Shine on, Crazy Diamonds

In the early nineties, I used to work Wednesdays and Saturdays selling fruit behind the Locust Grove Fruit Farm stand at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City. Almost without fail on both of those days each week, the pastry chef Gina DePalma, would come in to buy fruit for the rustic, seasonally-inspired desserts she made first at The Cub Room, a SoHo hotspot at at the time and then at Mario Batali's legendary pillar of Italian cuisine, Babbo Ristorante. Gina died earlier this month of ovarian cancer. Sadly, Gina and I never became real actual friends, but we made the occasional contact via social media and saw each other at events, and I think it's fair to say that we liked each other and regarded our long ago farmers market connection as a sort of bond from the trenches. Gina kept a blog until the end and I loved reading it. First, because she was knowledgable and a professional and whether she was writing about the iconic pasta dish, cacio e pepe or giving her readers a r ...

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Resolution Number 9: or Lima Beans for the Open Minded

Any seasoned New Years resolution maker knows that the secret to feeling good about yourself in the days and weeks to come is to make at least one resolution that you know you can keep. This year, among the more challenging against-my-nature changes I set out to make in the ongoing crusade toward self perfection, I resolved to cook more for my family and friends. Since I live in a back house behind my sister and her boyfriend, both of whom are, from what I can tell, always hungry, and since my love of cooking far exceeds the amount I can eat, this isn't going to be a difficult resolution to keep. This week, for instance, I made roasted acorn squash, two types of cabbage, shallots, carrots, potatoes, and kale. (No, not together.) I slowly simmered a tiny pot of garlic cloves in olive oil until they were golden, sweet, and spreadable. (Here's how.) I made a big pot of chicken stock; I roasted a whole chicken, and, let me just tell you, that was good. But nothing was more popular among ...

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