Rainbow chard, sea bean and quark vegetable tart


This week, I got to work with one of the most fascinating, unusual ingredients – sea beans.

Salty, crunchy, they are reminiscent of a young snappy asparagus, but look somewhat like a fern. Sea beans – actually, a misnomer, as they are not really beans – are sometimes known as sea asparagus and grow wild or farmed all over the US.

I am fascinated by their salty breeze flavor but, often, not quite sure what to do with them.

Use sparingly. Sea beans pack a punch of flavor in seasonal salads or when paired with milder counterparts – in this case, creamy quark*. I think I will also use them in a burrata salad.

In the meantime… this tart is summery comfort food at its peak, while the weather here in the Northeast still tries to make up its mind whether it is really June… and I don’t need to tell you that sunny yolks make everything better.

Tips: Quark is a fresh, spreadable cheese, similar to ricotta or cottage cheese. For more summer quark recipes, try the stuffed squash blossoms here!

Rainbow chard, sea bean and quark tart

You’ll need:

  • pate brisee (recipe linked)
  • 2 cups rainbow chard (stems and leaves), chopped
  • 1/4 cup sea beans
  • 8 oz fresh quark (you can substitute farmer’s cheese or fresh ricotta)
  • 2 eggs
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper

1. Make the pastry first. Roll out and arrange in your tart dish, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.

2. Preheat oven to 400F.

The quark will be the bottom layer of your tart – spread it evenly in the pre-frozen crust and refrigerate again while you’re getting the greens ready.

3. Saute the rainbow chard with olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Be careful not to over-season, as the sea beans themselves are quite salty!

Add sea beans to the saute pan and cook for 3-4 more minutes.

4. Layer the greens on top of the quark and bake for about 40 minutes or until pastry is golden.


5. Break the eggs on top of the tart and return to oven. Bake until eggs are just set, about 15 more minutes.


Wild salmon with mirin and cucumber


We’re in Alaskan wild salmon season and, as it is one of my favorite things to cook, grill, roast, poach or even cure, it’s an exciting time in the kitchen.

Burger season may exemplify summer for many, but I love the fresh fish that June and July bring (the new catch herring is just about a week away!).

This salmon is flavored with mirin – a Japanese rice wine – and roasted on a bed of radicchio, making for a super-quick summer dinner. The cucumber adds crunch and freshness.

ps. More wild salmon meals here and here.

Wild salmon with mirin and cucumber

You’ll need:

  • 1 wild salmon fillet (skin on)
  • 1 head radicchio
  • 2 small persian cucumbers, peeled and diced and/or julienned
  • 3 T mirin
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt
  • lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Make sure the salmon is dry (pat it with a paper towel etc.).

2. Rub the salmon with mirin, 1 T olive oil, and salt. Toss the cucumber with a little bit of salt and lemon juice and set aside.

3. Place leaves of radicchio in the bottom of the roasting pan, top with olive oil. Place the salmon, skin side down, on top of the radicchio.

4. Roast the salmon for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your filet.


Serve with cucumber and radicchio.


ramps & raclette


Unapologetically inspired by the terrific kitchen at French Louie – one of my favorite spots to enjoy a glass of rosé this summer in NYC – this is a classic dish that is as good as its three ingredients.

Initially, I would not have thought that delicate ramps would shine so brightly against the richness of raclette cheese, but they make for the perfect pairing, and I have made this dish three times already this spring. It was a popular start to our ramps & rosé soiree!

Ramp season is ending so, run to the greenmarket and make this delicious spring starter while you still can. Make sure to grab some crusty bread for scooping it all up too.


Ramps & raclette

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 lb raclette cheese, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 bunches fresh ramps, trimmed

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Raclette is known for its great melting ability, but don’t broil this so that you don’t burn the ramps (the butter will help with that too).

2. Add butter to a deep baking dish. Layer cheese and ramps, keeping them whole, in the dish and place in oven.

3. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and just starting to bubble. Serve family style with crusty bread for dipping/scooping.


our-growing-edge-badgeThis post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Jordan and Cindy at My Daughter and I.

How to throw the perfect dinner party {part 2}

IMG_2273Continuing on from part one...how to throw a perfect dinner party!

You’ve sent out the invites and your perfectly interesting guests are drinking cocktails and getting hungry…

Setting the table

I believe in simple, but memorable table settings that are also practical. Don’t overwhelm the table with decoration – you want there to be enough room for food, drinks, and revelry.

