Radicchio, Eggs, and Potatoes with Anchovy-Rosemary Aioli

I think this is my new perfect summer meal.

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I have long read descriptions of aioli feasts in Provence where the entire meal is boiled vegetables, fish, and eggs with a side of aioli dipping sauce. I’ve always thought that sounded lovely. Once I even tried to make it. But at the end of the day, I don’t love boiled vegetables and I’m very picky about how and where I like my mayonnaise. I still like the principle behind it though.

This weekend, as we were trying to drum up ideas for dinner, I mentioned a recipe I had seen in Saveur for radicchio with a rosemary-anchovy dipping sauce. So many of my favorite ingredients at once! We decided to try and make a meal of it by roasting some potatoes and boiling some eggs.

Since we lack a mortar and pestle I ended up using a blender, which transformed the olive oil and anchovies from the dressing I was imagining into something with the texture of aioli.

We ate it on our roof deck with roast potatoes, radicchio and hardboiled eggs. I wrapped radicchio leaves around some of the eggs before dipping. We washed it all down with wine. It was, indeed, lovely.

Radicchio, Eggs, and Potatoes with Anchovy-Rosemary Aioli: (Lightly adapted from this Saveur article

– 4 hardboiled eggs

– 4 yukon gold potatoes

– 1 head of radicchio

– 2 oz tin flat filet anchovies

– Juice of 1 lemon

– 2 tablespoons dried rosemary leaves (fresh would also probably be nice too)

– 1/3-2/3 cups olive oil

* Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

* Slice the potatoes width wise into rounds. Drizzle with olive oil (but do not salt) and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake potatoes until they get crispy and brown, about 30 minutes.

* Roughly quarter and core radicchio and separate the leaves.

* Combine anchovies, lemon, and rosemary in a blender and pulse until roughly chopped. While blending, slowly drizzle in olive oil. We ended up using close to 2/3s cups of olive oil, but taste it after the first third of a cup to see what you think. After the first 1/3 we added oil to make it less strong.

* Serve sauces with potatoes, boiled eggs, and radicchio.

Aguas Frescas Two Ways

Oh right….this is what summer in New York feels like. At dinner–at a centrally air-conditioned restaurant in Chinatown–we joked about asking how much rent at the restaurant would cost. We just could not seem to stand up and walk back outside. But then we did. Somehow we even walked home, albeit with an ice cream stop along the way.

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These aguas frescas are a good thing to have in your refrigerator, if you need some extra motivation to get up from whatever deliciously cool place you are sitting in and walk home. One is a very grown-up cucumber, lime, and mint concoction. The other is a deeply girly watermelon, lemon, and raspberry mixture with a splash of rosewater to make it feel indulgent.

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We got warmer and the food got better.

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I listened to Jenny Hollowell’s “A History of Everything, Including You” on a Radiolab short while running the other day. I think it’s wonderful and worth a listen so head on over there. Then come back. We have to talk about summer.

Although it’s not even a little bit what this line is referring to in the story, “We got warmer and the food got better” is the line that has been swimming in my head for the last few days as I enjoy the comforts and discomforts of summer. Of course, it has been a million degrees out, but the sticky heat paired with the over-air-conditioning, the ice cubes, and the berries, and then more berries, are the kinds of familiar pairings that make the whole thing kind of wonderful in spite of itself.

I have been writing, and running, and showing people around New York City. Every so often we find some time to cook a real meal, but when we have time we usually pick somewhere new to go and head out on an adventure. Last week it was Jackson Heights and Nepalese food. At home, the focus has really been on fruit.

So, here are some more pairings for summer–minimal recipes, if you can even call them that, which I’ve been enjoying, through these long, lazy, yet somehow hardworking days

– Breakfast: Cooked millet warmed with cinnamon and butter, swirled into yogurt and topped with roasted apricots and maple syrup.

– Post-Run Breakfast: Leftover buttermilk from making pancakes (isn’t there always leftover buttermilk in the summer?) + peach + lime. Blend.

– Writer’s snack: Spoonful of crunchy peanut butter topped with a single strawberry plucked from homemade pickled strawberry jam.

– Before dinner: Suze + Ice.

– Dessert: Whipped Cream + Whisky + Toasted Oats + Raspberries + Honey. (What are you waiting for?)

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Red Cabbage, Pinto Bean, and Tahini Slaw

Have you been sitting around wishing you had more recipes for mayonnaise-less cole slaw? Alternatively, have you been thinking that everything would be better if it was socially acceptable to eat a big Tupperware full of cole slaw for lunch? No? I’m the only person around holding both those thoughts in her head at once? Weird.

Here’s why it’s worth spending your spare time pondering both of those questions: If you could magically get rid of the mayonnaise in cole slaw, you could, I would argue, have the perfect lunch time salad. After all, cabbage holds up to dressing over the long-term, better than almost anything else. If you want it to taste like cole saw, you practically have to let it sit in its dressing for a while (maybe even a week). If that dressing were actually healthy, and not just mayonnaise-filled goop, you would be well on your way to a guilt free lunch you could make on Sunday  night and dump into your Tupperware on the way out the door every morning. If you added some beans for protein, it might even be perfect.

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I have been tinkering with this salad for three summers now. The cabbage has gotten progressively more thinly sliced, although not obsessively so. It has lost the cheese I once put in it, which also makes this a vegan lunch! I think it is now the right balance of creamy, crunchy, and filling to make a great lunch, but it also would not be out of place as a side at a barbecue. It is also, notably, incredibly easy to make. Just slice your cabbage, drain your beans, chop your parsley, whisk together some tahini and lemon juice, and you are in business. It’s so simple that, with my initial quandaries answered, I have spent all week debating why it took me so long to get the formula exactly right.

Red Cabbage, Pinto Bean, and Tahini Slaw

– 1 small red cabbage

– 1 can pinto beans (You could probably sub chickpeas, but I think that pinto beans have a nicely creamy texture to match the dressing.)

– 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (or more to taste)

– 1/4 cup tahini

– 1/4 cup lemon juice

– Salt to taste

* Drain and rinse pinto beans.

* Finely slice cabbage.

* Whisk together tahini and lemon juice.

* In large bowl mix together beans, cabbage, parsley, and tahini-lemon juice combination. Salt to taste.

I find that if I’m going to eat this over the course of a week for a lunch, it perks up a bit if I sprinkle a little extra olive oil, lemon juice, and salt on it right before I eat it.

Robin’s Spicy Chocolate Birthday Cake

photoThis is not an everyday cake. It has 3 sticks of butter in it. Seriously. It is also not gluten-free, but I don’t really believe in gluten-free cakes for other people’s birthdays.

This is a cake for a celebration, which is good because Robin only has a birthday once a year and it has to be celebrated in style. (Generally, with copious amounts of Mexican food and drink.) This is also the perfect cake for Robin. It’s basically the chocolate version of this soup. It is bitter with coffee and spicy with cayenne pepper, but still sweet enough to be a real birthday cake. This is not some sophisticated, barely sweet, almost a mousse cake meant to be served with coulis.

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