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Steak tartare from Avec Eric

 

It appears that 2015 is the year that so many of my favorite pop culture items say goodbye, from Parks and Recreation and Mad Men‘s finales to Xavi Hernandez leaving FC Barcelona after seventeen years to the retirement of Jon Stewart from The Daily Show; had The Mindy Project’s cancellation from Fox not resulted in it being picked up by Hulu, I would have felt particularly downtrodden. When Parks made its final bow back in Feburary we marked the occassion with bacon-wrapped shrimp, but we decided to send out Mad Men with a full spread, complete with a re-watch of the finale. (Not having cable anymore means we have to wait until the episodes are up on Amazon, and for whatever reason Amazon took FOREVER to finally get the finale loaded to the site. I willingly stayed off most of the internet to avoid spoilers all day and instead just kept bugging Amazon as to when we could expect to see it, and it worked–the finale surprised me in many ways, most of them very pleasantly. There will be no spoilers here, I assure you.) Read More

A vermut and a copy of Teoria i Pràctica del Vermut…and stripes.

 

Remember back in December when I said that it felt like vermouth was having a bit of a moment? Well, a little more research into the subject has proven me correct, as the last few years were in fact a big year for vermouth to make a comeback in Barcelona and beyond, and as recently as a few weeks ago a whole book on the subject was published. Written in part by the director of Cuina magazine, it popped up on my Facebook feed shortly thereafter and almost immediately I decided I wanted to check it out, despite the fact that my Catalan is extremely rudimentary and that it wasn’t easy to find a store–even Amazon’s Spanish site!–to send it to me here in the States. After running into a few dead ends, I finally reached out to the publisher Ara Llibres to see if I could buy it directly from them, and they kindly offered to send me a copy to review instead. I would be completely lying if I didn’t say how excited I was to get that package from Barcelona a few days ago. Read More

Les Halles on Park Ave

This has been a very long work in progress and admittedly, it’s still a work in progress because the New York restaurant world is ever-changing and so you never know when a favorite will close or relocate or similar, but back in November I had the notion to create a page dedicated to our favorite places to eat in the city. To be frank, the internet needs another guide to New York like it also needs a “new” cupcake recipe, but I wanted to offer a page of suggestions that offer straightforward takes on some of those places and say if they are worth the hype or not. They are the places I would recommend anyone if they were to venture into New York, and frankly they are the places I want to go back to first when I come back to make my own visits.

A portion of the mural from the Gramercy Tavern

 

The page can be found here, and I promise I’ll have a regular recipe soon, but I wrote too much to relegate the page to a throwaway mention and a hyperlink as it stands now.

Almond Mussels

It was a couple of weekends ago now on one of the few lazy Sundays we’ve had in a while and I was completely lacking any inspiration on what to make for dinner that night. I knew we were going to have steak because Michael had been letting one dry out for a day or so in the fridge (not so much dry-aging but just letting some of the moisture of the steak soak into a paper towel–it does make for a really good at-home slab of beef) and so really I needed to think of what could go well with that. Neither pasta nor bread/toast felt right for that night, so I started flipping through A Kitchen in France and immediately landed on Mimi Thorisson’s almond mussels.

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Hummus Kawarma from Jerusalem: A Cookbook

Given everything that’s going on in my newly-adopted city, it feels frivolous to post about food and recipes as if everything is awesome which is why I’ve been a bit quiet around here. It’s definitely been a surreal few days, from meeting Bryan Voltaggio and getting his latest cookbook at the Orioles game on Saturday to then being detained for a bit towards the end of the game, and then of course the events from earlier this week. You can still feel a little tension in the air, even around my neighborhood–everyone is trying to look out for everyone else and make sure they’re doing OK, which seems to be the dominant. Being as new to the city as we are, I feel ill-equipped to write about it at length, but here are some really thoughtful, interesting perspectives from people who understand the city and its dynamics far better than I do.

Of all of the positive pictures that have begun circulating on the internet as the city both cleans itself up and continues to protest, this lady (and the others who were burning sage along with her) has been giving me all of the feels as I write this.  Read More

Last year you may recall that I declared spring and summer to be rosé and caftan season, and let me tell you it was pretty grand floating through the apartment in a breezy caftan with no pants and sipping rosé on our balcony on particularly balmy evenings. I have no way to prove this but I’m convinced that this declaration was extremely beneficial in helping us enjoy our last New England summer. We made sure to head to the local beach as often as possible and sometimes I’d even ditch my car at the office and we’d walk home on a Friday night after a delicious dinner at Dinosaur Barbecue, and naturally we made many trips into the city. While we had no idea how chaotic things would get by August, I’d like to think that we were slightly better-equipped to handle all the change headed our way but that’s probably the hindsight talking.

Well, this year I’m going to take a similar tact and declare that it will be again a season of rosé and caftans–I even have my eye on a new one to mark the occasion–but since we’re no longer living within ten minutes of a beach, I also felt that I needed to add something new to the mix. Caftans are still all well and good for hanging around our apartment as I’ve heard that “swamp-ass” is an apt descriptor of Baltimore weather during the height of summer, but it’s also time to add something a bit more, well, company-and-outside-appropriate to my summer aesthetic. I just have to wait for something to eventually make it to my doorstep prior to writing about it. Read More

Blood Orange and Rosemary Marmalade with Goat Cheese

Given how limited the blood orange’s season used to be, it’s definitely a little odd still seeing them in store but if this means I can enjoy them a little longer, then so be it. I’ve been using the combination quite a bit in prosecco-based cocktails over the course of the winter to great success, but ever since my last batch of kumquat-rosemary marmalade I wanted to see what a blood orange and rosemary marmalade would taste like. In search of something interesting to accompany some cheeses I had in mind for our houseguests this past weekend, I decided that if the produce stand at Cross Street still had serviceable blood oranges I’d finally give this variation a try.

The main issue I was concerned about was the matter of the pith underneath the oranges’ skin, because unlike with kumquats, there is usually a sizable layer of the bitter white stuff between the fruit and the skin in an orange and I was worried it would make the whole marmalade too bitter to enjoy. I’m not sure what I was worried about, as we’ve cooked down lemon wheels with chicken and I’ve eaten them whole with abandon so many times, but my fears were completely unfounded. The marmalade does benefit from sitting in the fridge overnight before serving, though, because the flavors need a little time to meld together in the best possible way.

Like with all things blood orange, though, perhaps the best part of this marmalade is that it turns into this brilliant red-orange mixture, so you know it’s going to look as appealing on a board or on a cracker as it tastes. This will likely serve as a mighty fine evening snack this week for those days I need to make dinner or even just unwind a bit, and now I feel doubly intrigued to try this recipe with some other citrus fruits while they are still in the store.

In the meantime, try to find a couple of blood oranges and try this for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Blood Orange Marmalade
adapted from ‘wichcraft

  • 2 blood oranges, sliced into thin rings and then cut into quarters
  • 1 small rosemary sprig plus one spring of rosemary minced
  • 12 crushed peppercorns
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1/4 water

Bring the water and sugar together and stir until dissolved in a medium saucepan. Add the blood oranges, rosemary sprig, and pepper and combine well, then bring the saucepan to a simmer and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the oranges are translucent and the sugar has formed a thin syrup. Add the minced rosemary and let cool, and then transfer to a container to store. Serve as desired and use within a week or so.

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