One Kale Recipe Down, Millions(?) to Go

Last week, while traveling through the south, I had a vegetable epiphany that I haven’t had in years.  Sure, I love vegetables (to photograph, to eat, to chop, to throw at bad comedians) but I felt like I had made all of my vegetable discoveries at this point.  (Realizing some time in high school that mushrooms were astoundingly delicious made me sincerely regret each and every time I secretly slid a mushroom onto my mother’s plate.)  I’ve had jicama and nettles and delicata squash and ramps and fiddleheads – and loved them all – and felt like I had settled into my vegetable rhythm for life.  Love cucumbers and zucchini and mushrooms and every onion varietal, truly enjoy everything else, tolerate tomatoes (and love them when they’re good) seemed like a decent strategy.

But then last week, I found myself completely entranced by a salad of something I’ve never loved: kale.  This “Naked Kale Salad,” from Caviar & Bananas in Charleston, SC, was enchanting.  The kale was tender but still crunchy, the salad had a sweet and salty tang (aged gouda, cranberries, blueberries, grape tomatoes, lemon vinaigrette) and the crunch of the kale was enhanced by the dusting of almond slivers on top.  Had I known that my picnic companions would not have thrown me off the grounds, I would have eaten the whole damn container.

I always found the concept of kale completely unappetizing.  The leaves are tough, the prep work trimming the thick ribs interminable, and the taste never did it for me.  I can imagine myself in some alternate universe, saying “ugh Mom, kale for dinner again?” with the same disdain with which I used to speak about spinach (kale wasn’t really a…thing in Massachusetts in the 80s.)  But this salad changed my mind, and with that I’ve resolved to try cooking kale on a regular basis – learn its quirks – and incorporate it into my diet.  Tonight I made a flash-sauté of kale from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything,” which is always my starter volume when I don’t know where to begin.  I’ve adjusted the recipe to account for the terrifying splatters and the 10 oz bags of pre-chopped and trimmed kale that they sell at Trader Joe’s.  What?  I may be resolving to eat kale, but that doesn’t mean I’m resolving to stand in front of my counter for an hour trimming it.

Recipe: Kale, Brazilian Style (adapted from “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman)

Kale, Brazilian Style: A quick, tangy saute gets a veggie on the table in minutes.


  1. 1 10oz bag of trimmed kale (available at Trader Joe’s)
  2. 2 tbsp olive or peanut oil
  3. 1 tbsp minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
  4. salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  5. 1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar


  1. Dry the kale thoroughly, and discard any large pieces of rib.
  2. Heat a 12-inch skillet or wok over high heat until smoking. Add the oil to the skillet, let it sit for a few seconds, then toss in the greens and the garlic. (BE CAREFUL, THIS WILL SIZZLE IN A VERY SCARY WAY. Stand back.  Maybe wear gloves.  Definitely don’t do this in your best suit.)
  3. Cook over high heat, stirring almost constantly, until the greens wilt and begin to brown, 3 to 8 minutes (depending largely on the power of your burner.)
  4. Season with salt and pepper and add a little vinegar. Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve immediately.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 8 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Diet tags: Gluten free

Number of servings (yield): 4

Copyright © Mark Bittman.
Recipe by Mark Bittman.  Silly notes and comments by Sara Yood.
Posted in cooking, healthy stuff, recipes, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Passover Shopping Meltdown

“People who don’t live in New York City need to understand that shopping here is a lot like foraging for dinner in the woods, except instead of getting eaten by a bear you risk getting hit by a cab.” – Kim Severson

Passover is a holiday intrinsically connected to food.  In addition to eliminating all leavening from our diets, we add in some seemingly strange things.  Gefilte fish, chopped liver, gel shaped like citrus fruit – these are all items that appear on shelves in early April for our consumption during this week.  (In thinking about it this week, I really can’t figure out why I’m terrified of the fish balls that come in some ramen and yet eat gefilte fish without a second thought.  They are, conceptually, equally gross.)

