My friend Marianne and I cook together most Sundays, putting together at least one big dish that we can pack for lunch a few days of the following week. My lentil soup is a regular feature of Sunday night cooking, as are roasted vegetables, But a glorious head of escarole at a recent end-of-season Restoration Farm pick-up proved inspiring and nostalgic.
The veggie version
For Marianne it was all about her Italian nana who Marianne swears made this soup out of a handful of leaves, a pinch of ground beef and water. Grandmothers from those days were like that…they somehow conjured the most memorable, intoxicating flavors out of thin air like fairy godmothers.
Me, I need a good stock to help me out. Especially because my own abuela never made anything like this that I can remember, so I don’t know where I first had escarole soup, or why it provokes such sighs of nostalgia in me, or how I knew that mine has to have white beans, even though Nana Manone doesn’t seem to have included them in hers. And I wasn’t planning on meatballs, but since Nana used them….(which might explain the water instead of stock) Marianne’s big brother Peter will have to shed some light on this one, if he remembers.
The meatball version…with a handful of pasta in my lunch
In the meantime, I defrosted my prize homemade chicken stock in the fridge and softened the beans and grudgingly defrosted some raw but seasoned ground beef and prepared myself for battle. Continue reading
We won’t be eating this light and fresh summer way much longer.
The little man and I pulled out the tomato plants today. They could have stayed in a bit longer and we might have had a few more vine-ripened tomatoes, but he took off all the little greenies (“39, Mom! I picked 39 tomatoes!”), holding up his shirt hem to make an impromptu bag for them, while I folded the netting (okay, attempted to fold the netting and then just balled it all up because it was making me crazy) and then he pulled out all the plants (about ten) I threw them in the leaf compost and we called it an afternoon. After a summer of garden disasters, the pounds and pounds of tomatoes we got from our ten plants was a true joy. And I have several quarts of sauce and puree in the freezer for later!
Light and beautiful, any kind of tomatoes will do, as long as they are garden fresh!
My dad (he of the crazy-ass mostly vegan diet) just had surgery for bladder cancer last week, so we’ve been very, very busy with other things, not least of which is preparing food for everyone so that we all continue to eat well and keep up our strength while we work on his recuperation and everything else (like work — fullltime and freelance — and school and soccer and violin — and on and on). So yes, the healing and kitchen are going great guns, but the writing is not.
So this is not even a recipe, but a solution. Boil pasta in generously salted water and drain, reserving 1/4 Cup of pasta water.. Chop up fresh tomatoes and toss them into the pasta with a splash of olive oil, a splash of pasta water, a couple of basil leaves if you’ve got and maybe some finely minced garlic. Serve with grated cheese/a sprinkle of salt, Or not. Eat. Move on to the next thing and try not to mourn the end of the summer tomatoes. Save your seeds and plant more next year!
From my garden. I love this moment of the harvest season, when you realize it’s almost over and therefore appreciate these flavors that much more.
I recently had a delicious veggie-filled frittata during a boat trip with my friend, Chef Deborah Pittorino of The Greenporter Hotel in Long Island’s wine country. We ended up fishing for baby bluefish off the dock
and having some luck there (and enjoying an incredibly show of juvenile ospreys…I will include Leandro’s amazing picture here!)
Osprey, by Leandro
The frittata was a wonderful pick-me-up after a morning of unsuccessful fishing. It fueled us just enough to keep trying. I have yet to get the recipe for Deborah’s version but it reminded me that I have been sitting on my own frittata recipe for a couple of weeks and it is high time to share it with you, especially during summer high season for eggs!
A frittata is a wonderful way to take tiny bits of this and that and bind them in egg to make a hearty yet light picnic-worthy meal that is totally fun. You can slice them into wedges and make them into finger food, or serve them on a proper plate with salad greens and crusty bread, sliced thin.
Light but filling, rustic but delicate…these are a perfect light meal
I learned to make them in Italy, where folks take leftover pasta and cook it up with eggs so it is similar to a Spanish tortilla or an omelette with the ingredients blended into the egg as opposed to being wrapped in egg. You will want a skillet that can go from stove top to broiler to finish the top. The following recipe is designed to use up leftovers, but you may also want to try my Duck Egg and Asparagus Frittata or a classic Spanish Tortilla.
