Old Friends and New Favorites

Scenes from a Saturday. #picstitch

This weekend, we made our first return visit to the big Saturday Greenmarket in Union Square since we moved back to New York. With Julian strapped into his carrier, we wove our way through the crowds, sidestepping little dogs and granny carts, selecting meats and produce for the week ahead. I wasn’t sure how our little guy would do surrounded by so many sights and sounds and people, but he seemed to really love the bustling market, smiling and babbling at anyone who met his eye.

wedge, minus bacon

We visited many of our old favorites, picking up Rocambole garlic and scapes from Keith’s Farm, shell peas and broccoli rabe from Migliorelli, baby back ribs and sweet Italian sausage from Flying Pigs, Cherry Lane tomatoes, Elk Trails bison, and ground mutton from 3-Corner Field Farm. But we were eager to try out some new-to-us vendors as well, and rounded out our market haul with a big, beautiful ribeye and a fresh whole chicken from Grazin’ Angus Acres.

Dinner: July 14, 2012

We treated both meats simply, searing the ribeye that night and serving it sliced alongside a crunchy wedge salad (minus the bacon, but with plenty of blue cheese studding a creamy homemade buttermilk dressing), and prepping the bird brick chicken-style.

Dinner: July 15, 2012

Mike put aside his usual method to try this version, seasoned with plenty of garlic scapes and lemon, and served with mashed potatoes and freshly shelled, buttered peas.

beef: it's what's for dinner

These two meals couldn’t have been simpler, more flavorful, or more satisfying, and while we are really looking forward to revisiting the familiar flavors of foods from our old favorite farms, we’re happy to have added a new one to the list.

Forever Now

two heads...

The problem with a move like the one we just had is that, in using all your resources to get to where you need to be, things can be a little tight once you get there. Luckily, I’ve become quite adept over the years at what we call “rocking the poverty dinners”, and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing while we wait for things to shake out and settle into our new normal.

Hello, Union Square Greenmarket.

I decided to take a week off before starting my new/old job, both because I needed it after the craziness of the last few weeks, and because I wanted to be around to help our little guy get adjusted to this big new place he’s living in. This move, after all, was in large part so we can spend more time as a family, and one thing Mike and I were both looking forward to was introducing J to some of our favorite stops on our old “food safari” route. So we took a train into the city on Wednesday and did just that, taking on Union Square Greenmarket with a $20 budget, looking to supplement the few pantry items we had moved with us to our new home, with some good fresh produce.

broccoli cooked (almost) forever, with farro spaghetti

I’ve had my eye on Roy Finamore’s recipe for “Broccoli Cooked Forever” for months now, and this week I finally got the chance to try it out. With Greenmarket broccoli and fresh young garlic, plus good meaty anchovies and plenty of fruity olive oil, this dish was a big hit with even the littlest member of our family. Mike and I ate ours tossed with farro spaghetti, but Julian had his straight up, dusted with a little bit of grated pecorino. We’ll be making this again for sure.

One Last Bite

Squee!

I never imagined when I started this blog nearly five years ago that someday my dishes would appear in a cookbook, but if there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that life throws you the most wonderful curveballs sometimes. I’m thrilled that four (!!!!) of my recipes appear in the new Food52 Cookbook, I’m humbled to share the pages of that book with so many talented home cooks, and I’m delighted that I can call a good number of them friends.

food52mosaic

On that high note, I’m saying goodbye to this space, at least for now. I can’t imagine a happier place to be in life than where we are right now, and I can’t thank you all enough for sharing the highs and lows, losses and celebrations with us here for the last five years. My priority right now is feeding Julian, and these days that doesn’t leave me time for much else, but I want you to know that you’ll always have a place at our (real or virtual) table.

Be well, savor life, and again, thank you.

A Legacy of Food

Market Haul, April 23, 2011

This week, the folks at food52 have challenged members of the community to submit one “Recipe You Want To Be Remembered For.” This contest theme got me thinking, of course, being 20 weeks into this pregnancy, smack dab in the middle of building our little boy on the best food I can give him. I’ve thought a lot about what I’m eating now – not just what health and developmental benefits I hope to provide for our son through my diet, but what (if any) impact the foods I’m eating will have on his future likes and dislikes.

spring vegetable salad

I probably spend even more time musing about what and how he’ll eat as he gets older. What will food mean to him? What will he look forward to eating, love above anything else, wrinkle his little nose at? Will he have my allergy to oranges and grapefruit, or share his father’s aversion to melon? What will he remember when he’s all grown up and he thinks of me and his dad and the meals we shared as a family?

second season

I can’t tell you how many times over the last few months Mike and I have been sitting at the kitchen table and the conversation has turned to our son and food. We talk about how we can’t wait for Sproggy’s first taste of fresh spring peas, of raspberries picked from the vine, of a tiny tomato bursting with juice and still warm from the sun. About taking him to the farmers’ market and introducing him to the wonderful people who grow and produce so much of our food. About how best to express gratitude for what we eat and the work that went into making it. We talk of rituals, of holidays and gatherings, of our family traditions, of how they might change and evolve over time, and how this little one will be part of them.