Shopping for these things, though, brings me much grief each year.  This year, after returning from the seder I attended out of town, I went to the Fairway on 74th Street in order to stock up on some Passover essentials.  I’m not sure what it is about this week, but it elicits this extreme feeling that my entire diet must change and that I can’t eat normal food.  (Let’s forget, for a minute, that the majority of my diet is, in fact, Passover-friendly.)  Somehow, when Passover shopping, you stand in the middle of a grocery store with the distinct feeling that the world is out to get you and that if you don’t purchase that cannister of toffee crunch macaroons, everything is going to fall apart.  And if that grandma gets there first?  Well, a) that is not going to happen and b) I WILL CUT HER if she gets the last box of Streit’s.

I don’t need a cannister of toffee crunch macaroons, nor do I need fruit gel slices, unimaginable amounts of gefilte fish, or kosher for Passover (“K for P”) farfel stuffing.  And yet, I am moved to purchase these things either out of complete sensory deprivation or an unnecessary desire to act more religious than I actually am.  Never mind the fact that it’s pretty likely that I could easily concoct a K for P meal out of what’s already in my kitchen (in fact, I just did it right now – quinoa cooked in chicken broth, chicken, dried cranberries, chopped scallions, WHAT UP) or that any number of normal people live a gluten-free life every day.  For me, and for this week, all reason goes out the window, and it seems like a good idea to buy ground-up matzah in a jar.

Is there another food that goes from awesome to terrible so quickly than matzah brei?  I say no.

Posted in cooking, food shopping, holidays | 1 Comment

Slow-Cooking for the Week’s Work

Ever since starting my new job, I’ve gotten into this rhythm of cooking something big on Sundays so that I can portion it out through the week for lunch.  Since my oven is a tempermental, ancient piece of crap that can’t maintain a consistent temperature, I’ve been turning to the slow-cooker more and more often.  Set-up? Easy.  Throw some stuff in a pot, turn it on, walk away for four hours, and it’s done.  Clean up?  A breeze – these things are essentially non-stick and all of the recipes call for a significant amount of liquid to ensure that you’re not going to be spending 30 minutes at the sink immersed in soapy water.  Clearly this thing was worth much more than the $23 I paid for it in the Zabar’s mezzanine.

An added benefit of this experimentation has been handing off these recipes to a friend who is also cooking on Sundays for the week.  So far I’ve been cooking a week ahead of him, and then serving as consultant as he purchases ingredients and makes substitutions (when we discovered that dietary restrictions meant he couldn’t use coconut milk with chicken, we subbed chicken broth and shredded coconut – that one was a shot in the dark on my part, but he promises it was delicious.)  I like looking at these recipes from two perspectives – I choose recipes based on what I’m in the mood for, but then I go through them again and look at what techniques might not be second nature for someone not taught to cook by my mother.  I send these recipes as annotated as I can, he comes back with questions, and we go from there.

So here’s links to the recipes he and I have been cooking, as well as one of my own not for the crockpot (and by my own, I definitely mean my mother’s) that he’s doing today:

  • CrockPot Apricot Chicken (this one courtesy of Jenny at Karma Continued, who made this and kicked me off on this slow-cooking extravaganza.)
  • Chicken Makhani (I didn’t have an onion, so I threw in the dried/dehydrated onion I had in the spice drawer.  Worked fine.  If you can’t do coconut milk, do the equivalent in chicken broth and add in 1/2 cup coconut flakes, and skip the yogurt at the end.  If you do use coconut milk, the recipe needs salt.  If you can’t find whole coriander, sub in 1/2 tsp of ground.)
  • Indian Spinach and Tofu (this is what I’m cooking right now.  Vegetarian-friendly!)

