Peppered Peach and Manchego Sandwiches


Peaches, peaches, peaches. How I love thee.

Looking for some way to maximize peaches in our lives, I hit upon the following. It is quick, makes very little in the way of mess or dishes, doesn’t heat up your apartment with the oven, and is a delicious change of pace.

Peppered Peach and Manchego Sandwiches

  • 1 large peach
  • Manchego cheese
  • slices of thick sandwich bread
  • arugula
  • butter
  • fresh ground black pepper

Cut the peach from its pit in thick slices.  1/2 slices are best.  Over low heat in a lightly-greased pan, saute them with slivers of butter and lots of black pepper on top of each.  Meanwhile, toast the sandwich bread and layer one side of each sandwich with thin slices of the Manchego.  When the peaches are starting to look a bit gooey or caramelized, layer them on top of the Manchego.  The heat will soften the cheese.  Cover the peaches with arugula, pour whatever peachy butter runoff remains in the pan on the top halves of the sandwich bread, then slice in half and serve.

Honey-Miso Vegetables

IMG_2608It’s kiiinda like Spring up in NYC. As in it was 80 degrees one day last week and 35 yesterday and 70 today. Folks want their farmers markets back in full swing, though; they’re out at Grand Army Plaza on Saturday mornings looking dismal but dogged on those cold and wet days and buying all those perennials when it’s sunny.

But pickings are slim food-wise. Asparagus and the foraged mushrooms have shown up, but for the most part we’re still heading home those Saturdays with bags of root vegetables. And I’ve been working with them for months. Gotta do something new.

And thus this Honey-Miso Vegetables recipe. Stuck staring at last season’s carrots and turnips and parsnips? This’ll do ya.

Per usual, nothing was measured and units of measure are guestimated after the fact.

Honey-Miso Vegetables Continue reading

Wasabi-Soy Sweet Potato with Ginger-Kale Chowder

IMG_2531Soup, soup, soup, soup, SOOOOOP. I’ve been waiting for seasonally-appropriate weather for at least six weeks, largely to take the edge off the panic induced by a 70-degree Christmas Day in Ohio, but also to fully sink into winter grub. Winter grub includes soup. And thus we have here a tale of two soups.

The first is a variation on the carrot soup Shannon shared a month or two back. In this version, she braised the carrots in soy sauce before putting them in the food processor, replaced the onions with garlic, and added ginger and sesame oil. Boom. I have nothing against carrots, but I do get tired of the aggression of their sheer profusion these months. I could not get enough of this soup, though. I mean, some kind of lovely chemical in my brain drained away when Shannon told me there was no more. I didn’t care what Slippin’ Jimmy was dealing with in Better Call Saul. I sat there and secretly wished Shannon would give me some of hers.

Which she did on her own volition! “No, no,” I said, “you finish your soup; I’m okay.”

“I sampled a lot while making it; I’m full,” she said.

And so I destroyed the few tablespoons left.

And thus inspired, I decided to do my part to work our way through our stockpile of root vegetables by inventing another soup that would satisfy a craving that I realized was significantly a craving for sesame oil.

So I worked up what I’ll call Wasabi-Soy Sweet Potato with Ginger-Kale Chowder. Continue reading

Butter-Sage Squash & Pomegranate Orzo

The winter CSA comes in, and lo it is again the time of year for JIMG_2465ay to work magic on roots and gourds typically scorned in the household. The following took about 45 minutes to make and feeds four, though it did take more than a single pot. Where You Been and Eagle Rare were the accompaniments.  As usual, measurements are guestimated after the fact.

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 4 small or 2 medium turnips or other root vegetables
  • orzo
  • 1 can cannelloni or white kidney beans
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 4 tbs mustard powder (or mustard, I suppose)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup crushed sage leaves
  • 3 tbs butter
  • dash of vinegar (balsamic or apple cider)
  • olive oil, salt, pepper

First, chop the turnips into 1/4″ cubes.  Drizzle with olive oil in a baking dish, then stir in Continue reading

Shannon and Jason Own the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Chili Pepper Festival

IMG_0922The advertising promised “5 Blazing Bands, 7 Hours of Chocolate Debauchery, 23 Years of Spicy Culture, 2 Legendary Fire Breathers, 52 Fiery Food Artisans, 52 Acres of Glorious Gardens.”

Fire breathers and free spicy food?  We’re there!

We visited every stall.  Every. Stall.  And here are our picks:

Shannon’s Pepper Picks:

Brooklyn Delhi: I cringe at paying $8 for a jar of salsa, no matter how good it is, because I could (and might very possibly) eat the whole thing in a single sitting with a spoon. But with achaar, Indian pickle, a little dab’ll do ya, and with innovative combinations like rhubarb ginger on offer at the Brooklyn Delhi booth, the price suddenly seemed entirely reasonable and left me wishing I’d packed some naan in my purse.

