Monday, June 27, 2016

Rejoice! The Fresh Fig Sandwich Returns

Eating seasonally and locally means eschewing the imported tomatoes in winter, even when they look pretty decent, and reveling in the ephemeral pleasures of ramps, fiddlehead ferns and, in New York City, New Jersey tomatoes for the farmers market, bursting with rich juice and flavor.

Now is the time of the fresh fig. If you've never had a fresh fig, go ahead and read D H Lawrence on the proper way to eat one (Birds, Beasts and Flowers: Poems) then get a pint of luscious fresh figs. You can enjoy them the D H Lawrence way, but I think their flavor is ennobled by coupling them with a soft, not too pungent blue cheese in this sandwich:

Fig vegetarian sandwich (for 2)

4 fresh figs, (black mission figs are best) with the tips snipped off
4 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese, at room temperature
olive oil
a handful of fresh basil leaves
fresh lemon juice
freshly ground pepper
half a baguette, split both lengthwise and top to bottom

Spread each piece of bread with the cheese - you should have 4 pieces of baguette
Chop the basil and sprinkle on the cheese.
Slice the figs lengthwise and place on top of the cheese
Sprinkle with olive oil
Squeeze some lemon juice on top
Grind some fresh pepper on top of that

This should sit for about an hour for the flavors to meld, but if you can't wait, dig right in - it will still be delicious.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Real Cooking Competition: Ellie’s Real Good Food

Ellie with guests at her launch party
Television abounds with cooking shows: chefs making Instagram-worthy meals and reality shows where amateur and professional chefs compete to remake processed food or combine ingredients that should never been in the same home, let alone the same plate (salmon cupcakes anyone?).

What I’ve not seen till now is a chef who is also a nutritionist making real food that busy parents or grad students can throw together quickly. Ellie Krieger, a New York Times best-selling author, has a new show, Ellie’s Real Good Food on public television.

At the launch party for the show, Ellie described her approach as “the sweet spot where delicious and healthy meet.”

Talking about Real Good Food
In fact, in Episode 2, Say Yes to Chocolate, Ellie shows how a little good chocolate goes a long way. Keep her hot chocolate recipe in mind for when the weather turns cool (or for cool nights at the beach this summer). She uses just 3 ingredients: good quality cocoa powder, a bit of sugar and low fat milk. You can make this vegan with soy or almond milk, or spice it up with some fresh ginger; this is far superior to the fake chemical laden packets most of us reach for.

Busy Mom AND grad student
My daughter is in graduate school and has very little free time; imagine also being a new mom! Ellie shows a mom who is also a grad student that whisking together your own salad dressing takes just seconds, and it keeps for a week. No more high fructose corn syrup in dressing, or cheap oil.

And for breakfast; I’ve always soaked steel cut oats in milk overnight for cold weather breakfasts, but I never think about oats in summer.

Ellie has a recipe for rolled oats soaked in milk and plain yogurt, with blueberries and chia seeds. It’s a delicious, healthy breakfast, and since you mix it up the night before, you can just grab and go in the morning.

Now that’s Real Good!