Bresaola-Wrapped Arugula-Pecorino Salad
I have all of these epic posts in progress right now, but I had to share this half-salad, half-appetizer with you right away as it’s quite possibly the platonic ideal of easy springtime/summer eating. This recipe comes from Polpo‘s cecchetti section as part of a selection of “wraps” that they offer as small plates, and it is absolutely fantastic as an alternative to a big salad when paired with a simple little meat dish. It’s also a great variation of the bresaola carpaccio I assembled a few years ago, albeit a little more substantial and a little more favorable on the meat to salad ratio.
That the meat in question is incredibly lean is merely one more reason to try this little dish; that it’s easy to eat and quite substantial are the primary reasons to do so. It’s not even really fair to call this a recipe, but the inspired presentation, to me at least, is more than enough reason to share it. Just say that you got it from a fabulous Venetian-style restaurant in London.
Bresaola-Wrapped Arugula-Pecorino Salad
adapted from Polpo
- 2 generous handfuls of baby arugula, washed well and spun dry
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 cup (max) of grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano (not fine, if possible–shards are good)
- Up to 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 6 slices bresaola
- Kosher salt to taste (note that the beef is salty, so no heavy hand is needed)
First, dress the salad: take freshly-washed arugula and dress first with lemon juice, then salt, then olive oil, and finally with cheese right before serving. (Any sooner on the cheese and the lemon will break it down too much.) Take a slice of the bresaola, fill with approximately 1/6th of the salad and secure with a skewer. Repeat until you have used up all of the salad. Serve immediately.
Pan-Fried Striped Bass with Pancetta and Parsley
A few months ago, right around Valentine’s Day, one of my coworkers asked me for some advice on making paella, and if I’d mind lending him a cookbook with a recipe in it. That night found me pulling my various Spanish cookbooks and reviewing the paella recipes contained therein; I wanted to give him one that was authentic but presented in an accessible way. I ended up bringing in my copies of The Barcelona Cookbook and Made in Spain for him to peruse, and between the two he was able to cobble together a recipe that would work for him.
My point of this story? When I went and pulled all of those cookbooks off the shelves, I realized I had upwards of at least fifteen dedicated to Spanish and//or Catalonian cooking. And that only counts the books we keep downstairs–the less-often used go upstairs in our loft “library.”
Common sense, recollection, and this blog’s archives tell me that I shouldn’t be so surprised by this, but I am all the same. Read More
Beignets with a cafe au lait from the Cafe du Monde.
[Scene: at the Cafe du Monde, at an outer table near the fencing. MICHAEL and ELIZABETH have just finished eating beignets and are sipping on their coffees.]
MICHAEL: (happily, eagerly gesturing to a guy standing in the growing line, outside of ELIZABETH’S view)
ELIZABETH: (turns to see said guy in a Duff’s Wings sweatshirt with similar enthusiasm, and makes confused expression)
ELIZABETH: What the hell was that all about?
MICHAEL: (jumpy) He was wearing a Duff’s Wing’s shirt! It was awesome! I wanted to show my appreciation!
ELIZABETH: (now more distrusting, giving him a look of complete disbelief) What the fuck is up with you?
MICHAEL: (visibly twitchy and excited) I don’t know. I just want to hug everybody!
It probably goes without saying that sweets aren’t normally our thing, especially as evidenced on what’s shared here. I only bring out the stand mixer to make pizza dough, or fresh pasta dough, or empanada dough, or focaccia dough, because that’s the kind of food I know we’ll eat. Sweet baked treats are awesome, but with only two people in the household it’s way too easy to have a surplus with one baking session. Read More
Late last year, Michael and I struck up a deal: since I had picked our last big vacation destination, he would be able to choose the next two so long as they were more local. (By local, I mean that they did not require crossing an ocean in order to visit.) New Orleans has been one of his favorite places since he went there ten years ago, and so we spent the better part of last week walking, eating, drinking, and photographing our way around the Crescent City.
In short: it was fantastic. I’ll be posting in more detail over the coming weeks, but in the meantime I wanted to provide a bit of a sneak peek of our few days in the Big Easy.
Ajo blanco de malagueño (or, white gazpacho)
Yes, that’s a whole mess of Spanish and Català up there in the post title. No, I make no apologies.
