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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Mission: The Ice Cream Smorewich
Recipes Mission: The Ice Cream Smorewich

As the last big weekend for summer grilling approaches, what’s America’s ultimate summer dessert? The ice cream sandwich? The s’more? I had a thought this week… why not combine the two? Behold: The Ice Cream S’morewich! I’ve done a bit of (very tasty, very chocolaty) experimentation, and I’m here to tell you, there is a fast and easy way, and then there’s also the hero’s path: the longer (but rewarding) way.

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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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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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Vive la Clafoutis!
Recipes Vive la Clafoutis!

Ah, the 14th of July! The season of fresh, local cherries. The celebration of Bastille Day. The time to bake a fruity dessert for this week’s Dessert Corps project. Oh, hey… look at that. It’s like a cosmic alignment of forces telling me it’s time to make a cherry clafoutis, the traditional custard pudding of Limousin in the heart of la belle France . As it happens, the fantastic Dessert Corps volunteer crew provided me with a half-dozen eggs and more than a pound of gorgeous, blushing Rainier Cherries — sweet, fragrant and fresh from the Greenpoint farmers’ market.

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Recipes Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Of all the fruits, rhubarb retains the most magical nostalgic quality for me. Back when I was very small, it grew gargantuan each spring around the farmhouse. My mom always made terrific rhubarb desserts. Sweet-tart. Spicy. Distinctly rhubarb-y. What’s funny is that rhubarb isn’t actually a fruit. It’s a stem, making it technically a vegetable… but who eats rhubarb as a vegetable? No, rhubarb is the vegetable that found its true calling in the fruit world.

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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 Thai-Style Cucumber-Radish Salad

How long has it been since I posted a recipe? Too long, clearly. Travel, work and a busy schedule of triathlon training have kept me from blogging, but today I come to you with a salad that celebrates one of the underrated wonders of the spring season: the radish. I found some lovely red radishes at the farmer’s market last weekend — tender and almost sweet with a gentle peppery bite.

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Cinco de Mayo Whoopie Pies

When I started writing this particular post last October (yes, it’s been bounding around the lobes of my brain for a while) I wondered whether Whoopie Pies were poised to be the new Cupcakes . Back then, I wrote, “I feel like I’m seeing whoopie pies everywhere I turn. And aren’t cupcakes far too 2002 these days?” But now that I’ve made a couple of batches of whoopie pies, I realize they’re no match for the mighty cupcake.

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Recipes Brooklyn Food Conference and a Beautiful Sesame Bean Salad

The call went out. And the foodies poured in. The people who pickle and the people who vend kitchenware. The people who grow community gardens and the people who grow kombucha. The Slow Food people and the Just Food people. The vegans and the grass-fed meat vendors. They came, they spoke and they distributed their recycled paper brochures. Disappointingly, the workshop I really wanted to attend (Permaculture : an introduction to ecological design systems fro sustainability) was stuffed to the walls with folks pouring out into the hallways of John Jay High School.

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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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