Snooki may like to smoosh, but when it came to the root vegetables that I brought home from the farmer’s market last week, I was in the mood to smash.
I was making roast chicken (my go-to weeknight dish) and my standard practice is to stick some root vegetables under or around the chicken, to crank up the oven and to rejoice as all that chicken fat infuses the vegetables with its chickeny goodness.
The Jews have an expression: “Next year in Jerusalem!” The idea is that next year, whatever we’re doing or celebrating, we’ll do it in Jerusalem, the place where all Jews should aspire to someday go. (I do aspire to go there some day, though I think Rome may be higher on my list, if only for the pasta.)
Why do I bring that up here? I needed some kind of intro to a post about Jerusalem artichokes and that seemed as good a way to start as any. This post actually has nothing to do with Jerusalem, the city in Israel; it has to do with those knobby little tubers that you may have seen recently at the farmer’s market.
So the other day, when I was live-streaming my dinner preparations from my kitchen (making history! see here) I was surprised not only by how many people turned out (including impressive folks like Dan Saltzstein and Kelsey Nixon (who has her own show launching soon on Cooking Channel!)) but how useful it is to have 48 people watching you as you cook, offering their tips and suggestions. And one of those suggestions (and I apologize, I forget who it came from) was to make a salsa verde to go with the spatchcocked chicken I was making.
It’s been more than a month since I made the ratatouille you see in the above photo. I made it for a dinner party where there was lamb (a leg of lamb, actually) and, as many will tell you, ratatouille goes well with lamb. When I wrote my last book, the final chapter “Feast” featured a leg of lamb paired with a ratatouille just like you see above. In fact, it was the exact same recipe as the one you see above, a recipe from Gourmet magazine that now lives on Epicurious.
What’s that expression about teachers learning from their students? Is there an expression like that? There really should be.
You may recall that for my cookbook I have an intern named Tyla working with me. Tyla herself has a food blog called “Learning To Live Without A Microwave” and on her blog last week I saw an excellent recipe for “Zucchini Saute with Toasted Almonds.” Now Tyla got the recipe from my friend Deb of Smitten Kitchen who titled the post “My Favorite Side Dish”; Deb, in turn, got it from The Red Cat restaurant. (Another game of recipe telephone.) But the point is that I discovered it from Tyla and it’s such a killer recipe it’s time you discovered it from me; it takes just a few minutes and it’s a “wow-er.”
There’s a very hip restaurant in my neighborhood called Joseph Leonard; you go there, and everyone else is either more attractive or more wealthy than you. There’s a very cool bathroom with a medicine cabinet over the sink that has Q-tips, Altoids and tampons (I bet women wish more restaurant bathrooms had tampons; or maybe they do and that’s just a secret between women and restaurants?) and on every table a little jar of cornichons. It’s that little jar of cornichons (not the tampons) that I’d like to talk about today. It led to my own table decorating revelation, one involving sugar snap peas, garlic and lots of white wine vinegar.
The original title of this post was going to be: “How To Turn Leftover Collard Greens Into Soup.” It was going to be a joke–you’ll see why in a moment–with only two words in the body of the post itself. But then I realized that many of you don’t have leftover collard greens sitting around in your refrigerator because many of you don’t know how to cook them. Which is a shame because collard greens aren’t only strangely delicious–deep, dark, almost musky–but they’re good for you too. They’re also prevalent, cheap, and versatile. Which is why you should be cooking collard greens more often!
Anyone who watched last season of “Top Chef” will remember Carla’s pea dish. She wowed the judges with her side of fresh peas, purchased from Whole Foods, cooked–according to this blog (the Bravo recipe site is too hard to navigate)–with tarragon, butter and lemon thyme.
Inspired by Carla (who, by personality alone, should’ve won the show), I purchased fresh peas the other day at the farmer’s market. But would my peas have secured me a place in the Top Chef Finale? I’m not quite sure.