Wednesday, March 6, 2013
I've had an adventurous series of days since we last spoke. From handling the limp body of a dead baby lamb last Saturday, to riding shotgun in a prop plane across the Caribbean sea. We're just going to leave it there talk about something as mundane as my culinary pursuits tonight. Because the fact that I'm cooking on a real stove, with real ingredients feels like the best big deal in the world, and you'll get something out of this, if you follow. Promise.
All my brooklyn bitches know by now that Fairway in Red Hook has reopened (after being decimated by Hurricane Sandy) and it's changing peoples universes across the borough, I'm sure. I'm excited but also sort of cranky about it -- it means that Nea and I can't use Van Brunt Street as our personal catwalk anymore -- a steady stream of speeding motorists desperate for their imported cheeses and lamb sausage (as are we, as. are. we.) returned to our sleepy streets as if a switch had been turned back on. Welcome back my fine, far flung friends..welcome back! I hope you all stop at my big plant sale in a few weeks...stay tuned. And please watch out for me emerging suddenly from between parked cars looking cranky and walking a cheerful raccoon on a leash.
But back to my culinary delights! With infinite grocery options now a mere three blocks away I found myself in a decision-making meltdown. I like to think that the powerful women of the world, the Hillary Clintons, the Christine Quinn's the Sheryl Sandbergs are faced with similar inconsequential pangs of domestic indecisiveness in their free time as they Lean In to their shopping and grocery lists. Jesus. (I'm working on my own little feminist manifesto in response to this Sandberg shit, so stay tuned for that as well.)
Last night I defaulted to one of my favorite nine o'clock fifteen dollar dinners. I can't take credit for this, it was maybe the first meal we ever shared with Russell and Sara back in the days when we had a social life. His always tastes better in my memory. But last night when I made it for the two of us - after surviving the crowded catwalk and the paralyzing indecision meltdown - it tasted pretty good.
SIMPLE SWISS CHARD RIGATONI AND RICOTTA
Swiss chard is my favorite green, most days. We grew it half heartedly at the farm this summer, and cut it as microgreens for a fish garnish. Actually we didn't really use it as a fish garnish, but that would have been ideal. Swiss chard is naturally rather salty and earthy and makes a good foil for the sweet lemon-laced ricotta. I grate a lot of pecarino on top and then a drizzle of olive oil just because I can. If you can, buy the white ribbed or yellow ribbed chard -- the red ribbed chard will make the ricotta turn pink and make the plate a bit unsightly, though equally delicious.
2 bunches of swiss chard washed and chopped in 1 inch pieces
[With water still clinging, steam the chard for 7 minutes or till mostly wilted. Then add...]
5 cloves of finely chopped garlic and
a a few tablespoons of olive oil and
a sprinkling of salt and
a big sprinkling of pepper flakes
[let that all cook on medium together for around 5 minutes. Then empty the cooked chard into a bowl and set aside. Fill the cooking pot with water and get that water boiling while you check email and pour a glass of wine. When the water boils, salt it heavily and add...)
a pound of rigatoni
[While the rigatoni cooks...]
a pound of ricotta and mix in...
the zest of half a lemon and
a tablespoon or two of olive oil and
salt to taste
[Drain the pasta rather quickly, leaving a little water still clinging to it. Mix the chard into the pasta and then add in the ricotta mixture. late with the grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil as I mentioned above.]