The Art of Farming

September 10, 2010

I’ve got four $250 tickets to the Art of Farming cocktail party at Sotheby’s in New York on September 23 to give away. For information on the first Tri-State Heirloom Vegetable auction, go to

This first-of-its-kind event will celebrate edible heirlooms and the art involved in their creation. The novel concept provides a unique platform for local farmers, purveyors, celebrity chefs, food industry experts and high-profile New Yorkers to join together for a shared interest in the vitality of the Greenmarket and raise important funds for the GrowNYC New Farmer Development Project and The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm. The event is supported by leaders and visionaries in the sustainable food and farming movement, including Eric Ripert,Martha Stewart, Bette Midler, Dan Barber, Liz Neumark, and others.

If you want a ticket, leave a comment on this blog. One week from today I’ll put all the names in a hat and randomly select four people who will receive the tickets. It’s going to be a great event. Good luck!

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Off the Grid

September 6, 2010

I’m at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. My idea of Paradise: all I do here is write. No responsibilities, no chores, no internet. Really fascinating people. It’s heaven.

But I’m finding that I really, really miss cooking. For some people it’s all about the results – the food you end up with, the conversation around the table, the good feelings that come from a good meal. But for me cooking is so much more: just being in the kitchen gives me serious pleasure. I’m imagining that it’s kind of like those endorphins the athletic are always going on about. I don’t really believe that they enjoy running. Maybe they can’t understand how I enjoy feeding people.

Tonight film maker Laura Poitras, who has done some incredible documentaries about the American presence in the Middle East in the past 9 years, showed her work. To make My Country, My Country, she lived with an Iraqi doctor and his family as he ran for political office. When I told her how brave this seemed to me, she smiled and said, “Well, you know, I started out wanting to be a chef. And the hardest work I’ve ever done was working on the line in a restaurant. Compared to that, Iraq was easy.”

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September 2, 2010

Recipes aren’t roadmaps, they’re just suggestions of routes you might take when you find yourself in the kitchen. It’s the detours that are most satisfying part of cooking, the paths that you find on your own.

That’s why this note, from a professor at the University of Toronto, made me smile so broadly. It just came in, but I thought I’d share it with you.

Dear Ruth:
I really love the Gourmet book & it is a constant resource for me now. I wanted to say that the skirt steak with black pepper recipe (I don’t put that much pepper on when I make it :)) works very well with boneless, skinless chicken thighs with the leftover chicken making a great pizza (Jamie Oliver’s tomato sauce with dried peppers & fresh basil, baby king mushrooms & Asiago cheese).

The grilled onions in balsamic vinegar that go with the skirt steak recipe are now a house favorite & have now found there way into green beans (a variation on Mario Batali’s green beans & onions from his Multo Gusto cookbook).

FYI, here’s my simplified version of Maggie Ruggiero’s recipe:

Grilled London Broil with Red Onions

Stir together 4 cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add 1 1/2 pounds of London broil or skirt steak to the mixture and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.Just before grilling bring to room temperature, remove steak from marinade, pat dry and throw the marinade out.

Peel 3 small red onions, but leam them intact and cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick wedges. Insert a wooden pick horizontally through each wedge (to keep it intact while grilling), and marinate in mixture of 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper shaken in.

Grill steak about 10 to 12 minutes over a medium fire. REmove and allow to stand while you grill the onions for 6 minutes or so.

Cut steak crosswise into thin slices, holding knife at a 45-degree angle. This will serve 4 people.

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