Spring

greens-kaleWe had a moment the other night, a unique event in the long history of the Tucker-Eikenberry alliance.

We had kale for dinner – just kale. That was dinner. It was an odd night, which could be said about a lot of nights these days. Our social engagement was a 5:00 to 7:00 kind of thing and we found ourselves back at the apartment around 7:30, our night done, with neither of us a thought in our head as to what to do next.

We didn’t want to go out again – although I heroically offered run up to the Peace Food Café on Amsterdam, Jill’s home away from home, for some take-out. “No,” she said. I’ll make some kale from Alison’s recipe.

“You’ll make?” I thought. This whole thing of Jill’s cooking is very new. There’s lots of territorial shit going down right now in the kitchen.

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casemangoesA week without a trip to the farmers' market is like a week without the sun: it makes me grumpy. I can’t remember the last time I bought produce in a regular grocery store. Sure, I go to the supermarket for eggs, milk, and cereal, but fruits and vegetables come from the farmers. So, what I did other day, shocked me. I tell myself it a was just a transgression.

I was at Costco stocking up on bottled water, protein powder, and toilet paper (why two people need 36 rolls of Northern toilet tissue, I’ll never know). On my way to the protein powder, I passed pineapples, tall, fragrant, ripe pineapples each topped with a crown fit for a king. They had no brown spots, no fuzzy fur on the bottoms—they were perfect. Better yet, they were only $2.99 each. I couldn’t believe it! I put two in my carriage and buried them under the toilet paper.

Not 20 feet later on my way to the water, I passed a mountain of mangoes, whose green and yellow skins were taut and unblemished. Having just paid $1.75 each for some (which weren’t even good), I stopped to check the price -- $8 for a whole case! I debated whether or not to buy them. What would we do with a whole case of mangoes? Would they be sweet? What if they all ripened at the same time?

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linguineEvery Friday night I like to do pasta night. I love pasta dishes because they're quick to make and so satisfying to eat. And they don't at all need to be complicated. Sometimes all you need are a few pantry staples like canned tomatoes, capers, or olives to make a delicious sauce that doesn't take hours to cook. That's the true appeal of pasta.

Oftentimes when I don't feel like eating meat I'll whip together a vegetarian-style pasta or I'll make a quick Carbonara. Other times I'll make pasta with fish, adding seared cubes of fish to finish cooking in the sauce—you'd be surprised how wonderful fish is with tomato sauce. This recipe for pasta with swordfish is one of my favorites.

The best part about this recipe is that you use one pan (not including the pasta pot). Start by making the lemon and parsley crumb topping. Then wipe out the pan and sear the fish. And finally make the sauce and cook the pasta. Once it's all done, add the fish back to the pan along with the pasta to let the flavors mingle. Serve the pasta sprinkled with the crumbs instead of grated Parmesan, since cheese on fish is frowned upon by Italians (and I happen to agree with that assessment). Enjoy this dish for dinner any night—it's also great for Lent.

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radishtart.jpg It's true, radishes are often considered the "Rodney Dangerfield" of vegetables...no respect.  But that's too bad because they are so much more than an afterthought, a garnish or a decoration.

They are spicy and delicious and add great texture to any dish. And look at the color they give this amazing tasting tart.

My love of radishes begins in Paris...strolling the Seine, grabbing a baguette, a crock of butter, a bunch of radishes and some sea salt from the street vendors.  Finding a bench and plopping down to people watch while dipping the peppery radishes into the soft butter and sprinkling them with sea salt.  A bite of bread and it's heaven.  Those were the days. 

This is a beautiful spring dish.  I served it yesterday alongside roast chicken for friends.  The perfect side with a light green salad.  You can serve it warm or room temperature, you'll love it!

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From the L.A. Times

boysenberry.jpgTo the uninitiated, the boysenberry may look like a big, blowzy, underripe blackberry, but it is in fact a noble fruit, as distinct from a common blackberry as a thoroughbred is from a mule.

Large, dark purple, juicy and intense, it derives its unique flavor from its complex ancestry: sweetness and floral aroma from its raspberry grandmother, and a winy, feral tang from three native blackberry species.

It's a California classic, emblematic of the joys of growing up in the Southland before it succumbed completely to sprawl. And it's all the more precious, despite its near extinction in this state, because it evokes why people moved here in the first place.

But Boysens can still be found if you know where to look, although their season is brief — late May to early July — and they are so delicate that as a fresh fruit they can be enjoyed at their best only from farmers markets, farm stands and home gardens.

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