Peperonata is one of those dishes that manages to be incredibly easy, delicious and simple but also annoying AF for the sole reason that you get sticky. And I hate being sticky. Abhor it even.
This is feeling is impossible to avoid when attempting to de-seed any amount of bursting, roasted late summer peppers.
As I’ve aged, I’ve come to realize there are worse things in life than being sticky and gotten over it. (Or at least I keep telling myself that.)
Simply, peperonata is a dish made-up of sliced, roasted peppers, most often served as a side to other things. It’s great with or on-top-of literally any protein and can be eaten at any temperature. Various other ingredients can jazz up your basic peperonata too.
For example, you can add stewed, pickled or caramelized onions, olives, capers, even some herbage action if you’re feeling it. The list goes on… Basically, I’ve figured out you can literally add 75 – 85% of whatever is in your pantry to a peperonata and it will probably taste O-K, if not excellent.
In summation, it’s worth getting sticky over.
Peperonata (that’s worth getting sticky over)
- 8 medium peppers – try gypsy peppers, jimmy nardellos, long italian, etc. just don’t go basic and get a bell pepper puhleease
- 1/2 cup small black olives, pitted and roughly chopped – try gaeta or nicoise
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves, picked
- 2T fresh oregano, chopped
- 2.5T sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- Preheat your oven’s broiler and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Place the peppers on the lined baking sheet and broil, rotating the peppers with tongs every minute or so, until the peppers’ skins are blackened and roasted. Immediately place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- After the peppers have cooled enough to handle, get to work slipping the skins off the peppers. De-seed and de-vein the peppers, trying to reserve any juice that comes out of them. Slice the peppers into strips that are around 1/3″ thick and place in a bowl, adding in any reserved pepper juice too.
- Whisk together the oregano, EVOO, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Pour this over the peppers. Add the olives and mix everything together.
- To serve, plate the peperonata in a shallow bowl or high-lipped platter. Garnish all over with picked parsley. Remember, this dish can be served at all kindssssss of room temperatures.
It is time to carpe diem these last couple weeks of summer and OD on stone fruit so we can survive happily on apples and pears for the next 8 months.
Late summer peaches plus raspberries plus a bit of blackberries (just because I had some and didn’t want them to go bad/feel left out) make up the fruits for this dish. Of course you can go just peaches or just peaches and raspberries… I’ll let you do you.
What better way to celebrate these fruits by making a crisp/cobbler/crumble/buckle/bumble/brown betty/slump/grunt/sonker/pandowdy? I prefer dishes in the crisp/cobbler/crumble family but seriously what TF is the difference between a crisp and a crumble? Literally TABLESPOONS of butter/flour make the difference in the recipes I had my lab analyze.
Further research showed that this is a highly controversial topic. Because I’m not looking to incite a gang war amongst the crisps and the bloods,
I’m going to go ahead and call this recipe a crisp/crumble due to its inclusion of oats, flour, and butter in the topping.
Although I was v v v tempted to purchase the Cabernet Sauvignon Grape Pith Flour for the topping, I was able to quell the temptation and choose a sensible
allergy-friendly zomg did I just write that almond meal/flour.
A bit of AP flour is normal for the topping, but I wanted to have that nutty flavor without the literal chunks of nut – some nut bits always get invariably burned and texturally speaking, a toasted, semi-soggy from sitting in baked fruit juice nut just isn’t my jam. (Also, if you sub the AP flour in the filling for some gluten free “flour”, all your
basic GF friends can enjoy this recipe in its entirety too!)
On the topic of toppings, the other part I love about crisps/crumble toppings is the oats. I love oatmeal, ancient grains, oats, farro, quinoa, etc. etc. so anything toothsome and textural I like to have in abundance when making a dish. Hence, why there is a shit ton of oats in this recipe when compared to traditional crisps/crumbles.
In my crumble opinion, it tastes better this way, trust me.
Another part that makes this recipe king delicious is its inclusion of fresh ginger. To me, the fresh ginger makes all the fruit sing in a zippy sort of way. When fruit cooks down it has a tendency to become overly sweet and cloying so the ginger helps keep the dish in balance.
