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This was one of those dishes that was OK but not great. I think the problem was with the cod, which I’d bought frozen at whole foods. The texture was a little rubbery, and it was a bit bland. The fennel tomato broth (stew?) was tasty, but I think next time I’ll serve it with some roast chicken instead. I do love fennel, and went with the Provencal flavors here — olives, lemon, tomatoes, parsley. It was a light summery meal and next time I’ll improve on it. You win some you lose some! Recipe for the fennel tomato stew, if you’re interested, after the jump.

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Since today is Memorial Day, I thought I’d do a drink. My friend Melissa and I went out dancing on Friday night, and had a couple of these refreshing cocktails before we went out. It was very classy pre-gaming, since we are nothing if not classy ladies!

The way I made these was no exact science, so I’ll give you the gist and you can go from there. For each drink, you’ll need about 3 oz. lemonade, 1 1/2 oz. vodka, a handful of frozen strawberries, a few basil leaves, and a handful of ice cubes. Put the ingredients in a blender and blend until the ice and strawberries are fully broken down and the mixture is nice and frothy. Taste and adjust if necessary.

Happy Memorial Day!

You guys, I think I’ve invented the perfect turkey burger recipe. Sorry for bragging, but this is really, really good. Usually I’m anti-pita when it comes to burgers, but with the tzatziki, lettuce and tomatoes, it was just right and really let the flavor of the burger come through. If anyone ever wants to argue that healthy food doesn’t taste good, please serve them this burger. It is packed with spinach, lean protein, and veggies, and the sauce is made from cucumbers and greek yogurt. Look, I don’t give a crap about diets, particularly when they cause obsessive behavior and prevent the enjoyment of food. So I don’t know how this stacks up against the diet plan du jour. I just know it’s fresh, delicious and good for you. And that, in my book, is plenty.

Recipe after the jump.

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Often a visit to the farmer’s market yields a selection of fresh things that, while delicious, do not naturally go together. It’s like an episode of that infuriating show, Chopped. Make an appetizer out of candied ginger, arugula, swordfish and peanut butter! OK! But I digress. Whenever I shop places that don’t have a predictable, repeatable selection of foods, I make bad decisions. I don’t know what my problem is. For that reason, I never darken the door of those “make your own salad” places. I think I am a pretty good cook…but somehow I can’t direct someone else to combine salad ingredients that taste good together.

So last week I came home with sugar snap peas (divine right now) and radishes. OK, not such an unusual combo but I had a lot of them. They were great together raw on a salad but then I wanted to do some kind of stir fry for dinner. I am not in the habit of cooking radishes, so I went trolling the internets for recipes. I did find a cooked radish / snap pea dish on smitten kitchen….but it was heavy on dill and I loathe the stuff. So I went Asian with it, made a bit of a citrus & ginger sauce for the veggies, made some rice and cooked chicken breasts with garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. I know daikon would have been more appropriate, but come on people.

This doesn’t really deserve a formal recipe…I just sliced a bunch of radishes and trimmed the snap peas (yes, “a bunch”) and stirred together about 1/4 c. OJ and the juice of 1 lime with about a tablespoon of grated ginger. I threw the veggies in a pan with a bit of vegetable oil, added the liquid, let them cook until they were crisp-tender (just a few minutes will do) and then served them alongside the aforementioned chicken and rice. Quick and easy weeknight meal.

That’s me in the kitchen at St. Cecilia’s. Pretty sweet glasses, huh?

Does a tub of macaroni and pot full of meat so thick the spoon stands up sound like cafeteria food? Well, yeah. But Nick and Theo’s food at the Epic Prom Saturday was far from cafeteria quality. Call it a meeting of the high and low brow. Much like the entire event.

I had a lot of fun at Epic Prom, even though technically I was “working”. I got to wear these fun 1950’s glasses and do the twist with a plastic cup of wine in my hand, and I was able to help Nick and Theo, who are all around good guys. The people-watching was pretty stellar too. There was quite a cast of characters, including the friendly neighborhood priest (Howard Dean’s doppleganger), a gaggle of church ladies, slick bartenders (named Vito and Alejandro no less!) and some seriously dressed up attendees. Not to mention Adam, the evening’s eccentric host, looking a bit like Josh Groban combined with Tom Wolfe (thanks to his flowing locks and all-white suit).

The menu included corned beef nuggets (OK,  sounds weird but they were SO good), homemade pate, bean dip with dill oil, romaine hearts with chunky blue cheese dressing, spicy mac & cheese, sloppy joes topped with coleslaw and crushed potato chips, tiny snickerdoodles, and “spiked milk”, otherwise known as guinness + ice cream + milk, otherwise known as I WILL DRINK THIS ALL NIGHT AND YOU CAN’T STOP ME.

OK and then there was the entertainment. In addition to the DJ spinning tunes from the 50’s, we enjoyed the performance from The Harlem James Gang. Look these guys up. They are the dapperest dudes ever. And they can dance. And sing. And yes, they are cooler than you, just get over it.

