Salads, Vegetables

Spicy Cucumber Salad

Spicy Cucumber Salad |

Has anyone been to Momofuku? Visiting a David Chang restaurant has been on my short list for many moons. And a few weeks ago serendipity intervened. I was in DC for work and as the cab pulled up to my hotel, I spied a telltale electric pink 'milk' sign belonging to Momofuku CCDC just across the way. Cue the heart eyes emoji. But my luck didn't stop there. By some small miracle I had no plans for lunch or dinner that night. I made a quick calculation as to whether this good fortune outweighed the impropriety of going to the same restaurant twice in one day. It totally did and so I went. Don't judge. 

Among the many ridiculously delicious things I ate between my two outings (pork buns, shrimp buns, spicy noodles), it's the cucumber salad that's been occupying my daydreams. It's the kind of salad you want to eat a bucket of - crunchy, refreshing, salty, and spicy. I more or less did eat a bucket since the cucumbers were such a perfect foil to the rest of the rich, heavy fare we ordered. Although I had the good sense at the time to ask our server how it was made I did not have the good sense to write it down. Of what she shared all I recall is 1) it's finished with togarashi and 2) the dressing contains pureed scallions. Curiously though you use only the light and dark green parts. This stayed with me since it's the opposite of what I've been conditioned to do with scallions. 

I did a bit of Googling but the internet failed to turn up a recipe so below is my best attempt. Is it spot on? Of course not. I'm no David Chang. But it was pretty darn good and should hold me over until Momofuku sets up shop in Boston.

Cukes |
Spicy Cucumber Salad |
Spicy Cucumber Salad |
Cucumbers |
Spicy Cucumber Salad |
Spicy Cucumber Salad |


  • 4-6 mini seedless cucumbers (these require no peeling and have less water than the big honkers)
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped (light and dark green parts only, toss the white bulb)
  • Handful cilantro leaves (about 1 cup, loosely packed)
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled + roughly chopped
  • 5 Tbs. neutral oil (canola, peanut, or safflower)
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • Togarashi spice
  • Kosher salt


  • Chop cucumbers into small chunks (split in half and then slice crosswise into 1 inch pieces).
  • Line a colander with paper towels. Place cukes in colander and sprinkle generously with salt.
  • Let the cucumbers sit at room temperature (or in fridge)  for about 30 minutes. This will infuse flavor and also sweat out some water.
  • While you're waiting make your dressing. Place scallions, ginger, cilantro, oil, rice vinegar, and a pinch of salt in a blender. Puree until smooth and taste for seasoning.
  • Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to brown. Let cool and then roughly chop.
  • When ready to dress and serve, pat cucumbers dry with a fresh paper towel.
  • Toss cukes, dressing, almonds, and serrano chile in a bowl. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with togarashi and a few more almonds.


A Cheesemonger's Guide to Cheese Balls

Cheese Balls |
Comte + Blue Cheese |

A few years back my grandmother gifted me a cookbook, Fare with Flair. It was a collection of recipes submitted by members of her retirement community. It had flair indeed. But the fare was harder to discern. Perusing the retro recipes provided many hours of amusement. A few personal favorites include 'Avocado Salad' (avocado, lime jello, mayonnaise), 'Frozen Fruit Salad' (powdered sugar, mayonnaise, maraschino cherries, crushed pineapple, marshmallows), and 'Dried Beef Pie' (dried beef, cream cheese, milk, pecans). Hard to conjure the final results, isn't it?

It'd been a while since I opened Fare with Flair when the team from Better Homes and Gardens issued a call for recipes for a spread entitled 'Party Like It's 1965'. I knew immediately where to turn for inspiration. If I was going to find an idea anywhere it was within those pages. And I did. In the hor d'oeuvre section I found several recipes for cheese balls. Unlike dried beef pie, cheese balls have stood the test of time. They instantly signal an occasion and everyone loves them. 

I consulted my cheesemonger husband for his thoughts on how we might update the cheese balls of yesteryear. His guidance was simple. First choose salty, nutty, funk-forward cheeses whose flavors will shine through when paired with cream cheese, which is needed as a binder. Alpine style cheeses like Comte and Gruyere fit the bill as do bold blues. Second he recommended axing the spices, seasoning packets, and Worcestershire sauce common in many vintage recipes. When you're splurging on high-quality cheeses you don't want to mask their flavors. Lastly use your coatings to introduce a texture contrast. Nuts never go out of style but don't be hesitant to experiment with less traditional ingredients like seeds, fresh herbs, crumbled bacon, pomegranate, or as we did here, cocoa nibs. That's it. Just a few simple updates and you and your guests will not only be enjoying cheese balls for their nostalgic value, but also for being just plain delicious.

Cocoa Nibs + Pine Nuts |
Pine Nut Cheese Ball |
Cheese Balls |
You can download the recipe cards featured in this post here!

You can download the recipe cards featured in this post here!


Blue Cheese + Cocoa Nibs Cheese Ball

  • 4 oz cream cheese (Half of one 8 oz package)
  • 1/3 lb blue cheese (We used Fourme d'Ambert, a French cow's milk cheese widely available in the states. It's creamy, salty, and not too funky - a highly approachable blue!) 
  • 1/3 cup cocoa nibs (Cocoa nibs are dried, roasted, and crushed cocoa beans. They have a deep chocolate taste but are not sweet.)
  • Honey for drizzling

Gruyere + Pine Nut Cheese Ball

  • 4 oz cream cheese (Half of one 8 oz package)
  • 1/3 lb Gruyere 
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

For Serving

  • Crackers (For a retro-themed party Club crackers can't be beat.)
  • Green apple slices


  • Prepare your blue cheese - remove rind and roughly chop into small pieces
  • Prepare your Gruyere - remove rind and using a box grater, grate cheese on the medium fine surface
  • Place 4 oz of cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat cream cheese until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add blue cheese and beat until well incorporated, about 20 more seconds.
  • Line a small bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap.
  • Using a rubber spatula scrap cheese mixture onto the plastic wrap. Wrap plastic around cheese and use your hands to shape into a ball. Place wrapped cheese ball in refrigerator to chill.
  • Repeat process for your Gruyere cheese ball. Clean stand mixer bowl and attachments and then beat remaining 4 oz cream cheese for 20 seconds.
  • Add grated Gruyere and beat until well incorporated, about 20 seconds.
  • Line small bowl with plastic wrap again.
  • Scrap Gruyere cheese mixture onto plastic wrap, shape into a ball, then place in refrigerator.
  • Chill cheese balls for a minimum of two hours or overnight.
  • Place pine nuts and cocoa nibs each on their own plate.
  • Unwrap each cheese ball and roll in its respective coating. You may need to use your fingers to press nuts and cocoa nibs into spots where they don't stick.
  • Let sit for 30-60 minutes before serving to come to room temperate.
  • Serve with crackers and apple slice. Enjoy!

