Ramp Foraging + Ramp Risotto

Ramp Foraging + Ramp RisottoRamp Foraging + Ramp Risotto

Ramp Foraging + Ramp Risotto Ramp Foraging + Ramp Risotto

 

Ramp Foraging + Ramp Risotto Ramp Foraging + Ramp Risotto

Ramp Foraging + Ramp Risotto

Last Sunday dawned bright and breezy and perfectly spring. The Frenchman and I drove an hour from our apartment to the parking lot of a strip mall. We waited. After a time, a jeep wrangler came careening into the lot, and parked beside us. Inside was my favorite market farmer and his wife. We said good morning, and he joked again that it was time to blindfold us and stuff us into the trunk before the next stage of our operation. Read more »

Modern Beef Burgundy + A Giveaway

Beef Burgundy

Beef Burgundy Beef Burgundy

Roast onions and mushrooms Roast onions and mushrooms

Along with Camembert and white beans, boeuf bourguignon ranks high among the Frenchman’s all time favorite foods. I remember making it in culinary school–a two day process–and I’ve made it once a winter since, always from Julia Child’s recipe. It’s a lovely cold weather dish, but the truth is, it’s a pain–fussy and time consuming.

This year, the crux of fall coincided with a book in the mail: the inimitable America’s Test Kitchen’s latest, 100 Recipes: The Absolute Best Way to Make the True Essentials. It’s such a useful book, both for the novice cook (the best way to scramble eggs and poach chicken) and the more experienced (adding gelatin to meatballs for improved texture). The recipes are beyond well tested.

My copy is now a ticker tape parade of must makes–pho, focaccia, smoked salmon–but the recipe I was drawn to first was their modernized (read: less finicky) version of boeuf bourguignon. The process has been trimmed, but the results are just as rich and wonderful. And the recipe feeds a crowd, or a family of two for many meals. (It yields 3 quarts or 6 pints, which I portion and freeze, equating roughly to 10 meals for the Frenchman and me.) This is good news in our (new!) apartment.

This recipe was published with permission from America’s Test Kitchen. They’ve generously offered a copy of the book to give away to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment describing your favorite classic recipe by January 5th.

Beef Burgundy Beef Burgundy

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Ham and Cheese Buckwheat Waffles

ham, cheese, chivesbuckwheat waffle batter

Ham and Cheese Buckwheat Waffles

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Ham and Cheese Buckwheat Waffles Ham and Cheese Buckwheat Waffles

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Stuffed Tomatoes

The Frenchman is away for the next two weeks, which means I’m puttering around the house after work, staying up way later than I should, both thrilled by the quiet, atypical aloneness, and simultaneously dreading it. I tell myself that I’ll use the luxurious, stretching evening-time to get extra work done, but this plan usually devolves into Netflix-watching pretty quickly.

We spent this past weekend in Phoenicia, NY for the wedding of good friends. Have you been? It’s lovely, quite literally nestled in the Catskill Mountains, with a few-blocks-long main street and a creek running through it. I woke up early both mornings, thanks to the jet lag I try to keep going as long as possible, and it was the need for sweaters–more than the multitudinous appearance of apples and grapes at the market–that finally made me realize that fall is on its way.

For now though, this in-between time means that I can still eat reckless quantities of peaches and tomatoes, but also that the subway platform doesn’t feel like a sauna sponsored by Hades. It means that, while I’m still hanging on to summer produce, I’m transitioning from raw preparations to heat coaxed ones: folding slumping fruit into cakes, baking zucchini with rice and cheese, simmering fresh beans until soft and soupy. And making these tomatoes.

herbs Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Tomatoes Stuffed Tomatoes

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Grilled Pizza

heirloom tomatoesgrilled pizza mise en place

In the summertime, when the Frenchman and I (sporadically) have access to a grill, we often grill pizza. It’s especially good for feeding a crowd: it’s pleasing to every palate, can be adjusted for special diets, involves just the right amount of group participation, and makes a great breakfast the next morning. All the ingredients (dough and toppings) are prepared ahead of time, which makes it easy to pull off outdoors, or in a kitchen not your own. I usually choose toppings based on what’s in season at the moment.

Two general rules: You can load pizza made on the grill a little more heavily than pizza made in an oven. Also, you’ll want all toppings to be pre-cooked or pre-prepared, since once on the pizza they’ll cook for just a few minutes–basically, only long enough for the cheese to melt.

how to stretch pizza dough

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Green-Garlic Farro Salad with Marinated Zucchini and Herbs

We’ve been traveling quite a bit, but whenever I’m in the kitchen lately, all I want is summer fruits and vegetables done simply. I grate tomatoes into pan-con-tomate pulp, add a glug of good olive oil, sherry vinegar and sea salt–it’s wonderful as it is, or spooned over grilled fish. I grill olive oil-ed asparagus and lemons together–and sauce the charred spears with the deep, grilled juice. Cut corn from the cob and fold it, raw, into every pasta/grain/salad that crosses your path.

