Martha Stewart

Chile Cherry Tomato Salad

by Anne Maxfield on May 28, 2015

Accidental Locavore Chili TomatoesThe Accidental Locavore first saw this salad being made years ago on Martha Stewart. The film producer Ismail Merchant was showing Martha how to put it together. What made it particularly memorable was watching Martha struggling to control herself as Ismail was literally pouring on the cayenne. In her recipe, his quarter cup got cut down to a quarter teaspoon. Either way, it’s a great use for a box of cherry tomatoes – good now and better in August! Serves 4:

  • 30 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 12 small tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 Serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix the parsley and chile pepper with the tomatoes. Let sit for twenty minutes. Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, mustard, olive oil and salt together in a small bowl. Dress the tomatoes, toss, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I’ve made this salad a few times – it’s great when you have a plethora of cherry tomatoes. Frank thought this batch had a little too much mustard (and although it pains me to say so, he was probably right). Even if your tomatoes aren’t wonderful, the spice and lemon make up for less than stellar fruit. I recently served it with my favorite Indian chicken, as we were a little shy on vegetables that evening and I had a couple of boxes of cherry tomatoes. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, go easy on the Serrano and cayenne and add as much or as little as you’d like. Cilantro is a nice addition or replacement for the parsley and if you don’t have a freezer full of chilies (like I do), just add more cayenne.



Biscotti With Dried Cherries

by Anne Maxfield on December 18, 2014

Accidental Locavore Finished BiscottiIt’s a holiday tradition for the Accidental Locavore and her friend Laura to get together and make edible gifts. We always try something new and alternate between savory and sweet. Just as traditionally, every year Laura’s father asks us why we’re not making biscotti again. This year, with some of our leftover ingredients, I made him a batch based on a Martha Stewart recipe. They’re pretty simple and just need some time to bake and cool. This made about 30 cookies:


  • 1 3/4 cups dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur), plus more if needed
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Accidental Locavore Forming BiscottiHeat cherries and liqueur in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until cherries have softened, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. If you need more add enough liqueur to make 2 tablespoons.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the 3 eggs, one at a time. Add reserved cherry liquid and the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and gradually mix in flour mixture. Stir in cherries and pine nuts.

On a lightly- floured surface, divide the dough in two. Shape each half into a 12 1/2 by 2 ½” log. Flatten logs to 1/2“ thick. Transfer to the baking sheet.

Bake 35 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks to cool, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Cut each log on the diagonal into 1/2″ slices. Transfer pieces to racks, laying them on their sides. Set racks on baking sheets. Bake 8 minutes; flip them and bake 8 minutes more. Let cool until crisp.

Accidental Locavore BiscottiOptional chocolate: melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (30 second intervals). Paint a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom of the biscotti, or just dunk them in and coat one side. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I’m not a dunker of things into coffee or tea–something about crumbs at the bottom of the cup never appealed to me, so there are a lot of cookies I prefer to biscotti. These came out fine and Frank, the biscotti lover in the family, thought they tasted great (and would I please make another batch). We’ll have to wait till after the holidays to see what Laura’s father thought of them. I substituted pine nuts for the almonds Martha called for, but did soak the cherries in Amaretto. Dried cranberries would also work instead of the cherries.






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Pinch: Playing With Your Food

by Anne Maxfield on March 19, 2012

Accidental Locavore Pinch Tasting Table

Admit it, there are days when, like the Accidental Locavore, you still (ignoring your mother’s advice) play with your food. But would you ever create a business around it? Pinch Food Design is a catering company based on people playing with their food, bringing a fun, creative edge to entertaining. If you think that’s crazy, think again; in this economy it makes a lot of sense! Everyone always wants a party to be remembered, and Pinch will certainly make that happen. Return on investment anyone?

Accidental Locavore Pinch Spin TrayNow, the Accidental Locavore, while usually not overly enthusiastic about style over substance, especially where food is involved, can safely say that’s not the case here—the food I tasted was delicious! Pinch approaches food with a design sensibility but they but they never lose sight of the fact that it’s all about scrumptious food. This is not your lamb lollipop on a silver tray, or tuna tartare on a soggy chip. It’s more of a Penn & Teller irreverence rather than a Martha Stewart stuffiness. And because every good show needs a great set, the creative minds behind Pinch, have created their own “sets” in the form of tables, interactive food stations and utensils, the better to highlight the food.

For example, one of their signature pieces, a riff on a chef’s table, takes the performance aspect of a tasting table, adds a grown-up version of finger painting–with the chef laying sauces down on a silicone tabletop and topping that with bites of gnocchi for guests to grab as they chat. Sure beats a carving station, doesn’t it?

Accidental Locavore Pinch Filet MignonSpeaking of stalwarts, even that trusty banquet hall item, filet mignon, gets a face-lift with a basil crust and a tiny popover hat. Shrimp are skewered on the end of one of their specially designed spoons, with a de-constructed version of cocktail sauce in the bowl.

Accidental Locavore Pinch Taco TableOther assemblages are designed to get people mingling and talking. While a well-stocked bar will often serve the same function, don’t you think a wall of tacos and fixings would be a lot more fun? Even desserts get into the act…gallettes (puff pastry tarts) are pierced and hung from mini jungle gyms with bowls of whipped cream below for them to fall into.Accidental Locavore Pinch Jungle Gym

Doesn’t this make you want to go and throw a party? Hmmm… and the Locavore has a birthday coming up…


Thanks to TJ and Pinch for the photos!