Sunday, April 24, 2011

Artichokes, Found!

After visiting a couple different supermarkets, and getting all kinds of responses to our inquiries like, they're not in yet, not in season, just out... artichokes were finally found! I was bound and determined to have them for Easter, as Spring is when they're in season and they've always been a favorite family snack, going back to when I was little, and I wanted to revisit that bit of nostalgia. My parents would steam one, then place on the table with just a simple scoop of mayo to the side and we'd dig in. It was always a treat to divide up the heart too at the end, with 3 little girls usually fighting for a piece.

This being my first Easter back home in a while, and never knowing where I'll be next year I wanted to recreate this simple dish to share with my family. But then I read this article and got more ideas. And in my quest to find just one, any artichokes at all, my idea expanded and when I finally did find them (thank you SA Whole Foods), I took home 3.

Easter Greens: Truffled Almond Green Beans

Technically I did 2 different "green" sides, the almond green beans and then my favorite quickly sauteed collards with garlic which I've already done here. I love green beans, especially when they're in season in the spring because they really don't need much and you don't need to mess with the integrity at all. But this being a holiday I wanted them kicked up a little from just freshly steamed, or with a simple vinaigrette, so when I saw this recipe from Simply Recipes I couldn't resist, with my own little tweaks of course.
We also had 1 egg that didn't hard boil enough to be deviled, almost soft boiled. So instead of discarding an otherwise perfectly good egg we decided to incorporate it, as it is Easter after all and the pretty white and yellow added color as well as creaminess to the dish.


So again, Happy Easter! Or Passover weekend, or just Happy Spring! I could write a post about how Easter, and spring, is all about rebirth, re-emergence into the world after the dark of winter, but I'd rather just talk about my favorite part of Easter, espcially the most notable, the Easter Egg. Egg hunts, cascarones, painting eggs, even the word, Easter and Egg just go hand in hand. So long after we've outgrown the hunts and the painting (or at least should've outgrown them... Mom) what remains is the best part, the edible Easter Egg which for my family is in the form of deviled eggs.
Sriracha deviled eggs with the pickled swiss chard stems
Growing up, I always thought of deviled eggs as something bland, like egg salad that is only half done, but one Easter one of my Mom's friends, a French woman, stopped by to drop off some Easter goodies and with them she included her interpretation of Texas deviled eggs. The yolk was mashed with mayo, but all similarities to typical eggs ended there. There was chili powder, a bite of Dijon mustard, cilantro, and tiny chopped shallots throughout that provided a nice bite. And from then on I was sold.

Happy Easter

A little slideshow of our spread. We tried to keep it fairly light as lamb can be rich, with lots of vegetables, virtually no cream, butter or cheese, relying on good olive oil and fresh herbs to jazz up the meal, which they did perfectly.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

There were wasabi deviled eggs, the big spread with the lamb and all side dishes, the stuffed artichoke, delicious truffled almond green beans with a soft boiled egg, and my co-chef in the kitchen, right before working off our meal with an egg hunt.

This is my first Easter home with my family in a few years and it's been wonderful. I usually spend it with my sister and friends in DC, which has always been lovely... but as they say, there's no place like home.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pebre, the Fasting Food

This is great for whether you fast or not, whether you're looking for something low in calories to snack on or a great topping for seared tuna or grilled chicken. I personally love it with some crispy flatbread, scooped straight from the bowl and the combination is so sweetly savory that the juice from the tomato combined with the onion, cilantro and chilies makes for a delicious shot, almost like leche de tigre.
My fasting sized portion of pebre
Technically, with the tomatoes in it, it is chancho en piedra and in Chile, where the recipe originates, it's spread on bread in lieu of butter. All I know is that it's delicious, refreshing, and a damn better way of eating all your vegetables than drinking a V8. Very similar to the Mexican version of pico de gallo, it's just got that added kick with the vinegar and the aji.

