The First Miriam’s Garden Column of the Season

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Posted by Miriam Rubin on May 15, 2014

Sure feels like spring. The weather changes dramatically in just a few moments.

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My husband captured these photos of the changing sky.

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We expect  in mid-Spring for the weather to  be crazy. Sometimes all in the same day. Still things are beginning to happen in my garden. Right now, there’s a hot bed full of lettuce plus rhubarb that was doing great until I needed it for a pie.

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There are tomatoes, peppers, and herbs are in pots in the laundryroom-greenhouse. Besides that, it’s all about sprouting and waiting in Miriam’s Garden.

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Just before the James Beard Foundation Awards, when I was in New York City. I took a stroll through the Greenmarket with Italian cookbook author Michele Scicolone. Her new book is “The Italian Vegetable Cookbook.” Michele loves leafy greens, which were in abundance. She picked out her favorites and told me how to use them.

She’s featured in my first Miriam’s Garden column of the year, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Please click to read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/life/food/2014/05/15/Foraging-for-spring-greens-in-New-York-City/stories/201405150230

 

 

New Knife brings back Old Memories

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Posted by Miriam Rubin on May 14, 2014

On May Day, in New York City, I got to attend the coolest thing: Pie Party Potluck. Held in the GE Monagram Kitchen, it was hosted by many generous sponsors, including Anolon, who gave us a lovely nonstick pie plate, Snapware, who gave us a BPA-free container for leftovers, and Kerrygold USA, who gave us this fabulous butter (my fridge broke the next day!).

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This is me and Cynthia Graubart, a friend and pie-party attendee. We were both visiting NYC for the Beards and had to buy pies, but everyone else made their own. One of my faves was this tomato pie.

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Another thing in our goodie bag was this knife from WÜSTHOF , below, which sparked my memories.

 

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It’s called a bird’s beak knife and I’ve had a few of them though the years.   I looked at this one and it took me back.

When I graduated from the CIA, I went to work at the Four Seasons Restaurant (not the hotel!). While in school you learned many knife skills, but really, some could only be perfected with practice. Lots of practice. With lots of produce to practice with. These knives were mainly used for carving perfect tiny football shapes out of potatoes, turnips and carrots. Called tournee (turned in English) vegetables. I could make those, but what I excelled at was fluting mushrooms. I even bested the other guys — they were all guys — in the kitchen. Fastest mushroom tourner. Sorry for the bad French.

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So did I still have it? I only needed three mushrooms to spark the memory of how to do it. Kids, don’t try this at home.

You hold the knife by the blade, backwards, cutting away from you, carving off curved pieces of mushroom skin. You have to watch someone do this and set yourself down with a few baskets of mushrooms.


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This is what you end up with. I bet I could still beat the guys!

Thanks WÜSTHOF and thanks to Jackie Gordon @divathatateny and Ken @hungryrabbit for putting together this great party. I had a blast!