Dandelion Pasta with Anchovies & Ricotta

With school back in session, Wednesdays are once again a haze. I had hoped to wrap up my budgeting work before leaving the office, but was waylaid by other tasks. I made it home from class around 7:30, my head full of feminist theory and my stomach running on empty. Fortunately, I had a nice bunch of dandelion greens and a well stocked pantry.

This meal paired nicely with the dregs of Saturday’s Cabernet Sauvignon, which had thankfully not turned to vinegar on the kitchen counter. More importantly, it came together in 22 minutes flat, leaving me with enough time to catch up with my sister Upstate and finish those pesky spreadsheets.

Dandelion Pasta with Anchovies & Ricotta

Set a pot of salted water to boil. Bring a couple of tablespoons of olive oil up to medium heat in a large sauté pan. Peel and thinly slice a few cloves of garlic. Rinse and coarsely chop the dandelion greens, removing the ends if they are twiggy. If you aren’t that into bitter things, wait until the water boils and blanch the greens for a couple of minutes. (But, really, why in the world are you eating dandelion greens if you’re not down?) Once the oil is hot enough that droplets of water sizzle, add a few anchovies from your emergency jar and four or five of those small dried chiles that you bought at the fancy cheese shop on a whim (or a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes, which are probably the same thing at a quarter of the price). Stir constantly for a couple of minutes, add the garlic and continue stirring for one more minute. Add the greens to your pan and half a bag of penne to your pot. Stir both occasionally. Grind some black pepper into the greens. When the pasta is just shy of done, scoop it into the pan, allowing some of the water to migrate along with it. Cook for another minute or so and remove from the heat. Give it a quick taste and add salt if needed. (The anchovies may have done the trick.) Top each serving with a heaping spoonful of ricotta, a little lemon zest and juice, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Dandelion Green Penne with Anchovies and Ricotta

Smoked Salmon & Potato Croquettes

It’s been a roller coaster of a week.

The snow picked up late Friday night, right about the time my dinner guests were stumbling home sated with wine, cheese, lentil soup, apple crisp and whiskey.

Lentil Soup

By the time I came to Saturday morning, the blizzard was on. Oona and I whiled away most of the day watching René Clément’s excellent Purple Noon (an adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel); idly reading Patti Smith’s latest book; catching up with friends from afar; and, of course, napping. It was just what I needed at the end of a shockingly long four-day workweek.

Circle of Cat

Around about 4:00pm, I was beginning to worry that I might be stuck to my couch, so I turned my attention to cooking. One of my coworkers recently shared her January resolution: to eat her freezer. Inspired by her practicality, I dug out a few pounds of bone-in short ribs from the excellent Lewis Waite Farm and set them in the sink with some cold water to defrost.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was getting antsy after a day of watching the snow fall from the comfort of my apartment. Just as I had finished searing the short ribs and begun to sweat my root vegetables, Monica texted that she had hiked over from Fort Greene.

Seared Short Ribs.jpg

Sweating Root Vegetables

Half an hour later, the short ribs were in the oven and we were sitting down to the dregs of last night’s cheese and some whiskey cocktails. At some point I succeeded in catching my pinky toe on the edge of the new scratching post in which Oona shows zero interest.

But, with whiskey, all things are possible. And so I turned the short ribs down to low, shoved my feet into a pair of boots and joined Monica for a magical bar crawl through empty, snow-blanketed streets.

Snowy Crown Heights.JPG

You have not lived until you’ve enjoyed beer and oysters and highbrow conversation about art in front of a corner window as the mother of all blizzards rages outside. For an hour or two (or maybe three), Monica and I existed in the the most fabulous snow globe that ever was.

I awoke Sunday morning to a throbbing pinky toe that resembled a very small eggplant in both color and shape. I grabbed some coffee and an ice pack and settled in to watch The Talented Mr. Ripley, Anthony Minghella’s 1999 adaptation of the same Patricia Highsmith novel. I must confess, it was much better than I recalled and definitely worth revisiting. In the afternoon, I buckled down and did some work.