IMG_0925Queen Majesty: Do you know that the easiest way to catch fruit flies is with vinegar? That whole thing about catching more with honey is such a lie! Anyway, I love vinegar in many forms, and even though sweet-hot sauces seem to be all the rage these days, Queen Majesty makes beautiful vinegar-based ones that still have plenty of complexity. Try the jalapeno, tequila and lime flavor for a delicious tangy kick. Continue reading

Grilled Mustard Eggplant Burgers

We don’t grill a lot.  We don’t have a grill because we don’t have the space, and although there are grills in the community garden across the street, by the time evening rolls around I’m usually pretty much done with community until sunup.  But we had agrilled mustard eggplant burgers pretty purple-and-white speckled eggplant from the CSA and four ears of corn, and I’ll take grilled corn on the cob over any other variation any day.  And thus we created:

Grilled Mustard Eggplant Burgers

  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tbs salt
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • ½ tbs chili powder

Mix marinade ingredients in a jar (I pretty much always eyeball stuff, so the measurements are give-or-take).  Cut 1 small eggplant into roughly ¼ inch-thick slices and lay them out in Tupperware.  Pour marinade over them and leave in the fridge for a few hours.  Then grill the babies, periodically brushing remaining marinade on the slices, for something like twenty minutes.  Serve on sliced sourdough bread with arugula.

Grill Monster

Lemon Kale & Chili Chickpea Salad ~and~ Caramelized Peach & Mint Arugula Salad

Summer salads!  We currently have a mere two rows of rocket arugula, each maybe three-feel long, planted in one of our gardens, and even though I’ve instructed all the neighbors to help themselves, we’re overrun with arugula.  If you don’t harvest it, it will bolt (produce flowers and seeds) according to Evolution’s imperative, and then you’re out of luck stuck with flowering plants sporting dinky, anemic leaves.  The solutioLemon Kale & Chili Chickpea and Caramelized Peach & Arugula Saladsn, obviously, is endless salads.

We also happen to be in peach season and kale season, and thus we give you:   Lemon Kale & Chili Chickpea Salad and Caramelized Peach & Mint Arugula Salad.  These are awesome salads because they are hearty but not heavy, and they keep well in the fridge.

Lemon Kale &… Continue reading

Quick Lemon Pea & Avocado Salad

It should be too late for peas right now, but Spring and Summer have been cool enough thus far to keep pea plants producing.  I picked up one of those small, plastic trays of some at the Grand Army Plaza farmers market to compliment my own modest, backyard-garden haul and improvised my way through the following.  I sIMG_2128imply had the avocado on-hand and needed to use it, but the crispness of the peas contrasted very nicely with its silkiness.  This recipe makes two salads to accompany entrees.

Lemon Pea and Avocado Salad

  • 12 ounces of fresh peas
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbs dried thyme
  • 1 dash of chili powder
  • 5 or 6 cloves of garlic crushed and minced
  • 1 avocado
  • salad greens
  • olive oil and salt & pepper, each to taste Continue reading

Tofu Shawarma with Garlic Red Cabbage & Roasted Tomatoes

New York, like all great cosmTofu Shawarmaopolitan cities, I suppose, is a city of street meats.  In all sorts of parts of town (but especially those in which office dwellers in their daily dry-cleanables must descend by elevator onto swarming lunchtime streets that will one day give me a heart attack), men of assorted non-Western European ethnicities grill up all kinds of marinated beast on gas-powered metal carts.  I don’t eat grilled beast, of course, but damn if the smell doesn’t always make my mouth water.  The lines at these carts are often positively absurd, I have a friend who insists on going to a particular chicken-and-rice cart every time he visits, and I have no doubt that serious meatys coming from elsewhere in the country would have their minds blown to spend a few meals eating this stuff while leaning against some wall or fire hydrant.

So I get jealous.

And low and behold a shawarma spice mix called to me from the shelves at Sahhadi’s.  If you don’t know, shawarma (which Wikipedia defines as “a Levantine Arab meat preparation” but which is, etymologically, derived from a Turkish word for rotation) is one of those giant meat sticks you see turning next to a flame or heating lamp.  It’s like a gyro, basically, and I once saw someone shave meat from the spit using a circular saw, which was fairly cool.  And I figured I could do something veggie with this.

So boom: Tofu Shawarma with Garlic Red Cabbage and Roasted Tomatoes

  • 1 block of tofu sliced into 1/4″-thick pieces
  • shawarma spice mix
  • 1 1/2 cups of red cabbage sliced 1/4″-wide
  • 3 onions sliced
  • 1/3 of a pint of cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil and butter
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbs cumin seeds
  • 4 ounces plain yogurt
  • 1 lemon Continue reading

A Cauldron of Southwestern Black Bean & Mustard Squash Soup

I’ve been into beans this winter.  I like pouring something that could substitute for buckshot into a cauldron of water and ending up with soft, succulent morsels of food.  And I cannot overemphasize the appeal of the cauldron component; to make yummy beans from scratch, I have to take the biggest pot we have, a cast-iron thing of uncertain origin in the home, and fill it with all sorts of whatever’s-on-hand to make delicious what would otherwise be bland bean flesh.  I mean, eye of newt is surely not tasty to most palettes and Macbeth’s witches weren’t making dinner, so this is perhaps not the best comparison, but I like pouring and scraping and shaking whatever cool things I can find into a simmering pot and getting a little magic out of it when all is said and done.

Looking at this picture, I remember that we sprinkled some cheese on top, too.

Looking at this picture, I remember that we sprinkled some cheese on top, too.

So the other day I decided to riff on the rough idea of a Southwestern-themed bean soup I had burbling around in my brain.  We had a butternut squash on hand, not Shannon’s favorite vegetable, and I’m always trying to come up with ways to make yummy things folks don’t typically like.  Note that you don’t have to include all of these ingredients in your version.  You shouldn’t make a special trip to the store just for a lime or whatever, and the soup will be tasty even if you don’t get the mustard going.

Southwestern Black Bean & Mustard Squash Soup Continue reading