Here’s a good selection of pics from Metromix, with some good food shots thrown in:

Here are some pics from Brooklyn 365 (why do I have crazy eyes in every picture I’m in??)
http://brooklyn365.com/2010/05/epic-prom/

And here are all the chips I crushed (She-Ra!)

And a couple more pics….thanks Santiago!

Last week I heard from a lovely representative of Holton Farms in Westminster, Vermont. They’re launching their own version of a CSA program (community supported agriculture) that’s called “CSA Select”. I’ve been thinking of joining a CSA for some time now, but part of my hesitation has always been the idea of getting a big box full of turnips and cabbage and letting it go to waste. I’m only cooking for two, and it’s easy to let produce go rotten if you’re not paying attention. That’s why I’m letting you know about this CSA — it’s totally customizable. You pay in advance for the season (May 17 – November 21) and then you can order as you please from their hundred-plus items — fruit, veggies, meats, dairy, eggs and more. There’s just a $35 minimum per order and they have tons of drop-off locations across boroughs.

Another thing I love is that they have a farm stand in East Harlem that accepts food stamps and WIC cards…anyone actively helping to reduce the prevalence of inner city “food deserts” is doing good in my book. A portion of the proceeds from the CSA go toward subsidizing the farm stand costs.

So…I bring to you a special discount offer from Holton Farms! 5% off for you, my lovely readers, with this code: HFSHARINGFD. You already get a bonus just for signing up, so you’re really getting even more value for your dollar with the discount code. Check out their website for details, drop-off locations, etc. or follow them on Twitter @holtonfarms.

http://www.holtonfarms.com/

It’s always a dilemma for me at breakfast or brunch: sweet or savory? This weekend I did a bit of both, albeit not on the same morning. Saturday I took an early morning trip to the Borough Hall farmer’s market to pick up some challah and eggs for french toast. When I saw the bright red, tiny strawberries and the colorful rhubarb stalks, I knew what I had to do. Strawberry. Rhubarb. Compote.

Then on Sunday it was an eggy kind of morning (not sure how a morning qualifies as “eggy”, but just trust me. maybe it was the fact that I’d been at Epic Prom the night before and wanted something hearty…don’t worry, Prom round-up to come). I decided on a scramble, and threw in half a tomato and a handful of spinach from my fridge, a little crumbled goat cheese, and topped it with a little windowsill basil. Wholegrain toast from Bread Alone and it was the perfect crunchy foil to the soft eggs. Both delicious breakfast options, both pretty darn simple and fresh. God I love the weekends.

(recipes after the jump)

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I’m totally going to enter Epicurious.com’s home cook recipe contest!

http://www.epicurious.com/community/events/contest#

Help me pick what recipe I should perfect….or suggest a recipe for me to invent! Suggestions in the comments please. I have until the end of June to decide what to submit. Help!

I am in no way a runner. I never have been, and yet here I am trying to run more. I’m not actually sure why. But that’s a story for another time. What I really want to say is, I’ve noticed that after running I’m more ravenous than after any other activity. I just want to eat about 7 slices of pizza, which of course would counteract the effects of the running. So I concocted this meal in my head as I was running last night (is thinking of food while exercising healthy?) so I would have a clear game plan upon leaving the gym. I ended up being perfectly satiated and quite happy I’d not consumed a thousand calories.

The thyme and basil in my windowsill are flourishing, so I’ve tried to use fresh herbs in just about everything I’ve made lately. I also wanted something vegetarian but with protein, and since I was thinking Italian because of the herbs, I went with cannellini beans. What I ended up making was a warm white bean salad with broccoli and spinach and a mustard lemon vinaigrette. Then I made a bruschetta (or crostini? what is the difference?) with tomato, basil and goat cheese. Seriously, why eat out when it is this easy (and cheap) to make food like this at home?

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For 5 hours Friday evening and for 12 hours Saturday I was working on a short film shoot with some friends. With some help, I built a robot and a time machine out of cardboard, tinfoil and duct tape, and then I was a hair assistant. It was like being in college (or elementary school?) all over again. And, if you’ve never worked on a film shoot, it was exhausting. Even sitting around for hours can take it out of you. So the ladies producing this short made a delicious pot of chili for us for lunch — and it hit. the. spot. It was super delicious, and because a few folks on set are veggies, it was also meat-free. Vegetarian chili is actually my preferred form of chili, which I believe some people don’t even consider chili. All I can say is, they are missing out.

So last night I decided to semi-recreate the chili (mine didn’t have beer in it) and serve it with brown rice and lots of yummy toppings. I realized as I was uploading my pictures that my toppings have all but obscured the actual chili here. I guess that’s ok. You know what chili looks like, and frankly, it ain’t pretty. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to cook this for 5 hours to make it tasty. You can definitely make this in the time it takes to cook the brown rice, about 40 minutes, and it’s GREAT for leftovers.

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