Slow Roasted Plums & Plum Glaze

Recipes and Fixations | posted on September 28, 2015

Fresh Plums from the Greenmarket

Fresh Plums from the Greenmarket

I thought that I would share an easy dessert/fruit preparation that might just turn into that trick you keep in your back pocket.  Slow Roasted Plums.  Whenever I serve these to friends, they can’t believe how delicious they are, even though they are so simple.  All you do is slowly roast some Italian plums in a low oven (I set mine to 300F) until they have completely collapsed and the juices have begun to caramelize slightly on the baking sheet.  Everyone’s oven is different, so make sure it is not too hot, so they can roast slowly for about 20-30 minutes.  Scoop everything into a container and store.  You can enjoy these delicious little gems hot, room temperature, or cold.  You can sprinkle sugar on top before you roast them, but it is not necessary.  And though they are amazing on their own, you can also pair them with:

– Ice cream (!)

– Fresh ricotta cheese; plain or lightly sweetened.  Add some Conchord grapes, pomegranates, and walnuts for a really decadent, effortless dessert.

– Yogurt

– On top of cheesecakes

– Alongside a spiced cake

We use the juice of these delicious fruits to make a glaze for topping our Rosemary Polenta Poundcakes.  Just stir about 4 tablespoons of the roasted juice from the plums into 1 cup of confectioners sugar and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.  It is the most beautiful shade of purple.

Rosemary Polenta Poundcake with Plum Glaze

Rosemary Polenta Poundcake with Plum Glaze


Roasted Poblano Dressing

Recipes and Fixations, Salads | posted on November 20, 2014

We just launched a new Mexican salad called Ensalada Si Por Favor.  That is what you will be saying after you eat it for the first time!  It has organic kale (we get all of our kale from Liberty Gardens in Pennsylvania), toasted pepitas, corn, organic local black beans, radishes, feta, and avocado.  The dressing is a delicious Roasted Poblano Dressing that you can make at home, because I am sharing the recipe with you!



Roasted Poblano Dressing

2 Poblano peppers roasted, peeled, and seeded

1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours

1/2 cup water, or as necessary

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1-2 pinches of garlic powder

1-2 pinches cumin

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

Roast the Poblanos over an open gas flame until charred and blistered all over, or in 375 degree oven for about 15 -20 minutes or until blistered.  Put directly into a bowl covered with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit another 15 minutes.  Once cool enough to handle, peel the peppers and remove the seeds.

Meanwhile, put the cashews in a blender and start to blend with as little water as possible.  Allow them to break up and become a smooth paste, only adding about 1/2 cup of water, or slightly more if you need to keep the mixture moving with the blade of the blender.  Add the poblanos and the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.  Pour in a little bit of water if you want to loosen it up a bit.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


Feel Good Fall Salad

Recipes and Fixations, Salads | posted on October 30, 2014

I love kale salads in the fall.  Some people complain that the bitter green is getting old and overused, but I disagree.  You can talk all you want about collard greens and Swiss chard, but kale is my favorite.  Kale is here to stay, and its heartiness lends itself beautifully to many salad interpretations in the colder months.  I love roasting sweet potatoes and adding them to my salads for that balance of sweet and bitter.  At home I also like throwing in a sharpish cheese, like cheddar or mozzarella, for saltiness and a creamy element.  I then add anything else that I might have on hand: chickpeas, shredded carrots, brussel sprouts, even tomato and avocado.  Our Feel Good Health Salad should make you feel healthy, yet also comforted.  We add roasted sweet potatoes, dates, spiced roasted chickpeas (recipe below) and cauliflower, and top it with a creamy tahini dressing.  It is vegan and light, yet very satisfying. FeelGoodFallSalad     Spiced Roasted Chickpeas 2 cups cooked chickpeas* 4 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon spicy or regular paprika (preferably Pimenton de La Vera) 1/4 teaspoon cumin Toss the chickpeas with the olive oil, and then add the spices and salt and toss again.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, move the chickpeas around to make sure they all bake evenly, reduce the heat to 350, and bake for 10 more minutes.  They should be nice and crispy. *Soak chickpeas 4 hours to overnight.  Cover with ample water, and bring to a boil.  Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and boil until cooked through.  Drain and let dry thoroughly before starting recipe.

Healing Powers of India

Ingredients, Recipes and Fixations, Soft Serve | posted on September 17, 2014

I thought of the Healing Powers of India the first September that Victory Garden was open.  When the days started to get a little chillier, and the light started to change, I started to worry about having an ice cream shop in the Fall.  I thought that I needed a flavor that matched the way I was feeling- in need of some deep comfort. I wanted to make a flavor that would reflect the change of seasons in a calming way; a flavor that was healing, with a little bit of soothing spices.  HPI is a combination of carrots, turmeric, ginger, and nigella seeds.  None of those flavors explode, they all just sing a beautiful melody together.  I always think of it as the type of flavor you would want to eat after a yoga session.  I hope you enjoy!


