When I’m feeling particularly industrious during a weekend morning hate-watch of the Food Network, I’ll sit down with my cookbooks and start flagging recipes to try with Post-Its. Over time the notes get a little scraggly as the books are taken off and placed back on the shelf and splatters from other cooking exploits land on them, but I can never bring myself to remove them–especially if I haven’t made that recipe. The really decrepit ones taunt me the most, and I’ll get it in my head that there’s something fundamentally inaccessible about the recipe to prevent me from making it, because why else would I continue to avoid it? Read More
I’ve been slowly making my way through the Pedro Almodóvar library, and one thing I’ve found that even in his most straightforward of films is that he always manages to include at least one good WTF moment that changes the whole path of the narrative. There’s always this element of the unbelievable, but to spin an oft-quoted English saying, one must keep calm and trust Almodóvar because he always manages to work himself and his characters out of any overly odd plot twist. The twist in Talk to Her (Hable con ella) is one I won’t give away as it’s pretty disturbing, but just when you think a character suddenly becomes completely unlikeable, redemption comes about in a strange way.
Hable con ella is one of those films in which the titular women are not present; they are in the past, and they are potentially in the future, but they primarily exist as coma patients during most of the film. Instead, the story is told from the perspective of the men who love them and care for them: the clownish Benigno and the standoffish Marco. It’s a story of men trying to understand women they love: Benigno thinks he understands Alicia because he talks to her, and has been doing so in the four years she’s spent in a coma; Marco is seen as someone who was open and could not stop talking to Lydia during the idyllic period prior to her accident.
They talk because they think that is what a good lover does; the problem, of course, is that they were pretty horrible at listening to the women they loved. Read More
We’re sort of settling into a new routine here: Fridays have become our designated night to explore area restaurants so weekends can be spent cooking at home and taking advantage of all of this gorgeous natural light that we have in our new place. We’ve already dabbled in American, Italian and Mexican fare with varied results, but one place we have yet to go to is the Stamford outpost of Barcelona Wine Bar. You know–that place whose cookbook we write about on a fairly regular basis? We live within a very easy walking distance (it’s shorter to walk there than it is to walk to Havana Central on the West End from our old apartment) but I’ve resisted going there because a.) it’s not going to be a cheap tab and b.) I prefer to go there feeling and looking more fabulous than I usually do after hoofing it back from the train station on a warm Friday night.
We’ll rectify all of this soon, but in the meantime we’re mining the cookbook for gold. And the above recipe–blood sausage, caramelized onions, bread (and our addition of chorizo) is golden. Much like the caramelized onions. Read More
[Ed.--So Michael has been getting used to his new job and our new routine and therefore hasn't been contributing anything here aside from cooking. Let's welcome him back today!]
Yes, I have a new job. It’s accompanied by an hour drive in either direction and while the trip itself is by no means awful, it does take a healthy bite out of my day. Long past seem the days of sauntering home in the time it took my ipod to play a single song, now it’s more like an entire CD or so. I’m certainly not complaining, [Ed.--he SO is!] but everything’s definitely different now.
I certainly have become aware of that certain sensation that I’ve read about over the years, where you get home and you don’t feel like cooking. Perish the thought, of course, but still, my brain’s cooking center hasn’t been firing quite has hot as I’m used to, but where there’s a will, there’s a way and when the going gets hungry, the hungry get going. Read More
Alternate titles for this post included: One stew to rule them all, You call that a stew? THIS is a stew, and finally, The epic stew of epicness. Working in an academic lab here in NYC for the last 1.5 years, I have been exposed to many college students and their requisite speech patterns. One word I hear often (besides random) is ‘epic’, used to mean something impressive. That’s a poor definition, for a more complete definition, read on.
So, first of all, we hope you managed to have a happy Christmas in spite of any weather issues you may have experienced. We here on the East Coast had…not the worst of times, but it was not the best-managed of times, at least by the transit powers that be, and I think we could all use a little seasonal-appropriate foods that aren’t leaden down in heavy foods.
Continuing in our theme of “la-la, Winter, you can’t get us down” that began with a look back to sunnier and warmer days some days ago we have a brunch that is actually seasonally appropriate (do you want to roast beets in the middle of summer? I don’t think so!) but is not nearly as heavy as other fare served this time of year. In fact, it’s an excellent appetizer to serve at this time of year, as the reddish-purplish beets and the green parsley make for a refreshing-yet-festive addition to the holiday table, even after Christmas.
This time around we didn’t use the leeks from the original recipe, but this is a pretty perfect pantry recipe. Michael even substituted out the stock for water and was generous with the salt, which worked really well and didn’t make it terribly salty.
As I’m getting over the last bits of a chest cold, it was exactly what I wanted yesterday.
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.
Life is like the surf, so give yourself away like the sea.
–Luisa, Y tu mamá también
Y tu mamá también, on the surface, is a road trip film: two teenage boys tempt an older cousin (by marriage) to a beach known as La Boca del Cielo (Heaven’s Mouth); problem is, they are pretty sure such a place doesn’t exist. But they go anyway, and as we travel with them from Mexico City to the rural coastline we learn about the code of the charloastro, empathize with the feelings of inadequacy that stem from being on display, and laugh when the inevitable happens and it’s not altogether satisfying. It’s also a coming of age film, both with regard to the two male leads (played brilliantly by real-life friends Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Benal) and to the country of Mexico itself; set right before the 2000 elections that saw the dominating party unseated after a 71-year run, we get glimpses of life in the country as it was then: random car stops, lavish parties, and the slow decimation of once-preserved natural coves. A balance of rich, poor, and those who fall somewhere in between–and a Spaniard who, like us, can’t always understand her companions and their youthful exuberance.
After the previous weekend, indulgent in pork shoulders and roast chicken, I tried to keep my options open and free, although this meant I had no plans for dinner up until dangerously close to the zero hour. I decided that we could put on of E’s fifty Spanish cookbooks to use, but we came up with little in the way of ideas save for dishes that ‘would be great some other time’. It was a problem. Read More