Bucatini con pesto trapanese/Bucatini with Trapanese pesto
It was with very mixed emotion I said goodbye to Michael a few Saturdays ago—I was off to Pennsylvania for some early-birthday celebrations with my family, while he was getting ready to head to England for a near-week-long trip. This wasn’t the longest he’s ever been away, but it is the furthest, and not having him handy when I was cooking, even remotely, meant that I was really on my own when it came to meal planning that week. And unlike the last time he was away for a long stretch, I wouldn’t have nearly enough time as I have in the past to plan my meals; after all, there was a Clásico to watch, and a barbell to lift, and groceries to buy on Sunday once I returned home from the Stamford train station. Fortunately, I was wise enough to ask for Made in Sicily for my birthday from my family, so I had a quiet ride on the Keystone to flip through its sizable pages.
It’s a pretty exhaustive tome on all things Sicilian that’s heavy on the vegetable, pasta, and seafood dishes, and it made me wish a few times at least that my birthday was a little earlier on the calendar so I’d have more time to take advantage of the many delicious tomato dishes on display. Other recipes definitely intrigued me until I realized the called for bottarga or uni (i.e. sea urchin roe), two ingredients that aren’t exactly cheap here in the U.S., but perhaps if I’m feeling particularly adventurous (and flush with cash), there may come a time to treat myself if only to try it in the future. I settled on a recipe that I had seen before, but never made from this book: a pesto trapanese that was exactly what I wanted: a fresh sauce made thicker by the inclusion of almonds and more refreshing with a healthy addition of mint. It may not need the processing I put it through via the blender, but I prefer a blended pesto over a very rustic one, and I loved how it coated every strand of the bucatini. Read More
Tortilla de Vegetales
I have a confession to make, but I’m not sure how you’ll take it, so I’ll provide a little back story. It started on a Friday night and the conundrum of what to do for food for the week when we were traveling Saturday through Sunday morning (really, we were in Pennsylvania for less than 24 hours) and so Friday
we I spent the evening poring through cookbooks and logging some ingredients into our Fresh Direct order.
As I read the list of ingredients from The Book of Tapas, Michael surmised that we were making “a more complicated version of a Western omelette.” Suddenly warning bells sounded in my ear, urging me to proceed with caution. I took solace in the fact that the tortilla we were making was only one of two dishes, and the second was a longtime favorite: Catalan meatball soup.
Why the worry, you ask? I’ll be frank: I don’t like omelets. Read More
Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Lemon Basil
This is easily my favorite time of year: walking around outside with not much besides a sweater or a slick jacket is not just possible but a pleasure, and farmers markets are still brimming with the last of the summer produce (well, perhaps now the best of the tomatoes are gone) and the early fall bounty, all but guaranteeing a heady, sensual experience when stepping out from the subway and into Union Square.
Clearly, this will not last forever; soon we’ll be dealing with “snowicanes” and shorter days and heavy coats. So meals during this time of year deserve to reflect the period of transition we’re experiencing: a little bit of summer, a little bit of fall.
Chicken Tikka Masala with Brown Rice and Sauteed Spicy Cabbage
[Editors Note: I will admit that I like to bug Michael about what he's making for dinner when I call him from the Westport train station platform, mostly because I like having something to fantasize about during my hour and a half commute (on a good day). Especially with all of the weird smells I encounter on the bus thanks to people bringing their Popeye's chicken and Little Caesar's pizza onto the M60, M100, M101 or Bx15, I like to know that there's something awesome in store for me at home. Onwards after the jump!] Read More
Lamb Steaks with Garlic Confit with Mint
As you all know by now, the Mrs. and I recently returned from a trip to Merry Old England. The weekend before our departure, I got it in my head that I needed to prepare nothing but first-class cuisine in the event that the chow was lousy. Turns out it was far from bum, but it was the kind of snap judgement that just means you end up eating four great dinners instead of two. Worse case scenario maybe you make an extra trip to the gym. Oh well. Read More
Vermicelli Salad Bowl with Vietnamese BBQ Pork Meatballs
I don’t know how far back to go with this one. Okay. In New York around seven, I used to enjoy watching The Simpsons, often while eating (yes, we eat in front of the TV, I know it’s bad…) Then, one night, I was horrified to realize that they were removing my precious cartoon for some lousy talk show. But I’m a survivor, and I made do. I started watching Emeril Live on Cooking Channel. I like the show, it just gets a bit repetitive at times, is all. And even though The Simpsons has returned to its predestined time slot, I still flip back to the big E often, I can’t help it. Read More
Sopa de Albóndiguillas Catalana
Dear readers, I have the vapors. I cannot believe that La Roja have taken the World Cup, even though they are an amazing football/soccer team, and as a result it should come as no surprise that I inundated poor Michael with lots of Spanish food over the entirety of the weekend. It was all I could do with the enormity of this final; having listened to the commentators on ESPN Radio constantly remind their audience that “no team has won the Cup after losing their opening game” and yet being buoyed by every victory (low-scoring though they were), I was always a mixture of cautious optimism and paralyzing fear while either listening or watching a game. When Iniesta masterfully sent that cross into the net with only minutes to go in the second extra time period, both Michael and I jumped from our seats and cheered…after the “1″ came up on our television screens. While it’s all very bittersweet as it is over 1,400 days until the next WC, I imagine my Spanish will improve immensely thanks to me now officially following FC Barcelona in La Liga.
If you’re curious, you can see some great shots of the final and the subsequent parade in Madrid here. Prepare yourself for an overload of the cuteness, however.
That’s enough football/soccer talk for now, however. Onto the celebration food! Read More
Boston Mackerel, ready to go into the pouch
Usually, once the weather turns balmy my appetite tends to wane a bit and there are days where I don’t crave for much more than a cup of Rita’s Italian Water Ice (mango, wild black cherry or passionfruit, please) and my mind turns to grazing on random, small foodstuffs. The exception to this is whenever I am able to spend time in a body of water, be that a pool–or on very lucky days, the ocean–as when I emerge after a few hours of frolicking, I tend to become positively ravenous.
Memorial Day weekend did not present any swimming opportunities (that came a week later when we visited my parents to celebrate my mom’s birthday), but we ended up doing the walking equivalent on our Met excursion on Sunday, turning me into what Charles Schultz famously called Lucy van Pelt: a fussbudget. Read More
Grilled (and perfectly brined) Pork Chop with Garlic Scape Pistou over Couscous
I have to say, when dinner becomes such a lovely picture you’ve gotta write something about it. [Ed.--in all fairness, those perfect grill marks made me want to take a great picture.] My pork brine has been touted many times over on this site but for purposes of clarity and focus, one final time: Read More
Lamb Steak, Pan-fried Sunchokes with Cippollini Onions and Fried Okra
The darling Mrs. posted the secundi piatti first and the prima second, but with good reason. If you lived in the Northeast, you may remember that the weekend mentioned in the title was a delightfully sunny respite from the drenching rains that serving as soaking bookends, the second of which we are finally clearing now. Why not celebrate a break in the thunderheads with a trip to the Union Square Greenmarket? Read More