i am not a fan of fish or seafood. in fact, i do not eat any fish and the only seafood i will eat is fried clams (please keep the bellies!), crab cakes and one of my favorite meals, spaghetti and crabs. not sure why, but when my house fills with the dancing smells of the simmering sauce and crabs i am wrapped in a blanket of emotional comfort. spaghetti and crabs….it’s one of my go to comfort dishes.
spaghetti and crabs is so simple to make. the dish only requires a few ingredients; the most important being fresh crabs from a reliable seafood market. i would NEVER use frozen crabs…tsk tsk! for those in the New Haven area, i get my crabs from Number One Fish Market on State Street. i would go nowhere else. it is also important to use good canned tomatoes such as San Marzano.
My daughter has always had a fascination with gardens. Her baby shower was at my friend’s urban farm in Boston so you can say it started in her mommy’s belly. She has always been raised to play and eat from the earth. She was my garden assistant as we tended to our plot in our community garden in Boston. Since I moved back to Connecticut, I have not had a garden. However, I want my daughter to continue to understand where her food comes from so it is imperative we plant, SOMETHING, this year. She needs to see up close and personal, the connection between the sun, rain, and the environment in which our food is grown and raised. Because I believe early success is important in any endeavor, we have started with pea shoots. They are extremely easy to grow taking less than two weeks with tricks like covering beginning sprouted dried peas with aluminum foil; pea shoots are refreshingly sweet yet savory. They are fun to grow and look magical in the kitchen window sill. There are many places on the web to find out how to grow your own pea shoots so surf the web and start now. The process of growing pea shoots has been a great bonding experience with my daughter and I. It is quite easier to get her to eat her vegetables happily when she has had a hand in growing them. Try this easy and lovely recipe for pea shoot pesto pork chops. The familiar yet boring pork chop gets a fast gourmet make over anyone would appreciate. Pork chop should be cooked to your liking. My preferred method is to grill or sauté. Generously slather with this passionately flavored, shockingly green pesto. The addition of chives and mint are a natural complement the pea shoots. This pesto is good on fish, chicken, and with vegetables it is a wonderful Meatless Monday dish. (Sticking my tongue out ) Who said kids don’t like peas.
I have two go-to breakfasts that never, ever fail me. Most mornings I’ll have a soft boiled egg with fresh fruit and some sprouted toast, or 1/2 of an avocado mashed up on sprouted toast with a little salt and olive oil (both are PERfection, in case you were wondering!).
But sometimes, just sometimes, I want a breakfast treat. A warm, cozy, delicious, cakey something for those mornings when you just wished it was a lazy Sunday, that it wasn’t 4:45 and your alarm was blaring in your ear, or that you didn’t have a to-do list 408 miles long. These muffins? These muffins make ALL of those things better. I promise.
And bonus – they are a great way to use up extra ricotta. Ricotta is an extremely versatile (and delicious!) cheese – it’s wonderful in savory dishes, folded into desserts and icings, or baked right into muffins.
“a man taking basil from a woman will love her always.”
and anyone, let it be man or let it be woman, giving me basil i will love always. i am at the mercy of that green, green herb goddess. my body tingles at the initial peppery explosion as the goddess slithers onto my tongue; and then she seduces me with her subtle sweetness. basil was called the “royal herb” by ancient Greeks. she certainly wears the herbal crown in my kitchen. all summer long i use basil from my garden in almost everything i make. and pesto is a constant in my kitchen during the summer months. i do not make the traditional pesto. instead of
using pine nuts, i use walnuts. walnuts are significantly cheaper than pine nuts, but i actually prefer the taste of the walnuts over pine nuts in pesto. pesto is very easy to make. and is great to have on hand in the fridge or freezer. you can toss it with pasta, use it as a vegetable dip, toss with scrambled eggs, use it as a spread on sandwiches. the possibilities are as endless as your imagination and creativity.
I know… I’ve posted a lot of crostini recipes on the blog. But this is one I couldn’t leave out! Summery, fresh, a bit luxurious because of the ricotta, and oh so delicious with the blueberries!
Roasting the blueberries gives them just such a nice juicy, deep flavor! The key is taking them out of the oven right before they are about to burst…. and they are oh so perfect.
This is an easy recipe to keep very seasonal – blueberries in the spring, stone fruit in the summer, grapes in the fall, and pear in the winter! Use thyme for the berries, rosemary for grapes, and basil for the stone fruit (peaches or nectarines would be awesome)… and you have yourself a NEVER fail appetizer that will wow just about everyone.
It’s that time of year again…time to get some seeds started, or start thinking about where you can grow a little food on your stoop, in a window box, or in your front or backyard. Lettuce and strawberries grow wonderfully in a window box, tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, eggplants and many other things grow well in large pots, and without too much effort or money, you can set up a raised bed over a small plot of yard in the front or back of your home or apartment building. A raised bed allows you to plant above the existing soil, so you don’t have to worry if there is lead or other soil contamination, and if your beds are at least 12 inches deep, you can grow just about anything.
Growing food is much easier than you might think, and there are tons of online, and local resources to help you. Community gardens, master gardener programs, and local schools and organizations teaching people about urban agriculture and offering assistance to people wanting to grow food. I started out with a few pots, then some mounds of dirt in my yard (when I finally lived somewhere with a yard) and now have 6 small raised beds. Start small and try something new each year, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and before you know it, you will be harvesting your own cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and so much more…
Click ‘Read More” for detailed instructions on how I built my raised beds a few years ago to help you get started. And, a little info on starting seedlings as well.
Are you going to try growing some food this year? Let me know if you have any questions!
the temperature here in Connecticut are finally rising. the sun is shining brighter, wrapping around me like an electric blanket. earthly perfumes are intoxicating me. as i sit at my desk at work, i am itching to break out of my 9 to 5 and get into my kitchen. with Spring brings my craving for fresh, earthy ingredients and a glass of chilled Rose’. this dish has such bright flavors; it sings Spring like a Sunday morning choir.
In Jamaican vernacular or patois, the word “ramp” literally means don’t play or mess with me. So when I first discovered these wild leeks at the farmers market a couple of years ago, I thought the name was a little cheeky and was completely flabbergasted by nature’s bounty and the endless variety of interesting vegetables that exist. I like alliums or vegetables in the onion family. Scallions, leeks, shallots, garlic, chives, red onion, and the like add a distinct aroma, texture, and sweetness to dishes in which they are included they compliment. Cornbread is an American favorite with regional nuisances. This recipe uses ramps in which my daughter Soleil and I foraged in Hamden. You can find them many places but have to watch out that car exhaust and dog waste do not contaminate your ramp patch. This week at the opening of the CitySeed farmers market, they were the star of the week so you can purchase them if you are not into wild ramping. I love the white bulbs, reddish purple stalks and pine green leaves that describe ramps. They are a pretty and savory addition to any Spring meal. So I ramped with a basic cornbread recipe and added herbs and ramps to enliven the final product. If you don’t want the salty kick of bacon then take out the oink oink and keep it vegetarian. I just know when you take it out of the oven, slather room temperature butter, and put it on the table; it will only take a short while before it is finished without leftovers. This cornbread is an easy and subtle way to introduce the naughty, naughty ramp. I never worry about my breath when eating alliums because I hope whom I am kissing has the same perfumed mouth as I do and takes pleasure my ramping around.