Kitchen Aid and The Daily Meal

Asparagus, Onion and Goat Cheese Tart ready to go in the oven

Asparagus, Onion and Goat Cheese Tart ready to go in the oven

I just finished a series of videos for Kitchen Aid and The Daily Meal. In them, I shop at the Greenmarket in NYC’s Union Square, give tips for choosing and storing seasonal. local produce and make an asparagus tart with my purchases. It was a fun day and a great excuse to check out the market and talk with some of the farmers.

You can watch the three videos here, on The Daily Meal site:

Shopping at the Greenmarket


 

Making the Asparagus Tart


 

Easy Cleanup


Asparagus, Onion and Goat Cheese Tart

Serves 8

1 recipe Pate Brisée

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound onions, peeled, halved and sliced (about 5 cups)

1 teaspoon salt

½ pound small asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces (about 1-1/2 cups)

2/3 cup goat cheese broken into small pieces

1 egg

¼ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon chopped chives or tarragon

1)      Preheat oven to 400°F.

2)      On a lightly floured surface, roll out tart dough to 1/8th-inch thick circle and place inside a 9-inch tart or pie plate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Using a fork, make small holes all over the surface of the dough. Cover the tart shell with a large circle of parchment paper and fill with baking beans.

3)      Place the tart shell in the preheated oven. After 15 minutes, or when the dough begins to look set, remove the beans and parchment and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the shell begins to turn golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool.

4)      Melt the butter in a 10” sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and salt, stir briefly, then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the cover, lower the heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and tender, about 20 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue cooking 5 to 10 minutes, or until the asparagus are tender. Remove from the heat and cool. Add the goat cheese and mix briefly.

5)      Spread the onion-asparagus mixture over the cooled tart shell. In a bowl, combine the egg, cream and chives and pour over the top.

6)      Bake in the oven until the top begins to brown and the egg looks set, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Pate Brisée

Makes one 9-inch tart shell

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter

¼ cup ice water

  1. In a medium bowl combine the flour and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using the tips of your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, with a few “pea size” bits of butter left.
  2. Drizzle the water over the top of the flour (you may not need all of the water: start with half) and mix until the dough just begins to come together into a ball. If the mixture does not hold together, add another tablespoon of water.
  3. Mix the dough briefly with your hands until it forms a ball. The dough should look not look smooth, but have a slightly marbleized surface of butter and flour. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.

 

Mulberry Treat

 

These just-sweet-enough mulberries tossed with a little lemon zest and sugar are the perfect compliment to the buttermilk panna cotta

These just-sweet-enough mulberries tossed with a little lemon zest and sugar are the perfect compliment to the buttermilk panna cotta

I have a mulbery tree! About a week ago, I looked up into a tall tree growing near my shore and saw hundreds of mini-blackberry like fruits hanging from the tree. How exciting and embarassing at the same time. After living on the same piece of property for over a decade, harvesting scant handfuls of fruits from the elfin trees I actually planted and nurture, I discover this 20 foot bounty of fruit just steps from my back door.

It had been a long time since I’d eaten any and I’d never seen them growing before, so after a couple of Google searches to make sure I wasn’t going to have an Into the Wild-like situation, I picked some and tasted them. The dark purple berries had a mild sweet-tart taste, almost a little like a grapefruit and a blackberry mixed together.

Smaller than blackberries, mulberries have a sweet-tart flavor and are high in antioxidants.

Smaller than blackberries, mulberries have a sweet-tart flavor and are high in antioxidants.

I saw a few recipes online for mulberry jams and I was tempted to give one of them a try, but since mulberries are a relatively new experience for me, I wanted to make something that muddled their flavor with a lot of sugar or other ingredients.

One of my favorite, easy summer desserts is buttermilk panna cotta. We made a version of this gelatin-based dessert when I worked at Gramercy Tavern for Claudia Flemming. My recipe uses honey which is a flavor I think compliments the tang of the buttermilk. Between the slight sour finish of the mulberries and the tang of the buttermilk, this is a subtly sweet dessert. I did toss the mulberries with a little sugar and lemon zest to bring out their flavor, but this extra sugar can be left out, if it makes them too sweet.