A note on the fruits: You should always peel peaches when making cobblers, crisps, crumbles, etc. because their skin can be unpleasantly thick and very furry (not unlike the Israeli soldier you fell in love with on your birthright trip). The easiest way to get the skin off a peach, tomato,
small animal, etc. is to score the bottom of the fruit/vegetable (FYI tomatoes are actually a fruit so…) in the a shape of an X with a paring knife and blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds or so. Remove the fruit from the water and immediately place into an ice bath until it’s cool enough to handle. (FYI it should be cool enough to handle within 10-ish seconds.) The skins should slip riiiiiiiiiight off.
Peach & Berry Crisp/Crumble w/ Almond & Ginger
*for when you wanna get stoned
- 4# firm but ripe yellow peaches (approx. 8-10 medium), peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1/3″ wedges
- 1/2pt raspberries
- 1/2pt blackberries, halved
- 2T sugar
- 1T brown sugar
- 1.5T AP flour
- 1t grated fresh ginger
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4t salt
- 1.5C rolled oats, not quick cooking
- 3/4C firmly packed brown sugar
- 1C almond meal/flour
- 1/2t salt
- 1/2t ground cinnamon
- 1/4t ground nutmeg
- 8oz butter, cut into large pieces + more for buttering dish
- Lightly butter a medium-large baking or gratin dish and preheat oven to 375F.
- For the filling
Combine all ingredients except the fruit in a large mixing bowl. Add the peach and toss to coat. Add the raspberries and blackberries and gently mix in. Add filling to buttered baking dish.
- For the topping
Combine all ingredients except for the butter in a large bowl. Add the butter and with either your hands or a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter into the mix until it has broken up into pea-sized bits.
- Place the topping a handful at a time onto the fruit and gently pack down. Once all the topping has been evenly distributed over the fruit, place the crisp/cobbler onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this prevents the bubble-over fruit juices, etc. from bubbling over onto your oven floor for eternity).
- Place this all in the oven for 1 hour until the topping is browned and bubbly. Serve warm or at room temp with your fave ice cream/frozen yogurt/tofutti/almond dream/arctic dream/frozen custard/creme anglaise/whipped cream/heavy cream/heavy whipping cream.
I was thinking about highly underrated/under the radar party foods the other day and lamb ribs came to mind. They’re like the edgier, slightly strung out but wearing a really nice APC leather jacket cousin of the individually frenched out lamb chop hors d’oeuvres you get during the cocktail hour at suburban country club communion parties or OTT long island persian weddings.
I would say they’re the perfect item to serve during a small gathering amongst close friends.
I specify close friends because your hands will be sticky and you’ll probably get some shmutz on your face but they’re really tasty/great with drinking, you can get them pre-individually cut from your butcher, and once they’re cooked they can all be piled high on a plate at the beginning of a party for the taking, no further thinking necessary.
Lamb riblets for a small gathering amongst close friends
- 12ea lamb riblets
- 1c water
- 1c lamb or veal stock
- Lamb Spice
- 1T kosher salt
- 1t ground coriander
- 1/2t ground cumin
- 1/2t crushed chili flake
- 1/2t fresh ground black pepper
- Lamb Glaze
- 1/2c red wine vinegar
- 1/4c honey
- 1/4c pomegranate molasses
- 1T butter
- 1T orange zest
- Mix all lamb spice ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Season the lamb ribs on all sides with the lamb spice. Wrap the ribs tightly in plastic wrap and marinate at least 3 hours or overnight in the fridge.
- Remove the ribs from the fridge and preheat the oven to 300F. Unwrap the ribs and place in a roasting pan with stock and water, adding more water if necessary to the ribs are almost covered but not quite. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven for 45 min. to 1 hour.
- To make the glaze, combine all glaze ingredients except for the butter and zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and let the mixture reduce by half. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter and zest.
- Remove ribs from the pan and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Turn up the oven temp to 425F. With a brush or baster, cover the ribs with some of the glaze. Place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove, brush the ribs with the glaze, and return to the oven. Repeat the process another 3 to 4 times until the ribs are cooked and sticky.
