ephemeral feast (Page 2)

A few months back, I made a couple blueberry pistachio sourdough loaves. I enjoyed the flavor combination so much that I decided to mix it into a shortbread dough, add some lemon zest, roll it into logs, chill, then slice and bake the cookies. The result was just as lovely as the bread. Blueberry pistachio is a unique and delicious flavor combination, tangy and earthy, and deeply satisfying.

Blueberry pistachio shortbread cookies are buttery and crumbly with a tart twist and a hearty texture. They are rich, but not too rich, and sweet but not too sweet, an altogether pleasing fruit-nut combo. 


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup dried blueberries
  • ⅔ cup pistachios


In a large bowl, combine the flour, lemon zest, and salt and set aside. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the flour mixture. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dried blueberries and pistachios until just combined, no need to overmix.

Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap, roll it out into a log and refrigerate it for 1-2 hours. This will allow the flavors to really mingle and the dough to set. 

After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a sharp knife, cut ⅓ inch slices and place them about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for ~12 minutes until lightly golden on the edges.

Raspberry lemon curd is like a vibrant, summery raspberry lemonade in a spreadable form. Add it to toast for a sweet and tart treat with tea, any time of the day; bake it into your next summer galette; transform ordinary lemon bars or pie by spreading it over a shortbread crust and popping it in the oven and once cool dusting with powdered sugar; or sandwich it between two cookies for an elevated dessert. The possible uses for raspberry lemon curd are really endless.

Its totally-natural electrifying color reminds me of the shocking pink crayon, which was always my favorite as a child. Raspberry lemon curd will add a pop of pink and a punchy pucker to any food in need of a boost. 


  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup lemon zest
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • Powdered sugar


Add the raspberries to a medium or large pot and cook over medium-high, mashing continuously, until the berries begin to break down and release their juices, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Strain in a mesh sieve and return the strained juice to the pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour the entire mixture into the pan with the raspberries. Cook on medium-low for about 5 minutes until all of the ingredients are combined. Add the butter and stir constantly until it melts. Continue cooking for another 10-12 minutes until the mixture thickens.

Transfer to a clean jar and cover. The curd will keep for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator, if it can last that long!

There is something about grapes and feta that I find extremely appealing. Each has a very distinct texture and consistency that, when combined, beautifully accentuates the other. Grape and feta pasta salad happily integrates crisp grapes and salty feta while allowing each to maintain its individual brilliance. Crunchy pine nuts and fresh herbs complete this flavor profile, which envelops chewy bits of penne for a deeply satisfying snack or meal.

This recipe for grape and feta pasta salad can easily be doubled for a larger group and made in advance to allow the flavors to co-mingle and deeply marinate. I use penne, but free to mix it up with different pasta shapes!

Serves 6


  • 3 tablespoons salt, divided
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 2 tablespoons aioli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 cups grapes, halved
  • ½ cup basil, chopped
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 6 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper


Bring a large pot of water with 2 tablespoons of the salt to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes, then strain the pasta and rinse it in cold water to cool it and wash off excess starch. This will prevent the pasta from sticking together. Transfer the pasta to a bowl and toss it with the aioli and olive oil. Season with the remaining 2 tablespoons of salt and the black pepper. Add in the toasted pine nuts and toss to combine, then gently fold in the grapes. Add the basil and parsley until evenly distributed. Lastly, toss in the crumbled feta.

In my opinion, lobster is synonymous with summer. To me, it symbolizes celebration and festivity in its most gratifyingly indulgent form. Whipped up into a luscious lobster roll on a fluffy brioche bun, or simply dipped in drawn butter, lobster is delicious in any form. There are endless ways to use lobster meat, including lobster risotto! Lobster risotto is a dish which optimizes beloved lobster meat into a feast for many to enjoy.

For lobster risotto, I keep things simple with basic aromatics, topped with a touch of parsley and parmesan cheese. It is light enough to accentuate the delicate lobster flavor without overwhelming its distinct taste. Best of all, lobster risotto really extends the meat from a few lobsters into something that a large group can relish.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 cups arborio rice 
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable or seafood stock
  • 1 ¼ cups parsley, chopped and divided
  • 13-14 ounces lobster meat, from about 3 1-pound lobsters, or 2 1.5-pound lobsters, cut into pieces
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, divided


Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot on medium. Add the diced onions and cook until translucent then add the butter and cook until golden. Add the rice and stir to coat then lightly toast the rice for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 4 minutes then add the stock one cup at a time, waiting for the rice to absorb the stock before adding the next cup. 

