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Spinach Salad with Prosciutto and Valdeón

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette, Prosciutto, and Valdeón

It’s been a while since I’ve recounted a week sabor de soledad, even though Michael has had several trips taking him all over the place in the last year or so. Two weeks ago he was in the fabulous city of Tokyo on a last-minute trip, and I have to say that I was pleased with the dishes I turned out while he was away. It’s funny—I’ve become more of a salad person over the last few years, but I’m never so prolific in making them until I’m on my own. I can only account the follow reasons as why I’m so Team Salad:

  • Easy to scale down to one person.
  • Cheese is often involved, especially the cheeses I love but only rarely indulge in.
  • They are relatively fast dishes to prepare.
  • Oh, I guess they are allegedly healthy too.

I feel like such a traitor to both Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson, but unlike fictional characters, eating vegetables on a regular basis is an unfortunate necessity.

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Pan-Fried Striped Bass with Pancetta and Parsley

A few months ago, right around Valentine’s Day, one of my coworkers asked me for some advice on making paella, and if I’d mind lending him a cookbook with a recipe in it. That night found me pulling my various Spanish cookbooks and reviewing the paella recipes contained therein; I wanted to give him one that was authentic but presented in an accessible way. I ended up bringing in my copies of The Barcelona Cookbook and Made in Spain for him to peruse, and between the two he was able to cobble together a recipe that would work for him.

My point of this story? When I went and pulled all of those cookbooks off the shelves, I realized I had upwards of at least fifteen dedicated to Spanish and//or Catalonian cooking. And that only counts the books we keep downstairs–the less-often used go upstairs in our loft “library.”

Common sense, recollection, and this blog’s archives tell me that I shouldn’t be so surprised by this, but I am all the same. Read More

Welp. I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I hit “publish” on this blog until I saw that my last update was in May. Early May. I can offer no good explanation for this–I know when this kind of extended silence happens elsewhere in the blogosphere, it’s usually due to news of great import, but I can assure you that is not the case here at all. Between the new job, various summer outings, visitors, and finally getting into Game of Thrones, the summer has been full so far. Read More

Drunken Bucatini with Poached Eggs, Piave, and Pancetta.

Of the many things I miss about New York, access to the year-round greenmarkets can get really high on the list when I’m craving certain foods; namely, carbornara. It’s easy to feel confident about 99% of the foods we purchase at Fairway, but the only time a shadow of doubt crosses my mind is when I want to combine raw eggs with pasta. I was taught over our honeymoon that only the freshest eggs would do for pasta alla carbornara, so now I need to be able to know that the eggs I’m buying are fresh enough to do so–hence the need to buy directly from the farmer.

But what’s a girl to do when those greenmarkets aren’t a stone’s throw away anymore? While we aren’t horribly far from the city, it feels kind of silly to spend nearly $20 a person to go into Manhattan just to get eggs. That’s when the idea struck to add poached eggs to an otherwise simple combination of pasta, pancetta, and cheese, and that making the pasta drunken would keep things even more interesting. Read More

True Grit. (click image for source)

I have a bunch of posts that should come before this one, but given the time-sensitivity of sports, it’s kind of necessary to write about the World Cup final hours after it ended. I heartily congratulate Japan on its World Cup win because it was well-deserved and came after a pretty epic performance by both teams. As happy as I was when Spain won last year, the game was tough to watch with the physical aggression and some playacting and diving and whatnot, so it was gratifying to see both of these teams comport themselves with grace, dignity, grit, tenacity and a hell of a lot of spirit. This was a game decided on playing football and not on bad calls or bad attitudes, and while I’m glad Japan has had a much-needed boost of national pride and joy, I want to thank the US Women’s National Team for one hell of a ride with this World Cup and for playing their hearts out on the pitch time and time again. It’s a performance that was extraordinary and inspiring, and while they faltered during the penalty kick phase of this game, they truly are the epitome of American sporstmanship.

OK–onto the food!  Read More

White Clam Pizza, New Haven Style

How on earth are you supposed to follow up a five-course meal featuring fifteen dishes (plus appetizers!) with a homemade meal? Are you even supposed to eat? To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be all that hungry come Sunday–and neither was Michael–so we didn’t put all that much thought into dinner plans. But we knew we’d have to eat something, but none of our typical stand-bys were appealing: we had enjoyed enough tapas the night before, thank you, and we had pasta on Friday, and tacos seemed heavy, and I don’t think either of us could fathom eating another braised meat dish. And then inspiration hit: pizza. Of course. Read More

Rigatoni with Pancetta, Red Onion and Pecorino

Rome is on my list of places to visit sooner than later for many reasons (but then again the same could be said for Barcelona, Madrid, and San Juan), in part because I have this recurring wistful yearning to sit in a charming cafe, preferably outside in some piazza and have the perfect plate of any of the four basic Roman pasta dishes: alla gricia, amatriciana, carbornara or cacio e pepe. I credit this to too many viewings of The Talented Mr. Ripley and the season 3 episode of Mad Men that finds Don and Betty spending a sexy night in Rome. As much as I’d like to give my passport a workout and go to all of those places whenever I want to–those times often being when I’m in the midst of my commute and see ads for those destinations all over buses, taxis and trains–real life doesn’t always permit those whims, so I content myself with a nice plate or bowl of food that can at least take me there in my imagination.

I credit Gina de Palma for helping me appreciate the nuances in making basic Roman pasta dishes, thanks to her step-by-step tutorial on Serious Eats some time ago that walks you through the precise cooking method of pasta alla gricia. It’s a delicate dance of a dish, and we followed her instructions to the letter, even to the point of pulling out the scale and measuring the cheese and pasta based on the amount of guanciale we had at our disposal. It was an exercise in precision, to be sure, but it was useful in understanding the basics of Roman pasta-cooking because only when the fundamentals are strong can experimentation really take place.

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