City Hike

I went on a little city hike yesterday.   Tuna sandwich, cherries, and guava juice.  I huffed and heaved hoed my way up the hill and came upon bushes and bushes of thorny branches, filled with ripe and unripe berries galore.  I grabbed a couple,  climbed over some railings and foretold of a bloody fall.   Backing away from the sloping hill I grabbed what I could.

I continued up the hike to see more berries!  Not now…I waited till I finished my hike before I succumbed to my greed.   Berries…berries…berries! Some where not the sweetest nor were they the easiest to pluck.  I put my sandwich bag to use, these downward facing hills wouldn’t detour me from dreams of making a city jam, but maybe the constant pricking of thorns might help.

My jam fantasy came true, my city hike gave me a mini bounty of fragrant dark gems to bring home.  I had just enough time to cook and jar them before I went off into the night.

*I never add pectin into my jams.  I add a little more sugar and leach out as much of the juices as I can then I reduce and reduce.  The lemon always adds a nice brightness.  The natural pectin from the pith as well as the acid always helps with thickening.  Jams are not very complicated.   Stir, watch it, and reduce it.  For the home cook, nothing should be very complicated about making a jam.  Just don’t burn it.  A special copper pan would be nice, and a thermometer would be nice and that spoon test…forget about it all and just watch your jam like you would watch over a toddler in a kiddie pool.  

Blackberry City Jam
2 1/2 C. Blackberries
1 1/2 C. Sugar 
1 Lemon
Rinse blackberries of dirt and debris.  Cut whole lemon into thirds or quarters remove seeds.  Place berries & lemon in pot, add sugar.   Cook on medium heat.  Stir to ensure that nothing sticks to the bottom of your pan.  At this point you will see your berries shrivel and the majority of your pot will be taken over by the juices of the berry.   This is a time to really watch your heat!  Gently stir bottom of pan and sides.  Turn heat to med-low, and just let this reduce to thicken.  I recommend 20+min.   Thicken it to about less than 1/2.  If you insist on doing that spoon trick-stick a metal spoon into the freezer.  Put some jam on the spoon and place back into the freezer, from here you can quickly see the gelling as well as desired thickness.  Before placing into jars remove lemons and squeeze excess.  Want it thicker? Cook it more-but be very mindful of not scorching your molten jam by stirring the bottom of the pan. 
Put into a clean sterilized jar eat and enjoy. 


Here you go.

The lovely people at Kinfolk were nice enough to include a meal I cooked on their blog!  Here is a great little snippet, in conjunction with Ed. Varie Gallery 


So great, I can’t wait to do another brunch in New York this summer and fall.   You can now also follow me on Instagram: FieldsofPlenty and Twitter: FieldsofPlenty.

Celery Hearts,




Instagram; FIeldsOfPlenty


I am happiest when laughter wraps around me, when sun drenches me with warmth and rays, when I hold a strong hand, a passionate kiss, when I have an extremely sharp edge on my favorite knife, when that knife slices green onions beautifully on a bias, when a soup has all the body and richness it needs because of the well made stock,  and when an unexpected recipe turns out better than expected.

Learning every day on the line I am sometimes get bored with the daily routines but,  it is at home that I will continue to happily divulge and blog about my miscellaneous adventures in my cooking.  Even though my career involves pots and pans and cooking, it’s when I am in my quaint kitchen that I can cater to my own creative impulses.  New or old they are mine

Those droplets of cookies that you see on the top are an experiment.  I love coconut macaroons and I love a deliciously nutty financier, so combined they become a delicate and nutty and chewy delight.   An american delight, the coconut macaroon is usually a densely sweet pastry made with shredded coconut, egg whites & sugar.  A financier is a french sweet made with a beurre noisette, egg whites, flour, sugar and almond meal.   What happens when you combine them?  They become a great post dinner treat with coffee or tea .  Best of all they are airy, crisp, yet chewy and in this recipe gluten free.

