Ramp season is basically over, and as usual, I’m late to the game, recipe-wise. But whatever, ramps are awesome and if you can find a last bunch or two, you should really make this salad. When it’s summer time and vegetables are at their best, you really don’t have to do much to them, as I’m sure you’ve been told over and over and over again, yet you still find yourself turning your oven to 400 degrees, even on hot days, and roasting the shit out of your broccoli or asparagus or whatever, because really, it’s delicious, as well as being incredibly easy. I usually do that myself, but the other day, I decided to veer from the norm and cook my green beans and broccoli on the stove. What a novel concept. I didn’t have much of a plan going into this, but I love peppery broccoli rabe and for some reason, I rarely cook green beans. Actually, scratch that, I know why I rarely cook green beans–I hate cleaning them! I remember it was one of the tasks my mother would ask me to help her with when she made green beans when I was a kid. I’d have to snap each stem off of the top of the green beans, which seemed like a never-ending task. I hated it then and I hate it now. But I love eating green beans! So every so often, I’ll return to this much maligned chore and clean some green beans for dinner. This being one of those nights, I tossed them with the super-easy to clean broccoli rabe, quickly rinsed my beloved ramps in a bowl of ice water, and got to work. Surprisingly, Kramer was a big fan of this salad. I kind of thought I’d have to convince him it was good, but he took to it right away, saying that he loved the almost wasabi-like flavor that the ramp dressing and broccoli rabe had when combined. He was right! Good observation, honey. This is the perfect thing to serve alongside burgers or chicken or whatever other protein you’re grilling this summer. If you want to keep it veg, though, I would imagine that some grilled tofu or rinsed chickpeas would make this salad into a full-on meal. Just a suggestion! Kramer and I ate this cold for a few days in a row for lunches with some pan-seared pork chops that I made earlier in the week, and I’ll tell ya’, it was good eating. As ramp season comes to a close, I can’t imagine a better way to say farewell to our garlicky friends. Until next year, little buddies.
Roast pork is definitely one of my favorite comfort foods. My mom used to always make it in the slow-cooker when I was a kid, and my brothers and I loved it. It was never anything wild, but it was simple and delicious and super versatile, so it was a welcome change from whatever healthy lemon chicken or steamed broccoli she was usually trying to make us eat (I know you meant well, Mom!). We would make sandwiches or sliders with it, obviously, but then we’d also maybe eat it with rice, or on its own alongside a simple salad. We were also known to just microwave some of it to eat after school. You can literally do anything with it. So, I’ve evolved a bit and while I’m no longer making my mom’s tried-and-true pulled pork in the slow-cooker, my new favorite treat is a roast pork butt or shoulder, cooked low and slow in the oven for hours and hours, until it’s fork-tender and the skin is a crisp, nearly blackened color. It’s a thing of beauty, really. I went and slathered this particular piece of pork with gochujang, which is a fermented Korean red chili paste. It’s a little spicy, a little sweet, and all-around awesome. I add it to anything that I’m not sure what to do with. It makes a great marinade, but you can also just use it as a hot sauce. My friend’s mom sent me a huge tub of it that I’m still working through, but I figured this would be a perfect use for it. The pork really doesn’t need much when it’s being cooked slowly, as the fat has time to make its way through the meat and that adds a ton of flavor all on its own. The gochujang adds a little heat and a little sweetness–just enough to get your tastebuds excited. I chopped this pork up and made sliders, then wrapped them in foil and brought them to a bar for friends where they were immediately consumed, but you can make whatever you want with it. I have feeling you could make some pretty killer stuffed quesadillas with some of this roast pork, or a really great salad with some summer peaches and maybe some sliced almonds. Go nuts! The world is your oyster…only the oyster is made of pork.
Frozen drinks stuff, beach stuff, and work stuff – follow what I’m up to on Instagram or on INSIDER!