- I like to serve these ribs with a simple Greek yogurt dipping sauce I make with whatever I have in house/want to use up. A good template to use is for every little cup of whole milk Greek yogurt, you can stir in:
- salt & pepper to taste (obviously),
- juice of 1/2 lemon,
- 1/2 grated clove of garlic,
- 1-2T chopped herbs (a little parsley/mint never hurt anyone),
- 1/2-1t some spice of your choosing (sumac, za’atar or similar spices from the lamb spice come to mind),
- 1/2t-1T sweetness of your choosing (lil bit of honey or pom molasses encore perhaps?)
(/also feel free to garnish these ribbies with some crushed spices/fresh chopped herbage. We were pretty hungry once these were finally cooked so I neglected to include that addition in the pics…sorry not sorry.)
It’s fucking hot right now.
Every time I walk outside it’s like the heat has strapped me down and the stifling humidity waterboards me until I confess that you know what? I don’t really need (insert life essential item here) this weekend…I hail my forever, undying allegiance to the A/C just please take me back to my
Enhanced interrogation metaphors aside, this weather can’t help but remind of one of my favorite late summer vegetable preps, al umido. I first made this dish in Rome with fagiolini corallo (aka romano beans) and was immediately enamored with the preparation because it was not only simple and delicious, but also insanely practical because you don’t have to stand near the hot stove the whole time you’re cooking it. It allows you to stand near other things too…like your air conditioner.
You literally just let it cook and cook and cook…and cook some more. Basically once the beans reach a certain level while cooking, it’s like the process of undercooked to cooked to overcooked restarts. It’s like the beans enters a vortex that sucks it into an alternate universe where the vegetable takes on a whole new dimension of cookedness previously never seen before. That’s how I would describe the universe in umido. Not a bad place to
eat be right now.
Romano Beans in Umido
- 3T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
- 1.5# romano beans, trimmed and cut into halves or thirds (depending on size)
- 2 large tomatoes, skins removed and cut into a large dice
- 1T tomato paste
- 2T mint, chopped
- pinch of chili flake
- kosher salt
- Blanch romano beans in salted, boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and shock in ice water.
- In a large saute pan, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute. Add the romano beans, chili flake and a large pinch of kosher salt.
- Cover the pan and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, another large pinch of kosher salt and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every so often just to prevent sticking.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the mint. Taste to adjust seasoning if necessary and serve.
It’s official. Avocado toast has surpassed kale as the most cliched dish of all time.
In a very Massimo Bottura-esq moment I’ve named this dish Not Another Avocado Toast. That is to say, it doesn’t use Haas, it uses squash! (Does this count as an off-rhyme?)
Throughout the summer months, especially heading into August, there is a plethora of a squashes in a myriad of varieties (totally aced my 5th grade vocab quiz). In this recipe, avocado squash is roasted until it is as tender and creamy as a perfectly ripe Haas. Paired with bright and herbaceous lime basil pesto, briney feta cheese and smoky shishitos, this toast is uber tasty and highlights some of summer’s best produce.
In fact, I’m thinking the Mexican cartels are going to have to find a new vegetable to extort. Last I heard, kale was available.
Not Another Avocado Toast
(Avocado Squash Toast with Feta, Lime Basil Pesto & Blistered Shishitos)
- 2 avocado squash, halved lengthwise
- 3 sprigs thyme, picked
- 3 cloves garlic, skin-in & crushed
- 1/3c lime basil pesto (see recipe below)
- 1/2c feta, whipped with a bit of olive oil or mashed with a fork to make spreading easier
- 8 shishito peppers
- 4 slices miche, levain or other country-style bread
- 3T extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4c grapeseed or canola oil
- kosher salt
- maldon salt
- black pepper
- Preheat oven to 300F and line a sheet tray with tin foil. Place the avocado squash halves onto the lined tray and rub with 3T olive oil, thyme and garlic cloves. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper on all sides. Roast cut-side up for 2 hours and 15 minutes or until the squashes are completely tender all the way through. Remove from the oven and cool.
