Friday, April 15, 2011


When I get the baby asparagus
And see all the green
I feel the spring!
Now it's the trees' turn

(happy "it's not tax day on April 15th for the first time since i can remember")

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quiche vs Tart: Part Quiche

Hello my friends, Are you as excited for part 2 of this tart-quiche saga? I know I am. As you may have previously read, I made a tart, in an effort to learn the tart/quiche process. I also decided to make a quiche, in an effort to try a different recipe and see what worked for my preferences.

I turned to where I had pulled a recipe called "Broccoli Cheddar Garlic Quiche". If you've read here before, you know that they had me at "Garlic". This recipe called for a home made crust, and my freezer was fresh out of pie crust, so i made the dough for the quiche while the tart baked. I promise to talk about my positive dough experience soon.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sunchoke Puree

Today, with the temperature finally cracking 60 degrees, I visited the greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza for the first time since last year. Along with trying samples of three kinds of sausage (hot pork Italian sausage, duck salami, and turkey sausage), I got a couple of delicacies. I splurged on a leg of duck confit for $6 (after forbearing at the supermarket earlier this week, I gave in rationalizing that this one was straight from a real farm), and I bought a little over a pound of sunchokes, also for $6.

Sunchokes, which are really called Jerusalem artichokes but were evidently rebranded, as it were, for marketing purposes, have a subtly rich taste that I can only describe by saying it’s kind of like if you somehow infused a potato with the flavor of an artichoke. Texture-wise, they’re also much like potatoes, albeit less starchy, and can be cooked as potatoes are. The one thing that’s annoying about them: They are knobby like ginger roots, and therefore a pain to clean and peel. But once you take the time to prep them, this mashed-potato-style dish is very easy to make.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cassoulet, Brooklyn-Style

Yesterday I was perusing the meat aisle of my local Met Foods trying to come up with a dinner idea that wasn’t just a straight-up meat-vegetable-starch plate, when I suddenly came upon packages of confit duck legs. While a nuanced discussion of gentrification in Brooklyn neighborhoods is outside the scope of this post, I will just say that the presence of duck confit there was about as surprising as discovering that the G train was running normally on a weekend.

At $6 a leg, I realized, I could not afford the confit. However, the idea of using it in a cassoulet had already taken shape in my mind, and I decided to try my own spin on that one-pot meal using turkey drumsticks, which were packaged at the Met for about $2 for two.

As usual with my cooking, this makes no pretense to be faithful to the classic dish, in this case a French-countryside-y bean stew with a mélange of rich meats. I looked up cassoulet in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking when I got home, and her rendition is a five-page, three-day affair for 10-12 people involving “pork loin, shoulder of mutton or lamb, and sausage,” with suggested variants such as duck, goose, confit goose, veal shank, and partridge—all compiled under the unassuming recipe title “Cassoulet: French baked beans.” (Sorry to get all “Kitty and Julia” on you, but she is the authority on French cuisine.)

Along with the turkey drumsticks, my cheapo version uses the packaged horseshoe-shaped supermarket kielbasa, plus two Goya cans of butter beans—large white beans whose starch gives the sauce an almost creamy texture. It does take upwards of two hours, so you may want to prepare it on a Sunday; this is one of those dishes that might be even better reheated. The below proportions would easily serve four for dinner, but I made it for two with plans for leftovers.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Quiche vs. Tart: Part Tart

Dearest Readers,

Hello! How have you all been? I hope everyone had a lovely winter! Personally, I took a bit of a hiatus, enjoying some time in the Maldives. It was rather boring, as I’m sure you can imagine: Get up in the morning, have some fresh fruit, put on a bathing suit, lounge in the sun, read the paper, take a nap, go shopping, pick a place for dinner, go for a late night swim, and then get plenty of sleep in order to start fresh again the next day. I know it sounds tiresome, but what can you do when you live a life of leisure. Oh wait. I actually haven’t won the lotto yet. A girl can dream though, right?

I too have been struggling through this seemingly endless winter, and there was a time in early January when I had been suffering a fair amount of food malaise. I sunk into a bit of a food funk- not cooking anything fun, going through the motions at the grocery store, turning to my freezer for Ling Ling's potstickers in my time of need. The situation was verging on dire.

I took a trip to Fairway in the midst of a bad head cold which only perpetuated my food doldrums- I decided to partake in some prepared foods. As I don't usually spend much time in the prepared food section, I am always impressed by the selection. I was, that cold winter evening, sniffling into my crumpled tissue, totally taken in by a small broccoli-cheddar tart. It looked delicious, like the perfect little treat to take to work the next day for lunch, so I bought it. Dear readers, it was, simply put, really disappointing. While I'm not sure that anything could have lived up to my expectations, it fell short on texture and taste, and suddenly, this slight let down of a mid-week office lunch sparked some inspiration in my lazy food bones. I would make a broccoli cheddar tart! I would make a tart and it would be good! Wait when was the last time I made a tiche (tart/quiche)?