Summer of Gazpacho

Recipes and Fixations, Soup | posted on July 12, 2014

Gazpacho   I am really into gazpacho this summer.  In the past I have had an inconsistent relationship with the cold Spanish soup.  Sometimes I liked it, other times I really did not.  I love how simple and healthy the original version is, but sometimes it is a little too vegetable juice/celery tasting for me.  I also never got so into the green gazpachos with added nuts and grapes.  However, on a recent trip to DC I was very inspired by a hibiscus, ginger, and lemongrass version that I tried at the Georgetown Harbor.  It was different and surprising, but still tasted very much like a gazpacho.  I had never thought to change up a gazpacho so much, which is why I haven’t really tried to make it here at the shop.  But that version inspired me to think outside the box.  We will be doing a few different variations of our own this season, sort of like a Gazpacho Festival!  Starting off, we have a pretty standard gazpacho, but with a touch of hibiscus and lots of herbs (sage, rosemary, mint, oregano, anise hyssop, lovage).  We will also be making a ginger peach version, watermelon, and perhaps something with some Mexican chiles.  Stop in and cool off with this supremely healthy soup  that is surprisingly filling and extra light. Gazpacho2

Super Smoothie Time

Chia, Recipes and Fixations, Smoothies | posted on June 26, 2014

A couple of weeks ago I underwent a detox.  I have not done a juice cleanse in a really long time, and that is not what this was about.  I just had been having a little too much fun, which is never a bad thing when your soul needs to let loose, but sometimes you need to take a break and do some internal body care.  I gave myself four days off from coffee, alcohol, and avoided sugar (it is hard when you own an ice cream store, so I was realistic).  I made this smoothie for myself every night, and it made me feel so good.  I remember that on the last day of my pseudo cleanse, waking up and just feeling so darn good.  I kind of came up with this recipe, which is really done in a casual/haphazard manner, but which I keep going back to again and again.

Combine all or some of the following: 1  banana, 1 handful of blackberries (I keep a bag frozen on hand), 1 tablespoon honey (you might not need it, but it doesn’t hurt), about 12 oz of cashew milk (see below), 1 teaspoon of chia seeds, 1 teaspoon hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon of raw cacao nibs, 1 teaspoon coconut oil, and a few leaves of kale.  Stir in a tablespoon of mulberries for good measure.  For the cashew milk: I take 1/2 cup of raw cashews and leave them in a Ball jar for 4 hours or overnight, then I drain the water and blend with 3-4 cups water.  That is your cashew milk.  That becomes the base for the smoothie.  After that I add everything in and just blend with a few cubes of ice.  Many times I will forget to add one thing or another, or sometimes I add a thing or two.  I like to add fresh strawberries or blueberries, if I have them.  I have also added a few leaves of mint as well.  Feel free to interpret this as you want, but it is a nice combination to keep you feeling good.

Sophia’s Hummus Salad

Recipes and Fixations, Salads | posted on March 20, 2014

This is the second Spring that we are featuring Sophia’s “Hummus” Salad.  I feel kind of silly writing my own name in there, but it is a salad that I made up for myself, and eat quite often during the Spring and Summer, so the name definitely fits.  In the Summer I add a lot of things to it, like tomato, cucumber, mint, basil, cilantro, baby potatoes, etc.  But in the Spring, I keep it simple with some fresh scallions, oregano, and chile peppers.  We prepare a tahini dressing with tahini, olive oil, water, and lemon juice, in which we toss the garbanzos, along with some za’atar.  Za’atar is a spice mix of dried wild thyme (it sometimes has oregano, marjoram, etc), sumac, and sesame.  It is a filling little salad, and is really rich in fiber, protein, iron, and calcium.  Take it with you for lunch, along with the mini Arugula Pesto Barley Salad!

Sophia's Hummus Salad

The Gorges Bean’s Mini Makeover

Ingredients, News, Recipes and Fixations | posted on February 13, 2014

The Gorges Bean is like Madonna.  It will always have the same soul, but every couple of months it reinvents itself and comes out with a new look.  The base of the Gorges is always going to be the black bean hummus, which is made with black beans from the Ithaca, NY area.  Since Ithaca is Gorges, so is the sandwich.  Its latest reinvention is that it now comes as a layer of black bean hummus, sprouts, and a delicious feta spread with preserved lemons, sumac, and paprika.  For those of you who don’t know about preserved lemons, they are an amazing ingredient.  Their bitter citrus flavor cannot be replaced by any other spice, which makes them indispensable.  If you would like to see more recipes with them, check out our Kitchen Caravan episode on Preserved Lemons.  Here is a little pic of the sandwich, with the recipe for the Preserved Lemon Feta Spread below.

