A New Look + The Winter Market

It’s done! Nearly eight years after starting this blog, I gave it a major design overhaul last week! And thank goodness; I just couldn’t look at that raggedy old thing any longer. My lack of anything resembling technical knowledge kept me from tackling it for all those years, but I figured I’d give it a stab, because how hard could it be with one of WordPress‘s highly-praised themes? But still, I couldn’t do it alone, so here’s a big thank you to Gil for setting up a test site and to our friend Jason, who helped me get this behemoth up and running yesterday.

There are a few new features here that I’d like to tell you about. First of all, there’s a top nav to help you get around and a proper home page with some fun features! I’ll likely add some functionality to it in the future, but for now, you can find recent blog posts as well as projects there. Think of the Projects page as a portfolio-lite; it has a few selected images from projects I’ve worked on (mostly cookbooks) along with descriptions and external links to each. To see more of my photography, just click on the Portfolio link in the top nav.

You can sign up to receive an email when new posts are published by using the subscribe box in the blog side navigation or in the footer. Connect with me on social media via the links above the main logo or write to me (I’d love to hear from you!) from the Contact page. There’s also an honest-to-goodness About page now; I figure it’s about time you know a little more about me, and maybe see a picture, even.

Anyway, take a look around — I hope you like what you see! (And if something isn’t working, please let me know.)

Now for some food!

I’m not sure why I gave up the Farmers’ Market Feast series when our weekly market moved to a monthly one over the winter because I never miss one, even though I don’t get to load up on local vegetables at it. So this is my inaugural Winter Market post, and also the last until November because I’ll be back to a weekly schedule in May! Hooray!

Aged Goat's Milk Cheese @ Minimally Invasive

This lovely specimen of aged goat cheese comes from our friends at Edgwick Farm. There was a bit of give around the edges which promised a creamy interior; it was all I could do to hold off from cutting into it before taking this shot.

Aged Goat Cheese @ Minimally Invasive

Just look at that gooey loveliness! The slight goatiness was offset by a drizzle of local honey from Nina’s Red Barn Farm. I’ve consumed a little over half of the cheese in the past two days, which is why I don’t buy it too often; I simply can’t resist the temptation it throws my way.

Roasted Mushrooms & Egg @ Minimally Invasive

Now this little slice of heaven was my Sunday morning breakfast. In my 20s I really loved brunch or brunching; it seemed like such a civilized way to start the day and served as a good excuse to have a bloody mary at an outrageously early hour. (So naughty!) But after years of consuming lord knows how many mediocre egg dishes and entire fields of lukewarm fried potato chunks, I realized I really was in love with the idea of brunch. Now that I’m older, I find I can make a better meal than most brunchy restaurants offer, so it’s a good excuse to indulge.

Roasted Mushrooms & Egg @ Minimally Invasive

Wiltbank Farm is new to our market, selling flavorful oyster and shiitake mushrooms. I wanted to feature the oysters without much interference, so I tossed the mushrooms with some olive oil, a hefty amount of thyme and red pepper flakes, salt & pepper and threw in a few whole garlic cloves for good measure. After 15 minutes on a roasting pan in a 425 degree oven, they were deliciously schlumped and caramelized, so I smashed the garlic cloves into a paste, tossed the paste with the mushrooms and the angels sang.

This was an ideal nest for a perfectly fried duck egg from Edgwick Farm. After trying them for the first time this weekend, I feel sure they’ll be on the menu for as long as I can find them. The flavor isn’t so different from a chicken egg, but they’re much more substantial, and if you’re a yolk lover like I am, you’ll love the ridiculous size of these. I felt I ate like a queen.

And here’s a little yolk porn, just cuz. Have a great week!

Yolk Porn @ Minimally Invasive

Happy New Year!

or, my pre-teen self is looking on with pride

I think most of us could say we’d like to believe we’ve changed for the better in some essential way over the years, whether in quality of character or by simply by growing into our selves. My husband is vexed whenever he’s immediately recognized by someone who hasn’t seen him in 20 years, but with good reason, I’d say. (Proof: Gil then, Gil now.) I have no illusions on that front, but at least the bad perm years have passed me by. Still, some things never change, and as evidence, I’ll point you to my new year’s day breakfast: pizza. If that pimply, awkward girl could’ve eaten pizza every morning for breakfast without hearing a lecture, believe me, she would’ve.

kale, smoked cheddar, prosciutto, egg

But this was a far cry from the Pizza Hut of my youth. I kept it simple, starting with dough already resting in the fridge, then adding whatever I had on hand: kale (sautéed in olive oil), smoked mozzarella, prosciutto and an egg. The egg makes it breakfast-y, you see.

from Beecher's
The smoked mozzarella of my dreams.