That evening, Sharon agreed to help me with those short ribs (which I had miraculously packed into the fridge before turning in the night before). I skimmed off the fat before simmered them for another 45 minutes or so while I whipped up a quick batch of mashed potatoes. Sharon arrived with a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon and a bag of watercress. Dressed simply with a Dijon and white wine vinaigrette, the sharpness of the greens provided a nice counterpoint to the rich meat.

I awoke Monday feeling well fed and well rested. This was going to be a good day, I thought. (Actually, I probably said this out loud, because that’s what you do when you live alone.) And then I went to put on my snow boots and nearly threw up from the pain. Pulling myself together, I limped down the two flights of stairs and gingerly picked my way through the snow and ice. The pain was more than I could bear. Halfway down my very long block, I thought better of the whole thing and headed home to my icepack.

I worked from home on Monday, doing my best to ignore the strange feelings in my stomach. The nausea was so bad during my last call of the day that I had to take it lying down. Around 8:00 that evening, having writhed on the couch for a couple of hours, I evacuated the contents of my stomach and promptly spiked a fever.

I took the nine (yes, nine) meetings I has scheduled for Tuesday by phone, gradually reincorporating solid foods into my diet when I had a free moment. By Wednesday I was back at the office. My stomach felt good enough to revisit Friday’s lentil soup and my toe was fine once it swelled and numbed up inside my boot. My recovery came just in time, as yesterday was also the start of my new semester. I darted down to NYU around 4:30 and then headed home for a few more hours of budgeting spreadsheets before bed.

I am a bit obsessive about not wasting food. I sent Friday’s guests home with takeout containers of lentil soup and finished the rest off for lunch today. But, delicious as they were, I could not bring myself to eat the rest of the short ribs. My money is on a bad oyster, as Sharon suffered no ill consequences after joining me for dinner. But the short ribs were guilty by association.

Leftover mashed potatoes, on the other hand, can always be put to good use…

Smoked Salmon & Potato Croquettes

  • 1 cup or so leftover mashed potatoes (Mine were skin-on, because that’s how I like them, though my Mom vehemently disagrees, which makes for a fun pre-Thanksgiving argument basically every year.)
  • 2-3 ounces smoked salmon (that you had planned to have for breakfast before contracting food poisoning), flaked
  • 1 spoonful mayonnaise
  • 1 spoonful Dijon mustard
  • 3-4 scallions, minced
  • lots of black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs (or whatever is left in that bag you couldn’t bring yourself to throw away)
  • vegetable oil for frying

Coat a cast iron skillet with oil and bring up to medium heat. Smash the remaining ingredients, save for the breadcrumbs, together with a fork until you have a lumpy paste. Wet your hands and form small patties. Lightly coat these with the breadcrumbs and place them in the skillet. Cook until a nice brown crust forms, flip and repeat. 

These would be nice topped with a fried egg, sandwiched into a bun or perched atop a bed of greens. I kept it simple and made a quick sauce of Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, Tabasco, capers and pickle relish (because I’m dirty like that). I suspect that I’ll have the last one cold tomorrow morning before dashing off to work.

Smoked Salmon and Mashed Potato Croquettes

Roasted Monkfish with Braised Red Cabbage

There are days when I feel like a pinball ricocheting around the city. Today was one of those days.

I started with some early morning emailing from home before dropping my compost off and hopping the B train for an emergency visit to the endotontist in Gramercy. (Friday’s root canal seems to have set off a painful chain reaction.) Armed with a little less tooth and a lot more ibuprofen, I made my way across town in search of Wifi. I spent lunch catching up on emails, mapping an outline for a talk, and chewing with a great deal of care.

Then it was an hour uptown to Teachers College. The 1 train was mercifully uncrowded, so I was able to use the time to put the finishing touches on a paper. It was my last Nutritional Ecology class. While I’m looking forward to a little pleasure reading, I will truly miss the opportunity to study with Joan Dye Gussow, who the New York Times dubbed the “matriarch of the eat-locally-think-globally food movement.” (Please, nobody tell Joan that, for the past semester, my Wednesday lunches have consisted of a boxed sandwich wolfed down on the train while rushing to her class.) Afterwards, I descended Morningside Park’s many steps to meet a donor for a drink and some more food talk.