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Vegetables, Snacks, Eggs

Morels On Toast With A Soft Boiled Egg

Morels On Toast With A Soft Boiled Egg |

Largely I consider it a boon that we live in an era where nearly all produce is available year round. I am a millennial after all. However there remain a few seasonal delicacies that aren't available on demand, and for that I'm grateful. It's an instant occasion when you have the chance to cook with an ingredient whose time is fleeting. Morels (or as I prefer, butter sponges) illustrate this little luxury best of all. They're delicate, earthy and have an affinity for butter, cream, and egg yolks. As it turns out we have a lot in common. In New England morels arrive in late April and stick around until early June. That's just enough time to enjoy them alongside gnochhi, stuffed in ravioli, and atop a pizza. Or for those times where instant gratification is in order, toast and an egg will do just fine.

Morels |
Bread |
Garlic Toast |
Morels on Toast |


  • A handful of fresh morel mushrooms, cleaned (Note the morels pictured are not sliced in half lengthwise. You should do this though.)
  • A knob of butter
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • Your favorite bread for toasting
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 egg per toast
  • Sea salt & pepper


  • Set a small saucepan of water to boil for your egg(s).
  • While you're waiting for the water to boil, prepare your toast. Toast each bread slice then rub with a split clove of garlic. Set aside.
  • When water is boiling lower egg(s) in and reduce to a simmer. Set a timer for 6 minutes. (Six minutes of cook time yields my desired consistency, like the egg you see in the top photo. For a runnier yolk shorten to five minutes or a firmer yolk seven. After seven you'll be approaching hard-boiled territory.)
  • While your egg is boiling, cook your morels. Melt butter with thyme leaves over medium heat in a small saute pan. Add morels and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • When your timer goes off remove your egg(s) with a slotted spoon and run under cold water before removing from the shell.
  • Assemble your morels on your toast(s) and top with a split open egg.
  • Enjoy immediately.

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Handcut Lemon Pappardelle + Rosemary Breadcrumbs

Handcut Lemon Pappardelle + Rosemary Breadcrumbs |

If the flavor profile here looks suspiciously similar to my last post (lemon + rosemary + a carby canvas) then you got me. Even though it's officially spring I'm not ready to let go of cold weather fare. Reason #1: the good spring things (rhubarb, peas, morels) have yet to hit the farmer's markets. And reason #2: buttery noodles know no season.

Have you ever been out to dinner with a small child and been super envious when their noodles and butter arrive? You probably ordered something way soigné with lots of color and delicate portions. But you don't care. You just want that pasta and maybe a little cheese to sprinkle on top. We've all been there. Such an episode inspired me to make this pasta last weekend. The lemon and herbs and general effort level though I'd say sufficiently adultify it.

Eggs |
Flour |
Lemon Pasta |
Lemon Pasta |
Rosemary Garlic Butter |
Handcut Lemon Pasta + Rosemary Breadcrumbs |

I use Alice Waters' pasta dough recipe from The Art of Simple Food as the foundation for all my experiments. It's so simple you'll commit it to memory after your first go. The only adaptation I made here was to add the lemon zest.

Lemon Pasta

Serves 4


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Zest of 2 lemons


  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment combine all ingredients on low speed until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Dough should be slightly crumbly. Use you hands to test shaping it into a ball. If dough does not come together add a teaspoon of water and mix until combined. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times into a disc shape. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for one hour.
  • Unwrap dough and cut into four equal pieces. Use your hands to flatten each into a thin-ish rectangle.
  • Using a pasta maker, roll dough into thin sheets. I have the KitchenAid attachments and rolled to setting 5.
  • Flour sheets on both sides and cut in half. Each half will be the length of your noodles.
  • Roll half sheets up just as you'd roll up a carpet. Using a sharp knife cut noodles at once inch intervals. This is the width for a pappardelle but you could make your noodles wider or more narrow.
  • Unroll the noodles, lay out lengthwise, and dust with flour again.
  • Spin noodles into a nest and set aside until ready to cook.


Rosemary Breadcrumbs


  • A hunk of 1 or 2 day old crusty bread, cut into small cubes (if you're starting with fresh bread you can cut into cubes and dry out in an oven on low heat)
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Sea salt


  • Place bread cubes in a gallon ziplock bag and lay flat on a cutting board with a dish towel spread on top.
  • Using a rolling pin, crush bread cubes into craggy crumbs. It's okay if some are smithereens and some are larger.
  • When you're ready to toast your breadcrumbs prepare a plate lined with a paper towel.
  • Place butter, rosemary, and garlic in a sauté pan and heat until butter has melted. Reduce heat to very low and allow flavors to infuse for five minutes or so. Take care not to let the butter burn.
  • Add breadcrumbs to sauté pan and toast over medium heat until breadcrumbs are nicely browned. Immediately transfer breadcrumbs to plate with paper towel and allow to drain and cool. Discard rosemary and garlic and sprinkle with sea salt.

To serve, cook pasta in salted boiling water for 5-6 minutes until al dente. Toss hot pasta with equal parts melted butter and lemon juice (about 1 Tbs of each per pasta serving). Garnish with breadcrumbs and cracked pepper. Serve immediately.

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Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia |
Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia |

Focaccia! Who doesn't love it? It's like a pillow top mattress you can eat. I'm a lover of all bread but there's something about focaccia that makes it especially irresistible. Oh wait I know what it is - all those pools and puddles of luscious olive oil it's baked in. Before you get too jealous that I have an entire pan sitting before me, know that I'll be compensating this week by forcing myself to take the monster stairs at the Porter Square T stop.

Focaccia is of course Italian but funny enough my most memorable experience with it was in Oaxaca, Mexico. After a week of feasting on tortillas, I stumbled across a European bakery with rows and rows of focaccia studded with all manner of enticing toppings - green olives, black olives, cherry tomatoes, charred onions, fresh cheeses and herbs. I handed the baker my pesos, stepped outside, and ate an entire slab standing right there on the street corner. I don't even remember what kind I chose but I do recall it was crispy and chewy and soft all at once and left my hands glossy with oil. In a word, perfection. So perfect in fact that I doubted I could recreate that magic at home. However I'm here to attest that homemade focaccia is really easy and really, really good. Even if you plan to give it all away to friends it's worth baking for the aroma alone.

Now a word about the Meyer lemons. If you're skeptical about them, don't be! They're delicious rind and all. Meyers are sweeter than regular old lemons and not nearly as sour. They add an unexpected juicy tang that's - warning - highly addictive. My one regret is not scattering them more liberally.

