How To Eat Your Vegetables


Since I read Tamar Adler‘s book a month or so back (yes, I’m late to the party as usual), Sundays will find me, at a minimum, roasting a couple of big platters of vegetables to tuck away for the week ahead.

weekly ritual

This sort of cooking ahead is more important than ever now that Julian’s diet has shifted mostly to solids, and we want to provide him with an abundance of tasty, seasonal vegetables in a format that’s easy for him to eat – and that’s easy for both his work-at-home Daddy and office-working Mommy to prepare and eat as well.

It’s also nice to have something easy to throw together for dinner after, say, a long weekend away, when you return home to a near-empty fridge and the thought of another meal out makes you want to stab yourself with a fork.

marinated roast vegetables

Enter our trusty jar of slow-roasted vegetables, a mix of yellow and green zucchini, young eggplant, and candy-sweet golden tomatoes, caramelized and bathed in a soft marinade of cider and champagne vinegars and plenty of fruity olive oil. I’ve tossed these with pasta, layered them in a warmed pita with our favorite local hummus, served them on a bed of wheatberries, or with salty French feta alongside, and on this night, I scattered them over a base of prepared whole wheat dough spread with creme fraiche and dotted with soft goat cheese – a rustic tart, of sorts.

Dinner: August 27, 2012

Julian ate his straight, once it had cooled enough to touch, and devoured room-temperature leftovers the next day, eating crust and cheese first, then gathering up any vegetables that had dropped off and popping them into his mouth one by one. I topped the grown-ups’ portions with big handfuls of raw arugula, a drizzle of red wine vinegar, and lots of cracked black pepper.

the grown-ups' part

A meal that took a minimum of time and effort to put together, packed with vegetables and loaded with flavor, that all three of us loved? You can’t get much better than that.

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.


Hello, New York.

Long story very short, we’re back. Some of the story is already out there in bits and pieces, and I’ll probably write down a fuller recount of the events of the last two weeks somewhere soon, but for now, I just felt the need to post a little something here. It seems right and appropriate – after all, Last Night’s Dinner was born in Brooklyn.

A good 95% of our stuff – furniture, clothes, kitchen and pantry supplies – are still locked up in a Providence storage facility, but we brought a few essentials to get us started in our new home. We have our trusty iron skillet, two plates, two bowls, flatware and glasses for two, my favorite chef’s knife, a small pot, mixing bowl, rasp and reamer – just enough to get us going, and sustain us until the rest of our belongings arrive. At least we hope that’s the case.

Went out for a walk. Stumbled upon a greenmarket.

Our new kitchen is smallish but modern – long and narrow, but with a big window to let in the light and air, plus a brand new fridge, stove, and dishwasher (!). And on Sunday, the day after we landed here, we headed out for supplies. The Flatbush Food Co-Op was our destination, just a short walk away, but we were happily surprised to find that the Cortelyou Greenmarket was in full swing as well. We returned home with a bounty of local goods, and cooked our first meal in our new home that night: sauteed blackfish, zucchini and squash blossoms with lots of fresh young garlic, thyme and lemon, paired with a bottle of Wolffer Estate rose. To my delight, the baby ate a little bit of everything.


It’s so good to be back home.

Simple Fare


The month of May has not been great for planned dinners in our little household. Between work commitments, appointments, preparing for our move across town, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-us trip to Detroit for my Grandma’s 90th birthday, my attempts at shopping for and sticking to a meal plan have mostly been a big fat flop.

our path

I’ve also had difficulty improvising, of late. I’ve been tired and finicky, and cooking down the pantry and freezer pre-move has been less than inspiring – it doesn’t help that it still feels like March outside. I’m in a bit of a rut, but restless, eager for simpler, lighter fare (and the weather to match, please).


Mike had to turn around and head down to NYC right on the heels of our Detroit trip, but he returned with some goodies from the Union Square Greenmarket that perked me right up, among them a beautiful bunch of asparagus that made its way into our dinner last night. We’ve missed the first couple weeks of the local stuff, so this was very welcome, and I wanted to treat it fairly simply.

Dinner: May 11, 2011

I gave it a good rinse, snapped off the ends, and roasted the spears until they were just tender, serving them on a bed of creamy, cheesy polenta. I topped each plate off with a pastured local egg, fried in olive oil until the edges were crisp, and sprinkled with coarse grey salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. This may not have been the light spring dish I’ve been dreaming of, but it was perfect for the damp, chilly night, and it was just the kind of simple meal that always satisfies me.

Weekend Eats (and Drinks)

Our weekend in photos:

Dinner:  March 14, 2008

I was inspired by Lydia at The Perfect Pantry to pull out the bag of Fregula Sarda I bought recently and have another go at recreating a dish we had at Marlow and Sons last year. This time around, I made my meatballs using only veal rather than a mixture of meats, I used shallot in place of onion, I upped the proportion of breadcrumbs and I made the meatballs a little smaller. I placed a big spoonful of cooked Fregula in our bowls, added a few meatballs, and ladled over some hot chicken stock to which I had added an abundant amount of fresh herbs just at the last minute. I finished each serving with a grating of Ricotta Salata.

off with your head

View slideshow

Though we are really trying to work through as much of the stuff in our freezer as possible leading up to our move, we did hit the Greenmarket in Union Square on Saturday morning, where we brought home a lovely guinea hen from Violet Hill. Mike took the bird apart and I later braised it in a mixture of red wine, balsamic vinegar and aromatics.

Sunday was crummy and we both felt like hibernating so a comfort food breakfast was in order: Anson Mills grits with cheddar and parm, fried egg and Tamarack Hollow bacon.

After breakfast, I sat down with our freezer inventory, a stack of cookbooks and my little red meal planner, while Mike did some work on his post for the latest Mixology Monday. He mixed up a round so I could take advantage of the late afternoon light for taking photos, and of course we couldn’t let the drinks go to waste.

I served them with a little cheese and baguette to help counteract the cocktail’s high octane level.

Dinner:  March 16, 2008

Finally, dinner. We had also brought home a package of grass-fed Angus short ribs from Elk Trails on Saturday, so we thawed them overnight and Mike braised them, using recipes from John Besh, Mario Batali and Suzanne Goin as inspiration. We had four flanken-style ribs which came in at just under 2.5 pounds, and after he browned them, he softened chopped onion, carrots and celery in the remaining fat in the Le Creuset, caramelized a blob of tomato paste, then added a cup of veal stock, 1.5 cups of red wine, one smashed garlic clove, some thyme, a bay leaf, and about a cup and a half of chopped tomatoes. The ribs went back into the pot, he sealed it up and chucked it into the oven for about 3 hours. When the ribs were tender, he stirred in some chopped chard until it was just wilted, and we served it with my sides: creamy mashed potatoes and a horseradish-spiked crème fraiche.