I usually have a novel going at all times—it’s amazing how much reading you can get done when your commute is over an hour—but recently I’ve been taking a break from following a storyline and instead have been “reading” cookbooks instead. (No, I’m not lugging around massive hardbacks on the train; I check them out from the library and read on the Kindle app on my iPad. Though I still prefer having actual books at home, so I’ve ordered print copies of these to use for cooking and at-home browsing.) Some of my recent favorites? Istanbul and Beyond for great Turkish recipes and inspiring me to add lots of new-to-me pantry items to my grocery list, Whole Bowls for beautiful and healthy lunchtime ideas, and Bäco for eclectic, unexpected ingredient combinations and crazy colorful produce pictures.
I’ve also really been enjoying Karen Mordechai’s Simple Fare books, both the Spring/Summer and the Fall/Winter volumes. The recipes are mostly composed dishes, with three sets of alternate ingredients suggested so you can make several different versions of the same dish by swapping in different flavors. SO many great ideas in these books! After stopping by the farmers market this weekend and still finding no signs of spring (!) (actually, I’ve heard that ramps have been showing up in the markets in NYC but I think they had all been snapped up by the time I made it over to the market in the late afternoon) I decided to skip straight to summer and make this grilled recipe. Wow, it was so delicious! We also smoked some beef ribs (very tasty, though I’m not sure what kind of grass this grass-fed cow was eating, because the ribs were very fatty!) and served them (at a separate meal) with roasted plum tomatoes and polenta. It was a very food-filled weekend!
The jazz vocal class that I teach for older adults had their final performance on Sunday, and after a very long and stress-filled (but very rewarding!) day of two rehearsals and the concert, Andrew and I went out for an all-you-can-eat-sushi lunch/dinner combination. It was a new experience; very fun and very filling. I’m not sure if we were able to eat quite enough to get our money’s worth (Who knew a person could get full on sushi? We usually need a snack after eating it, but I guess we haven’t been ordering enough!) but veni, vidi, vici, and we don’t have to do that again! After stuffing ourselves to the gills (hee hee, it’s funny because of the fish!), we tried out Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle, and it was completely lovely. The murals were painted by Ludwig Bemelmans, who wrote and illustrated the Madeline books, so the place looks absolutely magical, the live piano was pleasant, and my very expensive glass of Stag’s Leap Cabernet was totally worth it!
More things have been checked off the NYC list, so I’m feeling great. I’m going to be feeling even greater when the temperature gets into the 70s and 80s this week. Maybe finally some spring things will grow and I can cook them? Stay tuned. . . .
Grilled Sausages & Pearl Onions with Red Cabbage & Pickled Mustard Seeds
serves 4 (adapted from Simple Fare: Spring/Summer)
- 1/2 medium red cabbage, thinly sliced
- pork sausages for 4 people (about 1 lb total, or more for larger servings)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 8 oz. pearl onions, peeled (Place in boiling water for 2 minutes, then submerge in cold water to cool. Peels should come off easily now.)
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup full-fat greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup pickled mustard seeds (Combine 1 cup yellow mustard seeds with 2 cups white vinegar, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tbsp kosher salt, and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Turn off heat, cover, and let cool. This makes more than you need here!)
- In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cabbage and stir to coat with the oil. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender but not mushy. Stir in the butter and vinegar and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
- While the cabbage is cooking, heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Grill the sausages until cooked through, turning to brown both sides. Remove sausages from the grill pan and grill onions, turning occasionally, until well charred, about 10 minutes.
- To serve, spread one tablespoon of Greek yogurt across each plate. Top with cabbage, sausage, onions, and a tablespoon of pickled mustard seeds.