Coconut Almond Macaroons.
8 Oz. egg whites or the whites of 4 eggs
2 C. Toasted Almond meal or Ground Almonds (finely ground and toasted) or Almond Flour 
1 C. Shredded Coconut 
1 C. Sugar 
1/4 C. Water 
1/2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 T. Lemon Juice (Stabilizer)
1 T. Cornstarch
1/8 tsp. Salt 
Using a whisk or a whisk attachment on your machine, start by beating your egg whites – add salt – in separate bowl mix cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.  
Add mixture of cornstarch, lemon juice etc.  into your egg whites – clean sides and continue to whisk on speed 4 until you reach medium peaks. 
In a small saucepan combine water and sugar- dissolve mixture till it comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved preferred heat would be 118°.
Slowly add in the molten hot sugar into the egg whites.  
Your mixing bowl should be cool when the egg whites get to a stiff peak.  During this stiff peak period, take out the whisk attachment, clean sides of the bowl and add your toasted and cooled almond meal, and coconut.  
Fold lightly till incorporated. 
Set oven to 325°.  Place parchment paper on cookie sheet, using two spoons – one to scoop and one to push out batter- spoon out a non uniform and lovely little plump batter on cookie tray.  Dry them out for at least 60 minutes.  
Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Eat immediately. 
*note on a humid day – you may want to re-crisp them in the oven at 300°. 

Fa la la ….


Continuing from the last post lets introduce 3 recipes from adventures in my kitchen that will brighten up any day or evening light. Citrus- the last post was originally only about the color orange but, how can you think of that color without thinking about the bulbuous, plump and fragrant fruits? Also included are 2 savory recipes.

Heres an introduction to a few ingredients; Baccalla, Mandarinquats, and Limequats, some otherworldly items that some of you might not have seen or even heard of before. Baccala is a magnificent piece of fileted cod that is heavily salted and preserved fully dried. It can be quite smelly however when soaked, the flavor is delicate and the flesh quite hearty. During the soaking process I completely submerge the fish in water and periodically change the water, and surprisingly the fishy aroma is close to nonexistent.

The mandarinquat is a hybrid of a mandarin and a kumquat and yes you can eat these whole! They look like a rotund little gourd, their skins resembling a satsuma and flavor resembling the kumquat and mandarin. The limequat is another miracle. It is a wonderous little yellow thin skinned kumquat shaped hybrid of a lime and a kumquat, it’s tart sweet with a hint of lime. Both crossbreeds have a super sour flesh, a sweetly lined and fragrant shell, and both are edible whole.

As a little girl my mother would saute up tomatoes, garlic and onions – simple, and delicious- sweet sugar and tangy vinegar tingled my nostrils as they simmered together. I remember whole fish coming out of the oven – still steaming with their skins still intact, the crispy brown and golden skin just looked so magical. Still hot, she then spooned this sauce over the fish. This sauce- this delicious well balanced sauce has wonderful layers of sweet and sour – the savory aromas that filled the air are still so hypnotizing. Here is my rendition of it. This dish translates to sweet and sour salt cod.

Sweet and sour doesn’t sound as appealing, but when I add a bit of european flair to the name it somewhat gives it more elegance. In my research I also found that this recipe is very similar to other Roman recipes which also include the sweet and sour elements.

And Salt cod – my beloved baccala- if you can get ahold of this pantry item be sure to adore it as much as I do. A friend of mine named Morgan Scholfield made the best croquettes while I was in New York. They were rich and creamy and salty -an addictive quality with its crisp fried exterior and ultra creamy interior. I am still salivating. Baccala is great when certain fresh white fleshed fish would not fare well to this type of stew, because of the cooking time.

Baccala in Agrodolce

1/3 lb. Baccala (Salt Cod) soaked and rinsed about 2+ days
1 Medium Onion – Cut into Coins about 1/4 inch think
2 C. Yukon Gold Potatoes or German Butterball – Unevenly cut into large chunks about the same size as the Salt cod. (*as the potatoes break down in the sauce it is important that they are irregularly cut enough to cream the sauce yet some remaining intact.)
2 C. Diced Tomatoes
2 T. Garlic – Sliced
1 C. Orange Juice
1/8 C. Sugar
1/4 C. White Wine
1/4 C. Red Wine or Champagne Vinegar
2 T. Hungarian Paprika
1 T. Pimente D’espelette
*May I highly suggest a enameled cast iron pot for this dish or a beautiful earthenware pot because the dish needs to go from stove top to oven.
Sweat onions and garlic with both spices, and 1 tsp. salt- sweat till onions are soft 8 minutes-add sugar. Add Potatoes, toss well. Add 1/2 the white wine, orange juice and vinegar. Simmer for 20 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 375º.
Cut baccala into 1 inch cubes. Lightly dredge your baccala in flour. Bring separate pan to temp and add olive oil- lightly brown. Add baccala to pot of simmering sauce. – DE-glaze pan with the rest of the white wine and add to pot. Season to taste. Simmer in oven covered for an additional 20-30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and eat with crusty bread.

