Vegan cuisine, radical ramps, Za’atar heroes, and more.
Flowers in Bloom
This garden-fresh starter features organic baby greens, thinly shaved fennel, and juicy orange segments bathed in a housemade dressing of sweet ripe mangos. Topped with a just-picked pansy that really is good enough to eat, it’s served at Bloom in
Artichoke Parmesan Spread
Best Uses: as a vegetable dip, filet of sole stuffing, spread on water crackers, dressing for sandwiches
Cost: $7.99-$9.99 for an 8-oz jar
What’s in It: artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon, Worcestershire sauce, spices
Made By: Amoira’s Good Taste Foods of Old Greenwich, Connecticut
Inspiration: Owner Moira Mahon says, “I’m a big fan of small-bite foods, and tapenades are perfect to accompany appetizers. I used to bring my olive tapenade to dinner parties and serve it when I had guests. I received such good feedback I decided to start a fine-foods business. That was six years ago. I love to share with others homemade, high-quality foods.”
If You Like, Also Try: green-olive tapenade, roasted tomato spread
Found At: Zabar’s in
Great Restaurant Bars
Backals (2 Weaver St,
The Bayou (580 Gramatan Ave,
Blue (99 Church St,
Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse (77 Purchase St,
The bar at Zuppa Restaurant & Lounge (59 Main St,
The dark and elegant bar at Mulino’s (99 Court St,
V is for Vegan
Vegans don’t eat meat, fish, and any animal-derivative foods (cheese, eggs, butter, milk, and honey). While none of the restaurants below are strictly vegan or even vegetarian, they do offer vegan selections regularly.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns (
The pistou of spring vegetables with chickpeas is a vegan dish Blue Hill often has on its menu. Additionally, cauliflower steak with spring fruits and vegetables and fennel soup are other vegan dishes that have been served. (Three courses: $65; 4 courses: $78; 8-course Farmer’s Feast: $110; lunch on Sundays: $42.)
Chef and owner John Halko honed his vegan cooking skills while catering film sets. “A healthy percentage of talent and crew have restricted diets. I’ve cooked for Madonna, who is a strict vegan.” Vegan dishes include roasted root vegetables with quinoa, barbecued tofu, lasagna made with eggplant, grilled zucchini, soy cheese, and spinach; and vegan chocolate custard. The tiny (14 seats), mostly takeout restaurant now serves breakfast, including the vegan scramble—tofu, soy cheese, and assorted vegetables. “Some people think vegan means no taste,” Halko says, “but when done right, vegan dishes are full-flavored and rich.” (Cost of vegan dishes: $4-$9.)
Global Gatherings (
A vegan can have a filling three-course meal at this restaurant-and-home-décor haven. Start with a grilled Belgian endive-and-artichoke salad over baby greens with orange sections and candied pecan vinaigrette; then enjoy an appetizer stack of fried Massaman curry tofu; and finally, a main course blue-corn tamale with spicy soy sausage, squash, tomato, rice, and beans. ($8-$17)
Le Fontane Ristorante (137 Rte 100, Katonah 914-232-9619; www.lefontane.net)
An Italian restaurant willing to sacrifice the cheese? If you call ahead, Le Fontane will have any of the following dishes at the ready: farfalle with fresh artichoke and pesto, fresh tomato, and basil; homemade orecchiette with tomato and basil or broccoli rabe and portobello; grilled mixed-vegetable plate with polenta; pizza contadina with arugula, tomato, and asparagus; and farro with mixed roasted vegetables. ($10-$16.50)
The chunky homemade salsa and creamy guacamole are vegan-approved as are the spinach tortilla filled with grilled portobello mushrooms, black beans, rice, and chipolte-barbecue sauce; wheat tortilla with sautéed tofu and spinach; and the “green machine” burrito with fresh baby spinach, rice, black beans, guacamole and tomatillo sauce. So filling, you won’t even miss the cheese. ($3-$10)
Wobble Café (
“It’s easy to change the base of a vegetarian dish to make it vegan,” says co-owner Rich Foshay. “We’re always on the Internet looking for ideas.” The laid-back eatery almost always has a vegan entrée on its dinner menu, e.g., vegan gumbo, Moroccan tagine (a stew where vegetable oil is used instead of butter), or nutty-flavored tempeh and vegetables in tamarind sauce over brown rice. “We can accommodate vegans by altering many of our vegetarian dishes,” says co-owner Beylka Krupp. “Like our French toast. Instead of an egg-and-cream batter, we can use a purée of soymilk, bananas, and wheat germ.” ($8-$11)
Dine In: Cabbage Hill Farm Trout
Courtesy of The Flying Pig on
shallot mustard vinaigrette (recipe below)
4 whole trout, cleaned and filleted
flour for dredging
8 oz bacon, diced
just the leaves from 40
4 cubes butter
salt and pepper to taste
FOR MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE:
4 shallots, minced
2 Tbsp smooth mustard
2 Tbsp grainy mustard
2 lemons, juiced
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh pepper
1 qt canola oil
1 qt extra-virgin olive oil
Blend shallots and mustard in food processor. Add vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend, then emulsify with oils.
Make vinaigrette and set aside. Season trout with salt and pepper. Dredge with flour, and then pat off excess. Heat a sauté pan and add enough oil to lightly coat the pan. Sear flesh-side down first until crispy about two minutes. Flip over and crisp skin to finish cooking.
Heat a saucepan and add diced bacon. Cook until almost done, and then add Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper, and a cube of butter. Cook until vegetables are tender.
TO SERVE: Mound veggies on a plate. Top with the seared trout and finish with a spoonful of vinaigrette.
The Flying Pig on
(914) 666-7445; www.pigcafe.com
The Daily Grind
Chef Greg Cortelyou, not Mexican, approaches the food at Sunset Grille in
Every day, the Sunset Grille kitchen staff (who, helpfully, are mostly Mexican), slake the organic, dried corn kernels that the restaurant buys from Fizzle Flat Farm in
The pale, soft nixtamal is processed into masa with a purpose-built grain mill—a rare piece of equipment north of the
Chef Cortelyou mixes his masa with meticulously house-rendered lard for traditional tamales, available in pork with red chile sauce or chicken with salsa verde. Most of the masa is hand-pressed and toasted into fresh tortillas for Sunset Grille’s panuchos, or tortillas filled with refried beans and egg, topped with chicken, pickled onion and cotija cheese. Savvy customers choose the restaurant’s “Masa Tasting Platter,” or a sampling of all its fresh masa dishes.
“I lived in
(914) 227-9353; www.sunsetgrilleny.com.
Spring Ramps Up
By Julia Sexton
Look out onto your greening may lawn. Chances are you’re seeing tufts of stalky green-onion grass cresting above your trimmed turf. While it’s not a particularly pleasant sight, those weeds mean that spring ramps are in season.
Ramps, also known as wild leeks, are a member of the Allium family, and are a close relative to onion grass, chives, leeks, and scallions. In fact, they look a lot like scallions, but have flat, maroon-veined leaves instead of the scallion’s hollow green stalks. Tasting like a garlic-tinged, very intense leek, ramps grow wild from