Finland. Summer 2003. Lunch outside of a mild summer day. The server presented steamed salmon in a saffron creamy broth. It was simple dish, but the memory of its taste is grand. Recently, when I made Saffron Butternut Squash soup as an idea to include in a Thanksgiving menu, the first spoonful didn’t have me thinking of smoked turkey. Instead, forgotten memories of Finland returned.
It was the summer of learning about organic food, becoming environmentally-conscious and riding Copenhagen’s public bikes. The flavorful produce was fresh, bruised and unwaxed. Large chickens looked liked American cornish hens. Fingerling potatoes enclosed in a thin papery skin roasted into a buttery softness. I would return to occasionally trying to recreate the Saffron Creamy broth. It’s a simple sauce, in which I’m surprised to not have successfully created it. Perhaps, the simpleness of the sauce is underestimated. Ten years later into today, I would unwittingly recreate the taste with different ingredients, but the memories come courtesy of saffron. It’s distinct flavor beautifully infuses every dish. Read more →
Even as a so-called health nut, I love winter squashes roasted until they’re buttery and sticky-sweet. They’re drizzled with olive or coconut oil, or a little soft butter is brushed on slices. Perhaps they’re sweetened with brown or coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey. A bit of sea salt and fresh black pepper are sprinkled here and there. In my creative mind, winter squashes are flavored with any combination of herbs and spices. Read more →
I wanted a special pumpkin muffin—like a unique Halloween costume—to stand out among the store-bought versions. Inspired by the flavors of warm spice tea and bitter coffee you find in a “dirty chai” drink, this is a muffin to nibble on while sipping coffee (or black tea) in a thermos as kids trick and treat in the neighborhood. As an added treat, the muffins are sweetly topped with a generous drizzle of bittersweet chocolate ganache. Here’s a warning: Be careful of kids performing magic tricks, causing these muffins to disappear into the ghostly night. Read more →
Like its winter cousins, acorn squash and pumpkins, butternut squash are naturally sweet. They’re the dessert of the dinner table. Since discovering butternut squash a few years ago, I’ve enjoyed them, because they’re easier to prep with their subtle ridges and smaller cavities. (Make sure to use a sharp knife.) Read more →
There are plenty of reasons to be thankful. For starters, I live in a non-flood zone in Brooklyn, and our lights only flickered three times during Hurricane Sandy. I woke up the next day with fresh running water and electricity. Other blocks, people lost their cars to fallen trees. In neighborhoods at least 20 minutes away, floods and 100 mph winds destroyed houses and businesses. Although, the hurricane was two weeks ago, the stories continue to increase about the elderly living in high-rise apartment buildings on floors 13, 15 or 18 without running water, heat or electricity. I overhead a conversation about a family’s agony of a finding new home—when everyone in the same, next or other community are looking for a new home to live, too. And, those same families who lost their homes are looking for new schools for their kids. Let’s not forget the holidays are upon us. So, here I am in one of the world’s richest cities, and families are still walking around with just the shirt on their back. Brooklyn is indeed a city of the have and the have nots…. Read more →