Recipe: Mustard-Salsa Chicken


  1. 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 2/3 cup salsa
  3. 1/3 cup dijon mustard
  4. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  6. cooking spray


  1. Mix salsa, mustard, lemon juice, salt (1/4 tsp) and ground black pepper (about 6 grinds or 1/4 tsp) in a small bowl. Place chicken in a plastic bag, and pour in mixture. Marinate in refrigerator for 1-4 hours, turning once.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess marinade. Place in sprayed baking pan.
  3. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Posted in cooking, food shopping, recipes | Leave a comment

Recipe Copyrant

The internet briefly exploded this week over speculation that the Food Network, which publicly canceled Anne Thornton’s show “Dessert First” over low ratings, may have actually canceled the show due to recipe plagiarism.  I can’t speak with authority about Thornton’s show, having never seen it (I prefer my cooking shows to be helmed by more proven, established cooks like Ina, Alton…even Chiarello in his inherent douchiness is still a great cook.  Plus, he told me I could freeze blue cheese for six months, for which I am forever grateful.)  However, copyright’s non-protection of recipes is something I’ve discussed here before, and I think the general Internet opinion may have gotten this one a little wrong.

The New York Post article pointed to two recipes for lemon bars as an example of the possible plagiarism committed by Thornton.  One recipe is by the Contessa herself, the other from Thornton.  Both recipes have the following ingredients:  butter, sugar, flour, salt, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, confectioner’s sugar.  Thornton’s adds almond extract for the bar base, and suggests a garnish of raspberries (which is totally irrelevant for these purposes.  If you can’t copyright a recipe, you sure as hell can’t copyright a garnish.) So, what exactly do we see here that is a problem?  If you were going to make a recipe for lemon bars from scratch, there’s nothing in that list of ingredients you wouldn’t include.  This is the inherent problem with understanding how copyright law might protect recipes: they are just too damned close sometimes to even begin to tell if plagiarism has happened.  And even if Thornton copied Ina’s ingredients, so what?  A list of ingredients isn’t protectable by copyright law because it is an idea – a functional list, if you will – and not the expression of any idea.  It is a list of ingredients.  Its function is to tell you what ingredients go in a recipe.  There’s not even a “modicum” of creative expression involved, and any yahoo with Google could have told you that those were the items that you use to make lemon bars.

My biggest problem with this, however, is HuffPo’s generalization of copyright and recipes: “Recipe attribution is tricky business — the copyright laws on the topic are notoriously vague, with legal infringements often hinging on the actual phrasing of instructions rather than a list of ingredients.”  Well, isn’t that just the biggest simplification of one of the most difficult topics to explain in copyright?  It’s not that the suits hinge on the actual phrasing of instructions rather than a list of ingredients, but that a list of ingredients is not copyrightable – it is purely functional.  And the law views recipes as facts, not expression, despite how many chefs might argue that the output from a recipe is in fact an expression of their ideas.

I’d love to argue that recipes should be treated differently under copyright law, but no matter how many times I’ve tried (and did in a law school independent study), I never end up completely convinced myself.  Despite the fact that there are a million ways to make a bolognese, there are always going to be certain things that go in that bolognese, and there’s no arguable creative input in listing those ingredients.  Sure, there is creative expression in an explanation of the recipe (“I learned this recipe from my grandma on a visit to Italy when I was a kid”) and that will always be copyrightable.  But while it pains me to say it, it looks to me like this is more an instance of a public feeling that something is just simply unfair rather than actual infringement.  Copyright law isn’t going to budge on this – the line in the idea/expression dichotomy is very clear – and although it might have been unfair for Thornton to base her recipes off of those she enjoyed, it certainly wasn’t illegal.

Posted in academia, recipes | 3 Comments

A Dream No Longer

Ever since I started cooking on my own, I’ve had pipe dreams about quitting my life, going to culinary school, and becoming a chef.  I know this is derivative.  So many people think that culinary school is the answer, a solid plan B that will pay off in the future.  I know it’s not: opening a restaurant takes a work ethic I probably don’t have, and a functionality on no sleep which I definitely don’t have.  Becoming a chef wouldn’t fulfill my innate need for academic discourse, nor would it leave me with any social life whatsoever.  But to be able to create in the kitchen – to be able to dream up flavor profiles and have an instinctual knowledge for how to cook for patrons – those are skills I wish I had.

