April Random Bites: Spring is FINALLY here

Ah, April.

The month when my lawn is finally green and the spring bulbs are popping up.

Nothing in the MCG yet, except for some seedlings hoping to germinate.

We planted spinach, onions and garlic. Carrots & broccoli.

Our driveway planters are filled with the first of many asparagus stalks!

I am the hopeful gardener.

A visit to the Union Square Green Market last week with my friend Sarah in search for ramps.
I see ramps on every menu this spring, how come I can't find any?

This was the sign that greeted me at the entrance to the market.

I finally found them a few blocks away at Mario Batali's mega Italian superstore Eataly, along w/ 3 different colors of asparagus and 3 colors of cauliflower!

Mission accomplished.

I added a new pan to my kitchen cookware family.

I rarely use a non-stick pan, except for eggs and an occasional fish. I want to get away from chemically coated pans, can't hurt, so I tried the Lodge "seasoned carbon steel" frying pan.

I read about it in this month's SAVEUR magazine. It is commercial weight (VERY HEAVY, you need muscles), like cast iron, but it heats like steel (cause it IS steel).

It is seasoned at the factory with vegetable oil, and you treat it like you would cast iron. No soap; heat at low temperature before turning up the heat; season w/ oil after every use; you know the drill.

I see these in all the restaurant shows on tv, and decided to take the plunge. You can buy them on amazon here in all different sizes, and they are downright cheap.

The pan seared a piece of fish PERFECTLY! No sticking and a beautiful sear.

One of my favorite little spots in the West Village is Buvette.

Jody Williams' wonderful boite/cafe/osteria bar (not sure what else to call it).

Small plates around the clock and excellent wine in a beautiful setting. Better even than a Paris hideaway (if you don't mind waiting in line to get in).

I love Jody's antique printing press that she uses to print the menu and wine book.

At the end of the booklet is La Gueule de Bois (Cures for a Hangover), I couldn't agree more.

~ caffeine
~ sugar
~ butter
~ pork & eggs
~ vitamins C, B-6, B-12
~ toast
~ hair of the dog

Her new book came out this week, and I just got my copy hot off the presses!

Throw a wine cork in the basket for good luck.

We had our first al fresco dinner of the season at The Waverly Inn in NYC.
It's a beautiful old restaurant with a conservatory in the back with a glass ceiling and fireplace.

We had a spring dinner of a lamb roulade stuffed w/ Pecorino & walnuts over fresh fava beans and fiddlehead ferns!
(that monster thing in the backround is Henry's chicken pot pie, the biggest I have ever seen, almost obscene).

So glad I can finally eat some local seasonal produce.

Welcome spring!

Oh yes, and thank you to whomever left the giant size bag of M&M's in my mailbox.



Bebe said…
Long ago I read or heard somewhere this easy way to season a regular cast iron frying pan. I have several - Wagner, Lodge. It worked like a charm.

Wash the pan with soap and water but don't ever soak it. Coat interior with a good slather of vegetable oil (I used paper towel to do this). Get pan very hot on stove. Carefully remove (use mitt) and hold under running water. It will sizzle like mad. Slather again. Back on the heat until it is very hot. Hold under running water. After several repeats of this oil-heat-running water process, finish by drying pan on warm burner.

I very rarely need to reseason the pan. An occasional light rub with an oil-moistened paper towel if I am cooking something very lean. And I do use hot soapy water and one of those curly plastic scrubbers (no Brillo pads) if lean meat bits stick.

My big nonstick skillet bit the dust so I'll be looking for the Lodge pan you feature. Sounds terrific.

Never ever soak the pan in water, plain or soapy.
Ciao Chow Linda said…
Your tulips are gorgeous and I want to get one of those pans. Thanks for the tip. I haven't been to the Waverly Inn since it was called "Ye Olde Waverly Inn." Is it still so hard to get into since the new ownership many years ago?
Anonymous said…
Ohhhh that conservatory back room at the Waverley In is GORGEOUS. The tile floor, the flora! Did you see the review of Bill Telepan's new downtown place in the NYT's this week? The food sounds a bit iffy, but what really turned me off was the d├ęcor - all of that herringboned raw wood evoking Aspen in the 80's? No thanks. I'd feel beautiful & relaxed in the romantic setting at the Waverly Inn - Telepan Local is a boxed-in claustrophobic nightmare.
Extravagantgardens.com said…
It's never occurred to me to try asparagus in a container. I'm in the process of building a special bed for them now. Do you haul them in every year or do you leave them out?

Thanks for a fun blog!

Stacey Snacks said…
Email me and I will help you with the asparagus
Penny said…
Glad to see that Spring has finally arrived in the NE. You are so lucky to have Eataly close by. Wish someone would leave M&M's in my mailbox.
Eileen said…
Thank you for the tour of your yard and NYC. I've been in bed with an awful virus for 2 days now and it really cheered me up seeing your post. Gosh... I have got to get to NY again!! I got rid of any non-stick skillets years ago and only use my mother and aunt's cast iron skillets now. May also have to get one like yours.