Strawberry Salad

Delicious with raspberries too, this salad is a great combination of flavors, colors and textures.

Delicious with raspberries too, this salad is a great combination of flavors, colors and textures.

Recently, I was cooking for a friend’s birthday and she requested a salad with berries. With my farmer’s market filled with local strawberries, my fondness for arugula and my belief that everything-is-better-with-avocado, this salad was a no brainer. I added some walnuts for crunch, some sheep’s milk cheese for salty-umaminess and a lemony-sherry dressing. Birthday worthy.

Strawberry and Arugula Salad

Makes four small salads or two large salads

For the dressing:

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon mince shallot

1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

4 cups baby arugula, washed and dried

1 cup strawberries, stems removed and cut into bite-size pieces

1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into slices

¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I like to toast them for a better texture)

¼ cup grated pecorino or manchego cheese

1) Prepare the vinaigrette: Combine the mustard, shallot, vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle the olive oil into the bowl while whisking to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

2) Combine the arugula, strawberries, avocado and nuts in a bowl. Add the vinaigrette to taste, salt and pepper and toss. Divide the salad among the plates and garnish each with the cheese.



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.


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.