To Do List :: A Few Good Links
In an attempt to hideout for part of the weekend and escape the miserable heat and humidity that hit the East Coast last week, I took to my cozy couch yesterday and caught up on some work, a stack of food mags and some overdue web surfing (not nearly as cool as the real thing, but without a body of water nearby, it's second best). Anyhow, here are few good links to kickstart your week with. Happy surfing!
*Mark Bittman strikes again. Very smart NY Times Op-Ed column yesterday on subsidizing vegetables and taxing junk food and soda - which could generate $13.2 billion in federal tax dollars and cover about 8% of medical costs associated with obesity. Total estimated U.S. obesity cost for 2012: $166.2 billion!
*In other nutrition news, NY Times contributor, Jane Brody also strikes again. Great column on how new research finds that counting calories as an effective method of losing weight may be passe -- I vote a big YES to that one. Check out her column here. Stay tuned, more to come on this one...
*JCrew enters the world of blogging & Tumblr! L.O.V.E.
*Amazing new online mag (aka guide for small gatherings) devoted entirely to entertaining, food & widespread inspiration (see above photo for proof). Can't wait for the 2nd run of Kinfolk.
*Eyeing this for a new greenmarket tote.
*Package-free grocery shopping. In.gredients brings a sustainable micro-grocery store to Austin, TX. Awesomeness.
*Looking forward to my batch of jalapenos budding on my balcony. First born, see below. Guide to an herb/veg garden of your own, click here.
*Dance party brunch this past Saturday outside in 100 degree heat. Great concept, mother nature made a bit challenging to execute. Thankfully there were water balloons on hand and CityGrit NYC has some great upcoming dinners once the weather cools.
*Rue Issue 6 goes live this evening! Keep your eye's peeled for some far-off foodie wanderlust with my column.
*Perfect healthy treat to beat the heat. DIY popsicles!
Images via: NY Times, Kinfolk, Will Leather Goods, Instant Love
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Fresh Start to Summer
Sometimes it's easy to get wrapped up in life and forget the little things that make your eyes sparkle a bit brighter - like the unofficial kickoff of summer. Memorial Day weekend always signifies a seasonal shift for me and this year didn't disappoint given the wave of heat that has blanketed the city. Summer has me dreaming of the beach, grilling out, relaxing in the sun with great friends and making the most of a quieter city on the weekends. Thankfully, I was able to start off the season in good form: a few days in Montauk to lay in the sand and then back to the steamy city to host a few friends for a lazy Monday dinner al fresco. I admit, it was so lazy and chill that I chose not to take full photos of the meal, so you'll just have to trust me on the menu and the two recipes noted below. I promise, this sparkler and salad also won't disappoint and may just carry you through a fantastic summer. Cheers!
Lazy Memorial Day Monday Grill Out
grilled calamari with piment d'esplette and lemon
grilled Long Island scallops with garlic scape-lemon-butter sauce
grass-fed flank steak marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil, chili, garlic, ginger & lime juice
"kitchen sink" black rice salad with sugar sneap peas, summer herbs, strawberries, mango and toasted almonds
grilled asparagus with pickled red onions and feta cheese
"Kitchen Sink" Black Rice Salad :: with Snap Peas, Summer Herbs, Mango, Strawberries & More
Serves :: 10
*Black "forbidden" rice is rich in antioxidants, high in fiber and has a nutty flavor. Look for it in Whole Foods or at kalustyans.com. This makes a vibrant gluten-free, aromatic salad that's great for large groups (or small ones).
2 cups black rice
3 cups water
2 cups sugar snap peas, blanched and chopped
1 small bunch radishes, quartered
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 pint of strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
4 to 5 scallions, chopped
1 to 2 garlic scapes, minced
1 small red chili, minced (if desired)
3/4 cup thai basil, loosely packed and torn
3/4 cup mint, loosely packed and chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons avocado or grapeseed oil
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
Rinse rice well until it's no longer cloudy. Place in a medium saucepan with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low - just the slightest simmer - cover and cook 35-40 minutes until water has evaporated. Remove the lid and remove from heat. Place a towel over the pot and let stand 10-15 minutes to steam. Fluff rice with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl to cool.
Add remaining ingredients to rice and lightly toss. Garnish with extra almonds and lime zest if desired.
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Summer Remix :: Pulled Pork and Crab Fest
Summers in the city can drag a bit...ridiculous heat and small apartments don't help too much. This past weekend a few friends and I decided to take matters into our own hands and bring our fondest summertime memories due north (or to my building's rooftop to be exact). Bring on the first annual pulled pork and crab Sunday dinner extravagnza. Pulled pork shipped straight from North Carolina with a vinegar-based bbq sauce so good you might lick the bottle dry + blue crabs swimming in Old Bay seasoning shipped straight from Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. Pair them both with this summer's highlight (heirloom tomatoes are insanely good this year) and you've got an automatic party on a rooftop. And as a nutritional side note, pulled pork and crab are both lean sources of protein (the pork is a lean shoulder cut) and the tomatoes, peaches and cabbage are racked with antioxidants.
Here's the full menu for your summer entertaining pleasure:
Pulled pork (East Carolina style)
Maryland blue crabs (steamed)
Heirloom tomato and grilled peach salad with tarragon, blue cheese and white balsamic vinaigrette
Corn on the cob with salt, pepper and fresh lime
Aperol spritz cocktails
Beer (an obvious choice for pulled pork and crab)
Fresh cherry granita with mint and elderflower
Heirloom Tomato and Grilled Peach Salad :: with Tarragon, Blue Cheese and White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves :: 8-10
5-6 heirloom tomatoes of various sizes, sliced
4 peaches, halved
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 to 4 sprigs of tarragon
1/3 cup of blue cheese, crumbled
4 pieces of sourdough bread
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
11/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chives, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and cracked pepper to taste
*2 to 3 teaspoons of extra crumbled blue cheese to whisk into dressing (if desired)
Brush the peaches and sourdough bread slices with olive oil and lightly grill for 3 minutes on each side, or until peaches are soft and grill marks appear on bread. Allow to cool and slice peaches into quarters, cut bread slices into 1 1/2 inch cubes.
On a serving platter, arrange tomato slices on bottom, followed by grilled peaches. Sprinkle red onion, tarragon and blue cheese over top. And top with sourdough croutons.
Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients until well-blended. Lightly drizzle over salad and serve.