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Hawksmoor Roast Chicken

Back when Michael was in England, he was able to spend some time in London with our fabulous London friends, and during our subsequent cell phone and Google Hangout conversations he told me about this cookbook they had that from their favorite steakhouse Hawksmoor. Simply perusing the book made him feel inspired to buy it, and when I saw that it was under $30, I jumped and ordered a copy. To say that it’s a meat-lover’s cookbook is to be cliche; in fact, this cookbook is a diatribe on great English food and drink, albeit with a very heavy focus on meat. If a roast chicken recipe is an adequate barometer of the worth of a cookbook, well, the recipe here makes this one a good book to at least consider.

It may be a bit hasty to declare this when you’ve only tried one recipe, but when they get the roast chicken recipe so well, it’s only natural to assume the rest is remarkable. Especially when one is called “Beef Shin and Macaroni.” I’m looking forward to making that when it gets significantly colder. Read More

Pollo al pimentos

I’ve never liked the lamentations that often accompany Labor Day, all bemoaning the end of the summer. First of all, summer is not over; September 20th marks the beginning of fall.  And it’s not as if the weather immediately resets itself to autumn mode, either–the mere act of going into my closet Sunday morning to contemplate sweaters was causing me to break out in a sweat. Just because coffee shops are champing at the bit to push their pumpkin pie spice lattes doesn’t mean it’s time to put away the sandals. You can try to pry those off my feet, but I don’t think you’d be successful.

Besides: this is the best time of year to enjoy the best of what summer has to offer. Making your way down to the Union Square Greenmarket via subway comes with the best reward: the overwhelming aroma of peak-time tomatoes and herbs enveloping your senses as you emerge from the subway station. Even if you can’t make it to that particular market, you are afforded a similar sensation as you shop for tomatoes in your local supermarket, because if they don’t smell amazing now, they likely never will.

(I realize with the previous statement that I am showing my proximity-to-Jersey-tomatoes-privilege, but they are seriously the best tomatoes ever so I apologize for nothing.) Read More

Xavi demonstrates my mood during much of the match.

It’s been a tough week for FC Barcelona and its cules: an unexpected loss earlier in the week to Chelsea in the Champion’s League finals was bad enough, and then on Saturday we had to suffer the indignity of Real Madrid coming to Camp Nou and do the unthinkable–win. While RM has likely taken La Liga this season, it’s not over yet for my Catalans as there’s the second leg of Champion’s League yet to play this week, and in a month they’ll be fighting for the Copa del Rey and won’t have to beat Real Madrid to do so.

In other words: I have plenty of opportunities to whip up more Catalan food in support of the blaugranas. Read More

Smoked Chicken Wings

Okay. I’ll admit that I may have been a bit too forcefully tight-lipped about the small device taking shape from bits of hardware store fodder on my balcony. I think having worked in an operational chemistry lab for so many years makes me skittish about revealing that I have a off-spec MacGyver-style contraption running in my purview of operation. Believe me, I knocked together some humdingers during grad school, stuff that I think if the New Haven fire chief ever saw he’d make me turn over my clamps and duct tape once and for all. For legal purposes, I am obligated to write at this point that I am entirely joking… 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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Rostit de Festa Mayor (Holiday Roasted Chicken)

Four FC Barcelona/Real Madrid matches in eighteen days: it’s enough to make the most ardent Spanish football fan both excited  and terrified at the same time, because so much can happen in one game, much less four. It’s hard in America to find something to relate this phenomenon to, and the best I can offer is to imagine the Yankees and the Red Sox competing for three separate titles over the course of two weeks–it would be crazy and as a fan you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself so you’d likely sink into a banquette of a sports bar either in Manhattan or near Fenway, drinking beers and rapidly losing your grip on sanity as the games proceeded.

I’d use the Subway Series as another example, but that would be too low a blow to Mets fans right now.

I’m channeling much of that nervous energy into cooking (or at least planning meals), to the point that I peeled an entire head of garlic in 45 minutes thanks to a whole lot of antsiness during the hour leading up to the first game–a rematch of the Liga clásico that saw Barça destroy Real Madrid 5-0. Given how the teams have played since then this wasn’t considered the most important of the four, but being the first the anticipation was very high nonetheless. Read More

Salsa de Muchos Chiles

It’s always a sobering moment to realize that a relatively significant period of time has passed, but there are always interesting ways to measure it. For some it’s coffee spoons, for others birthdays, and for others still it’s some other milestone or series of milestones.

It occurred to me on President’s Day as we were making dinner that for us, measurement could be in enchiladas.

You see, when I first moved to New Haven five years ago, Michael and I got into a routine where he’d walk over to my apartment a few times a week and he’d make dinner for us. I had a long trek up I-95 from Westport that was often made longer by traffic, and coming home to delicious smells quickly became the highlight of my day. There would be a few times when I’d make it home before dinner was completely finished and I could help out, and one of the first times I can remember getting into the kitchen with him was to make enchiladas. He whipped together his own enchilada sauce and cook some chicken thighs, I grated cheese and then snuck bites of cheese, and we assembled them in the casserole, poured the mess of sauce and cheddar over them and thew them in the oven to get piping hot and delicious.

It was, of course, completely inauthentic in preparation but it was delicious all the same, and over the years I always held a fondness for that dish but we stopped making it regularly because it’s not terribly healthy and I think Michael got bored with it. We only had a fraction of the cookbooks then that we do now–most of them Italian in theme–so our knowledge of homemade Mexican food was scant at best. Read More

I guess we have several running jokes around here, but my favorite is probably my love of chicken roasting. As in,

Elizabeth: What do you want to make tonight?

Michael: I could roast a chicken…

Sometimes I just say it because I don’t want to think of what we’re having and if she says yes then so much the better, win-win-win. Lately I’d been rubbing the bird with some kind of chili or chipotle and shredding it into tortillas, so this time we looked for something still simple but decidedly different. Enter The Silver Spoon which is a tome of no (too) intensive variations on a common theme. Read More

 

Cornish Game Hen in Lemon and Garlic Sauce

 

Thank you for linking in, readers! Elizabeth found this recipe inside of a Catalan cookbook she’d found recently and after going my own way on the Spanish chicken wings, I promised to make it according to factory specifications later in the week. We have a good deal of Spanish cookbooks in the house, probably more than of any other national cuisine save perhaps Italian, so I can say that this dish was very emblematic of its nation. [Ed. - SIX SEVEN Spanish cookbooks to TWELVE Italian books, thank you very much!] I know we’ve been hitting España pretty hard lately, so we’ll be posting one last solidly Spanish plate then moving East.

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