Ramps and fiddleheads are currently the happening at the Union Square Farmers Market. This was my first time cooking either and together they formed a lovely union with linguine, garlic, bacon and pecorino romano. Ramps are wild leeks and fiddleheads are ferns. The mélange of veggies added awesome earthy nutty flavor and texture to the pasta. I first cooked the bacon to a slight crisp and set it aside so I could cook the garlic, bulbs of the ramps and the fiddleheads in the bacon fat. I then added the ramp leaves to the pan since they take less time to cook. This took all of 10-15 minutes and I modestly salted each stage of cooking. Finally I added linguine and the bacon to the pan to toss together and served with gratings of salty pecorino romano and generous squirts of olive oil. So simple to make and perfect to take on a pre-summer picnic! Miam!
We got to celebrate with Oli’s lovely maman who is visiting from France. I wanted to prepare light cuisine as far from France as Hawaii is so I made Onigiri stuffed with Nametake to go with our Salmon. Onigiri is a Japanese rice ball and delicious Nametake mushrooms are seasoned and sold in jars. I had no idea how to describe its taste and I’ve eaten it all my life usually with natto (fermented soybeans), which I think I’ll save for the next holiday – Memorial Day, perhaps. Happy Mum’s Day xo
When home in NYC, Union Square Park is the park we most frequent. Lou loves the sandbox as do I since I can sit back and not be on the chase chanting no. Even a plastic cup will suffice as an object of curiosity. From Harlem, it's just four stops on the 4 or 5. The next time we get to the park, it'll finally be time to go out in shorts and crocs (Lou). Union Square Greenmarket at Union Square is also one of the best farmers market in town held on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays offering items such as ostrich eggs, dried lavender, duck breast, and gorgeous seasonal produce galore.
Ever cooked up veal thymus aka sweetbreads? I topped off mixed greens tossed in Dijon mustard vinaigrette with these babies I fried in butter along with shallots this past V-day. An illustrious baguette accompanied the salad. The texture was quite unique, soft yet chewy and the flavor was mild though next time around I would dredge them in flour for an attractive crisp (the few times I've had sweetbreads in restaurants, like at Prune, they were served heavily breaded and fried). It was a pretty light precursor to dessert - Charlotte aux Marrons (cake constructed with walls made of rummy simple syrup soaked lady fingers and an interior filled with a mixture of sweet ass sweet faugier créme de marrons and whipped cream, recipe courtesy of Anthony Bourdain). I picked up the sweetbreads at Eataly. Lou happily ate the leftovers the next day.
During the last few days of winter, we made it to The Standard Ice Rink in the Meatpacking District. The rink nests just in front of the hotel where all passerby Standard-y guests can see you bask in all your ice skating glory. There is a petit chalet where you can rent skates and an area to indulge in aprés (and avant) skate treats. The photo on the right was taken almost exactly four years ago in Siberia. That’s Lake Baikal I’m standing on, in ice skates as well, during the winter of 2007 when I embarked on my first trip out of the states to accompany Olivier (the Great and my now husband) to amazingly accessible Siberia. Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world, with more freshwater than the Great Lakes combined. Skating on the lake was pretty radical and the ice was so clear and so dark and there was almost a mile’s down worth of water beneath. The cracks were majestic though petrifying if they happened to actually crack while you’re out ice skating on the lake, which did happen. The sounds you hear before the ice cracks are thunderous booms coming seemingly from afar though you feel it in your bones that it’s going to come way too close for comfort and if you’re me and you’re not that great of an ice skater to begin with having ice skated very non-seriously in Hawaii while growing up, you’ve froze wearing the unfortunate skates with only a narrowed vision of the others skating far away to the truck for some safety. Just then the crack appears just a few feet from your feet and you realize you remain alive above the ice. Olivier took the photo below just moments before the whole cracked ice thing. The moment was unforgettable and now that I think about, falling on the rink at the Standard would not have been the end of the world.