Cilantro Growers Unite!

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by Kerri Conan 

Maybe all summer long, gentle costal breezes caress the lush foliage on your cilantro plant. Perhaps you’ve never seen the stalk suddenly shoot up a tuft of flowers and spindly leaves, signaling it’s decided to go to seed. If so, congratulations. For the rest of us—who cuss this natural phenomena and the so-called “slow-bolt” varieties it rode in on—the shock of having a carefully cultivated plant rendered useless literally overnight is enough to make you put parsley in your salsa. 

But I say: Embrace the bolt. Grow as much cilantro as the garden will accommodate, savor the leaves for the five minutes they appear in June, and when the flowers bud out, start eating those. When they turn to green seeds, eat those, too. (Their flavor is a perfect blend of the soapy notes from the leaves and the sharp citrus flavors in the seeds; I crush them a bit with the side of a knife then use them the same way I’d use both.) Then at the end of summer, after the plant has been ravaged by heat, insects, disease, and your renaissance appetite, pick through and pluck (or thresh) off the dried, brown coriander seeds to sustain you through winter. 

There. Problem solved. Now who’s with me?

Posted in Farming

Beets Not Radishes

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by Clotilde Hryshko

The picture is of a bunch of Chioggia beets, destined for Rachel and Shale’s house. They are my favorite beet for summertime beets, though not for winter storage. You slice thinly – no peeling! – sauté with garlic, and add a dash of plum vinegar. Serve warm or cold.

But this isn’t about beets, except they made a great picture the day my elder daughter, Marya, was helping me with CSA prep. People seeing them for the first time easily mistake them for radishes – unless they look at the leaves.

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Posted in Produce

The Minimalist Live!

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Behind the scenes: cookware, cameras, and hard-working assistants everywhere you look.

Posted in Behind The Scenes

The Minimalist Live!

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Profiteroles and raw butternut squash salad. (At the Minimalist we don’t always eat dessert last).

Posted in Behind The Scenes

The Minimalist Live!

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Here’s what happens when you joke about cooking with plutonium. . .death by pound cake!

Posted in Behind The Scenes

The Minimalist Live!

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Slicing biscotti (and pretending that I just chipped a tooth). How’s my acting? (probably not as good as the biscotti).

Posted in Behind The Scenes

The Minimalist Live!

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We’re here at a studio in Manhattan shooting the Minimalist videos for the Fall. The smells coming from this ktichen would make you think that it’s a cool, crisp October day, but it’s at least 90 degrees outside. Anyway, we’ll be be checking in throughout the afternoon to give you a sneak peak at what’s coming up in the fall.

The first dish if the day: Stuffed Cabbage (cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of onion, grated parnsip and carrot, ground lamb, and rice). Check out my cabbage rolling technique: a study in concentration.

Posted in Behind The Scenes

Call it Pasta, Potatoes, and Chorizo

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by Edward Schneider 

I’m not entirely sure what Jackie and I had for dinner on Friday night. I am sure that it was delicious, felt great in the mouth and was fun to eat (with a spoon – the best tool), and I’m pretty certain about what it was not: it wasn’t pasta cooked like a risotto, because I didn’t gradually add liquid and keep stirring; it wasn’t fideuà (the paella-like noodle dish of Catalunya), because I didn’t brown the pasta or use a sofrito or leave the pan uncovered. It was … well, let me tell you how I made it, and you can tell me what it was. 

It came together as I was cooking, and it started with a yen for pasta. In the house was a farmers’ market treasure: small, firm new-season potatoes. There are Ligurian dishes of pasta and potatoes, often with green beans and pesto, and these are delicious, but I didn’t feel like making pesto (even in a food processor, which is really the most sensible way to do it) and, anyway, there were no beans. There were juicy new onions, though, and little Spanish chorizos – the ounce-and-a-half ones that come four to a vacuum-sealed pack – and parsley and a bit of chicken stock. And of course many shapes of pasta from the drawer that Jackie refers to as our pastateca. Oh – and half a cup of pan gravy from a roast chicken. 

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Posted in Italian, Mexican

Mobile Farm or Vending Machine?

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By Suzanne Lenzer

It seems like a good thing: Lay’s–the potato chip people–have a mobile farm set up in Times Square to help educate people about where their food comes from. It’s cute. There’s the “mobile farm” itself, with live plants and nice baskets of vegetables next to each one to help identify what’s actually growing; there’s a section where you can have your picture taken with a farmer (or at least someone wearing a straw hat); and there are a couple of very nice people handing out plastic cups with basil seeds inside so you can grow your own fresh herbs at  
home.

Sadly I was alone at the basil handout table, and the mobile farm wasn’t exactly packed either. The crowd was swarming a guy under a sign that read “Proudly supporting America’s potato farmers” who was handing out bags of Lays chips. The best of intentions I suppose, but if they really wanted to get people into planting basil they probably should have left the free chips back at the farm.

Posted in Farming, Food Politics