Plantain Bread & The Wonder of Quick Loaves
Plantain Bread & The Wonder of Quick Loaves

For some reason, I especially love recipes that turn old or ugly fruit and vegetables from trash to treasure. It’s almost like getting something for free. Rubbery zucchini? Zucchini Bread! Black, squishy bananas? Banana Bread! Dented Eggplant? Make Baba Ganoush! Bruised apples or strawberries? Perfect for a quick fruit sauce. When we had two soft, black plantains that were surplus to requirements for our Cuban dinner, I assumed they’d be a good addition to a quick bread, and I was more than thrilled with the result.

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Gazpacho with Green Tomatoes
Recipes Gazpacho with Green Tomatoes

As the family legend has it, on the night before I was born, my mother cooked a pizza topped with sliced green tomatoes, and the next morning, pop! There I was. (Though, truth be told, it may actually have taken a bit more effort than I’m leading on…) I won’t go so far as to call green tomatoes some kind of folk remedy for inducing labor, but perhaps they provide a good incentive for anyone taking their sweet time in the womb.

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Black Eyes, Green Thumbs: Roller Derby Gardening
Black Eyes, Green Thumbs: Roller Derby Gardening

I’m convinced that if there’s ever an apocalypse, you really want a roller derby girl on your side. Not only do they have rough and tumble skills and mighty muscles for fighting off the zombie hordes, derby girls tend to be some of the most ambitious, multi-talented people I know. Case in point: Suzy Hotrod — professional photographer, guitarist in a punk band, speed demon on a flat track, horchata aficionado… and urban gardener.

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How to Stuff a Zucchini Blossom
Recipes How to How to Stuff a Zucchini Blossom

With so many fruits and vegetables available year-round, it’s rare in the modern world to enjoy a food that’s really, truly a limited-time offer. You can get an apple in June, when, by all rights, all the apples from the previous autumn should already be a fuzzy memory. But it seems it’s always apple season somewhere, and we’ve come to rely on that constant availability. But due to a brief season and great delicacy, the zucchini blossom (or courgette blossom, as J would say) is what I like to think of as “now or never” foods.

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This Is Just To Say…

This is Just to Say I have eaten the tomato that was on the fire escape and which you were probably saving for your return Forgive me it was delicious so rich and so ripe Apologies to William Carlos Willaims

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Making the Best Amateur Cookbook Ever.
Making the Best Amateur Cookbook Ever.

“I think I need more,” she said, with only the slightest trace of sheepish guilt in her expression. “If I give you money, can you see if they have more?” Tomorrow is my CSA pick-up day. But today, my coworker, a fellow local food devotee, is hitting me up. She’s shoving money in my hands. For vegetables? Nah. For fruit? Nope. She wants cookbooks . Cookbooks produced by CSA volunteers, no less.

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Recipes Spinach-Strawberry Salad Forever

At long last, sun emerged from behind a wall of clouds. Heartsick with cabin fever, we leaped at the chance to get out and about. Zipcar provided the wheels, Google provided the directions and PickYourOwn.Org offered up the berry farms. Truth be told, we spent most of our time hiking on the lovely Delaware Water Gap trails, but on the way back, we popped into Sussex County Strawberry Farm to snatch up a sweet, fragrant pre-picked pint.

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Recipes The Tunacado Salad: You Can’t Tuna Fish!

When it comes to a surplus, some foods are easier to wrangle than others. Extra apples become applesauce and apple butter. Easy. Extra peaches become preserves. No problem. Extra cabbage becomes sauerkraut or kimchi. Cucumbers, beans, onions and carrots become pickles. But what happens when you come across a great sale on tuna? Well, as it turns out, that, too can be preserved. J and I are huge fans of the oil-packed tuna that typically comes in jars from Spain and Italy, but those are not cheap .

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Recipes Stuffed Eggplants

I’ve been off on a bit of a Claudia Roden kick for the past couple of weeks, and I must admit it’s an awfully tasty kick to be off on. In case you don’t know who she is, let me just put in a word for her classic The New Book of Middle Eastern Food — an impressive culinary resource. I love the way she breaks down recipes to discuss how ingredients and preparations differ a little in the different cultural versions of the same dish.

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Recipes Pancakes: The Thick, The Thin & The Hearty

This week brings Shrove Tuesday, known to some as Mardi Gras and known to me as Pancake Day . While I grew up with the thick, pillowy pancakes that appear in diners and truckstops across the nation, J. was raised on a delicate, European-style pancake… something more along the lines of a crepe. I must admit, the discovery that not everyone ate the same kind of pancake was a bit of a shock to me.

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About Me

Miss Ginsu is a nom-nom-nom de plume of Leitha Matz, who worked at Tabla and FreshDirect in NYC, wrote about the food scene from 2004 to 2009 in Brooklyn and presently lives in Berlin. Occasionally seen on TV cooking segments, Leitha has also written for FreshDirect, contributed to Cee Cee Berlin, The Food52 Cookbook and has been interviewed/quoted in The Food Keeper as well as The Washington Times and Salon.

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