Pork aside, things have been busy, as ever, but what else is new? I’m doing something different at work every day, either going to a restaurant to shoot some delicious food, or in our test kitchen working on recipe testing or whatever else. We’ve also got a ton of travel coming up. Next weekend, we’re headed to Denver, then the following weekend, we’re going to the Caribbean (Nevis, to be exact). Any recommendations for restaurants/breweries/etc. in Denver would be much appreciated! We only have two-and-a-half days there, but I’m looking forward to seeing these things called trees and riding a bike alongside what I’ve heard is a not-contaminated body of water. Very exciting, indeed.
tart & sweet
I think it might be warm today. I don’t want to risk assuming that could ever happen after the World’s Longest Winter, but it looks pretty sunny out there, so I’m feeling good about it. In anticipation of that, I’ve started going to the gym again, and it s-u-c-k-s, let me tell you what. I heard someone say “summer bodies are built in the winter” the other day and I almost passed out from how miserable that sentence made me feel. Summer bodies are built from the blood, sweat, and tears of a million beers and pizzas in the cold winter months. Come to think of it, I’m almost certain that someone from a warmer climate said that. I don’t think they understand what it’s like to wake up in the dark, go to work in the dark and the COLD, then return home in the dark. It’s incredibly demotivating. But I want to go to the beach soon, and I am a human woman with all of the regular human woman feelings and societal pressures, and I have been known to enjoy the occasional sandwich or dessert or cocktail, so the gym it is. I’m not very good at diets, especially with work and everything, so I just have to hit the treadmill. UGH. Someone commiserate. Working out is not fun. I feel like death afterward. Until I finally get my next meal, anyhow. Then I feel like I’ve earned it…sort of.
Summer woes aside, I’m here today to bring you the opposite of diet food: a rhubarb and cherry tart. A deep-dish tart, to be exact. I made it in my 10-inch springform pan and I’ve gotta say, it was damn good. Yeah, I had some. Summer bodies be damned. I’ve teamed up with over 50 other bloggers to bring you some kick-ass summer barbecue recipe ideas, all of which you can check out below. Thanks to Feast and West and The Speckled Palate for bringing all of us together. I’m looking forward to turning on the BBQ this weekend myself, and in order to do that, I’ve got to bribe the friends of mine that actually have ample outdoor space and a legal grill. The best way to do that, I’ve found, is to bribe them with food, so I’ll be bringing over this tart or any of the delicious dishes my fellow bloggers have made in order to secure my spot next to the grill. I have a feeling this tart would do the trick. It’s sweet from the cherries and slightly tart from the rhubarb, but still plenty gooey and delicious. The crust held up surprisingly well to being forced along the side of a springform pan, and the crunchy sugar on top really brought it all together. Just don’t forget the whipped cream.
this bread is bananas
Apologies for the lack of posts lately! Not that I think anyone is sitting here with bated breath, eagerly awaiting my next post, but, ya’ know, I like to get more posts up than I’ve been able to lately. Life gets in the way, but more than that, procrastination and wanting to just chill without worrying about working is really what gets in the way. I’ve got some good stuff coming up, recipe-wise, though, so don’t give up on me. I’ll always be around! You can head to INSIDER Food to see what I’ve been working on, lately. Most recently, it was teaching people what a porrón is the only way I know how–through demonstration. I’ve been going to tons of restaurants lately, talking to chefs, and even making recipe videos of my own in our test kitchen. It’s been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. I’m really energized every morning, even if I’m tired or if I was out late the night before. It feels good! I hope you’ll check out INSIDER every so often and follow me as I eat my way through New York, so to speak.
So, let’s talk banana bread. We’ve all made it a million times, but we’re not quite ready to ever stop. We’ve always got a couple of bananas sitting on our counter, ripening and, eventually, blackening, into those sweet little jewels that make for the best banana bread. I like to keep my bananas in the fridge for a week or two so that they get extra black, but that’s just me. The darker they get, the more sweet they become, so just keep that in mind the next time you think your bananas are too far gone for banana bread. They aren’t! Just throw them into a mixing bowl with some chopped dark chocolate and that late bit of chai concentrate that you have in your fridge. You know, that box that doesn’t quite have enough left for you to make a decent cup for yourself, but you still feel guilty for throwing it away. I’ve got a solution for you: throw it into your mixing bowl, too. Boom! Chocolate chai banana bread. You can, of course, make a spice mixture of your own (using cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cloves, and star anise), but it’s really satisfying to just pour something into a bowl and have warm, comforting chai-spiced banana bread in about an hour. Kramer took this into his office, and from what I hear, it got rave reviews, and I have to say, the end bit that I had with a cup of black coffee really hit the spot, too. I love bread butts, what can I say? They’re another one of those cook’s rewards that you’re always hearing about. Anyway, butts aside, just make this banana bread. If anything, it’s an excuse to splurge on that fancy chai you keep seeing at the gourmet grocery store but haven’t gotten up the nerve to treat yourself to. It’s spring! The sun is out! You deserve a little iced chai in your life. And chai banana bread.