Once the rice has completely absorbed the stock, slowly stir in 1 ½ cups parsley, reserving the remainder for garnish, and the lobster meat. Mix to combine all the ingredients then mix in the cheese. Garnish with extra parmesan cheese and parsley and serve warm!

Sometimes, it can get so hot in East Coast summers that any solid food seems thoroughly unappealing. For those moments, I present a summer pasta that is light enough for a hot day but hearty enough to leave you satisfied – cavatappi with shrimp and sausage.

I love combining different proteins in one dish – in this case shrimp and sausage – for a delectable flavor bomb. The cooked lemon slices offer a nice balance, rounded out by peppery arugula and topped off with shaved parmesan cheese. Cavatappi with shrimp and sausage is surf and turf in pasta form.

serves 4-6


  • 1 pound loose spicy sausage (if you can only find sausage in casing, remove it from the casing before cooking)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 16 ounces dried cavatappi
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lemon, sliced with seeds removed
  • 2 cups arugula
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved


Bring a large pot of about 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, pinch 1 tablespoon-sized nuggets of sausage off and into the pan. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove the sausage nuggets from the pan and drain off all but 1 teaspoon of sausage fat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil, onion, 1 teaspoon of the salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Cook until translucent then add the garlic. Cook until blonded, then reserve the onions and garlic with the cooked sausage.

Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the same pan and heat over medium. When the butter begins to bubble, add the lemon slices, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and cook until lightly browned on each side. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the salted water and cook for 5 minutes. 

While the pasta cooks, stack the lemon slices to one side of the pan and add the last tablespoon of butter. Place the shrimp in an even layer on the pan and cook for 90 seconds on each side. Then remove the shrimp and lemon slices from the pan.

Strain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup of salty pasta water. Add the pasta and pasta water to the pan with the lemons. Cook until the water has evaporated, then return the reserved onions, garlic, and sausage to the pan. Lower the heat, add in the arugula, and stir. Turn off the heat and serve hot, topped with shaved parmesan.

Sometimes you just need a really solid sandwich with a generous side of chips. These kale pesto chicken sandwiches with baked chips are just that – satisfying and delightful and sure to hit the spot. The kale pesto makes them (at least seem) somewhat virtuous, and asparagus, broccoli rabe, and arugula add extra green. Poaching, then shredding, the chicken allows the pesto to soak into every nook and cranny and baking the potatoes creates a crisp chip without the copious amounts of grease that deep-frying requires. Kale pesto chicken sandwiches with baked chips are a well-balanced summer meal. I personally love to enjoy them open-faced, but feel free to top them off with another slice of sourdough bread.

serves 4


for the kale pesto

  • 1 cups kale
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted*
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper 

for the chips

  • 1 ¼ pounds potatoes (yukon gold or russet both work!)
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 4 cups water
  • Ice cubes
  • 4 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced

for the chicken

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

for the greens + assembly

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1 loaf fresh bread (preferably sourdough), sliced ½-inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons aioli, divided
  • 1 cup arugula

*NOTE: if you don’t have pine nuts, walnuts or almonds work just fine, but do change the taste of the pesto.

kale pesto steps

Place the kale, salt, and pepper in a food processor, and blend for about 2 minutes until finely chopped. Add the pine nuts and pulse. Add the parmesan cheese and pulse more, then slowly add the olive oil, one tablespoon at a time until all the ingredients are combined and the pesto is smooth. Alternatively, you can do this by hand using a mortar and pestle. You can make this ahead and store it in a sealed jar for up to one week.

chips steps

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, thinly cut the potatoes and transfer them to a bowl with the baking soda, water, and ice. Let the potatoes soak while the oven heats, about 20 minutes, then drain them and dry them with a paper towel. Meanwhile, render the pancetta in a skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the skillet and reserve for later in the chicken. Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with the rendered pancetta fat and avocado oil. Bake until golden and crispy, about 30 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and immediately sprinkle them with salt. 

chicken steps

Place the chicken breasts in a large saucepan and cover with 2-3 inches of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes then let sit for 5 minutes. Drain out the water, move the chicken to a plate or large bowl and using two forks, shred it. Mix in the pesto and the pancetta from earlier until it is evenly combined.

greens steps

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and sliced garlic. Cook for about 4 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, Place the trimmed asparagus and broccoli rabe in a colander in the sink and pour the boiling water over it to blanch it. Immediately transfer to the skillet and cook for another 7 minutes until soft.

assembly steps

Lay out slices of bread and spread equal amounts of aioli on top. Place equal amounts of arugula on top of the bread slices then top with the pesto shredded chicken. Add the cooked broccoli rabe and season with salt and pepper. 

