Mar 26, 2010

the greening of my front porch

more green i tell you. green everywhere. happy weekend to all you lovely people. my birthday is next week, so i will be celebrating the first of my two (shamelessly claimed) birthday weekends. though i guess i personally am not getting any greener am i? erg, whatever. xo, g

Mar 25, 2010

the greening of potato gratin

lovely greens
coming together, add one more layer
fresh from the oven
after we've all had second helpings (success). some lucky person will devour the leftovers tomorrow, happy that no one else is at home. sadly, it was not me this time.

lovely greens. decadent potato gratin. health, vitality and lusciousness all coming together in one dish. this is the sort of thing that makes life worth living.

the germination of this lovely pairing was not my own, the lovely martha rose shulman published a recipe in the new york times just the other week which got me thinking. i seized on this concept because i love to add greens to everything delicious, because i think it often makes things more delicious and because i love every excuse to make potato gratin.

however martha's recipe (check it out here) takes a different approach than the one you see here. as i am very strict with my potato gratins and i strongly prefer them without eggs, milk, flour, onions etc. the simpler, more decadent version, the type you would find in my favorite parisian restaurants (with heavy cream or creme fraiche and gruyere cheese and little else save the potatoes and in this case the greens).

i am indebted to ms. shulman for many things, beyond this. i love her column recipes for health. i devour it every week, and frequently try her recipes with success. she often has a brilliant take on more healthful eating, which i adore.

this recipe takes me right back to france in it's rich and satisfying more than the sum of it's parts magic. a wonderful dish to go with ham or lamb or roast chicken. perfect for an easter feast or having company over for dinner as it is delicious just barely warm and keeps like a dream. it will wait for you.

potato gratin with greens
2 lbs russet potatoes
1 to 2 large bunches of greens (kale and rainbow chard for me)
1 clove of garlic
1 cup heavy cream or a mixture of heavy cream and milk
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated

first, wash the greens and tear their leaves from their stems. i have found it is fastest and most fun to do this by hand rather than with a knife. set a medium pot 1/3 full of water and set it to boil. add a teaspoon or two of salt to the water. blanch the greens for a minute or two, i used two for the kale and one for the chard simply by adding the kale first, then the chard after a minute and removing them both together. drain and chop roughly.

preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. next grate the gruyere. cut the garlic clove in half and rub both halves all over the inside of your gratin pan. now peel the potatoes and slice them very very thin. as thin as you can.

arrange half the potatoes in a layer over the bottom of the pan. sprinkle or otherwise disperse the chopped greens over the potatoes, add 1/3 the cheese over top of this. pour 1/3 the cream over this layer.

2nd layer. repeat with the remaining potatoes, greens, cheese and cream. place pan in preheated oven and cook for 50 to 60 minutes. it should be brown and bubbly. gorgeous. and the smell should draw family members to the kitchen from their various hiding places to ask how long till dinner.

i can't recommend this more highly. the greening of potato gratin. really, try it!

Mar 23, 2010

this week dedicated to green

last nite's salad greens
kiwiberries. new to me. tasty but softer and squishier than i imagined.
currently in my fruit bowl. bartlett pears are really delicious right now. buy them firm and let them ripen for a few days.

sometimes i prepare posts way in advance. i like to keep several in the box, waiting for the right time to publish. but not today. i shot all these photos quite recently. some a few minutes ago and some a few hours ago. i can't help it. this week i am obsessed with green things. and i dont want to think or post about anything else. green foods. looking for a green chandelier and a green desk lamp and maybe a green and blue striped rug. drinking green tea and nibbling green pistachios. making potato gratin green with kale and chard.

green. searching, waiting, hoping to bring more green into my life. last night i mixed these greens for a salad with sesame dressing to go with this salmon and rice and also some blanched cauliflower. it was one of those happy dinners. the kids had tales to tell from being back at school. r and i are each working in a hundred directions, so lots of energy and laughter and enthusiasm for the food and each other and what we have going on in our lives. what i always hope a family dinner should be all about. but back to green. this week is dedicated to more green. more veg. more sustainable. more holistic. thinking, consuming, and working. tomorrow a green recipe, really green. later in the week, even more green. i've never dedicated a week to a color before, but maybe that is a reason enough to try it.

Mar 20, 2010

made it

first day of spring. spent a few hours at the beach. 70 and sunny is a nice change from last year when we had snowfall. a good crowd at the beach, including lots of little crabs scuttling about. summer, it seems, is dead ahead. pretty amazing for march in new england, an auspicious beginning.

