Vegetable Soupe Au Pistou

Soupe au Pistou. Photo by Dominick Mastrangelo.

It’s getting to be late in the fall and that means that if you have a CSA or shop at the farmers market you are swimming in more vegetables than you know what to possibly do with. As the growing season draws to a close, the frosts come and we all get absorbed with our busy fall projects, time for cooking and lingering in the kitchen is getting shorter, just like the daylight. This simple soup is a great way to use vegetables and the last of that basil that might be in your window box garden. It packs a flavorful vegetable punch and is simple and easy to make.

Soupe au pistou resembles a minestrone in taste. It originated in the south of France where Italian and French influences collide and is usually enjoyed in the early summer. This soup should taste like a tribute to Marseille and the abundant markets around Provence. The trick to retaining the flavors of the vegetables is cooking the soup very lightly. You are just trying to soften them and make the flavors meld, not turn them into complete mush.

Photo by Dominick Mastrangelo

Soup au Pistou

For the soup:

3 carrots

3 stalks of celery

3 cloves garlic

2 tomatoes

1 large onion

1 yellow summer squash

1 green zucchini

1 red pepper

4 to 6 cups vegetable stock

Olive oil, salt, pepper

Note: If you want to make this more substantial (and more traditional) add a cup of cooked Navy or white beans.

For the Pistou:

1 head of basil

1 slice stale bread

2 cloves of garlic

Olive oil, salt

To make the soup: You want to have all of your ingredients ready to go before you start cooking. Finely chop the onions and garlic. Set aside. Dice the remaining vegetables. Put about 1 TBS into the soup pot and heat over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, stirring so it does not stick or burn. Add the vegetables and salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring several times so no vegetables stick or burn (add more olive oil if need be). Add the stock until the vegetables are just covered, stir and reduce the heat to medium-low to simmer. Simmer about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and tasting. Once the vegetables have softened, remove from the heat.

To make the pistou: Wash the basil and remove the leaves. Peel the garlic. Place garlic, bread and basil in the food processor, pour in about 2 TBS olive oil in and about 1 tsp of salt. Mix and taste. If the pistou is too dry, add more olive oil, but it need not be to liquid.

To serve: Serve the soup with the pistou on the side. Stir in the pistou before enjoying. Bon appetit!

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Posted in Cooking, Fall, Recipe, Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Brooklyn Breakfast Tacos

Authentic, Austin breakfast tacos taken by the Gourmet Fury and posted on her blog.

Earlier this fall I got to visit Austin, enchanted land of swimming holes, relaxed cafes, and the most delicious Tex-Mex invention of all: the breakfast taco. I could eat Mexican (and Texican) food all day, everyday, for every meal and not get sick of it. My waistline might not appreciate it, but my taste buds would. This is why I find it especially gratifying that it seems that most every independent coffee shop worth its salt that you go into in Austin has freshly made breakfast tacos on their menu. Featuring corn tortillas, scrambled eggs, beans, salsa, sausage, avocado, cheese, potatoes or anything else you might want to put in it, breakfast tacos and an ice coffee are a great way to start a Texas day.

Some of the fixin’s for Brooklyn Breakfast Tacos

Coming back to Brooklyn I found myself immersed in entertaining out-of-town friends and family. Everyone had very different dietary needs, including gluten-free, diary-free, and vegan, and so to accommodate everyone I thought that instead of going to a restaurant we could just host a brunch featuring build your own breakfast tacos! That way people could take what they liked and enjoy a little Texican in Brooklyn. Paired with cold brewed iced coffee, well, it was a good Sunday.

All the breakfast taco brunch accoutrements

We made a fruit salad, as well as corn salsa, black beans, guacamole, turkey bacon, turkey sausage, scrambled eggs and home fries, but you could also make green salsa or any number of other sauces or toppings. Happy breakfasting!