Another hour on the B train and I was back home in Brooklyn and deserving of a treat. I walked into Mermaid’s Garden just before closing and secured a pound of monkfish, which I thought would hold up well against the red cabbage left from last month’s CSA share. I’d never made monkfish before, but the lovely guy behind the counter assured me that it was almost impossible to overcook. We agreed that I would aim for a quick pan sear and then finish it off in the oven.

Roasted Monkfish with Braised Red Cabbage

  • 1 ounce smoked hog jowl (or bacon), cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced pole to pole
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (about 8 whole berries)
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider that you tragically failed to drink before it started to turn
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450. Bring a large skillet up to medium heat with the pork and olive oil. When the pork is rendered but not yet crispy, add the onion and cook until soft and browned around the edges. Add the cabbage, allspice, red pepper and a healthy dose of salt and pepper. Cook stirring regularly until the cabbage is wilted. Add the cider and vinegar, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and put a lid on it. Continue cooking, stirring every so often, while you turn your attention to the fish.

  • 1 pound monkfish, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper

Bring a skillet up to medium heat. Season the fish liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. Combine the horseradish, breadcrumbs and mustard in a small bowl, adding water if needed to form a paste. Press this mixture onto one side of the fish. Add butter to the pan, swirling to coat. Carefully place the fish in the pan with the crust down. Cook for a few minutes until the crust has browned and then gently flip. (If your crust falls off, just stick it back on.) Cook for another couple of minutes and then pop the whole pan in the oven for about 15 minutes. By the time your fish is done, your cabbage should be good to go.

Roasted Monkfish with Braised Red Cabbage

WARNING: Your cat will think you made this for her. She is wrong, but she will not let up until you finish your meal, pack the leftovers away for tomorrow’s lunch, and scrub all of the dishes.

Kohlrabi, Potato & Apple Soup

As should be evident from my sporadic posts, it’s been a hectic autumn. I’ve done my best to keep up with the onslaught of fresh CSA veggies by making simple and serviceable dinners for one. I also hauled a ridiculous quantity of carrots, turnips, lettuce and fresh herbs down to Baltimore for Thanksgiving. I slunk home guiltily on Sunday, afraid to face the cabbage, kohlrabi and apples that I had left behind.

The cabbage made for a fine lunch once I cut off the moldy bits and cooked it up with carrots and a little bacon. The key is a nice sharp Dijon mustard. I had a work event Monday night. By the time I got home around 10:00, it was all I could do to dice an apple and sprinkle some granola atop my bowl of yogurt. I’m sure I ate dinner on Tuesday night but, between a big fundraising push and the scramble to write my paper for Wednesday’s class, I’ll be damned if I can recall what I made. I’d be willing to bet it involved peanut butter.

By Wednesday, what I had been telling myself was allergies had settled into an undeniable cold. Mercifully, I scored a seat for the long subway ride from Harlem back to my corner of Brooklyn. I’m still not sure whether the train skipped my stop or I failed to notice it through my feverish haze, but the extra long walk through a cold and misty rain didn’t help the situation.

I arrived home exhausted and in need of comfort. Scanning the pantry, my eyes alit on the dregs of a box of Streit’s Matzo Meal left over from my Passover foray into Miso-Spinach Matzo Balls. This time I stuck to the directions on the box, which yielded lovely, classic matzo balls in just under an hour, most of which I spent selecting the perfect soundtrack for my melancholy.

 

A normal person would have served these in a chicken broth, but I had some Hawthorne Valley beet kvass that was approaching its expiration date, so I went with a sort of borscht-matzo ball hybrid. It was deeply satisfying, if slightly off-putting in color.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t feel much better today, so opted to work from home. Breakfast brought more yogurt with apple and granola. For lunch I simmered a few of the leftover matzo balls with a couple of cubes of frozen chicken stock. At the last minute, I added some sad spinach buried in the back of the crisper. (Forgive me, Farmed Ted.)

