Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pear&Sweet Potato Soup

Simple and delicious. This soup tastes far more masterful than the talent required to make it! Use the best butter (Ronnybrook) and food/fruit (locally grown!)for the most sophisticated flavor.

In a large pan, heat a generous 2 tablespoons of Ronnybrook butter.
Slice into coins:
1 sweet potato
1 medium onion (yellow is good)
1-2 crisp pears of choice

Cover and let simmer until the sweet potato can be easily pierced with a fork.

Add 2 glasses of water, or until your pan is full. The amount of water depends on how thick you like your soup.
Add salt and pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, and a large pinch (teaspoon+) of cinnamon, to taste. Bring to a boil, then (right away!) bring to a simmer or turn off and let cool a bit.

In even portions of water/veggie&fruit goodness, blend until all is smooth, creamy and delightful.

Garnish with scallion dice. Simply trim them with scissors. This soup is also delicious garnished with sprouts (I tried sunflower), or with tossed salted cashews thrown in. I would also imagine if you're feeling adventuresome, some pineapple on the side would be delicious. It's also great with a small helping of white wine stirred in after it's cooled a bit.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Market Dinner! Leek and Carrot Rice with Soft, Sweet Turnips

It's cold! and you know what that means. The sugar plants burn off in the summer during their "it's hot and we're freaking out!" stage of metabolism is now in the "it's winter and we're just chillin'" stage. A classic example is the carrot, which, thanks to frost, has become worth its weight in sugar-coated-gold. To celebrate, here's dinner:

Prepare rice as you normally would. While it comes to a boil, wash and dice several fresh delish market carrots and healthy lovely market leeks. (The diced leeks pop into beautiful rings like Chinese handcuffs!) When you reduce the rice to a simmer, add these treats.

In a seperate pan, heat olive oil. Add cut turnips. Small, white turnips are best--sold in a bunch at the market, you can dice them and even keep their savory greens. Cook over med-high heat until very lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup water, some diced leeks, and cover with a lid or (if you're me and have no lid to match your pan) a plate. While the rice cooks, reduce this pan to simmer as well, and let everything cook itself for about 15 minutes. The turnips should be firm on the edge but deliciously soft and sweet, like mashed potatoes.

To serve, add salt and pepper, or even a touch of soy sauce. Yum!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Thanksgiving Recipe published in SATYA magazine!

SATYA, a magazine dedicated to animal rights, environmental activism, good food and good livin', published a recipe of mine last month for their Thanksgiving issue.

Check it out
"Giving Thanks from Field to Fork" at

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Squash-and-Potato-Free Winter Dinner

For us local-eaters, winter is a welcome borage of squashes and 'taters. But why not salad, still? Hydroponic sprouts, grown indoors on trays of water, are a crisp, tasty, extremely healthy and delicious option too. For dinner the other night, I made veggie crepes and a sprout-celebrating salad, as well as a sweet simple dish of roasted apples.

Salad (mostly from Windfall Farms, in Union Square)
Sunflower and pink-stemmed buckwheat sprouts
Fresh diced radish
Fresh diced purple carrots
Baby spinach

"Thai-style" Winter Veggie Toss
In a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, toss, cover and steam:
Baby bok choi
Purple carrots
Turnips (ask your farmer; some turnips are better to stir-fry than others--I like the small, juicy ones from Hawthorne Valley over the larger, baking version at other stands)
Non-local ingredients: cashews and pineapple, a dash of organic, low-sodium soy sauce and about 1 Tbs. organic peanut butter)

Apple Bake
about 8 apples, diced
Grease a casserole pan with butter. Toss apples in pan with 2 Tbs cinnamon. Bake about 20 minutes or until soft at 350*F. If desired, serve inside of crepes with Hawthorne Valley biodynamic maple-vanilla yogurt.

Building a Bed

The results our in: our soil isn't great. After the test results came back from Cornell Cooperative Extention, raised beds seemed the best option. So, with help from the Family Garden staff at the Botanical Gardens, I got to saw up some scrap wood and drag it home. Months later, today's freezing weather kept me indoors, and I decided to do a little drilling.

Building a raised bed is relatively simple. If you have access to good compost, it's the best option for urban gardeners. A raised bed can be built over any drainable surface (i.e. not on top of concrete!), and allows you to treat your plants to the good quality soil they deserve. It's also a great way to recycle untreated scrap lumber, as I did.

This bed is about 2 1/2x bigger than its outdoor partner. I'm hoping to use it to plant veggies in the springtime, when I return from three months in New Zealand and the South Pacific.