Monthly Archives: March 2011

Arugula and celery root salad…

For the past few days I unknowingly kept ignoring the little tan root in the bottom drawer of our refrigerator.  I kept reaching past it for potatoes or onions, thinking, “I’ll get back to that later”. I fumbled through recipes for inspiration, but nothing really sang to me or to that little tan root.  Then I remembered a little side salad we ate at Vinegar Hill House, in Brooklyn ( It was the cleanest most refreshing salad.  So simple, but perfectly balanced with the rich and velvety pumpkin raviolis they had on the menu at the time. So I began chopping away at the root and this whimsical salad happened. The subtle taste of earthy celery lingers on your palate for the rest of the evening, which is quite pleasant. I would recommend serving this as a final course, European style, after a savory meal. Writing this makes me miss our Brooklyn buddies who are always up to a food challenge and experience, here is a gin and grapefruit toast to you both…plus one.

Arugula and celery root salad…

1 large celery root, cut into matchsticks

3 large handfuls of arugula

juice of ½ lemon

1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

cracked pepper

Parmesan shavings (optional)

Cut celery root into matchsticks and place in a large serving bowl.  Add arugula.  Squeeze lemon over the top, add olive oil, salt, and cracked pepper.  Toss salad together with your hands.  Add Parmesan if desired.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!


Asian noodles with kumquat relish…

Here is how my kitchen works, “Hey honey? Have you seen that 20% off coupon laying around anywhere?”, “No, why?”, “Well it has a recipe for relish written on it”, and “Oh dang it! I mailed my student loan bill, and the recipe for this noodle dish was on the back!”. I do have a notebook that I keep in the drawer by our stove, however I usually end up grabbing any piece of stray paper in sight and scramble to keep track of what I am doing.  I am a pinch here and a dash there kind of girl, so real time measuring is the only way I have any idea what I put into my dishes.  I cannot count the number of times I have mailed off a recipe, or went to go use a coupon and had to evaluate if the recipe was worth the 20% discount.  I do have to admit, I have a little fantasy that the recipes that accidentally get sent out into the universe will make some credit card-bill-envelope-opener a happy dinner one night.

This dish is all about the kumquat relish, tangy and sweet, balancing out the salty soy sauce that flavors the rest of the dish. Delicious and good for you.  We had this recipe tested out by one of our carnivorous foodie friends, and it passed with more than flying colors. So good it necessitated seconds. Plus, you get to buy kumquats which are super cute.

Asian noodles with kumquat relish…

1 8 oz package wild yam soba noodles

1 package firm tofu (we are lucky enough to have locally made)

4 scallions, sliced

2 crowns broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces

2 heaping handfuls of snap peas

1 tbs vegetable oil

2-3 tsp Sriracha sauce

soy sauce

toasted sesame oil

tofu marinade:

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

¼ tsp shredded fresh ginger

¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 clove garlic minced

kumquat relish;

10-12 kumquats

¼ cup orange juice

2 tbs peach preserves (or apricot)

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

¼ tsp shredded fresh ginger

pinch of salt

pinch of black sesame seeds

Begin by marinating the tofu.  Because tofu is so porous, it will absorb the flavor of anything in which it is soaked. However, to maximize flavor absorption, cut tofu into thirds so that it maintains its length and width, but you now have three thinner pieces, so cutting across the tofu’s tropic of cancer and tropic of capricorn if you will. Lay pieces on a plate wrapped in paper towels or a dry, clean dishtowel, and place another plate on top for 15 minutes.  This will help press the extra water out of the tofu.  In a shallow dish mix together marinade ingredients, add tofu coating all sides. Cover and let sit for at least one hour.  You can flip the tofu halfway through.

While tofu is marinating, begin kumquat relish.  Slice kumquats into thin coins.  De-seed.  Add orange juice to a small pot on low heat, add kumquats.  Then stir in preserves, ginger, oil, and salt to tastes.  At the end add the sesame seeds.  Set aside.

Boil noodles in salted water, making sure not to overcook. These noodles get very starchy, very quickly and will alter the taste of your dish if overcooked. I cooked these for six minutes exactly, and they were perfect. Then rinse under cold water.  Add a little soy sauce to the rinsed noodles, and mix.

In a pan over medium heat, add vegetable oil and Sriracha sauce and whisk together. Then add broccoli, snap peas, and scallions.  Coat evenly.  Allow to cook until tender but still crunchy.  Then finish with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.  Add noodles to the dish at the end.  Mix.

In a hot pan with vegetable oil, fry tofu until outer edges are caramelized and firm, careful not to burn.

Top vegetables and noodles with tofu sliced into squares, and a dollop of the kumquat relish.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!

Streetwise a series on street food… savory potato and pea pancake with a cherry chutney…

Having never been to India, I will be honest, this recipe is all part of a daydreamy experience of what I imagine Indian street food to be like. I pieced together bits of stories from family and friends and my mind’s images from Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, to create a savory chaat experience. Chaat is the generic word for small savory dishes usually served roadside. These pancakes are a nod to aloo chaat, a potato street-cart dish usually found in the north of India.  I made an easy cherry chutney, but really you can use any preserves you have. You can also serve this dish with my mint chutney if you would like a little heat,

This whole dish just fell out of the refrigerator and pantry. Tubers and peas are always winter staples and the chutney is a “use what you have” accoutrement. The warm, earthy spices are not overpowering but you immediately recognize India in there.

savory potato and pea pancake with a cherry chutney…


4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and shredded

1 yellow onion, shredded

½ cup peas

2 eggs

2 tbs flour

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp turmeric

large pinch of salt

1 tbs oil

1 tbs butter (or ghee if you are fancy)


2 heaping tbs cherry preserves

1 tbs rice vinegar

¼ cup roughly chopped red onion + 2 tbs extra

pinch of salt

½ tsp ground fresh ginger

small pinch of allspice

Prepare chutney in advance.  In a small pot, over medium-low heat, add ¼ cup chopped red onion, vinegar, preserves, ginger, allspice, and salt.  Cook until the onions soften. Remove from heat. Then purée in food processor or blender.  Pulse extra 2 tbs of onion in processor until coarsely shredded, or chop finely, then add to chutney, raw.

Place shredded potatoes and onion in a salad spinner or strain by hand in a hand towel, making sure to get out as much water as possible. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, flour, spices, and salt.  Whisk until well incorporated. Fold in potato/onion mixture, add peas.  Make sure mixture is evenly coated.  In a heavy pan over medium-high heat, add oil and butter.  Scoop out handful sized portions, place into pan and flatten.  Cook until crispy, 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!