent email, attaching this tantalizing photo.

Yakitori by chef Chieko Hamado – Nashville, TN – July 2012

The colors and textures of this meal look fantastic, and I love the bamboo placemats as well. Steve, my father-in-law, enjoyed this eye-catching Yakitori at his friend Chieko Hamado’s home in Nashville, TN. I researched Yakitori and learned from Wikipedia that it can refer to any skewered foods. Here are some details about the meal as told by Steve, my father-in-law and roaming gourmand.

Organic home grown carrots, cold new potatoes, shrimp and mashed avocado with onion and cream cheese, couscous and tomato and onion salad, prosciutto wrapped around cucumber, miniature tomato mozzarella.  Korean style BBQ beef and Yakatori chicken.  Garlic and olive oil  sauce from ground green leaf like basil called beef steak leaf.

Take me to Tennessee, I say.  Steve, please chime in on anything I missed.