Every year on the first Sunday in May our quiet Sunday morning, MY quiet Sunday morning, since on weekends my family sleeps until noon, every year our quiet Sunday morning disappears for a day and welcomes its louder, energetic and very sporty cousin. Its name is the Five Borough Bike Race. The race starts right in front of our building and in exchange for shaking up our Sunday morning we get the prime views of the stage and the first row seats for the opening ceremony, which includes the words of welcome from the Mayor (occasionally), and performing “God Bless America” (always) and “New York, New York” (which -- always, always -- makes me lift my arms high up, stretch them wide open and sing the loudest I can in shear happiness).
I want to be a part of it New York, New York. These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray, right through the very heart of it, New York, New York. (Arms up). I want to wake up in a city, that doesn't sleep. (Arms stretched wide open.) If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere, it's up to you New York, New York! (Sashy dancing. Miss Pain dancing too, emulating Sashy.)
And that is how on the first Sunday in May, we grab our teas and our cereals and our newspapers and our American Girl doll and sit ourselves on the windowsills and watch.
Unfortunately, this year I will have to skip the newspapers part because the work has piled up in ever single department of my life, and today it includes: #1 completing a presentation, #2 baking strawberry cookies for Miss Pain’s school snack (she has grown quite fond of them), #3 replacing my credit card number with something like thirty seven or so merchants (my cc was stolen and I got a new number, hence the chore), #4 doing something about a pile of laundry, which has been growing steadily over the last three weeks, and now resembles a leaning tower of Pisa, threatening to reach the ceiling and topple... So much for the Sunday morning these days, there are Sunday mornings when I really, and I mean really look forward to Monday. Mondays in the office feel like Hawaiian vacation compared to my Sunday mornings. And wait, I am not yet done with Sunday activities, as in #5 must cut Miss Pain’s hair, she looks like a troll, and by that I mean neglected troll not a cute one, #6 must take her swimming, #7 must pay a couple of bills, #8 must go to the supermarket to by something to eat, because, in my infinite wisdom at the market yesterday I bought nothing but flowers, sorrel and ramps, and that will not exactly feed a family of three for a week, and #9 must research recipes for speculaas and bitterballen.
You probably think that this is a post about speculaas and biterballen – do not fret, it is not, because who needs yet another speculaas recipe in the cyberspace, but Miss Pain’s class is researching the history of New Amsterdam and the origins of New York, and for the class party -- a culmination of a couple of months of hard work, we, the parents, will be cooking some Dutch food. I signed up to do speculaas and bitterballen, and was very proud of my selection, cookies and meatballs (yay!), until it turned out that bitterballen are not a dish, they are an ungodly piece of work. To quote Wikipedia “Bitterballen (plural of bitterbal) are a savoury Dutch meat-based snack, typically containing a mixture of beef or veal, beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper, resulting in a thick roux. The ingredients are combined and cooked, then refrigerated for the mixture to firm up. Once firm, the filling is rolled into balls roughly 3 to 4 cm in diameter, then battered in a breadcrumb and egg mixture and deep-fried.” Hello Dutch people, no one makes meatballs like this, didn't it occur to you that there are many easier ways to make meatballs? Probably not, just as it did not occur to me to read the recipe first or, like other parents, sign up for Dutch cheese and crackers.
Needless to say, I would be much rather making something with sorrel and ramps, because spring is finally here and speculaas is such a Christmassy creature.
Oh my, this Sunday morning promises to be eventful. I hope that I am excused for the short post. And I hope that you understand. And by the way, if you know a way of making a breaded food object in the oven successfully, and even better, doing so a day in advance, please drop me a note, I will be eternally grateful.
Ramp and Goat Cheese Puffs
* 4 oz ramps
* 4 oz scallions
* 3-4 oz goat Gouda, shredded
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup semolina
* 1/2 cup all purpose flour
* 1 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Chop the scallions thinly crosswise. Chop the ramps finely (about the same size as scallions). Beat the eggs and add them to the vegetables. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Add yogurt, heavy cream and gouda, and mix.
In another bowl mix flour, semolina, baking powder and baking soda. Add to the vegetable mixture. Stir gently until combined.
Distribute the mixture equally in baking molds (I used silicon pan for making large 2 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 3/4 inch financiers. Alternatively you can use muffin pan or molds. If you are not using silicon pan make sure to oil and flour the molds.)
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the puffs cool and then very gently remove them from the pan. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Warm Baby Potatoes Salad with Scallions and Sorrel Pesto
for the pesto
* 5 oz sorrel
* 4 oz pine nuts
* 4 oz Pecorino Romano, grated finely
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 3-4 garlic cloves
* 1/4 tsp lemon juice or red wine vinegar
for the salad
* 1 1/2 lb red baby potatoes
* one bunch of scallions
* olive oil and red wine vinegar
* salt and freshly ground pepper
Make the pesto. In a blender mix the pine nuts and garlic and process into a paste. Add the sorrel and vinegar and continue to blend while slowly adding olive oil until smooth paste forms. Add the cheese and process until it is fully incorporated. (This pesto will be quite thick, you can always add a drop of water to adjust thickness to your liking.)
Chop the scallion finely crosswise. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover them with cold water by about an inch. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until potatoes are fork tender (I actually like them very soft but this is entirely up to your taste), about 8-10 minutes (depending on their size).
Drain the potatoes and cut them into quarters. Add the scallions. Season with olive oil and red wine vinegar to your taste. Add a tablespoon or two of warm water, just so that the salad is juicy. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix well. Keep warm. Serve topped with sorrel pesto.