May 2009

Spaghetti with Ramps (A Recipe)

A few weeks ago, I told you about the spaghetti with ramps I ate at Franny’s in Park Slope. It may be the case that ramps have come and gone now and you’ve missed your window, but if, like me, you stumble upon them at a farmer’s market this weekend, here’s an easy way to prepare them: cut off the bulbs at the bottom and sauté them in olive oil with a few pinches of red pepper flakes and a drop of salt. Don’t make the mistake I made and make the heat too high: you don’t want them to brown, just to cook through. Meanwhile, boil your spaghetti. Once the bulbs are translucent, add the ramp leaves which you can cut up just a bit. Add a drop of pasta cooking water to turn it into a sauce and when the spaghetti’s just al dente, add it to the cooked ramp mixture, stir it all together: no cheese! This is about subtle ramp flavor, yo. Once on the plate, you can top with toasted bread crumbs which I made by taking four pieces of white sandwich bread, cutting crusts off, chopping the white parts into tiny bits and sauteing those bits in olive oil until golden brown with a smidge of salt and pepper. The bread crumbs are actually the key ingredient here: they add texture and little explosions of flavor as you devour the first great taste of spring.

Live with David Lebovitz

Last week’s BlogTalk Radio interview with Michael Ruhlman was such a hit, I’m going to try to do the show weekly, every Thursday at 12 PM, with a different surprise guest. And this week’s surprise guest is one that we all know and love, a recent author and beloved blogger, one Mr. David Lebovitz. David will join us tomorrow (Thursday, May 28th) from 12 PM to 12:30 PM EST. You can listen to the interview live right here on the player and if you want to call in with questions, just dial (347) 326-9874 and we’ll patch you in. If you’re too shy to call, ask some questions in the comments and I’ll try to ask those too. This should be a fun one, so make sure to tune in!

UPDATE: The interview’s over and so many things went wrong it’s pretty hilarious! For the first 6 minutes, I can’t get David on the line and then when I do I give out the wrong # for callers. But, if you skip ahead a bit, you’ll hear some good questions and a few callers who did get through. Sorry, David, for the chaos, but hope you had fun anyway! (You can listen to the archive of the podcast below.)

Mayonnaise-Based Sauces

Growing up, there was nothing I hated more than mayonnaise. NOTHING.

The idea of putting mayonnaise on a sandwich repulsed me. It still does, actually. I mean: if it’s a burger and there’s mayonnaise on it, I’ll overlook it because it blends with all the juices and the ketchup and the mustard and makes something of a sauce. But a turkey sandwich with JUST mayo? Blech! Nothing repulses me more.

When Foam Looks Like Spit

Let’s not worry about where I was when this dessert arrived at the table; let’s not even worry about what this dessert is or how it was described on the menu. Instead, let’s just focus on that clear, bubbly substance on the top. Tell me the truth: does it look like spit?

I think it does. Almost like a fraternity hazing ritual, where the brothers all take the plate into the kitchen and spit on it and bring it out and call it foam. Sorry if that disturbed you, but if that’s what this dessert evokes, has it failed in some way? And really, is foam really worth it anymore? I feel like that fad is over–it was novel for a quick moment–but it just doesn’t have legs. I don’t crave foam the way I crave, say, whipped cream. In fact, I would have preferred whipped cream on this dessert–it would have both looked and tasted better than foam.

But I’m ranting: I’d like to hear what you think. Foam defenders, speak up! Foam detractors, are you with me? It’s time we burst foam’s bubbles.

The Culinary Cardiologist

Rob Siegel is a cardiologist who joined a big group of us last week, before seeing “Star Trek,” for dinner at The Brooklyn Diner (not the best place for a meal, but a decent option near the Ziegfield Theater). There were so many of us, we were split into two groups, and, unfortunately, I wasn’t at Rob’s table; Craig was, however, and he reports that Rob–again, a cardiologist–ordered a bacon cheeseburger. Rob, a thoughtful, funny guy, shrugged his shoulders and began explaining his theories about nutrition, health, and eating, theories that led to a discussion later that night which concluded: “Why don’t we do a Q&A on my blog?” So here’s that Q&A. And if you enjoy Rob’s sensibility, and want to read more, you can read his blog–Let Them Eat Cake–on the Psychology Today website.

Citrus-Glazed Polenta Cake

I’m heading home in five minutes (really! the car’s on its way) to attend my brother’s wedding this weekend in Boca Raton, Florida. You were there when my brother got engaged (remember?) and now the wedding’s finally here and we’re all pretty excited. But I didn’t want to leave you without anything to cook this weekend: so here you go, a cake that matches this beautiful weather and this beautiful occasion. It’s a citrus polenta cake from Gina DePalma’s “Dolce Italiano” and it’s a bright, zingy cake that’ll put a big smile on your face. I haven’t met Gina yet–she’s the James Beard award winning pastry chef at Babbo–but our books sit together on a shelf at my favorite coffee shop, Joe The Art of Coffee. Gina, as some of you might know, is currently battling cancer; so make this cake in her honor and send good cake karma her way. And in the meantime, I’ve gotta go! Have a great weekend and happy baking.

Chocolate Mousse

There is only one dessert to eat after Coq au Vin and that dessert is chocolate mousse. Now, if you’re anything like me and you love the movie “Rosemary’s Baby” you won’t pronounce that chocolate mousse, you’ll pronounce it “chocolate mouse” employing your best Ruth Gordon voice. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, get thee to a video store STAT).

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