Buttermilk-Honey Panna Cotta with Mulberries

This dessert takes moments to make, but needs at least a few hours to set in the fridge before serving. I often make it a day ahead.It will last for about 1 week, but I sometimes find it gets a little firmer over time. I like it when it has a soft-set texture.

Makes 6 servings

1/4 cup cold water

1 envelope (2-1/4 teaspoons) powdered gelatin

1 cup heavy cream

1-1/2 cups buttermilk

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups mulberries or blackberries

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon sugar

1. Place the water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the bowl and let stand for 5-10 minutes until the water absorbs the gelatin.

2. Combine the heavy cream, buttermilk, honey and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to help the sugar dissolve.

3. Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Add the gelatin and stir until smooth. (I like to use a whisk for this to make sure all the little bits of gelatin are dissolved, but I stir it gently to avoid making the cream too “frothy”.) Pour the panna cotta into six 4 to 6 ounce ramekins. Refrigerate until completely set, about 3-4 hours.

4. While the panna cotta is chilling, prepare the fruit: in a small bowl, toss the mulberries with the lemon zest and sugar. Allow the fruit to macerate in the refrigerator until the panna cotta is set.

5. When ready to serve, unmold the panna cottas onto plates and serve with the fruit.

 

Again Pesto

Fettuccini with Garlic Scape-Almond Pesto, Radishes and Sugar Snaps

Fettuccini with Garlic Scape-Almond Pesto, Radishes and Sugar Snaps

My farmer’s market is back in late-spring full swing with an abundance of greens, radishes, asparagus and sugar snaps that will disappear in a few weeks as the temperatures rise. Another short-lived June vegetable returning to my CSA is garlic scapes. Cut off the top of the garlic plant before the weather gets too warm, they resemble long string beans shaped with a curling iron. They’re crunchy with a bright, fresh garlic flavor. When they’re around, I like to substitute them for bulb garlic in almost any recipe.

Last year I played around with them a lot, including making pickled garlic scapes which I used throughout the summer in other recipes and salads. This week I made a garlic scape-almond pesto. Tossed into fettuccini, with some radishes and sugar snaps cooked briefly in a small amount of olive oil, the scapes gave the pesto a satisfying verdant, slightly sweet, spring-like flavor.

Garlic Scape-Almond Pesto

Makes about 1 cup (which is enough for 1 pound of pasta)

2/3 cup garlic scapes, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces

1/3 cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped (I prefer blanched, but any type will work)

1/3 cup parsley leaves

1/3 cup basil leaves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons water, as needed

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place the garlic scapes, almonds, parsley and basil in the bowl of a blender (a food processor will work too, but it won’t be quite as smooth). Pulse the blender 5-6 times to break the almonds and scapes up into small pieces.
  2. Let the blender run and add the olive oil in a thin, constant stream. The olive oil can become bitter if its overworked, so run the blender until the pesto is just blended and almost smooth. If the mixture is especially stubborn and thick, add a few tablespoons of water to help it blend. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. The pesto will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or be frozen. Sometimes, the basil will cause the surface of the pesto to darken. Placing a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper directly touching the surface before storing can help prevent this from happening.

Spring Cleaning

 

Radish Salad

Spring! It’s finally here!  After an especially brutal, cold, wet, miserable winter, I’m eager for everything spring brings: longer, warmer days, seasonal allergies and, of course, spring eating. Unfortunately, Mother Nature hasn’t quite caught up with the calendar yet–even though the weather is warmer, I’ve got a few more weeks before my farmer’s market will have the asparagus, greens and ramps I crave.

To satisfy my hunger for lighter, fresher eating and also do some spring cleaning, this week I made a salad that used a lot of the fresh vegetables that had been lingering in my refrigerator.

A combination of three radishes: daikon, watermelon and breakfast give this salad flavor and color contrast.

A combination of three radishes: daikon, watermelon and breakfast give this salad flavor and color contrast.

