My love of Top Chef has gotten to the point that I have a section of my main bookshelf dedicated to some of my favorite judges* and cheftestants from the show—though I will admit that Tom Colicchio’s books live up in my New York section, because most of these books came out way after his did—and while I’ve enjoyed them all, I’ve been heartily enjoying Gail Simmons’ Bringing it Home as it is filled with really interesting recipes and lots of excellent anecdotes about Top Chef from foods she loved while on location to lots of interesting tips based on professional chef techniques that she’s observed along the way, along with her own insight from her days in culinary school. Gail has long been one of my favorite staples of the show because she’s a delightful mix of knowledge, insight, warmth, and the occasional dollop of well-timed snark: Read More
While I can’t believe January is almost over, I’m also relieved that January is almost over. This is my least favorite time of year, and furry blanket and globe lights aside, I’m eager for the trees to have leaves on them again and for a 60-degree day to be a normal one rather than a data point either supporting or denying the existence of climate change. At least this weekend we get a respite of sorts from football, so for the first time since September our neighborhood will not be run amok by people trolling for parking spots to hit up the bars all day. Next weekend, on the other hand, should be interesting—while the Ravens aren’t in the Super Bowl (obviously), we are close enough to Philly that there are many an Eagles fan around here too, so I have a feeling we’ll be staying firmly in our apartment after Michael returns home from the gym. We do have some excellent food plans for that day, so I’m not complaining. Read More
With the holidays over and things slowly coming back to normal, I want to get back into the habit of blogging more regularly again. So in order to do that, I need to clear out some mental clutter.
Tuesday marked the first day in about two weeks that the temperatures went significantly over the freezing point; when preparing to go out to pick up some bread for dinner, I had steeled myself for the slap of cold I had come to expect when walking outside and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was…mild. I know it’s still early-ish in January and we have a long ways to go until spring, but it’s nice to have a bit of a respite from it for at least a few days.
With Christmas less than a week away, it’s time for me to start packing up all of our stuff to bring back to PA for the holiday weekend and get a cooking game plan set for Christmas Eve. We’re leading that particular dance this year, which is great since we did zero cooking during Thanksgiving. We are going to do the seven fishes this year, but in order to maintain our sanity and to make sure that everyone can try at least a bit of everything, we’re keeping the portions small and basically treating the meal like a tasting menu. Read More
Sangria was something I dabbled with in New York but fully embraced when we moved to Stamford–many a weekend during the spring and summer months would I make a big pitcher for us to sip on, often relaxing out on our balcony. My sangria-making frequency went down significantly since we moved to Baltimore, likely because we’ll spend many weekends either traipsing around the city looking for fun or we’re on the road to visit people. Read More
In the section on entertaining in Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites: A Cookbook, one of his suggestions is to always keep some frozen pigs in a blanket on hand because from his experience, no matter how fancy the affair everyone will come clamoring for some meat in puff pastry. It’s a fine idea, and one I’ll probably keep in mind for our next New Year’s Eve celebration, but if I’m entertaining a smaller group of people I want to do something a little more special. Read More
One of the objectives of this whole cook-through-my-cookbook-bookcase experiment was to reconnect with cookbooks I used to use all of the time but have since…well, not abandoned, per se, but haven’t referenced as much as I’d like to. The Book of Tapas is one where I have a handful of recipes that have entered our regular rotation—I’m particularly fond of the lemon-garlic chicken wings—but a few Fridays ago I decided to finally try a recipe I sort of half-assed back in New York and then never attempted to make again: the ham and quail’s egg tapa. Read More