Posted in Cooking, Entertaining, Fall, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A 3rd Cook in Another Kitchen (Guest Post)

Hello from Pennsylvania! Dandy Prof here. About two months ago, I left behind my beloved Brooklyn (and my beloved BFF, editrix of this here blog, with whom I shared a kitchen for seven years), for the suburban climes of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Now, I have never lived in the suburbs before, and it’s taking some getting used to. So, I find myself doing things I *never* did in NYC, like going for morning jogs, hiking up small mountains, and drinking coffee at the Starbucks in the local Target (fun times!).

However! One of the things I have most enjoyed about this move has been access to lovely local produce, with plenty of farmers markets, and a biweekly Autumn CSA share.

Latest CSA haul: carrots, radishes, potatoes, mint, eggplant, rainbow chard, broccoli, onion, lettuce, eggs, and yogurt!

Aside from supporting local farmers, what I most love about farmers markets and CSAs is how they force you to cook and bake with what’s in season. And, upon being faced with week after week of potatoes and kale, this kind of food consumption also forces you to get creative. Last week I found myself with a fridge full of locally grown eggs, beets, carrots, bok choy, lettuce, and tomato. One meal I made out of this was a modified bibimbap, with red rice topped with a fried egg, thinly sliced beef, scallions, cilantro, gomasio, and the following slaw:

Beet-carrot-bok choy slaw

Shred beets and carrots by hand or in a food processor. If you’ve got bok choy (you can also use any type of cabbage), chop it up in small pieces, toss with salt, and let sit in a colander for about ten minutes. Press out the excess water, then toss it in a bowl with the beets and carrots. Throw in some sesame oil, rice vinegar, and finely chopped ginger and garlic. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

One person can only eat so much bibimbap. But I still had leftover slaw! I also had a loaf of sourdough and a catfish fillet from the farmers’ market. Meal number 2: Asian-inspired po boy.

“Asian” catfish po boy

Blend some mayo with cilantro, scallions, and the juice of half a lime.

Prepare catfish by soaking it briefly in milk (I used kefir because I’m the child of hippies and that’s what I had on hand. You can also use buttermilk).

Catfish po boys are traditionally coated in cornmeal, but because this is Asian-inflected, I mixed panko crumbs with some flour and my own spice blend I use for dry rubs. I don’t remember proportions, but you can probably get away with salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Dip your catfish in this mixture until it is fully coated, and then fry in neutral oil until cooked.

Assemble your sandwich! Mayo on both sides of the bread. Fried catfish. Lettuce. Tomato. And don’t forget your slaw.

Posted in Community Supported Agriculture, Cooking, Fall, Recipe, Special Guest | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing Eat Art!

Photo by Dominick Mastrangelo

Readers and eaters! We are so pleased to announce the launch of our newest project, Eat Art, which is a collaboration with social-practice artist and food enthusiast Tracy Candido.

Eat Art is a new socially-engaged happening that celebrates food, art, taste, creativity, history and community. Eat Art is a hybrid event, beginning with a guided and themed tour at a NYC museum followed by a food event, like a dinner party or culinary workshop, that is inspired by a collection of art.

Our first event will be held on October 15th and begin at the Brooklyn Museum. Join us on a tour of contemporary and classical art at museum, where we will explore works of art by Brooklyn-based contemporary artists who use classical tropes to explore modern issues in society.

Our hour-long tour will be followed by a dinner that features a multi-course tasting menu inspired by and complimenting our journey through the museum. Our seasonal, farm fresh menu showcases contemporary approaches to traditional dishes.

We sincerely hope you can join us for this exciting, new event! Here is the practical info:

Saturday, October 15, 4:00-8:00pm

Meet at the Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn NY

$85 per person

Limited $65 Artist Tickets will be available on the day of the event.Artists are encouraged to attend!

 Click here to sign up.

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“Dumpster Diving, Tofu + Zines” in Remedy Quarterly!