Fennel and Parsley Salad w/ Limequats and Red Onions.

2 C. Shaved Fennel
1 C. Flat Leaf Parsley- picked- leaves and very little stem.
1 C. Red Onion – Thinly sliced
1/2 C. Limequats -de-seeded Sliced in coins –
Scant 1/4 C. Champagne Vinegar
Olive Oil – Fresh pressed is best for this recipe
Thinly slice and de-seed your Limequats. Thinly slice the red onion. Place ingredients into a bowl. Add Salt to taste, Champagne vinegar and 2 T. of Olive Oil. Add shaved fennel coat well and toss with more olive oil about 1/4 C.
Add Parsley and toss. Goes well with EVERYTHING – would pair well with fresh mozzarella or fresh ricotta as well as most meats.

Mandarinquat Marmalade

3 C. Mandarinquats – de-seeded, and sliced into thin coins
2 C. Cane Sugar
2 C. Water
Combine water and Sugar till syrup dissolves. Place fruit into syrup and bring to boil reduce heat. Let sit overnight to cool. Cook – simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes occasionally stirring to make sure that the fruit does not stick at the bottom. Reduce and watch carefully. You can put a few spoons in the freezer to test if the batch will gel, but I usually eyeball my jams and make sure that the consistency is to a very well at a half reduced stage. There is so much pectin in the citrus that natural reduction will ensure a properly thick jam. Of course you can also put a spoon in the freezer and test if the gelling of your marmalade or jam is to your liking.
For my home recipe I introduced 2 blood-red oranges sliced thinly which yielded me about 1.5 cups to my 2 Cups of Limequats. The result was beautiful the saturated red and orange were beautiful as the taste was explosive and bright, the flesh of the blood orange worked really well with the delicate mandarinquat. To keep he integrity and freshness of the fruit I do not fuss much with my jams and preserves.

Rosemary Fried Chicken with Orange Marmelade Glaze.

For the chicken:
4-6 Chicken Thighs – Deboned
1 Sprig Rosemary – minced
2 C. Buttermilk
2 C. Peanut Oil
Dredging Flour:
2 C. A.P Flour
1 T. Smoked Paprika
For the Glaze:
1/2 C. Orange marmalade or any type of Citrus marmalade.
Juice of Half an orange
1/4 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T. Chili Flakes
1/4 C. Shallots
Olive Oil
Saute Shallots in Olive oil till shallots become translucent add 1/4 tsp of salt. Add Chili flakes, apple cider, orange juice and marmalade. Reduce till thicken (this won’t take long because the pectin from the marmalade is already so thick that you just really want to merge the acidity from the vinegar into the jam – with a bit of the liquid cooking off)
Pat Chicken Thighs Dry and Lay Flat – Season Liberally with salt pepper and rosemary. Let sit for 1-2 hours. Because the chicken is de-boned you have lessened the time that it takes to fully season the meat, and that every nook and cranny will be well seasoned
In a flat baking dish or pan pour your buttermilk into the vessel and place thigh meat into buttermilk. Let soak for another 30. Meanwhile, make the dredging flour – Incorporate all ingredients together – Flour, Paprika, Salt, Pepper.
-Chicken- Shake off excess buttermilk and place in flour covering both sides- for thicker coating do two times.
Let sit for another 30 minutes for the flour and buttermilk to become a batter instead of the two separate ingredients. It also yields a crisper and more uniform dredging for the home cook. Or, if you are impatient thats fine too go ahead and fry but you can definitely see a difference. Heat oil heavy cast iron skillet – you know when the oil is ready when you sprinkle a little flour into your pan and it rapidly bubbles. If the oil is too hot that flour will also burn. Cook till crisp, golden and brown on both sides. Immediately drizzle with sauce.


