Posts tagged ‘herbs’

March 26, 2012

Crustless Quiche with Bacon, Leeks and Greens

I love quiche. I adore it.

What else (besides perhaps mac & cheese) is as simultaneously sophisticated and homey as quiche? What else is as equally well-suited for entertaining as it is for leftover lunches and tired weeknight dinners, and as un-fussy as to be equally tasty eaten room-temperature as it is warm?

What’s not to love?

dreamy quiche

Quiche is quaint; irresistible (just look at its fat wedge shape!); customizable (leaving you freedom to play with whatever combination of vegetables, herbs and cheese sounds good to you — or whatever you have in the fridge); hearty (and still easily vegetarian, if you want it to be); and finally, er… elaborate. And excessively rich.

Hmm. There’s something not to love.

read more »

September 13, 2010

A Parting Gift

Dear Summer,

You have been so sweet. Let me sit back and take a moment to remember you — the salt-crusted skin and the smell of brine; the sound of cicadas and crashing waves; the intense sweetness of a plum after an accidental mouthful of seawater; the feel of falling asleep tucked into a hammock, impossibly both grounded and weightless, floating; the stretch of long days, melting hot and sticky-sweet, and the cool relief of evening — before I say goodbye….

read more »

August 30, 2010

Chive Cream

I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve been feeling a bit conflicted about apples.

Have you seen them in the farmer’s markets in the last week or so? Bins of early apples nestled up alongside the summer squash and cherry tomatoes and big bunches of basil?

I have… and my first thought (Apples! I love apples!) was immediately followed by the realization that apples herald the coming of autumn. Another burst of excitement (Autumn! I love autumn! — and I do, in all of its roasted squash, clove-scented kitchen, crisp afternoon and brisk blue sky-glory), was too soon followed by guilt (is a love of autumn a betrayal of summer?) and a final realization that my beloved autumn is too soon followed by the dreaded winter: dreary, dark, dismal winter.

Between Thanksgiving and the holiday season, November and December are alright, but around February things are starting to feel quite bleak. By the time March finally rolls around with its lingering dirty patches of snow and slush and freezing rain, I’m already chomping at the bit for warmer weather and longer days and GREEN… but March is an interminable month, and often taunts us with a couple of warm days in the third week only to pitch us back into arctic temperatures just in time for the start of April, sometimes just in time to cruelly bury the first few crocus buds in a new layer of sleet or snow.

You see now why I’m so conflicted about the arrival of apples.

read more »

August 16, 2010

Tuscan Kale and Cod Simmered in Summer Tomatoes and Sweet Onions

Despite the fact that it is approaching late summer and the markets are crawling with all manner of lush, succulent produce — peaches and nectarines, heirloom tomatoes and corn and baby summer squash in more colors, shapes and sizes than I knew existed — somehow I found myself with a hulking bunch of decidedly not lush, wouldn’t-describe-it-as-succulent-if-you-paid-me (even for a hundred dollars, there are lines I just won’t cross) kale in my refrigerator.
ANY CHARACTER HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Wow that was a long sentence.
ANY CHARACTER HERE
But I digress.
August 10, 2010

Simple Succotash Salad

Confession: I tend to go through food phases… crushes, really. I’ll find something I love — like Thai curries, or pineapple fried rice, or this — and then make it (or some variation of it) over and over, eating it for two or three weeks straight, until finally my attentions are arrested by some previously unfamiliar ingredient or flavor combination… thus beginning a brand new love affair.

(Unfortunately for my neighbors, I do the same thing with music: I think I’ve listened to Band of Horses’ “No One’s Gonna Love You” about ten times already today. Sorry guys.)

Now I know some people are averse to eating the same thing more than once or twice in the same two to three-day period — sometimes to the extent that they won’t even eat leftovers — but if I’m being honest (and really, when am I not?), I don’t really understand those people. I mean, leftovers are great! Nevermind that living by myself and not having time to cook every night (or the money to eat out or order in all the time), I pretty much live on leftovers, making double or triple what I’ll eat at any given sitting so I have lunch or dinner for the next day or two.

Luckily for me, the ability to eat the same foods and not get bored (not even close) is also pretty convenient when one is trying to eat seasonally and to take advantage of crops for as long as they’re available.

Isn’t it great when life works out like that? I mean seriously, if I was one of those leftovers-phobic people, I probably wouldn’t have much of a social life.

read more »

July 7, 2010

Cool as a Cucumber

It’s the middle of summer — the days are hot and humid and stretch on for hours, seemingly endless, until finally they melt into those high summer apricot and lavender skies — and I can’t get enough of it.

I love the feel of the sun, the smell of the air and the water; the coconutty smell of sunscreen. I love ducking into the air-conditioned bus to escape the muggy, oppressive heat of Manhattan and heading home for weekends of beaches and hammocks and local wine. But perhaps more than anything, I cherish this season that brings wave after wave of lush new produce. Each week, it seems, a new crop sweeps into the farmer’s markets; a new jewel-toned addition to the summer palette of bright yellows and reds, deep purples and creamy greens.

chilled cucumber soup 1

Now I don’t like to play favorites with my vegetables, but there is something magical about the arrival of sweet corn, those perfect little rows of velvety pearls that turn buttercup yellow with a little heat and pop in sweet little bursts between your teeth…. Um, wow.

So when last week I received a report from my darling mother that the corn was in early this year — that it was already flooding farmstands by the bushelfull, well in time for Fourth of July festivities — I was thrilled. And I wasn’t the only one. I could tell from the tone in which my mother gave this report that she was pleased as punch with herself for being the bearer of such wonderful news.

In the days leading up to the holiday weekend, visions of sweet corn chowder danced through my head, distracting me from paying attention to things like my job, conversations, crosswalk signs…. I simply could not WAIT to get home and into a big kitchen with a huge armload of corn and some fresh milk.

There was, however, just one problem: it was really, really hot last weekend. Really hot. Like, record-breaking, haven’t-seen-temperatures-like-these-since-nineteen-ninety-nine hot. And despite the fact that my parents are far less stingy with the air conditioning than I am, the thought of simmering a chowder on the stovetop for a few hours sounded like the very last thing I wanted to be doing.

Have I ever told you that I am a firm believer that when life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade? Or lemon bars (and share them with me)? Or that when one door closes, another one opens? Because I am a firm believer in both of those things.

read more »

June 10, 2010

Carrot Salad with Parsley, Dill and Feta

This past weekend was lovely.

It was lively and relaxing, full of trips uptown to see old friends, trips downtown to see new friends, and trips to the farmer’s market, and perfectly balanced out with some quality time in my kitchen and quiet time on my couch. It was wonderful — except that it was beastly hot, and the thought of turning on the oven to make this olive oil cake I was hoping to bake Saturday afternoon for my friend’s birthday party was totally out of the question.

More to the point, it was time for lunch, and I was hungry.

I desperately wanted tabbouleh, but even the thought of boiling water to cook up some grains was enough to make me wilt. I needed something cold, something crisp and refreshing, and I needed it STAT.

Then, out of the blue, I remembered this carrot salad with harissa, feta and mint that I had salivated over stumbled upon earlier in the week while perusing one of my favorite blogs. It promised to be everything I wanted: crisp and refreshing; light yet satisfying; minty and herbal; sweet and salty. All of that, plus a little kick of citrus? I was sold. Once I got this recipe into my head, wild horses couldn’t stop me from making it.

And if wild horses couldn’t, then I certainly wasn’t going to let the fact that I didn’t have any mint on hand get in the way. Or any harissa. Hmm. Or caraway seeds.

Okay, so it looked like I was going to be winging it.

read more »