A Farmers Market Salad

farmers market salad

You’d never know it from this blog, but at 9 (!!) months pregnant, I’m still cooking dinner just about every night. Photos, too, are still being taken on a fairly regular basis, though they don’t often make it to my Flickr stream until days after the fact. As for the blogging… well, after commuting and work and more commuting and dinner-making and possibly ice cream, I’m lucky if I can keep my eyes open to read a chapter or two before passing out for the night. And I’m generally okay with that.

But I really had to tell you about this salad.

Farmers market season is in full swing here in New England, and between Providence and Boston, we could hit a market just about every day if we wanted. Though Mike and I are no longer just a short walk away, we still frequent the big Saturday market at Lippitt Park, and when we’re there, our friend Lynn (hi Lynn!) makes sure we don’t leave without a big bunch of kale.

Now, I like kale, I really do, but I had darn near run out of new or interesting ways to prepare it until I found a folded up page in the middle of a stack of old papers to be shredded. It was a printed list of specials from one of our favorite old NYC haunts, and as my eyes scanned the list of ingredients for this salad, I knew that even though I had never actually eaten it at any of our many visits to Diner, I’d have to try to replicate it at home.

sweet corn, shucked

I started with the dressing – a splash of red wine vinegar, a pinch of coarse sea salt, the juice of half a lemon, and a palmful of chopped fresh cilantro leaves, whisked together with just enough of our best olive oil to bring it all together. I added slivers of red onion next, allowing them to steep for a bit to lose their sharpness, then I added the kale – half a bunch or so, torn into manageable bites, tossing it with the dressing until the leaves were well-coated. Next came some fresh sweet corn (an ear’s worth of kernels), a couple of ripe white peaches, sliced, and finally, a shower of salty, crumbled Narragansett Creamery feta. Let it sit for a minute or five, until the kale softens up a bit. Then eat.

We ate this alongside Mike’s delicious brick chicken, but the salad was the star – an unexpected combination of flavors that worked just beautifully together. We each had two bowls of it, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be making this right through the end of summer.

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.



I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it. We’re not yet done with January and we’ve had more than our yearly average snowfall. My commute has been awful – if the trains aren’t delayed by snow and ice, then switches are breaking, signals malfunctioning, rail cars creeping ever so slowly from station to station. I’ve missed my bus home from the train station every night this week, and tonight looks to be no exception, with more snow expected to begin this afternoon, continuing overnight.

Dinner: January 25, 2011

We’ve been on a steady diet of comfort food – a hearty pot roast Sunday night, an almost-meatless soup on Monday, loaded with creamy beans, pasta, and bits of pancetta (not yet our own, but we’re oh-so-close). Last night, I threw together this simple pasta dish, a combination of grated beets cooked down in butter with a healthy splash of white balsamic, the pasta par-cooked then added to the beets with some pasta water to finish, becoming infused with beet flavor and that lovely rich hue. There are similar pastas out there that include poppy seeds and mint, but Mike and I both wanted goat cheese, so I crumbled a bit of Vermont Butter & Cheese chevre on our plates, along with some chopped pistachios for a visual and textural pop. The vibrant colors and bright flavors chased my winter blues away, at least for a little while.

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere, you’ve probably already seen me proudly cheering on my cool friends Cathy and Kim, who are featured in the Washington Post today. If you haven’t, check it out. I’m there, too, on page two, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Snow and Pho

3:58 pm

We’re up to our elbows in snow, and a good four days into our 10-day adaptation of the Food Lovers’ Cleanse. The biggest problem I’ve had (as I suspected would be the case) is that it has been really difficult to make the plan’s suggested breakfasts and lunches work with my weekday schedule, but I’ve also found that the recipes in general have been really hit or miss.

Dinner:  January 9, 2011

I was almost ready to give up entirely after our first dinner, the disastrous Ultimate Winter Couscous, which smelled so lovely in the oven but tasted like a whole lot of unpleasantly-textured nothing on the plate (and I’m still at a loss as to why those vegetables needed four whole tablespoons of olive oil). Mike tried and really liked Heidi’s cinnamon quinoa, the edamame hummus (both of which I look forward to trying), and the tuna with celery root and apple salad, but I couldn’t even smell that salad without gagging (and I love celery root). I ended up eating dry tuna with even drier Wasa crackers.

