Category Archives: Local Products

Roasted Radishes with Garlic Scape Butter

Roasted Radishes w Garlic Scape ButterRoasted Radishes with Garlic Scape Butter

Remember the Garlic Scape Butter you made so as to keep on hand the bright green, slightly garlicky fragrance of this late spring produce?  The arrival of piles of bunches of gorgeous, colorful radishes is a perfect excuse to break out some of it to liven up your vegetable platter.

Piles of RadishesBunches and bunches of radishes

I’d read about roasting radishes in several places over the years, but I’d never actually tried making them.  Radish are another one of those food items that I’ve learned to like as I got older.  I particularly like the combination of butter, salt and radishes, with the addition of a herb like chives or garlic to give them a bit of a zing, as in the crostini I’d added to the restaurant menu.  So, I thought, let’s give cooking the radishes a chance and toss them with a bit of the butter I’d made earlier.  They were wonderfully peppery with a hint of richness from the butter sauce.  I just wished I’d had some crusty bread to sop up all the extra sauce left behind!

Bunches of radishesRadishes

Roasted Radishes with Garlic Scape Butter

Prep time: 30 minutes or less

Serving size: 4-6 as a side dish

Ingredients:

2 bunches Radishes (any type)

1 tsp. Olive Oil

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 pinch Black Pepper, freshly ground

1 Tbsp. Garlic Scape Butter (click for recipe)

1 large pinch Sea Salt

Assembly:

Chopped Radishes in waterChopped radishes in water

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Centigrade / Gas Mark 4).  Cut radishes into 1/2-inch (1 cm) pieces.  Place in a bowl of cold water until ready to cook so they stay crisp.

Radishes ready for the ovenRadishes ready for the oven

When the oven is heated up, drain the radishes and pat them dry with a towel.  Toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Put them into a sauté pan that can go into the oven.

Radishes out of the ovenRadishes out of the oven

Cook for 15 minutes until the radishes are tender when a knife can easily pierce them.  They shouldn’t look withered or pick up lots of dark color.  Place the saucepan (remember to keep an oven mitt on the handle!) on the stovetop.

Garlic Scape butter added to radishesGarlic scape butter added to radishes

Add garlic scape butter to the roasted radishes in the pan.  There’s no need to turn on the heat underneath the pan, as the residual heat from cooking the radishes in the oven will melt the butter.  Swirl the butter and radishes around until the butter melts and coats all the vegetables.

Bowl of Roasted RadishesBowl of roasted radishes with garlic scape butter

Pour the radishes and the garlic scape butter into a bowl and serve them while still warm.  Make sure to have some crusty bread on hand to soak up all the delicious garlicky-salty-butter sauce at the end!

Buon appetito!

Garlic Scape Butter

A bunch of garlic scapesA bunch of garlic scapes

Along with ramps, there’s a brief few weeks when garlic scapes (which grow on the same plant as garlic bulbs) are in season.  It’s now probably just getting close to the end, then we’ll have bulbs of locally-grown garlic available in the markets.  That is the time to stock up.  For now, however, a good way to continue having this delicately-flavored produce on hand is to use it in a compound butter and to freeze that.  I like to add it to eggs, pasta, and other dishes that need just a little lift and a bit of a savory punch.

IngredientsIngredients

Ramp Butter

Serving size: 1/2 cup (one stick)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup or 8 oz.) Unsalted Butter, softened

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 pinch Black Pepper, freshly ground

2 Tbsp. Garlic Scapes (bulb and greens), finely chopped

Assembly:

Butter with ingredientsButter with seasonings and ramps

Place butter in bowl.  Add salt and pepper.  Add green and bulb parts of garlic scapes.  Make sure not to use any of the green part that has gotten to woody or stringy.

Combined garlic scape butterButter mixed together

Mix together thoroughly with a wooden spoon or spatula or fork.  This is best to do without a food processor or hand blender, as the butter will get too soft and will start to melt if you use that equipment.