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia |
Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia |
Mayer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia |

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia

Adapted from this Food Network recipe.


  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 springs rosemary, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 (or 2!) Meyer lemons sliced very thinly
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)


  • Combine yeast, water, and honey in a small bowl and let sit in a warm place for at least 15 minutes until it's nice and frothy.
  • In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook combine flour, yeast mixture, salt, and 1/2 cup of the olive oil on low speed.
  • Continue to knead on low speed (I used the '2' setting on my KitchenAid) for 4-5 minutes; dough will be smooth and sticky.
  • Sprinkle with flour and turn onto smooth surface.
  • Knead a couple times until dough comes together and shape into a ball.
  • Coat the inside of a bowl with olive oil, place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for at least one hour, until dough has doubled in size.
  • After dough has risen you're ready to press into your baking sheet. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil onto baking sheet and then use your hands to stretch dough to fit the pan. Flip dough over once so it's well coated with olive oil on both sides. While you're stretching out the dough use your fingers to poke holes all the way through. This will ensure those classic focaccia dimples.
  • Once your dough has stretched, let sit for one more hour to rise again. Use this time to preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prep your toppings if you haven't already.
  • After an hour your focaccia is ready to bake. Scatter toppings and finish with sea salt.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until focaccia is golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

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Vegetables, Fixings

Roasted Vegetables + Olive Vinaigrette

Roasted Vegetables + Olive Vinaigrette |
Fingerling Potatoes |
Platter |

Here's a pro tip to survive single digit New England weather - live in a tiny apartment and crank that oven! I know it's been 6 degrees in Cambridge all weekend but only because I've made necessary expeditions to the gym and the farmer's market. Otherwise I've been blissfully toasty holed up inside, using the arctic chill as an excuse to accomplish many important items on my to-do list. I successfully broke in our new-to-me vintage blanket (thanks Tuck!), watched The Sound of Music for the first time (shameful but it's true), and of course roasted a bunch of stuff.

With this spread I'm embracing the monochromatic hues that define February. I thought these vegetables might look a bit dull together but I actually think the end result of all those winter whites is quite elegant. There is one hint of sunshine - the orange zest in the vinaigrette. If you're tempted to skip this ingredient, don't. It makes everything bright and perfect.

If you're like me you didn't notice right away that this dish is both vegan and gluten-free. How about that. If you're into that sort of thing, take note. Otherwise you can just appreciate these vegetables label-free for being mighty delicious.

Fingerling Potatoes |
Fennel |
Olive Vinaigrette |
Roasted Vegetables + Olive Vinaigrette |
Roasted Vegetables + Olive Vinaigrette |


Serves 4 as a side dish

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Olive oil, salt + pepper

Olive Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbs chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp (a pinch) sugar
  • Salt + pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a baking dish, toss whole potatoes with olive oil salt and pepper. Pop in oven and set timer for 45 minutes.
  • While potatoes are baking prep the cauliflower, fennel, and garlic. For the cauliflower, remove the stem and break head into small florets. I sliced florets in half so they would lay flat on a baking sheet and be closer in shape and size to the fennel. To prep the fennel, begin by removing stalks. (Reserve some of the fronds for garnish.) Stand bulb upright and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices lengthwise. For the garlic bulb simply cut into half crosswise so each clove is bisected. Lay all vegetables on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to toss and coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer baking sheet to oven along with potatoes. (I added the vegetables with 30 minutes to go on the timer. This worked out great. Both the potatoes and vegetables were done when the timer went off. Potatoes are done when easily pierced with a fork and the other veggies will be done when tender and nicely caramelized.)
  • While everything is roasting prep your vinaigrette.
  • In a small bowl mix all ingredients together except the salt and pepper. Depending on the olives you use, you may not need any. Taste and add seasoning to your liking.
  • Let vinaigrette sit 15-30 minutes at room temperature before serving to allow flavors to meld.
  • When potatoes and vegetables are done, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a serving platter.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with olive vinaigrette.

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Grain, Grapefruit + Avocado Salad

Grain, Grapefruit, + Avocado Salad |
Grain, Grapefruit + Avocado Salad |

It wasn't my intention but I may have struck breakfast salad gold with this one. How do I know? Because it's the first thing I've reached for three mornings in a row now. I suppose it makes sense. Several breakfast regulars are present: grapefruit, yogurt, avocado. Usually mornings find me stuffing one of these three in to my bag hoping it doesn't burst/explode/get smushed on my trek into the city. But together in a whole-grain studded salad the whole lot fits neatly into tupperware and becomes quite commuter friendly. That's worth waking up for if you ask me.

The prep for this, or any grain salad really, involves some legwork but the results are worth it. Besides being heartier than a green salad, cooked grains do a fabulous job at sopping up dressing, especially if left to refrigerate overnight. Here I used both quinoa and farro because I had them on hand. There's no magic to this combo though. You could skip one to simplify or swap in wheat berries, bulgur (cracked wheat), brown rice, or barley.

A few notes on cooking these grains. There are as many methods for cooking quinoa as there are grains in your pot. For this salad I used a 1:1.25 grain to water ratio and followed these tips from Food52. The results were perfectly fluffy. As for farro, I used to cook it as you do rice. But then I got hip to treating it like pasta and have never turned back. Simply cook at a rolling boil until it reaches your desired al dente-ness. Guess work eliminated!

Grain, Grapefruit, + Avocado Salad |
Grain, Grapefruit + Avocado Salad |
Farro |
Lime Yogurt Dressing |
Grain, Grapefruit, + Avocado Salad |
Serves 4-6


Grain, Grapefruit, + Avocado Salad

  • 1 cup cooked farro (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and sections removed from pith (Don't worry about keeping the sections in tact. You'll want to tear into bite-sized pieces for the salad.)
  • 1 avocado, cut into chunks
  • 4 scallions chopped (white and light green parts)
  • 1/2 head small radicchio
  • 2 Tbs chopped parsley

Lime Yogurt Dressing

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I prefer full fat but use what you like or have on hand)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • Salt + pepper


  • Cook your grains and allow to cool.
  • Make your dressing. Whisk together yogurt, honey, lime juice, salt and pepper. Add olive oil and blend until smooth. I like to shake everything together in a ball jar - it makes for simple storage.
  • Assemble your salad. Tear radicchio leaves into your serving bowl.
  • Add cooled grains, chopped scallions, and parsley.
  • Add dressing and toss. (You likely will not need it all. Save the rest for another use.)
  • Taste grains for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper as necessary.
  • If you're preparing the salad to eat later, stop here. Cover and refrigerate. 
  • When ready to serve add grapefruit and avocado and toss gently. Enjoy!

