Dinner Tonight

Dinner Tonight: Seared Scallops + Couscous

By • April 18, 2012 • 1 Comment

Dinner Tonight: Seared Scallops + Couscous

Inspiration for tonight's dinner: seafoam and deep roots. Sweet and briny scallops sing a springy song in a tarragon cream sauce, while earthy roasted fennel and crunchy almonds dress up a million baubles of couscous. Surprise -- a quick weeknight meal doesn't have to be same old same old after all. We've got it all planned out for you, just glance and execute!

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City Dirt

How to Get Planting, Sow Seeds, and Maximize Garden Space

By • April 18, 2012 • 6 Comments

How to Get Planting, Sow Seeds, and Maximize Garden Space

Today: Direct sowing, broadcast sowing, transplanting...what's the difference? Amy gives us a primer on how to get any plant, large or small, started in your garden. And don't miss her tips on intercropping!

Last year a dear friend emailed me from Spain highlighting a "technique" (and I use that term loosely!) that I had sort of breezed over in all of my writings. He wrote:

Lots of times you say to "sow seeds directly," but do you mean make a small hole in the center with your finger and plant just one seed? Or make as many holes all over and sow all over the area just under the surface? Or make a row and sow one lettuce seed every couple of inches as the packet indicates?

Up until when he reached out to me, I had no idea this would be so confusing for anyone. Thinking about how best to respond was a challenge, as different seeds have different sowing requirements and there is really no one answer. Further, there are different planting strategies depending on the plants you'll sow and your garden space. With that in mind, here is a us eful guide on how to sow seeds and plant transplants, along with tips for making the most of your garden space.

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Menu Ideas

Roman Spring

By • April 16, 2012 • 1 Comment

Roman Spring

Last year, I lived in Rome from August to December. Dropped into a world of strictly-seasonal cuisine, I was lucky; I got the best of the summer, fall, and (very mild) winter. I got fat, juicy tomatoes. I got earthy porcini. I got sharp, biting puntarelle, dressed with anchovy and olive oil. 

But I'm greedy. 

I want meaty carciofi (artichokes), tender peas, perfect squash blossoms: produce that Roman cuisine celebrates in the springtime. I want a glass of Frascati; I want a view of the Tiber. But since I'm now back in America, I'm cooking these Roman dishes until spring turns into summer. I'm making my own Roman spring -- and you can, too.

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Behind the Scenes

Butter-Covered Radishes vs. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

By • April 13, 2012 • 7 Comments

Butter-Covered Radishes vs. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

As Emily Fleischaker points out in this article from Bon Appetit, we go to restaurants to eat food that we can't make at home. And, I'd like to add, because every once in a while you order something that totally reimagines what you thought food was supposed to be. The radishes with butter and salt at the NoMad Hotel are exactly that edge case.

Butter is gently tempered -- melted slowly to stay creamy instead of liquifying -- and liberally salted, then one by one the baby radishes are dipped whole into the butter and left to set. The result solves a dilemma that has faced Francophile radish-and-butter eaters since the dawn of time: how do you make sure you have a little bit of butter with every bite of radish? Problem solved.

Butter-covered radishes...kind of like chocolate-covered strawberries, right? Just for fun, we put the choice between the two "something-covered somethings" up to our staff and got the following results:

Amanda: Please don't ever put chocolate near my strawberries. No wire hangers!

Merrill: Anyone ever tried radishes dipped in chocolate?

Nozlee: I'm 100% in the butter-covered radish camp.

Kristy: Team Radish!!

Peter: I come from a split household. My sweet tooth says strawberries and chocolate but we served radishes and butter at our wedding per my wife's request. Hmmm... has anyone thought of buttering their chocolate?

Jennifer: Second for Team Radish!

Stephanie: Even I'm in the radish camp on this one. And we all know how I feel about chocolate.

Kristen: Sorry, team radish, you New York Elites. Team strawberry FTW -- and we all know how I feel about butter.

Amanda Li: Radish is a vegetable. Therefore, I'm team Choco Strawberry.

Jenny: Isn't this a little like asking, "Would you prefer to lie on a beach and have no one talk to you, or go to a beautiful mountain and have no one talk to you?" Both are great, but totally different.

We're not really sure who the winner is here, but I think the Jenny-ism says it all.

You *Can* Judge a Radish by Its Cover from Bon Appetit

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