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Feta, Watermelon and Tomato (End of) Summer Salad

Recipes with watermelon, tomato and feta

The summer I was living in Israel, I ate watermelon sprinkled with tangy, Bulgarian Feta cheese every day. The refreshing summertime combination is a salty, sweet, healthy and re-fueling snack. The dish sometimes gets spiced up with Zaatar, mint, special olive oils, seeds and more. However, the base of feta and watermelon remains the same.

In the USA, particularly in NYC, I find myself a bit more beholden to the whims of a seasonal market. We do not have (fresh) watermelon year round – our peak season is May through September. The savory super-fruit, Pomegranate (which also has roots in the Middle East), tends to have a harvest season that extends from October until December.

Watermelon, Tomato, Pomegranate, Feta Salad

Pining for the warmth of the summer months, and craving a cuisine based in desert terrain, I found myself at a cross-roads between time-of-year and availability of produce. Therefore, I bring you the End of Summer Salad – a mix of middle eastern loves, autumn output, and Mediterranean influences.

Watermelon, Tomato, Pomegranate, Feta Salad

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Large Watermelon
  • 1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese – preferable brined
  • 2 Pints grape tomatoes 
  • ¼ Cup Yuzu Citrus Marinade
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil Oil – I used Round Pond, Italian Varietal, which has a very ripe, slightly spicy and green taste
  • Lemon Flake, flavored sea salt from The Meadow
  • Pomegranate Seeds for sprinkling

Watermelon, Tomato, Pomegranate, Feta Salad

 Bon Appétit OR as they say in Israel – (be’te-avon) בתיאבון!

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The Fat Radish

Situated in a location that’s a little off the beaten track in the Lower East Side, the restaurant is surrounded by shops that flip their sign to “closed” early in the day.  The hidden location doesn’t seem to deter any of the food aficionados and long-haired men in clever button downs and Sergeant Pepper blazers.

The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

“What do I know of man’s destiny? I could tell you more about radishes.” – Samuel Beckett

Part of the “No Farm, No Food” – locavore movement, the Fat Radish describes itself as, “… a simple, elegant and airy room that still retains the industrial feel of London’s original Covent Garden marketplace. The cuisine does not fall into one particular category but rather returns to a way of eating before food was constantly classified. The menu is bound by one philosophy , simple, healthy, delicious dishes created with well-sourced, seasonal ingredients.” The Fat Radish The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

Nothing says ‘classy’ quite like a branded trucker hat. The Fat Radish The Fat Radish The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

Fat Radish Silkstone

Silkstone, a creative agency in New York City, designed the restaurants slightly dilapidated but clever decor. When the owners began creating the restaurant in 2010 they were faced with a challenge – how do you a turn an old Lower East Side building (that was formally a sausage factory) into a light and airy dining space? Sourcing the right materials was of utmost importance. With 1970s Covent Garden as an inspiration, the team used old barn wood, unique light fixtures, and renovated the original brick floors, achieving the goal of making the space feel open and light. Along with the challenge of the dining space, there was also the challenge of the kitchen; with no kitchen space existing, a full build out of one was necessary. The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

The eponymous radish table plate, rather than the usual crusty bread offering.The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

Scotch Egg, cornichons, seeded mustard. The Fat Radish

Celery root pot pie, black garlic, gruyere cheese.

   The Fat Radish - Grilled Cheese

The Fat Radish

Kale Caesar Salad, Anchovy, Croutons, Bacon and Egg by candlelight.

The Fat Radish

The dessert menu…

The Fat Radish

Petite pot du creme.

The Fat Radish

My favorite aspect of the restaurant, as is with my entire life, a toss up between the food or the decor. Woody, rustic and comfortable with some Chinese graffiti (to pay tribute to its location) has me feeling as if I’m about to eat at an in-law’s quaint yet modern country home. The ambiance  is really lovely, and something I would like to replicate.

Sam Sifton from the New York Times puts it best, “The Fat Radish is a pleasant and pleasing restaurant for all this, however: a handsome young golden Labrador, camera-ready, hard not to like. To sit in its dining room as light plays off the huge mirror in back, candles flickering everywhere, eating rillettes and drinking wine, is to experience a small part of the New York that leads people here inexorably and always will.”

FatRadish Inspired Industrial Decor

1. Industrial Pendants – A run of larger 1940/50’s British industrial pendant lights by Maxlume, salvaged from a factory in the north of England. Cast aluminium with thick domed glass diffusers. We’ve left these lights in the original green paintwork, simply beeswaxing them to bring out the patina. Large runs of British industrial lighting like this a an increasing rarity.