Lazy Summer Days

While all my favorite Northern blogs are finally experiencing the bounty of spring and blog posts abound on ramps, artichokes, fiddlehead ferns, etc, spring has long since come and gone in South Texas. For Easter I had such lofty ambitions of using the above ingredients to create light and delicious seasonal and locavore sides to compliment my Mom's annual leg of lamb, but it has proven a more difficult task than expected.

Because it's summer here. It may be April still but we're in full blown summer mode. It's in the mid 90's, I've shed all my jeans and long pants in favor of shorts and sundresses, and even the nonstop in me is having a hard time tearing myself off the couch. If only my parents had a porch, with a wicker rocking chair and if only I had made that split second decision to pack my adorable floppy straw hat,  I'd be happily lazying away the summer afternoon, chatting with my folks, making sun tea and of course, indulging in my Dad's perfected mint julep.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Counting Down

And catching up. It's been an amazing past week, that has been all part of an amazing month so I figured I'd brush up on my Flickr skills and share a little slideshow of what I've been up to, mostly food, drink, music and sports oriented.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

So you got my highly coveted LCD Soundsystem ticket (thank you B) with a delicious Johnny Mack's cheeseburger in the background. Once of my nicer shots from TV on the Radio part 1 at Radio City. Having a pretty decent glass of Pinot Noir at the Yankees Game. Very delicious siracha deviled eggs with pickled swiss chard stems I nabbed from Luisa's link love last Friday for the perfect (clearly non-vegan) dinner party appetizer and ending the night with a homemade blueberry crumble pie. Then it was off to Boston and hitting up some blueberry beer before TV on the Radio part 2. Brunch the next day was a Sinatra Sunday at Lucky's Lounge and then catching a last minute Red Sox game. April... I'm exhausted, and that isn't even the 1/2 of it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Standing Still

The other night I had a party to go to. I knew it would be fun, I knew my friends would be there, I knew I would laugh and gossip and probably see a celebrity or 2. But I was feeling under the weather, I had been going out almost every day for the past week and my social calendar certainly wasn't lacking prior to that. And I knew I could rally. I'm a big believer in "go" and "do" and I've talked myself into things in the past with the best results. But that day I just couldn't.

So I went home instead. And didn't do anything- or at least none of the normal things that I do on the rare night at home. I didn't clean, I didn't (really) cook, I completely ignored the monstrous pile of laundry. I took out some crackers and then opened up a tin of smoked trout. I didn't pour a glass of wine, I didn't curl up on my couch. I just stood in my kitchen in my sweats, watching a Seinfeld episode followed by How I Met Your Mother and forked out the trout onto cracker after cracker and enjoyed every minute of it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sweet Spring

Spring is wonderful in that it comes after the long, biting and bitter New York winter. It's wonderful that my quaint little town, aka Park Slope, Brooklyn, aka the middle of the largest metropolis in the United States (a girl can dream though) comes out of hibernation, streets bursting with people and puppies and lots of strollers and everyone seems to share this frenetic need to be outdoors. It's wonderful in that I have an unquenched need to wander all over my city, as I did yesterday evening after work, listening to some great music and just exploring, discovering and forever imprinting into my memory my time here.

So yes, spring is a time for reemergence and renewal, a time to both energize and also to just stand in the sun. But for me, well I also get touches of trepidation too as the weather warms and earth begins to bloom again. Because to be a bit corny, but spring hasn't always been all sweetness and light for me. It's been tart, a lot of the time, with a fleeting taste of something bitter amongst all the sweet. I guess I should explain a bit further.
I'd be hard pressed to think of a better combination of both sweet and tart than strawberry rhubarb pie

Monday, April 11, 2011

Perfecting Home

"Texas: Where the tea is sweet & accents are sweeter, summer starts in April, front porches are wide & words are long, macaroni & cheese is a vegetable, pecan pie is a staple, y'all is a proper pronoun, chicken is fried, & biscuits come with gravy, everything is darlin' & someone is always getting their heart blessed . . . "

One of my fellow Texas friends posted this on facebook and it was something I just loved. And also, if you aren't a Texan, but have been subjected to their seemingly insane opinions on things like how "pecan" is really pronounced or what a proper gravy consists of this little unknown quote can help to explain. Or you can just wait until you invite a Texan over for dinner and they completely hijack your kitchen trying to recreate the perfect Texas gravy.