But a little more on the mozzarella… I’m sure you’ve been lured by smoked mozzarella at the grocery store and came to regret buying it, as I have. The prepackaged stuff is oddly insipid as part of a larger dish, while the smoke flavor overwhelmes on its own. But this was an entirely different beast, as you probably can tell from the picture above. I saw it in the case at Beecher’s last week and had to give it a try based on looks alone. It tastes of bonfires and woody, ashy smoke and winter in the best way possible, if that doesn’t sound too strange. If you’re around the Flatiron district, please make the trip to Beecher’s (and while you’re at it, Eataly) and enjoy the experience.

gluten-free pizza

The pizza started with a wonderful, complex gluten-free dough from Shooting The Kitchen that had been resting in the fridge overnight. It’s incredibly sticky right out of the bowl, but a liberal dusting of rice flour makes it easily workable. I always form the dough by hand instead of rolling it out because of counter space issues, but you’ll end up with a prettier, more uniform pizza if you take that extra step.

gluten-free

After forming the dough, you can brush it with olive oil (though I forgot to, and it was fine), then add your toppings. Here, I layered smoked mozzarella and sautéed kale before baking it for five minutes at 500 degrees. At that point, I cracked an egg over the top and baked for about six minutes longer, or until the egg was set, but still runny. Once it was out of the oven, I topped the pizza with prosciutto and shaved parmesan, added a little salt & pepper and a drizzle of truffle oil before tearing into it.

gluten-free piazza

I’ll approve of this breakfast at any age.

Sweetness and Light

with cinnamon sugar

Aaaaaah, cinnamon-sugar popovers. Remember them? I thought they’d remain nothing more than a pleasant memory, but I had a craving and decided to test the claim that Jules Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour can be subbed one-for-one with standard wheat flour.

with cinnamon sugar

I tried it once before with biscuits, and wasn’t entirely pleased with the results, but these popovers sure looked like the real thing:

with cinnamon sugar

But the flavor, the texture? How did they taste?

Indistinguishable from the real thing, which is to say, eggy, moist, light and springy.

I suspect the problem with the biscuits was just a lack of moisture. Popovers are made of a fairly thin batter, so that wasn’t an issue here. But I’ll test my biscuit theory again sometime soon and let you know.

Get the recipe from David Lebovitz in the New York Times Magazine. To make these gluten-free, just sub Jules Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour one-for-one in the recipe.

Good morning

I worked up a batch of gluten-free biscuits this morning, adapted from Ms. Edna Lewis‘s recipe. They were just a touch dry so I’ll add more buttermilk next time, but they went down just fine with a little Meyer lemon curd (much more on which later).

Happy first day of spring!

Sinful. Just… full of sin

I just looked over my last few posts and realized they’re all about capital-C Comfort foods. Thick, rich chocolate pudding, mascarpone cream, spicy soup… while I’m on a roll, let’s add one more to the list, shall we?

Bacon Jam — a wonderful motivator, I’ve found.

As a reason for getting out of bed: Spread it on toast, top it with a perfectly (or not) poached egg for a sunny, sweet and savory start to the day.

with bacon jam and avocado

It’ll get you into the kitchen instead of grabbing a quick bite. Fast food pales in comparison to this grilled cheese sandwich: Bacon jam blanketed in cheddar cheese and studded with avocado between two slices of buttered (and I mean buttered) bread, then grilled till the bread crunches at the first bite while the filling simply yields itself.

bacon jam

It’s also a reason to, I dunno, clean the fridge maybe? If you already happened to be in there, and the jar was staring you in the face and no one’s watching you could take a spoonful straight from the jar. (Not that I’d ever dream of doing such a thing.)

I’m certain there are other, more diabolical motivational uses for this, but I’ll have to work on them. As it is, I’m mostly motivated to make another batch since I gave away over half. But four out of four carnivores agree; this stuff is perfection.

Thanks to Stephanie, for posting about this at Fresh Tart.

grilled cheese with bacon jam & avocado

grilled cheese with bacon jam & avocado

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Sinful. Just… full of sin”

From the Market: Week 5

gluten-free

Right off the bat, I’ll admit that yes, I cheated a little here. Asparagus hasn’t been seen at the Ringwood Farmers’ Market for the past two weeks, but 1) I had a craving and 2) didn’t it make for a pretty — if slightly pornographic — shot?

