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Welp, that was quick and embarrassing.

Longtime readers will remember me following along with the 2010 World Cup and Spain’s march to victory, and it was a thrilling thing to behold. La Furia Roja has played well since then, taking another Euro title in 2012 and just falling short to Brazil in the Confederations Cup last year. To suggest that expectations were high for the team would be an understatement, but I don’t know if anyone was really expecting them to take a second world title, as awesome as it would be.

Marca says it all. (via theworldsgame tumblr, link in image)

Sadly, a pair of horrible losses have put to rest any hopes of that happening, as following a perfunctory match with Australia the team will be headed back to Spain. Listen: I’m not foreign to the concept of losing. Being from the Philadelphia area, it’s a universal truth that any Philadelphia sports team* with any semblance of momentum will more likely choke instead of sealing the deal. There are a few exceptions to this, of course, but when books like this exist and your baseball team is the first to log 10,000 losses in its lifetime…well, I think you can catch my drift. What was so heartbreaking about these particular losses was the complete and utter self-destruction witnessed on the pitch; if watching the 2010 Spain squad was like observing a fine-tuned Ferrari engine at work, this was more akin to watching a Ford Pinto explode.

The final twist of the knife was watching David Villa (oh, just Spain’s highest goal-scorer for the national team but had yet to make an appearance until this match) make his final appearance for the side in the match against Australia that was meaningless other than for pride…but at least he managed a goal before he was summarily subbed off.

What a goal. (Source linked in image.)

It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks/months and then if they can get it together in time for Euro 2016, but in the meantime I’ll be over here watching 2010 WC videos on YouTube. (OK, so I’ll still be watching this World Cup too, if only to cheer on Leo Messi and some of my other FC Barcelona boys still in contention as well as the US as they face Portugal and Germany.)

At least I can comfort myself with some good food while I watch and wallow, right? Read More

Oregano Pesto with Chicken Thighs

Oregano Pesto with Chicken Thighs

Welp. Well, I guess it’s really fall, even if the temperatures have crept close to the 70s a few days ago, and threaten to do so later this week. You know how I know this? The darkness has been making a hasty return sooner and sooner every day, and as someone who lives in the Northeast and prefers taking pictures of my food in natural light, I hate it. So please bear with me as I once again readjust to the awful artificial light in our apartment. Clearly, I will never take this transition well.

One of the few bright spots about this transition to colder weather is feeling the need to take the shears to my pots of herbs while they are still lush and vibrant. My oregano plant has been left to its own devices all season and has gotten positively unruly; because it’s considered to be really strong in taste, the only amount I’ve needed to use are a few sprigs here and there in recipes all summer. I despaired of finding a proper way to dispatch of it until I found this lovely pesto recipe from Saveur, which called for one and a half cups of packed oregano leaves and only half a cup of basil leaves. A little more than a week ago I trimmed back my plant to make the sauce to pour over pasta, and the results were not only really satisfying, but this pesto felt more autumnal compared to the ones I’ve been making all summer. Read More

Strawberry-Basil Caipirinha with the first issue of Cherry Bombe.

Strawberry-Basil Caipirinha with the first issue of Cherry Bombe.

OK, so I feel a little guilty. I’ve been sitting on these cocktails for most of the summer, but because I couldn’t write my way to a coherent blog post until now, these recipes have gone unpublished and therefore not enjoyed by anyone who hasn’t had the chance to hang out with us in the intervening weeks. But Fall Creep has started to rear its ugly head, so I need to share these post-haste before the it comes to wipe out what’s left of summer.

Let me be clear: I love the fall, but I HATE Fall Creep. Thanks to platforms such as Tumblr and Pinterest, people can indulge their desire for cooler weather practically year-round; unfortunately, CPG companies have realized that they can start pushing things like pumpkin-flavored lattes and Halloween candy even earlier than they ever thought possible as a result of said anticipation. It’s one thing when malls are decked out for Christmas before Thanksgiving–it is quite another when images of sweaters and pumpkins and dead leaves pop up on my feeds before the peak tomato season has even hit the Northeast. Tomato season is SPECIAL, you guys, and it is far too short to be passed over for fall-flavored syrups without a second thought.

So before you go and ruin the many weeks we still have left of summer with your fall cravings, may I suggest making at least one of these cocktails? I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Read More

Squid with Burst Tomatoes

Squid with Burst Tomatoes

Last week was not particularly enjoyable: besides being grey and kind of cold for August, a succession of events left me feeling pretty damn defeated by the end of the week. In an effort to boost our spirits halfway through, I did what I usually do when in need of some self-care: I poked around on the internet for some recipe ideas. I didn’t need to look for that long, as a fellow blogger had that day posted a recipe from Tom Colicchio for a salad of squid with burst tomatoes from the latest Food + Wine. 

Michael was all for it when I sent him the link. But to be completely honest, I kind of didn’t care at that point, because in my mind I was determined to make it. (Given his love of squid, I really didn’t think this would be much of a hard sell in any case.)