As I step into another new career change I realize there will be more responsibilities ahead.  Don’t you worry, I’ll still be cooking.  In the meantime while I sit and wait for the training to begin, my precious solitude and laziness needs a charge.  I have so many recipes that I just need to get out of my head that maybe a theme would help…

This post is mostly about the color orange is that it induces memories of summer, sun, citrus and beautiful pure mornings –  and of course my dear Daniel whose favorite color also happens to be orange! In a state where citrus is abundant nearly year round I just can’t get my fill of it, so I include you dear orange and your cousins into this post.

The oils that are released when you zest a lime, meyer lemon, a lemon, cara cara, blood orange, or grapefruit ETC ETC are truly intoxicating.  All of these fruits impart such a lively smell, that sometimes  I just cant help but to close my eyes each time I come across a large amounts of citrus! I imaging nuzzling my nose up against the bulbous tree ornaments, scraping the skins to spray my nostrils with the oils that release to parfume the air.


*There are a couple more citrus recipes to follow up with this post so stay tuned.

Duck Leg In Orange Sauce with Creme Fraiche

2 Duck Legs 
1 C. Carrots – about 1 inch thick-roll cut
1 C. Fresh Orange Juice – pulp OK! 
4 cloves Garlic – lightly smashed skins still intact
1/2 C. White Wine 
1 Bay leaf
2 Sprigs Thyme or Marjoram
1/2 C. Water or Chicken Stock 
1/2 C. Creme Fraiche or Heavy Cream 
Olive Oil
Lightly Pay dry each leg and generously Salt and pepper each leg.  Let sit for 1 hour.  Pat dry a second time.  Heat pan add a bit of olive oil to pan and brown both sides of the duck legs about 3-4 minutes each side – Set aside when ready.  Pour out excess fat from pan and discard.  Add white wine to scrape the fond and drippings from the pan.
Place Duck legs in oven proof dish-  Arrange carrots and garlic, thyme and bay around, or on top of legs.  Pour in Orange Juice, Water or chicken Stock (chicken stock will add more richness and depth), and white wine from pan.  
Season with Salt – and a drizzle of olive oil on top.  Bake at 375° for 1.5 hours or till tender and meat pulls from bone. 
When finished take out legs.  Strain the cooking liquid,  discard the carrots and aromatic herbs except the garlic –remove skin from the garlic cloves and reserve .  Skim off fat from cooking liquid and place in saucepan.  Bring to simmer and reduce 1/3 of the liquid.  Smash and incorporate the soft buttery rich garlic cloves into sauce.  Whisk in Creme Fraiche when close to serving. Season to taste.  Place duck legs on plate and spoon sauce generously over legs. 

Persimmon and Carrot Soup

4 Carrots – Washed and roughly cut 1/2 inch pieces
3 Persimmons – Peeled and roughly cut 1/2 inch pieces
2 cloves Garlic – minced.
1 Yellow Onion – Diced
2 quarts Water or Chicken Stock
1 Fresh bay Leaf or Dried 
2 T. Fresh Ginger – Grated
1 T. Fresh (Grated) or Dried turmeric
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
Olive Oil 
White Pepper 
Heat soup pot or any pan with high walls add olive oil.  Saute Onions, garlic, turmeric, nutmeg, salt add bay leaf – til onions are soft and translucent- cook on medium.  Add carrots- and liquid either chicken stock or water.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add Persimmon, ginger and white pepper and continue to cook for another 20- Remove Bay leaf before serving. For a creamier soup, blend til smooth or for a heartier more rustic soup lightly mash vegetables.  Season to taste. 
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, toasted sesame seeds and Cilantro. 

This next dish was inspired by my time spent at NOPA- where I worked with some of the nicest cooks not to  mention owners and managers.  I never knew that you could eat the exterior or a squash but it was a revelation!!!  Absolutely no waste and all the nutrients!  I also made a similar dish when a couple of cook friends and I managed to cook about 15 + items at a farm dinner a couple of months ago.  I topped some roasted delicata with some minted yogurt, and topped all of that with some freshly cut watercress that was dressed in a simple sherry shallot vinaigrette.  Watercress would also be very delicious intertwined in this farro version.