Because I operate under the assumption that pretty much everything is better when topped with a fried or poached egg (especially the super-fresh ones we get from Nina), I went with a variation on a shaved asparagus salad from the pages of Food & Wine for Sunday’s lunch:

The ricotta salata I substituted for the Parmesan was creamy and subtle, but I think I’ll try the recipe as written next time for even more of a punch.

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Because I eat yogurt with fruit every weekday for breakfast, I like to change things up a little on weekends, so we had gluten-free pancakes before hitting the market Saturday morning. I’m still playing around with flour combinations for breads and pie crust, but this pancake recipe was perfect as written. (By the way, I have no plans to turn this into a blog about dietary restrictions, but if you’re looking into a gluten-free diet, I highly recommend the Gluten-Free Girl blog. It’s an amazing resource.)

But back to the pancakes. I cooked them in only about 1/2 teaspoon of butter each, but they were so rich-tasting and slightly sweet on their own that they only needed a dollop of the raspberry jam I picked up recently from B&B Jams to put them over the top.

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I didn’t really load up on fresh vegetables this weekend because I went overboard last week and still had quite a bit hanging around in my vegetable drawers. I’ve been on a leftover kick all week long, but only yesterday did I finally get around to using up the last bit of the smoked beef tongue (courtesy of Snoep Winkel Farm) I made last weekend. Of course, on that first day, we had it in tacos as we always do, but during the week it made appearances sliced on crackers with Dijon mustard or just nibbled out of hand straight from the cutting board.

But my plan for Saturday’s lunch included my latest favorite way to use leftover bits of meat and vegetables: Vietnamese bun, a refreshing salad served with cold rice noodles, and the perfect thing on a hot summer day.

This was made entirely with odds and ends from the refrigerator: Tatsoi, cabbage, carrots, red bell peppers, radishes, green onions, basil and cilantro, all tossed with a sweet-sour-salty-spicy dressing, funky with fish sauce and garlic. And hit with a lot of Sriracha, naturally. I’ve found that if you get the sauce right (I used the one from this Vietnamese Chicken Salad), the rest of the salad just falls into place.

It’s been a migraine-y day for me, so I have nothing more to offer at the moment, but I’m hoping to get around to an apricot & goat’s milk frozen yogurt sometime this week. Hope you have a great one!

recipes after the jump

Continue reading “From the Market: Week 5”

A brief hello

We’ve had a busy, busy, busy few weeks. Between traveling to St. Louis for Passover, catching up at work, and puttering around the house, I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking by my standards, though there has been some. More updates coming soon, but for now a picture from today’s birthday brunch at Double Crown — Samuel Delany (the guest of honor) posing with his picture from last week’s New York Magazine.

Happy birthday, Chip! Here’s to many, many more.

Some spring cleaning

Hello, and welcome to Spring!

We had CRAZYGOOD weather this weekend, which finally gave me the kick in the pants I needed to cook/take pictures again. Those winter doldrums are no joke, and my whole existence turned into a daily grind just to make it through. But here I am on the other side, and no worse for wear!

So here you go — a little spring cleaning from the past month or so, and a wrap-up of recent goings-on in our neck of the woods.


Pasta e ceci from Rachael Eats. We had this weekly for a spell and while I love it beyond any other soup I made over the winter, I’m looking forward to something less filling.


Shirley Corriher’s Touch of Grace biscuits with butter & fig jam. Made a damned fine breakfast, but not as good as scrambled eggs and morels will be in a few weeks.


French “peasant” beets from Food52.


He really wanted my attention.

More pictures after the jump.

Continue reading “Some spring cleaning”

Deeeeep breaths…

The Saints game is about to start. As such, I have no time nor the presence of mind to write a real post, so I’ll leave you with a few pictures and a promise to do better next weekend. I’ve been creatively moribund since the holidays, but hope it’ll pass soon.


Got my gris-gris going first thing this morning with shrimp & grits. I hope the spirits aren’t too upset that my coffee lacked chicory.


And since it’s old home day, why not have a little old-fashioned banana pudding with Nilla Wafers? (I’ve been playing with the recipe I got from my mom, who got it at her wedding shower, but it’s not quiiiiite there yet. Will post it once it is.)


And on the topic of comfort foods, all I wanted last weekend was graham crackers and milk.


OK, that’s not entirely true. These Szechuan noodles with shrimp really hit the spot.


How could they not?

Time for a beer, maybe some wings. Geaux Saints! No matter what happens tonight, nothing will ever beat this fan video or the run that inspired it: