Roots & Herbs

Astoria’s Queens Kickshaw debuted its summer menu this week with its new chef Cory Estelle. Jon and I went on opening night with Seth and his friend Nicole and the three of them can attest to my satisfaction. I don’t think I left so much as a crumb or speck of green on any one of our plates.

We started with the delightful ‘Uprooted’ Veggies, semi-pickled radishes coated in mustard butter breadcrumbs over a mound of herbs. Seth ordered the Gado Gado Green Beans in a rich sweet chili sauce with fingerling potatoes, peanuts, and a soft-boiled egg. Both delicious appetizers, and Jon’s gruyere grilled cheese with caramelized onions and dijon was also killer. The real highlight of the meal, though, was the Soft Egg in Burrata sharing plate. When I cut into the mozzarella and watched the runny egg yolk pour out, I swear it felt like falling in love. I went a little foggy from the giddiness but I have no doubt the words “oh my god” fell from my lips. The toasted baguette and lime-dressed herb salad were the perfect bed for this oozy egg and cheese goodness. Exactly the kind of salad I love, herbs and nothing more ~ dill, parsley, mint, basil, maybe a few leaves of arugula, and I’m over the moon.

Herbs are my favorite summer gems. Our CSAs have gifted us with basilmint, flat leaf and curly parsleydillchives, and even fresh rosemary (which was a really lovely surprise to me since I don’t particularly like dried rosemary ~ the fresh kind was worlds better). Crystal and I made an at-home picnic board of tomatoes, feta, goat cheese, pide (Turkish flatbread), and olives and sprinkled it with a wealth of fragrant leaves. On the side, we got down to our roots ~ raw radishes with butter and fleur de sel, lemon poppy seed hakurei turnips, and lemony kohlrabi matchsticks. 

For breakfast the next morning, Jon and I tossed the leftover herby tomatoes into a salad on the side of toasted bagels with cheese, chive blossoms, and the last of our sunflower sprouts. 

Just a raw delicious mess.

I also really like to butter-braise our root vegetables. If you want to give it a try, combine carrots and radishes in one layer in a large skillet with 3 tablespoons of butter (I usually use vegan EarthBalance instead), ¾ cup of water, a few teaspoons of mustard seeds, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook over high heat for 4 or 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 5 minutes or so until the water evaporates. This is usually really good tossed with dill but this time we had parsley around and it worked just as well. 


And when all else fails, throw everything into a pot of vegetable stock and call it a night. A couple of weeks ago, I made a whatever’s-in-the-fridge soup to use up our carrotsturnips, and kale, plus a can of kidney beans and some leftover quinoa. Quick, easy, and nourishing.


Speaking of nourishing, it’s been a beautiful inspiring day today. Crystal joined us for a wander in the farm rows, we shared the loveliest lemony clam pizza at Milkflower under a breezy sky, and Jon and I started dreaming up a pesto for the arugula and herbs waiting in our kitchen. This long weekend will continue to make for some really beautiful things. You’ll hear from me again very soon.

Until then, read some inspiring words and get a closer look at our at-home picnic on Crystal’s new food blog, Cook on Your Nerve.

I’ve had a rough week. Rough usually means little-to-none eating (which is CRAZY) because eating n cooking is the only thing that makes my heart sing when everything else is of dim light.
— Crystal Rivera

You said it, lady. When things go dim, stare deep into flowers.