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Shrimp and Orange Salad with Arugula and Fennel

It’s not even August and apparently stores are stocking their shelves for Hallow-freaking-ween. I’m very much aware that holiday creep is a huge thing in retail (back-to-school seems to go back on the shelves around the Fourth) but especially after the winter so many of us had to endure this year, well, cheering on the arrival of the season of inevitable misery seems abominably cruel. It’s not like this summer has been particularly arduous here in the Northeast—we’ve had some periods of hot and/or humid weather, but we’ve been pretty lucky so far: a day or two of intense humidity have beckoned a cold front blowing through almost immediately thereafter, and otherwise we’ve had pretty pleasant weather. There have been many a weekend afternoon spent on the local beaches, and even an evening or two listening to the rain while we sit on our balcony.

In short, I’m doing everything I can to appreciate the summer while it’s here, and I will be loath to give it up because gauzy clothes and cool drinks are superior to wooly socks, fun-size candies and hot toddies, no matter what anyone says. Read More

Ramp Butter and Pancetta Crostinis from Franny's

Ramp Butter and Pancetta Crostinis from Franny’s

Back in December when I was going through my stash of new cookbooks and flagging recipes to make, one of the first that spoke to me immediately was for Franny’s ramp butter and pancetta crostini. After I rued the fact that it was December and that ramp season was still months away, I turned the page and lo and behold the good folks at Franny’s realize that one cannot live on ramp butter alone. An assortment of seasonal compound butters were listed,  including a divine chili butter that is also quite easy to make and an excellent foil for pancetta, even if you are using butter straight out of the freezer.*

After I got my hands on some ramps a few weeks ago, though, I was determined to make the ramp butter. Not only did I want to make the crostinis, but Michael suggested putting pats of it on some butterflied trout and veal porterhouse steaks we had purchased at Stew’s in the place of making a sauce. Kept frozen, the butter would be able to sit for a few months in the freezer, so unlike most of our ramp preparations we’d be able to enjoy it long after the season had ended…provided it lasted that long. Read More

Smoked salmon and ricotta wraps

Smoked salmon and ricotta wraps

New Year’s Eve is my favorite food holiday, full stop. We don’t have to follow any specific food traditions, and instead we can make a number of small bites that follow whatever whims we may have in mind that particular year. In reality, the only rules that we do have around the holiday are simple:

  • No leaving the apartment, even to do this same thing at someone else’s house, because that never ends well.
  • Loungey clothes are necessary, if not required.
  • Games will be played
  • Wine, especially bubbly wines, will be consumed.

When our friend W asked what our plans were, I explained that we were pretty rigid on the not-leaving-the-apartment thing (seriously, the last time we tried to do this on New Year’s Eve, I ended up with a stomach virus) but that they were welcome to join us. As soon as she said that they would love to come, out came the cookbooks to brainstorm some ideas on what to make. I may have also put the El Bulli episode of No Reservations on while I browsed, and ultimately came up with more ideas for this dinner than I did for the dinners I was supposed to be planning for…because that’s how things tend to go.

Besides: a meal of this scale requires several days of brainstorming, and I ended up finding some fine meals to have on Sunday and Monday shortly thereafter. So there, husband. Read More

Burnt tomatoes with anchovies, goat cheese, and parsley-garlic-oil sauce.

Burnt tomatoes with anchovies, goat cheese, and parsley-garlic-oil sauce.

I have all of these posts in mind with all of these wonderful salads and drinks and the like in mind, but all that occupies my mind right now is the savage beating my beloved Spanish national team endured at the hands of the Brazilians. To be frank, the latter deserved the win; I don’t really understand what Vincente del Bosque’s strategy was during the match, particularly when it concerned not playing Cesc Fabregas at all and David Villa only a minimal amount of playing time. It will certainly make the qualifying matches much more interesting to see what he’s trying to do this time around, at least, but at least this Confederations Cup final has me intrigued by Neymar but I’m also very much waiting for him to be an overdramatic diver. Meanwhile, it was particularly horrific to see a great side completely fall apart during this game. I mean, who approved Sergio Ramos to take a penalty kick?? Xavi spoke for all of us with his facepalm:

We are all Xavi here. Image via @barcastuff

We are all Xavi here. Image via @barcastuff

One stat that popped up at the end noted that the winners of the Confederations Cup never go on to win the World Cup, but I feel like Brazil winning this and then hosting the World Cup next year is all but setting them up for a triumphant return to global football supremacy. I’m optimistic Spain can put a big old wedge in that plan, but in the meantime I should stop bitching about football and instead talk about the fantastic meal we made ourselves during the course of the match. Read More

Bresaola-Wrapped Arugula-Pecorino Salad

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

serves 2

  • 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.