For a week over the summer, I was away in Montreal with my best friend, taking a well-needed respite after the bar exam.  Called our “Ashram It and Undo It Tour”, we went to a yoga center up in the Laurentian Mountains for four days, and then spent four days wandering around Montreal.  The yoga center’s daily schedule was simple: meditation, chanting, yoga, lunch, karma yoga (co-operative work service for the upkeep of the ashram), free time, yoga, dinner, meditation, chanting, sleep.  Since I’d done nothing all summer except for thinking, this physical challenge was welcome.  On our first full day there, our karma yoga assignment was to help in the kitchen.  I’m pretty sure Dani and I shouted “SCORE” and high-fived at the thought of this – we both love to cook, and as I said, “I can chop vegetables like nobody’s business.”

Unfortunately, this task ended up being much more onerous than either of us had expected.  We showed up in the kitchen at 2pm, only to discover that the real kitchen staff had been given the night off and that there was essentially no one in charge.  And then, we were assigned the task of making hot soup for 75 people.  The person assigning the task?  A megalomaniac British dude who knew nothing about kitchen management.  In a kitchen we’d never set foot in before.  With no idea where to even begin.

Dani and I are not idiots.  We know how to make soup.  But throwing us blindly into making soup in such a large quantity in an unfamiliar kitchen when neither of us had ever even seen a robo-coupe before was terrifying.  We quickly divided tasks – Dani robo-couped a dozen heads of cauliflower and I sautéed it in the kitchen wok that was bigger than the two of us put together, and then we added the cauliflower to some stock that the kitchen already had, put in a lot of milk, butter, thyme, salt, and pepper, and hoped for the best.  During all of this, however, Meglo Brit Dude was wandering all over the kitchen, poking his fingers into what everyone was doing, and essentially freaking out.  Three hours into this experience (after we missed the yoga class we’d come there for), he shouted in the middle of the kitchen “STOP.  Everybody stop!  I need to know exactly what you are doing.  I cannot lead this team if I don’t know what you are doing!”  Dani and I stood sheepishly at the stove (okay, that’s not true.  I stood sheepishly at the stove.  Dani walked into the sink room because she was about to punch Meglo Brit Dude in the face and she knew it.)  After I explained to him what we were doing with the soup, he tasted it and asked “doesn’t it need something extra, like cumin?”  I looked him straight in the eye, and very calmly said “do not put cumin in this soup.  You will completely ruin the flavor profile.”

After he walked away, I talked Dani off the ledge (he’s yelling because he feels like nothing is in control, let’s just make soup) and we left the soup slightly simmering while we left to wash off the cauliflower that was all over us.  As we walked back to the kitchen at dinner time, ready to serve, I thought “well, I should thank Meglo Brit Dude.  He has completely cured me of any desire to ever work in a restaurant kitchen.”

We got raves about the soup.

Posted in cooking, restaurant | 1 Comment

There’s Nothing You Can’t Do

There’s a small restaurant in Northboro, MA, at which I have been having special lunches for many years.  It’s set in a little building that looks like a house, and the rooms look like old country rooms, and in order to get inside, you must walk through the kitchen (and say hello to Martha, the owner.)  They serve curried chicken salads, and savory scones, and sandwiches made out of the scones, and a bajillion different kinds of tea, and wonderful handmade salad dressings, and a beautiful selection of tarts and pies and things.  It was always an occasion, going to go to SpecialTeas, and especially when we’d go there with Lillian.

Lillian was the wife of a doctor colleague of my dad, but the story is much more precious than just that.  Once high school sweethearts, they had a terrible misunderstanding and broke up, married other people, had children, and and lived completely separate lives.  (Lillian once admitted to me that she had seen Jack in the supermarket one time, but hid from him out of fear and embarrassment.)  Many years later, after both of their spouses had died, they reconnected and started dating.  As a child, I remember driving past Lillian’s house at the end of my street and hearing mom giggle “look whose car is at Lillian’s!”  They eventually married, loved each other very deeply, and in their retirement, led very rich lives.  Jack taught me how to model in clay in his basement studio where he carved the most beautiful wooden sculptures.  Lillian was active in basically every Jewish group in Worcester.

