The farmer’s market can be an intimidating place, especially in summer when there’s just so much to choose from. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, buy a few peaches and tomatoes and leave quickly. Other times, I just buy everything in sight, a strategy that seems wasteful at first but which almost always pays off. When I come home with armfuls of bags and mountains of vegetables, I put them immediately to use and whatever I don’t use I pickle. It’s a win-win.
In January of this year, the good people of Korin, one of the nation’s best knife shops, offered to send me a fancy knife. I stopped them in their tracks. “Good people of Korin!” I said. “I can’t take such a generous gift unless you can offer a similar gift to my readers.” Korin wrote back: “Well try the knife out, see if you like it, and we’ll go from there.”
Fast forward to August: I like the knife. It’s my main knife, I use it all the time. And now I’m giving one away with a little contest….
Here’s the thing about serving a beet salad as your first course at Thanksgiving: it’s nutritious enough (beets are healthy!) to justify all of the hedonism that’s to come AND you can serve it with good cheese which, when you think about it, rarely makes an appearance at Thanksgiving. Where else would you serve cheese? With the turkey? With the pecan pie? So starting with a beet salad makes good sense, especially if you buy a cheese like Humboldt Fog (like I did for this salad) or something even bolder like Roquefort.
I started cooking seven or eight years ago, maybe even a little further back, and it was around the time that people stopped buying whole heads of lettuce and started buying lettuce, pre-washed, in those little plastic tubs. The tubs, which are now omnipresent, have labels like “Spring Salad Mix” and “Herb Salad Mix” and they cost, usually, around $5. And like many of you out there, if I wanted to make a quick lettuce salad, I’d grab one of those tubs, pay my $5, bring it home, dress it up and call it a day.
When food icons have food blogs, you need to read them.
That’s certainly true of Dorie Greenspan’s blog. Her posts, like Dorie herself, are wise, witty and warm. And they’re full of good advice–like where to get pastries in Paris or how to whip up begger’s linguine–but the advice that’s stuck with the most was her advice, last April, to use the last remnants of mustard in the jar to make a vinaigrette.
I make Caesar salads all the time and whenever I do, I forget to take pictures. Maybe it’s because it’s such a loosey-goosey process–how much garlic, how much anchovy, how much Parmesan & lemon is all a matter of taste–but, still, my Caesar salad is very good (as evidenced by this post). So, instead of waiting for the next opportunity to take pictures, I thought I would illustrate the process for you with a program I just downloaded called Paintbrush. Prepare to be amazed by my illustrious illustrating skills!
It’s true that travel is an important component of any burgeoning chef’s education, but sometimes you go somewhere and the lessons don’t stick. For example, I spent ten days last summer in Spain–most of that time in Barcelona–and though we ate some truly extraordinary food, I can’t really say that it changed the way I cook. Yes, I use smoked paprika a bit more freely in my food and I’m very intrigued by the possibilities of pairing chickpeas with seafood, but beyond that? I’m still the same old me in the kitchen.
However, the trip I took in 2005 with my family to Greece (see here), stuck in a very important way: I now make a very good, very authentic Greek salad.
I met my grandparents for dinner last night at the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center. My grandparents are here in the city for the next week, and choosing a place to eat can be a bit tricky. Once I took my grandmother to The City Bakery for lunch, and when she saw the price tag–$13 a pound for the salad bar–she nearly fainted. But my grandmother does like salad bars, as does my grandfather–it affords them choices and control–and so a good option for them both is Whole Foods.
They’d been to this Whole Foods before. Last time they visited New York, they stayed in my Chelsea apartment (I used to live in Chelsea) and took the bus up there on a regular basis. So that’s why Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center was the perfect place to meet them, last night, for dinner.