The Gorges Bean Sandwich

To make the Preserved Lemon Feta Spread, mix together 8 ounces of Side Hill Acres goat feta.  Mix in 1/4 of a preserved lemon’s rind chopped into fine dice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of sumac, a pinch of cayenne, and a pinch of paprika.  Add a squeeze of lemon juice, and stir until creamy.  You can use this spread on any sandwich or with crackers!

Avocado Toast – Boom!

Ingredients, Recipes and Fixations | posted on January 21, 2014

I am not 100% sure where it started, but I think that it was Cafe Gitane that pioneered Avocado Toasts in New York City.  Many restaurants now copy them in combining avocado with whole grain bread and chili flakes or whatever other touches they want to add.  It seems to be a dish that has established itself as a menu staple for many a NYC restaurant.

I have been ordering organic produce from California for the past few weeks, and the most amazing avocados came through.  Since we order from Orwashers, who make that delicious Swiss Health bread for the avocado toast, I have been eating these for lunch every day.  And whoever is eating with me is lucky, because I usually prepare them a slice as well.  This type of dish is what makes me excited about food.  It is not a complicated recipe, nor does it involve a lot of time, but it does require attention to detail, quality ingredients, and proper preparation.  I thought that I would share the steps I take to make this Avocado Toast with you.  We are offering it at the shop by special request.

Avocado Toast

1) Toast however many slices of Swiss Health Bread from Orwashers you plan on eating.

2) Take a clove of garlic, and slice it in half.  Take the cut side of the garlic and rub on the toasted bread. The bread will catch the oils of the garlic in it, leaving just a subtle amount, the amount that makes this whole thing irresistible.  This is exactly how I make Pan con Tomate in the Summer, and is a key trick for any bruschetta style appetizers.

3) Brush or drizzle the toast with extra virgin olive oil.

4) Scoop half of a ripe avocado and mount on top of the bread slices.  This can just be done in what ever way covers the bread with the avocado.

5) Drizzle some lemon juice on top.

6) Season with freshly ground black pepper, sea salt flakes (Maldon is the best for this), and chili flakes.  I recently bought some smoked chile flakes by Daphnis and Chloe at the Mastiha Shop the other day, and they blow my mind.  The owners source their herbs and spices from small organic farms in Greece, and they are really amazing.  These Chile Flakes are a variety unique to Greece, and are still smoked over wood.  These little details are what transform a simple avocado toast into a delicious eating experience.


From the Market, Recipes and Fixations | posted on November 6, 2013

Quinces are some of the most beautiful fruits which one can enjoy.  Every time I eat quince, it truly feels like a gift.  This ancient fruit is not so popular in the United States, though it does grow locally, and you can find it at a few farm stands in the late Fall.   In the Eastern Mediterranean and in Europe, it is cherished and prepared in both sweet and savory dishes all season long.  One of my favorite dishes that I ate in Istanbul once was a poached leek in olive oil (zeytinyagli style) with little cubes of quince.  The two married together on that plate in the most surprising and delightful way.  But it seems like each time with quince is the same- it always surprises me, delights me, and whisks me away.

Quince is not easy to prepare, but it is not difficult either.  It just requires a bit of time.  Exactly the kind of time that one has when it gets dark at 4:30 pm and one find oneself wanting to hide inside.  This is the perfect kind of time for cooking quince.  One must cook quince over a long period of time to be able to eat it.  Below is a picture of some quince I bought from the Greenmarket in Union Square.  Once you cook it, it changes to a color that I like to call “Cinnamon Rose”.  It is soft, sweet, and floral blossom-ish in taste.  And while it is cooking,  brings the most delicious perfume to the air – all the more reason to make some time for it.

Quince from the Greenmarket

I have a few recipes from Kitchen Caravan highlighting quince that I would like to share.  One is for Quince and Tahini Love Letters, which are a sort of romanticized pop tart. The other is a Lamb and Quince Stew, which is cooked with hard cider.  It is a quince-essentially (I couldn’t help it) Fall dish that really shows off quince’s ability to make a wonderful addition to a savory dish.  But really, no exact recipe is needed to enjoy quince.  You can poach it with sugar for about an hour or an hour and a half, and then eat it with a dollop of yogurt or something to cut the sweetness.  The Turks eat it with their Kaymak, or clotted cream.  Let me know if you try it with something.   At the shop, we will be serving quince on our Mini Goat Cheesecakes scented with cinnamon, so be sure to come by and pick one up.

Quince Cheesecakes



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