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the sweet scoop
Yesterday, I had a fantastic lunch at Houseman restaurant in Hudson Square with a bunch of food industry friends, and the meal was a knockout—from the double-decker burger with caramelized onion and roasted mushroom relish to the French onion soup sandwich, and everything in between. One particular dish stood out as it was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before: the roasted-squash salad. Wow.
Tender, sweet kabocha squash gets coated with a vibrant dressing of herbs, pistachios, feta cheese, and vinegar-plumped currants—creating a bold flavor-texture punch that beautifully showcases the season. If you can’t get to Houseman to experience the real thing soon, lucky for you, Sam Sifton published the recipe for this vegetarian stunner in the Times so you can recreate it at home. Enjoy!
Houseman’s Roasted-Squash Salad
Originally published in the NY Times
Step 1: Put the currants in a small bowl, and pour the white-wine vinegar over them. Allow them to macerate for several hours or overnight, though in a pinch you can allow them to plump up while you prepare the squash. Heat oven to 450.
Step 2: Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, peel both halves (if you like: the skin of the kabocha squash is edible) and slice the squash into 1/4-inch half moons. Dress the squash lightly with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season with the salt. Place the squash on a parchment-lined sheet pan, and roast until soft and caramelized, approximately 15 to 20 minutes, turning the pieces once or twice during the process. Remove the squash from the oven, and set aside to cool.
Step 3: Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, combine the fennel seed, sumac and coriander, then
add the parsley and cilantro, and stir to combine. Add 1/3 cup olive oil, and stir to combine. You want a wet mixture and may need to add a couple of extra tablespoons of oil to get it.
Step 4: Drain the currants, reserving the vinegar, and add them to the green sauce. Add the lime juice, pistachios, cheese, 6 tablespoons olive oil and 5 teaspoons vinegar from the pickled currants to the green sauce. Taste, and add more lime juice or vinegar if you like, along with a spray of salt.
Step 5: Place squash on a warm platter, and spoon the dressing over the top.
September is a time for new beginnings. And whether you’re going back to school or settling into a fall schedule, nothing helps you power through the day like a delicious, energy-packed lunch.
So what to make when you’re brown-bagging it? It’s easy to get stuck in the same boring weekday routine, but my friends at Food Network aim to change that. They’ve invited me to be part of today’s Communal Table lunch party, where members of the online food community share recipes for midday mealtime inspiration.
My lunch table contribution is a simple, satisfying sandwich recipe that tastes sophisticated, yet is easy to put together on busy mornings (or the night before). This chicken salad’s high protein content will help combat mid-afternoon slumps, while hearty cashews, curry powder and sweet-tart grapes deliver a dynamic flavor and texture punch.
Since this recipe was adapted from Cooking Light, it’s a wholesome option for school lunch boxes too! Kids are sure to love the combination of crunchy nuts and juicy grapes—plus, the curry is subtle enough that it won’t overwhelm picky little palates.
Dig into the recipe at the bottom of this post, and check out the below links for more fantastic lunch ideas from around the web. Want to join the party? Get in the conversation and share your favorite recipes on Twitter by using hashtag #pullupachair (@FoodNetwork @ThisGirlCanEat).
Tidy Mom: Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter Cookies
Made by Michelle: Almond Butter and Banana Sandwiches
Chez Us: Healthy Tuna Salad
And Love It Too: Healthy Lunchbox 2012: The Ultimate Collection
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Back to School Roasted Chicken Legs
Bacon and Souffle: Gruyere Grilled Cheese With Apple Salad
Zaika Zabardast: Fresh Corn Cakes With Black Bean Salad Tossed in Cumin Vinaigrette
This Girl Can Eat: Cashew Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Spicy-Korean “Ramen” Noodle Soup
Haute Apple Pie: Edamame Hummus
Feed Me Phoebe: Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches
Creative Culinary: Margarita Watermelon
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Swiss Chard Turnovers With Parmesan and Pistachios
Cashew Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches (serves 2)
adapted from Cooking Light
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Add chicken, celery, cashews, and green onions; stir well. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve chicken salad on rolls and garnish with lettuce and tomato (optional).
One of New York’s most anticipated restaurants has officially opened its doors. Located in the heart of Battery Park City, North End Grill is the latest venture from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. Top Chef Masters winner Chef Floyd Cardoz (former Executive Chef/Partner of Tabla) is manning the kitchen and introduces a fresh approach to new American cuisine. The extensive menu highlights seasonal ingredients, with a heavy emphasis on seafood and grilled preparations.
Eager to check out the brand new spot, I headed to North End Grill during their opening week lunch service and was lured in by appetizing aromas of smoke and charcoal. The restaurant’s front room reveals an exposed kitchen with counter seating, high-top tables, a lengthy bar, and a display wall that will soon showcase more than 100 single malt scotches (the restaurant is currently awaiting their liquor license). Past the kitchen is the elegant main dining room—a sleek space of dark wood, white linens and black & white framed photos, with floor-to-ceiling windows and Hudson river views.
Lunch began with a lightly charred clam pizza covered with buttery, briny littlenecks, chopped parsley, garlic and olive oil drizzle. Plump diver scallops arrived delicately seared and coated with a chili-spiced apple cider vinegar glaze, atop a creamy cauliflower purée. The sliced chop of Berkshire pork entrée was juicy and tender, boasting a rich smoky flavor, savory au jus and side of charcoal grilled shishitos and cippolini onions.
For a scrumptious finish that’s fun to eat, order the Butterscotch Pot de Crème. With more of a pudding consistency than a typical Pot de Crème, the sweet golden custard came topped with crunchy chocolate streusel crumbs and fluffy scotch-infused single “maltmallows.” When lapping up this decadent dessert, be sure to dig deep for the layer of thick salted caramel at the bottom of the bowl.
During my visit, Danny Meyer’s standard of service excellence proved to be impeccable, as usual. With North End Grill expected to receive their liquor license next week, and dinner service beginning on January 23rd, I’m already anticipating a venture back to Battery Park City for dinner and a dram or two of scotch very soon.
North End Grill, 104 North End Avenue, New York, NY 10282, 646.747.1600