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Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas

Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas |

Do you roast broccoli? What about chickpeas? If you don't, you should start. Both are very roastable. You might have roasted chickpeas straight into snack territory before, but if you stop about halfway they'll be toasty on the outside and creamy on the inside, perfect for adding to salads. Roasted broccoli gets so nutty and crispy any bad broccoli memories you've been harboring will be instantly erased. This week I discovered that the two can do even more when sharing a sheet pan, namely make you dinner in one fell swoop. Roasted together the results are everything January should be - virtuous, warming, and restorative. All that and there's only one pan to clean up. If one of your new year's resolutions is to dirty fewer dishes this is a good place to start.

Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas |
Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas |
Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas |
Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas|
Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas |
Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas |


  • 1 head broccoli or broccolini
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 radish, thinly shaved
  • 6 oz feta, crumbled (see this post for my suggestions on scouting out good feta)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Lemon wedge
  • Salt + pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Trim broccoli and cut into small florets
  • In a bowl toss together broccoli, chickpeas, olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated
  • Spread on a baking sheet and pop in the oven to roast
  • At the 15 minute mark, use a spatula to toss
  • Return to oven and roast for another 15 minutes
  • When done chickpeas will be browned and toasted on the outside but still creamy on the inside; broccoli stems will be easily pierced with a fork and florets will be crispy
  • Transfer broccoli and chickpeas to a serving platter and scatter with radish and feta
  • Garnish with a squeeze of lemon and serve

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Baked Eggs with Chèvre + Cilantro Chutney

Baked Eggs with Chevre + Cilantro Chutney |
Baked Eggs with Chevre + Cilantro Chutney |

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Hopefully your shopping is done and the day ahead involves wrapping and baking and cocktails. I feel a bit guilty that I've been enjoying a lot of all three lately while Tripp (like a champ!) has been working  the front lines of retail slinging cheese for 12 hours a day. For those still hustling and bustling remember to give the good people behind the counter a thank you and a smile today - they're making Christmas happen!

Speaking of cheese, here's a simple holiday morning breakfast that takes only ten minutes and lets you get real liberal with the chèvre. I first made these eggs baked with my most favorite green hot sauce. They were divine as everything that hot sauce touches tends to be. Over those eggs I wondered, why are spicy eggs always Southwestern spicy? Why not Indian spicy? What if we swap out the hot sauce for that sour, tangy, spicy green chutney they give you at Indian restaurants with the samosas? I was inspired but still a bit gun-shy. I'd always wanted to recreate that chutney at home but never had the confidence to try. That changed when I found this article over at Food52. The author not only says that making your own chutney is easy, she encourages you to just wing it. My kind of pep talk! I did and it worked. Tripp usually says everything I make is good but this is the first time he lobbied that I bottle and sell. I don't know about that but family and friends take note, you might be getting a sneak peek at next year's homemade Christmas gift.

Cilantro Chutney |
Cilantro Chutney |
Baked Eggs with Chevre + Cilantro Chutney |
Baked Eggs with Chevre + Cilantro Chutney |
Baked Eggs With Chevre + Cilantro Chutney |

Cilantro Chutney


  • 1 cup (packed) cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 of a serrano pepper
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 5 tsp water


  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth
  • If you prefer a thinner sauce, add more water 1 tsp at a time until you reach desired consistency
  • Store refrigerated and covered for up to one week


Baked Eggs with Chèvre (Fresh Goat Cheese)


  • Pat of butter
  • Eggs (as many as your appetite or guest count demands)
  • Fresh chèvre
  • Salt + pepper
  • Toast for serving


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • In an ovenproof skillet or pan, melt butter over low heat
  • Crack eggs into pan and scatter liberally with fresh goat cheese
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Bake eggs until whites are just set, about 8 minutes (if you like your yolks firmer, bake for 10-12 minutes; watch closely though so eggs don't cook all the way through)
  • Remove from oven and serve immediately with toast and cilantro chutney



Snacks, Vegetables, Cheese

A Holiday Mezze Spread

Mezze Spread |
Mezze Spread |
Marinated Carrots |

Who's getting ready to host a party? I'm off duty this year but if I was it'd look like this. I've had mezze on the brain since my birthday last month. My fam and I went to one of my most favorite places in Cambridge, Sofra Bakery + Cafe, and ordered about three quarters of the menu. If you live within walking, driving, or flying distance I recommend you make a date to get your tush over there. (Pro tip: bring friends who are down to share. You're going to want it all.) Turkish, Lebanese, and Greek flavors get friendly on the menu and the results are otherworldly. I have not strolled through a bazaar with a fork but I imagine it would taste like this cafe.

Of all the feasting to be done at Sofra, the mezze plate is what really makes my heart flutter. Mezze simply means a sampling of small dishes - cheeses, spreads, salads + vegetables. A brightly hued platter of contrasting textures and flavors paired with warm bread might be my favorite way to eat. It was high time I attempted to compose my own. The brilliant mind behind Sofra, Ana Sortun, has kindly shared many of her secrets in her cookbook, Spice. The beets + yogurt and whipped feta are both renditions of Ana's recipes though I've made slight modifications to mix up flavor profiles and make prep less time-intensive.

There is nothing particularly holiday-y about this spread, except that it lends itself very well to a party. Not only can you make everything ahead, you should. The flavors will become more vibrant overnight and then you can tackle your party day to-do list (take out of fridge, let come to room temperature) with feet up and a glass of wine in hand.

PS - I gave myself an early Christmas present this week and rolled out a new word mark for the site. What do you think? The font is called 'smitten' which is appropriate because I am!

Beets + Yogurt |
Olives with Thyme + Orange |
Fried Pine Nuts |
Whipped Feta |
Marinated Carrots |
Beets + Yogurt |

Beets + Yogurt


  • 1 lb. beets
  • 8 oz. strained yogurt (labneh, yogurt cheese, or full fat Greek yogurt)
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • olive oil + nigella seeds for garnish


  • Boil beets until easily pierced with a fork; remove from water and allow to cool (cooking time will vary based on size of your beets)
  • When beets are cool enough to handle, massage skins off under running water and discard
  • Using a box grater, finely grate beetroot (This is messy! Set you grater atop wax paper or another surface to protect your table or countertop)
  • Mix grated beets with yogurt, lemon juice, mint, honey, salt + pepper until well blended
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving
  • Serve at room temperature garnished with a drizzle of olive oil + nigella seeds


Cumin Marinated Carrots


  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. maras pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


  • Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil
  • Boil carrots until cooked through but not mushy (about 5-7 minutes)
  • While carrots are cooking use a mortar and pestle to mash garlic, maras, cumin, and salt into a paste
  • Drain carrots and place in bowl
  • Toss with garlic-spice paste, lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil until well coated
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving
  • Serve at room temperature