- Roughly chop the squash and place in a bowl. Drain any liquid that the may have accumulated from the squashes and keep at room temp until ready to use.
- Heat grapeseed oil in a saute pan on high heat. Once oil is really, really hot but not smoking, carefully add your shishitos. Turn the shishitos quickly in the oil, blistering them on all sides. Remove the peppers from the oil and drain on paper towels. Season lightly with maldon salt.
- Lightly drizzle the slices of bread with olive oil and toast. Once the bread is toasted, immediately rub a cut clove of garlic into the bread. Spread feta evenly onto each toast. Generously spoon on the avocado squash, followed by a drizzle of lime basil pesto all over. Cut each toast in half. Garnish each half with a shishito pepper and serve.
Lime Basil Pesto
- 1/2 bunch lime basil, picked & chopped
- 1/2 bunch regular basil, pick & chopped
- 1/2 small shallot, small dice
- 1/4c walnuts, toasted & chopped
- 1/4c grated parmesan
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2c extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2t kosher salt
- a few grinds of black pepper
- Using a mortar and pestle, pound together red onion and salt. Add in the basil and continue to pound until a paste forms. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Pound in the walnuts and parmesan until your desired consistency is reached; stir in lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Transfer the pesto to a bowl and keep tightly covered with a layer of plastic on top of the pesto to prevent oxidizing until ready to serve. Use within 2 days.
The Definitive Guide to Fauxing Wine Snobbery
aka how to out-snob the snob
1. The “Oh you’ve never had….” snob
Some bish tries to pull this on you, sideswipe them with a simple yet classic one-up maneuver.
In this particular case, I like to pull out the red sancerre card.
** ** ** ** ** **
Steps of service in one-upping a snob:
Snob: “Oh you’ve never had Dkaizfivnoeapiozejwia?”
You: *nod*, *smile*, *glance away like you see something more interesting than this stupid conversation*, “What about red Sancerre? That’s fabulous.”
Note: Under any circumstance, do not acknowledge the enemy and their petty suggestion as to what you should be drinking. They’re wrong. The end.
** ** ** ** ** **
FYI red Sancerre/Sancerre rouge is pinot noir (remember this fact with “Noir from the Loire”, it rhymes, easy peasy). Without getting into too much detail, Sancerre rouge is a light-bodied red that’s super drinkable, most often affordable and impossible to dislike. It’s like the Uniqlo of wine.
Oh, what about producers they (/you) ask? Well, in any area where I’m unfamiliar and making sweeping statements about grandiose subjects (i.e., wine suggestions à la minute, the Korea demilitarized zone, etc.) I always go with my buddy Kermit.
No, not that Kermit, my friend. I’m talking about the one, the only, Kermit Lynch.
I could write for eons about dear Kermie but for now I will merely say his selections are superior and should always be trusted. If it’s imported by Kermit, it’s sure to be a swell swig.
Some of Kermit’s red Sancerres include:
Continuer s’il vous plait.
2. The Pairing snob
White with fish, red with meat is one of the most rudimentary pairing rules people learn early on and for those who stick to this particularly binding rule, that person is likely to develop quite a pairing snob complex.
These people will most often try and trick you by getting you to flub on the stereotypichal-but-not-always-true primary pairing rule of white and red wines.
Public school sluts.
First of all, there are plenty of other way better pairing rules to go by like “If it grows together, it goes together” (i.e. suggesting pairing regional foods with regional wines).
Truth be told, pairing rules are not always what they appear
Thus, when you are put in such a predicament by a pairing snob – here are go-to wines for when someone decides they want to
wear drink white after labor day.