Now about that kohlrabi…

Kohlrabi, Potato & Apple Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 small apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried savory
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • salt and pepper
  1. Bring olive oil up to medium heat in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottom pot. Sauté the onion until soft, approximately five minutes. Add the kohlrabi and sauté for another five minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes apples, herbs, spices and a healthy pinch of salt. Top with just enough water to cover, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the kohlrabi is tender, which should take somewhere around 45 minutes, adding more water if needed.
  3. Puree using an immersion blender or in batches in the food processor, thinning with water if needed. Run through a chinois (or a food mill if you’re lucky enough to have one), discarding any fibrous remains. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt, pepper or nutmeg.

I had originally thought I might augment the puree with a generous pour of the half and half left by a house guest. But the resulting soup was so smooth and creamy and satisfying all by its vegan self that I opted instead for a sprinkle of pan-toasted croutons and a little diced apple.

Kohlrabi Potato Apple Soup

EAT THIS: Talib’s Sunflower Shoot & Pear Salad

Sunflower Shoot and Pear Salad

Having worked ten hours on your feet on a Sunday, you may feel deserving of greasy takeout. But, fearing they might go to waste, you lugged an entire flat of sunflower shoots from Taqwa Community Farm home from today’s fundraiser. Harvest, rinse and dry as many as you think you can consume in a single sitting. Add some lemon juice, good quality olive oil, salt, pepper, a couple of sliced pears and some shaved parmigiano reggiano and you’ve got a lovely supper best enjoyed straight out of the bowl in your sweatpants, cat curled up next to you on the couch and Serge Gainsbourg crooning over the hi-fi.

Bulgur for Breakfast

I spent last weekend holed up in my apartment attempting to kick a cold. By Monday morning I was feeling well enough that I was able to maintain a smile throughout my 14-hour workday. By Tuesday evening I wasn’t feeling so hot. Somehow I made it through work and class on Wednesday, although the subway ride home from 125th Street was enough to convince me to cancel my meetings for the rest of the week.

And so I am once again holed up in my apartment. I alternate between furiously cranking out emails and dozing on the couch. You can guess which one of these activities Oona favors.

Oona Dozing

Ordinarily I try to lay in supplies when I feel an illness coming on, but this time around I have been making do with what I have on hand–which led me to the revelation that bulgur makes for a tasty breakfast porridge, particularly when combined with pears from last week’s CSA share and young ginger from the farmers’ market.

Ginger Pear Breakfast Bulgur

  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • pinch salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 small knob ginger, peeled and minced (candied ginger or even ground ginger would also work)
  • 2 small pears, cored and chopped
  • maple syrup

Add the bulgur, water, milk, salt, spices and fresh ginger to a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and toss in the pears. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or so until you’ve achieved your preferred porridge consistency. (Don’t be afraid to add more water.) Scoop into a bowl and drizzle with a little maple syrup. 

Bulgur for Breakfast

Ordinarily I’m a savory breakfast fan, but this piping hot porridge full of spicy ginger did a nice job of clearing my head, at least momentarily.

EAT THIS: Hot Dog Bun French Toast

  
When you pulled a 14-hour day on your feet (during which you broke down an unfathomable number of cardboard boxes, donned a dress and lipstick in a public restroom, and talked to no less than 400 people), slept five fitful hours, and awoke thinking there’s no way you could possibly leave your house, reach for those week-old potato rolls left over from your birthday barbecue. Dip them in a mixture of egg, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, and a pinch of salt and fry them up over medium-low heat in a combination of butter and neutral cooking oil. Maple syrup is the obvious topping choice, but a little homemade pear, cranberry, habanero, and ginger chutney wouldn’t hurt. You just might survive this day.

Planes, Trains, Bourbon & Brisket

I am supposed to be in Wisconsin right now.

Three years ago, I spent Rosh Hashanah with Juliet, Phil and their son. It was a lovely visit that ended with promises to do it again next year. Alas, life and a brand new job got in the way, so the past two years’ celebrations have consisted of an apple dipped in honey at my kitchen counter.