Whipped Feta with Mint + Lemon


  • 8 oz. feta (ideally sheep's milk or goat's milk)
  • 2 Tbs. half + half (milk or cream may substitute)
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. mint, finely chopped
  • 1-2 Tbs. pine nuts


  • In a food processor blend feta, half + half, lemon zest and mint on high speed until feta is smooth and fluffy (about 1 minute)
  • Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate before serving to all flavors to meld
  • When ready to serve fry pine nuts in a skillet with a glug of olive oil over medium high heat; stir constantly so as not to burn
  • Bring feta to room temperature and top with toasted pine nuts


Warm Olives with Orange + Thyme


  • 1 cup Kalamata olives
  • 6-8 strips orange zest
  • 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil


  • Toss olives, orange zest, thyme, and olive oil in a bowl
  • When ready to serve preheat oven to 375
  • Transfer olives to an oven-safe dish and heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes


Za'tar Flatbread


  • Dough for 1 pizza
  • 2 Tbs. za'tar spice blend
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


  • Place a pizza stone in the oven + preheat oven to 500 degrees
  • Mix za'tar spice with olive oil and salt
  • Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness on a pizza board
  • Pierce dough all over with the tines of a fork
  • Brush olive oil + spice mixture all over dough right up to the edge of the flatbread
  • Transfer dough to pizza stone and bake 6-8 minutes (until edges are browned and dough is crisp)
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool
  • Cut into thin strips for dipping
  • Store leftover flatbread in a resealable plastic bag

Leek + Swiss Chard Pot Pies

Leek + Swiss Chard Pot Pies |
Leek + Swiss Chard Pot Pies |
Pate Brisee |

Hello December! Those to-do lists and gift lists and party invites are piling up again. With the exception of not having our tree decked or swapping out the summer clothes clogging my drawers, I'm feeling pretty on top of my holiday game. I'm making headway in the shopping department, our Christmas cards are ready to ship out, and I have a freezer full of pizza doughs and these little pot pies to fuel the busy month ahead. How are you all faring? 

I'm extra merry this morning because for the foreseeable future I am finally on the ground. My fall has been jam-packed with travel, mostly for work but some pleasure too. The idea of work travel once sounded glamorous to me. But those days are over. Sure it has its moments but I'd rather wake up and make my own coffee for the rest of my days than eat one more crummy hotel breakfast. Honestly, how the big chains all manage to uniformly destroy even eggs and toast is a mystery.

These pot pies are a bit of a project but that's what December is for, am I right? And if you make enough to freeze a few just think of how proud your future self will be of you.

Leek + Swiss Chard Pot Pies |
Leek + Swiss Chard Pot Pies |
Leek + Swiss Chard Pot Pies |
Leek + Swiss Chard Pot Pies |
Leek + Swiss Chard Pot Pies |
Leek + Swiss Chard Pot Pies |
Leek + Swiss Chard Pot Pies |


  • Pâte Brisée for 1 pie crust
  • 1 bunch swiss chard (about 1 lb. leaves and stems)
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly chopped
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • Do ahead: make pâte brisée. I used this recipe from Edible Boston (pg. 27) which makes twice as much as you'll need for these pot pies. Freeze the other half for use in a future recipe.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove stems from swiss chard leaves. (Normally I'm not a fan of discarding the chard stems but here I did. The bunch of chard I had from the farmer's market was massive so the leaves provided plenty of bulk to fill the pot pies. If you want to use your stems, roughly chop and saute along with leeks.)
  • Blanch chard leaves in water for 1 minute. Remove with tongs and transfer to a clean kitchen towel. Wring as much liquid out of the chard as possible. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop.
  • In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add leeks and shallot, season with salt and pepper, and saute for 3-4 minutes until softened. (If you are using your chard stems increase cooking time here to 6-8 minutes).
  • Add heavy cream and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until cream begins to thicken, about 4 minutes.
  • Grate nutmeg into cream sauce.
  • Add chard leaves and stir until well coated. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.
  • When you're ready to assemble and bake the pot pies, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place four cocottes or ramekins on a baking sheet. Divide swiss chard among them. Set aside.
  • Roll out pâte brisée to 1/4 inch thickness. Using another cocette or a lid as a guide, cut out lids for each pot pie. 
  • Brush each round with egg wash and cut an 'x' in the center.
  • Place pâte brisée lid on each cocotte, egg wash side down, and press around the edges to seal.
  • Brush the top of each pot pie with egg wash. (Skip this step if you're planning to freeze pot pies.)
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry is beginning to brown. Serve while hot!
  • To freeze unbaked potpies, wrap tightly in plastic wrap then place in a sealed Ziploc bag. When ready to bake, remove from freezer, brush tops with egg wash and bake for 35-40 minutes until browned.

Sea Food, Pasta

Cherrystones with Saffron + Fregola

Cherrystone Clams with Saffron + Fregola |

Happy Thanksgiving week, y'all! Every day I am #blessed with many things to be grateful for. Here's a sampling from this month.

1) After four(!) separate trips to the RMV I successfully had my father-in-law's low-number license plates transferred to me. Did you know people like low-number plates? I didn't know it was a thing until we so innocently said, "Sure, we'd like granddad's old plates." It was an epic adventure involving many RMV personalities. There were ogres and trolls who thwarted our mission and fairies and genies who ultimately made our wish come true. If you spot us on the road (#50517) know we earned those digits.

2) November marks my first blogiversary for this here site. By the numbers that's 36 posts, 47 recipes, ~200 hours diverted from Netflix binging, and too-many-to-count new friends. It's been such a fun hobby. Thank you to all for reading!

3) I rang in 31 on an unseasonably warm weekend with family from near and far, cupcakes delivered to my door, and a little 5K to counteract all the feasting. A success I'd say.

When you're done with all the obligatory cooking this week, have some fun and make clams in a brilliant yellow saffron sauce.  My friend and neighbor Julia at Formaggio Kitchen gave me some handy saffron-buying tips. Apparently yellow threads are filler for this very expensive spice. The good stuff will just have red threads. The more you know!

Cherrystone Clams with Saffron + Fregola |
Peeled Tomatoes |
Fegola |
Saffron Steeping |
Cherrystone Clams with Saffron + Fregola |
Cherrystones with Saffron + Fregola |


Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a first course
  • 1 dozen cherrystone clams, rinsed and scrubbed clean
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, cut into small dice (reserve fronds for garnish)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 1 cup fregola pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups water, divided


  • Peel the tomatoes by submerging in boiling water until skin splits (about 1 min). Remove with tongs and let sit until cool enough to handle. Slide skins off and discard. Remove core and roughly chop.
  • In heavy bottomed saucepan for which you have a lid, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chopped fennel, shallot, garlic, and salt. Saute for 4-6 minutes until vegetables have softened. Stir regularly taking care not to brown.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add wine and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile cook the fregola and steep the saffron. Place saffron in a small bowl and pour in 1 cup boiling water. Let steep for at least 15 minutes. Cook fregola in salted boiling water until al dente (about 10-12 minutes). When pasta is done drain and set aside.
  • Add saffron and steeping liquid to your saucepan with the vegetables. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.
  • Return saucepan to your burner and add clams. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes. Discard any clams that don't open.
  • Divide fregola among serving bowls and ladle clams and saffron broth on top. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds.


