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

Read more »

Strawberry-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

This past week has been full of travel. I was in Los Angeles for a bachelorette party, where I visited Disney Land for the first time. Now I’m on Cape Cod with my cousin who is just twenty-eight hours older than me. (She was a bridesmaid at the wedding.) To see some recent travel images, take a look at Instagram.

For now, here are a few themed haikus and limericks constructed with my cousin this morning:

There is much debate
about which lobster roll reigns;
I like Sir Cricket.

Here I am on beautiful Cape Cod
Where there is an abundance of scrod
I like the catch of the day
But oysters would make me sway
I think I have lost my hot bod

I hear ice cream truck,
but I prefer Sundae School;
I hope there’s still fudge

On the Cape there is much entertainment
To play mini golf I am hell-bent
Let’s hop in the car
I’m hoping for par
Will I beat the Frenchman, probablement

Strawberry-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese FrostingStrawberry-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake is soft and tender and studded with strawberries. I could eat it on its own, sans frosting, any time of the day.

The recipe is adapted from The Flourishing Foodie‘s Coconut Cake. I’ve made Heather’s Coconut Cake several times; it’s delicious, and especially impressive for birthdays. I sometimes fill the layers with jam or citrus curd instead of the frosting, and I’ve poured cajeta over the top of the cake, or covered it with fruit. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Strawberry-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese FrostingStrawberry-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

Read more »

Strawberry Cake + an Almost Wedding

On Saturday, the Frenchman and I are getting married. It’s happening. After so many months of scheming and dreaming, the event is now just two days away.

I’m a bit chicken-with-her-head-cut-off at the moment, but I wanted to stop into this space to say hello, I’m still here! And to share this strawberry-vanilla cake with you, which is perfect for right now. Avis sur levitra generique.

One more thing: here is our wedding reading, a passage I’ve long-appreciated for it’s honest approach to love and the life of a long term relationship.


DSC_0145 DSC_0180

Read more »

Peach and Blueberry Coconut Crisp + a Giveaway!

Until a couple months ago, I was living in the gymnastics dark, unaware I could participate in this–frankly, awesome–sport as an adult. (Thanks, Amelia!) And now that I know, I’m eager to make up for lost time.

I was competitive as a child, although my average skills never quite matched my intense love for the sport. I went to gymnastics camp and met Dominique Moceanu, though, and favored a burgundy crush velvet leotard and matching hair scrunchie–legitimizing qualifications if ever you heard them. And then I went away to school, and transitioned into flinging myself off of 1 and 3-meter diving boards instead. Later, in college, after a beverage or two, I liked to throw messy back walkovers on whatever surface was available to me: grass, or sometimes, hotel hallways. I am still a frequent handstand-and-cartwheeler in the sand, because life is short.

That brings us to the present. I have attended four classes now, and joy is the simplest way to describe it. Just walking into the gym–the primary colored mats and barrels, the expanse of trampolines, the foam pit–seems to dissipate stress.

My body is remembering front extension rolls (a series of which left me feeling terribly motion sick after my first class), back bends, kick overs, headstands, and almost back handsprings. Week to week, tangible improvements. I’m sore the next day (who knew the body contained so many distinct muscles?), but still I want to practice handstands against our apartment door: “You need to be looong,” instructs Rodrigo, pulling out the word to match his arms stretched high above his head. “Practice being looong.” So I do.

I’m not a naturally gifted athlete, and I would rather shop for tomatoes than go on a hike, but for some reason this gymnastics business has become a highlight of my week. It quiets all the overwhelmed, busy thoughts in my head.

Last week, we front flipped. With each turn, I stared down the alley of floor in front of me and in that suspended moment, nothing mattered except the anticipation alive in my fingertips. With each turn, I slid into a long-strided run, just before the mat pike-punching hard to launch my body upward with everything I had. It’s an act of faith, really. A hard tuck, willing mind and body to follow in a neat circle through the air, hoping that–this time–I’ll land on my feet.

blueberriesblueberry and peach crisp

Read more »

Arugula Pistou + Kinderhook Farm

I live in the city, a fact I’m acutely aware of from the moment I wake up (to the sonorous pounding of multiple high-rise constructions) to my subway hop home (look! a host of sparrows eating….an old piece of pizza?) There are many things I love about my neighborhood of Brooklyn (this, this, and this, to name a few), but the urban reality also means that whole months go by when I forget what silence sounds like. I forget that the sky is really a wild, open, spangled thing, and not always doled out in tetris patches.

This push and pull is noisiest in late summer, when the city’s muggy and farmers’ markets are ripe with peaches. I get restless. By August, weekends become little islands of opportunity. And so for two years now, we reserve the first weekend of August for Kinderhook Farm.

