Archives for posts with tag: lemon zest

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This soup really hits the spot on a crisp fall day. I’m glad I overstuffed my bike bag at the coop to get in that head of cauliflower. The lemon zest adds just the right contrast to this smooth and creamy (but vegan) dish. Pair with a chunk of sourdough bread or salad to round out the meal.

(If I make this again I’d like to add some finely grated fresh ginger, at the same point as when you add the lemon zest and juice.)

Lemony Carrot and Cauliflower Soup
adapted from Melissa Clark

1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
1 large white onion, peeled and diced (2 cups)
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 medium carrots (1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
6 c low-sodium vegetable stock or water (I used water + a vegetable bouillon cube)
3 tablespoons white miso
1 small (or half of a large) head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste
Smoky chile powder, for serving
Coarse sea salt, for serving
Cilantro leaves, for serving

In a large, dry pot over medium heat, toast coriander seeds until fragrant and dark golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and coarsely crush.

Return the pot to medium heat. Add the oil and heat until warm. Stir in onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly colored, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute.

Add carrots, crushed coriander, salt and 6 cups water (or stock) to the pot. Stir in the miso until it dissolves. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. (You can also use a regular blender, just let the soup cool.) If necessary, return the puréed soup to the heat to warm through. Stir in the lemon zest and juice just before serving. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with chile, sea salt and cilantro leaves.

Serves 6.

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Below are some pics from the past week. A butterfly outside my local coffee shop this weekend; below that one of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms at David Zwirner; and below that, two photos from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I’m working with them on a book so got to spend the day and night in the new wing of their museum, designed by Renzo Piano. Check out those orchids in their greenhouse!

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I’m the first to admit I’m a little late to the strawberry rhubarb party this year. It’s not my fault! My day job has turned into a day-and-night job leaving little time to tend to matters of the kitchen. Take heart, yesterday morning I woke up with my priorities straight. I ran (literally) to the Fort Greene farmer’s market (site of the fiddlehead fiasco a few weeks ago) to fetch strawberries so small and sweet they resembled raspberries and tasted like jam. And I was delighted to see the rhubarb still hanging around, weeks after I first saw it (and rushed by it) at the Union Square Greenmarket.

But what’s that I see? Cherries?! I haven’t even tasted my first bite of a strawberry-rhubarb crisp this season and already there are cherries to contend with? Maybe next week. Yesterday I was on a mission and would not get distracted, no matter how sweet the cherries looked.

I was after the classic strawberry rhubarb pie. A fool’s mission, you may think, given the tendency for strawberries to explode mid-baking, making for a runny mess for your crust to sop up. So call me a fool. I love this particular pie. I love it in June (I love June period). I love it with ice cream or without. I love it standing up in a Brooklyn kitchen late at night or in a backyard in Vermont. And most importantly, so does my grandmother, and I wanted her to have a big ole piece of it.

I thought about fussing of course. I picked up and smelled the herbs at the market, wondering at first how sage would go with these flavors, then thyme, then mint. And then wondered about balsamic vinegar and black pepper, before deciding to keep it simple. Well, mostly simple.

The only two additions I allowed were freshly grated ginger and lemon zest, just to spice things up a bit without going completely rogue. I love the combination of rhubarb and ginger, and that of strawberry and lemon. The proof was in the filling: when baked this pie was not too sweet, but lusciously fruity, jammy, June-y, tart, with just a hint of the lemon and ginger to elevate the senses.

And fear not—the pie crust took all of five, maybe eight, minutes to make, and no food processor or pulsing required. I’d been wanting to try Cook’s Illustrated recipe using vodka in place of the water. The theory is that vodka, in large part pure alcohol, provides the necessary liquid to bind the dough, then cleverly evaporates during baking to yield a flakier crust. I proceeded cautiously and used only 1/4 c of ice-cold vodka (left over in my freezer from New Year’s), mixed with 1/2 c water. And you know what, the crust was buttery and flaky and darn tasty.