Butter + Sage Braised Pork Ribs

Butter + Sage Braised Pork Ribs |

I'm always grateful for Sundays, but 25-hour Sundays that follow Halloween? Let's have more of those. What did everyone dress up as? I was enlisted into a group costume this year - the Camp Firewood gang from Wet Hot American Summer. Besides going bonkers all week looking for a puka shell necklace to complete my look as Katie (found at the 4th stop!), it was a big success. After a dinner of tater tots, s'mores, and bug juice us campers trekked into the city for an amazing double ticket: Grace Potter & Charles Bradley (aka 'The Screaming Eagle of Soul'). If you're unfamiliar watch this and this. Goosebumps, right? Now imagine Charles and Grace doing a duet of Otis Redding's Pain In My Heart. Yes, that happened. 

Our Wet Hot American Halloween was super but it was also more excitement than I'm accustomed to these days. I decided to dial it way back and use today's extra hour for some slow and low cooking. These ribs have been on my shortlist of recipes to try since our wonderful friends Eddie and David made them for us about a month ago. Eddie and David are both phenomenal cooks so I didn't have ambitions that mine would match theirs. But, whoa. I surprised myself this time. These guys are crispy, melty, and do that whole fall-off-the-bone thing really well. And it's spooky how easy they are. Active cooking time is less than twenty minutes. Happy November!

Butter + Sage Braised Pork Ribs |
Sage |
Butter + Sage Braised Pork Ribs |
Butter + Sage Braised Pork Ribs |
Butter + Sage Braised Pork Ribs |
Butter + Sage Braised Pork Ribs |


Serves 4-6

  • 2 lbs. good quality pork ribs
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • Kosher salt


  • Pat ribs dry with a paper towel. Salt generously on all sides with kosher salt. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  • In a wide saucepan or braising dish melt 1 Tbs. of butter into 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium high heat. Sear ribs in two batches, about 4-5 minutes per side. Add remaining butter and olive oil before searing second batch. Transfer ribs to a plate.
  • Turn heat down to medium and pour wine into braising dish. Use the back of a wooden spoon to loosen up the browned bits.
  • Return ribs to saucepan and add water and sage sprigs. Arrange rib racks so no rack is entirely submerged in liquid.
  • Bring liquid to a steady simmer.
  • Cover saucepan and transfer to oven.
  • Braise for 3 hours (or longer if you have time to kill!). Check every 30 minutes or so to make sure liquid has not evaporated. Add more water 1/2 cup at a time if necessary.
  • Serve alone or over polenta / mashed potatoes / rice (basically anything that will sop up some of the braising liquid).



A Visit to The Butter Lady

From her barn, Marisa looks out over Vermont's Mad River Valley.

From her barn, Marisa looks out over Vermont's Mad River Valley.

Back in August I had the awesome pleasure of spending a weekend in Vermont with my friend Marisa Mauro to profile her butter business, Ploughgate Creamery, for t.e.l.l. New England. I shared a few of the juicy details in an earlier post here. As soon as I learned of t.e.l.l. (which is a simply gorgeous publication if you're unfamiliar) I had a vision of Marisa and her story gracing its pages. Marisa is a total badass, doing what most food-obsessed folks only dream of - contributing something incredible to our tables. If you enjoy the finer things in life, particularly in the morning with your toast, I highly recommend seeking out Marisa's cultured butter. Read on below for an excerpt and click through to t.e.l.l. New England for the full article.

The Resurrection of a Butter Farm

There is a farm in Fayston, Vermont whose vistas have been featured in many a postcard. The outlook offers sweeping views of the Mad River Valley, including Sugarbush’s two peaks engraved with ski trails. This is Bragg Farm where Marisa Mauro makes small-batch, cultured butter. Until recently Marisa had no idea that she is reviving a hundred-year old tradition on these grounds.

When I first met Marisa she had already started and lost her first successful small business. That operation was Ploughgate Creamery, located in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. For three years she produced award-winning cheeses until a fire in September 2011 destroyed her facility. She was 26 years old. Following the loss, Marisa took a break from the dairy industry and didn’t have plans to return. Continue reading at t.e.l.l. New England.

Ploughgate Creamery |
Ploughgate Creamery |
Ploughgate Creamery |
Ploughgate Creamery |
Ploughgate Creamery |

Beets + Squash with Pesto Maple Vinaigrette

Beets + Squash w/ Pesto Maple Vinaigrette |

Here's a salad to straddle seasons. Or a salad for those times when you go to the farmer's market and grab armfuls of everything that looks pretty without a thought of how it'll all play together. Last week I came home with the remnants of summer - basil and pesto, and the first signs of fall - beets and squash. I adore fall. Who doesn't in New England? We get all the best it has to offer: apple cider donuts, foliage, crisp nights, and the chance to brag that the first Thanksgiving and Hocus Pocus took place here. It's pretty great. Note to faraway friends: come visit!

I thought about adding some farro or quinoa or something else hearty to this salad to make it a more 'complete meal'. But then I got lazy. Probably because it's still summer. After September 23rd though that would be encouraged.

Delicata Squash |
Pesto Maple Vinaigrette |
Pesto Maple Vinaigrette |
Beets + Squash with Pesto Maple Vinaigrette |


For the salad

  • 1 lb beets 
  • 1 delicata squash
  • 4 ounces ricotta salata
  • Fresh basil

For the Pesto Maple Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. pesto
  • 1 Tbs. maple syrup
  • Sea salt + black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Cook beats by steaming, boiling, or roasting; peel and chop
  • Cut squash in half lengthwise and discard seeds (or save and roast for snacking!)
  • Slice squash halves into thin half moons. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • Spread squash on a baking sheet and roast until tender and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes
  • While squash is roasting make the vinaigrette: combine all ingredients in a ball jar and shake
  • When squash and beets are cooled, make the salad
  • Scatter vegetables on a platter and top with crumbled ricotta salata
  • Garnish with torn basil and spoon vinaigrette all over


Sea Food, Snacks

Smoked Bluefish Pâté + Olive Oil Crackers

Smoked Bluefish Pate |
Olive Oil Crackers |

Oh, summer! Where'd you saunter off to? I blinked and now the sun sets at 7 o'clock. I'll quit my belly aching though because we've got one weekend left. Three juicy days to be precise. Where's everyone headed? I hope your plans involve beach houses and camp fires and coconut sunscreen.