** ** ** ** ** **
Reds for traditionally white wine foods
- Pinot Noir – preferably California or Oregon but a red Burgundy could fly too as long as it’s not too funky
- Barbera d’Alba
- light-bodied Chianti – but choose wisely
Whites for traditionally red wine foods
- Gewurztraminer – one from Alsace would be preferred
- Sherry – oloroso or amontillado
- Pinot Gris
- Greco di Tufo – especially with pork
- Chardonnay – varying degrees of oakiness could work
** ** ** ** ** **
Although these suggestions are strictly based on the main protein you will be eating, there are more ways to circumvent this particular form of snob that we shall address at another time. (Preview suggestions: disregard the protein and focus on the sauce and/or protein preparation when it comes time to choose the wine pairing.)
3. The “This is corked” snob
True, it is said that perhaps 1 in 100 bottles of wine are corked.
You’ll know if a wine is corked aka tainted with TCA aka 2,4,6- trichloroanisole because it smells like (to varying degrees depending on the amount of contamination) wet cardboard that has been sitting in deep, dark, dank cellar for an extended period of time.
THEREFORE/HOWEVER whilst speaking in terms of snobbery, let’s say this person is totally WRONG. What drove them to this damning declaration of
Maybe their tastes just weren’t as sophisticated as they thought. Maybe their enthusiasm in ordering the most expensive wine on the menu (most likely that Grand Cru Red Burgundy bought on auction for a gazillion doll hairs) was met with a bottle whose flavor profile resembled an earth pie made by mixing 1 part fresh dirt, 2 parts pig’s blood (fresh not frozen), 1/8th horse manure, and a sprinkle of unicorn. Delicious, yet not for the inexperienced.
If this is the scenario you find yourself in, and the snob did indeed order this allegedly-corked-not-actually-corked wine, then the snob is most likely paying for it (no credit card roulette please). Thus, give a knowing eye to the Somm, acknowledging you know what they know, and move along with your meal.
Build a bridge, get over it, and let this snob suffer the tragic consequences of their actions.
You ever make a dish and you’re like holy fucking shit this is delicious (**expletives continue to fire off in your brain**)?
Well this is one such dish.
Bottomline: Milk Braised Pork is the braise you never knew you needed but will now and forever always crave.
Braising is one of my favorite techniques in the kitchen – it is versatile, straightforward and forgiving. When braised with milk, pork becomes succulent and savory, rather than rich and heavy like a traditional braise, so it is a dish that can be enjoyed no matter how high the mercury gets.
My favorite vegetable pairing with braised pork is a simple blanched and sauteed turnip.
Tokyo turnips, with their fresh, clean flavor and slightly astringent quality, make them the perfect foil against the luscious braise. For a heartier meal, serve the dish over polenta studded with sweet summer corn.
Milk Braised Pork
- 1# boneless pork shoulder
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 cloves garlic, halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small dried chili
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups whole milk
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- Roughly pick 5 sprigs of thyme. Season the pork on all sides with salt, pepper and picked thyme (stems are ok here). Wrap the pork tightly in seranwrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the pork from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you’re ready to begin cooking in order to take the chill off the meat. Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Slick the bottom of a medium Dutch oven or braiser with a coat of olive oil and heat over a medium-high flame. Sear the pork on all sides, until it’s golden brown throughout. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside.
- Add the garlic, bay leaves, chili, the rest of the thyme and butter to the pot and quickly saute. Add the pork back to the pot and using a spoon, baste the meat with the herby-garlicy oil/butter. Carefully pour in the wine and reduce until sec.
- Add the milk to the pot. There should be enough so the pork is almost covered but feel free to add some more if it looks a little low. Bring the milk to a high simmer and turn off the heat. Cover with a lid
and place in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes remove the pork from the oven and begin spooning the separated milk curds over the pork. Place the lid back onto the pot and return the pork to the oven. Reduce heat to 350F and continue to baste and spoon the milk curds over the pork every 15 minutes or so for the next hour-and-a-half to two hours. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, remove the lid so the curds brown and caramelize over the pork.
- Remove the pork and curds from the pot and cover with foil to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the cooking liquid over high heat and strain. Pour the jus over the pork and caramelized curds and serve with simple Tokyo turnips.
Simple Tokyo Turnips
- 1 bunch small Tokyo turnips
- 3T extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- Clean the turnips and their greens. Cut the turnips in half, quartering any large ones, so they are roughly the same size. Discard any yellow or holey greens.