ready in minutes
This is more of the same cleaning-out-the-closet stuff. Remember when I made those delicious chicken tinga tacos last October or whenever it was? Probably October. They were from Billy’s book and they were awesome. Anyway, when I made them, I promised to share a sister recipe, if you will, for these pretty-in-pink pickled radishes. But things got in the way and I never did. I’m here today to fix that, though, and I’m finally giving you the super easy pickled radish recipe that you deserve. This isn’t a recipe where you need to sanitize a jar and wait for two months for your pickles to be ready. Oh, far from it. Instead, all you need are three ingredients: radishes, lime juice, and salt. Shake it all up and let it sit for a few minutes, then ta-da! Pickled radishes. You can let them sit for a few hours so that they turn a beautifully bright pink color, or you can eat them immediately. The choice is yours. They are the perfect thing to top your homemade tacos with, but they’re also excellent on a salad with your choice of protein, on any kind of sandwich or burger, or, let’s be real, eaten straight out of the jar with your fingers. It’s summer and summer foods always need a pop of acidity–these radishes are here to help you.
I figured pickled radish and taco-talk would be the perfect time to share a few photos from our trip to Austin earlier this month. Kramer and I loved it. Like, really loved it. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it, having lived in Phoenix for eight years and seemingly “done” with the Southwest, but I have to say–Austin ruled. It’s a little bit like Brooklyn, a little bit like Portland, and a little bit like New Orleans, but of course, Austin is its own city, too. We had great food, from Uchi to Vera Cruz Natural to Odd Duck, and everything in between. We grabbed BBQ sandwiches and ate them by Barton Springs, we experienced the late-night debauchery of 6th Street, and we really loved the local scene along East Caesar Chavez. We drank good coffee and ate breakfast tacos from random taco windows and took cheap Ubers everywhere, where the drivers were chatty and talked to us about how the city is changing rapidly, with differing opinions on whether or not that change is good or bad. We were only there for three days, but we had really incredibly time and I can’t wait to go back! This weekend, though, we’re heading to Houston for a wedding, so I’m excited to see a different side of Texas. As always, if you have any recommendations, I’m all ears.
comfort food at its best
I made this butter chicken a long time ago. The file on my computer literally says October. That’s insane, right? I can’t believe how quickly time goes by. I suppose I opted not to post this because I probably thought, well, I should get Thanksgiving posts up. Then all the December holidays. Then New Year’s. Then it’s time to diet and nobody wants to be tempted by butter chicken. Then I probably had a few sponsored posts and those had to get done. But now, here I am, with this glorious butter chicken. I’m pretty sure this is not a traditional Indian dish. Wikipedia says it was invented at a restaurant in Delhi in the 1950s, most likely for Western palates who craved something a little creamier, fattier, and less spicy than what they were being offered. Which is ridiculous, because let’s be real, Indian food is freaking delicious, and there’s no lack of butter or comfort food-type dishes. I mean, give me some paratha and a big bowl of dal and a movie to watch, and I’ll be in a blissed-out food coma in no time. But I digress. Butter chicken is a delicious guilty pleasure and I order it often. Most to-go Indian restaurants around here chop it up in smaller pieces, which make it easier to share, but I didn’t bother with this because the end result is so wonderfully tender that you can just use a fork to eat it – no knives required.
I know it’s getting hot outside, and I know that butter chicken probably sounds like something you’d rather eat when it’s chilly, but look – you know we’re going to get at least one more cold front before summer finally does us in. Next week, when we we’re all inevitably whining and saying, “It’s soooo cooooold where did the sun gooooo?” Don’t fret. Just cook something warm and cozy and put on a pair of sweatpants and catch up on that TV show you’ve been neglecting. You won’t be able to do that in the summer because sitting on the couch when you’re sweaty and hot is no fun. That’s why summer day drinking is one of my favorite outdoor activities. But for now, cling to any chilly thoughts you have left and saddle up next to a bowl of this chicken. You can thank me later.
better than fried
So, let’s start things off on a exciting foot – I’ve got a new job. I started at INSIDER on Monday and I couldn’t be happier about it. Yep, that means I’m back at Business Insider. I really wanted to work in video, and maybe even cook and create recipes, and I’m going to be able to do that thanks to INSIDER Food. I feel like I’m finally on the right track. I’m really going to be working in the food space and making something myself every day. I’ve had a lot of jobs since I moved to New York, and they’ve all been inching me closer to working in this field in some capacity. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight, but it happens! I’ve already got shoots at awesome restaurants that I love lined up, and there’s more to come. I really loved working at MUNCHIES and I learned an insane amount during my time there, but this next step is a fantastic opportunity for me to make things that I think audiences everywhere will love. So there! That’s my news. My post a week or so ago was unnecessarily cryptic, so apology if you thought something else was in the works! My mother-in-law called Kramer because she thought I was going to announce I was pregnant, ha! Boy, did I laugh when I heard that one. No babies here, unless you count food babies.
