Posts categorized as Food

Church, Chick Peas and the Holy Johnny Cash

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My plan for this week was to write about a tasty, healthy chickpea salad recipe, but two notable experiences happened last Sunday at St. Francis De Sales (129-16 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Belle Harbor) as my church-hopping journey continues. So here’s both! I almost didn’t make it to Saint Francis last week. I got the time wrong. I had the thought,  “Well, I tried.” but I did end up back in the car 45 minutes later. And I’m glad I did because I was reminded by a flyer in the back […]

tagged in church, happy hour, recipe

Paula’s Pea Soup With Crispy Fried Onions

The begin of split pea soup

Everyone is talking turkey but I’m talking soup. I’ve been cooking a different soup each Sunday – escarole soup, vegetable soup, french onion soup, lentil soup – Italian style and an Indian curry version. This past week I made split pea soup for the first time. I’m not a big pea person but I wanted to give it a try anyway, to experiment. Because storage of dried peas is easy and low-cost, many cultures have pea-based soup recipes. The traditional split pea variety originates in the 19th century. Sailors would […]

tagged in recipe, recipes, winter

The Basics On Planting Garlic

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Basil and tomatoes are a staple in home gardens, especially those kept by Italians. But garlic, a base for so many meals across so many cultures is grown significantly less. Why? I’m assuming it’s because garlic is a cool-weather crop and you can’t buy a starter plant at the garden center. Moreover, many people assume the garden season ends when September hits. NYC is garden Zone 7 which means we can grow food and plant for the spring until the first frost. These days, that feels like mid-December. Kale, collards, […]

tagged in fall, gardening

Learning, One Bite At A Time

Edible Rockweed can be found right here on the peninsula!

As I mentioned last week, I want to elaborate on a few more edible plants I discovered at Fort Tilden while on a walking tour with naturalist, and Northern Eastern forager expert Wildman Steve Brill.* Barbarea (Wintercress or Yellow Rocket).  We stumbled upon a low growing plant in a rosette formation. Brill directed us to tear a leaf and he asked what flavor it reminds us of. I thought it tasted spicy. Someone blurted out, mustard. “Correct!” Brill said with excitement, “This native edible is an Herbaceous plant (herb or […]

tagged in forage

The Wildman

Wildman Steve Brill ready to sample the bitter Winged Sumac. Make pink lemonade with this plant!

His appearance is what you’d expect: utilitarian. The Wildman is wearing a long-sleeved blue windbreaker and khaki pants with multiple pockets. A strap holds a shovel and an iPad. A safari hat shades his face. His fingernails have already been in the soil.  “Take a quick look at my books and then we’ll get started,” he says. Several cooking and foraging books are laid out on the front window of his dusty car. As the parents get their kids’ jackets zipped and the snacks packed up, the Wildman breaks out […]

tagged in forage

Red Hot Chili Peppers

My column this week isn’t about the 90s funk-rock band out of L.A., rather I’m discussing the spicy, hot fruits that I grew in my garden this year. It started this spring. I must have picked up a cayenne pepper plant by mistake or maybe it was mislabeled, who knows. I didn’t realize I had chili peppers growing in my garden until a few  weeks ago when they began turning red. All along I thought they were stunted shintos! I found cayenne very easy to grow, unlike bell peppers* which […]

Wild About Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake Mushrooms

When my husband and I went upstate a few weeks ago, we stopped at a farm stand on the side of the road. I bought lots of produce, including shiitake mushrooms. Since then, I’ve been pretty obsessed. I like to sauté them in butter with sea salt and pepper, sometimes adding goat cheese. It’s a quick little meal with so much flavor power. The taste is rich, smokey and “meaty”. Interestingly, shiitake contains many of the same amino acids as meat, perhaps that’s why it has a savory flavor. Unlike […]

Tomato Time

Campars, one precious Italian Heirloom and my cat Fivey who just celebrated his 6th birthday!!

This is what I wait for all year: sweet, ripe, explosively delicious homegrown tomatoes! There’s nothing that compares. This season I planted three varieties: Italian Heirloom, Campar, and Burpee Beefsteak. My friend Rob Bryn’s mother, Roberta gave me the beefsteak. They’re doing the best. The plants are three feet tall and the huge tomatoes are just turning color now. She ordered them from QVC because the company name is Roberta’s. The good karma is working. I always plant at least one heirloom.They are the “pure-breeds” of their kind. Also known […]

No Dill-emma Here

My Dill from the Beach 91st Street Community Garden

A few weeks ago I wrote about the abundance of kale in my garden. Well, the dill I planted is also growing wild now. It’s called dill “weed” for a reason. And the plant bolts in the heat, so it makes sense with the heat wave last week that my herb plant is three feet tall! The lemony, sweet and bitter flavor of dill is most pungent when it begins to flower. Snip the feathered leaves for immediate use. Wait until the flowers mature and snip those off at the […]

tagged in recipe

Two Easy Summer Side dishes

A refreshing summer snack

I have two quick and easy recipes to share with you. They’re perfect accompaniments for your summer BBQ. The first is my fiesta corn. It’s a spin-off of a spiced corn I had at PICO a while back. (419 Beach 129th St, Belle Harbor). It’s best to buy corn from a farmstand or from a farmers market (ahem… Edgemere Farm). Maize loses its sweetness rapidly after harvest so the sooner it goes from the farm to your table the better flavor it will have.  Choose corn that is in bright […]

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