To explain a bit further my crazy love of this seemingly insignificant almost after thought of a sauce, gravy was one of the very first foods from home I worked to perfect when I moved to New York, because, well, a good gravy is nearly impossible to find in these parts. And by gravy I mean stick to your ribs, good ol' fashioned Southern cream gravy (aka white gravy). I know most people do a brown gravy with meatloaf or meats in general but call me craz...err...Texan, if I'm going to have gravy then it's got to be the cream kind. The kind you smother over biscuits, and drown chicken fried steak in and only make on special occasion weekends because it's such a fattening indulgence.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Coffee Monday

Today is one of those days where coffee is constantly on my mind. I've only had 1 cup too, my typically soy latte from the coffee bar at work, but I'm missing that extra punch of caffeine that I usually get from my French Press before work to get me out of the non-stop haze from the weekend.
They come in all kinds of pretty color options too.
Mine matches perfectly with my French Country kitchen color scheme
As you might imagine, Saturday was a long, very wonderful, once in a lifetime day. It reminded me how much I love this city and how blessed I am to have genuinely good, fun people in my life. And Sunday was a different kind of long... a lot more mellow but one of those days you are fighting against to ever let end because it was just so unexpectedly amazing. Maybe more on that later but now I'm sitting here, and work has slowed, and I have a lingering smile on my lips every time I think back on the past few days and I just wanted to document this feeling as best as possible with physical words because I'm fully aware how rare and beautiful this state of mind is.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Good Morning Sun!

Welcome back to my life! I've missed you terribly and can't wait to spend so much time with you, being warmed and freckled by your glow. And as I sit on my couch and snack on my breakfast of pre-cut watermelon- such a summer fruit itself- I can't help thinking forward to all the fun we will have in the coming months.
Did you know how good watermelon is for you? It's not only an excellent source of vitamin C and A, B6, B1 and magnesium, it's also packed full of antioxidants and contains electrolytes, making it great after a night of drinking. Additional health benefits of watermelon include being good for kidney disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart care, heat stroke, macular degeneration, impotence, etc. And it's delicious. Watery, sweet, melt in your mouth yumminess.

Appliance Love of the Week: Rice Cooker

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love rice. More than bread, more than pasta... it's my carb of choice and when asked what the one thing I could survive on for the rest of my life would be... easy. Rice. But made stove top is just a giant fail for me. I cannot get it. There's too much rice, not enough water, too much water, it's burnt, it's bland, it's turned to mush. Fail.
So can I tell you how much I love my rice cooker? It's seriously the easiest appliance I own, and while you may be thinking that it's an unnecessary waste of shelf space, I make it work and I have a NYC sized kitchen (read, tiny!). If you cook rice a lot, or couscous, or quinoa, or even like to steam veggies you should seriously look into one.

"Homemade" Indian Made Easy

I could get into it but it's the story of my life and you've heard it all before. Always out, never home, social butterfly. Which is great and all. I signed up for this ride with the full knowledge of what I was getting myself into and haven't regretted it for a second. But come Friday, knowing I have a full schedule Saturday and Sunday and then beginning the whole social dance all over again next week, all I want is to throw on some sweats and curl up on my couch and just lull my body into a state of relaxation while catching up on my shows.

This is probably not true of most people but the one cuisine I equate with comfort is Indian. There's something very stew-like with the mild masalas, the melting braised meats simmered for hours in a thick creamy gravy, light, puffy naan bread, and fluffy basmati, lightly flavored with a little cardamom. It's definitely a curling up on the couch, catching up on shows meal. 
Kashmiri rock shrimp with sauteed kale and asparagus over basmati


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...