A few teasers from my trip to Austin – we ate our weight in tacos.
I think that blackberries really are my favorite fruit. I say that with complete honesty. I love how they pop in your mouth, how they’re juicy and plump but still have plenty of texture, and most of all, I love their deep, dark purple color. They are incredibly appealing to me because they’re the goth berry of the berry world. Recently, Driscoll’s asked if I wanted to work together, so clearly I was putting my blackberry vibes out into the world and getting them back in spades. I decided to go savory with these bad boys, though the temptation to make a big, beautiful dessert dripping with blackberry goodness was tempting. My friend Jeena suggested that I make duck wings, but I went with chicken because you can’t just walk into the grocery store and pick up two pounds of duck wings. I mean, maybe in some places you can, but certainly not at your corner store. I added some fragrant alliums to the sauce, along with a splash of beer because then I get to drink the rest of the beer. That’s truly the reason I added alcohol. Alcohol and wings belong together, so you may as well cook them together, too. Side note: the secret ingredient here is baking powder. It dries up the wings and makes them suuuuuper crispy without messing with the flavor at all. Just a bit will do – try it and see. I was dubious at first, but the result was so good. These are without a doubt the crispiest baked wings I’ve ever tried. Don’t believe me? Seriously, just make these. You’re gonna be happy if you do.
Hey y’all! I’m in Texas, so now I’m saying y’all. Not really, but I’m thinking it. I have the most bland, middle-of-the-country sounding accent, so saying that would sound really, really stupid, but I still like thinking it. It sounds nice. Y’all. It just seems so friendly, like the greeting is extremely personal or coming from someone you already know. I guess that’s just the South for you, right? I’m really loving Austin. I sort of knew I’d like it, but I didn’t quite know how much! It reminds me a lot of Portland, which is my One True Love of a city, but it’s really warm and sunny, which is great. Kramer and I have been eating like monsters since we got here. I’m on a breakfast-taco-only diet. There’s nothing wrong with that, though. I think that the green chiles that are in my queso have some vitamins in them, so I can tell myself I’ve eaten something green in the past few days and feel OK about it. I’m actually going to leave soon and grab another taco from a place near our Airbnb, then sit on line at Franklin’s for who knows how long. But people keep telling me it’s worth it, so it better be good! Really, though, I have no doubts.
So – artichokes! This was my first time cleaning and trimming a fresh artichoke, and I gotta say, it was a learning experience, but after cleaning a couple, I feel like I’ve got it down pat. It’s a lot easier than I thought it would be. Whoever picked up an artichoke and figured out that you could take the outer leaves off (and maybe steam them and dip them in butter) and get down to the tender, delicious heart was truly a genius. Kramer is actually a huge artichoke fan, and I’ve become one, too, after being married to him for however-many-years (let’s not age ourselves, shall we?). Recently, Ocean Mist Farms hooked me up with a big bushel of fresh artichokes and asked me to come up with a recipe using them, as well as let y’all know that you can win a trip to Monterey, California for the 2016 Castroville Artichoke Food & Wine Festival! California sounds pretty nice right about now – I personally am not looking forward to going home to New York where it’s cold and rainy. I would much rather be in Monterey, soaking up the sun, going on an artichoke field tour, and doing a little beer and wine tasting. All you have to do to enter is share a photo or video of yourself cooking and eating a fresh artichoke, and I’m here to help you out with this warm, buttery artichoke salad. For this preparation, I treated my artichokes to a warm bath of butter, salt, and lemon, then topped everything off with freshly shaved Parmesan. My friend Jeena came by to sample the goods and she continued eating until I cleaned everything up and it was time for us to go wherever it was we were planning to go. This is the kind of thing you have a hard time not eating with your fingers as you plate it, I promise. The nutty, earthy artichoke pairs perfectly with the bright lemon and sharp Parmesan, and the olives bring a nice saltiness and brininess that I didn’t know I needed until I threw them on there at the last minute because that’s usually how I cook. I hope you’ll conquer your fresh artichoke Everest, make this salad, and enter for a chance to win a trip to Monterey! If you win, please take a selfie with that artichoke mascot and send it to me.