Mar 18, 2010

so close

things are returning to normal. power is back on. kids are back in school and most importantly we have hot water showers and internet service again. and only 2 days till spring. i don't know the lovely soul that built and maintains this sign year after year, but i love them, whoever they are.

Mar 16, 2010

we've got a situation here

we had a bit of weather on saturday. we are still cleaning up. my street still looks rather like this. as most of the streets around here still do. school is out for several days, the roads are mostly still blocked with giant downed trees and the schools themselves don't yet have power. 

though the storm itself was only mildly spectacular, the trees crashed down everywhere because of the loose soil from the recent thaw (apparently).  the wind did sound very much like a freight train that night and the wires you see here in the photo danced and lit up and ultimately summoned the fire department with an extended light show of arc blasts. the extent of the damage was completely unexpected.

now i am very happy to have some lovely power company folks imported from ontario canada working to restore the power/cable/internet/phone on our street right now.  which is good because i really need a hot shower and to run some appliances. more soon.

Mar 12, 2010

art endures

i was at the new york art fair last weekend, (more specifically, the armory show over on the west side in piers 92 and 94, not to be confused with the art dealers show at the armory on the east side, yes, but i know that is confusing, i think that is the whole point of having all these art fairs the same week all over town). anyway i saw marvelous things. whimsical things, serious things, gorgeous things, frivolous and unimportant things. it was jammed with all sorts of art appreciators as well. it really made me happy to get the chance to see all these fantastic creations from galleries all over the globe in one afternoon. dizzying, overwhelming but marvelous. i was reminded that art is important and art endures. and that i love art. do you? do you love art?

in other news, rainy weekend. all weekend. going to finish reading middlemarch by george eliot by next weekend even if it kills me. and it just might. it is so very very long. but so very very smart. anyway, happy weekend to you. xo, g

update: i am happy to report i did finish middlemarch on schedule. it is an amazing book. possibly the best novel ever written (at least virginia wolfe thought so). everything i ever needed to know about personality, effort, ethics, outcome, the complex web of society, it's all in there. so much so that i am now reading it again, spoiled for everything else. only this time, swishing through it on the ipad, much lighter than the book as the numerous pages are nearly weightless.

Mar 9, 2010

enjoying spring weather

it's been gorgeous weather here, near 60 and sunny 4 days in a row and more on its way. been busy out and about enjoying it. crocuses are emerging. giant bunkers of snow are utterly melted into nothing. lots to do. lots happening. xo, g

Mar 6, 2010

weekend simplicity

i don't know who invented weekends. but it was a marvelous, marvelous idea. maybe a leisurely breakfast, some outings, a get together or two. catching up on some household projects. an art fair perhaps. enjoy xo, g

Mar 3, 2010

sesame dressing

this is similar to salad dressings you may have had in japanese restaurants. it lends itself well to simple green salads and to cucumbers and carrots and avocados and scallions and combinations of those. there are endless variations of this dressing, some have no miso, some have ginger, some have dashi, some have sake. go ahead and try it. mix and match. thinner, thicker. find the one you like the best. i am crazy for japanese food so we use this dressing whenever we make japanese style dishes at home and we need a salad to go with.

sesame dressing
2 TBSP tahini or sesame paste
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 teaspoon white miso
2 TBSP rice vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar or agave nectar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Mar 1, 2010

hello march

it is march. and i am daring to think the last winter storm has roared its way through here. in april the leaves will come back. colorful food and spring produce will arrive soon to a store near you (and me). asparagus, strawberries, peas, it will be delicious, i promise. but not just yet.

it is still march, still winter and i am still trying to keep my cooking motivation going these days. i find, as i imagine most everyone does, grocery shopping gets a little difficult this time of year, at the tail end of winter. the produce department becomes a bit tired, even dreary some days. thankfully, there are tasty greens and mushrooms, japanese sweet potatoes and cabbages, scallions and carrots and cucumbers, even artichokes. as i gather and scavenge i can always find a few things at whole foods, if not i head to balduccis or fuji mart, a local japanese grocery store. my net is not exciting necessarily, but always something good. i love to make a bit of sesame dressing for a salad. maybe a soothing bowl of soba with broiled tofu and enoki mushrooms and those sweet potatoes, and savoy cabbage i was telling you about. pasta with artichoke hearts lemon and garlic. risotto with multi-colored cherry tomatoes and some lovely broccoli.

meanwhile i've been sewing more rectangles together and firing up the printing press. plodding along making progress. planning. imagining. plotting and strategizing. a little further along the way.