A lot has happened over the past two weeks. Here is a brief rundown: I was dumped, then I assessed my seemingly shattered existence, picked up the pieces, considered moving back upstate, changed my mind, moved out of the apartment in Greenpoint, moved into an apartment in Park Slope, and finally find myself settled in (Update on 9/22: I also got a full time job offer!). I don’t want to dwell on the situation (this is a food blog after all), however I have to say I’m lucky to have such wonderful friends and family—they kept me from going off the deep end and made this transition much easier than I thought it would be.

Now, on to the present. I’ve been living in Park Slope for just over a week, and while I miss my place in Greenpoint, I can now buy cupcakes, have my nails done, go to the movies, go out to dinner, or get on the subway within three blocks of my apartment. It’s the way I imagined New York would be during my high school daydreams, just with a lot more puppies and strollers. The toddlers are hip and neighborhood block parties have both bouncy houses and pony rides. Also, my roommates are great (and love to cook) and my new room is large enough to accommodate a reading nook, complete with an armchair, lamp, and ottoman.

The Park Slope food scene is also vibrant. There are hundreds of restaurants, cafes, specialty shops, and bakeries in the neighborhood and I look forward to exploring them in the coming months. In fact, I started exploring on my first morning here when I woke up early and walked up to the farmers’ market in Grand Army Plaza, where rows of small stalls are set up in the shadow of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch.


More photos after the jump. Continue Reading →



Farmers’ Market Pick: Asparagus & Mushroom Tart

Asparagus is an industrious little vegetable. Its spears can grow up to 10″ over the course of a 24 hour period, shooting above the soil ready for harvest like so. It’s also one of the more unique vegetables to cross my cutting board, as it’s not a leaf, flower bud, or root system, but the stem of the plant itself. Asparagus’ flavor is unique as well and in my experience, it is best served as the star of a side dish…or wrapped in bacon.

I normally just roast the spears with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, but after finding a sheet of leftover puff pastry in my freezer this evening I decided to make a simple tart with mushrooms and gruyere. Continue Reading →



Farmers’ Market Pick: Acorn Squash

When the temperature dips below 60° for the first time after the summer months, I get a serious craving for roasted acorn squash. I picked up two of the most perfect acorn squash I’ve ever seen at the farmers’ market two weekends ago, still coated in dirt from the farm.

The following recipe is incredibly easy once you get past the cutting of the squash in half. I recommend a sharp knife, patience, and great care not to cut yourself. You may want to have a buddy spot you or have someone on call to ensure you make it through the process with all fingers intact.

I’d also like to take a moment and acknowledge the fact I roast a whole lot of vegetables. I know the majority of my Farmers’ Market Picks have lead to roasting recipes, but I find that it allows the pure flavors of the vegetables to shine through. I promise to have some non-roasting recipes in the near future.

Roasted Acorn Squash
Makes 4 servings
2 acorn squash
-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
-4 tablespoons brown sugar or real maple syrup
-Salt to taste

1. Pre-heat oven to 400°

2. Cut acorn squash in half length-wise and scoop out seeds and stringy bits. Save the seeds for roasting later if desired.

3. Place the squash halves skin side down in a large ridged baking pan.

4. Rub butter on the squash flesh and sprinkle lightly with salt. Then, place 1 tablespoon of butter in the center of each squash half. Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar or maple syrup to each squash half (add more if you want it to be extra-sweet).

5. Roast for 1 hour or until tender.



Farmers’ Market Pick: Multicolored Carrots

Before last weekend, I had never encountered carrots other than your basic orange variety. I stumbled upon a display of carrots including purple, white, yellow, and a red-orange at the Greenmarket and decided I needed to take a bundle home and try them out.

Overall, the flavor of each variety was pretty similar to the standard orange carrot, with the yellow a bit sweeter, the white a little bitter, and the purple tasting almost identical. You can see above that the purple carrot looked almost burnt because the color was so rich around the orange center.

Before moving on to the simple recipe, I should also note that I bought a new peeler from the famous peeler guy. He can usually be found Continue Reading →



Farmers’ Market Pick: Fingerling Potatoes

I picked up a pound of Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes at the farmers’ market this weekend. These fast-roasting potatoes are often more moist and flavorful than the standard Russet baking potatoes, making them an easy side dish. Here’s a quick recipe:

Oven Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
-1 pound fingerling potatoes, rinsed and dried
-Olive oil
-3 cloves minced garlic
-2 tsp dried rosemary
-Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 500°

2. Place potatoes on in a square baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Toss until all potatoes are fully coated and then add rosemary, garlic, salt, and fresh ground pepper. Toss again.

3. Roast until tender, approx. 20 minutes.



Farmers’ Market Pick: Heirloom Tomatoes

I’m sad to say the first time I had a true heirloom tomato was only a month ago. I’d been hearing all of the buzz about them, but it wasn’t until my birthday dinner at Dressler that I finally had a chance to try a stack of heirloom slices with my halibut entree. So, is the hype true? Do heirloom tomatoes really put their standard supermarket brethren to shame? I say absolutely. Not only do they have a superior taste and texture, they look fabulous, with a variety of colors ranging from green with zebra-like stripes to deep purple.

There are hundreds of varieties, but they can all be defined by a few key factors: they aren’t genetically modified in any way, no hybrids, they are the result of open-pollination (natural pollination), and the seeds have been passed down for decades, some saying at least 50 years, while some define heirlooms at 100 years.

I picked up a pint of small heirlooms last weekend at the Union Square Greenmarket from Tim Stark’s stand, however the photos above are from this week’s late day remains from another stand. Recipe-wise, they can be used in all of the ways your standard tomato can, but I think any recipe that overpowers their unique flavors is kind of a waste. I like chopping them into 1/2″ by 1/2″ cubes, tossing with a bit of olive oil and small bits of basil, sprinkling with a pinch of salt, and serving alongside any meat or veggie entree that could use a kick of acidity.
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