Escarole pizza with cave-aged Gruyère and walnuts

Escarole, a member of the endive family, has a characteristic wild bitterness which is most discernable (and best relished!) when eaten raw. When sautéed, however, this bitterness mellows out a bit and the leaves become tender, acquiring an earthy flavor that I simply adore.

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Poached eggs with sautéed greens

I can’t think of a breakfast fare my husband, Marc, and I relish more than these poached eggs with sautéed greens. I often make this dish on Sunday mornings, in the fall and winter, when I can still harvest mustard greens or Swiss chard from our veggie garden.

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Ziti with spicy chicory and toasted Parmesan breadcrumbs

I often throw together this pasta (A one-stop meal!) when I’ve had a long, busy day. The only thing I need to buy is the chicory – the rest of the ingredients have a permanent spot in my pantry – so I don’t even have to come up with a shopping list.

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Are you planning a Hanukkah party this year?

Take a look at my feature for the 2010 holiday issue of Rockland Magazine. In it, I share my thinking on how to blend a little tradition with a lot of glamour and make this year’s Festival of Lights your brightest one yet.

My mission is always to apply a little creativity to local, seasonal ingredients. This being a Hanukkah party, potato latkes are certainly on the menu – but with a gourmet twist.

And, thinking seasonally of course, I created two other latkes as well: butternut squash-leek latkes with cumin for an exotic flair; and beet-scallion latkes with a cayenne-spiked crème fraîche.

No holiday party is complete without some bubbly – after all, what drink says celebration more than sparkling wine? For this party I’m serving two spectacular sparklers: The Blanc de Blancs from Lieb Family Cellars on the North Fork of Long Island; and the Brut Rosé from Graham Beck Winery in South Africa.

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 Escarole and endive salad with Valencia oranges and fig molasses vinaigrette

In our household, a salad is always on the menu: no matter what the season or the occasion!

Here’s a lovely, crunchy, bitter-yet-refreshing salad that’s the perfect antidote to winter’s richer fare.

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