I can’t believe I’m writing this on the day of the World Cup final—it definitely has flown by even faster than it did four years ago, and what a tournament of surprises: who would have thought that the US Men’s National Team would not only make it out of the Group of Death but that Tim Howard would make a record 16 saves during the match against Belgium? (I’m pretty salty that he isn’t on the best goaltending award shortlist, by the way.) Moreover, who would have expected the epic meltdown that was the Germany-Brazil semifinal, especially considering that Brazil had the ultimate home pitch advantage? Read More
A few months ago when the weather was extremely cold and grey and we were in search of serious culinary projects, Michael and I finally broke down and made ramen completely from scratch, including the noodles. The stand mixer and pasta machine were brought out, dough was wrestled with, and we watched the “Noodle” and “Tokyo” episodes of Mind of a Chef at least twice that Sunday as I wrestled with the extremely elastic dough. Our copies of Momofuku and Ivan Ramen were splayed out on the counter as we needed to reference them, and the whole apartment was infused with the scent of roasted pork bones and poached chicken as the broth simmered all day.
I had to bake a few batches of sodium carbonate so I would have more than enough to add to the dough mixture, and Michael felt compelled to write out the equation on the kitchen chalkboard because of course he did.
That first batch of from-scratch ramen came out exceptionally well: light, hearty, and oh those noodles had just the right amount of chewiness. We didn’t use all of the six-ounce portions that night so the rest went into the freezer, and this weekend we both decided it was time to finally use them. Read More
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
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
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
Last week the Mrs. was outta town for work, leaving me to my own devices. Said devices were less than thrilling, as E left me for the beginning of the work week only and save for some serendipitous short-notice primo sport seats, not much can go down without the wife in town on a Tuesday. Maybe it’s a lack of imagination on my part. Read More
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
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.
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
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