Finished garlic scape butterButter on plastic wrap

Spread out a piece of plastic wrap that is about 10-12 inches in length on a board or the kitchen counter.  Put the butter mixture in the center of the plastic wrap.  This will keep your hands from getting greasy and will make it easier to shape the butter mixture.  Take the piece of the plastic wrap closest to you and fold it over the butter mixture.  With the plastic wrap, shape the mixture into a long, rectangular block.

Garlic Scape buttter wrapped upShaped butter

Working quickly, so as not to allow the butter mixture to melt, work with it until the block of butter is more or less uniform.  When the butter mixture has been shaped into a rectangular-ish block, finish it by wrapping the entire form in plastic wrap and in twisting the ends. I think this is one of my better attempts at doing this.  Place in the freezer to harden and keep it there until ready to use.  You can cut off slices of the butter mixture as you need to use it, keeping the rest frozen.  Don’t forget to label it so you don’t get it confused with the Ramp Butter you made earlier!

Buon appetito!

Brooklyn Eats!

Brooklyn Eats entryBrooklyn Eats! at the Pfizer Building

Last week, The Summer Fancy Food Show, the major industry food expo was held in New York City at the Javits Center. I’ve covered this event for several years, talking about some of my edible finds and scoping out potential trends that I saw (as well as just noshing my way around the display of culinary treats for a few days). This year, I decided to focus my attentions a bit more locally.

Brooklyn Eats check-in tableCheck-in table

Brooklyn Eats! was held the Friday prior to the main conference, sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, focusing on food artisans and entrepreneurs that are making NYC such a hotbed of gastronomic creativity.  The first one of these expos was held last year.  I think it flew under the radar of folks a bit, from what I heard.  This year, it seemed better promoted, bringing out a steady pack of food industry people, buyers, writers, and retailers.  The BCC also assisted those exhibitors who wanted to take part in the SFFS, too, helping them to register and set up their booths, so this project helps entrepreneurs not just in their community but also in the larger, more competitive specialty food market.

Bacchanal Sauce - displayBacchanal Sauce – check out this fiery condiment!

Brooklyn Delhi - displayBrooklyn Delhi – spruce up your meals with these tangy-spicy relishes

There was no shortage of great food products to sample at this event, either.  As I ate (and drank) my way around the tables set up at historic Pfizer Building (the event venue as well as the site of production kitchens for some of these companies), I was struck by a few interesting aspects.  Yes, there were plenty of new, intriguing products to try.  At the same time, what made me the happiest to see was that many of the folks whose foods I’ve tasted over the years are still in business.

The Jam Stand - no-sugar jamsThe Jam Stand – look at their new lo-sugar line

City Saucery - saucesCity Saucery – check out their expanded product line and new, larger jars of their sauces

Not only that, many of them have grown and are thriving, adding new items to their product lines and venturing into other areas.  Quite a few have gone from the markets like the New Amsterdam Market, Hester Street Fair and Smorgasburg to brick-and-mortar locations.  They now employ full-time staff and also mentor other budding culinary start-ups.  Many of the founders of these businesses also participate in panel discussions and at other events to discuss in the ins and outs of creating your own food items and brands, offering tips, advice, and resources to those who are thinking of breaking into the industry.

Liddabit Sweets - displayLiddabit Sweets – follow them to see where they’ll be opening up their new store

Robicelli's - displayRobicelli’s – drop by their shop in Bay Ridge

While I don’t have any idea of the dollar amounts that these activities contribute to the NYC economy, I do know that they add invaluable services and grow the resources of the city.   It’s exciting to see the continued success of these hard-working folks.  Of course, getting to eat delicious things is a bonus for the rest of us, too!  I definitely think that our foodscene has improved and grown due to their efforts.  Check out the slideshow below to see what other great treats I found at this event.

Buon appetito!

We Have a “First Prize Pies” Cookbook Giveaway Winner!!!

First Prize Pies bookFirst Prize Pies

Congratulations to Kristen whom the Randomizer selected as the winner for this prize!!! A big “Thank You” to everyone who entered this giveaway! Thank you, too, to Allison Kave and her publishers at for providing me with this cookbook and for allowing me to offer it to one of my readers in this giveaway.

