green with envy

Right Spoons

Green Gazpacho

It’s kind of a family joke. My grandma, who was an otherwise decent cook, would indoctrinate new members of the family by serving them cold fruit soup. No one is quite sure where she got the idea to offer these unusual concoctions, but I think she was just hoping to make a good impression. Or maybe it was a test. My husband was welcomed to the fold with a bowl of chilled cherry soup. Sounds lovely, right? Not so much. The sweet brew had a murky milky base and the cherries were still plump with pits, which had to be indelicately spit into a napkin. Ah, maybe that was the test! Cold soup has come a long way and this mouthwatering gazpacho is proof of that. The interesting ingredient here is tomatillo–also technically a fruit, but a savory one that adds an unique twist to this no-cook recipe. Tangy, creamy and bright, this chilled green wonder is perfect for right now.

Read more…

cherry, very cordial

Spoons

Pickled Cherry Salad

I’m feeling rejuvenated after a brief hiatus. We had a lovely visit with family in Montreal, city of great restaurants and magnificent open air markets. My pantry is now packed with delectable European jams, mustards, oils, and foie gras and ready for new challenges. Coming home, I was tickled to discover my blog featured in a roundup on bon appétit.com. Funny how the universe works sometimes. This recognition encouraged me to finally take the leap I’d been debating and invest in some new equipment. Now armed with a fancy camera and tabletop lighting, I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed. Practice makes perfect, they say—I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it. In the meantime, I offer to you a delightful little salad featuring a surprising ingredient: pickled cherries. Piquant and juicy, these marinated summer fruit complement bitter greens, creamy brie and crunchy almonds in a tantalizing way and they take no getting used to.

Read more…

one potato, two potato

IMG_9334

Potato Salad with Sauce Gribiche                                                     Sherried Potato Salad with Smoked Paprika

Potatoes are mostly off the menu these days, as we try to watch our carb intake. But that makes them all the more special as a treat on rare occasion. When I do cook them, I love to use delectable baby yukon golds that are buttery, sweet in flavor and work beautifully with a variety of toppings. Here are two easy and interesting salads to complement your summer meals. The first is composed of those tender nuggets napped with a dressing chunky with herbs, shallots, tangy capers and cornichons. Velvety and bright, you’ll want to use this luscious sauce in many other applications. The second salad is a simple toss of potatoes with zesty sherry vinegar and smoked sweet paprika—a quick dish with complex flavor. Whichever way you choose, these recipes will shake up the way you look at this old standard.

Read more…

american pie

IMG_9055

Cherry Pie

My many subscriptions to food magazines are supposed to keep me up to date on the latest food trends and recipes. The problem is I can’t always find the time to read them all. But the photo of a sour cherry pie on the June cover of Bon Appétit certainly grabbed my attention: it screamed, “bake me!” Easier said than done. Sour cherries are not easy to find around here. Fresh sweet cherries, however, make a very suitable substitute—they’re dark, syrupy and worthy of their own showcase. Encased in a flaky crust made with nutty almond flour, these juicy jewels are baked till they’re bursting with flavor. Beautiful to look at, sumptuous to eat, this surprisingly easy pie is a total wow.

Read more…

takeout diy

IMG_8894

Dan Dan Noodles and Szechuan Cucumber Salad

Never been a big fan of Chinese food. My folks always teased me that I must have been adopted because I was missing the Asian cuisine gene. I think it just skipped a generation—my daughter loves it in spades. Or maybe it has something to do with the restaurants I’d been frequenting because once I discovered the newly transplanted Han Dynasty of Philadelphia fame, I was totally smitten. It was love at first bite of their Wontons in Chili Oil, Dry Pepper Chicken Wings and Eggplant in Garlic Sauce. But my two favorite dishes were these and they’re in perfect harmony with each other: hot and spicy, cool and tangy. These recipes may be complex in flavor but are surprisingly easy to cook, making them a small triumph over settling for takeout. Chinese tonight?

Read more…