Jack died many years ago, but Lillian had many years to go, and I just loved her so.  Every year for a very long time, I would accompany her to Worcester State College for a touring opera company’s production of whatever opera they were doing that year.  She’d pick me up in her boat of a Cadillac, hair perfectly coiffed and excited as ever, and we’d sit in the best seats so that I could read the supertitles without worrying about a tall person in front of me.  I looked forward to those evenings so much: it made me feel so special, bouncing in the front bench seat of her car on the way to the college, and talking about why we loved opera as we waited for the conductor to enter the pit.

But loving Lillian wasn’t just about the things we would do together.  It was also loving her unbelievably positive personality and demeanor when we’d talk.  I can hear her voice so distinctly, saying “Sara, darling,” except with her Worcester accent, it always came out more like “Sayrer, daahling.”  Nothing could change her enthusiasm.  Any time I’d mention a problem, or a decision I was trying to make, or something that was blocking a path, she would say “I know you’ll figure it out.  You’ah very smaht.  And smaht girls like you always figure it out.”  Talking with Lillian made you feel like there was absolutely nothing you couldn’t do.

The last time I spoke with Lillian was about two weeks ago, as I was leaving a job interview.  I called my mother, and she asked if I wanted to speak to the “surprise” person who was accompanying her in the car.  When Lillian got on the phone, she told me that she was so happy to hear that I had been on a job interview, and that she was absolutely convinced that I would get the job.  She was so enthusiastic, so positive, even though she had been struggling with health issues, and kept telling me that she knew everything would work out.

Lillian died overnight yesterday after a short illness.  She was a remarkable 98 years old.  To my dear Lillian: I got the job.

Posted in home, not about food | 3 Comments

Sponsored Post: Musings on Greek Yogurt

As a child, there were certain foods that I just wouldn’t eat.  Bothered by texture, taste, or some other mental block, my mother would occasionally serve them and somehow tolerate my picking apart of whatever it was that she served that day.  (She makes the most amazing Chinese hot and sour soup; I used to individually pick out each mushroom – shiitake and tree ear – with chopsticks and deposit them in her bowl.  When I think about how many years of mushroom eating I missed out on, I’m depressed.)  Whether it was those mushrooms (grew out of it), bananas (the devil’s fruit, I will never eat these ever), the tops of asparagus (I only liked the stalk because the leaves were icky, grew out of that), eggplant (haven’t really grown out of that one) or Shepherd’s pie (revolting, still), these food quirks maybe lasted longer than it was acceptable to have a food quirk.

One of these mental blocks has always included yogurt.  For me, there’s something completely unappetizing about generic yogurt, bottled by a dairy conglomerate, and sold in a generic grocery dairy case.  The texture is gloppy, the flavors insipid, and even the containers bug me (why, Yoplait, must you insist on making a yogurt container that is angled so that it is more difficult for you to spoon out the yogurt at the bottom?)  But then, in recent years, I received a blessing from the (Greek) gods: Greek-style strained yogurt.  Creamy, tangy and altogether different from traditional yogurt, this is in fact <i>the</i> traditional yogurt.  Straining it makes it thick and not runny, and Greek yogurt is a blank slate for anything you can think of to adorn it.

Well, it seems that the prepared foods companies have started to learn this fact many years after the rest of us figured it out.  Greek yogurt is the perfect, lower-calorie substitute for sour cream in all kinds of recipes, so I started making dips with Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream or mayo called for (oh yeah, mayo, another food that’s super gross.)  I started seeing some traditional middle eastern brands making greek yogurt dips, and now Marzetti has joined the party.  The dips come in five flavors: Chipotle Cheese, Salsa Cilantro, Garden Herb Ranch, Cucumber Dill Feta, and Spinach Artichoke.  At 60 calories per 2 tbsp serving, they are a healthier alternative to some of the calorie-laden prepared dips languishing in the produce section of most grocery stores.  For more information, you can view their website here:

I had the opportunity to try the Garden Herb Ranch flavor, and here is how you’re going to know that these sponsored posts are actually my real opinions: I didn’t really like it.  I generally enjoy greek yogurt, and I love Ranch flavored anything, but this just didn’t do it for me.  There’s nothing wrong with the texture – it’s got the perfect greek yogurt smooth thickness – but something about the spices used in the flavor (rosemary, thyme, basil and marjoram, according to the package) just didn’t combine well with the yogurt when used on my preferred dip vehicle (baby carrots.)  It was overly strong, and just didn’t go well on the carrots.  Despite not liking the flavor, I continued to try it on other things (pita, green peppers, my finger, you know, the usuals) and did find one thing that I really did like it on: a baked potato.  (Again with the finding things that you use sour cream for and substituting greek yogurt theme.)  Because I could mute the flavor of the yogurt with the potato, it worked very well, and created a creamy potato when mashed with a fork.

