Fried Padrón peppers, i.e. the goal dish of the pepper experiment.
When we first moved to New York, Michael mentioned the possibility of taking some planters and setting them up in an empty air-conditioning caddy as a way to grow some plants given how much sun that part of the building got. I never took him up on his offer, and in retrospect it was probably for the best: not only was I woefully inexperienced in growing things and keeping them alive (oh, the failed experiment of my New Haven garden still stings) but given that we were on the first floor, I feel like the temptation for some college kid to knock them off would have been too great and one day I would wake up and see terracotta and dirt all over the sidewalk.
Since our relocation back to Connecticut, I’ve embraced the container garden because our balcony is surprisingly well-suited for one: despite not getting as much sun as I figured would be necessary, the herbs I’ve grown over the last three years have thrived fairly well, and last year’s garden was in particular quite successful. I had a pot of oregano that yielded several batches of oregano pesto in the fall, and a bountiful amount of jalapeño and serrano peppers to throw into various recipes, and lots and lots of sage leaves to fry up in butter and serve with cutlets. The miserable winter killed off everything, sadly, as we don’t have a good indoor place to keep things, so once again I started afresh at my favorite herb nursery. Read More
Grilled Quail with Pomegranate, Valencia Orange, Romaine and Almond Salad
One of the great things about the rise in awareness (and subsequent popularity) of CrossFit is how it has made weightlifting pretty cool for a growing subset of women. Don’t get me wrong: it’s very clear that the prevailing advice that encourages eschewing heavy weights for lots of cardio is still the loudest voice in the room, but every so often I’ll learn that one of my colleagues or acquaintances lifts and it’s kind of fantastic. That said, I find some aspects of CrossFit to be rather problematic, and those issues I think can be summed up in two bullets:
- This nonsense that airs during reruns of the CrossFit games* drives me up a wall, because of course the ONLY reason why women would be remotely interested in lifting weights or doing other tough exercises is to become a “ten” rather than a “seven.” Never mind the actual benefits of exercise–it’s just so we look hot when we hit up the bars after the gym, amirite ladies? (Insert a GIF of Liz Lemon rolling her eyes.) UGH THIS MAKES ME SO ANGRY I END UP OVERUSING ITALICS AND CAPS LOCK.
- Their endorsement of and adherence to the Paleo diet, which I instantly give the side-eye to given that it doesn’t allow any grains or dairy.
There are other things about it I find troubling, but these are the two that grind my gears the absolute most. Read More
Kumquat-rosemary marmalade over goat cheese and toast
Did you know that Stamford’s motto is “Stamford: the city that works?” It’s kind of prosaic until you realize how many companies have offices here: from international banks to cosmetic giants to The Maury Povich Show. (Seriously–the studio where it, Jerry Springer and the show starring one of Jerry Springer’s security guys is on the next street over from us, a factoid that delighted my father-in-law to no end when we took him on a tour of our neighborhood.) It’s a good thing because all of those workers help support the local restaurant scene, but since most of them are commuting from other places, there seems to be a dearth of weekend brunch options around here. Even though we were never big brunch people when we lived in New York, it was oddly comforting to see all of those people out and about on a Saturday or Sunday diving into steak and eggs and sipping mimosas.
Here, not so much. Maybe when spring comes I’ll do a little more research, but for now we’re on our own if we have a craving for brunch food. Read More
Chorizos and Morcillas over Caramelized Onions
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
Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe
Guilt can be a powerful thing–and as with all things powerful, it must be used in responsible ways. Michael is headed for a conference this coming weekend, leaving me to fend for myself for six days.* Naturally we’ve had periods of separation before–usually because I’m the one traveling for work–but this will be the longest period we’ve had to deal with since I moved to Connecticut five years ago. I know Michael feels bad about leaving me to have to cook for myself for a whole work week because not only did we have pasta on Sunday night, he was the one suggesting to make it and he acquiesced to my request for cacio e pepe without much protest.
In other words, he brooked no opposition to us having a dish that is, in essentials, pasta and cheese. Yep, that’s guilt. Read More
A bit of background is in order. It was our first big weekend back at home after the holidays, traveling, our awesome NYE in Boston and two nasty stomach bugs, so we wanted to have some New York-style fun. E really wanted to see a movie [Ed. - Black Swan! It's really, really good--an intense Aronofsky tour de force], so we went to a matinée in Times Square and then had a late lunch at Katz’s Deli. This meant we weren’t super-hungry for a big Saturday night dinner, so we decided on a few tapas. E wanted another tortilla and I decided to have another crack at it, my last attempt being only marginally successful. Read More
Tuscan-Style Lamb Ragu over Papparadelle
And just like that, we’re back to braises and ragus. The persistent, unseasonable chill that has defined most of December has certainly driven our desire to tuck into bowls of warm foods, as evidenced by many of our recent posts, but I have yet to tire of any of them. I’m sure by late January I’ll be craving for fresh salsa and peaches and other warm-weather staples, but for now it’s time to get while the getting is good.
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.
Wild Mushrooms with Herbed Cheese
This time last year saw us frantically scrambling in our beloved New Haven apartment as we packed and cleaned and squeezed all of our possessions into a U-Haul on our trek to Manhattan (and this was after only finding out where we were moving to eight days prior to our move-out date). The month of August was, to be honest, a period of great uncertainty and stress for many reasons: my commute was becoming so bad that taking back roads from Milford to New Haven was preferable to standing in traffic on I-95, our apartment had been leased out for September at the beginning of the month and we didn’t have an apartment to go to in NYC until a week prior to our move-in, and we were faced with all of the normal stresses of moving without knowing where the fuck we were going to until the last minute possible…or so it seemed.
A small respite in the midst of all of that uncertainty was a trip to Barcelona’s New Haven location for a lovely meal for Michael’s birthday. I knew that the geniuses behind the restaurant had released a cookbook around that time and was hoping to check it out while we were there. While the food was amazing as always, the service was off and we ended up leaving in a huff (without me looking at the book) and I ended up bitching about said service on Twitter. They responded quickly, apologized profusely and even offered to give us a meal on them, but given that we weren’t living in the area anymore, I never took them up on it because we no longer lived in New Haven.
Of course, I ended up getting the cookbook as a birthday present a few months later and for the past year we have cooked our way through much of the book with every recipe taking us back to fun nights we’ve had at the restaurant…and that’s where our giveaway comes in.
Pasta e Fagioli, a la minuto di New York (or, Pasta and Beans, New York Minute Style)
A few days ago, over lunch with some of my colleagues, the conversation took a turn to cooking at home (and I swear I didn’t bring it up) and it was generally acknowledged by the group that while cooking at home is fantastic, it’s very difficult to keep up with during the week after a long day at work. Given that I have the fortunate situation of being able to come home to dinner most nights thanks to Michael having a non-commute (a walk the length of one iPod song does not a real commute make), I kept my mouth shut lest I come across as braggy at all.
Besides–this would then lead me to explain that I spend three hours each day on public transportation, and really, there’s no need to start moaning on who has the worst commute, right? Read More