Dinner: January 10, 2011

On a positive note, we truly loved the salmon in Bengali mustard sauce and the black-eyed pea curry (for which I used yellow-eye beans from Freedom Bean Farm in Maine), both of which we’d happily put into regular rotation.


Perhaps my favorite recipe so far, though, is one that does not appear in the original BA Food Lovers’ Cleanse, but one I decided to swap in for the OMG-are-you-serious? on-a-weeknight? Successively Simmered Koya-Dofu and Vegetables, the incredibly aromatic, delicious, satisfying, and – wait for it – easy enough for a weeknight (or any darned time) Vegetarian Pho by our friend Winnie Abramson.

snow day lunch

You toast coriander seeds, cloves, star anise, and a cinnamon stick in a dry skillet until fragrant, add them to some warm vegetable broth with an onion and some peeled and smashed ginger, plus an Indonesian soy sauce (which I couldn’t find, so I used her suggested substitution of brown sugar and tamari). You bring it to a boil, simmer, strain out the solids, chop the softened onion and ginger, then add them back to the pot along with edamame and chopped bok choy. Cook a little longer, add your rice noodles (I even used whole grain rice noodles! Healthy!), and finish with a big hit of fresh lime juice, Sriracha, cilantro and fresh scallions. Easy. Peasy. Delicious. And so nice we ate it twice.

In The Soup


I won’t go into the multitude of things that have been keeping me away from this blog, but I did want to stop in and let you know that despite the lack of posts here and my nearly four day twitter blackout (what on earth did we do before twitter? thank goodness my account came back last night), I haven’t actually dropped off the face of the planet. However, life has gotten even crazier than it was a week ago, and it likely won’t slow down any time soon.

Dinner: October 25, 2010

On top of all that, we have a dear friend coming to visit for a few days and we’re looking forward to eating and drinking our way around town, but with my usual great timing, I seem to be coming down with a cold. I made this soup a few nights ago, and Mike packed some for my lunch today. I used fresh cranberry beans instead of cooked dried beans, and since we were fresh out of potatoes I added a little extra pasta to the mix. I’m hoping the one-two punch of the leeks and garlic confit will chase any bugs away.

You can get my recipe at food52.

In the ‘zone

As you know, Mike and I do love our pizza, and he makes it at home often. He’s been working on refining the dough recipe for his pizza stone version, weighing the finished dough and pinching off 7 to 8 ounces of it so the crust fits our peel better, and that has left us with a freezer full of little dough balls. Since opening the freezer door has become a bit of a hazard lately, what with the frozen dough and other items crammed inside often shifting and plummeting south toward unsuspecting toes, I decided to take action: I’d thaw some of those balls of dough and turn them into calzones.

I took two nice bunches of farmers’ market greens (one kale and one mustard, but any type of greens would probably work well here), stemmed and chopped them, and cooked them down with a good amount of olive oil and smashed garlic. When they were nicely wilted down but still bright green, I removed them from the heat and let them cool. I tipped a container of Narragansett Creamery ricotta into a big bowl, then added some salt, freshly ground pepper, an egg yolk, and a bit of grated parm, then mixed it all to combine. When my greens were cool enough to handle, I ran my knife through them again to chop them really fine, then squeezed out the excess liquid and added them to the cheese mix, stirring until the greens were evenly distributed.

Dinner: October 4, 2010

I made a bit of a mess with the dough at first – it was a little wet and kept sticking to my parchment, so I had to incorporate a bit more flour into it (getting it all over the counter, the floor, and myself in the process), but I finally got a couple of rounds I could work with. I mounded a big scoop of the filling on half of each round, folded them over, crimped the edges, brushed them with a bit of beaten egg white, cut a few slashes in the tops to help them vent steam, then I placed them on the pizza stone in a preheated 450 degree oven for about half an hour.

a peek inside

I served them up with a rich, winey tomato sauce (which also ended up all over me as I cooked it – not my finest hour in the kitchen that night), and some lightly dressed Arcadian Fields Teenage Lettuce Mix. My calzones are a work in progress, but I think we got off to a great start.