So consider this my endorsement for blending greek yogurt dips with baked potatoes – dealer’s choice on the flavor involved.

I was one of the bloggers selected by T. Marzetti Company and Clever Girls Collective to host a Marzetti Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip review. They provided me with product to test myself and compensation for my time. However, my opinions are entirely my own.

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Sponsored Post: Fennel-Satsuma Salad with Goat Cheese

I don’t find myself using bottled salad dressings all that often.  At home growing up, my mother taught us a simple recipe for balsamic vinaigrette that adorned every single salad we ate at dinner (and basically every single salad we still eat when visiting home.)  The salad ingredients changed (who else remembers the mesclun mix craze of the early 2000s?) but the dressing stayed the same: simple ingredients can make a supreme flavor profile.

Marzetti’s new Simply Dressed line of bottled salad dressings does something similar.  Without using preservatives, corn syrup, MSG or artificial flavors, Marzetti has created a bottled salad dressing that mimics the simplicity of a handmade dressing at home.  (You can view the entire line of Marzetti Simply Dressed salad dressings here:  I tried the Champagne dressing – a simple vinaigrette made with champagne and white wine vinegars.  It’s a jazzier take on vinaigrette, with a sweet acidity provided by the champagne vinegar.  Unlike most bottled “italian”-style salad dressings, the dressing itself was not artificially thick – and coated lettuce nicely when I tried it on a simple salad.  I could have done with fewer “spices” (as listed, vaguely, in the ingredients section of the bottle) in the dressing, but overall, it’s a nice addition to a simple salad.

As I was thinking about the dressing, I was reminded of a salad I had at Gotham Bar & Grill early this summer, while Karen and I were having our “Friday Lunches So That We Do Not Go Crazy and Jump Off a Cliff While Studying for the Bar Exam” every week.  At that visit, I had a roasted beet and fennel salad with kumquat balsamic vinaigrette, and I thought that the flavor profile was something I could recreate myself.  Using the champagne vinaigrette, I started building a salad in my head…and got inspired when I saw the gigantic pomegranates that they were selling at Whole Foods.

A few notes on the following recipe:

– Satsumas are a mandarin orange, originally imported from Japan into Louisiana by Jesuits in the 18th century.  They are similar in size to tangerines, but have a spicier aroma (as if you’d left it to mature in a spice drawer for a week.)  They are currently in season, but if satsumas are not available near you, you can substitute any kind of tangerine.
– I used Coach Farm goat ricotta for my goat cheese.  It is tasty, but not very strong, and when I make this recipe again, I’ll choose something with a more outward, tangy goat milk flavor – likely the Monterey chèvre from Rawson Brook Farm.
– You can buy pomegranate seeds already de-seeded from the unwieldy fruit, but it’s more fun to inadvertently dye your kitchen counter blood-red.

My mis en place:

Missing from this photo: the red onion I decided to add in the middle of creating the recipe. Also missing: the lamp I was holding with one hand while taking the picture with the other; the 10 minutes it took me to find my digital camera.

Here’s the recipe, which sounds fussy but is quite simple to prepare.

: Fennel-Satsuma Salad with Goat Cheese

: A bright winter salad.

