Category Archives: fruits

SALAD DAZE

I think I have a new favorite salad. It’s true love. Sadly, our relationship can’t last forever.

Isn’t she a beauty? Alas, our relationship is temporary because the ingredients are 90% seasonal. Our tomatoes are practically gone, and this is the last week for corn. Don’t even get me started about fresh cannellini beans and those tender green beans. Sigh.

Some mornings I wake up with wicked cravings. Recently, it was Salade Niçoise.

After a quick run to the market, I had absolutely every fresh ingredient I needed. The freshly shelled cannellini beans were the crowning jewel.

So pretty. I could hardly bear to throw away the bean’s papery, creamy husks.

The wannabe-stylist in me loved assembling this gargantuan salad. I thought about organizing all of the colors in a rainbow sequence, but then thought better of it. I was missing the color blue, anyway.

Adam surprised me with a few treats of his own, too, including this platter of ripe figs. I’ve learned so much about proper fruit from him — like a fig that isn’t jammy, oozy, sticky, and basically sugary mush isn’t worth eating. I’ve learned to steer clear of all of those firm, tasteless, expensive figs. Goodbye.

He had another surprise, too — wild Quebec blackberries, smaller than my pinkie fingernail, and so sweet and tender. I haven’t had this much fun eating blackberries since I lived in Portland and ate them everyday.

The finest kind of salad, in my opinion, is just thoughtful assembly. I once had a mindblowing Salade Niçoise in a small bistro in Paris, but honestly when you have ingredients this splendid and this fresh, nothing else will ever compare. Nothing else will ever come close. Ingredients to consider in varying degrees of proportion when putting together your own Salade Niçoise:

Sliced avocado (that would be my California upbringing rearing its head, saying, “put avocado in every salad you make, ever”)
Sliced tomatoes
Fresh, raw corn
Summery green beans, blanched briefly
Diced red onion, carrots, and celery
A fistful of freshly shelled cannellini beans, boiled until tender
Soft-boiled eggs (note: I hate hard-boiled eggs, but that would be the more traditional option)
New potatoes, boiled for 20 minutes, then cut into discs
Halved olives (we used Kalamata)
Can tuna packed in oil
Some kind of tender lettuce (I spotted some handsome heads of Boston lettuce at Birri recently)
Parsley to garnish; lemon vinaigrette to dress.

I’m really trying to enjoy my salad days while I can. And honestly, this was one of the best lunches I’ve had in along time.

“..My salad days, / When I was green in judgment, cold in blood…”

Advertisements

STONED + CANNED

I was so stoked to organize a canning workshop with Montreal’s preserves queen Camilla Wynne, and I’m happy to report that the night was a mega success! (I’ve been eating her nectarine-sapote jam smeared on thick pieces of toast every morning for breakfast). We  can’t wait to get her back into the Dep’s kitchen for Round 2: Pickles. Stay tuned!

Lots more photos here. And here!

SEMI ROUTINE

Breakfast with my boyfriend always includes a little bit of fruit, artfully arranged, a little bit of bread, toasted (though I’m trying to cut back), a little bit of cheese and butter, and, if I’m lucky, a fried egg or two. Lots of cracked pepper and fleur de sel. It’s an unstoppable breakfast. This kind of meal doesn’t happen every day, but it’s nice to take 30 minutes out of your morning to relax and enjoy some nice food. I can’t believe it’s already September. It was hard to say goodbye to the greengage plums, and now I have to say goodbye to peaches, too?

MORNING PERFECTION

Our talented and awesome friend Michelle gave us a generous parcel of her blackberry brioche. The brioche was some of the best I’ve ever had, truly donut-like in character, tender, sweet, and light. I gobbled one down for breakfast, accompanied with some green tea, syrupy Greengages and Ontario nectarines.

MONTREAL WORKSHOP! PRESERVING STONE FRUITS

And now… another Montreal-centric announcement!

I’m thrilled to announce the next workshop at Dépanneur le Pick Up
— and it’s coming right up!

