Late Blooming Supper: Salmon Quenelles

Gefilte fish produces such strong reactions that I decided to use the far more demure French word for this sea-born dish. Quenelles are easy to make and you can use whatever fish you prefer. For this round I used salmon and a heavy dose of fresh peas. Blend in the aromatics that look fresh when you arrive at the market, no need to adhere strictly to this recipe. When serving, add a dollop of something tangy (yogurt sauce, horseradish, sour cream, tamarind paste), it will offset the luxurious fish and send fireworks through your palate.

Late Blooming Supper: Potato Leek Casserole

After such a dreary winter we've been gifted with a glorious spring in the city. I can't remember having so many breezy days in NYC! The lingering season inspired another dinner party, this one drafted from springtime flavors.

Taking cue from the effortless Hasselback Potato, I decided to fill a casserole dish with sliced red skinned potatoes and scatter their in-betweens with a confetti of leek. With a generous pour of olive oil on top the dish crisps up in your oven and transfers to the table perfectly for an easy side dish. 

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Subcontinental Brunch: Coconut Creamed Chard

Coconut Creamed Chard

My pursuits of the perfect Saag have taken me far and wide. I’ve tried many a recipe in my kitchen, some my own, some belonging to those far more well-versed in Indian cooking. My efforts have brought forth this dish, reminiscent of the saag at my favorite Indian restaurant, but tweaked for my Brooklyn kitchen. Instead of spinach I used rainbow chard because it was local, fresh and calling to me with jewel-toned legs amidst the shrubbery of the produce aisle. Two bunches may look like a lot when you stick it in your cart, but chard (like every leafy green) cooks down to nothing. Ergo, buy more than you think you need. 

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Subcontinental Brunch: Samosa Potatoes

Samosa Potatoes

Beginning with an Indian inspiration I tore the insides from mental samosas and packed them into a casserole dish. The result is a tray of scoopable, spiced, tender, and crusty potatoes, perfect as the bed for some fried eggs. I add a lot of peas to my potato mixture, feel free to adjust the proportion should you be pea-averse. 

An Italian Winter: Lemon Garlic Cabbage

Yes, I'm making a lot of cabbage this winter. Truth be told, I'm trying my best to cook from local ingredients and at my market this is the only vegetable I can find that is grown even remotely close to NYC. But, necessity is the mother of invention and I've been keeping my tummy full with delicious variations on this hearty vegetable. Tonight's presentation is tarted up with lemon rind and given a kick in the tongue with some dried chilies. Golden garlic rounds out the flavor wheel, making the dish a new staple in your repertoire.

An Italian Winter: Mustard Grilled Pork Loin

Don't wait for the summer to start grilling. Invest in a cast iron griddle/grill pan and you'll be set through the colder months of the year. I brined the pork loin in whole grain mustard and garlic to infuse it with flavor before slapping it on the hot grill. The final product is perfectly seasoned, charred on the outside, and juicy in the middle (just where it counts). 

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The Morning After: Kale Chips

It's downright irresponsible to have a late breakfast without some sort of vegetable on the table. Though it may run counter to your upbringing, the breakfasts of my young adulthood have always featured something green to accompany my meats and starches. But I'll cut you some slack here, it is the morning after, after all. Have a bunch of kale in your fridge? Is it starting to wilt? Yes, of course it is. Well strip the leaves from the stems and let them crisp up in the oven. Everybody loves a good chip.


Practice Date: Roasted Lamb Ribs

Eating well doesn’t have to break the bank, monetary salvation lies in knowledge. So, arm yourself with information and get to know your butcher. I’m a lover of lamb, but buying the rack every time will rob your wallet of its health. Lamb spare ribs, however, are often overlooked and if you can get your butcher to save some for you, the price will likely surprise you. Unpopular meat is cheap, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t scrumptious.

Practice Date: Red Cabbage and Cider

In an effort to serve foods with a natural blush for my practice date I picked up a head of red cabbage at the market. Cabbage has a bad rap for being smelly, cheap, and mushy, and the fault for such a reputation sits heavily on the shoulders of mid-century cooks. Cabbage is a riot of color and texture, the tender leaves contrast mightily with the crunchy veins. I toss mine with apple cider vinegar and miso for a punch of acidity and flavor. No mush over here.

Chinese New Year Recipe: Black Bean Braised Bass

If my family is going out for dinner, the odds are high that we're having Chinese food. With Linda at the table we're never stuck ordering American standbys (General Tsao's is just fried chicken, you know that, right?) and my favorite dish is the whole braised fish. To celebrate the new year I decided to serve a few of my friends whole striped bass. Best part? No one fought me for the cheeks.

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