kitchen diary: april 20 & 21
i have a confession to make. i am going to miss a few things about the winter. i know!! but it’s true. specifically, i have trouble letting go of kale, leeks and sage. to me, these are cold-weather flavors, but they’re some of my kitchen staples for a third of year. and when it’s time to stop cooking soups and heavier dishes and move on to spring veg and bright flavors, i reluctantly stop buying kale and cooking it sometimes 3 times per week. yes, 3 times per week. i’m a man obsessed.
but this time of year is a weird in-between time; the asparagus and peas are not yet in the markets, and i never know what to cook. you can imagine my excitement, then, when i found this recipe on the nytimes website. it combined leeks, kale and sage with soba (a new favorite pantry item) and gruyere. i raved about it here a few weeks ago, but man – it is good. and since i also tend to get stuck on certain flavors, i’ve been preparing a version of this dish in many different forms lately. after the soba version, then i cooked the kale/leeks/sage alone, and ate that alongside grilled cheese made with leftover nutty gruyere. well, that blew my mind. and then this week, searching for something warm and comforting for dinner on a rainy night, i riffed on this a bit more. i patiently stirred a pot of heirloom grits from anson mills until creamy and tender. i’m able to buy these grits at a local food shop, and boy do i feel lucky – they are superb. and combined with the sauteed kale, leeks and sage, it was a fine curtain call for winter flavors.
the next morning, because i hadn’t turned my oven on in 3 weeks (a new record for me, i think), i whipped up a batch of maple banana bread. i found this recipe on maria‘s blog a couple of years ago, and it has been my go-to banana bread recipe since. it’s simple to make, delicious, and wins you a lot of friends. until last year, i lived with 5 other guys and it was impossible to keep people out of the kitchen when i used up overripe bananas to bake this bread. i add a little raw sugar to the top before baking, which gives it a nice crunch. the perfect way to get baking again.