This year we traveled to Ghent, New York with friends, and the most stressful thing I did all weekend was lose a game of Scrabble. Otherwise, we made power-relaxation our raison d’être. I cooked quite a lot: spaghetti with melted tomatoes, corn, and mozzarella I hope to share with you here soon. Grilled pizzas and corn on the cob. Cheeseburgers made with ground beef sourced from the farm. And s’mores, the Frenchman’s first.

It was such a pleasure. Two days of concentrated time with friends is a gift. And nothing makes me happier, absolutely nothing, than cooking with and for those I love. It’s an easy, immediate joy.

I also love the place itself, for its restorative properties. I love how Kinderhook contrasts my everyday life, and the feel of the barn’s wooden planks against my feet, almost warm. I love the fire pit and the technicolor chickens pecking wherever they please. Keys are obsolete. We wander the pastures and lounge in hammocks pitched at the edge of the yard. We buy local beer by the growler. The only noises are nature-made: bleating sheep, violining crickets, the rustle of wind through leaves. If you’re a light sleeper, roosters announce the new day. It’s tonic for the spirit.

chicken at Kinderhook Farmflowers in the barn at Kinderhook Farmgrilled pizza

Read more »

Tomato, Cucumber, Corn, and Herb Summer Salad

A friend from graduate school recently came to town. We drank tequila cocktails that looked deceptively like pink lemonade in tall sweating glasses and talked and talked and talked, like we used to do when she lived two blocks away and not across the country. Our conversation eventually turned to writing, and I congratulated her on a recent publication. She gave me a funny sort of look. “I’m taking a break,” she said, “from everything. From all of it but the writing. Worrying about success in this field is a full time job, and I need a break.”

After she said it, I knew she was right. I’m as guilty as anyone. I’m far too preoccupied with the minutia of “success,” a loaded word if ever there was one. Done poorly, it’s counterproductive: the more energy I expend worrying, the less I have available for the work itself. And though I can’t quantify exactly what success looks like, I do know the prospect of not capturing it terrifies me–if I’m not successful, then do I get to call myself a writer? And if I’m not a writer then–good God–what am I? Cue all the panicked feels.

It was an enormous relief, to hear my friend echo some of my same worries about writing. Writing is a solitary act. It requires time and patience, a fact completely at odds with the connectivity, networking, marketing, and PR you must now do yourself if you want anyone to read what you’ve written. It’s too much, we decided, too much for any one person to do well.

Somewhat fortuitously, this summer I’ve fallen down an Ann Patchett reading rabbit hole. I recommend it. Her writing consistently adds intellectual and emotional pleasure to my day. I’m currently on her latest book, a memoir in the form of essays, and one strikes me as particularly relevant. The Getaway Car–A Practical Memoir about Writing and Life is long and rich, full of writing advice collected over a career. The essay contains various specific truths, but its overarching message is this: if you want to be a writer, write. Sit down at your desk, and get it done. It’s really that simple.

And so that is my goal for the summer: to write. To write just for the sake of it, just to practice. To create things and enjoy the process and learn and improve. For now, I need to divorce the output from worry over an immediate outcome. I need to turn away from fruitless comparisons, and temporarily look past how bad I am at Twitter. In short, I want to get back to the heart of it.

tomatoes and basil

Read more »

Orzo Salad with Scallions, Hazelnuts, and Golden Raisins

On Sunday, the Frenchman and I organized a picnic and barbecue in Brooklyn Bridge Park. We met friends, and friends of friends, on a grassy knoll tipping toward the water, an open view of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty off to the left. We sat together on a massive tapestry, played cards, and drank gin, basil, and grapefruit punch.

That afternoon, the first warm one in eons, reminded me of many picnics past, first in El Retiro in Madrid, where we ate potato chips cooked in olive oil and sipped cheap Spanish beer, watching the rowboats pass across the pond, and then later in Paris, on the Pont des Arts or in Parc Monceau, with a bottle of rosé and a game of tarot to celebrate early summer.




Read more »

End of Summer Tagliatelle

This pasta is my little swan-song to the end of summer. It contains everything I’ve cooked like crazy this season: slow roasted tomatoes by the armful, sweet corn, and fresh cheese. It’s balanced, tasty, and simple.

I made this with (store bought) basil pesto (hey, the Frenchman is away on business this week, so I’m keeping dinner as effortless as possible), but you can use arugula, or really whatever kind of pesto you’re into. Also, the butter is not mandatory, but it helps to bind the sauce together, and pushes the tagliatelle in the direction of a restaurant-rich pasta dish. I think the taste of toasty hazelnuts complements the dish, but if you prefer, you can substitute breadcrumbs–the point is to give the pasta a little crunch for textural diversity.

My suggestion is to roast the tomatoes the night before. They need so little attention, it’s no hardship to forget them in the oven once you get home from work. Pour yourself a cocktail, or give your kid a bath. Before The Daily Show comes on, the tomatoes will be done–flavor concentrated and ready to burst. Read more »