Rhubarb Gin Fizz

_MG_6280 Since it's almost Memorial Day weekend, I thought I would share a cocktail that you can make tonight – or for the next four days. Simple and yet impressive, thanks to the rhubarb-thyme syrup, and as boozy as you want to make it: you can make a non-alcoholic version with seltzer and the syrup on it's own, add gin, or use both gin and prosecco for the most fun alcoholic version of all. I didn't have any sparkling wine on hand when I made these (I know, terrible), so I stuck with seltzer and gin which was super refreshing.

_MG_6284Happy long weekend to you all – I hope it's filled with sunshine and barbecues, and of course, plenty of delicious cocktails!_MG_6291

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Rhubarb Gin Fizz (adapted from Baked Bree, makes 1 drink)

For rhubarb thyme syrup (makes about 1 1/2 cups):

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 1/4 cup rhubarb, trimmed and chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir and cook until rhubarb is very soft, about 3 minutes. Strain through a mesh sieve into a small pitcher or container, and let cool. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

For cocktail:

1 1/2 oz gin

1 1/2 oz rhubarb-thyme syrup

1/2 oz lemon juice

4-5 oz prosecco or club soda

Add gin, syrup and lemon juice to a highball glass and stir. Add ice, and pour over prosecco or club soda to fill.

 

 

Spring Frittata

_MG_6234Happy spring! I know it was technically spring almost two months ago, but here on the east coast it's felt like a very slow slog through miserable winter. But after a lovely weekend (and my first sunburn of the season), it's finally feeling like warm weather is here to stay. _MG_6248

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Spring, for me, means lots of fresh vegetables (finally!) and one of my favorite ways to use these is to throw them together in a frittata. Like fried rice, this recipe has almost endless variations and is a great way to use up whatever you might have languishing in the refrigerator.

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_MG_6243 To make this particularly springy, I went with asparagus, ramps, kale and turkey bacon – but I think that peas, arugula, and even chicken sausage would also be lovely.

_MG_6229And just for fun, some lovely ranunculus that I picked up at Trader Joe's.

Spring Frittata (serves 4-5)

1 tablespoon butter

4 slices turkey bacon, roughly chopped

1/4 onion, finely chopped

4-5 ramps or green onions, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 bunch asparagus, woody ends broken off and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large handful kale or other greens, stemmed and chopped

8 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

2 ounces goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large cast-iron or oven proof pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. When hot, add turkey bacon and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook until translucent, 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Add milk and salt and pepper to taste, and whisk until combined. Add asparagus, ramps, garlic and kale to pan and cook until vegetables are bright green and slightly wilted, 5-6 minutes. Make sure they are evenly distributed around the pan, then pour egg mixture over and remove from heat. Crumble goat cheese over eggs, then cook frittata in the oven until eggs are set and the top is just slightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Pea Pesto

_MG_6162This is one of my go-to spring recipes, especially for entertaining. The pea and basil together are super refreshing (you can also use mint), and since everything gets thrown in the food processor, it only takes minutes to prepare. My favorite way to eat is with toasted bread, but since I spent hours (literally) rolling out these flat breads one Saturday, I thought they would make a nice accent. (The flat bread is SO good, but very time-consuming due to all of the hand-rolling, and if you are going to make these, you should definitely not go to P90X that morning or you won't be able to lift your arms.)_MG_6172  

_MG_6167I also served with this amazing whipped feta (all credit goes to my friend Arie for introducing me to this recipe). Seriously, the next time you have people over (or not, if you want it all to yourself), you must make this. It's like whipped gold.

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Pea Pesto (makes about 1 cup)

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen and defrosted

1/4 cup fresh basil

1/4 grated parmesan cheese

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until creamy, then season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately with bread or crackers of your choice, or refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 days.

 

Steak Sandwiches

_MG_6105Usually when I order a sandwich, I tend to go for something covered in cheese and with a salty-sweet component, or the classic ham & butter combo. But after having steak for dinner one night, we were faced with the dilemma of what to do with leftovers the next day: and what better way to use up leftover steak – admittedly, not a terrible problem to have – than make steak sandwiches? _MG_6106 We also happened to have leftover brussels sprouts slaw which I thought would provide a nice crunchy contrast to the juicy steak. But the real star of the sandwich is the garlickly, tangy aioli – a perfect foil to the crunchy bread and succulent meat. Serve with chips and pickles for an easy dinner or picnic lunch (is it feeling like spring anywhere else? Everyone in NYC is delirious with happiness that it's finally more than 40 degrees)._MG_6112

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Steak Sandwiches (serves 2-3)

1 steak (cut of your choice), cooked medium-rare and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 baguette, cut into 2 pieces and sliced in half lenghtwise

Slaw (I used this one with brussels sprouts, but you could also use something like this)

For aoili:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

If your steak isn't already cooked, heat a cast-iron pan over high heat until searing hot, about 5 minutes. Preheat broiler. Add 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil and heat until smoking, then add steak (well-seasoned with salt) to pan. Cook until there is a nice crust on one side, about 5 minutes. Don't touch it before that. Flip steak, then add 2 tablespoons butter on cooked side. Place steak under broiler, and cook until medium-rare, 5 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes in pan, then thinly slice.

Meanwhile, toast bread. Slather aioli on both sides of bread, then place slices of steak on sandwich and top with a generous helping of slaw. Serve immediately.

 

Crostini with Asparagus and Ramp Pesto

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I think I might have a problem. As you may have noticed, I kind of love asparagus. Until is goes out of season, I eat it at least once a week (as you can probably tell). But how was I supposed to resist it at the farmer's market last weekend? The bright green, plump stalks were calling my name. And then you add in the fact that ramps are now in season for a few short weeks, and there was no hope. I had to get them both -- and actually, thank goodness I did because now I can share this pesto with you. The ramps give it a garlicky bite, but the brightness of the asparagus mellows it out a bit. This would also be excellent mixed with pasta, or served with a mild white fish, or with boiled potatoes for a riff on potato salad -- whatever your imagination might come up with. Crostini with Asparagus and Ramp Pesto

1 loaf ciabatta or baguette, thinly sliced

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 bunch ramps, ends cut off and roughly chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place slices of bread on a baking sheet and toast in oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, place asparagus, ramps, walnuts, and cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped, about a minute. While processor is on, pour in oil in a slow stream and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Slather over bread and serve immediately, garnishing with additional cheese if desired.

Beet Salad with Crispy Shallots

As the weather keeps getting warmer, I find myself craving salads. A. and I are trying to eat a bit healthier, and beets are one of my favorite vegetables -- their earthy, sweet taste and vibrant color makes them perfect for spring salads. Since the famer's market doesn't have zucchini and summery produce quite yet, I will content myself with beets, goat cheese, and crispy fried shallots. Enjoy this simple salad as a first course, or alone with a glass of rosé (like I did).  Beet Salad with Crispy Shallots (serves 2)

2 large, or 4 small beets

2 tablespoons + teaspoon olive oil, divided

1 large shallot, very thinly sliced

8 oz. mixed greens

2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

For dressing:

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped shallots

Pinch brown sugar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop ends off of beets, and place on a sheet of tinfoil. Drizzle with teaspoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place another sheet of tinfoil over them, crimping at the edges to form a sort of packet. Roast until a fork goes into the beets smoothly, about 45 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until crispy, being careful not to let them burn, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain on a paper towel.

Mix dressing ingredients in a small glass or jar, whisking well to combine. Place greens on a plate, add beets and goat cheese. Sprinkle shallots over, then drizzle dressing evenly. Serve immediately.