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Snails in salsa arribata

Back when spring was easing into summer, I really didn’t fully appreciate just how much we had planned in the first few weeks of the season, and here we are in the middle of July. One thing I resolved on doing this summer was to spend some time revisiting my favorite Catalunyan dishes since we wouldn’t be making our biennial trip over to Europe this year, what with us buying a house and me buying a new car, but with everything we’ve been up to it’s been awhile since we could devote a couple of days to anything more fun than a typical weeknight meal.

With a weekend looming on the horizon with no plans but our own, I decided to give us a chance to relax and give ourselves a mini Caldes d’Estrac vacation, at least with food if not in beach time. Rosado would be poured, caftans donned, and my hope was each dish would bring us back to those warm days we would spend along the Mediterranean coast. Read More

Homemade rosé vermouth

Back when winter was finally starting to draw to a close, I had decided not to add on any new silly spring and summertime aesthetic to my arsenal, because between rosés, caftans, vermouths ans stripes I felt like I had more than enough to work with as it was. Both scratch that ever-present itch for the Mediterranean that I get once the temperature heats up but in different ways, and I felt that I had barely explored the possibilities of vermouth especially. Then, back in March when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed one evening, I came across a post from Food and Wine magazine and wouldn’t you know, it was a recipe for making your own rosé vermouth. Immediately bookmarking it, I then went to see if J.Crew happened to have any striped caftans (because why wouldn’t they?) and of course they did, and so I decided that this year would truly become one giant mashup of everything. Read More

Vermouth cocktails as inspired by El Quinto Pino

The first time we ended up at El Qunito Pino a few years ago, it was the culmination of a quasi-successful tapas crawl around Manhattan–we ended up tarrying long enough in the city to go there when it opened at 5, and we had a nice little last spread of snacks. I was able to finally try their famed uni panini (a small sandwich filled with sea urchin roe) and enjoy my first taste of pig’s ear. When we were in New York in January, our hotel was only a few blocks away from the restaurant (as over the intervening years the place had morphed from a tiny bar to a tiny bar now attached to a full-fledged dining room) so we took a chance on finding a few seats at the bar and went there for dinner on our first night. Read More

Escargots à la Bordelaise in the style of Galatoire’s

Back in November I did a very silly thing. I had this Amazon gift card that had been sitting on my desk for months, and for the life of me I couldn’t decide what to get with it. This was mainly due to the fact that I felt very uncomfortable about the circumstances in which it came to be in m possession, so I could never figure out what exactly should I get. I immediately dismissed all things practical because that’s no fun, and so I was toying with adding a couple of books to my cookbook collection or maybe getting a heavier kettlebell.

Instead, I ended up getting a used copy of Galatoire’s cookbook that was in very good condition and a cast iron snail pan.

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Grilled Oysters with Horseradish Aioli and Pancetta

As a lover of all things oyster, I have to admit that usually my preferred mode of eating them is raw and right out of the shell, maybe with a little lemon, horseradish, or mignonette. I’ll enjoy a good fried oyster po’ boy from time to time, of course, but I never really warmed to the idea of grilled oysters until we finally had Drago’s chargrilled oysters as part of an early evening happy hour on our last New Orleans trip. The concierge immediately directed us to the Drago’s that’s in the Hilton Riverside, and while the decor there screams that you’re eating in a hotel bar, the food is far better than what you’d get at a normal hotel. The original Drago’s is in Metarie so it’s not as easy to get to if you don’t have a car, so for many visitors the Hilton location is a good compromise. Read More

Rillettes from Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen

It’s funny–for Super Bowl Sunday, I’m either totally in the mood for the traditional fare of the day like chili or nachos, or I feel like eating something completely inappropriate. This year was definitely the latter, so we did this whole spread of French small plates and drank a very fancy cocktail that involved turmeric-infused gin. We watched the game sporadically but given that neither of us are big football watchers (we all know my allegiance is to soccer) compounded with the fact that any team we might have remote interest completely imploded this past season it didn’t feel super-pressing to keep it on all night. Read More

Dark Plum Sparklers

Labor Day weekend is almost here, and while some may be celebrating because their kids are back in school, I’m celebrating because it’s definitely the best time of year for produce. Tomatoes are hitting their peak, stone fruits are flourishing, and some of those early autumn treats are starting to trickle into stores and farmers markets. One of the things I really miss about living in New York was going down the Union Square Greenmarket during this time of year, because leaving the subway station around 15th street by the NQR line meant that you would be inundated by the heady scent of the best produce the market had to offer as you walked up the stairs, and inevitably you would then be smack in the middle of so many possibilities. It seriously ranks up there on my list of favorite smells along with the Mediterranean Sea.

In honor of the holiday weekend and the bounty of deliciousness at your disposal right now, I’m going to share some of my favorite ways to enjoy the best the season has to offer. Read More

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