There is certain summer produce that, once it comes into season, I cook and eat compulsively until it disappears from the market. Green garlic–the immature garlic bulb that isn’t yet papery on the outside–is one example. I use a mandolin to thinly slice the bulb whole, and then saute as I would with minced garlic cloves. Zucchini is another example. This year I’ve discovered the fresh joy of raw zucchini: marinate zucchini coins/ribbons/”spaghetti” with salt, lemon juice and good olive oil until the zucchini goes wilty and soft. That’s it.

In this salad, both treatments get elevated. I love grain-and-vegetable salads for summer: they’re happy in the fridge for many days, they serve a crowd and they’re great for picnics/cook-outs/travel.

green garlic Green-Garlic Farro Salad with Marinated Zucchini and Herbs

Green-Garlic Farro Salad with Marinated Zucchini and Herbs

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Wedding Bucatini with Peas, Spinach and Herb Ricotta + A Tieks Giveaway

I doubt this will surprise anyone, but–I cared a lot about the food we served at the wedding. I wanted our guests to enjoy a truly delicious meal–not an easy task when catering to 150 people at once! I also wanted to showcase the season, at the expense of established “wedding food” favorites.

For months, I worked back and forth with our caterer (Hi, Matt, Maureen and Christina!) until we settled on the menu you see below. All the work was more than worth it–I loved the final product. I’ll never forget it. I wish I could eat these dishes over and over again!

This post is my effort to recreate one of our wedding dishes at home. My version deviates from the original in style, but it brings the same flavors to the table. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

sugar snap pea fresh bucatiniTieks ballet flats

I’m also really pleased to talk about Tieks in this post, since I wear them nearly every day. They are crazy comfortable, fold up for purse-sized storage, and come in a bunch of colors and patterns. (I actually gifted Tieks to the bridesmaids at the wedding, and spent most of my night rocking these.) I concede they’re on the pricier side, but I’ve had my current pair going on two years–I still love them, and I think they’re totally worth the investment. And something else–the people who work at there are just the absolute kindest.

As a gift to you, I’d like to give away a $100 gift certificate to one lucky reader. To enter: 1) Follow Tieks on one of their social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter). 2) Leave a note in the comments–what is the best or worst food you’ve ever had at a wedding? The contest will close Sunday, June 21st at 11:59pm. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Wedding Bucatini with Peas, Spinach and Herb RicottaThe Roaming Kitchen wedding menu

The Roaming Kitchen wedding ravioloThe Roaming Kitchen wedding raviolo

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Best Veggie Burger Ever, V2

I’m not sure whether this feeling is universal or not but, I’m finding twenty nine a very odd bird. It’s been a liminal time: I know what I want now (for the most part), but I haven’t yet figured out how to bring what I want for myself to fruition. It’s incredibly frustrating. Twenty nine is not not twenty four–I’m not trying to discover who I am. And it’s not thirty either, which in my mind is the mythical year when you are unequivocally not a child anymore.

Twenty nine has been planning a wedding, now only a few months away. From a distance, a wedding seems like a concrete action, an objective step forward. But in fact, being married isn’t a hurdle to conquer; instead, it’s a symbol (and symptom) of something much longer-brewing. In future, I don’t think we’ll think of the day after the big day as the start of our “real” relationship. Our relationship, the one that brings me comfort and joy and security every day, began six years ago. The slow work of those six years carried us here. One day isn’t a beginning or an end, but instead a (special, special) punctuation mark in the story of our life together.

But in my head, I’ve detached the symbol from the practice. I’ve spent so much time scheming and dreaming this huge party we’re throwing, this party I’m looking forward to so much. But even still, the event feels like an intangible monolith. My subconscious seems to agree, because I dream about it almost nightly now. These aren’t nightmares, but they are strange and highly vivid, so that when I wake up it takes me a full minute to realize the that dream does not reflect reality.

So many of the big questions have floated to the surface this year. Where will we live? The US and France are possibilities, but the nature of the Frenchman’s work opens up other domestic or international options, too. Will we continue to rent our narrow Brooklyn apartment, or should we buy? And if so, where? And when? If you’d asked me five years ago, I would have suggested starting a family at twenty nine. Now, that idea seems ludicrous and impossible. But if not now, then when?

Reading this over, I can see that I’m in need of an herbal tea, some yoga, and the cleansing purge of an Arrested Development marathon. I get that I’m more plan-obsessed than most balanced human beings. But even when I remind myself to forget the big things for a while, the fact is, they aren’t phantoms. The realities of twenty nine cannot be wished away, whether I like it or not. Whether I like it or not, I possess no crystal ball, and there is a limit to my agency.

Twenty nine is all the balls in the air. Twenty nine is waiting for them to fall down again, to see where they land.

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