To bid adieu to summer I figured we must throw a party. A party with dip. The title says pâté because 'bluefish dip' sounds a bit frightening - like a dare I definitely want to pass on. But's let's be honest, this is pretty much dip. It involves a brick of cream cheese for goodness sake! And where there is dip, must follow crackers. A couple weeks back I suppose you could say I was dissing crackers. To redeem myself I decided to make a homemade batch just the way I like them - crispy, seedy, salty, and a tad sweet. If you're not off to the beach or the woods this weekend and up for a medium-effort project to tackle, this is a fun one. 

Happy Labor Day, y'all. (And Happy Birthday Mom!)

Bluefish Pate Mise En Place |
Seed Blend |
Lemon |
Seeded Olive Oil Crackers |
Seeded Olive Oil Crackers |
Seeded Olive Oil Crackers |
Smoked Bluefish Pate |


Bluefish Pate

  • 8 oz. smoked bluefish
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup. chopped chives
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbs.)
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 8 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1 Tbs. capers
  • 1/4 c. creme fraiche

Olive Oil Crackers

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. fennel seeds
  • 2 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • 2 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil + 2 Tbs. water for brushing



Bluefish Pâté

Makes ~2 cups
  • In a food processor blend cream cheese, chives, lemon juice, shallot, Tabasco, and capers until smooth
  • Add bluefish and pulse until well incorporated (pâté will be thick)
  • Add creme fraiche and blend until smooth
  • Serve garnished with chopped chives and a dusting of cayenne pepper

Olive Oil Crackers

Makes about 50 crackers
  • In a food processor combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder)
  • With the motor running add water and olive oil through the feed tube
  • Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times until smooth (dough will be soft) 
  • Shape into a square
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes
  • While dough is chilling: mix seeds and salt in a small dish and set aside; mix 2 Tbs. each olive oil and water in a small ramekin and set aside; pre-heat oven to 450 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Unwrap chilled dough and cut square into fourths
  • Using a pasta maker, roll dough sections one by one into thin sheets (I rolled to setting 3 on a KitchenAid pasta maker attachment); alternatively roll out dough using a rolling pin
  • Lay dough sheets on a cutting board and pierce all over with the tines of a fork (to prevent bubbles)
  • With a pastry brush, brush dough all over with olive oil/water mixture
  • Sprinkle seed/salt mixture all over dough
  • Using a sharp knife cut dough into crackers (of any shape and size you desire)
  • With your hands or a thin spatula peel crackers off cutting board and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper (they won't expand too much; it's okay to place them close together)
  • Bake in a 450 degree oven for 5-7 minutes; crackers are done when the edges begin to turn golden
  • Using a spatula transfer crackers to a wire rack or plate to cool (crackers will get harder as they cool)
  • Store in a ziplock bag

Vegetables, Fixings

Maple Roasted Tomato Sauce

Tomaotes |
Maple Roasted Tomato Sauce |

You know that daydream where you live on a farm nestled in a mountain valley? It's the one where you have a sprawling garden full of vegetables for eating and flowers for bouquets. You make butter from fresh cream to sell to your neighbors but also to spread on toast. You have an outdoor bathtub for sunset soaks and a cat to keep you company. Last weekend I stepped out of the daydream and onto Marisa Mauro's farm in Vermont. If it weren't for the fridge full of butter I came home with, I might not have known the difference.

You're probably guessing that all these gorgeous tomatoes came from Marisa's garden. We did pick tomatoes but those ended up in our bellies before I could take any snaps. No, the weekend involved serious homework for an article I'm so honored to write on Marisa's butter business, Ploughgate Creamery. Check out the upcoming issue of t.e.l.l. New England for all the details of Marisa's enviable Vermont farm life.

When Sunday arrived and it was time to go back to the dusty, cramped city I took home with me as much of Vermont as possible. Besides Marisa's butter that included hot sauce, gin, and of course maple syrup. I have long wanted to try roasting tomatoes with maple. I now regret not trying it sooner. If you can stand turning on your oven in August you won't either.

Maple Roasted Tomato Sauce |
Maple Roasted Tomato Sauce |
Maple Roasted Tomato Sauce |
Maple Roasted Tomato Sauce |
Maple Roasted Tomato Sauce |
Maple Roasted Tomato Sauce + Hand Cut Pasta |

Maple Roasted Tomato Sauce


  • 4 pounds tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil
  • Chop tomatoes into chunks roughly the same size (I had some grape tomatoes so I left those whole)
  • Toss tomatoes with maple syrup, olive oil, and sea salt
  • Spread on baking sheet and roast for 1 hour
  • Pour tomatoes along with all juices from the baking sheet into a saucepan
  • Warm through when ready to serve

Serve sauce as is or add something briny like olives or capers to balance the sweetness.


New England Summer Cheese Plate

New England Summer Cheese Plate |
New England Summer Cheese Plate |

Cheese and rules do not pair well together. Cheese is cheerful; rules are a drag. That's why the suggestions below are not meant to be misconstrued as rules. There are countless ways to build a bliss-inducing cheese plate. These are some of my favorite tactics of late. Take them or leave them but I do hope you're inspired to replace an upcoming meal with a cheese spread of your own creation.

1. Go Topless - Eating cheese sideways in little wedges is the practical and obvious route but it's not the only way! Find a soft-ripened cheese amenable to serving with a spoon. Simply wriggle a knife underneath the top rind to shave it off revealing an inviting bath of gooey goodness. Pictured here is one of my all-time favorites, Harbison from Jasper Hill Farm. Other cheeses well suited to this treatment are Winnimere, also from Jasper Hill, and Rush Creek Reserve from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin.

2. Crackers Get Too Much Play - Crackers are great and all but they need not tag along each and every time the cheese comes out. In fact sometimes I find them downright disruptive. These days I'm into letting firmer cheeses fly solo and enjoying softer cheeses (see above) with bread. Bonus: axe the crackers and you can tell your gluten-free friends you've designed a cheese plate just for them.

3. Pick A Theme - Beyond aiming for a mix of textures, it can be a fun challenge to self-impose some parameters. Go for only cheeses from a one country or region, cheeses of a certain age, a milk trio (cow, goat, sheep) or a milk sweep (cow, cow, cow). It'll make the cheese buying experience less daunting and give your cheese plate a little story to tell. Here I decided to highlight three cheeses from New England because they're pretty much crushing it right now

Pictured above, from left to right:

Harbison from Jasper Hill Farm (Greensboro, Vermont) - This is a pasteurized cow's milk cheese made in the style of Vacherin Mont d'Or (that is, bark-wrapped gooey spoon cheese).

