Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rigatoni with asparagus, ramps, pesto, and ricotta

On Saturday, Jon and I had our first successful trip of the season to the Union Square Greenmarket. The last time we'd trekked down there, the produce screamed winter, even though the weather teased spring. However, that unexpectedly un-rainy afternoon last weekend proved much more fruitful, and resulted in purchases of not just the baby spinach and ramps we'd seen in previous weeks, or the eggs we always buy there from Knollcrest Farm, but in lovely purple-tipped asparagus, too.

We had borrowed my mom's car for the weekend, so our next stop was the Brooklyn Fairway (with a quick detour to snag some of the season's first huaraches and pupusas at the Red Hook Ball Fields just down the street). There, in addition to our regular list of groceries, including a 35-strong army of Wallaby organic yogurts, we picked up some ricotta and fresh rigatoni.

We were too full of the Latin street food to eat much of a dinner that night at home, but on Sunday I steamed the asparagus, and tossed it along with chopped ramps in a pan of butter and olive oil, cooked the pasta and added it in, and then mixed it all up with some ricotta and the basil pesto I'd made the weekend before -- a delightfully verdant evocation of the season. I've been salivating at the photo ever since.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Okonomiyaki: Savory Japanese pancakes

While browsing the foodie web yesterday, I came across this post by 5 Star Foodie about the okonomiyaki she made at home after trying them on a trip to London. I'm a fan of savory pancakes from every cuisine I've tried, so it's no surprise that I've been eager to try okonomiyaki for ages. I haven't found a place in New York that serves them -- and I'd never thought to just try making them until I saw how easy it was in that blog post.

On the train home from work last night, I googled some recipes to make sure I had all the ingredients, and I saw that the most traditional version of the pancakes incorporates grated taro root in the batter, to give it a characteristic springy quality. Since Jon and I live among a wealth of Asian groceries, not least among them the original location of Han Ah Reum or H Mart, I figured I could probably pick up some fresh taro root, and why not make these as authentic as possible? I didn't want our first taste of these to be at all misleading.

So, I went with this recipe as a guideline, and mixed in fillings that we had around the house: chopped bok choy, shredded carrots, julienned red bell pepper, and sauteed shrimp. Then I topped it with a quick homemade okonomi sauce, kewpie mayonnaise, and, of course, our favorite condiment, sriracha, along with a smattering of shredded nori. They were easy and delicious, served up with an easy salad of mixed greens and blood orange, with a soy-citrus-ginger vinaigrette.

  © Blogger template 'Isolation' by 2008

Back to TOP