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Mezcal-cured salmon with cream cheese foam

Longtime readers (all five two of you) will know that it’s hard for me to say no to a cured salmon–I’m pretty sure it’s my absolute favorite way to eat it these days–and while I’ve tried a few different ways with citrus over the years, a few months ago I stumbled across a really intriguing version that called for mezcal and dried chipotle peppers ground with salt as the primary (and only) curing ingredients. The recipe came from Alex Stupak of New York’s Empellón restaurant group. He’s popped up in a few episodes of The Mind of a Chef and prior to starting his own group of Mexican-inspired eateries he served as a pastry chef at Alinea and WD-50. Read More

Boiled Dollar Dumplings with “Chineseay” Cucumber Salad

As I write this most of my neighborhood is still very much blanketed with snow, as the only plows we’ve really seen come through either were getting stuck en route to their job sites or the one for my building’s property management company that managed to clear out some the snow. In all fairness, we received as much snow in two days down here as we’re supposed to receive in an entire season, so I can definitely understand that the cleanup is going to be slow. We were prepared–Michael took the responsibility to go to the market on Thursday night, and we packed our pantry and fridge well to make sure we’d have plenty of food to enjoy over the weekend. Read More

Lemon-Lemongrass Drink

Thanks to the lasting influence of Good Eats, we really make a point of not trying to buy unitasker gadgets for the kitchen. Admittedly, I’m a bit more susceptible to doing this than Michael, but I usually see it as a challenge to explore other ways of using something. (On a related note, definitely watch this video of Alton Brown mocking unitaskers, even if you’ve seen it already because it’s so good.)

A perfect example of this is the iSi siphon. While I primarily use it to make creamy, foamy desserts, I’ve also made Albert Adrià’s famous sponge cake with it a few times in the summer to go with macerated strawberries. When I was poking around and looking for other ideas for applications I came across a recipe for carraway-infused whiskey from Richard Blais which completely piqued my interest, and subsequently decided to try a combination of strawberries and bourbon so we could make strawberry-bourbon juleps for a dinner party we threw a few months ago. Those came out remarkably well, and later I tried infusing strawberries with tequila and that came out OK, but my attention was drawn elsewhere and I didn’t really do much more with it. Read More

Selections from our meat and cheese board.

Happy New Year! It’s so surreal that it’s January and actually cold out (although I was one person who was not sad about the warm December whatsoever). I hope you all had fantastic celebrations and have started the new year off in a good place, filled with the possibilities of new experiences and new beginnings and all that jazz.

Our New Year’s celebration was normal in that it was filled with food and drink and lots of cooking, but slightly different as this year we had a few more people to celebrate with over the course of the evening between our out of town guests as well as some locals. It all went really well and we had a lot of fun, and I think the spread this year was one of the most impressive yet. Read More

The Dome Patrol in The Carousel Bar.

One thing I really, really wanted to do on our New Orleans trip was to get some inspiration from any and all of the places we visited. I had my trusty small Moleskine on me at all times along with a pen to jot down things I observed, but perhaps one of the best things we found ended up not needing that much note-taking: the Dome Patrol cocktail as found at the Carousel Bar. Read More

Open-Face Croque Monsieur from Pastis

Despite the fact that it’s been years since we’ve been there and it’s been well over a year since it closed, every once in a while I still get a craving to go to Pastis. In spite of all of the irritations about the place–the crowds, the rather ridiculous prices, the cramped banquettes and tiny tables–every visit there would still be a pretty fantastic food experience, and I’ve even taken their lead on a few dishes and incorporated them into our normal recipe rotation.

Plus, it was arguably the prettiest of Keith McNally’s very pretty restaurant empire: lots of dark wood and penny subway tile, but not as dark as Balthazar nor as intentionally run-down as Lucky Strike. (I have yet to visit his newer places so I can’t speak to them, but I imagine they are also very, very pretty but probably not as aesthetically pleasing to me as Pastis.) While it helped that there always seemed to be a preponderance of European tourists eating there at all times of the day, you really did feel like you were being swept into a bustling bistro in a hip Parisian neighborhood and the only thing missing was being able to light up a cigarette or two while you lingered over French 75s and omelettes. Read More

Puglian stuffed chicken. (Related: I HATE STANDARD TIME AND NO GOOD LIGHTING.)

While only the most intense heat and extreme humidity will keep us from roasting a chicken, I have to admit that now that the temperatures are getting cooler again and it’s becoming seasonally appropriate to roast a bird for Sunday supper and it’s actually quite nice and very comforting to do so. This blog has captured the many iterations we’ve done over the years, from Ina Garten’s engagement chicken to a Spanish-style lemon and saffron version to a Roman-style chicken replete with olive oil and fresh herbs, but this one pictured above might be my favorite one we’ve tried. It comes from the cookbook Puglia–one of the cookbooks I called out in last week’s gift guide–and it might be the perfect chicken to have on a chilly Sunday night between now and the start of winter because to me it combines the best of fall’s flavors with a little more substance than a typical roasted chicken. In fact, were it possible to somehow get a turkey to taste like this chicken I would be far less inclined to agree with Jake Peralta from Brooklyn Nine-Nine that turkey tastes like napkins. Read More

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