From mid-September to mid-June, I am a really good hustler. I move quickly, I get things done, I meet deadlines. I overbook myself, I spread myself into a zillion different directions. I say yes A LOT. I am more of a headless chicken than that calmly collected snail up there (with a creepy woman inside his shell.... )
Nearly all of my cooking clients are out of town during July and August, so those are the months I let my hustle skills rest and I recharge. Many of my days are full of nothing and no one.
I move S L O W L Y… it's a luxury. I know this.
I am one of those crazy people who enjoys the heat and gets annoyed by extreme air conditioning. So I plant myself outside during these hotter months - in the sun, on rooftops, by the water, long walks from one end of the island to the other.
I love summertime in New York City because it’s less crowded. There's more time to be a slow snail. There’s less urgency to get somewhere, so I have time to walk down a new street or wander through a new neighborhood. More than anything, I’m excited to explore my still-new-to-me neighborhood of Harlem.
One of the perks of this slow time in my year is that I have time to try out new recipes. For the most part, during the year, my clients order their weekly drop-offs from my menu pages. They’re on a schedule, requesting certain meals based on the needs of their own personal week. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room to say, ‘Hey, I’d like to try this.’ Or, ‘Ya know I have this new recipe...’ I mean, it could fail and then that throws off their week, wastes their money, my time, etc.
During my slow time last week I had friends in town and I ‘guinea pigged’ them with three new recipes I haven’t had time to play around with until now. They are recipes that I'm also documenting for the blog! They were such troopers, waiting patiently as I photographed the steps. Being good sports when batches came out wrong. (See recipe notes below!***)
This dumpling recipe was one of the ones I tried out on my friends. I used Pomora Olive Oil Al Peperoncino so it’s spicy! Eating spicy foods makes us sweat, which makes our bodies cool down faster. It’s true! Oftentimes in the heat, we try to cool off with ice cream or cold beverages, right? This actually lowers our internal temperature too rapidly so our body compensates by raising our temperature. So that temporary cool down kind of makes us more uncomfortable in the long run. But when we eat spicy food it raises our internal temperature to match the temperature outside. Blood circulation increases and we start sweating. And after that moisture has evaporated, we cool off!
I invite you to slow down with me if your schedule allows. Be a snail exploring things at your own pace. Take a break. Recharge. Make spicy food to keep cool.
And now is a perfect time to adopt an olive tree and receive a Pomora Olive Oil subscription as the literal fruits of your expense for the next 12 months. Olive tree adoptions are good for the environment, the olive oils are healthy fats that are good for your body, and it’s the best olive oil my taste buds have ever had, so there’s that too. You've heard me sing Pomora praises before. These tins of oil are really special. Treat yourself or someone who needs to be treated!
Spinach Ricotta Dumplings With Spicy Marinara Sauce
- 3 tablespoons Pomora Olive Oil Al Peperoncino
- 3 cups marinara sauce (homemade or your favorite jarred sauce)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and finely chopped
- 2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- 2 large egg yolks
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
Bring the marinara to a low simmer on the stove. Add in the spicy olive oil. Keep warm.
Dust a rimmed baking sheet with flour; set aside. Mix the spinach, ricotta, parmesan, egg yolks, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the flour and stir until just combined. Drop tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the flour-dusted pan, shaking the pan from side to side to coat the dumplings in the flour and smooth out their edges. Refrigerate 10 minutes. ***
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil***. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Add the chilled dumplings and cook until they float to the top and are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towellined plate to drain. Serve on top of the tomato sauce and drizzle with the more olive oil. Sprinkle with more parmesan.
*** Give the dumplings a tap so there's not a thick coating of flour, one batch had a gummy cooked flour coating. No bueno.
*** My first batch I boiled my water with a perforated basket inside, thinking it would be really easy to lift the basket out with the dumplings in it once they floated to the top. Well, that didn't work at ALL. The dumplings disintegrated. Just gently boiling water and a slotted spoon is all you need!