I am consistently happy with the way these cheesy asparagus sourdough buns turn out. The recipe reminds me of a classic way I enjoy preparing asparagus – roasted with a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, and a dusting of grated parmesan cheese – all baked onto a sourdough bun. Who doesn’t love cheesy asparagus ?

The dough has no butter or cream in it, but is just as tasty, and the texture is smooth and fluffy. Greek yogurt is the integral component of the enriched dough for these cheesy asparagus sourdough buns. It adds a pleasant tang to the already sour flavor and deepens the sharpness. Mild cream cheese provides a nice bed for the asparagus and parmesan to lay atop and bake into a melodious blend, enhanced by a hint of crushed red pepper. 


for the dough

  • 120g sourdough starter 
  • 300g whole milk greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 70g granulated sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 450g all-purpose flour

for the toppings and assembly

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 2-3 inch pieces
  • ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes


Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and pinch and squeeze the dough to work the ingredients together until all is incorporated. Wet your hands and stretch the dough up and fold it in half over itself. Turn the bowl clockwise 90° and stretch and fold it once again. Turn the bowl twice more, each time 90° and stretch and fold each time, for a total of four stretches and folds. Then let the dough sit for 30 minutes. Repeat the stretch, fold, rotate, and rest sequence for a total of 6 times, over the course of 2 and a half hours. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel and let the dough sit until it has doubled and nearly tripled, about 14-16 hours at room temperature.

Separate the buns into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball by tucking the sides underneath each other and pinching at the bottom. Let the dough rest for 1-2 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F. Press each ball of dough down in the center and smear it with about 1 ½ teaspoons of cream cheese. Top each bun with a few pieces of asparagus and 1 teaspoon of parmesan cheese and a pinch of freshly cracked black pepper.

Bake for 25 minutes until lightly golden and enjoy hot from the oven, warm, or cold!

I love seeds, and that is often the subject of many jokes about me, as my last name is Bird. My boyfriend jokingly calls these seeded rye biscotti a “birdfood bar.” There is simply something cozy about incorporating seeds into granola, salads, bread, and yes, cookies, that makes everything seem more earthy and virtuous. In short, seeds are both healthy and delicious. Similarly, rye adds a wholesome flavor which is totally compatible with the hint of ginger, vanilla, and almond. Seeded rye biscotti is full of crunch, fiber, and protein with a texture worth dunking or enjoying plain.


  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ¼ cup flax seeds
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter 
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs


Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and sesame seeds, and set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add in the vanilla extract and almond extract. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until evenly incorporated then add in the flour mixture. Be careful not to overwork the dough.

Form into two 9×4-inch logs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and baking for 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes. It is very important to allow the log to cool completely to make it easier to cut into individual cookies without them breaking or crumbling. 

Once cool, cut ½-inch slices with a very sharp or serrated knife and return them, cut-side down, to the baking sheet. Bake for 15 more minutes until crisp and golden.

I firmly believe that pigs in blankets are one of the greatest crowd pleasers. As a compact finger food and all, they are suitable for guests of any age and can be enjoyed in nearly any setting. I have many childhood memories of Pillsbury crescent rolls appearing at gatherings. Sourdough ham and cheese crescents are essentially a pigs-in-blankets-inspired sandwich. They are built around a naturally leavened dough that is enriched with sour cream for tang and brown sugar for sweetness. During a long rest period of 14-16 hours, the dough develops a deep flavor and elasticity. This dough subsequently envelops the salty ham and buttery manchego, making sourdough ham and cheese crescents a perfectly portable party food.


for the dough

  • 120g / 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 200g / ¾ cup sourcream
  • 1 egg
  • 70g / ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 120g / 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 120g / 1 cup white whole-wheat flour

for the filling and assembly

  • 8 ounces ham, sliced
  • 4 ounces manchego cheese, sliced

dough steps

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and pinch and squeeze the dough to work the ingredients together until all is incorporated. Wet your hands and stretch the dough up and fold it in half over itself. Turn the bowl clockwise 90° and stretch and fold it once again. Turn the bowl twice more, each time 90° and stretch and fold each time, for a total of four stretches and folds. Then let the dough sit for 30 minutes. Repeat the stretch, fold, rotate, and rest sequence for a total of 6 times, over the course of 2 and a half hours. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel and let the dough sit until it has doubled and nearly tripled, about 14-16 hours at room temperature.

filling and assembly steps

After the dough has rested, transfer it to a floured surface and roll it out into a 12 inch x 24 inch rectangle. Cut the dough in half vertically then in half horizontally to make four pieces, then cut each of the four pieces in half to create eight pieces. Cut each piece diagonally to yield 16 triangles. Place a few slices of ham and a few slices of cheese in the center of each triangle. Fold one corner over the center of the crescent then continue to roll it up.

