It’s Apple Season, So Here Are Three Desserts You Can Make with Apples (Baked Apples, Apple Cake & Apple Cobbler)


Peter Meehan recently ranted about hectoring food snobs, the ones who make you feel bad for putting milk in your coffee (something he witnessed at an elite coffee shop) or who mock you for not knowing your various kinds of meat (hogget, anyone?) It’s with a sense of subtle restraint, then, that I gently prod you (I’m not hectoring, I swear) to make your way to a farmer’s market this autumn to buy some apples.

Not because it’ll make you a better person (it won’t) or because it’ll elevate your foodie status (whatever that might be), but because farmer’s market apples just taste better than supermarket apples. All you have to do to experience the difference is taste.

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The Taste Test: Honey

Ok, folks, time for another Taste Test. I know some of you are wary of the unscientific nature of this project, but science was never the intention. Think of it more like hanging out with me in my kitchen as I taste stuff. And this week we’re tasting honey: clover honeys from Brazil, New Jersey and the Union Square farmer’s market. Which will I like the best? Click “play” and find out.

Previous Taste Tests: Water, Eggs, Chocolate, Chardonnay, Peanut Butter.

Penne with Ramp Pesto, Asparagus & Peas


I’ll admit, I get lazy when it comes to eating seasonally. It’s easier to pop into the grocery store across the street, where lemons, onions and garlic look the same the whole year round, than it is to march all the way up to the Union Square Greenmarket on a windy or rainy spring day. On a Saturday, however, the rules change: I forcibly remove myself from the world wide web and make a point, especially in spring, summer and fall, to go pay a visit to the Union Square farmers. Sometimes I come home with just honey or maple syrup; other times I buy flowers (the lilacs I bought a few weeks ago made it into my newsletter.) This past Saturday I came home with ramps (despite my ramp-ambivalence) and asparagus and a few hours later I whipped up a dinner (the one you see above) that I declared to be one of the best meals I’ve ever made. And I give 100% of the credit to what I found at the farmer’s market.

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Where To Buy Ethical Meat?


My friend Rob wrote me the following e-mail yesterday and because it’s such a good question, I thought I’d answer it right here on the blog.

Hey Adam, I was reading reviews of [Jonathan Safran] Foer’s new book “Eating Animals” on being a vegetarian and renewing my pledge to only eat “humane” meat — free range, cruelty free, local, organic, etc. But I cannot for the life of me figure out which places are “approved.” Is there any way to figure this out? Would this make for a good blog? It seems to be a topic a lot of people are talking about… – Rob

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Breasts are trouble. Legs are easy.

[Hey, this is Adam The Amateur Gourmet. I’m on vacation in Barcelona, Spain and while I’m gone I’ve asked some awesome people to fill in for me. Now, I have to confess, when I e-mailed prospective guest bloggers, there was one person I was certain would never say yes. That person is one of the most feared food bloggers alive, a blogger who talks of her own “retractable fangs.” That blogger is, of course, Regina Schrambling of the legendary food industry blog, Gastropoda. (She also writes on Epicurious and Tweets on Twitter.) Lo and behold, not only did Regina say yes, she wrote her guest post with gusto. So I am deeply humbled and honored and excited to announce her contribution. Take it away, Regina!]

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One of the first serious dinner parties my consort and I ever gave was a duck debacle — I picked a ridiculously ambitious recipe from “Cooking With the New American Chefs” involving fried corn cakes and pinot noir sauce, and the two of us managed to put together what Bob said “looks like farmer food.” Tears were involved. Not to mention mangled breasts to the then-crazy tune of 30 dollars.

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Cranberry Beans


My first experience with cranberry beans was a failed attempt at a soup (see here) where dried cranberry beans were cooked for an inappropriate amount of time, leading to a texture so unpleasantly undercooked it was like eating unpopped popcorn kernels. The years have passed, but the scars took a while to heal: I wasn’t too eager to cook cranberry beans again. Not even fresh ones. That is until I saw a beautiful mound of them at the farmer’s market and, knowing I was cooking a dinner for Stella two weeks ago, I said: “What the ‘ell!” (I had a British accent.) I bought the beautiful bag of beans you see above.

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Two Summery Meals

Here are two meals you can make this weekend: one, a meal of farmer’s market goodies that are seasonal and good for you and good for the planet and the farmers, and the second a crowd-pleaser from your local grocery store that isn’t good for you or the planet but boy is it good and easy to make. Let’s start with the angel on your shoulder meal:


There on the plate you’ll see vegetables–sugar snap peas, beets and radishes. You’ll also see a Parker House roll (from the post below this). What I liked about this meal was that, even though it was a meal of just vegetables, it wasn’t punishing in any way. After washing and peeling the snap peas, I took butter–a few tablespoons–and cooked it in a skillet until it turned a toasty brown (make sure it doesn’t burn!) and then I added the peas and tossed them around until they were coated. I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and after a few minutes (and tasting one to see that it was just cooked enough) I put it on the plate. The beets were prepared with the knowledge that raw beets are better for you than cooked beets, so I peeled them and cut them thinly into strips and tossed with a simple vinaigrette of mustard, red wine vinegar and olive oil. And they were fantastic–I think I like beets better raw, now, than cooked!

So that was a relatively healthy dinner, rounded out by the rolls which helped fill us up. On the flip side was this:


This is a meal I hope all of you make at some point this summer. It’s like an instant picnic, and even if you eat it at home after a long day of work (as Craig did having come home from a full day of teaching high schoolers how to make movies) it transports you instantly to a sunny bench in the park.

The components are simple: fried chicken, biscuits, and watermelon feta salad. All of these are recipes I’ve posted on the blog before. For the fried chicken recipe click here; for the biscuits click here; for the watermelon/feta click here. It’s guaranteed to please a crowd or just a grateful significant other. And you’ll really impress if you serve the biscuits with your homemade red currant jam, as I did:


We’re eating well this summer, aren’t we? Let me know if you give any of this a try….

What To Do With Sugar Snap Peas


A mountain of sugar snap peas greeted visitors to the Union Square Farmer’s Market on Friday. I was there because on Friday night I was hosting a screening of “Showgirls,” a movie that Craig delights in as “sublimely disastrous.” Browsing around the market, I was trying to piece together a meal concept and, aware that it was spring, I purchased two bunches of asparagus and then, at the pile of sugar snap peas, I went a little crazy and bought two pounds of them! And would you believe, all two pounds were gone and consumed by Friday night.

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