- In salted, boiling water blanch the turnips for 2 minutes or until almost cooked through. Drain and shock in ice water. Strain.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-large saute pan. Add the turnip greens, a generous pinch of salt and saute for 1 minute. Add the turnips and saute until tender and the edges of the white turnips begin to turn golden brown. Serve immediately.
I love soup. It’s warm, it’s filling, it’s delicious, and every culture has their own take on what you can do with a bowl and a spoon.
As you can imagine, my Seamless soup delivery man and I are very close. We even sing each other Christmas carols in December as he walks the three flights up to my apartment.
Frankly, though, soup in the summer is just inappropriate.
But Beth, you say, there’s gazpacho! There’s vichyssoise!
Well, gazpacho is not a soup. Gazpacho is a bloody mary without the vodka.
Vichyssoise? Don’t lie to me and tell me that thick ass puree of potatoes, leeks, cream and chicken stock wouldn’t taste a gazpachillion times better hot.
Most recently, I was craving a bowl of hot and bubbly cold-weather soup but I simply couldn’t muster a crock of French Onion in 100% humidity. Forced to work with the elements (i.e. on a hot summer day when the desire to move and/or make anything lengthy in the kitchen is minimal), my Summer Onion Soup was born.
It is the yin to winter’s cheesy and rich French Onion yang. With three different types of seasonal onion/garlic-related vegetables, plus some chicken, zucchini and potato to round out the dish, this soup is bright, light and flavorful and totally appropriate for summer. It’s like the white jeans of soup.
Summer Onion Soup
- 1 small, whole Chicken
- 16 oz. unsalted Vegetable or Chicken Stock
- 1 bunch fresh Scallions, cleaned and sliced into 3-4″ long pieces
- 5 sprigs Thyme
- 1 head fresh Garlic, cloves separated and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch Garlic Scapes, ends removed and sliced into 3-4″ long pieces
- 5 small Potatoes with a fancy name, quartered (I prefer Augusta potatoes because Augustus was the heir to Caesar and I love Caesar salad. I mean, who doesn’t? And August is my birth month so it works in so many ways. Just make sure the reason you choose your potato has a great story behind it – it’ll make the soup taste better.)
- 2 medium Green Zucchini, cut into 2-3″ chunks
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Maldon Salt
- Generously season the chicken on all sides with salt. Coat the bottom a large dutch oven or soup pot with a thin layer of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Place chicken in the pot breast-side-up and cook until the bottom is golden brown, around 3-5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and pour in stock. Add enough water to the pot so the chicken is almost covered (you want the top 1/8th exposed but that seemed a little anal to state given my naturally lackadaisical demeanor. Important to note that this soup was also invented on a day where I attempted to minimize dishes and knife work – hence, the whole chicken).
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot except the zucchini. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
- Remove the chicken and thyme sprigs from the pot. Discard thyme and place the chicken on a cutting board. Turn off the heat, add the zucchini to the pot and put the cover back on.
- Depending on how hungry you are, at this point you can either brave the scalding hot chicken and start tearing the meat off with your mighty heat resistant talons you call hands, or you can stick the chicken in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes until that bird has cooled the eff down. Either way, pick the meat off the bird, tearing or cutting the meat into large pieces (around 3″ long) and placing back in the pot.
- Stir the soup around a bit so the chicken can get reacquainted with its old friends and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Serve HOT.
Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits but most strawberry desserts are pretty miserable.
Chocolate dipped strawberries are the most overrated dessert of all time. Strawberry ice cream can be pretty hit-or-miss, most often a miss. Strawberry rhubarb stuff… that’s pretty good I guess (but it needs the rhubarb to make it great!).
When making a dessert with strawberries, I always veer simple and make sure to purchase my fruit in-season and from the green market (versus just munching on them raw where it could be December and I really could care less just give me my gawd damn berries mmkay). Green market strawberries have a sweetness and depth of flavor no supermarket berry has ever come close to.
