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One of my favorite parts (at this point in time, one of the ONLY parts) I like about living in NYC is the fresh and inventive food. It’s no San Fran just-cut-from-the-garden-to-table fare, but the chefs here keep me satisfied. Last night, we ate at Market Table, a West Village staple from one of my all-time favorite chefs Joey Companaro (of famed Little Owl) and Mike Price. As always, the food was amazing. Adventurous, not so much, but seasonal, sensational, and solid. (Side Note: Campanara and Price have just opened a new joint a few doors down called Fatty ‘Cue which they say is their “effort to bring a little Southeast Asian fermented funkiness and a whole helluva a lot of smoke.”)
As you may or may not be able to tell from the picture above, we ordered “the usual” for a group of girls: fish and chicken. (Not pictured: Quinoa Hushpuppies with chipotle mayo that blew my mind.) What I loved about these dishes was the use of the seasonal veg I don’t normally use at home: ramps, fava beans, and snap peas. All are the rage with NYC chefs right now. Apparently there’s even a ramp festival….wild I’m sure. Asparagus is also in season.
The question then remains, how shall we use these yummy ingredients at home? I have some ideas of what I would do if I had a functioning, clean kitchen to whip up something tasty.
I had never even heard of a ramp until it was all over the menu at ABC Kitchen the other night. As you can see they look like leeks and have a powerful onion and garlic flavor. So, maybe they are more familiar than we think. Food blog theKitchn says:
“They pair beautifully with eggs, potatoes, and anything creamy (like a cream-based soup). Treat them gently, use both the green and the white part (everything but the nubby root end) and cook them lightly. Butter or olive oil are both fine fats for ramp-cooking, a tablespoon or so for every cup of chopped ramps.”
The season goes by fast so try out a few recipes while you can still grab a bundle. To get you started:
My food photography just doesn’t hold up to the pro bloggers, but I can tell you the dishes I post taste good. That’s all that counts, right?!
I know it seems like we see asparagus all year long, but it’s really not appetizing raw until it’s in season. Click here for Bon Appetit’s breakdown of the many ways you can prepare it. This raw salad is “Ribboned Asparagus” from SmittenKitchen. So simple and always a hit at dinner parties.
I can’t get enough of fresh peas. I could just eat a whole bag of fresh boiled peas. No seasoning needed. But, should you want to spice them up, consider this recipe for Herbed Pea Sauce from Bon Appetit that seems to compliment a lot of our “usual” dishes.
From Bon Appetit, April 2012
No one I know!
Now that it’s cold outside, banana bread is especially delicious to cuddle up with.
My problem in baking the bread has always been the middle; I could never get it cooked through without drying out the edges. Finally, last week, I got it right with this recipe. I did use the chocolate chips, although next time I’ll leave them out or sub them for raisins. I used sprouted whole wheat flour from whole foods (it’s course, you’ll see it) and doubled the bananas.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Combine chocolate chips and walnuts in small bowl; add 1 tablespoon flour mixture and toss to coat.
Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in mashed bananas, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in flour mixture. Spoon 1/3 of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of nut mixture. Spoon 1/3 of batter over. Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture. Cover with remaining batter. Run knife through batter in zigzag pattern.
Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool.
By now you probably know I don’t like to eat or use canned/processed foods (and that my food photography sucks). This has always been what’s held me back from making pumpkin pie. That, and Aunt Judy makes her “famous” one at Thanksgiving. But I never asked for her recipe because she uses canned pumpkin puree.
This year, with a request to make the classic, I decided to do it right, from real pumpkin to pie, from flour to crust, from cream to whipped creme.
Bon Appetit November 2009 via Epicurious
Servings: I made one small pie and 4 ramekins. It’s supposed to be one deep dish pie, but I like to spread the sweets amongst friends :)
Pumpkin Pie Filling
Line pan with crust and then line with nonstick foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust is set, about 20 minutes. Gently remove foil and beans. Cool crust completely on a rack. Maintain oven temperature.
Preheat oven to 450.
