Plus: Joanne Chang's Carrot Cake, Ali Slagle's Spanakopita Pasta, and Dinner at Chifa.
Can you name a soup that makes a perfect transition from winter to spring? I can! It’s ribollita. Ribollita, which is Italian for “reboiled,” is how Italians use up their leftover vegetables. Maybe it’s un-Italian of me, but I make mine with fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market: carrots, onions, celery, garlic, cabbage, and kale.
If you’re curious about how I put it all together, you’re in luck! The second episode of my new YouTube show is here and it’s called Adam’s Rib-ollita. (Get it?) You can watch the whole thing here:
If you liked that, please head over to the YouTube page, subscribe, like the video, and even leave a comment. It helps get more people to watch!
And if you just watched that and you want more specific directions, I’m here for you. Here’s my Ribollita recipe in PDF, ready for you to print.
Now, on to some other cooking…
Remember that carrot cake that I raved about at Myers & Chang in my last newsletter? Well I bought Joanne Chang’s Flour Cookbook and made her carrot cake on Friday for my friends Ryan, Jonathan, and Ben.
This recipe — (you can find it online here) — yields the moistest, most decadent cake and the only fat in it is Canola oil. It must be the ratios: there’s a lot of carrot in there, which probably helps with the moisture. I actually used rainbow carrots as an experiment; I don’t think it changed the color at all (maybe made it a little darker).
Here it is in daylight, the next morning for breakfast.
This is one of those recipes where you make it once and you just know it’s going to become part of your repertoire. What’s so great about this version is that it’s designed for the home cook: it’s just one cake that you slice in half. And the cream cheese frosting recipe makes JUST enough cream cheese to ice the cake. So it’s a sensible carrot cake for sensible people.
At that very same dinner, I served another brilliant recipe: Ali Slagle’s Baked Spanikota Pasta from NYT Cooking.
Let’s take a look at it up close:
It’s a wild recipe: you chop up a TON of greens. I used Swiss chard, arugula, scallion greens, and dill.
Then you sauté the white part of the scallions and garlic in butter, add some pasta cooking water (I used cavatappi), and — get this — you add a package of cream cheese that you cube. I told you it was wild! And to that you add all of those greens until they wilt, then you add Feta and mozzarella.
Here it is mid-assembly, before I added all of the cheese on top.
It’s a real winner because you get all the razzmatazz of pasta + cheese, but then there are those virtuous greens, surprising you with their bitterness and their bulk. A great spring dish.
Last night, I met my friends Billy and Don for dinner at Chifa in Eagle Rock.
Apparently, it’s owned by one of the owners of Opening Ceremony (the fashion store) who flew his mother in from China to run the restaurant, which serves Peruvian-Chinese cuisine. Well, she’s doing a very good job. The backyard is lovely and these ribs, which were cooked with ginger and soy sauce and garlic and golden sugar, were hard not to devour with my fingers (thank God for moist towelettes).
Also really liked the Dan Dan noodles and Mapo tofu, but the best part was the dessert: these Alfajores cookies.
The crumb was so light and tender and the inside had rich dulce de leche. Next baking project: these cookies.
Now for some links that caught my eye this week!
So glad the NYT wrote about this new tipping phenomenon: I’m always happy to tip at bars and at restaurants and coffee shops, but now my butcher has a tip option? I tip, but what’s next: tipping at a gas station for M&Ms? (NYT);
Nigel Slater makes sausages with rhubarb chutney and apricot cheesecake… YUM (The Guardian);
Are you doing intermittent fasting? Turns out: it’s pointless! (NYT);
Bill Addison eats at Mother Wolf while Beyonce and Michelle Obama are having dinner… making me wonder: how can anyone normal get a reservation?! (LA Times);
When David Lebovitz does a “Best of Paris” post, you pay attention (David Lebovitz).
That’s all for this week, folks!
In case you missed it, Thursday’s paid-subscriber’s only e-mail had the secret of Joanne Chang’s scallion pancakes, a bonus interview with Kevin Bludso and Noah Galuten, pictures of my latest Etsy purchases (a vintage Le Creuset and a funky rainbow teapot), two healthy dinners, and links. Don’t miss the action this Thursday! Sign up here:
Until next time….