The daikon and watermelon radishes had lasted through the winter and, along with some red radishes and celery heart added crisp textures, colors and peppery, bright flavors. Avocado (I almost always have one in my fridge) added satisfying richness and a chile (yes, still there from the fall) added just enough heat to combat the last bit of winter chill.

 

 

Radish-Avocado Salad with Lemon-Chile Vinaigrette

Makes 4 servings

5-6 radishes, scrubbed and trimmed

1 small daikon radish, scrubbed and trimmed

2 watermelon radishes, scrubbed and trimmed

1 small celery heart, cleaned

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 ripe avocado

½ tablespoon shallots, minced

½ teaspoon lemon zest

1-2 teaspoons minced cherry pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro or parsley

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cut the radishes into paper-thin slices. (I use a mandoline for this, but if you don’t have one, or it makes you nervous, this can be done with a sharp knife.)
  2. Cut the celery into thin, bias slices with a knife. Include the leaves along with the stalks.
  3. Combine the radishes and celery in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and season with salt. Mix well and let the vegetables sit for 10-15 minutes.
  4. When ready to serve, halve the avocado, remove the pit, peel and cut the avocado into 1-inch slices or cubes. Add the avocado to the radish-celery mixture.
  5. Combine the shallots, lemon zest, cherry pepper and olive oil. Drizzle this mixture over the salad. Toss with the cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meaty Monday

For me, Monday night was beef-topia: I taught The Other Side of Beef at the Institute of Culinary Education. This class focused on lesser known cuts like Flat Iron, Skirt and Top Round and gave tips and recipes to make them shine. Along with vegetable sides and a dessert, we grilled, broiled and sautéed our way to beefy bliss.

Other Side of Beef

One recipe was for Hanger Steak with an Asian-inspired marinade. Hanger Steak comes from the short loin, an area that includes the expensive, tender cuts like Porterhouse, Filet Mignon and Strip Steak. Hanger gets more exercise which makes it chewier (and therefore cheaper), but more flavorful.

As we learned in the class, the chewiness can be minimized two ways: marinating and slicing.

The primary purpose of a marinade is to add flavor, but if a marinade contains acid (like vinegar, citrus, yogurt, etc.) it will help tenderize the meat. It won’t turn stew meat into filet mignon, but even 1-2 hours of marinating individual steaks will add a significant amount of flavor and help tenderize the meat.

The second is to slice the steak correctly before serving. All cuts have a grain: lines of connective tissue running through them. It’s these lines that can make the meat seem tough. If your slicing follows the grain, you’ll have long, stringy pieces of meat. Position your knife across these lines when slicing, this breaks up this connective tissue and the meat will be less chewy. This may seem like a small detail, but it makes a big difference when eating.

Finally, as with any steak, don’t forget to let your meat rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before slicing. The temperature will even out inside the steak and it will be juicier.

Hanger Steak with Scallion-Ginger Marinade

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds hanger steak, trimmed

Marinade:

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons peeled, grated ginger

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons hoisin

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

6 scallions, thinly sliced, green ends reserved for garnish

Garnish:

thinnly sliced green parts of scallions (from above)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1. Combine the ingredients for the marinade and add the hanger steaks. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

2. Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry. Reserve the marinade. Grill the steaks over medium heat, cooking on each side for 6-7 minutes for medium rare (or the steaks can be sauteed in a small amount of canola oil for the same amount of time). Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

3. Bring the reserved marinade to a boil and simmer briefly. Add the reserved green scallion slices and sesame seeds. Slice the steaks on a bias and serve with the heated marinade.

 

Super Snack

popcorn

The Big Game is tomorrow and, after Thanksgiving, the best holiday for eating. One of the snacks I decided to make this year is a spicy mix of popcorn and toasted nuts. My CSA grew popcorn this year and decided to add it to a recipe I had from my days at Gramercy Tavern for spicy nuts. My friend, Nick Oltarsh created the nut part of this recipe for the Tavern bar and recently Danny Meyer published a version of it in his bar book: Mix Shake Stir: Recipes from Danny Meyer’s Acclaimed New York City Restaurants.They’re an addictive crunchy mix of sweet and spicy. Adding the popcorn lightens the snack, so you can enjoy it for the entire game.

