brussels sprouts with pine nut gremolata

Are Brussels sprouts the new kale? I’ve been seeing them in markets and on menus all over the place – shaved raw into salads and roasted to a smoky-edged char in wood-fired ovens.

I didn’t know how much I could love Brussels sprouts, but that’s because when I was growing up my mom didn’t cook them – I don’t remember intriguing miniature cabbages appearing anywhere on the table when I was a kid. Were they not farmed on a large scale back then or were they just not a part of my family’s food tradition? I have a feeling they were the kind of vegetable you bought frozen in the 70’s, which might explain why I never laid eyes on a fresh Brussels sprout until I was an adult.

Even a just few years ago, those fresh-picked stalks with the sprouts still attached were kind of a novelty in produce departments, but now I see them everywhere.  It also never occurred to me that they could be so easily – and quickly – cooked in the microwave, with really delicious results. [Read more...]

shaved carrots, tangerine and pomegranate

The last farmer’s market of the year where I am in New Jersey was last week. I’m still wrapping my head around that fact…can’t we push the “Pause”button so that I can resume my summer?

No? Well, okay. I hereby accept there was a major interruption in my usual flow of life. Moving on!

While living in the moment, I scooped up this gorgeous bunch of heirloom carrots in rainbow colors before the market closed.

I was going to throw them in a roasting pan – my usual modus operandi – but changed my mind when I saw the jeweled-colored ribbons that coiled on my cutting board as I started to peel the carrots, and decided to make a salad instead.

Tangerine juice is super-sweet, especially so after reducing to a light syrup. It makes a pure, simple dressing when paired with olive oil and plays so nicely with carrots.

I can see this salad taking up residence on my table for the next few months; starting with Thanksgiving and all through the holiday season.

shaved carrots, tangerine and pomegranate

Yield: 2 - 4 servings

Multicolored carrots look absolutely beautiful in this salad, but of course regular carrots will work just as well. The easiest way to get a good pile of ribbons is to choose those that are about 7" long and 1 1/2 " in diameter. Also, look for tangerines that are juicy. Seedless clementines, which are perfect for eating out of hand, will not yield enough juice for the dressing.

Ingredients

  1. ¾ teaspoon coriander seed
  2. 3 juicy tangerines, such as Murcott or Satsuma variety
  3. 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot
  4. 1 teaspoon honey
  5. Kosher salt
  6. 4 medium carrots (about 4 ounces each); scrubbed
  7. 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  8. Fresh pomegranate seeds

Instructions

  1. Put the coriander seeds in a small (5 - 8-inches) skillet set over medium heat. Toast about 5 minutes - just until the seeds become fragrant; remove from the pan.
  2. Halve 2 of the tangerines and squeeze the juice into the same skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce to 2 tablespoons.
  3. Coarsely crush the coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle or by using the flat side of a large chef’s knife on a cutting board. Combine the coriander with the reduced tangerine juice, shallot, honey and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl.
  4. Peel the remaining tangerine and divide into segments; add to the juice mixture.
  5. If your carrots are especially hairy give them a quick surface peel with a swivel peeler and discard. Shave the carrots into ribbons, turning to include all sides (you’ll be left with a slender core, which is the cook’s treat).
  6. Pile the carrot ribbons into a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add a good pinch of salt and gently massage with your hands to coat. Pour the tangerine mixture over and toss again.
  7. Serve the carrot salad with some pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top.
http://familystylefood.com/2013/11/shaved-carrots-tangerine-and-pomegranate/

rigatoni and roasted delicata squash

About two months ago my entire kitchen  — along with every other room in the four bedroom Colonial Revival home I’d lived in for the past 10 years — was packed into a seemingly endless pile of boxes and loaded onto a long distance semi trailer truck, headed for New Jersey.

It took a few professionals less than a day to wrap and pack it all, but here I am, these many weeks later still sliding razor blades, sticky from packing tape, along the tops of the few remaining boxes.

Settling into a new space is a process. As I unpacked pots, pans, dishes and so many spoons, spatulas and whisks along with them I also found things that I didn’t know I had and had no idea I needed. Like about a thousand bamboo cocktail skewers, for example. And 3 dozen souffle cups.

“Why do I have all this stuff?” I wondered over and over…the whole experience left me a more than a little traumatized. I made a promise to myself that from now on I need to imagine the inevitable exit of every single thing I bring into my house.

Cooking in my new kitchen has progressed from the baby steps of basic survival meals. I’ve been inspired by food shopping. There are fantastic markets here, so well-stocked I have to restrain myself…all I need to do is remember how I gave away my pantry while we were packing a few months ago.

One night I riffed on a recipe from Heidi’s 101 Cookbooks, a roasted delicata squash, chile and mozzarella salad. Delicata is only around for a few months (right now) and I’m always glad to see it. The beautiful, striated green and sunset yellow skin is tender enough that there’s no need to peel it — I sometimes just scrape the skin randomly here and there to remove blemishes — and the flesh roasts up tender and very sweet.

[Read more...]