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If you feel like taking a break from ingesting nothing but gin and tonics and popsicles, which is a totally reasonable way to pass these 90 degree days, I find a pesto in the food processor is a reasonably cool addition. Recently, I tried a parsley pesto from Bon Appetit, which involves almonds and chives, and I added roasted broccoli into the mix. A totally serviceable supper with sliced tomatoes, but nothing compared to this herb pasta with shallots and lemon. That broccoli was better used in this veggie pasta sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and ricotta salata. Then again if you’re cooking pasta sauces, let the market be your guide using a few key tips from Supertastes.
As Michael Pollan hawks his book encourages people to get back into their kitchens, my mind wanders to simple treats that will let me spend more time outside in this beautiful spring weather. Maybe picnics are my inspiration or maybe it was a recent visit to Glen’s Gourmet Market in Dupont Circle. Newly opened in the former “secret Safeway” location at S and 20th Streets, this shop is certainly not a one-stop grocery experience. The deli and the produce suffer at the expense of super trendy food genres like sauces (hot, bbq, marinade) and things pickled. The store, which sells products produced “locally”–that is from NY to VA–also specializes in the ever-growing prepared food market.
By far my favorite food genre, soups are perfect for this time of year. One day chilly, the next sweaty, I find a lovely pureed vegetable soup that can go hot or cold to be genius. Just saute a chopped onion in a little butter and olive oil and then add, all roughly chopped, 2 bunches of asparagus, 1 head of broccoli, a couple of potatoes, and 8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, or a combo of stock and water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer 35 minutes. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender and heat through, adding a healthy dose of hot sauce. This is a great mid-week meal served with cheeses and bread.
The first thing we think of when the world starts to warm is, of course, asparagus. It’s finally here, so as you get to roasting the spears or blending them into soup, consider also this simple, creamy pasta sauce of ham and spargel.
I will take Jane Black’s do-gooder public service pieces over Mark Bittman’s smug moralizing any day. In the Washington Post, Black writes about healthy shopping classes taught at grocery stores across the country. In the New York Times, Bittman weighs …
A few months ago the White House released the recipe for the President’s home-brewed beer. It’s a honey ale made with honey from the White House’s own hives. Instantly, you could buy kits to make Obama’s beer yourself. While I left the beer making to someone else, I do like to cook with beer, so I headed for my kitchen. (In 2011, Greg Kitsock at the Washington Post had a great piece on the history of presidential beer making. Read it.)
Thank you, Pete Wells at the New York Times, for turning me on to a new pizza topping combination. Fennel shines as the star of this bold-flavored pie. Cook it into your sauce along with onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Nice and simple. A little red wine, a little chicken stock, and a healthy dose of sugar to bring out the fennel’s sweet notes. (I based this on a braised fennel fiasco I had years ago at the French Culinary Institute.) Spread the chunky sauce over your dough and cover with crumbled and cooked hot Italian sausage and aged cheddar cheese. The sweet fennel really sings when paired with that heat and that bite. In two weeks, this pizza pie has already had several encores.
Nothing is better than a great pot of soup that can feed you (and any guests) all week. Just heat and supplement with cheese toast or garlic bread or a plate of sliced, salted cucumber spears. But if you’re going to visit the same soup several nights it has to be interesting. This week I wanted something really warming and especially healthy. I made a very special lentil soup.
In my quest to try new things in the kitchen this year, I have to include variations on my standbys. Think, it’s not a totally new date every night, just the usual main squeeze with a different hairstyle. Still kind of exciting, right? Here’s hoping.
I’ve written about a certain spinach and steak salad here, a regular in my house. Recently I decided to make a side of broccoli that went beyond my normal steamed with a little butter, salt, and pepper. (I’m starting to …