Roasted Delicata, Artichokes and Carmelized Onion Farro Salad 

1 Medium Sized Delicata squash- Cleaned,Cut in half, Seeds scooped out and cut in half moons about 1/2 inch in size
1 large or 2 small artichokes- properly cleaned- Hearts only cut into 1/4 inch wedges 
1 small Yellow Onion 
1 T crushed dried Oregano
1 1/2 C. Farro (Cous Cous – can also be supplemented)
Olive Oil 
Sherry Vinegar
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Lightly toast farro grains in pan or oven till slightly nutty aroma imparts. Boil Farro in 1 quart of water – when it comes to a boil turn down to a simmer.  Cook till farro grains are tender but still toothsome – Drain and cool. (30 minutes)
In large bowl place Onions, Delicata, Oregano, red pepper flakes (optional) Artichokes, 1/4 C. of olive oil, salt and pepper into bowl. Toss well and place in oven-proof roasted pan.  Roast on high at 400º- partially covered with parchment for the first 10 then uncovered for another 10 – till delicata is tender and till onions become roasted and carmelized.   Stir every 5 minutes.  
Place Farro in bowl, season with olive oil, salt, sherry vinegar – immediately place cooked vegetables straight from oven into the farro – this ensures the farro to capture the roasted flavors of the oven.  
*This dish is also delicious cold, integrated with some arugula.
Citrus Pica De Gallo w/ Avocado & Jicama
1 C. Cara Cara and or Navels Oranges – supremed & segmented-  cut into bite size pieces
1 Avocado – diced 
1/2 C. Jicama Diced
Cilantro – roughly chopped
1 Seranno or Jalapeno – De-veined and Seeded
1/4 C. Red Onion- thinly sliced 
1/8 C. Lime Juice 
1/8 C. Olive Oil 
Place Jicama in bowl with Serrano, lime juice, salt – let sit for 5 minutes.  Add Cara Caras, Red Onions, and cilantro toss.  Add Olive Oil, toss.  Cut avocado in half, remove seed- using a large spoon scoop out flesh.  Make bite size dices of the avocado.  Fold in- making sure you are not being too aggressive.  
Works great with grilled meats- or poached fish. 

 In Sunny California you always await the tender abundance of fresh produce…and the chirping of birds. 

Lunch w/a Stranger

Who ever knew that a smile could go such a long way…

I once laughed and giggled all the time.  I got to a point in my life when suddenly my brows furrowed and wrinkled up-centered…my warped forehead showing signs of worry, woes and distractions.  I call it concentration…don’t get it so twisted now,  there is a time when you should smile and there is a time to think.  One can’t always be smiling, what is often a sign of annoyance is also a sign of thought.

But, certainly a smile can go a long way…

I was walking with my friend Andrew and as we crossed the street I caught eyes with a stranger and we exchanged smiles.  “Do you know her?”  No, I said.   We talked about smiles from strangers, the creepy ones versus the friendly ones, and jokingly made parodies of such cases from various passersby..

Upon my stroll home, I noticed two radiant young girls walking- almost skipping pass when I noticed their bright and beaming smiles like rays of light.  I smiled proudly at them as to acknowledge their happy innocence as they briskly passed by.   The air that day was clean, the streets lined with healthy and active trees with the fallen leaves of Autumn resting at their feet.  “EXCUSE ME!”  I heard, then again-next came the rush of footsteps and a tap on my went something like this…”Here you go…this if for you…’we’d like you to have this“- was along the lines of what they had said.   They handed me a red rose carefully wrapped in a well moistened napkin and placed in a plastic sandwich bag.

I looked to see their mother and grandmother waiting for the two girls to run back.  Of course in a state of shock, awe and surprise I gave them each a hug.  “Why me?” I asked, “Because you smiled at us.”  was their reply.   I asked them if they liked jam- Yes was the answer.  I motioned for their mother and grandmother to come over and offered them to come into my house for some homemade soup, bread, cookies and of course fresh homemade jam.  It was such a celebratory moment, how serendipitous that they had decided to go eat at a restaurant around the corner from me, one that they had never been to before.