Repeat with all 16 crescents, place them on a baking sheet, and let them rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the crescents for 25 minutes until puffed up and lightly golden!

Pistachios are one of my all-time favorite nuts. Their brilliant green hue is such a beautiful color and their unique, earthy flavor is all the more enhanced when they are toasted or baked. Pistachios are delightful paired with blueberries. In this blueberry pistachio sourdough, dried blueberries bake with pistachios for a chewy bread, filled with sweet and savory notes. When baked, the dried blueberries create a jam-like consistency so you don’t even need any actual jam. Blueberry pistachio sourdough makes for a self-contained toast with a pat of butter or the flavorful bookends of a sandwich. 


for the levain

  • 14g sourdough starter
  • ½ cup / 63g all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup / 80g water

for the loaves

  • 2 ½ cups / 650g water, divided
  • 20g kosher salt
  • 5 cups / 625g all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup / 63g whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup / 127g pistachios, shelled
  • 1 cup / 159g dried blueberries


  • Day 1 (overnight) make the levain in the evening and let rest ~10 hours
  • Day 2 (morning) mix, stretch, fold dough ~4 hours
  • Day 2 (afternoon-overnight) bulk fermentation ~12 hours
  • Day 3 (morning) bake for 55 minutes. 

levain steps

The night before you are going to bake your bread, mix together the starter, all-purpose flour, and water until evenly combined. Cover in plastic wrap and let sit for 10-12 hours until the surface is bubbly and a small bit (about ⅛ teaspoon) of the starter floats in a glass of water.

loaves steps

In a large bowl, mix together the activated levain and 550g of the water until the levain completely dissolves. Add the all-purpose and whole-wheat flour and mix with your hands or a rubber spatula until it forms a shaggy dough. Let this mixture sit for 1 hour to let the flour fully absorb the water, this is the autolyse stage.

After the dough has rested for an hour, evenly sprinkle the salt over the top then add the remaining 100g of water. Pinch and squeeze the dough with your fingers to make sure that the salt and water evenly incorporates.

Starting at the top of the bowl, stretch the dough up and fold it in half over itself. Turn the bowl clockwise 90° and stretch and fold it once again. Turn the bowl twice more, each time 90° and stretch and fold each time, for a total of four stretches and folds. Then let the dough sit for 30 minutes. 

At this point, sprinkle half of the pistachios and dried blueberries over the top of the dough. Using your fingertips, press them into the dough and begin the first stretch and fold of the series. Turn the bowl and stretch and fold once more, then add in the remaining pistachios and blueberries, once again pressing them into the dough with your fingertips. Stretch and fold the dough twice more then let rest for 30 minutes. 

Repeat the stretch and fold process every 30 minutes followed by a 30 minute rest over the next hour and a half for a total of six stretch and fold sequences, including the one adding in the mix-ins. 

Following the final stretch and fold, let the dough rest for 30 minutes then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it in half. Work with one piece at a time and fold the dough from four corners, essentially making four flaps which join in the center of the dough.

Dust two bannetons or large bowls lined with dish towels with rice flour and place the loaves seam-side up inside. Place in the refrigerator to ferment overnight.

Once the loaves are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 500°F and place two 5 qt. Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pots in the oven to heat. If you only have one, you can bake the loaves back-to-back. Test that the dough is ready to bake by lightly pressing it with your finger. If the indent moves back quickly, the dough is not ready to bake. If it keeps the indentation, then the dough is ready!

Turn the loaves out onto a piece of parchment paper with the top of the loaf as the part that was inside the banneton or bowl. Slice the top in a pattern of your choosing to ensure that the steam can release and the dough can rise to its full potential. 

Lower the oven temperature to 450°. Remove the heated dutch oven, place the dough inside, cover, and bake for 20 minutes without removing the lid. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 35 minutes until crisp. Repeat with the second loaf if you are baking the pistachio blueberry sourdough loaves back-to-back.