Two months ago I purchased a plane ticket. On Friday I awoke early to pack. I hauled a suitcase, an overstuffed purse, and a backpack full of schoolwork (plus some work work) through morning rush hour. The B train was mysteriously out of commission, necessitating two transfers and a whole lot of stairs to get to my meeting near Columbus Circle. I cut out half an hour early and flagged down a taxi to LaGuardia.

Two hours, $100, and a fair amount of screaming later, I found myself at Delta’s Special Services desk shaking with a mixture of frustration, rage, and a very full bladder. There was no way I was making my flight to Madison, though they could get me into Milwaukee for a mere $1,000 change fee. I appealed to the agent’s sense of rationality, explaining that the Grand Central Parkway had been shut down and that my driver refused to listen to my directions. Nothing. I played the damsel in distress. Nada. I pulled a diva trip. This man was a brick wall. Then I did the only other thing I could think of. I hauled my bags to a corner, sat on the floor, and commenced crying. Nobody even noticed.

Half an hour and a couple of weepy phone calls later, I had a plan. I would head upstate for a night or two with Beth and her boys.

It’s a straight shot on the M60 bus to Metro North’s Harlem-125th Street Station. Under normal circumstances, the trip takes about 25 minutes. But, as even the casual reader must know by now, this was no ordinary day. I couldn’t even squeeze onto the first bus that arrived. I boarded at the back of the next bus, which filled up quickly. We inched our way to Manhattan. At each stop, more people clambered aboard. Tensions were high. More than one person screamed obscenities. A fist fight very nearly broke out. The trip lasted 90 minutes.

I managed to squeeze myself and my bags–which seemed to get heavier and heavier–off of the bus when we hit Second Avenue and found the nearest liquor store. I was going to need a little something to take the edge off during the next leg of my journey. I hauled my bags up what I thought would be the final flight of stairs and boarded the 6:22 to Poughkeepsie.

As we pulled out of the station, the conductor announced that the train was an express and that the first stop would be Beacon–the stop after my intended destination. At this point, I decided to skip the plastic cup and swig my wine straight from the bottle.

Jasmine and the Bottle

Seventy minutes later, I lugged my bags up one staircase and down another before tossing them into the back of a taxi that, naturally, had to drop two other people off before delivering me. I arrived at Beth’s doorstep just before 8:30pm. In the time it takes to fly to London, I had managed to make it 55 miles from my starting point.

By 8:45 I was halfway through a Negroni. By two in the morning we’d polished off our second bottle of Prosecco and were headed to bed.

Somehow Beth wrangled the boys and made it to soccer by 9:00am, which is about the time I opened my eyes. I stumbled down the stairs feeling a little worse for the wear. A cup of coffee and two large glasses of water gave me the strength to make breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast, and a glorious orange tomato from Fishkill Farms, where Beth gets her CSA share.

Then I threw on some clothes, grabbed a bag, and headed up the road to the Cold Spring Farmers’ Market. I was eager to see what the Hudson Valley had to offer–and hopeful that I might stumble on a brisket to take the sting out of the previous day’s travel debacle. I picked up purple potatoes, fennel salami, parsley, and canoodling carrots.

Kale Potatoes Carrots

I was about to give up on my brisket plan when I spotted Full Moon Farm‘s stand. Three pounds of grass-fed beef and my backpack was about as heavy as I could conceive given the 30-minute walk back to town. But first, I took a quick stroll through the grounds at Boscobel to admire the view of the Hudson Highlands.

Hudson Highlands

Beth and the boys arrived home a little after me. We spent the early afternoon hydrating and threatening to nap while the brisket defrosted in a bowl of water. Around 2:00 I set to work.