  1. 1 large bulb fennel
  2. 2 Satsuma oranges
  3. 1 small red onion
  4. 2 tbsp Marzetti Simply Dressed Champagne salad dressing
  5. 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  6. 4 oz soft curd-style goat cheese
  7. salt and pepper to taste

  1. Trim the stalks off of the fennel and slice in half lengthwise. Carefully cut very thin slices of the fennel bulb (as thin and translucent as possible, like shavings.) Place the fennel in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Supreme the satsumas and add the segments to the bowl. For very thorough instructions on how to supreme citrus, please see here:
  3. Peel and slice the red onion in half. Carefully cut 8 very thin half-slices of onion, and add to the bowl.
  4. Add the salad dressing and toss to coat.
  5. Place half of the salad on a plate. Top with 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds and 2oz goat cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Repeat plating and serve.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegetarian

Diet tags: Reduced fat, Reduced carbohydrate, Gluten free, Raw

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

Here’s the finished product.

I used fennel fronds as garnish. Feel free to dismiss that as fussy.

This salad is simple enough to accompany a grilled piece of fish, but elegant enough to act as a first course to a more elegant dinner.

I was one of the bloggers selected by T. Marzetti Company and Clever Girls Collective to host a Marzetti Simply Dressed review. They provided me with product to test myself and compensation for my time. However, my opinions are entirely my own.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

And Pearls

“Where are your east coast oysters from?  And how much are they?”
“They’re from the Cape.  And they’re $1.25 each.”

$1.25.  $1.25.  For an oyster?  From the Cape?  Are you kidding me?  Yeah.  I’ll take 30.  Okay, maybe only six, but I’ll think about ordering 30.

Learning how to shuck 'em in Tomales Bay a million years ago.

I love oysters.  I had never had them before 2004, when I made my first visit to San Francisco on my own to visit my best friend.  She had to work one day, so I decided to walk to the Ferry Building from her apartment near USF (in retrospect, this was a terrible idea, but I swear I just couldn’t figure out how the buses would have gotten me there, and by the time I got down to Market Street, it just seemed reasonable to keep walking.)  As I sat down at Hog Island Oyster Co. outside on the dock, I told the waitress to bring me a dozen of their oysters in some mixed variety.  When she came back with them, I looked at her quizzically, asking “so…how do you eat these things?” She thought I was nuts to have ordered oysters without ever having tried them, but I was determined to like them.  And like them I did: briny, sweet, brassy…any way they grow them is just fine with me.

Two summers ago, on my regular evening jaunts through Grand Central, I stopped by the Oyster Bar once or twice for a half dozen before home.  The Wellfleets were $3.05.  Sometimes New York’s personal brand of highway robbery catches up to you, I guess.

I ate Bluepoints.

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Only One Chemical Substance

On Saturday morning (what was Saturday afternoon for him), my friend Troy updated his Facebook status to read “Coffee, programming and NPR…too geeky/nerd?”  I quickly replied with “I’m coffee, writing a textbook style guide, and New York Times. I think we’re in the same vein.”  As more people responded and answered what they were doing with their coffee, this got me thinking about my morning coffee ritual, and how it completely defines the kind of morning I’m going to have.  Can I sit at my kitchen counter, leisurely reading what’s coming out of Sifton’s National Desk and catching up on Words with Friends games?  Or is it one of those days when I actually need to stumble out of bed, throw on clothes in a way that at least mildly resembles fashionable, swipe on some lip gloss, and pretend I’ve been awake for hours?  (Pinching your cheeks before walking into a meeting helps.  Makes you look vibrant instead of totally dragging.)  Those days call for a double espresso on the run down Broadway (and oh, I have gotten so good at doing that in heels.)  The kitchen counter days mean I can make my coffee the way I like to – that is, completely sloppily with soy milk splashed in.

I read a lot about coffee – the Chemex brewer, how my tiny 4-cup drip machine is far inferior to basically any other method of coffee preparation, how I really should be grinding my own beans instead of having Zabar’s do it pound-by-pound – but this never stops me from my process.  Rinse carafe from yesterday’s coffee.  Pour in cold, filtered water.  Two tablespoons of grounds from the air-tight jar that sits next to the machine.  Press magical button.  Wait impatiently.  Spill coffee while pouring into favorite Tortfeasors mug.

I’ll stumble into brunch on a weekend and look pleadingly into a server’s eyes as they ask whether I want coffee.  “Desperately,” I usually reply, and they’ll break a knowing smile.  Stir.  Sip.  And the clouds start to lift.

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