This is really easy to do and the results are so satisfying so read on for the recipe!! Continue reading
We’re moving on up! I was invited to do a cooking demonstration recently at The Old Country Road School, a K-5 school in the Hicksville Union Free Public School District. The school was celebrating its successful garden project, now in its third year! It being a school, I figured it would be a hoot to let my then-five-, now-six-year-old show everyone to make one of his favorite sauces - hand-ground basil pesto! I mean, if a five-year-old can do it, why can’t everyone?
Proud, Proud Mama! Photo: Kara Gallagher
He was a star, waving the garlic around, handing out basil for the kids and their parents to feel and smell, and smashing the pesto into a paste with great gusto. He wasn’t a bit nervous, but I think there are a few Food Network stars who should be…Come to think of it, maybe I should be nervous too?
This pesto holds its bright green-ness much better than basil pesto!
Kerriann Flanagan Brosky puts the normal in paranormal. Seriously…when I say she’s a ghost writer, I’m not kidding!
Kerriann is today’s guest blogger sharing a great recipe for crostini, but I simply must give you the back story before we get to that.
Many of us who love food lead double lives. I grow, cook and write about food, but in my other life I am a full-time college professor. Look around the food blogging world and you’ll find fulltime parents, home renovators, artists, poets, and more. But my fellow contributor at Edible Long Island, Kerriann Flanagan Brosky, a cookbook author, writer and photographer, sent my eyebrows to the ceiling and my jaw to the floor with her other profession: she is a serious ghost investigator!
Kerriann and Sal, co-writers of Delectable Italian Dishes
Spanish tapas: Mussels vinaigrette (make ‘em the night before)
The last Friday in Lent is coming up. Why just pan-fry filets (again), when you could try some of these much more entertaining and tasty takes on seafood? This is Part Two of my Lenten seafood series. I know you’ll end up making them all year long. I certainly do!
Shrimp and Avocado Salad, Spiked with Chipotle (charming served in an avocado shell)
Pasta al Tonno: One of the fastest pasta sauces known to man. (Feel free to switch out the green olives for black and skip the capers) Deeply flavored!
Creamy, sweet, tangy, chunky, light Swedish Skagen Salad (the best shrimp salad EVER)
Cioppino Latino…A San Fran Seafood Stew Classic with a special Latina twist
For more seafood recipes, click here!
This was not at all a sneak attack. This was a straightforward “Hey little dude, do you think you would like cauliflower if I made this recipe?”
Oh, yes, yes, I would eat it up, it looks delicious, definitely make it Mommy, make it right away, blah, blah, blah.
So there is no reason why, after troubling myself to get all the ingredients and getting my unwilling, intermittently vegan dad into the process, and committing myself to joining my son in eating a stodgy, creamy, cheesy, bacon-y mess of a fantastic casserole that in no way advances my desire to look good in a bathing suit by summer…there is absolutely no reason why said five-year-old little dude should be allowed to not eat the damn cauliflower, whether he likes it or not.
Mustard seed and rosemary, crushed
But of course, you know what happened. Continue reading
“This is the best lunch ever, Mom, the King of All Lunches,” says Leandro, The King of All Understatements.
The source of his enthusiasm was Shrimp Scampi (kind of an Americanized misnomer for an Italian recipe: read here). And if it wasn’t the best lunch ever (he has fewer lunches to compare with than I do) it was pretty damn good.
Simmering off the wine
(Three hundredth post!!!!)
Cooking a nice meal for both parents and kids does not have to involve making two separate dinners.Well, not exactly, anyway.
I confess to getting cold feet halfway through my prep and making myself a safety net, so let’s say this time I made one-and-a-half meals, but in the process, I really stocked the freezer for the new semester.
The juicy, savory, binding
I made some “fancy” meatballs and some basic ones (that recipe later in the week) for a Single Mothers By Choice-three-family dinner here at home last weekend…pasta, meatballs and red sauce…can you really go wrong? My friend, Pam, brought the salad fixings, and Kim brought a sinful dessert (which one pretends is for the kids, but is really just as much for the growns) and everything went swimmingly! And everyone liked both fancy and plain.
On their way to the oven
These Northeastern storms (Sandy and the nor-easter) have brought out the darker side of humor in many of us, as in “What next: plagues of locusts? Frogs?”
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse seem to have taken a liking to New York and environs; they are galloping through with thundering hooves and much of it is pretty horrible. Mind you, we are doing fine at my house, now that the power is back and school has started – in fits and starts, actually, as sudden power outages have closed us down a few times. We are lucky!
Easy-peasy ham and peas….
But we are striving for normalcy and for me normal is blogging about food. Continue reading