Down & Dirty Articles

Down & Dirty: Garlic Scapes

By • July 13, 2012 • 9 Comments


Garlic is a funny -- and extremely versatile -- plant: it's planted in the late fall, after most other plants are done for the season, and sleeps all winter long before sprouting come springtime. The bulbs aren't ready to harvest until summer -- and even then they need a weeks-long curing period to dry them out for long-term storage. Fortunately, there are other ways to get your garlic fix in spring and early summer. Young garlic is one -- the bulbs are soft, mild, and not yet hardened into cloves -- and garlic scapes are another.

Read More »

Down & Dirty: Fava Beans

By • June 28, 2012 • 5 Comments


Fava beans aren't afraid to give you a hard time -- what other vegetable needs to be shelled twice? But they're worth it. Their intensely green pods are used in spring dishes all over the Mediterranean world, from Italy (in the spring stew la vignarola) to Iran (blanched and tossed with angelica). FOOD52er innoabrd's Besara -- think of it as Egyptian hummus -- is another classic preparation.

As you blanch and peel your fava beans to tender perfection, here's more about them, both inside and out.

Read More »

Down & Dirty: Strawberries

By • June 21, 2012 • 3 Comments


Strawberries are nuts! Actually, they're fruit -- and despite the name, they're not berries. Whether you're eating them plain or with clotted cream, stacking them sky-high with meringues, or using them to top a spinach salad, here's everything you need to know about buying, storing, and eating everyone's favorite all-American fruit (literally -- the Pilgrims had them at the first Thanksgiving)that's versatile, delicious, and as good for snacking as it is for sherbet, ricotta, or roasting.

Read More »

Down & Dirty: Ramps

By • April 13, 2012 • 12 Comments


Today we celebrate the too-short season of ramps, our vegetable of the week. As we wrote during our contest for Your Best Ramps, they have a sweet pungency that many believe trumps all others in the onion family. Fleeting as they are, now's the time to capture their fragrant bite. Click through for more on the spring's hottest vegetable.

Read More »

Down & Dirty: Asparagus

By • March 30, 2012 • 3 Comments


Spring is finally here and so is its lovely green herald, asparagus -- our vegetable of the week. We're just starting to see them at the Greenmarket here in New York City, although the delicate, purple-topped spears tied into fat bundles sell out fast.

Read More »

Down & Dirty: Celery

By • March 8, 2012 • 13 Comments


From the hyperseasonal (ramps and strawberries are just around the corner!) to the unusual (ever wondered how cardoons are grown?), to the quotidien (kitchen workhorses like leeks and garlic), we'll be highlighting our favorite fruits and vegetables every week. This week, at the request of mrslarkin, it's all about celery! (Have you contributed to our contest yet?)

Read More »