Seasonal flower arrangements, colorful napkins, and printed menus add a sophisticated touch.



Preparing ahead

Think like a restaurant chef – prepare everything in advance, as much as you can. Inquire about guests’ dietary requirements in advance and adjust dishes accordingly.

Keep the oven preheated, water boiling, and all of the toppings prepped and ready to go.

Similarly, chill wine and soft drinks and prepare ice, if necessary.

Make a schedule – when to get the hors d’oeuvres ready, when to put the main courses into the oven etc. Being organized will let you enjoy your own party and spend the most time with your guests!



Use foolproof recipes

Don’t make something you haven’t made before – it will be equally stressful for you and for your guests to watch you scrambling about in the kitchen.

Pick recipes you are comfortable with and ones that make the most of the season, while still being crowd-pleasers. And, even then, if something goes wrong – project confidence! Plus, you can never go wrong with good bread and butter as a side dish.


Here is the menu from our recent ramps & rosé soiree:


Some ideas: Spring pasta, baked avocado, watermelon & feta salad, and banana pudding.



Don’t overdo it, though my rule of thumb is more food (i.e. tasty leftovers) is better than not enough food. You want everyone to share, engage, and enjoy every bite.


Take a little break before dessert – things would have eased up by then and everyone would have gotten to know each other better (if they did not already). Conversation will flow…so don’t rush it.

Finish those drinks, then offer your guests coffee/tea and dessert.




Sorrel, spinach and pistachio pesto


I was so excited to find sorrel at the market last week – it’s still not a commonplace ingredient in the US, but I grew up eating it in salads and soups, which are a big part of Eastern European cuisine. In fact, I already wrote about this soup and these sorrel and leek pancakes ages ago.

There are several varieties of sorrel and I was able to get my hands on both the regular “French” sorrel and some redwood sorrel which is especially pretty (that’s it in the photo above).

Fun fact: in French, the word for sorrel is oseille and it’s a also slang for money, likely because of it’s very green color!

If you’ve never tried sorrel, it is quite tart and packs a punch of flavor so, it is best when paired with other nutritious greens or against something creamy. This pesto offers a little bit of both.

Tips: Serve with fresh pasta, eggs, or smeared on toast and topped with some radishes.


Sorrel, spinach and pistachio pesto

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh sorrel (I mixed the two varieties, but any will do)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/3 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt, pepper

1. Wash and chop all of the greens roughly before combining them with the pistachios and the olive oil in a food processor.

2. Chop/grind to combine, adding a little bit more olive oil, as needed, as you go along.


3. Taste, season well with salt and pepper.


Since this pesto doesn’t have any cheese in it, it will keep covered in the fridge for 5-6 days and/or freeze well.


Mother’s Day desserts

Mother's Day desserts

Happy Mother’s Day!

Remember to treat your mom and have a fabulously indulgent day today.

Head on over to VRAI to read about my adventures with my mom at a candy factory in Kanazawa, Japan (all very Lucy & Ethel). Click to check out our cute uniforms – I wish we had gotten to keep them!

Or – more proactively – make some crepes, cookies, strawberry-rhubarb shortcakes or chocolate macaroons for your mom and enjoy these Mother’s Day desserts together, whenever possible, treasuring these little moments that are oh-so-special.


Buckwheat crepes with wildflower honey


Strawberry sugar cookies


Strawberry-rhubarb shortcake


Chocolate-topped macaroons

Spring pasta with ramps, porcini and taleggio

spring pasta with ramps

Springtime means many things to many people – for me, it’s when things really rev up and time starts to get away from me while I plead with it to slow down a bit.

I can’t quite believe that it’s May. All the springtime ingredients make me so happy and I’ve been cooking a lot, but have not been writing or sharing enough about it. So, let’s fix that.

First up is this delectable and indulgent spring pasta made with sautéed ramps, porcini mushrooms and creamy taleggio cheese.

And a fantastic treat if you decide to take over dinner duty from mom this weekend for Mother’s Day in the US – just an idea!

Tips: Making your own pasta is dangerously easy, but in a pinch, use your favorite store-bought variety.


Spring pasta with ramps, porcini, and taleggio 

You’ll need:

  • fresh fettuchini
  • 1 bunch ramps, washed and dried well
  • 1 1/2 cups porcini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated taleggio cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper

1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add in a little olive oil.