2. Ayers Skull & Bones Decanter by Ralph Lauren Home. Feeling sinister? How about I mix you up some arsenic and old lace…

3. Candela Cube by Sonia Lartigue, 2010 from the Museum of Modern Art Design Store. This table lamp is made using traditional Mexican craft techniques. When lit, the mirrors create beautiful, geometric optical effects. Handmade. Requires one incandescent 25W bulb (bulb not included).

4. Sturdy and tough industrial table by Woodland Imports.

5.  Pewter Stoneware Large Covered Casserole Dish by Juliska.

6. Greengage Wall Clock – Quirky as the British industrial example that inspired it, this weathered wall clock will add good-natured gravitas to your kitchen or family room. Gracious green laminated face with metal hands. Quartz movement.

7. Bring home the elegance of French-inspired cutlery with this LeBrun Laguiole Ivory style set.

8. The silver, metallic stool is built of beautiful elm wood reclaimed from buildings and furniture pieces that graced the eclectic Qing dynasty. The piece is meticulously hand built and finished by time-honored craftsman utilizing over 120 different processes, by Madera Home Furniture.

What restaurant would you choose to live in?

 

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A Moveable Feast

What do you get when you cross Williamsburg, Brooklyn with a veritable cornucopia and smörgåsbord of food options? A Smorgaburg! Let’s break this down for a second, a smorgasbord is a type of meal served buffet-style with multiple dishes of various foods on a table, originating in Sweden. In English and also in Scandinavian languages, the word smörgåsbord refers loosely to any buffet with a variety of dishes.

Smorgasburg happens every Saturday, rain or shine.  Part of the Brooklyn Flea Market,  Smorgasburg brings together food entrepreneurs and established purveyors from New York City and across the region selling both packaged and prepared foods, fresh produce, and other food-related stands (kitchen utensils, housewares, etc.), for a total of approximately 100 vendors. I have gone to this market several times and it is still my favorite NYC STAY-CATION. In my (very) humble opinion, the best foods hail from:

1. Asia Dog:   Asiadogs are hot dogs with Asian-inspired toppings incorporating flavors found in China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and more. Try the WangDing: Chinese BBQ Porkbelly + onions or the Vinh: Vietnamese banh-mi style: aioli + pate + cucumbers + pickled carrot and daikon + cilantro + jalapeno.

2. Bon Chovie: This is what happens when a chick with a metal head and a green thumb moves fromSeattle to Williamsburg andmarries a charter boat captain and all-around seafood maniac from Florida’s gulf Coast. If you know what’s good for you, have the fried anchovies “jersey style” (head’s on) and relish in the smoked paprika mayo and pickled sweet peppers on the side. Finally, if your thirst need quenching, they have a non-alcoholic sangria that has more fruit than a Chiquita banana headdress.

3. Brooklyn Soda Works: An artist and a chemist making soda and carbonated juices from scratch, using fresh and seasonal ingredients. If Willy Wonky had a soda factory and a seltzer bottle, he would be making these drinks. Using foraged ingredients like sassafras, knotweed, shiso, fennel and peppercorn, soda works makes the freshest (never from syrups or concentrates) and most refreshing fizzy lifting drinks. I want to use EVERY one of them in cocktails as mixers. Your best best will be the ‘grapefruit, jalapeno & honey’ pop.

Via.

4. Schnitz: Schnitz is the Shit(z). It is a quick-serve food business dedicated to serving your favorite comfort food: Schnitzel! For those who didn’t get the memo, schnitzel is thin, breaded and lightly fried pieces chicken, pork or veal. All sandwiches are served on a pretzel bun, your options include Sweet Onion: panko crusted crumbs + jicama radish pickle + beet tzatziki or Bamberg: panko parsley crumbs + cuco-daikon pickle + caramelized opinion mustard. My grandmother made schnitzel like it was her job, mostly because she was a stay at home mother and this was her “job”, to cook schnitzel. She was from the Polish shtetl and knew good schnitzel, this stuff comes close.

Via.

Via. 

5. The Good Batch: This purveyor of ice cream sandwhiches began with a simple mission:  bake pure, not overly sweet, delicious food. Anna Gordon, the founder and pastry chef of The Good Batch, has a lot of Dutch people in her life, and after years of receiving eager requests for making fresh stroopwafels, she finally did it. I must admit, the classic Goodwich style ice cream sandwich featuring vanilla ice cream and an irresistible oat cookie loaded with Belgian milk and dark chocolate chunks, and topped with sea salt was the PERFECT combination of salty and sweet.

Via.

Via.

Honorable Mentions: We Rub You, Mighty Quinn’s 

And then we took the East River Ferry home back to the isle of Manhattan and lived happily ever after…