Between these pages lies a year of cooking and eating told through the stories and moments that unfold with the seasons. A Simple Feast takes you on a playful journey—from an apple orchard or sparkling holiday party to a maple farm or a rooftop barbeque. Each of these events inspires simple, elegant food that takes its cues from the bounty of local markets and farms, embodying modern American cooking.
A trip to an antiques market and the treasures found therein inspire a menu of rustic dishes like Duck Rillettes and Pickled Cauliflower; a snowy winter day makes time for small indulgences like Hazelnut Hot Chocolate; the first signs of spring call for a garden party with Asparagus and Spring Onion Tarts; surf, sand, and sun elicit cravings for bright flavors like Tomatillo Salsa and Cocktail Popsicles.
A feast can be many things—a house full of friends clinking glasses and breaking bread together, an intimate candlelit dinner, or even a humble meal just for one. Whatever the crowd or the occasion, this collection of recipes will serve as inspiration and companion for your own simple feasts.
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“A Simple Feast celebrates an unexpected and refreshing approach to eating in New York and beyond. Forget cab rides, long queues, and steep bills—instead think bicycle baskets full of local produce, farmers’ markets, rural adventures, and wonderfully simple seasonal meals.”—Nathan Williams, author of The Kinfolk Table
Wild Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Leeks
Building a proper pantry is not done without a stash of rice. Some of the varieties I keep on hand are long-grain aromatic basmati rice, jasmine rice, nutty wild rice, and everyday brown rice. And I always have a box or two of Arborio waiting for the days when I crave a creamy risotto. There’s something soothing about the continuous stirring and slow addition of broth while leaning over a hot stove that makes this dish a wintertime favorite for me—it’s both warming to make and warming to eat.
Summer Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is the way to go for a picnic—it gets better as it sits and tastes great at room temperature. Also a plus on a day outdoors: the starch will sustain you and your guests so you can linger longer. Orecchiette, which translates from the Italian to “little ears,” is pasta the size of a thumbprint and shaped like a cupped hand, perfect for catching bits of flavor so that every bite of this pasta sings with lemon, garlic, and mint. The pasta can be assembled ahead of time, the dressing kept in a separate jar, the garnishes on the side, and everything tossed together at the picnic site before serving.