S'mores pieS’mores Pie – well, the tail end of it, anyway

There was no clear winner in the pie selection.  Actually, the entries this time were really limited, which was surprising, as I had hoped that more pie fans were out there.  If you do get a chance, however, I’d recommend stopping by Smorgasburg to try Allison’s pies in person.  Also, fingers crossed, they’ll be bringing back the Pie Shake this season.  Yes, that is a cross between pie and milkshakes, and it is truly indulgent!

Buon appetito!

First Prize Pies Cookbook Giveaway

First Prize Pies - a bit of S'mores PieA bite of S’mores Pie from the Paper Magazine Pop-up

Happy Pi(e) Day!!!  As the child of an actuary (who was a math major in college and who got a perfect score on his math SATs way back in the day), Pi(e) Day was mentioned in our household long before it became a sort of national food holiday.  I’m a huge, huge fan of pie, more so than of cake.  There, I said it.  One of my favorite local NYC pie bakers is Allison Kave of First Prize Pies.  Her cookbook release party was this week, and, so, in honor of that and of today’s special celebration, I’m giving away a signed copy of her book: First Prize Pies – Shoo-Fly, Candy Apple & Other Deliciously Inventive Pies for Every Week of the Year (And More).

Bourbon Ginger Pecan PieBourbon Ginger Pecan Pie

The photo above is from the cookbook launch party on Tuesday evening, where there were samples of this pie and of the S’mores Pie for which Allison is also well-known.  The Bourbon Ginger Pecan Pie is the pie that really started it all, when it won the top prize at the 1st Annual Brooklyn Pie Bake-Off.  This win, along with the encouragement of her boyfriend, helped inspire her to start her business.  NYC-ers have been thanking her for doing this ever since, wiping the pie crust crumbs from their mouths as they utter their gratitude between umm-ing and ahh-ing over the deliciousness of her creations.  The cookbook contains recipes for her pies as well as helpful tips on how to make and work with different types of crusts, which always seem to daunt folks who shy away from making dough by hand in their home kitchens.

First Prize Pies - Allison KaveAllison Kave of First Prize Pies

I have one copy of First Prize Pies – Shoo-Fly, Candy Apple & Other Deliciously Inventive Pies for Every Week of the Year (And More), signed by Allison herself at her cookbook launch party, to give away on this website.  To try her pies, you can swing by Smorgasburg on the weekends (check website for times and locations).  In addition, keep your social media streams on alert and ears open for when she and Keavy Blueher of Kumquat Cupcakery announce that they’ve signed the lease on their new dessert and cocktail venue Butter & Scotch.  Those two are a sweets-lovers dream team.

First Prize Pies cookbookSigned cookbook to give away

The Giveaway Rules (There have to be some of these, you know.)

Eligibility: U.S. mainland residents only

To Enter: Write a comment on this post with the answer to the following question: What is your flavor of pie?

You must also have a valid screen name (NOT “Anonymous”) with a corresponding email address to enter this giveaway. I’ll need to be able to click on it in order to contact the winner. If you list “Anonymous” or do not have a valid email address with your comment, you will be disqualified. I do not share these addresses with anyone, and they are only for the purpose of entering this giveaway.

Deadline: Is Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. DST, based upon the date/time stamp on the comments. (I’m going to be very strict about this and make no exceptions.

The Outcome: Only one winner will be chosen for this cookbook giveaway. I’m going to put all the entries into an online Randomizer (like this one) to come up with the winner.

Buon appetito!

Pain Perdu with Caramel and Chocolate Sauces

Snow Day Feb-2014Wintry window scene – NYC

The photo above is what I woke up to this morning.  Yet another snowstorm and blustery day in NYC.  We haven’t really had a winter like this in the 14+ years I’ve lived here.  Then, the heat and hot water stopped working in my apartment.  It kicked back in a while later, fortunately.  I was going to cook up something really wonderful as a Valentine’s Day dessert recipe, but my inspiration faded fast with the drifting snowflakes and the temperatures dropping inside my home.