2. While the water is coming to boil, chop the ramps roughly and slice the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt and pepper and season well.

3. Add the ramps to the mushrooms in your sauté pan and cook lightly.

4. Cook pasta – fresh pasta will cook in a matter of minutes so make sure to keep it a little al dente!


5. Drain the pasta and add it to the ingredients in the pan – if it’s large enough – or back into the pot and mix to combine.

Top with finely grated cheese and serve immediately with a perfect savory spring bite.


Rhubarb and blackberry pie with pink peppercorns

rhubarb and blackberry pie

It’s almost the weekend – hooray! The weather forecast is looking positive and greenmarkets (to pick up more lilacs and ramps), a crawfish boil and jazz at Threes Brewing are on the agenda.

My favorite thing to do on a weekend morning – besides sleeping, of course, closely followed by drinking coffee, as we know – is baking. It’s that rare activity that’s both indulgent and productive at the same time. It provides you with a great start and a delicious breakfast. And, oh yes, it makes people quite happy.

This is a pie made for eating – a bright berry and rhubarb medley lit up by light maple syrup and pink peppercorns. All in a wholewheat crust.

Serve with a dollop of thick greek yogurt and see everyone come running to your kitchen table.


Rhubarb blackberry pie with pink peppercorns

You’ll need:

  • for the crust:  use this recipe, my favorite, substituting in wholewheat flour for the AP.
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh, chopped rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup light maple syrup
  • 1 packet vanilla sugar
  • 2 T pink peppercorns, lightly crushed

1. Make the crust first so that you can freeze it before baking, for extra crispness. This can also be done the day before etc. In fact, it’s a great thing to have around in the spring and summer months for both sweet and savory baking!

Roll out, shape in pie pan, and freeze for at least 1-2 hours before baking.

2. Preheat oven to 375F. Cook berries and rhubarb in a pan with maple syrup and pink peppercorns.


3. Spoon the berry filling into the pre-frozen pie crust. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar.

4. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until filling is bubbly on the bottom and the crust is crispy.


Serve warm with greek yogurt or ice cream.

{ps.} Looking for a place to keep all your favorite recipes? I am loving these recipe photo books from Shutterfly!


VRAI Magazine’s First Anniversary

vrai magazine anniversary

Happy Anniversary, VRAI!

It’s been a privilege to work with a group of such talented and dedicated writers, bloggers, editors, and creators.

After a year of hard work, now comes the best part – finding a fun way to celebrate.

Head on over to VRAI to read about my Top Five places for a very special occasion in NYC, each offering something completely different to help you mark an anniversary, birthday or an everyday accomplishment.

{p.s.} And make sure to enter all of the celebratory giveaways – mine is a $50 Whole Foods gift card to help you get inspired and start cooking with all the wonderful spring ingredients! Enter through the form below or over on the VRAI site.

vrai magazine


In celebration of the VRAI Magazine Anniversary, here’s your chance to win a $50 Whole Foods Gift Card.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter form: HERE This giveaway is open to all legal residents of the US , Canada and the UK and you must be 18 years of age or older. For all the ways to enter and for the Terms & Conditions, please see the Rafflecopter form.

Ramps and Fried Eggs

IMG_2194 The sight of sunshine streaming through my window means that we’re ready to welcome spring and make ramps & eggs, my favorite most un-recipe recipe ever.

Okay, you get to make salsa verde but that’s the only step-by-step part of this dish, which is a marriage of my two global favorites – green shakshouka and baghali ghatogh. You can add potatoes or gigante beans to the eggs, if you’d like, for some extra substance for the zingy sauce.

Love this for a spring weekend brunch! Let the ingredients shine and say hello to warm weather and freshly grown and picked ingredients – some of my favorite parts of this time of year.


Fried eggs and grilled ramps

You’ll need:

  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1 bunch ramps, washed and dried well
  • salsa verde (recipe used here)
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper
  • optional: boiled new potatoes or cooked gigante beans

1. Make the salsa verde first, using your food processor.

2. Heat a large pan and grill the ramps – with no oil – on medium-low heat.

3. Add a little bit of olive oil into the pan and break the eggs in one by one. Season with salt and a fresh pepper.

4. Spoon in salsa verde into the eggs and lower heat slightly. Add in the potatoes or beans here, if you’re going to use them. Let the sauce cook down a little bit, taste for salt.


Serve immediately with some crusty bread and strong coffee (or maybe that’s just me this morning!).