Tipsy Apple-Parsnip Cake with Sultanas and Cider Glaze + A Food Rant

I oscillated hour to hour on whether or not to post this essay here–it is not the kind of writing I normally share in this space. Regular readers will know how much I care about whole foods, and that the farmers market is an essential facet of my cooking life, but I do not usually bring policy into the conversation.

Ultimately, I am posting this because I think the issues at hand are more important than my fears you won’t like what I have to say.

I recently spent a few days with a group of people who could not think more differently than me when it comes to food. After that experience, I needed a way to vent my frustrations, collect my thoughts, and clarify my views. If you already agree with what I write below, excellent. If you agree and are looking for a way to broach the subject with the people in your life who disagree or simply don’t know, I hope this essay aids that conversation. If you think I am totally full of cow manure, well, we are just going to have to agree to disagree. Either way, if you would rather simply read about a happy-go-lucky, apple-parsnip cake laced with rummy raisins and warming spices, click here to jump ahead. Read more »

Roasted Mushroom Grilled Cheese with Cheddar + Chèvre

I’ve started to notice the mushroom man at the market again, with his practical windbreaker and earnest smile. He looks misty-forest ready, as if he arrived at the market by way of a foraging expedition. He must be pedaling something magic, I think, because his line is five shoppers deep at the market on Sundays. Or maybe it’s just that time of year.

The Frenchman has been away for two weeks now, and I am melancholy. But, there is just enough of a chill in the air to encourage me to turn on the oven. While I don’t feel inclined to make a production out of dinner for one, I do find that chopping vegetables, and then watching them transform at the oven door like a child at the aquarium, acts as a temporary nostrum. This recipe is a simple supper, a satisfying lunch. Plus, the Frenchman loves this combination of roasted mushrooms, onions, and potatoes. I cook it and pretend as though he is here. Read more »

Fig and Hazelnut Muffins

I recently purchased David Tanis’s book, A Platter of Figs. In the introduction, he talks about the idea of understanding the seasons, really understanding them, so that you always get the best out of whatever garden-grown thing you’re bringing into the kitchen.

“Do you really need a recipe for a platter of figs?” he asks. “No. Is that the point? Yes. Does it have to be more complicated than that? Not really. Yet to serve the figs you need to know about ripeness and seasonality — the seasons of the garden — and you need to know your figs. By this I mean, are they sun-ripened and bursting with jammy sweetness? Are they succulent enough to eat as is, or do they want a sprinkling of salt, a drizzle of good olive oil, perhaps a thin slice of prosciutto? A dab of fresh ricotta and honey to heighten the flavor? Or should you roast the figs with onions and thyme and serve them warm with rare-grilled duck breasts?

The platter of figs perfectly illustrates the idea of eating with the seasons. Read more »

Almond-Spice Plum Upside Down Cake

As you can see, The Roaming Kitchen has a bit of a new look, thanks entirely to the Frenchman’s hard work and ingenuity. We’ll be making a few more cosmetic changes around here over the next few weeks. I’m really excited about what’s to come!

I thank you in advance for your patience as we work out the kinks. (And by that I mean, “Cris, be patient. Abstain from hurling your computer out your apartment window, just because it took you a gazillionty-one more hours than usual to format this post, and now you have no brain power left for the witty and devastatingly interesting headnote you’d planned to pen.)

Ah well. I’ll be clever next week. Also, I’ll share some fetching, non-food photos. In the meantime, I’m going to put down my computer and have a piece of cake. You should, too. I hope your weekend is full of seascapes and ripe tomatoes. Happy August! Read more »

When It’s Too Hot To Cook: Summer Tartines

It’s too hot for cooking. Plus, the Frenchman is away on business in Atlanta (which, somehow, is cooler and less humid than New York, go figure), so I don’t feel like making a big fuss. Dinner the past few nights has consisted of various salads spooned onto toast, usually with a bit of cheese, sometimes with a runny egg.

It’s handy to keep a running arsenal of these minimally cooked, stuff-on-toast ideas for the very middle of summer, when produce is outstanding, but the idea of turning on your oven is more than you can handle right now, do you have any idea how sweltering a NYC train platform is, seriously how long do I have to wait for this stupid train to arrive, thank you very much.

These “recipes” are largely interchangeable–use the bread, cheese, and herbs you prefer. Use whatever fruit or vegetables look best at the market. When you have excellent summer ingredients on hand, it’s sort of hard to screw it up. Read more »

Tortilla Primavera

Today I’ve tasked myself with organizing a Fourth of July party–in France. I’m not normally the most patriotic person in the room, but my status as the (presumably) only American for many miles has suddenly given me the irrepressible impetus to represent my country, to explain the holiday to any and all Frenchies who’ve crossed my path over the past several days.

Of course, my interest in the 4th is mostly food-and-pool related (is that bad? ah well), although I’m never one to snub my nose at fireworks, either. (Fortunately, I got to watch a spectacular show on the beach just a few days ago, as Châtelaillon was celebrating the start of summer with some feu d’artifice of their own.)

Anyway, here’s what I’m making: Read more »

Spring Hash

Yesterday evening, after twenty hours of travel, the Frenchman and I arrived in La Rochelle. The trip, maddeningly, took longer than expected: a delayed flight resulted in a missed train, resulted in an extra four hours of airport get the picture. When our (second) train at last pulled into the station, I was feeling decidedly sleep deprived.

But then the Frenchman’s family appeared. They peppered us with kisses, and their sheer enthusiasm was a tonic more efficacious than coffee.

And so we waltzed to the old port, to a café table facing the ancient towers. We ordered a round of frosty beers, and shared a plate of brine-bright oysters from Île d’Oléron. The evening was sunny and breezy. Read more »

Snap Pea and Radicchio-Basil Pizza

I love making pizza at home. The topping options are vast and limitless, and my creations are often more interesting than the standard choices available at most pizza parlors. Pizza-making at home is also a great way to take advantage of seasonal ingredients: Currently, my crisper is full of sugar snap peas, spring onions, and plush bunches of basil, and so all three made their way onto this spring version.

Also, pizza parties. They’re a thing. You can prepare all these toppings ahead of time (as well as many others, whatever you can think of), so that guests can assemble their own. Each pizza only spends a few minutes in the oven. If you prefer to be outside, cook your pizzas on the grill.

Some general advice: fight the urge to overload each pizza with toppings. Fight it! Trust me, I learned the hard way, and I still have to remind myself every time. Too many toppings, and the dough will become laden and impossible to slide onto the pizza stone. Too many toppings, and the dough will be a soggy, unruly mess. Remember, you want the dough to crisp up on the bottom! Read more »