This meal was a bit ambitious for us, even for a Sunday night: in the mood for some delicious José Andrés-style tapas after hearing about Michael’s visit to Zaytinya during his recent trip to DC. Picking four dishes (the three listed here, along with a variation of this salad), I made a plan to get some of the work done early in the afternoon, after my workout but before I went down the street to see the Chilean movie No at the local non-profit movie theater. I really thought that I had it all in hand: I made the sofrito for the rossejat after we got back from the store, and everything else was pretty much self-explanatory. Or so I thought. Read More
Arugula salad with citrus, burrata, and prosciutto
Michael has been spending the bulk of the week in Virginia on business, and so I’m on my own when it comes to dinner from Tuesday through yesterday. In my ongoing efforts to avoid defaulting to pasta, I queued up a few recipes that have sat on the bench that is my recipe board on Pinterest, and so instead of eating all of the pasta this week, I am eating all of the cheese. It’s still healthy if it’s part of a salad, right? (I kid. Of course I know the answer to that question. It’s yes.) Read More
Moules à la grecque, from The Les Halles Cookbook
This one’s a nice departure from the summer-style mussel recipes so far, a dish more suited to fall or winter, or post-Labor Day New England. You know, fluffy sweaters and shorts, tourists all gone…that crisp, cool, Cape Cod light. Okay, I don’t live that way either. But it sounds good, right?
Anthony Bourdain, The Les Halles Cookbook
There are days in August especially when all I want is a nice, rich bowl of pasta; fortunately for me, I can make us a pan of Amatriciana sauce with fresh tomatoes and still count it as seasonally-appropriate cooking. It’s much more difficult to find an analogous dish in the wintertime, one that is made with seasonal produce but won’t weigh you down in its density.
Shellfish dishes have been filling this need fairly well so far this season, but moules à la grecque is quite possibly the ne plus ultra of the bunch. Relatively fast to make, easy to cook, and riddled with fennel, this is everything that Bourdain promises above: a wintertime alternative to the bright, summery dishes that beg for freshly-trimmed herbs and fresh tomatoes from the garden. If you can get it made by 5PM in late February, you can also enjoy it in the crisp, cool New England light, though shorts would only be recommended if dining indoors with good central heating. Read More
Grilled Quail with Pomegranate, Valencia Orange, Romaine and Almond Salad
One of the great things about the rise in awareness (and subsequent popularity) of CrossFit is how it has made weightlifting pretty cool for a growing subset of women. Don’t get me wrong: it’s very clear that the prevailing advice that encourages eschewing heavy weights for lots of cardio is still the loudest voice in the room, but every so often I’ll learn that one of my colleagues or acquaintances lifts and it’s kind of fantastic. That said, I find some aspects of CrossFit to be rather problematic, and those issues I think can be summed up in two bullets:
- This nonsense that airs during reruns of the CrossFit games* drives me up a wall, because of course the ONLY reason why women would be remotely interested in lifting weights or doing other tough exercises is to become a “ten” rather than a “seven.” Never mind the actual benefits of exercise–it’s just so we look hot when we hit up the bars after the gym, amirite ladies? (Insert a GIF of Liz Lemon rolling her eyes.) UGH THIS MAKES ME SO ANGRY I END UP OVERUSING ITALICS AND CAPS LOCK.
- Their endorsement of and adherence to the Paleo diet, which I instantly give the side-eye to given that it doesn’t allow any grains or dairy.
There are other things about it I find troubling, but these are the two that grind my gears the absolute most. Read More
Roncal-stuffed piquilo peppers
Michael didn’t really believe me, I think, when I first mentioned that a storm was coming this weekend (and said storm has since blanketed the Northeast with a sizable amount of snow), but he willingly went along with my plan to stay in on Friday and Saturday and cook anyway. He balked a bit when I came home Thursday night laden with bags of provisions–likely thinking I was going overboard–but lo and behold, my instinct to stock up was right on the nose. That I was also able to get in and out of Fairway despite the fuller-than-usual parking lot was simply a bonus.
So while the snow fell and the wind howled on Friday night, we opened up a bottle of prosecco and got to work on a tapas spread. The one you see above was a bit of a punt. A delicious, delicious, punt.
Basque-style mussels and white bean stew.
I know the first post in this series was for an agua fresca, but I should make it clear that juicing is not something we do at all, but every once in a while I’ll crave something sweet and light and that fresh drink mix does the trick nicely. But then I see things like this interview and I’m kind of boggled by anyone being satiated by only drinking a few juices during the day and waiting until the evening to eat a meal of solid food. Then again, there’s no way I could do what I want to do powered simply by juice, because you can’t lift heavy or lift in volume on what appears to be a very limited amount of calories, particularly in the protein realm.
Because that’s the thing about doing things like barbell deadlifts and squats: for me, I need to feel like I have some serious fuel in the tank to get over the mental hurdle that is pulling a series of heavy triples in a row, or doing a circuit that calls for ten to twelve rounds of pressing sixty pounds over my head and squatting it on my back, all the while feeling confident that every time I do so I’m completely in control of the barbell in my hands. Fueling those pre-workout dinners with something that’s both filling but not stuffing can prove to be a challenge, but I find a nice balance with seafood, especially when I pair it with beans or quinoa. Read More