11/11/11 – was a significant day for the family, it was the girl’s favorite number.  They were in the city to celebrate and commemorate not only the date but also Veterans day.  It was certainly a girls day out if I had ever seen one.  They also told me they were on a mission, actually an adventure, to do things that they had never done before, possibly 11 things: One of them being, give a rose to a stranger.   I detoured them from their lunch destination in hopes of just borrowing a few minutes in their day so that I could show my appreciation.  Instead we spent a good amount of time together in the kitchen getting to know one another.   So the four of them followed me to my little apartment and into my little kitchen, where we snacked on chocolate chip biscuits w/ sea salt, potato & zucchini soup w/ bacon, flatbread w/ Za’atar and Olive Oil, and peppermint tea w/ honey.

We shared stories mostly of love- how their mother met their father (who sounds like the nicest man!), all 4 ladies; grandmother, mother, and 2 daughters were so kind and loving,  they gushed about their father!  I shared my story of how I met Daniel and we laughed, giggled, and nibbled.  I was so warmed by this moment, this moment of total sincerity.  I still couldn’t believe that I had 4 such amazing and angelic faces at my table.

We parted with hearty hugs, an exchange of information, our names on paper and a connection that satiated our appetite for human interaction.  Also with a gift of a fresh jar of plum and yuzu jam.

Dear serendipity,

I had fallen in love again.

Thank you Lee, Tia, Kari and Jean  for giving such an achingly special moment-a moment that hopefully for them was something I would always want to remember.  Happy 11/11/11, this post is dedicated to the Jonsson Family who made my day!!!!

I have yet to test this batch of recipes, these are mostly rough estimates but that’s why there are readers out there.  Maybe Tia and Kari can test these recipes out for me!

Potato and Zuccini Soup w/ Bacon.
1/2 C. Diced Bacon
1 large Yellow Onion – Diced
1 C. Green tops of Green Onions chopped. (I used this because I hate to throw away the tops of my green onions and because it adds great flavor)
2 Cloves Garlic – Chopped
2 Sprigs Marjoram- removed from stem
1 C. Yogurt
3 C. Potato            (*I used Ruby Crescents which are waxier and are like fingerlings only larger – but other potatoes can totally work!)
2 C. Grated Zuccini
1 C. Grated Carrot
Olive Oil
*Optional* 1 tsp. Chipotle pepper or Cayenne
Start by adding a bit of olive oil to your pan of choice. add your bacon and turn on heat to medium-high.  Render bacon for about 5-6 minutes.  Turn down to medium heat -Add your onions, garlic, marjoram, 1 tsp. salt and cook till translucent – about 6-10 minutes.  
Add potatoes, coat with onions and garlic and bacon mixture.   Add yogurt and coat.   Add now carrot, and zuccini all at once.  Combine together then add water.  A enough water so that there is a good 2 inches above your vegetables.   Simmer till tender – Season to taste.  Blend by machine for a creamier more velvety texture, or mash by using a masher for a more rustic and hearty soup.    Garnish w/ Chives and a dollop of yogurt. 
Chocolate Chip and Sea Salt Biscuits.
1.5 sticks butter
1 C. Confectioners Sugar
1/2 C. Regular or Course Sugar
1 T. Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg
1/4 C. Cocoa Powder
3/4 C. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/8 C. Flour
*Optional* Course Sea Salt to Garnish
Using paddle attachment for your mixer -cream butter and sugars on speed 6 till well incorporated or airy and soft- add cocoa powder -then add egg and vanilla set aside, mix till incorporated.   In separate bowl combine Flour, baking soda, Salt and chocolate chips.    Add dries to your butter mixture and mix for another 3 minutes.   Using tablespoon  measure  dollops on parchment and bake at 350 for 5 minutes check and rotate cook for another 3-4.
With this batch I also rolled and froze a log and re-baked it the next day, what yielded was a more uniform cookie and when baked a little longer came our crisper and more biscuit like. 
Enjoy ❤ and test.

New Day Dawns.

You come to a point, when things just happen…change develops and will continue to do so without your control.  You go with the flow without trying to lose your own control.
Flowing with the momentum gathering and extracting ideas and recipes.