Braised Brisket, More or Less

  1. Get a good piece of meat. Make sure it’s defrosted. Sprinkle with a generous dose of salt and pepper.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 325.
  3. Bring a large dutch oven up to medium heat with some vegetable oil. Sear the brisket until you get some nice color on it. (Depending on the size of your pot and the size of your brisket, this may require some finagling.)
  4. Remove the meat and add a couple of chopped onions. Cook until soft and starting to color. Add a few cloves of chopped garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.
  5. Ransack the spice cabinet and add whatever strikes your fancy. I went with ginger, fennel, brown mustard seeds, thyme and some other stuff I can’t recall. Allow the spices to toast in the fat for a few minutes.
  6. Add a small can of tomato paste and whatever leftover booze you can dig up. A Stella Artois worked just fine for this brisket, but you could do something darker. Red wine is always nice.
  7. Got some chili paste in the fridge? Go for it. Just about any condiment you’re looking to use up will do here. Dried fruit is also awesome.
  8. Bring the pot up to a boil, pop a lid on, and stick it in the oven. Ideally, the meat will be submerged in the liquid, but not to worry if the ends are sticking out.
  9. Now would be a good time for a nap. Or maybe a shower.
  10. After a couple of hours, give the sauce a taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and perhaps a pinch of sugar. Flip the meat and return to the oven. Repeat in another hour or so. 
  11. Some people like to pull the meat out while it is still firm, slice it against the grain, layer it into a pan, cover with the sauce, and continue to cook. This is handy if you’re serving a large crowd or are aiming for something a little more photogenic. Personally, I like to leave the meat whole and continue to simmer until it is pull-apart tender. (Go past this point and you basically have the best beef stew you’ve ever experienced.) A little fresh flat leaf parsley is a nice touch at the end.

Braised Brisket

Cocktail time!

The End of Summer

Add a few cubes of ice to a rocks glass. Slosh in a stiff pour of bourbon. Top with ginger ale. Using a microplane, grate a little fresh ginger in. Garnish with a wheel of lemon. Toast to the end of summer and spend the next couple of rounds reminiscing about sandy sheets and outdoor showers.

Bourbon Ginger Cocktail

Thomas and his two kids joined us for dinner. Dylan and Benjamin concocted an elaborate fantasy involving costumes and camping gear while the older boys disappeared upstairs.

Around 6:00 we sat down to the brisket, accompanied by grilled potatoes and carrots and a kale and pear salad with a maple dijon vinaigrette.

Grilled Carrots and Potatoes

Kale and Pear Salad

In truth, most of the kids had plain tomatoes and hot dogs. But Benjamin, always the iconoclast, embraced this new meat swimming in its mysterious and murky sauce. He ate heartily and then quietly disappeared from the table. A couple of minutes later, he reclaimed his seat and passed me this missive.

I Love Brisket

It was an unconventional Rosh Hashanah, to be sure. But it was also a lovely one. Next year in Madison!

Miso Hake with Charred Bok Choy & Shiitakes

I spent this past weekend in the Catskills with Beth, who has now been my dear friend for more than half our lives. (Not really sure how that happened.) We rented a lovely creekside cabin between Woodstock and Phoenicia and spent our days brunching, checking out small towns, and posing for the occasional swimming hole glamour shot.

Bathing Beauty Jasmine

Owing to the dark and winding roads (and an absence of taxis), Beth and I opted to spend our nights at home. Fortunately, our landlord had been kind enough to lay in a full bag of charcoal.

The Grill

Cocktail hour started early on Friday, allowing me to get the flank steak off of the grill just as the last gasps of sunlight disappeared.

Grilled Flank Steak

Saturday was another story. It was pitch black by the time I even thought to light the coals. Despite the dark, a persistent rain, and several watermelon cocktails, the salmon came out beautifully. Dinner was served right around the stroke of midnight.

Grilled Salmon, Carrots and Scallions

I ate well this past weekend. I did not, however, make it through last week’s CSA share. I came home from a busy Monday determined to polish off a full head of Farmer Fred’s beautiful bok choy. Mission accomplished.