Remedy Quarterly Issue 6 from Kelly Carambula

I am so pleased to announce that a story about my young days as a punk rock zinester back in Portland, Oregon has been published in the wonderful journal Remedy Quarterly. Run by Kelly Carambula of the fantastic food (and lovely cocktail) blog Eat Make Read, the publication features “Stories of food, recipes for feeling good.” Each issue is put together around a theme and the newly released issue number six has “Stealing” as its binding idea. As with anything theme driven it’s really fun to see how each author interpreted that theme. My piece takes on the late 1990’s punk community’s views on stealing and how we used that to our advantage to help feed hungry zinesters at the first Portland Zine Symposium in 2001. It also features a recipe for my potluck standby, peanut tofu noodles.

Not only is Remedy Quarterly a pleasure to read, but it is beautifully designed. It even features original fonts by Aaron Carambula, among others. In this digital age it’s nice to find a beautiful magazine you can hold in your hand, so the article is only available in the paper journal. Treat yourself! And why not subscribe and support independent publishing and cooking?

Yay! My piece (& recipe) on stealing tofu in the new issue of @remedyquarterlyAnd yes, I totally cross posted this to my personal blog, killerfemme.

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Carrot Spiced Madeleines (inspired by Karaocake) on Eating the Beats!

Laura and Eleanor making madeleines. Photo by Dominick Mastrangelo.

Carrot spice madeleines. Photo by Dominick Mastrangelo.

A few months ago I mentioned the launch of my friend (and excellent cook) Laura’s new food blog, Eating the Beats. Her blog features recipes inspired by the music that she loves. It’s a lot of fun to read and I think the surest way out of a food rut is to let something not related to food inspire your eating. I love reading her blog to get new ideas and find out about new bands! So I was very pleased when she invited me to work on a post with her inspired by the French synth-pop band Karaocake. Reflecting on the music, which is sweet, poppy, and Frenchie as well as infused with a heavy dose of melancholy and nostalgia we thought, what better than madeleines? And perhaps, carrot cake madeleines? We invited our friend Dominick Mastrangelo to take pictures and voila! Read the results on Eating the Beats here. Et bon appetit!

Is there anything more beautiful than sifted flour? Photo by Dominick Mastrangelo.

Testing the madeleine batter. Photo by Dominick Mastrangelo.

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Cocktail to Celebrate a Summer Storm

It’s that season again. It’s the time when plums ripen in orchards in upstate New York and arrive with such frequency and ferocity, with their tart purple sweetness, that it’s hard to keep up with them. Oh, right, and it’s also hurricane season. Perhaps you heard that we had one named Irene here in New York. The damage in New York City did not seem to be so bad, but I worry for those orchards and farms and farmers upstate due to the high winds and flooding.

As we waited for the storm to blow over we passed the time cooped up in our apartment by cooking. I made a plum crisp inspired by one of Heidi Swanson’s recipes, but it is going to need some tweaking before I share it here. I did, however, create a light, fun, fruity summer cocktail that helped celebrate us making it safely through the storm and used up some more of those plums.

Plum Refresher with Lemongrass Simple Syrup

1 stalk lemongrass or 1 scant handful of leaves

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

4-6 small to medium sized ripe plums

1 lime

Seltzer water

Vodka

Ice

First, make the simple syrup. This you will probably want to do ahead of time so it can cool. In a sauce pan over medium heat pour the water and the sugar into the pan and add the lemongrass, chopped if you are using a stalk. Stir lightly until the sugar has dissolved. Heat until the mixture bubbles slightly, stirring occasionally and then strain out the lemongrass. Let cool.

Next, prepare the puree. Cut the plums in half, remove the pits, puree in a blender.

To make the cocktail: In a shaker with ice combine:

2 soup spoon fulls of plum puree

1 soup spoon full of simple syrup

1 shot vodka

The juice of 1/4 lime

Shake. Either strain or serve on the rocks, adding seltzer water and giving a gentle stir. Taste it (if it’s your drink) and adjust ratio of plum, simple syrup and vodka to your taste. Garnish with mint if you have it. Cheers! Here’s to plum (and hurricane) season!

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