Today I have two easy recipes for you, one is a vinaigrette and another a pasta recipe.  What I like about this is that all these recipes are approachable and their ingredients completely attainable.   See, I love pasta I love noodles and the following recipe sums up what a pasta dish is to me.  Light and filling and satisfyingly warm and comforting.  For this recipe I suggest any dried hand rolled pasta.  I find the nooks and crannies of a hand rolled pasta capture the sauce beautifully.  An Orechiette might also work, and if your looking for noodle strands I suggest maybe even a Buccatini

But I have to tell you, I used dry farmed early girl tomatoes and I found the flavors with these wonderfully sweet and tartly balanced gems pretty awesome when cooked with pasta.

Also there is a recipe for a vinaigrette.  This recipe for a vinaigrette or dressing is great because it clings on to whatever greens you are using.  I recently went on 101Cookbooks and found a recipe for a Double Broccoli and Quinoa salad – I made this dressing instead of the broccoli pesto in that recipe – I am sure that it changed the mouth feel of the salad, but it was still delicious – but I also used this dressing on a kale salad, and can imagine it being used with little gems and romaine.   Daniel and I also used it to dress our salmon En Papillote –  we also added a bit of preserved lemon and shallots in the parchment packet.

Strozzapreti w/Tomatoes, Zuccini, Pinenuts and Oregano.

6 oz. Pasta
3 Cloves Garlic – 1 T. Chopped or 1.5 T. Sliced.
1.5 T. Roughly Chopped Fresh Oregano.
1.5 C. Fresh Tomatoes – (you can also use canned but it will not have the same flavor)
1 C. Coins of Green Zuccini
1/3 C. Roasted Pinenuts
*Optional – 1/2 C. Fresh Ricotta.
*Optional – 1 tsp. Chili Flakes
Bring Salted Water to Boil – Add the 6 ounces of pasta. In Oven or separate pan toast pinenuts til fragrant and slightly golden.  Set Aside.  Start pan with Olive Oil.  Add Garlic-tilt pan so that oil and garlic creates a pool and infuses oil without coloring the garlic-  Add Zuccini – Toss well to coat – 2 minutes  –  Add Chopped Tomatoes – Cook another 3 minutes – Check your pasta – You want this sauce and pasta on the thicker and richer side- on the saucy side- on the also stewwy side – to do this the pasta will have to finish cooking in the sauce. Your pasta will be about 2-3 minutes from the finished cooking time.  This texture will be crunchy yet the outside will be soft – not quite Al Dente.  The dish will finish cooking in the pan with the sauce, the starches will lend a hand to developing the rich element of this dish.  The way the exterior starches in the Aborio rice helps to create the creaminess of a risotto.Add pasta + 1/2 C.  pasta water into sauce pan. Add roughly chopped fresh Oregano. On medium heat – Continue to cook . Let Stew and simmer till sauce richens and pasta is cooked.  Season with salt and pepper.  Be careful not to over season – your pasta water was also salted.

To Serve –  Sprinkle Pinenuts on pasta and lightly toss to. Finish with a nice fresh olive oil – You can also do dollops of fresh ricotta and black pepper. The ricotta will bring a delicious, milky neutral element to the dish – it also offsets the acidity of the wonderful tomatoes.

Creamy Tahini and Basil Vinaigrette.

1 Large Lemon Zest
1/8 C. of Lemon Juice
1/4 C. Champagne Vinegar
1-2 Cloves Garlic – Microplaned i.e using a zester- or very finely chopped
1/2 C. Tahini
1 Bunch Basil
3/4 C. Olive Oil
In a bowl zest 1 large lemon and extract it’s juice.  Rasp or microplane a medium sized clove of garlic into bowl,  add champagne vinegar, add salt.  
Add 1/2 C of Tahini and incorporate well till uniform –
Place your roughly chop basil in blender- pour in olive oil – Pulse til  basil is roughly chopped to releasing its green juices and flavors but has not yet bruised.  Bruised basil will result in a less bright basil flavor.  To do so place on high for a mere 3 seconds. Too much heat and speed from the blender will harm the flavor.
You can also use a hand wand, or you can roughly chop your basil (but be sure to use a very sharp knife) place in olive oil and press down to release the juices to create a basil oil.  – Slowly drizzle basil oil into the Tahini mixture and whisk til incorporated.  Trying not to break the dressing. Season to taste.