Tagged: Spring


Inspired By…

...Pasta and porchetta princess, Sara Jenkins' green bean salad at her new East Village restaurant Porsena (if you haven't been yet, it's cozy and wonderful - like you're eating at home with your Italian grandmother).  Jenkins may have gained acclaim for her heftier dishes and love of all things pork, but the green bean salad is a total star on the menu.  Fresh, simple, gorgeously green and crunchy--a perfect healthy pick for the first weeks of spring.  I recreated her dish at home based on memory and taste.  Darn close to the original...

(my version above, Sara's pretty version below)

Green Beans with Fennel :: and Toasted Almonds

Serves :: 2


1 bunch of green haricot verts (French green beans)

toasted almonds, chopped

1 bulb of fennel, thinly shaved with a mandolin

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

juice from 1/2 lemon

2 to 3 teaspoons of red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons or so of extra virgin olive oil

salt and cracked pepper to taste



Blanch haricot verts in boiling water for about 2 minutes, plunge into an ice bath.
Remove beans and place in a mixing bowl.
Toss in fennel, toasted chopped almonds and red onion (Jenkins actually pickles hers first, which I adore, but I didn't have the time).
Add lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Mix well and you're done.

images via :: Nourish, the L Magazine

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TAGS: spring, restaurants, nyc

posted: 03.15.11


Beets :: Quick Clean Up for Spring

I'm willing warm temperatures to come on strong...any day now.  If nothing else, sunshine and a bit of spring cleaning is a decent place to start.  If you're looking for a nice 'jumpstart' towards beach season, give a thought to a nice bowl of roasted beets, or a simple beet salad, or some more creative uses for the colorful root veg.  Beets are like your personal springtime cleanup crew.  Jammed with antioxidants and nutrients to detox the liver along with a good dose of fiber, they'll flush out toxins and kick up digestion super fast.  Just beware, they'll stain virtually anything they come in contact with, nothing a good washing can't take care of.  Check out these brilliant photos and easy beet recipes from my latest column in Rue Magazine's fourth issue.  Click here for Bright Beet & Feta Dip with Grilled Toasts; Golden & Ruby Beet Salad with Oranges, Hazelnuts & Fiore Sardo Cheese; Dark Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Goat Cheese-Hazelnut Frosting (oh yeah, they're crazy good!).

...and a few more gorgeous pics from the talented Rima Campbell.

Dark Chocolate Beet Cupcakes :: with Goat Cheese-Hazelnut Frosting

Serves :: 36 mini cupcakes


• 5 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (64% cacao or higher)
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, divided
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 2 cups beet puree*
• 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt

goat cheese-hazelnut frosting
• 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
• 8 ounces soft goat cheese (1 large log)
• 8 ounces Neufchatel cream cheese
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 teaspoons Frangelico liqueur

*For the beet puree, trim roots and tips of 4 large beets and place in a large pot, cover with water.  Simmer for about 40 minutes until tender.  Drain water and allow beets to cool.  Remove skin by rubbing off with your fingers or a paper towel.  Cut beets into quarters, place in a food processor and blend until smooth.  


Preparation - Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line mini muffin trays with mini paper liners. Melt dark chocolate and 4 tablespoons butter over a double boiler. Cream remaining butter with sugars in a large bowl with an electric beater or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add eggs one by one until well blended. Beat in chocolate, beet puree and vanilla. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into batter and mix well. Spoon batter into cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 7 minutes and swap the position of trays in oven. Bake another 7 to 9 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool and transfer to a cooling rack.
Frosting - Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat until well-blended. Frost each cupcake using a knife or piping bag and tip for icing.
*For the beet puree, trim roots and tips of 4 large beets and place in a large pot, cover with water. Simmer for about 40 minutes until tender. Drain water and allow beets to cool. Remove skin by rubbing off with your fingers or a paper towel. Cut beets into quarters, place in a food processor and blend until smooth.

TAGS: spring, cupcakes, beets

posted: 03.28.11


Ingredient intrigue :: Sorrel & Black Garlic

Scooting out quickly this afternoon to do a grocery shop for tonight's dinner, I spotted two ingredients that I'd never used before and to be quite honest, wasn't really sure what to do with. Sorrel, a lemony leaf herb that's actually poisonous in extreme doses, and black garlic, a fermented version of white garlic with a rich molasses-tone often used in Asian dishes.  So what's a girl to do?  Always up for a bit of culinary experimentation, I snapped them right up.  First on deck, sorrel.  I was already planning on making a simple frittata for dinner and thought the lemony, sharp flavor would be perfect to toss in with sauteed red bell peppers and mushrooms.  The final result: pretty fantastic and finished in under 20 minutes. 

A good drizzle of olive oil + chopped red bell pepper & asparagus + 2 stalks of spring garlic & a bit of diced hot pepper + chopped cremini mushrooms & 1 small bunch of sorrel torn into pieces.  Saute up the red bell pepper and asparagus, add in the spring garlic, hot pepper, sorrel and mushrooms.  Saute on medium-high heat for about 8 to 10 minutes or so.  Whisk 6 eggs and season with cracked pepper and salt. Pour into the skillet, evenly covering the vegetable mixture.  Turn the heat down to medium and cook the eggs about 5 minutes.  Finish the frittata under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes.
(sorry no pic taken tonight, but here’s a lovely poached egg and sorrel dish from NY Times contributor Melissa Clark)

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