Miso Hake with Charred Bok Choy & Shiitakes

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon red miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • pinch sugar
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 8 ounces hake
  • 1.5 tablespoons safflower or other vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small knob ginger
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 large bunch bok choy
  1. Pre-heat the over to 400 with a small skillet inside.
  2. Add the butter, miso, vinegar, sugar and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce to a very small pot and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the miso. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the shiitakes and let stand while they rehydrate.
  4. Remove the hot skillet. Swirl 1/2 tablespoon of oil in the bottom, add the fish, drizzle with the miso sauce, and pop it back in the oven. After about four minutes, pull the pan out and use a spoon to scoop up the sauce in the pan and drizzle it over the fish. Return to oven and cook another four minutes or so.
  5. Bring 1 tablespoon of oil up to medium-high heat. Rinse and roughly chop the bok choy. Mince the garlic and ginger. Slice the scallions. Add the aromatics to the hot skillet and cook, stirring continuously for a minute or so until they are toasted but not burnt. Add the bok choy in batches, starting with the white stems. Remove the shiitakes, retaining the water, and cut into thin slices. Add these to the pan and crank the heat up to high. Add the mushroom broth and the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the greens are wilted and charred in places.

Miso Hake with Charred Bok Choy and Shiitakes

You could serve this over a pile of steamed rice. I opted to take my carbs in the form of a Sixpoint Sweet Action, which is pretty much my all-time favorite beer. Oona digs it too.

Oona and Sweet Action

Eggs Ovine

The growing season is in full swing, which means that I am spending a fair amount of my time visiting farmers’ markets and community gardens. Yesterday morning took me to one of my favorite spots in the city, East New York Farms.

East New York Farms

East New York Mural

I was home by 1:00pm, laden with produce grown at the farm and in neighboring community gardens. Couple this with my weekly CSA share and you get a refrigerator full of fresh, local, sustainably grown vegetables in danger of going straight into the compost bin.

Matthew and Clint helped me put a dent in my vegetable stash last night. We had a perfect summer supper that required minimal heat: bulgur salad with cucumber, tomato and scallion; hummus with spring onion tops and green garlic; sliced kohlrabi; toasted pita; and green beans topped with toasted walnuts, rye bread crumbs, mint and feta. We finished the meal off with blueberries and a few squares of dark chocolate. We also polished off the better part of a box of rose before heading over to First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum.

The museum was packed with happy Brooklynites of all ages. Deterred by the lines for the elevator, we made our way up several flights of stairs. Our reward was a glimpse of our friend Monica leading a pop-up talk in one of the galleries. We made plans for a drink later and headed on to The Rise of Sneaker Culture. The exhibit was hot, humid and very crowded. We were about to bail on the floor altogether when we stumbled into the delightful–if not particularly deep–FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds.

Blacklight Foosball

Neon Selfie

After an aggressive round of black lit selfies and a video game in which one has to search for parking on the streets of NYC, we headed outside to cool off and plan our next move. We settled on Gold Star Beer Counter, which recently opened at the end of my block. Light, refreshing beers were in order.

A round in, Monica joined us. Voices were raised. Lists of 70s movies were made. Beads of sweat were mopped. Classic rock albums were played. An undisclosed number of pale ales, lagers and hefeweizens were consumed. At some point, the lovely woman behind the bar came over to graciously inform us that they had officially closed half an hour ago. And so we settled our tab and sauntered off into the thick summer night.

Needless to say, I did not brush my teeth before bed–and woke up craving a hearty breakfast.

Eggs Ovine

  • 1 tbsp butter (or bacon fat if you happen to have some sitting on the counter from yesterday’s breakfast BLT)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or a pinch of red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese left by your cat sitters
  • 2 tbsp milk (as needed)
  • 1 large bunch lamb’s quarters (or baby spinach if that’s what you can get your hands on), stemmed and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 ounce sheep’s milk feta, crumbled
  • salt and pepper
  • eggs and bread of some sort

Bring the butter up to medium heat in a small, heavy-bottomed pot and add the onion. Sauté, stirring regularly, until the onion is limp but not yet browned. Add the garlic and Aleppo pepper and cook stirring continuously for a minute or two more. Add the cream cheese and continue to stir until you have a thick soup. Add the lamb’s quarters in batches, allowing the hot liquid to wilt the greens. Add a little bit of milk if the mixture is too thick, but the lamb’s quarters will release liquid as they break down. Continue to simmer until you’ve reached the consistency of creamed spinach, stir in the feta until melted. Add a generous amount of pepper and some salt if you think it’s needed. Toast some bread, fry an egg, assemble and enjoy. 

Eggs Ovine