A great, super simple dessert that anyone can do – even if they live in a studio with a hot plate for a kitchen and a shared bathroom – is macerated strawberries. I always gravitate towards a simple flavor profile of vodka/vanilla/lemon combo with a bit of aged balsamic for added depth, inspired by April Bloomfield’s recipe in A Girl and Her Pig. Using my recipe below as a guide, you can sub in your favorite strawberry flavorings – adding in herbs or switching up the sugar, alcohol or spices.
I prefer to spoon these strawberries over vanilla gelato for the perfect summer dessert but they’re are also great over angel food or cheesecake, yogurt, pancakes or oatmeal. (NOTE: if you have these in the morning, remember the vodka is still quite active).
with Vodka & Vanilla
- 2 pints Tristar Strawberries (or other green market variety), hulled & halved
- 1/3 cup good quality Vodka
- ¼ Granulated Sugar
- 2 Vanilla Beans, halved & insides scraped out (discard beans)
- Zest & Juice of ½ Lemon
- ¼ cup Aged Balsamic Vinegar (that syrupy ish)
- 2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Large pinch of Maldon Salt
- 2t Black Pepper
- Using your hands, mix together all ingredients except for the strawberries in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the strawberries and toss to combine, smooshing around 1/3 of the strawberries into a pulp with your hands as you do it. Taste for sweetness and acidity and adjust if necessary.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve.
In my marginally humble opinion, radishes are just about the most rad vegetable ever. Radishes are delicious, beautiful and – dare I say it – adorable. They’re even more adorable than baby corn.
In fact, in Japan, radishes are seen as so adorable that people carve them into cute little edible art pieces.
(Nevermind that these a more reminiscent of bad taxidermy than actual food…)
Behind the dainty, tickled pink hue of a radish lies a crisp and peppery vegetable with a taste that ranges from mildly spicy to horseradish hot.
(”All it comes down to is this. I taste like a spicy crunchy wasabi jicama guy but look great.” – Patrick Bateman, radish spokesperson)
Radishes can be eaten in a variety of ways: straight up Frenchie with butter and sea salt, in a crudite, roasted, pickled, or – one of my personal favorites – in a salad as the star ingredient.
When making a radish salad, the secret to making it not just a good radish salad but a great radish salad is all in the massage.
Deep tissue that radish.
You literally want to feel like you are trying to push the other ingredients into the radish. Radishes have a high water content and are pretty porous on the inside so by massaging the radish with the other ingredients, you are imparting the maximum amount of flavor into the vegetable.
Even though radishes taste pretty strong solo, they easily take on other flavors. Richer salad ingredients – like aged vinegars and cheeses – are perfect in a radish salad because the light and crunchy radish balances the heavier components with its signature, palate-cleansing bite.
So, without further ado, here is one of my go-to recipes for a tasty radish salad.
Radish Salad with
Aged Balsamic, Basil & Parm
- 2 bunches of Radishes (whatever color or type strikes your fancy, just make sure they’re firm and pretty blemish-free)
- 5 leaves of Basil
- 5oz Parmigiano Reggiano
- Handful of Sunflower Shoots
- Handful of Micro Russian Red Kale (substitute with small bits of torn Lacinato Kale if this is unavailable)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Good quality, aged Balsamic Vinegar (break out the good ish for this recipe)
- Maldon Salt & Black Pepper
- Clean the radishes, removing the greens and saving for another use if you wish. Halve the small radishes and quarter the large guys so all the pieces of radish are around the same size. Place in a large bowl.
- Tear the basil into medium-sized bits and add to the bowl. Break off small chunks of the parm with your hand (sometimes it helps to use a fork or paring knife to get the cheese going) into the bowl.
- Add a large pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and start massaging the radish, basil and parm together in the bowl, pressing the cheese and herb bits into the radish chunks with your hands. Add lemon juice, a drizzle of balsamic and continue to massage until the ingredients have incorporated themselves around each radish chunk
- Add sunflower shoots, micro kale, and a drizzle of olive oil to the bowl. Gently toss to combine (the greens are delicate!). Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve immediately with a little more balsamic drizzled on top.