This must be how new parents feel.

March 28, 2010 at 3:55 am | Posted in Gardening | Leave a comment

Yesterday morning I had the most wonderful surprise.

After a lovely breakfast with Heli at Selma Fridays, I went home to turnover the dirt in my teeny garden before planting radishes.  Imagine my delight when I found 16 chubby carrots hiding in the ground.  I had given up hope on the carrots last fall, when, after a full summer of growth, they were still smaller than my pinkie.  So I learned by total accident, that wintering over your carrots results in big sweet carrots come spring.  And next fall I fully intend to plant my whole bed full of carrots so that the fallowing spring I’ll be able to reap the rewards!

I don’t care if they are blemished and wonky, to me they are beautiful.

After my great discovery, I planted mustard greens, kale, radishes, beets, and more carrots!  In another couple weeks I will plant the pole beans and lettuces.  What joy!

Cheers and happy planting,



Life Update

March 28, 2010 at 3:38 am | Posted in Cooking | Leave a comment

Hello there, citizens of the world!

A picture is worth a thousand words, and here are just a few.

Using Tartine’s recipe for oatmeal walnut chocolate chip cookies, I hodge-podged together a new recipe for compost cookies, adding in a few tablespoons of coffee grounds, a half cup of dehydrated coconut, and a dusting of my favorite secret ingredient…

Halen Mon Vanilla Salt.  Sadly, we don’t carry this at the deli.  But oh is it amazing.  I sprinkle it on top of cookies, use it in pancakes, sprinkle it on top of grapefruit.  Sadly, at some point in my life I’ll have to kick my salt addiction.  But until my girlish figure begins to retain water in a serious way… I’m keeping the salt.  Plus my coworkers whine whenever I bring in desserts that are “criminally under-salted.”

*I didn’t eat all of those cookies, at least, not in one sitting.  The entire pot of tea however, is another story.

This displays what you can get at the Kerrytown Farmer’s market (in the middle of winter, no less) for $10.  Gingergold apples, blue oyster mushrooms, beautiful hoop-house beets, and the remaining dollars bought delicious Calder dairy milk.  The glass bottle makes me nostalgic, and the milk itself makes me feel rich.

Later that night, my winnings at the farmer’s market led to an impromptu dinner party for five of my friends.  We had a creamy mushroom risotto, a roasted beet salad with beet greens and blue cheese, a few hunks of toasted bread, and for dessert there was a blueberry cobbler made with forgotten blueberries from last summer – laced with a bit of allspice.  I love the thriftiness of hosting a 6 person dinner with $10 of ingredients.  What a wonderful night.

Here’s another weeknight dinner.  I’ve never had bad results from a butterflied roasted chicken. It always comes out juicy, with lovely crisp skin.  After letting the skin sear for twenty minutes, we rubbed on a mixture of pimenton, olive oil, garlic, and sea salt, and then let the chicken finish cooking in the oven for an additional 20 minutes, or until the thighs were at temp.

Here is a cartoon I drew a few years back on how to make this chicken, although I have revised my technique in the last few years.  On a side note, this cartoon was a part of my application to work at Zing’, along with a few articles for a food column I wrote for The Crier (an online publication that sadly is no more).

Along with the sexy chicken we made a salad of braised fennel bulb, crisp apples, Gorgonzola and pine-nuts, tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette.  It was quite the delicious combo.

Et voila!

A few days later the leftover chicken found new life, abed a pizza with ricotta cheese, torn basil, home-made tomato sauce, and a drizzle of thick balsamic.  Here’s a great blog where I got the crazy idea of replacing the pizza stone I don’t have, with my gigantic cast iron pan.

Following the delicious pizza, the leftover tomato sauce was used to make a delicious late-night dinner.  Creamy polenta with tomato sauce and, of course, a fried egg on top.

Which brings me to where I am now.  Tonight I had very reviving gigantic bowl of Caesar salad, with fresh spinach from this morning’s farmers market run, and fresh warm croutons.  I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a list of my culinary “firsts” since I began work at zing’s.  But the real impact has been in my everyday involvement with the food I eat at home.  There are two things that made my everyday salad stand out from what it would have been two years ago.

1) There was a raw egg-yolk  in the salad dressing.  I beat the egg into submission with olive oil until it was on the peak of becoming a mayonnaise, and the seduced it with white wine vinegar, and seasoned with a touch of dijon, salt, and pepper.

2) There was an anchovy in the salad.  While I’ve always been an open-minded eater, cured fish has been my final frontier.  Tasting delicious buttery anchovies from Spain has dramatically altered my perception of the fishy ingredient.

No recipes, no fear.  Just an exhausted cheese-monger coming home, looking for an easy satisfying dinner.

Cheers and happy eating,


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