Quick-Marinated White Bean Salad With Feta

Quick-Marinated White Bean Salad With Feta

A white bean salad doesn’t have to be boring. Creamy cannellinis absorb the bright flavor of a vinaigrette in just a few minutes. Paired with briny olives, fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese, and served in lettuce cups, they make a quick and substantial dinner.

Note: This recipe is part of our series for Serious Eats.

We’re as guilty as anyone else of “lazy salad syndrome”. If we can get away with opening a box of pre-rinsed greens and throwing on a dab of supermarket dressing, we’ll do it. As a side salad, that might just about be acceptable. But if we’re making a salad as its own dish – for a quick summer meal, for example – it’s inexcusably lame. But with just a little effort and really no time at all, I can prepare this white bean salad with ingredients I already have in the pantry. Most of the ingredients for this recipe are kitchen staples, and the only things I need fresh are cucumber, tomatoes, feta, and lettuce.

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Mini Dutch Babies with Lemon Curd and Blueberries

Mini Dutch Baby Pancakes cooked in individual cast iron skillets. They puff up and turn a beautiful golden brown before we spoon in homemade lemon curd and sprinkle with fresh blueberries.

Frittata with Bacon, Corn and Gruyere

Frittata with Bacon, Corn and Gruyere

Sweet corn and smoky bacon make a delicious filling to this quick cooking frittata. Studded with cheesy nuggets of gruyere and spicy jalapeños, this is the type of quick dinner you’ll want to make all the time. 

***Note: Matt and I are thrilled to announce that we are now contributors at one of our favorite food blogs of all time, Serious Eats! I’m sure most of you are familiar with them but if you’re not, definitely check them out. I love their approach to cooking because they question everything (and just because something is always done a certain way, doesn’t mean that it’s always the best way). They test and test to make sure that recipes result in the best tasting dishes, with the most efficient and fool-proof techniques.

TL;DR[note]”Too long; didn’t read”, grandpa[/note] They’re even nerdier about cooking than we are!

If the egg is the versatile gymnast of the culinary world, the star of a thousand different techniques and dishes, the frittata is probably its signature move. It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can throw almost anything into it and come up with a winning recipe. You can whip one up in under 20 minutes, so it’s ideal for a quick weekday breakfast or weekend brunch, but we’re betting it will score a place in your dinner rotation, too.

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Tartines with Herb Cheese and Smoked Salmon

Toasts with Herb Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon

A stellar, top notch brunch doesn’t need to take hours to prepare. These Tartines (toasts) with Herb Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon and Salmon Roe take only 15 minutes!

I’ve mentioned before that, though my mother is a fantastic cook, both my grandmothers were truly, ridiculously bad in the kitchen. Vegetables were boiled until they begged for mercy. Meats were blasted in the oven until they were unrecognizable. Even bread somehow managed to become disks of solid brick. (And I’m not talking about homemade bread. Store-bought. And this in the heyday of Wonder bread). It was grim.

So my brother and I always breathed a sigh of relief when our parents stopped at Zabar’s before the family trip to Queens (where we assumed every grandparent in America lived). Zabar’s, to those who are unfamiliar, is an Upper West Side institution. Open since 1934, it’s one of those places that’s almost impossible to describe. It’s a gourmet store but only because it sells things that are now considered “gourmet” but used to just be “food”, albeit for immigrants. Smoked fish, cheese, baked goods like bagels and babka. Items that turned my German-Austrian grandparents positively verklempt.

Herb Cream cheese with Cucumbers, Radishes and Salmon Roe
Herb Cream Cheese with Cucumbers, Radishes and Salmon Roe

So we would pick up some smoked salmon, a little sable. Some whitefish salad. Pickled herring that no one ever seemed to touch. Along with cream cheese and a dozen bagels (from the dearly departed H&H, of course), off we drove to the outer boroughs where we’d set everything out on my Nana’s dining table and eat off of styrofoam plates. Even I, a known fish-hater and infamously grumpy child, would schmear a bagel with cheese and lay on a slice of nova.

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Quiche with Ramps, Bacon and Gruyere

Quiche with Ramps, Bacon and Gruyere

Ramps, a seasonal treat in the Northeast US, are in danger of being over-harvested. Since they are very slow to cultivate and difficult to farm, foraging is still the main way to find them. A wild ramp patch can be quickly overrun and destroyed. The most sustainable way to harvest ramps, if you find them yourself, is to cut only one leaf of each plant, leaving the bulb and second leaf to continue growing. This is least impactful on the soil, the plant, and the colony as a whole. You’ll find ramps in this form from sustainable vendors. If you have your own private ramp patch with bounty to spare, feel free to use the bulbs, as we did in this recipe.

Spring has finally sprung in the Hudson Valley and, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know what that means: the Cliftons have ramp breath.

In the last week we’ve made sautéed ramps with mushrooms and fried eggs (delicious), spaghetti with ramps and brown butter sauce (heavenly), and this quiche, with ramps, bacon and gruyere. So, yeah, it’s been pretty rampy up in here.

Ramps and eggs
Ramps and eggs are a delicious combination. The ramps were foraged about a mile away and the eggs are from our chickens so this is just about as local as it gets.

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Grilled Buffalo Shrimp and Avocado Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Sauce

Grilled Buffalo Shrimp and Avocado Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Sauce

The fact that Matt grew up in a rural English village and I grew up in New York City means that, every so often, we have absolutely no idea what the other person is talking about.

For example, here’s an exchange that may (or may not) have occurred recently (it did not, but work with me here).

Emily: Less hit the bodega for a ’40 and stoop it till we mad toasted. You know you down, don’t front.

Matt: What’cha talking abaht, yer daft bint? Put yer knickers on and make me a cup of tea.

Then there was the time I convinced Matt that in New York City, it’s very common for dogs to wear prescription glasses. “Really?” he said, and then I laughed until I got a cramp.

Then he tried to convince me that in Scotland, there are huge, orange cows with hipster haircuts that look exactly like the mayor of London, Boris Johnson. No way, buddy. Like I’m going to believe that.

So you can imagine the fun I had trying to describe what ‘buffalo sauce’ is. I’m not sure how we’re still married.

Anyway, on to our sangwich. Let me start by saying that I would be quite happy if buffalo sauce & blue cheese dip were on pretty much everything I ate for the rest of the summer. These are the kind of bright, zingy flavors I just go crazy for.

Add to that perfectly grilled shrimp, creamy avocado and crisp lettuce and you’ve got yourself a seriously delicious sammich.

Shrimp without titles

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