There isn’t much to this dish, aside from chopping garlic, slicing squid, and plucking about a cup’s worth of basil leaves. The tomatoes you leave whole, as they will slowly cook with the garlic in the oil and begin to fall apart, and then the squid follows and cooks for another five minutes. Michael expressed some concern that the heat needed to go up to avoid it turning tough, but honestly, it really didn’t: the squid was perfectly tender when served. Chef Colicchio finishes the dish with the basil and some white wine vinegar, but I was in the mood for a splash of white wine instead. I also upped the garlic amount specified because it’s what I like.

On its own, it’s spectacular, but I think it would make an excellent summer pasta sauce if you were so inclined.

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

adapted slightly from Tom Colicchio’s recipe for Food + Wine

Serves 2-4, depending on how hungry

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb cleaned squid, with ears removed from bodies and tentacles sliced in half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 cup basil leaves, washed and dried

Add the olive oil to a large, heavy skillet and bring the olive oil to moderate heat. Add the garlic and tomatoes, and cook for about 4 minutes or until they begin to burst. Add the squid and cook over moderately low heat for an additional 5 minutes. Add the white wine and cook for another minute or so, and then stir in the basil. Season well with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Weeds with Sausage

There’s always a time in the summer when all I want to do is to dive into a bowl of pasta that’s covered with a meaty sauce, preferably one that’s been sitting on the stove for hours braising away. This inevitably falls on a day that’s particularly hot, of course, when the thought of getting near the stove is as good a decision as trying to find good tomatoes at the end of January. That’s the rub of trying to eat seasonally, though: you gorge and gorge and gorge on the season’s best foods until the sight of a zucchini or tomato is unbearable, or at the very least you can get a little bored. I liked how the couple behind We Are Never Full combated this by making a super-rich puttanesca that was heavy on pork belly.

Me? I was feeling a ragu, and this sausage version we made in February is probably the closest to summer appropriateness out there. Read More

Mustard-marinated roasted chicken

I can’t say I’m the most organized person, but one area in my life where I do crave order and lists is grocery shopping. My mom is a freaking ninja when it comes to it–not only does she write lists weekly, kept in a little stenography notebook, but she lists everything in the exact order she’ll find them in the store. By aisle. It’s hardcore–and she started doing it back when I was little and she needed to get through the store as quickly as possible before I started getting fussy.

I am nowhere nearly this organized with lists, but I am pretty good about whipping out a Post-It or one of our restaurant waitstaff notebooks (you know, those guest check pads you can buy at Staples) and a Sharpie and meticulously* noting down everything we need for a meal.

*or not-s0-meticulously

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Cotzas a la Marinara (Algherese mussels, sailor-style)

I had a few key negotiation points when it came to the move–I wanted to live someplace more urban than suburban and on the Metro North New Haven line–but one of the most pressing, at least from a timing perspective, was being able to watch FC Barcelona in the Champions League final on the 28th. After all, I had spent all season following this tournament (in addition to La Liga play) and the match was guaranteed to be a good one–they were going to play Manchester United! Good to his word, Michael took care of it and I was able to watch the Catalans win the Cup in a most triumphant fashion, unlike the clásicos from April that were just  bitter and awful and so heated. Watching Barça slowly decimate Man U, sapping their energy in chunks (and then finishing them off with a decisive third goal courtesy of David Villa) was just what I needed as we started sifting through our things and emptying boxes.

So naturally I made sure that I had Catalan Cuisine unpacked in due order so we could make a lovely victory spread of tapas. Read More

Coca con Tomate, Calabacín y Queso Mahón

Since we haven’t had Spanish food “in a week” as Michael said to me Saturday, this weekend’s food festivities featured a lot of influence from the Iberian Peninsula, finishing with this delightful coca, or the Spanish version of pizza. The traditional coca is very minimal in ingredients–usually only one or two toppings–but I’ve read that more modern cocas do allow for some liberties in creativity, so taking some ideas from Cucinaria: Spain and Spanish Country Kitchen I decided our first Spanish coca would celebrate the height of the season: tomatoes and zucchini.

It was pretty damn awesome, but fraught with peril and some yelling. Read More

Pizza alla Caprese con Mascarpone e Parmigiano Reggiano

I have no idea as to how we pulled this off on TV.

–Michael on our last demo on Connecticut Style, in which we successfully completed making a pizza on air.

There’s an easy reply to this observation, of course: climate control. Air conditioning is a delightful thing in a kitchen, but alas: our small New York kitchen does not have it. This means, of course, that certain culinary activities must be curtailed when the humidity is so bad it can take hours for wet hair to dry after a shower, and this escapade a few weeks ago proved that to a fault. The smoke alarm, while a constant companion in our kitchen when the oven is on at full blast on a good day, was freaking out because we kept spilling cornmeal and rosemary onto the floor of our gas oven and things got a little smoky. Read More

Insalata di Caprese featuring Kumatoes

Having access to great food stores means we can usually get our hands on some pretty unique ingredients. Sometimes the best can be found at the Greenmarket, while others can be hiding next to something as innocuous as grapefruit that you only see because you’re making a beeline for the good deal on peaches just beyond that display.

This is precisely how we stumbled across the oddly colored kumato. Read More

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