Pastry chef and preserves expert extraordinaire Camilla Wynne will lead a workshop on Canning and Preserving Stone Fruits on Thursday, August 25 here at Le Pick Up.

Camilla is a professionally trained pastry chef who has been canning since 2002. She most recently worked at Laloux and Pastisserie Rhubarbe, but has also done stints at Les Chevres (RIP), Anise (RIP), and wd~50 (NYC). Formerly the baker behind Backroom Records and Pastries, she now sells jams, marmalades, jellies, pickles and other preserves under the Preservation Society moniker. (Adam and I love Camilla’s strawberry jam. Absolutely the best strawberry jam I’ve ever had!)

Camilla has been an amazing and inspiring presence in the Montreal food community (she made cupcakes before me at the Dep!), and we are so honored to have her host our next workshop.

At the workshop, Camilla will discuss the most important tenets of preserving fruits, including explanations of her own techniques, and an emphasis on basic safety. We will be making jams and preserved fruits in syrup, with a strong focus on seasonal stone fruits.

The workshop will begin promptly at 8pm. Each participant will have a hand in making their own preserves, with guidance and instruction from Camilla. The registration fee is $25. We are located at 7032 rue Waverly, and are a cozy and intimate space — so please register soon as there are a very limited number of spots! Cash only, please. To register, please email me at Natasha.pickowicz [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thanks and I hope to see you there!

HOME AT LAST

Breakfast at home, and devouring some treasures I scooped from our adventure to Ontario — chili peppers and sweet cherry tomatoes I hand-picked from Norm Hardie’s garden (more on that soon!) in Prince Edward County, with cumin seed-flecked smoked gouda from Ottawa’s La Bottega and seeded bread from Ottawa’s Le Moulin de Provence.

MEETING OF THE MINDS

When Adam met up with me in Ithaca for Meredith’s wedding, it was his first time meeting all of my friends. Ever. Which is crazy, I know.

So, to commemorate the occasion, the evening he was to arrive, I schemed to organize a fête both special and low-key.

At first, I thought about organizing our gang to feast at our favorite Trumansburg restaurant. I even made a reservation.

But I quickly realized that what I really wanted was a simple dinner party, thrown in Adam’s honor, at my friend Katie’s cozy country home.

It was barely a party, really more of a garden supper, but it felt perfectly full of laughter and love. Curious what we ate?

Since there are no photos (blame the wine), here’s the menu, instead:

Assorted Piggery charcuterie (including a ham hock terrine that disintegrated in the upstate New York heat) // Spanish cheeses + olives

Homemade quick pickles // beets, red onions, local green beans, and carrots

Quartered Ithaca heirloom tomatoes served over barley // red wine vinaigrette

Crispy potato croquettes (I loosely followed this wonderful recipe) // homemade crème fraîche // chives // lemon wedges

Thick ribbons of pasta tossed with fresh ricotta // lemon // local corn // watercress // torn basil

Halved local Methley plums + honey served over thyme-flecked Sable Breton // so much more of that dangerous crème fraîche

That was it. Simple and sweet and buttery. And, upon reflection, a lot of carbs!

As a final note, I can’t recommend this simple Sable Breton recipe enough. The confetti of thyme in the dough really send this not-at-all-sweet dessert completely over the top. Make it for the person in your life who professes not to like dessert. They’ll love it.

In conclusion, if someone offers you up their gorgeous backyard to host a tiny, elegant dinner party — don’t turn their offer down.

And if someone offers to hang petite twinkling lights, set a table with their most beautifully mismatched linens, buy you a vase of scarlet flowers, and even hook up a sound system that may or may not lead to a protracted discussion of the band The Archies, definitely don’t turn their offer down.

And even if you can’t find a bottle of Fontsainte Gris de Gris from Corbieres at Red Feet, no worries. Pop open a bottle of Dr. Frank’s perfectly delicious dry reisling and sit down. It’s summertime, and you are with your favorite people in the world.