Cut open four small pumpkins, remove seeds, roast cut side down at 450 until the flesh is soft. About an hour and a half. Let pumpkin cool and then scoop out flesh from skin. Put into a food processor, turn on high, and then add water or milk slowly. I added a teaspoon of butter as well.
Whisk brown sugar, eggs, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in medium bowl. Add pumpkin and cream and whisk until well blended and smooth.
Pour filling into crust. Bake pie until filling is firm, covering crust with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle topping evenly over top of pie. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F; continue to bake pie until filling is set and slightly puffed in center, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Tent with foil and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.
For walnut topping
Combine all ingredients. Using on/ off turns, blend to fine crumbs.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
For whipped creme:
Fror one recipe for garlic shrimp and white beans I found in bon appetit, I produced 4 meals for 2 people!
Instead of cutting the ingredients in in half for dinner for two, I decided to make the whole thing and have the meal for lunch. That was just the start of what I could do with the leftovers!
The BA recipe ended up also yielding beans for hummus and a flavorful broth for soup. My boyfriend is obsessed with Giada so I used her white bean dip recipe (pasted below). The hummus served as dip and spread for turkey wraps. As for the broth, it was used for a veggie and meatball soup as well as seasoning for steamed veggies throughout the week.
There are a several changes I made to the recipe: I made the cannelli beans instead of using those from the can. While cooking them, I added fresh chopped herbs (rosemary and thyme) which made them so much for flavorful in the shrimp dish and hummus. Unfortunately I forget the chiles at the store, but the dish really didn’t need them. Instead of olive oil, I used grape seed oil to reduce fat. Finally, at the end, I stirred in fresh greens for nutritional value. I always find a way to sneak them in :)
Taking the time to make this one dish properly saved me SO MUCH time throughout the week.
Garlic Shrimp and White Beans
Bon Appetit October 2012
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
2 dried chiles de árbol
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
1 1/4 cups chopped tomato (about 8 ounces)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 15-ounce cans white beans (such as cannellini), rinsed, drained
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound medium shrimp
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Preheat broiler. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat.
2. Add 1 garlic clove, chiles, and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant, 1-2 minutes (do not allow garlic to burn).
3. Add tomato; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and smashing tomato with the back of a wooden spoon, until tomato is completely broken down, about 5 minutes.
4. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is deep red and caramelized, 3-4 minutes.
5. Stir in beans and broth. Bring to a brisk simmer and cook until juices are slightly reduced and thickened, 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Combine remaining 2 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons oil, shrimp, and paprika in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat shrimp. Scatter shrimp over beans in an even layer.
8. Broil until shrimp are golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes.
9. Serve with parmesean cheese if desired. (MR addition :))
The other recipes you’ll need:
(Not using a pressure cooker)
via Simple Daily Recipes
**You can click both recipes to make them bigger.Tweet this!
If you haven’t already, trade in your savory veggies for fruit and heavy sauces for lighter oils. You’ll use both on this sea bass from Bon Appetit. It’s the perfect dish for warm days when you aren’t grilling.
Overall it’s, easy, light, and delicious, just how I like my dinners. I paired it with quinoa (1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water, boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes) mixed with fat free feta, chopped, flat leaf parsley, sea salt, and pepper.
The recipe calls for sea bass which you can sub with white fish (although sometimes a halibut or cod just can’t satisfy my sea bass craving). As for the avocado oil, I don’t think you NEED that one.
As much as I love the classics (original Katsuya, Trattoria Amici, Pace, Matsuhisa, Spago, Urth, Beverly Hills Hotel, Mozza etc. See some of my recs here.), I am always seeking out the newest foodie hotspot when I visit Los Angeles.
A couple months ago I wrote “5 Restaurants That Get Locals Out of Los Angeles,” all of which would align with the “Casual City” section of bon appeitit’s “So Cal, So Good: Where to eat now in LA” list from last month’s edition.
For descriptions of these joints, read the full article here. I’ll just provide you with a quick list you can reference on the fly.
Power lunch: Cafe Gratitute (like the one in Nor Cal)
Burger joint: Short Order – West Hollywood Farmer’s Market
Also check out their “10 Ways To Do LA Like A Star” restaurant list.
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