Faux setupFaux recipe set up

I had gathered up all the ingredients for a potential recipe, having even bought extra chocolate in a pre-storm grocery run, looked at them on the counter, and then decided to scrap the plan.  The laziness factor kicked in, and I didn’t want to mess with measuring cups and ovens and such.  Instead, I decided to recycle some recipes and to forage in the fridge and freezer for leftovers.  I love leftovers, and in the kitchens I’ve worked in, we try to make the most of everything, even leftover bread.  So, this Pain Perdu with Caramel and Chocolate Sauce was the first thing that came to my slightly frozen mind (plus, someone had mentioned wanting pain perdu this week).

Here’s how it came together:

Brioche rollsBrioche rolls

The best bread for this recipe is thick-cut slices of brioche bread.  I do have a whole loaf of it stored in my freezer, but I didn’t want to break into that.  I found these brioche rolls that remain from another cooking project shoved in the back, so they seemed perfect for this project.  I defrosted them and split them in half.

Milk left in bottleThis amount of milk left still means you have to go downstairs to get another carton

Fortunately, there was just enough milk left in the bottom of the carton for this project so that I could make the egg mixture for the Pain Perdu (basically, a fancy French Toast).  This is the same amount that my little brother used to leave in the carton so that he would not, technically, be the person to finish the last of the milk, so, thereby, not having to go downstairs to the back up refrigerator (yes, large families have a back up refrigerator) to get a whole new gallon of milk.  This was an on-going battle for years when we were growing up.

Chocolate SauceLeftover chocolate sauce

I know, that phrase doesn’t make sense, right?  I mean, who has “leftover” chocolate sauce?  Well, there was some remaining after I’d tested the recipe for Spice Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce last week.  I could have just eaten all of it directly from the container with a spoon, but I was trying to be a bit good.

Caramel Sauce bubbling awayCaramel sauce bubbling away

While chocolate takes center stage today on Valentine’s Day, and I really do love eating chocolate, I’m also a huge fan of caramel.  A little secret?  It is super easy to make at home, as I wrote about in this Millionaire’s Shortbread recipe.  The only down side?  Once you figure it out, you might be tempted to make it all the time, and then just sit there and eat it by the spoonful.  Or maybe that’s just my issue…

Pain Perdu with Caramel and Chocolate Sauce

Prep time: 30-45 minutes

Serving Size: 2 portions (if you share, you can stretch it to 4)

Ingredients:

4 slices Brioche Bread (or 2 Brioche Rolls split in half)

1 Egg (in this case, size doesn’t matter, just whatever you have on hand)

1/4-1/3 c. Whole Milk (whatever is left in the carton)

1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 pinch Salt

1 tsp. Butter (again, just use what you have)

Chocolate Sauce (click link for recipe)

Caramel Sauce (click link for recipe)

Assembly:

Pain Perdu soakingBread in egg mixture

Warm up a skillet over medium heat.  While waiting for it to get hot, mix together the egg, milk, vanilla, and salt.  Dunk the bread slices in the mixture.  Toss the butter into the pan and let it melt.

Pain Perdu cookingPain Perdu cooking

When the butter has melted, remove the bread from the egg mixture and place it in the pan.  Let it cook for several minutes until it becomes golden brown.  Flip it over and then cook it on the second side until it also becomes golden brown.

Chocolate & Caramel SaucesChocolate and caramel sauces

While the Pain Perdu is cooking, set up the plate with the two sauces.  I spread the chocolate sauce in the middle of the plate and then surrounded it by a ring of the caramel sauce.  You could choose to do the opposite or to divide the plate evenly in half between the two sauces.  It’s up to you and your taste preferences.

Pain Perdu on the platePain Perdu with Caramel and Chocolate Sauces

Once the Pain Perdu finished browning, I added that to the plate on top of the sauces, the residual heat from the cooking process melted all of the sauces together, making them warm and gooey.

Cleaning the plateCleaning the plate

Then, I sat on the couch in front of the tv, watching as the snowstorm switched over to sleet and freezing rain, and ate the whole entire thing all by myself.  Sometimes snowdays are the best thing ever!

Buon appetito!