May 31, 2011

lemon dill miso butter {+ a tasty lunch plate}

Miso paste and butter are two ingredients I'm pretty sure I never would have thought to combine, if not for auspiciously coming across David Chang's recipe for asparagus with miso butter in the ny times a while back. The chef/owner of the Momofuku empire, Chang is an umami master and creator of many an improbably fabulous flavor combination. Intrigued, I mentally bookmarked the idea to recreate at home -- unsurprisingly, once I got around to making it myself, this stuff really stopped me in my tracks.

May 29, 2011

strawberry rhubarb yogurt cake

With the bounty of rhubarb and strawberries I brought home from the farmers' market on Friday, it seemed only fitting to make a cake. 

May 27, 2011

greenmarket Friday

A morning trip to the greenmarket -- what better way to kick off a warm and sunny Friday and a long holiday weekend?

May 22, 2011

chickpea curry with spring garlic, sweet potato, & lambs-quarters

After a week of running around in the chill and rain that have descended upon New York and seem determined to stay for a while (we had a break yesterday with warm breezes and sunny blue skies--until the downpours started again in the evening), I have come down with a bit of a cold. Woe is me. The people close to me know that I tend toward the dramatic when under the weather, sequestering myself at home and making huge pots of soups and stews that I consume three bowls at a time while watching marathons of Curb Your Enthusiasm on dvd. All washed down with a near-constant stream of lemon-ginger cure-all

May 18, 2011

vanilla orange rhubarb jam

It's been a rainy, windy, blustery, crazy-weathered week in New York. The last few days I've awakened in the early morning to the sound of raindrops crashing down upon the back of my bedroom air conditioner, like a thousand tiny hammers. I pull the covers over my head and consider the possibility of staying in bed all day. 

But jury duty beckons. So along comes strong-brewed coffee, application of rain boots and slicker, and then I'm on my way out to navigate the city's puddly streets and slick-floored subways.

May 16, 2011

pickled ramps and asparagus

It's a rainy Monday here in New York, and I'm downtown serving my first day {ever -- a momentous civic occasion!} of jury duty. While I'm sitting and waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . I thought this might be a good opportunity to tell you about some fantastic pickles I made over the weekend. 

These are truly pickles of spring: ramps, those delicious and stinky little wild leeks with a fleeting season that's by now almost at an end; and asparagus, whose green spears are popping up in markets everywhere lately (I was finally able to set aside a batch for pickling that didn't go straight into a hot skillet).

May 12, 2011

brown sugar banana oat cookies

These flourless, eggless, and dairy-free little beauties are moist and chewy, chocked full of oats, infused with banana-y goodness, and lightly sweetened with rich, dark Muscovado sugar. They're pantry cookies, too, which are my favorite kind -- created on-the-fly from ingredients I already had on hand: an overripe banana from the freezer, oats, almond butter, and brown sugar from the pantry, cinnamon and vanilla from the spice rack.

May 10, 2011

coconut cashew quinoa granola

I have been on a serious granola-baking kick lately. It started with the lemon-cardamom batch I made back in March, right after I got back from Green Gulch Farm. Every day at GGF I poured myself a bowl of the homemade granola that the staff kept freshly stocked in the guest house kitchen.

Mindfully munching the mixture one morning (no TV, no computer, no cell signal -- mindful eating comes rather easily in the gulch!), it struck me that this granola was spot-on perfect. Evenly toasted a deep, golden brown but without any burnt bits, crispy and light, and mercifully free of sticky or tooth-breaking clumps.

Most importantly, I tasted how good granola could be without a speck of dried fruit. {I used to add chopped dried apricots or figs to my granola, but the fruit always turned hard and overly chewy -- not terribly pleasant to chew, plus their lost moisture often made the oats soft. So I've converted over to the no-fruit-granola crowd.}

May 6, 2011

dandelion pesto with sunflower seeds and miso

When I told the yogi I had made a batch of dandelion pesto, he was dubious. 'Is that really pesto? I thought pesto was made with basil...' He's quite the food connoisseur and has been known to question my culinary authority make suggestions while I am cooking. I have to admit, the yogi's instincts are usually correct. But in the case of pesto, he did not know the whole story. (Though really it's beside the point -- since I'm Italian and pesto is Italian, I automatically win.)

May 4, 2011

raw cacao superfood truffles

After going through several batches of coconut date energy balls over the last couple of weeks {many of which didn't make it to their assigned late-afternoon snack time but instead were eaten right after lunch to satisfy my sweet tooth}, I started to think about tinkering with the recipe a bit and infusing them with chocolate. Because, first, when can adding a little chocolate ever be wrong? And second, I realized that then I could call them truffles and feel very decadent and spoiled whenever I eat one.

May 2, 2011

how to cook your life

Have you seen How to Cook Your Life? I watched it over the weekend and absolutely loved it! It had me feeling all nostalgic about Green Gulch and working in the kitchen there. The documentary (it's not terribly new - released in 2007) profiles Edward Espe Brown, a chef and Zen Buddhist priest who was the tenzo (head chef) at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center for many years, was one of the founders of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, and is the author of several cookbooks, including the Tassajara Bread Book and Tassajara Recipe Book. He now leads the Peaceful Sea Sangha in Northern California and regularly conducts classes and sittings there and at the other Zen centers.

Brown is a legend among the California Zen community, and I first heard about him when I was visiting Green Gulch. He's a character and a great story teller, and throughout the film he weaves tales from the kitchen together with childhood memories, life lessons, and Buddhist teachings. There is also a particularly intense scene about banged-up tea pots. And a hilarious only-in-Northern-California bit featuring a dumpster-diving and free-fruit-picking enthusiast -- she calls it the Creative Catering Company -- who hasn't bought groceries in years.

The film also includes beautiful shots of Tassajara, Green Gulch, and the San Francisco Zen Center and gives a glimpse of what it's like to live and work among these communities. After watching it, I felt so calm - as if I had just meditated for an hour.

Here's a trailer for the film (the dumpster-diver's in there!).