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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Did you know that Little Caesar’s still exists? It’s been years since I’ve seen an ad for them (though that stupid jingle remains an eternal earworm), much less a physical location, but a few months ago one popped up a few blocks away on 125th Street, and whenever I pass it I always feel bad for the people who now have the orange glow of the signs blaring into their windows at night, as they can’t possibly cast a pleasant glow into a room. Read More
For all of the talking and writing and photographing of food we do, especially on the weekend, breakfasts and brunches are noticeably absent here on this blog. It’s odd because we both love breakfast food, but I think it comes down to motivation–we’d rather indulge in dinner rather than breakfast on the weekends, and often brunch ranks among the few meals that makes more sense to go out for rather than to stay in and cook.
It’s also likely due to the fact that things like orange juice and milk are expensive to buy when they are only consumed two days of the week at most–plus it always requires planning as schlepping to the market and back on a Saturday or Sunday morning before the first caffeine hits is an unbearably cruel thing for anyone to endure over the weekend.
Maybe it was this quote from No Reservations that put us over the edge subconciously:
Then there the People Who Brunch. The “B” Word is dreaded by all dedicated cooks. We hate the smell and spatter of omelettes. We despise hollandaise, home fries, those pathetic fruit garnishes, and all the other cliché accompaniments designed to induce a credulous public into paying $12.95 for two eggs. Nothing demoralizes an aspiring Escoffier faster than requiring him to cook egg-white omelettes or eggs over easy with bacon. You can dress it up with all the focaccia, smoked salmon, and caviar in the world, but it’s still breakfast.
When friends come to visit and ask for a home-cooked meal of the Italian persuasion, the proper host puts his machinations for chipotle-glazed meatloaf on hold and break out the macchina-de-pasti. Tomatoes are coming in nicely and the first choice was essentially a no-brainer. Bruschetta with tomatoes, lemon (zest and juice), basil, some Italian olive oil, salt+pepper and you’re on Nebbio Nove. Read More
Reading so many other fellow food bloggers out there I think clouds my perspective when it comes to stand-mixer usage. A casual conversation at work will reveal that while many of my coworkers own a Kitchen Aid (or similar) mixer, it seems that other than holiday baking time, it tends to sit dormant for most of the year. I was this way for a while (worse, really, as I’m not usually inclined to bake sweets), but ever since I found Jim Lahey’s pizza dough recipe and Michael a pasta dough method that didn’t require him to make a well, our little guy gets a workout a few times a month at the very least. This time around, our craving was for some homemade pizza. Read More