Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fresh Lamb Roast with couscous and purslane tossed with goat cheese, toasted pecans, and blueberries

I had to make up for a lazy day--we decided against going to the beach this morning because of impending thunderstorms--with a special dinner. Yesterday at the Farmer's Market, I found some purslane. I splurged on a nice cut of lamb roast...the guy told me to use romemary and thyme and cook it for thirty-five minutes. I had some couscous from earlier in the week, so I decided to put it all together. I was trying to replicate the salad I had at Cook Shop several weeks ago, but I think I like mine better. I served it with a chilled Pinot Grigio.

Fresh Lamb Roast with couscous and purslane tossed with goat cheese, toasted pecans, and blueberries


1 lb lamb shoulder roast
5-6 sprigs of thyme, 5-6 of rosemary
olive oil
salt & pepper
3 cloves of garlic

Coat lamb roast with olive oil, salt & pepper, and chopped thyme and rosemary. Cut several slits into the top of the roast and insert halved garlic cloves into them. Roast at 375 for 40 minutes.


1/2 lb purslane
1/2 cup toasted pecans
2 Tbsp goat cheese
1/4 cup of blueberries

Toss together and drizzle with dressing (below)


1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 tsp cooking sherry
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, minced
salt & pepper
1/2 olive, squozen

Accompanied with couscous (with roasted red pepper, 2 roasted garlic cloves, salt & pepper, lime)

After we finished and cleaned the kitchen, we watched In Bruges with Ralph Fiennes and Colin Farrell. Nice.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Salmon and French Lentils with Roasted Red Pepper

I needed a simple, balanced meal for a weekday this week because I'm running like a maniac with meetings, events, etc. Only one night to chill at home with a thoughtful meal. I picked up some fresh salmon this weekend in Chinatown, and since I'm a bit salad-weary (I know, right? How could that be?) I stopped at the Farmer's Market on Monday night in Union Square for some locally-grown broccoli to go with it. I needed a good lentil dish for the side, but I couldn't find one that I liked. So I made one up.

Salmon & French Lentils with Roasted Red Pepper

1 lb fresh salmon
1 small head of broccoli
1 cup uncooked french lentils (a bit smaller than the usual kind)
1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
1 red bell pepper
1 small white or yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, ground coriander
olive oil
sesame seeds
Diced tomato (optional)

Roast one red bell pepper over an open flame. Everybody thinks this means having a fire or something, but you can do it over a flame on your gas stove. Once the pepper is black all around, let it cool a bit, and then stick it in a plastic bag and pop it in the fridge. Boil one cup of lentils in 2 1/2 cups of water and one 1/2 cup of thick vegetable stock with all of the above spices. While the lentils are boiling, saute the diced onion and garlic in a cast iron pan until carmelized. Toss the onion/garlic into the not-yet-done lentils. Take your pepper out of the fridge and scrape all of the black off of the outside. Dice and add to the lentils. You can increase the moisture (and taste) with some diced tomato. Cook until lentils are nice and tender. You can make this one day ahead of time and refrigerate to let the flavors steep.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and place the salmon piece in a baking dish. Lightly coat the salmon with olive oil and sesame seeds (or, if you're lucky enough to find it, a sesame-seeweed rice seasoning that you can get from an asian grocery....I use Ebi Fumi Furikake rice seasoning, costs $2.45 and it lasts for months! It has sesame seeds, hydrogenated shrimp, potato starch, seaweed, sugar, salt, and egg yolk) and stick in the oven for about 15 minutes.

While the salmon is baking, cut up some broccoli florets and stick 'em in a veggie steamer (you can also lightly cook in a shallow pan with some boiling water).

By the time the salmon is done, everything else should be ready. If you want to get really fancy, take 3 tbsp yogurt, dice up 3 scallions, a small handful of cilantro, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, and paprika to make a sauce. (Sauce not pictured above).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Edible weeds

Last night, my friend Patrick treated me to an awesome meal at Cookshop in Chelsea, a green-chic restaurant on 10th Avenue in Manhattan. I wasn't charmed by the place like I was with the Good Fork in Red Hook, but the food and the company were terrific. We started out with a salad of purslane, toasted hazelnuts, and blueberries in a champagne vinegarette. The waiter told us about how packed with nutrients the purslane is....and it's a weed indigenous to New York. When I asked where I could find some, he just pointed outside. I went to Whole Foods afterwards to find some to no avail. Then I started poking around on the Internet, and realized that I eradicated them from my porch garden this Spring. I can't believe it. I religiously went out there every morning and picked the purslane and threw it in the trash. I went out to search for some when I realized that the weed I'd been picking was actually the delicious and nutritious green I had paid $12 for (well, actually, Patrick paid) the night before. None. Successfully exterminated. (Which, according to web reports, is quite difficult). I will pray to the Goddess that it returns next Spring.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My favorite new restaurant

The Good Fork in Red Hook, Brooklyn is as good as I've been hoping it would be. I've been trying to get reservations for every special occasion that I've had for the past year, and I always call too late and find that they are booked. One of my main reasons for wanting to go is the restaurant's support and use of produce from Added Value,, a nonprofit that fosters youth development and sustainable agriculture in Brooklyn. They train at-risk youth how to grow and market produce, and they run a pretty neat little Farmer's Market on the weekends.

Now I know for certain why I've been unable to get reservations: the care and attention that the chef and her partner have put into the place. From the minute we walked in, I loved the place. The decor was perfect: just the right amount of tiny sparkling Christmas lights, the old fashioned paintings, the brick walls, the solid wood tables, the lighting.... We were greeted by one of the owners, very friendly...drinks were awesome and served up right away.

We ordered three appetizers and a main course because we couldn't decide what to get. Pork and chive dumplings, grilled asparagus with a poached egg on a bed of greens, and the crab cake with endive and radish sprouts on a bed of chipotle aioli to start. All of it was prepared perfectly and I savored each bite. For the main, D and I shared roasted organic chicken with potato-parsnip puree and a roasted leek. It was actually just the right amount of food, not too expensive, and utterly delicious. The bill wasn't outrageous ($76 for all of that, two mixed drinks, and a glass of reisling), and the servers were perfect. The only complaint we had was that the place was a tad noisy. It might have been the rowdiness of the guests around us, or maybe it was the acoustics, but it hardly detracted from a perfect evening out.

I can't say enough about this place. In addition to everything else, its right across the street from LeNell's Wine & Likker (; down the street from Fairway; close to another awesome Red Hook restaurant called Hope & Anchor (; and serves Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pie--made right down the street ( I'm glad my blog isn't heavily trafficked, because I almost don't want more people to know about this place.