Ascutney Mountain from Cobb Hill Cheese (Hartland, Vermont) - This is an alpine style, Jersey cow, raw milk cheese. Fun fact: this cheese is made on a real live commune!

Ellie's Cloudy Down from Ruggles Hill Creamery (Hardwick, Massachusetts) - Is 'Cloudy Down' not the prettiest name for a cheese you ever did hear? I sure think it is. This cheese comes from hand-milked, herb-munching, NPR-listening goats. Truth.

Shishito Peppers |
Cheese Plate Cherries + Figs |
New England Summer Cheese Plate |
New England Summer Cheese Plate |
New England Summer Cheese Plate |
New England Summer Cheese Plate |


Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Sweet Corn Ice Cream |
Sweet Corn Ice Cream |

Do you ever latch on to an idea and insist on seeing it through now even though in your heart of hearts you know it's best to wait? Guilty. Right over here.

We received an ice cream maker as a gift nearly a year ago. Since then I have been holding out on making my first batch because I really wanted to try sweet corn ice cream. I can't remember where I first heard of this concoction but it sounded just awesome (spoiler - it is!). I waited through all those seasons that come before summer. And then we entered July - ice cream time! I was practically skipping when went to pick up the ingredients. I was ever so slightly bummed by the corn display that met me at Whole Foods. It looked good, but just good. It did not look like a triumphant vision of summer. Yet I remained undaunted. It was only after I returned home and began shucking that I became unsettled. I tasted a kernel. Drat, not sweet. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this but I actually turned around and went back out to a different store in search of better corn. I did find it, but its superiority was barely discernible. At this point I could have (some might say should have) abandoned the project. But I'd just bought $10 worth of milk and cream so that was not an option. I forged ahead.

Remarkably, after all that drama, this ice cream did indeed taste of luscious sweet corn! I'm not sure whether the takeaway is 'mediocre corn can yield great things' or 'all ice cream is awesome'. Both may be true.

Breaking Eggs |
Ice Cream Custard Base |
Sweet Corn Ice Cream |
Sweet Corn Ice Cream |

This recipe is a mash-up of a couple I found here and here.

Special equipment: ice cream maker & cheesecloth


  • 2 ears sweet corn, shucked and kernels cut from the cob (reserve cobs)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt


Day 1

  • Place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer (I use the KitchenAid stand mixer attachment which needs to freeze a minimum of 15 hours)
  • Make your ice cream base:
    • In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine milk, corn kernels, and cobs. Over a medium flame heat the milk until it's just hot, about 2 minutes (you should still be able to dip your finger in comfortably)
    • Turn off the heat, cover and let milk steep for one hour. Disgard cobs. Using an immersion blender blend milk and corn kernels until smooth. Next you want strain the milk through a cheesecloth to remove pulp. Set a colander lined with cheesecloth over a bowl. Pour milk through. Squeeze cheesecloth to save as much liquid as possible. 
    • Return strained milk to your saucepan and add heavy cream. Turn heat to low to warm through.
    • Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar on high until smooth and light yellow (1-2 minutes).
    • Turn the mixer speed to low and temper the egg yolks by adding one cup of the warmed milk/cream mixture to the eggs in a steady stream. Once combined turn off mixer.
    • Pour egg mixture into your saucepan with remaining milk/cream. Heat over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until it begins to thicken into a custard and coats the back of the spoon (about 5-7 minutes).
    • Let custard come to room temperature. Store in a sealed container in fridge overnight.

Day 2

  • 15-20 minutes before you're ready to make the ice cream, place custard in freezer so it gets very cold. While you're at it, put the ice cream storage container you're going to use in the freezer as well. I used a metal loaf pan.
  • Make ice cream according to your ice cream maker's instructions.
  • Enjoy! and/or pour into storage container, cover and freeze.

Fattoush Salad with Halloumi + Figs

Fattoush Salad with Halloumi + Figs |
Fattoush Salad Prep |
Figs |

It's July, aka the panzanella season I was dreaming of back in February when Boston was nine feet under (the last of that snow melted today, btw. Believe it). I've been enjoying plenty but there's another bread salad on the block we need to talk about - fattoush.

Before proceeding let me offer a disclaimer: I have little knowledge of Middle Eastern cuisine. This salad in no way purports to be 'authentic'. It's probably far from it. But we're not following any rules here. No, rather my full education in fattoush has come from one Lebanese restaurant around the corner. When I first moved to my current neighborhood I became a frequent take-out customer, ordering this curiously named salad over and over again. The herbs-to-greens ratio kept me coming back. To whoever decided to make a parsley salad with bit of lettuce, instead of the other way around, I bow down. This version cuts out greens entirely though you could certainly fold some in. Whatever you do, don't skimp on the parsley, even it feels outrageous to spend 10 minutes plucking leaves from the whole darn bunch.

Besides heaps of herbs, sumac is the other staple of fattoush that might be unfamiliar. Before trying this salad, I'd never had it. In fact I still haven't tried it in anything else (if you have ideas, please post them in the comments!). Sumac is lemony, sour, and mild. Three tablespoons might seem like an absurd amount of any spice to put on a salad. I promise though it's not overwhelming. Think of it as you would sprinkles - aim for full coverage.

Finally a note on halloumi. You'll see this popping up in the summer since it's known primarily as a grilling cheese. Since we have no room for a grill (tragic, I know) I sear in a cast iron skillet instead. It works just as well and us city dwellers don't have to miss out. 

Seared Halloumi |
Fattoush Salad Prep |
Fattoush Salad with Halloumi + Figs |
Fattoush Salad with Halloumi + Figs |
Fattoush Salad with Halloumi + Figs |
Fattoush Salad with Halloumi + Figs |

Fattoush Salad with Halloumi + Figs


  • 2 8-inch rounds pita bread
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 pint figs, quartered and stems removed
  • 4 oz. halloumi cheese
  • 3-4 cups parsley leaves, stems removed, roughly chopped (leaves from one bunch)
  • 3 Tbs. sumac
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Sea salt


  • Toast the pita - place pita in a 400 degree oven; toast until crisp enough that you can crack into shards with your hands, about 10 minutes (alternatively you can grill the bread).
  • Sear the halloumi - place cheese in a hot cast iron skillet over medium heat, drizzled with a bit of olive oil; sear halloumi until nicely browned, then flip and repeat; about 3-4 minutes per side. Allow to cool for a minute, then cut into small cubes.
  • Assemble the salad - Using your hands break pita into small shards; add tomatoes, cucumber, figs, parsley, halloumi, sumac, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and toss. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving to allow pita to soften slightly.