Next week: cherries anyone? And good luck to Rafa at the French Open this morning, I would love to see him put an end to Djoki’s streak. Only two months til the US Open!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

For the crust:
2 1/2 c flour (I like 2 c all-purpose and 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks cold, unsalted butter (16 tbsp), cut into small cubes
1/2 c cold water
1/4 c cold vodka

Combine the water and vodka, add an ice cube or two, and set aside. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and work quickly (with a pastry blender, whisk, or your hands) to combine until pea-sized crumbs form. Add 1/2 c of the liquid and continue mixing. You can add the rest if and when you need it, which you probably will. Separate the dough into equal halves, flattening a bit and transferring to plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of an hour and up to one week.

For the filling:
1 1/4 lb rhubarb, cut into small pieces
1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
1/2 c cane or white sugar
1/4 c light brown sugar
dash of salt
zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 c corn starch
Optional: 1 egg yolk mixed with a little water for glaze

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Prepare to roll out the dough by cleaning a large surface and flouring it. I like to roll out dough directly on a large piece of saran wrap. Roll half of the dough into a roughly 12- or 13-inch diameter. Carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie dish and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, salt, zest, lemon juice, ginger, and corn starch. Transfer the filling into the pie crust. Roll out the second half of the pie dough, this time to a slightly smaller diameter. Transfer over top of the filling, pressing around the sides to remove any gaps. Trim the ends of the pie and crimp the edges. Make decorative slits to let steam escape. Brush the top with the egg yolk mixture.

Place on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven, baking at 400 for 20 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 for an additional 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and let cool completely (if you can resist) before digging in.

What do you say when a friend hand delivers you hand-picked ramps?

You say THANK YOU! And perhaps, I’m sorry you had to carry these stinky alliums around all day.

My friend Paul brought me beautiful, pungent ramps that he foraged with a trowel from a hillside near his home in Phoenicia, New York, in the Catskill Moutains. I haven’t been to the farmer’s market much lately so I was very grateful to receive the muddy gift. We met at a friend’s art show Thursday night, and by the time I arrived, an hour late, the ramp’s aroma had permeated the entire gallery.

Ramps are only in season in these parts from roughly the end of April to the second week of May, if you’re lucky. They come and go in a flash before wearing out their welcome. I think they’re in season for the perfect amount of time—long enough for you to enjoy them in scrambled eggs and pesto and maybe biscuits, but not long enough to get sick of them (I’m lookin at you zucchini). They make a graceful exit just as you’re fantasizing about what you’ll make next. Ramp risotto?

Exactly one year ago I wrote here about linguine with ramps. This year I thought I’d try something different. My friend Katherine recently mentioned that, at Reynards in the new Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, she’d eaten radishes on toast that had been slathered with ramp butter. Genius! Jill was coming for brunch today so I thought: ramp butter, toast, and runny eggs.

Turns out, kitchen maven April Bloomfield has a recipe for ramp butter (with quail eggs) in her delectable cookbook A Girl And Her Pig, which I used as a guiding light.

The lemon zest and lemon juice are just the addition to cut the richness of the butter. The ramps definitely make their presence known without being overly sharp, a result of sautéing them for two minutes. I plan on using the leftover ramp butter over pasta. It would be delicious slathered over biscuits or scones, or on dark rye bread with those radishes, anything with a bite.

It’s nice having a personal ramp dealer. I will not share his beeper number with you so don’t even ask. Get your own forager!

Ramp Butter

1/4 pound ramps, cleaned, roots trimmed
11 tbsp unsalted butter
zest from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of chili flakes
3 anchovies, rinsed and minced (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and peper

Thinly slice the bulbs and stems of the ramps, and set aside. Slice the greens and toss some of these with the bulbs and stems, reserving the rest. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a skillet and when hot add the ramp bulbs and stems and some of the greens and sauté for two minutes, stirring often.

Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining butter, lemon zest and juice, a pinch of chili flakes, anchovies, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. I ended up squeezing a bit more lemon juice into the mixture. Blend this and when mixed, add the remaining chopped ramp greens, stir again. You can serve this on toast or over pasta, and I imagine it would taste great tucked under the skin of a chicken before roasting.

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