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
Roasted Grape and Goat Cheese Bruschette
As a rule, I try not to be too precious about my cookbooks. They’re meant to be practical, after all, and the best ones should bear the stains of cooking: the pages a little warped from sauce splatters, little smudges here and there on the edges, even pages escaping the binding after years and years of use. When I pull a book from the shelf and sit down on the couch to browse it, those little signs of wear and tear remind me of successful (and even the less-than-successful) meals.
My practical outlook was almost turned upside down when I unwrapped a copy of Polpo on Christmas Day, because in my hands was quite possibly the most aesthetically pleasing cookbook I ever had the pleasure of owning. I instantly loved everything about it: the typeface, the photography, the paper used for the pages. But the absolute neatest visual aspect about this book is the spine::
How cool is that? And then I found this fantastic article from The Paris Review a few days later on the evolution of the bookshelf and that back in the days when books were primarily found in monasteries they would be placed with the front edges out, all ornately illustrated. But I digress.
Spicy Pineapple-Cucumber-Serrano Agua Fresca
We’re now in that time of year in which we are flooded by the wave of morning show bits, magazine articles, and blog posts on how to get “back on track” after a period of over-indulgence–just as we were similarly overwhelmed by images and recipes of those temptations only a few weeks or months during that period, of course–and while I’m all for wanting to lighten up a bit, the turnabout often gives me whiplash. My friend D over at The Kitchen Witch provides her humorous and realistic take on the whole thing with her “Shrink-My-Ass-Month” series of posts celebrating lighter recipes that are still edible, and I wanted to join her this year in sharing some of the so-called “healthy” recipes that have made their way into our kitchen. That said, we don’t focus on shrinking our asses as much as we do on squatting: between the two of us, Michael and I do a disgusting amount of squats under a barbell during the week, and we need to fuel ourselves in order to continue doing so.
Hence, the genesis of My-Ass-Must-Squat-Month: while it’s really less a month and more a state of mind, it’s best to contain it to a month within the confines of this blog and go from there. The first recipe is one I love because it is equally delicious when paired with water as it is with a good gin or tequila.
(I never promised a completely virtuous series.)
From the entrance of Inventing Abstraction.
One of the things I miss most about living in Manhattan is being able to go to the Museum of Modern Art whenever I felt like it. Getting the single membership was one of the most frugal things we did when we lived in the city; between Michael’s free access to the Met through his Columbia post-doc and this membership, we could partake in a magnitude of art without having to spend a ton of money on admission fees every time we had the inclination. Keeping the membership following the move was my way to maintain a tie to the city, to give us a concrete reason to return again and again.
So we go with some regularity these days, though not at the same clip we previously did. I’ve been able to catch most, if not all of the special exhibitions that have caught my eye: from Century of the Child to Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen to Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art, to Picasso: Guitars 1912-1914. Recently opened is Inventing Abstraction, an impressive survey of artists from Kandinsky to Mondrian to Duchamp who all through their various connections to each other took the early lessons of Cubism and turned it into what we would call abstract art. There’s a lovely playlist that accompanies the exhibit that you can listen to in a special room off the main exhibit, but you can also access it here if you’re unable to make it to New York before April. Read More
Cava with Clementine Air
Happy New Year! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Feliç Any Nou! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and that the return to real life is as painless as possible.
One of the things on my Christmas wishlist was a copy of Decoding Ferran Adrià because it had been years—literally—since I had seen it; cooking through Ferran Adrià At Home and The Family Meal over the last few years had gradually built up my interest once again and I wanted to revisit the special that turned this chef into more of a household name. In the age of Pinterest and the revival of recipes featuring canned cream-of-whatever soup mixed with cream cheese and boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the name of comfort food, revisiting the world of mango caviar and carrot foams feels delightfully subversive. It’s also ever-so-slightly more accessible to me these days, mainly thanks to Adrià acolyte José Andrés. (He’s my latest culinary crush, after all.) Read More