Vieiras con romesco/Scallops with roasted Catalan sauce
Ever since we got back from Spain, the number of grey, rainy, and unseasonably cold days we’ve had at home has been significantly higher than we usually get this time of year. I think it temporarily stymied all of that wonderful inspiration that accompanied me home from Barcelona and Caldetes because last Tuesday I mulling over what I wanted to make for dinner that night and had absolutely no ideas whatsoever. Remembering that I now had the first season of Made in Spain on DVD, I immediately went to the website to see if any of the recipes posted would provide a bit of inspiration.
And then I found this recipe and resolved to pop a DVD in while I made dinner and waited for Michael to get home. Suddenly, my grey and chilly Tuesday looked so much brighter. Read More
Weeds with Sausage
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.
Me? I was feeling a ragu, and this sausage version we made in February is probably the closest to summer appropriateness out there. Read More
Remember this from a year ago?
Spain winning the 2010 World Cup, July 11 2010
Oh, I still do. I can still remember the emotions when I watched that game a year ago (when this posts): I can still feel how I was wracked with anxiety, willing the Spaniards to overcome that whole “no team has ever won a World Cup when they lost their first group game” statistic and win against the Netherlands. And then Andres Iniesta scored and it was amazing and wonderful and Iker Casillas started to cry in happiness.
And then this happened yesterday:
The USA triumphs over aversity. (click picture for source)
This was a quarterfinal game, yet it was treated like a semi-final or a final: the number-one-ranked team in the world versus the number-one-ranked player in the world (that would be Marta), and it was rife with controversy thanks to some really bad calls from the ref and some childish behavior from the Brazilians during the extra time in order to run out the clock. But then a (literally) last-minute goal thanks to the combined powers of Megan Rapione and Abby Wambach tied up the game at 120 minutes of play, and then the team dominated the penalty kicks. It was an American triumph at its cheesy-80s-sports-movie-best, and dammit, it was amazing. That it fell on the 12th anniversary of the women’s team WC win in 1999 in Pasadena was the icing on the cake.
That we made some delicious food seems almost secondary, but it’s the last home-cooked food I’ll have until Thursday (as I’m off to Chicago) so we reached, we shot, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Read More
Quasi-Bouillabaisse with Copper River King Salmon, Pacific Cod and Littleneck Clams with Rouille-Sathered Croutons)
People used to stare at fires. Now they watch TV. We need to see moving images, especially after dinner.
–Francois Truffaut, Day for Night.
Day for Night (click through for source)
Day for Night, simply put, is an amazing film. It’s joyous, hilarious, sad, and absurd. It’s a triumph of love and dedication and personal expression, and true to its tagline, it really is a film for people who love films. The narcissism of the actors, the bullshit propelling the crew–it’s so incredibly timeless that you can easily ignore the fact that it was filmed in the 70s and therefore looks immediately dated. But it was also one of those films that I hadn’t thought about in a while until I shoved a random CD into my car’s player (yes, I have a zillion mix CDs in my ’04 Jetta, shut up) and its wondrous theme by Georges Delarue filled my car as I was making my way to the Westport train station, and suddenly I was craving to see it again, preferably after eating a big bowl of bouillabaisse.
This thought struck me in early May. I wasn’t able to actually give in to the craving until Saturday, and it ended up being an apt pairing of food and film, what with the reminder of the importance of rolling with the punches. Read More
Turkey and Chorizo with Quinoa, Avocado and Scallions
[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
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.
Barcelona's Empanadas with Smoky Pepper Sauce
I must admit I have been avoiding writing about this particular dinner. However, I am a firm believer in resolving problems via confrontation, and thus, it’s time to start avoiding the issues and begin the healing.
Drama aside, I do think that one of the most challenging aspects to cooking is planning and timing (I refuse to type the phrase ‘time management’) . If you’ve ever had a large dinner party, planned a multiple courses or just cooked a multi-faceted dinner, then you know how tricky it to make sure all the components are ready at the correct time, without having food sit for too long, or worse still, having the cook sit around waiting for something to finish wasting time and postponing your dinner. Read More
Garlic Chicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous Casserole
After the escapades of my first foray into adventurous cooking on my own, I resolved to do better; specifically, I resolved to manage my time so that I wouldn’t be eating dinner at 8 once again. So I kept my time out of the apartment to a minimum and got my chicken into its marinade in the middle of the afternoon, because I was really excited about what I was making on Sunday and I really didn’t want to muck it up. This is a recipe that I had in my head for well over a week, and was one of the main impetuses to go to Despana the day before: it called for a cazuela and I love nothing more than a great excuse to hit up my favorite specialty shop in the city.
In any case, this fixation came about because I happened to pay attention to an episode of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef a few weeks ago. She was making this garlicky chicken over an Israeli couscous concoction and it sounded pretty good to me, especially because it called for several vegetables–thereby making it not nearly as “guilty” an indulgence as, say, aglio e olio.
(I know I keep coming back to that particular pasta dish, but really–it is the easiest dish I know how to make and the temptation to break down and make it in the face of more complicated fare was always present in the back of my mind. I even bought a box of angel hair to keep in the pantry for emergencies.) Read More
"Weeds" and Sausage (or, Pericatelli and Sausage Ragu)
Lately, I’ve found myself becoming more and more enraptured by movies that I had in quite some while: I credit this to watching a lot of foreign films lately (particularly those by Almodóvar and Fellini) and the availability of seeing virtually any film I want in one of the many theaters in New York. The AMC in Lincoln Square is our favorite theater, but sometimes we will go to the AMC Empire in Times Square if only for the novelty of riding the down escalator through an Applebee’s and a Dave and Buster’s as we try to make our way out of the building. It’s not quite the obsession I had with film when I was fifteen, but it’s nice to come back to it in a small way, and I am constantly on the search for recommendations for new foreign films to check out and/or purchase. Read More
Pork-Lamb Ragu over Tagiatelle, inspired by Heston Blumenthal
It seems to me that, in some ways, it’s easier to explore culinary innovation in Britain precisely because we have no strong food tradition to enchain us.
Heston Blumenthal, In Search of Perfection
We’ve had a copy of In Search of Perfection on our cookbook shelf for a few years now, but never cracked it open because it is one of those books that are less a cookbook but rather a book on food; after all, it only contains recipes for eight dishes in the span of nearly 320 pages. It’s the companion to Heston Blumenthal’s first BBC series in which he sought to dissect favorites in British cuisine, ranging from bangers and mash to pizza, and figure out a way to create a “perfect” rendition of each dish (all while readily admitting that one’s personal Platonic ideal is another’s culinary hell). He’s known for being grouped in with other so-called “molecular gastronomists” (just don’t call them by that term) and his restaurant The Fat Duck is consistently ranked among the top three in the world, this year trailing only Norma and El Bulli. Blumenthal’s style of food is one that often requires various pieces of special equipment like sous-vides machines, and while they are certainly interesting to see in action on episodes of Top Chef, it’s one we’ve never really embraced because we don’t have the storage space for such things and Michael gets to actually be a scientist every day as it is–sometimes it’s best to leave your work at work and let the professionals and those who are passionate about it do it well.