Spring Archive

Monday, May 17, 2010

carrot salad with harissa, feta and mint

carrot salad with harissa, feta and mint

There’s nothing better than a recipe that gives you a feeling of promise, especially when it involves something as mundane as carrots. Yes, carrots. I mean, just when I thought I’d done everything worth doing with carrots — shredding them into my favorite carrot salad, pickling them, roasting them for an avocado salad, grinding them into a ginger dressing, grating them into Indian vegetable pancakes — a reader (Hi, Sasa!) came along, emailed me her favorite carrot recipe and with one look, I knew exactly what my carrot routine was missing.

soaking the carrots
garlic

It turned out to be a lot of things (fortunately, none of them were striped socks), actually, but small things: paprika, caraway, cumin, harissa, mint, garlic, parley and also feta. The carrots are grated, the spices are heated with a pinch of sugar in olive oil, whisked with lemon juice and poured warm over the carrots, with minced mint and parsley — think North African pesto. You let the flavors muddle for a bit and then you add feta. And I know this is when I should say “You can eat it with lamb! At a picnic! With skewers off the grill and pitas!” But honestly, I just ate it with a fork. Because this salad is fascinating.

peeled carrotsshreddedharissa, cumin, corriander, paprikaspices to heat

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

spring asparagus pancetta hash

asparagus pancetta hash

A few times a year, I go on a Dinner Intervention, which might sound a little more gentle than it is. It sounds like a “Honey, I was thinking I’ll do something different with dinner this week” but in reality it is more of a “Gah, I am so sick of take-out and fobbed together meals! I’ve had enough!” wherein I throw down the proverbial spatula and demand we do better.

heads

Dinner is not my strong suit; I love side dishes and “tapas-style” meals (a joke consisting of bits and pieces of leftovers from the fridge meals.) I’ve got pancakes, slaws and potatoes down pat, but when it comes down to what I consider the Holy Grail of home cooking — Getting Dinner On The Table with any regularity — I fall woefully short. Seeing as we can get great salads, hummus platters and cracker-thin pizzas delivered in no time, why would I want to bother cranking up the broiler?

toes

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Friday, April 30, 2010

leek bread pudding

leek bread pudding

I feel like I have been sitting on this leek bread pudding recipe forever, though it has technically only been six months — the New York Times ran this recipe from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home last October, when [updated: ahem, I had thought] leeks were decidedly out of season and apparently, I’m really becoming someone who really digs her heels in about these sorts of things. I imagine how much better something will taste in season, how much better it will look, how much more excited I’ll be when I “score” the thing I’ve been longing six months for and say “aargh, fine! I’ll wait.” And wait I did. (Jacob, too, was patient but mostly because he was just a little lump back then.)

leeeeeks
leeks in one-inch segments
leek coins

Nevertheless, despite my initial grumbling that I was bereft of my favorite spring delights, I’ve been hauling back armloads from the Greenmarket since, literally as much as I can carry and leeks were finally among last week’s haul. (It has also helped that I’ve discovered the glories of Wednesday — glorious uncluttered, overflowing-stands Wednesdays! — shopping. Wednesday, I’m in love.) For this savory take on bread pudding, the leeks are sliced in pretty, pretty coins then cooked slowly in butter until soft and caramelized enough to bring tears to your eyes. I really get carried away with leeks, I know.

toasted brioche cubes

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

creamed chard and spring onions

creamed chard and spring onions

My fridge is a mess. I like to fancy myself a focused shopper; I know what I want to cook, I carefully make lists of the ingredients I don’t have yet and I don’t come home until every item is crossed off.

spring onions, rainy day

Eh, hold on a moment because somewhere on the other side of a computer screen, my husband just snorted coffee through his nose. Look, I aim to be a focused, efficient shopper, I really do! It’s just that often the gap between my aspirations (look at my to-do list, and all of those little check marks!) and my reality (oh, we’re out of milk, eggs and flour? I thought I’d checked!) is big. And filled with a husband, who often gets relayed to a store because I’d forgotten one little thing.

ribbons of chard

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

asparagus with chorizo and croutons

asparagus with chorizo and croutons

I have been thinking a lot in the last couple of weeks about what it means to cook when you’re pressed for time. I’ve always had the luxury of time. Even when I juggled a full-time job and a site, the sum of my evening tasks were still only to make whatever I felt like making for dinner, and if dinner was done at 10 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m., we just shrugged it off.

asparagus

Alas, as you other mamas out there know, the third trimester is all about waking up one day in a frenetic frenzy, as I did out of the blue yesterday morning. If we’re about to go into lockdown for a couple months, there is so much we have left to do: the upholstery needs to be steam-cleaned! The baby’s room needs a dimmer switch! The printer cartridges are, like, totally out of ink! And I haven’t yet learned to cook respectable meals in a minimum of time.

croutons

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