Arugula salad with citrus, burrata, and prosciutto

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

Tomato Pie with Jumbo Scallions and Bacon

I hope the holiday season gave you all time to be still and reflect on the year as it passed perhaps via most golden and perfect of all meditation opportunities, fooling around in your kitchen with no pressing need to generate a large or timely meal, maybe utilizing a night or two in that golden week between Christmas and NYE. If you did not have this opportunity, I guess you missed out.

By the end of it all, even I had had enough. Lasagna and Thanksgiving Food Dinner II with the families, a standing rib roast for the two of us, fried chicken on NYE and a sundry of interspersed meals inspired by greats like Tom Colicchio and David Chang. You might think I’d give up after this feastish onslaught and say “meh” on this particular evening, but the last night before the return to work, waking up early and wrestling I-95 called for something delicious, if not seasonal. E suggested making some pizzas and that felt perfect. Read More

Steak Tacos with Avocado, Arugula, Caramelized Onions, Radishes and Cheddar

So how ’bout that earthquake on Tuesday, East Coast?

I’ll be honest–it freaked me out. I was on a call in my office and suddenly the building was moving, and we all emerged from cubes and offices to  verify with each other that we didn’t all have massive cases of vertigo at exactly the same time. What freaked me out the most, though, was that it brought me back to a Friday morning two weeks ago: we had made the rather catastrophic mistake of betting on the George Washington Bridge to get us to New Jersey instead of our normal Tappen Zee–having had a few easy GWB crossings lately, surely trying to go over after rush hour on a Friday morning in the summer would be nothing simpler.

Oh, no. Not even a little bit. We were stuck on the Cross Bronx for two hours. That’s two-thirds of the time it should take to get to Pennsylvania from Stamford. To make matters worse, we were completely without recourse–it’s not like we know the major highways around the city all that well, because usually I do everything I can to avoid the highways around the city. So as we sat trapped on an overpass, Michael started losing his mind and then a kid in the car ahead of us started jumping up and down so violently that he made the entire overpass shake, which proceeded to make me a little panicky. The moment the car crossed the bridge and got on the New Jersey Turnpike was finally when I could breathe a sigh of relief. Read More

Steak, Roasted Garlic, Caramelized Onion and Arugula Pasta Salad

When I lived in New Haven, the two apartments I lived in were above the oldest drug store in the city and the building was old and beautiful and made of brick. This meant that the laundry room–one washer and dryer for the four apartments–was in the basement, and the basement was straight out of a horror movie: cobwebs everywhere, stone walls, bare light bulbs that only worked occasionally, and a floor so dirty you’d sooner throw out a wayward sock or pair of underpants that happened to touch it rather than try to rescue it. I’m pretty sure there were spiders everywhere to boot, and so I’d scurry down there and load my laundry as quickly as I could and got the hell out of there.

In other words: I loathed it. Read More

NY Strip Steak with Arugula-Lamb-Mache Salad and Baked Sweet Potato Fries

These lovely pictures were snapped by E on our first weekend in Stamford. We were still surrounded by boxes but we decided we needed a break from packing tape and our piles of treasured shit and return to the center of our New York power- we visited our beloved Fairway. [Ed.--one, if not both of us visited Fairway every day over the Memorial Day weekend, including Friday.]

Briefly (I think E is planning a far more detailed breakdown for a later date), the food fanatics behind Manhattan’s best supermarket, Fairway (131st St and 12th Ave), have opened a branch right here in our new little corner of the metro world in Stamford on Canal St in from what I can tell from Google Maps was a vacant lot. But I digress. Read More

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