2nd pie, resting

I get a little giddy when I think of our son helping Mike bake bread or make pizza, rolling out dough with chubby little hands, flour speckling his clothes. Every time I make tortillas from scratch – a skill I’m still learning – I think about doing so with him at my side, about the smell of toasty corn rising from a hot griddle, and how that scent transports me immediately to my grandmother’s kitchen. I wonder if that aroma, or others, will trigger such great memories for him someday.

Chase!

We want him to know where and how things grow, to meet chickens and pigs and cows and sheep, to be accustomed to living in a home in which canning jars line the shelves, full of delicious things we’ve grown, picked, or put up ourselves.

But back to the original question – is there a particular dish or meal I that want our little boy to remember above all others? Meatballs, migas, macaroni and cheese, soft scrambled eggs, a lobster roll on a toasted bun, homemade pickles, the family rice and beans, or a crispy chicken cutlet? I can’t possibly choose one thing.

sardines, Triscuits, mustard

I want to share all sorts of food experiences with him, whether it involves meals we’ve cooked at home, or just sitting with him while we share one perfect cheese, a tin of great sardines with Triscuits and mustard, a juicy ripe peach, cold briny oysters, or a hot dog in the park. I look forward to sitting back and watching him figure out food and flavors, learn his likes and dislikes. I look forward to how he’ll inspire and influence me in the kitchen, and maybe someday, when he’s all grown up and I’m an old woman, he’ll ask me to make him his most favorite thing ever, and I will happily oblige.

sun-kissed

But we’ve got a whole lot of eating to do before then, and I look forward to savoring every moment.

Big Stuff

sardines, fennel, tomato

I don’t know what to say.

It’s well into February and I haven’t posted here in what feels like forever. We’ve been cooking up a storm, working on projects in the kitchen, eating some truly wonderful things, but I just haven’t had it in me to post.

There’s so much to tell you. But I can’t talk about it just yet.

Dinner: January 22, 2011

I do want to talk about this pasta, though. It seems like every time I talk about this dish, something big happens. I last posted about it here in 2007, to an enthusiastic response.

Almost a year later, with Mike in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail and me at home in Providence, I watched wide-eyed as my site meter shot skyward, topping out at 12,127 hits – twelve thousand, one hundred twenty seven hits – thanks to a post on a Yahoo! Shine blog which linked out to that old Linguine con Sarde post.

And now my recipe for this dish, this humble pantry supper I’ve been making for us for years, is the latest addition to the second food52 cookbook.

As in book one’s scallop competition, I was up against the incredibly talented cook melissav, and today, I learned that my Linguine with Sardines, Fennel and Tomato came out on top in the voting. Sardines with pasta! People are cooking this, and enjoying it, people are eating sardines, and that’s not just big, it’s huge. I couldn’t be happier, or more proud.

To all of you who voted, who commented, who are a constant source of support and inspiration, THANK YOU.

Cause for Celebration

I had no idea, as we planned our meals for this week, that last night’s dinner would turn into such a big fun celebration. We’ve spent most of our time planning for and looking forward to today, our fifth wedding anniversary, and the meal we’ll share tonight, as well as making plans to continue the celebration over the weekend. We’ll have other things to celebrate then, too – my parents‘ 40th (!) anniversary, and my niece‘s second birthday, so much joy packed into a few short days.

But boy did I get a surprise yesterday thanks to the folks at food52 – they chose my Hunters’-Style Chicken as a Wildcard winner, to appear in the second food52 cookbook alongside Amy‘s amazing Short Rib Ragu and countless other mouthwatering dishes. It’s always a rush to have a recipe chosen as a finalist or an Editor’s Pick in a competition, but to have my dish deemed worthy of inclusion in the book just on its own is really something special. I’m incredibly humbled, and so thankful, and it was such a fun coincidence that I had already planned to make this dish last night.

I’m sure we’ll be raising many a glass over the next few days, and you can be sure that as we toast to all of the things we’re grateful for in our lives, we’ll be thinking of all of you and this incredible community we’ve become a part of.