Raw Beet Slaw

Raw Beet Slaw
Raw Beet Slaw

“Slaw” is a pretty loose term. Finely chop some veggies up, add vinegar, and you have one. I had some beautiful beets and remembering a raw beet, carrot and apple  slaw I once sampled at the Prospect Park farmer’s market, I set to work. Of course, because I had a fridge full of greens, I had to add some of those two. The above slaw consists of

two beets, grated
two carrots, grated
beet greens, finely diced
4 kale leaves, thinly sliced
1 mackintosh apple, diced

I dressed the salad with a quick vinaigrette of

1 clove garlic
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1 Tbs. olive oil

I could have diced the apple more finely, but it was 8pm, and I was hungry. Perfectly crunchy, sweet and tangy, it was delicious. I anticipate many more slaws in my summer future.

Simply in Season on Farm to Philly

Simply in Season
Simply in Season

I wrote this post about one of my favorite cookbook series’ – More-with-Less, Extending the Table, and Simply in Season –  on the blog Farm to Philly, for which I am a contributor. Farm to Philly focuses on eating locally, organically and sustainable in Philadelphia. Simply in Season is a great cookbook whose goal is to help you eat lots of local produce, in season, and on a budget. What could be better? None of the books in the series are strictly vegetarian, but they encourage eating low on the food chain and include many vegetarian recipes. Check it out!

Carrot (and cumin and caraway) Mash

Carrot Puree from The Art of Simple Food
Carrot Puree from The Art of Simple Food

I love carrots. All orange and fresh for Spring, they’ve been tempting me lately. With just a bit of extra flavor, they easily become an impressive side dish. I made the above carrot puree (really more of a carrot mash) from a recipe in The Art of Simple Food. On one of the last cool evenings last week, it was perfect. Boiled carrots, fried onion, cumin and caraway seed, and touch of olive oil. Mashed lightly.

Honest Tom’s Taco Shop

Breakfast Tacos
Breakfast Tacos

Honest Tom’s taco truck, run by a nice, floppy haired Drexel grad, has been getting a lot of local press lately. Why? Well, there aren’t a lot breakfast taco trucks around, and that’s a shame. Also, he serves   tacos made from fresh, homemade ingredients, and french pressed coffee to go along with them, at a great price. But I had to try the taco for myself. I was delighted to find that Honest Tom’s camps out in Clark Park on the weekends.

I’m going to have to say, while the wait was a bit long, the taco was delicious. The potatoes perfectly fried, the eggs still slightly soft, the guac and pico fresh in piquant. And all for $2.50. Thank you Tom!

Honest Tom's truck sign
Honest Tom's truck sign

As a lover of food trucks, and tacos, I hope that Tom does well, and that he gets more competition!

Rainbow Chard Frittata

Rainbow Chard Frittata
Rainbow Chard Frittata

I love making frittata for brunch. You just put it all together in an iron skillet, turn on the stove, and then have plenty of time to set the table or make toast of drink bloody mary’s with your friends until it’s finished. I made this rainbow chard frittata for Easter Brunch a few weeks back. The very simple recipe comes from  “The Art of Simple Food” by Alice Waters’, she of Chez Pannise and pressuring the Obamas to grow an organic garden fame. The book truly is filled with simple recipes, using few ingrediants, that actually attempts to teach you to cook.  It begins with basic recipes, and then moves on to variations on techniques already learned. Also, Waters includes some nice information and encouragement to eat local and fresh. It often doesn’t even cross my mind to chop-up the stems on greens and cook them (I know, for shame!) and I was glad that this recipe specifically asked me to do so. Thanks Alice!

eggs After our lovely brunch,  we died some Easter eggs, which I’m still enjoying for lunch!

Earth Day!

Compost!
Compost!

It’s Earth Day! While reducing your meat consumption (or going veg!) is one of the most significant ways that you can reduce your carbon imprint and be nicer to Mother Earth, there are lots of other ways to green your life! One important step is reducing your overall food waste. To begin, that means only buying (locally!) what you’ll eat, and using up all those leftovers by taking them to work for lunch, making new meals, or throwing them into the freezer if you just can’t stand another day of squash soup but know you’ll need a quick meal in the future.

Another very important step is composting your food waste. Much like recycling and taking your own shopping totes to the store, composting is about ethics and reducing the imprint we leave on the Earth. While there is no data for what the average Philly household discards in organic waste each day, in New York , its two pounds. Two pounds! Much of this organic waste is compostable, and it’s easy to learn how. Even urbanites and those with very tiny yards – like me – can make their own compost.

On Saturday I’ll be attending a free composting workshop (with a free compost bin gift!) at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. They offer multiple free green-living workshops in native plants, composting, rainwater collection, and more! They also offer workshops for children. Call them to sign up!

At work, we can’t have a compost bin. Because of the huge amount of cooking we do, we actually produce more waste that we can use. No problem! We fill compostable bags with our food waste, and once a week our buddy Woody from the awesome Pedal Co-Op comes to pick them up and hauls them, by bicycle, to one of the cities free compost sites. The Pedal Co-Op, an awesome nonprofit that will haul just about anything by bicycle was just featured in a video that one an award from National Geographic. Check it out , and give them a call!

Osteria

pecorino flan with artichokes, fava beans and mint
pecorino flan with artichokes, fava beans and mint

It was Senor Lanky’s birthday, and in keeping tradition with our trip to Vetri last year, we decided to go to Marc Vetri’s newest restaurant, and winner of the 2008 James Beard Foundation award for Best New Restaraunt, Osteria. Located in a large building with soaring ceilings on North Broad St., Osteria has a more upscale rustic design, great wooden tables, and a giant meat slicer in the dining room for perfectly shaved prosciutto (not that I had any of that). We started with a glass of prosecco, and had to order the pecorino flan, pictured above. Dainty, salty, creamy and perfect. The fava beans, dense and very firm, made a perfect, accompaniment and tasted just like Spring.

barbabietole pizza
barbabietole pizza

Osteria is famous for its crispy, wood-fired fancy pizza. We shared one as a second course, and were suprised to find it was large enough to be an entire lunch (shared). Of course, we ate the whole thing anyway. Baby beets, creamy castelmagno cheese, fresh tarragon and a hint black truffle. We could have stopped there. We did not.

beet and goat cheese plin with tarragon
beet and goat cheese plin with tarragon

I love beets. For my primi course (which, by then, felt like a third course) I ordered the beet and goat cheese plin, like small folded pockets of thin pasta. Surprisingly rich (in a buttery sauce), it was a delight.
robiola francobolli with royal trumpet mushrooms and thyme
robiola francobolli with royal trumpet mushrooms and thyme

Because there aren’t any vegetarian options in the “Secondi” section of the menu, and because I love pasta, I ordered the robiola francobolli – ravioli with royal trumpet mushrooms and thyme. Somehow, this pasta was quite delicate and lightly flavored, which made me think I should have switched its order with the beet plin. At this point, and after a glass of Multipulciano, you can imagine that I was stuffed.

blood orange tirimisu
blood orange tirimisu
But is was Senor Lanky’s birthday, and neither of us can resist blood oranges. This cute little deconstructed blood orange tirimisu came in a tiny jar with a candle. Sweet and tart and lovely. We had to roll ourselves out the door.

While Osteria certainly isn’t the “simple food” its name implies, and is on the pricey, special-occasion side of the spectrum, the food was impeccably prepared, the pasta light and yet complex, and we had a wonderful time.

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