Spicy Nuts and Popcorn Mix

Makes about 8 cups

Spice Mix:

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Sugar syrup:

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

3 cups mixed nuts (pecans, almonds, peanuts, macadamias, cashews)

½ cup popcorn kernels,

Oil for popping corn, if necessary

2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  1. Prepare the spice mix: Combine the ingredients for the spice mix in a small bowl, stirring until the sugar, salt and spices are completely and evenly blended. Measure out 2 teaspoons of the spice mix and set aside for the popcorn.
  2. Prepare the sugar syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepot. Heat the mixture to a simmer, stirring once or twice to help the sugar dissolve. Simmer the syrup for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Once the syrup has cooled slightly, it’s ready to use. It should have the consistency of maple syrup, not thick like honey.
  3. Prepare the nuts: Heat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, toss the nuts with the sugar syrup, then add the spice mix. Stir until the nuts are well coated. Spread the mixture onto a ½ sheet tray lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Bake the nuts in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the nuts begin to turn brown slightly. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely.
  4. Prepare the popcorn: I usually pop the corn on top of the stove (but the microwave or an air-popper work great too): Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of a 3 quart saucepot, heat it briefly, add the popcorn and cover with a lid. Constantly shake the pan in a gentle back-and-forth motion to prevent the kernels from burning. Within 1-2 minutes the kernels should start to pop. Continue shaking the pan over the heat until 2-3 seconds pass between pops. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Add the butter to the empty pan and swirl the pan until the butter is melted. Add the reserved 2 teaspoons of spice mix and stir with the butter over low heat for 2-3 minutes, until the spices are fragrant. Pour the spice butter over the popcorn and mix well.
  5. Final step: Remove the nuts from the sheet tray and break them apart. Add the nuts to the popcorn and toss together. The snack mix will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days before the popcorn gets stale. The nuts can be stored separately for 2 weeks.

 

Micro-ed Chips

Kale Chips

Two of my perennial New Year’s resolutions are to eat more vegetables and try new things. This week, in an effort to keep up both these resolutions, I tried making kale chips in the microwave. Crunchy, light and surprisingly addictive, kale chips seem like the perfect snack for my vegetable-eating-adventure-seeking-New Year’s resolutions.

I tend to use my microwave for three things: defrosting frozen food, reheating leftovers and as a bread box, since I have limited counter space. Like many people, I knew I was underestimating the usefulness of my microwave. I’d heard it was great for drying fresh herbs, so I figured it would work for kale. I was right! After removing the stems and rubbing the leaves with oil, the microwave quickly created bright green kale chips. In fact, any leafy green can be turned into a crispy chip in a few microwaved minutes.

Kale Chips

Makes about 4 cups of chips

Basic recipe:

1 bunch of kale

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Sea salt or kosher salt to taste

  1. Wash and trim the kale. Remove all stem and tear the kale into pieces 2-3” big.
  2. Drizzle the oil over the kale leaves. Using your hands, briefly massage the oil over the kale, coating each leaf evenly and completely.
  3. Place a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Lay the kale in one even layer on the plate. The leaves can overlap slightly. If you have a lot of leaves, save some for a second batch.
  4. Microwave the kale for 2 minutes on high heat. Toss the kale around and repeat. At this point check the leaves for crispiness. If they are still limp, continue to microwave for 1 minute at a time until crisp. In my microwave, the kale chips usually take about 4-5 minutes depending on the quantity, but cooking times vary depending on the machine.
  5. Sprinkle the leaves immediately with the salt and cool.
  6. Store the kale chips in an airtight container.

Variations:

  1. Substitute sesame oil for the olive oil and add 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds to the kale leaves before microwaving.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese to the leaves before microwaving.
  3. Substitute almond or walnut oil for olive oil; sprinkle with 1-2 pinches of cayenne pepper before microwaving.