Tag Archives: spring recipes

Radishes and Cucumbers – Making the Basics More Beautiful

15 Jun

Sometimes I just want my life to be prettier.

Not that I want it to be a continuous Martha Stewart tea party where everyone stands around, looking just-so, with their sun-kissed cheeks and breezy hair, crisp button-up shirts and slouchy khakis, admiring the centerpiece and the color scheme and the details, like the charming DIY slipcovers the hostess whipped up in an afternoon between tending to the prize-winning peonies, putting up a winter’s worth of pickles and preserves, reorganizing the linen closet – which now smells of the homemade lavender sachets she made yesterday – and transforming the old outhouse into a conservatory and gift-wrapping center, complete with handmade paper recycled from organic coffee filters from Oregon and antique twine from the Medóc…

Might be nice, but no, that kind of lifestyle would probably drive me to drink more than I already do and of course the drinks would have to be much fancier and therefore take longer to get to than unscrewing the top of a bottle of humble plonk from Westbury Liquors…

No, the full-on Martha thing is not my thing at the moment.

But still. Sometimes I just want things to be prettier.

Thus, this very simple treatment of radishes and cucumbers that I put together with radishes from the garden and cucumbers from who knows which hothouse somewhere far less virtuous. The sharpness of the radish is tempered by the cool of the cucumber and the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar, and a bit of good salt completes the palate panorama. It looks sweet and beautiful and presentation tells the eater that someone cares, even if the only eater is you.

Cucumber and Radish Rounds (I considered calling it carpaccio, but am just not going that route today. That shouldn’t stop you from doing it, though.)

Thinly slice equivalent amounts of radishes and cucumbers. Put a layer of cucumbers on a serving plate. Top with a layer of radishes. Drizzle with olive oil and dot with balsamic vinegar. Finish with a pinch of flaky sea salt, and serve.

Note: We eat it with our fingers over here, so forget keeping the crisp button-up shirt clean. But this is about pleasure, and pleasure is not always tidy. And tidiness is not always desirable.However, should you decide to be more formal, make separate appetizer portions for each person and hand them a fork and a napkin. Preferably cloth 😉

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Duck Egg Frittata with Asparagus (Hen’s Eggs Can Also be Used!)

18 May

We spend our Mother’s Days in the North Fork of Long Island (where I expect I’ll end up living one day), Abu, Padushi, Leandro, and me. We had another beautiful time this year, eating and drinking and having fun with friends.

The Long Island Sound was our back yard!

And of course on the way home we picked up some farm fresh goodness to keep savoring the visit.

In season now: ASPARAGUS, so we got some from Sang Lee. Really, when asparagus is in season in the North Fork, it is worth the drive just for that, even if you don’t have anyone to visit!

Sang Lee asparagus

And we stopped for eggs at Ty Llwyd. Our friend Dave had four duck eggs available too, and since my last experience with them was so memorable, I took them all.

Unwashed eggs don’t require refrigeration – for a few days anyway….and these were definitely unwashed! (I rinse before cracking though…)

With ingredients this good, you don’t have to do much. In fact, the more you do, the more you get in the way sometimes (a lesson I never seem to have learned, some might say, but they can just hush up, because it’s my blog post and I’ll fry if I want to). However, if you would like to try a Hollandaise, click to visit my fellow blogger Mad Dog’s step by step instructions!)

So I went for something pretty simple and non-fussy, but with style. This frittata shows off the flavors of Spring, looks rustic-wonderful, and doesn’t take much doing. Sort of the kind of thing that Leandro should learn to do when he’s old enough to bring me breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day!

Gorgeous!

Duck Egg Frittata

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

½ onion, chopped (red preferred)

Approximately 10 asparagus spears, trimmed, and sliced thin on the bias (may be precooked; I used leftover roasted, which were lovely)

4 duck eggs (6-8 hen’s eggs if you want to substitute!)

¼ Cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or other good grating cheese

Pinch of salt

Heat oil in a small to medium ovenproof skillet at medium until loose and fragrant. Add onions, stir to coat and sauté for five minutes or more – until tender and browned. If using uncooked asparagus, add it one minute after the onions. If using cooked, add after the onions are tender and browned, then cook an additional minute. Either way, reserve a couple of the tops for garnish.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl whisk eggs, cheese, and salt together to mix thoroughly. Pour eggs over vegetables in pan and mix thoroughly. Preheat the broiler to high/450°F.

Using a flexible spatula, turn the egg mixture away from the sides of the skillet as the egg solidifies, allowing the uncooked egg to run to the bottom of the pan. Continue this until egg mixture is well set – 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the frittata (depth of skillet) and the stove top heat. Don’t rush this. You can stick a knife in the center to measure progress. 

Use the spatula to get under the frittata occasionally and make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Shaking gently every so often can also help.

As the top is almost set, stick the reserved asparagus tops into the surface so they look pretty!

When egg is set, put the whole skillet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes (longer if you frittata is thick) until the top is browned.

Let sit for five minutes, then serve.

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