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appetizers

Pigs in a blanket with black pepper pastry.

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

Ham and egg tapa from The Book of Tapas

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

Chargrilled mushroom salad

As I’ve learned to love and appreciate a good salad over time, I’ve been trying to add more of them to our rotation, saving the more complicated ones for the weekend, or for days when I’m craving something simple and light during one of my sabor de soledad sessions. There’s one recipe from Alton Brown’s new cookbook that’s been an early favorite, but given that strawberries feature heavily in it, I’ve been waiting for them to come into their peak season before writing about it. This recipe, on the other hand, is relatively season-agnostic* and what I like about it is that in the winter it helps you think of warmer days and in the summer the grilled mushrooms add substance without weighing the dish down on a hot day. Read More

Israeli Salad Water Martini from Zahav.

One of the things I always lament about getting cookbooks in the fall and then later in winter during the holidays is that inevitably I’m going to find a whole host of recipes that sound amazing but I must wait to make them until better weather arrives. While flipping through Zahav back during Christmas I did exactly that not far into the book–not only did the Israeli salad featured look both fantastic and simple, but then Michael Solomonov went and did one better and add in an Israeli salad water martini that looked damn refreshing as well. Read More

Lamb-herb meatballs with yogurt-lemon-herb sauce.

It is unequivocally spring around here, and every day it’s as if there’s something new to savor: longer days, warmer weather, the trees finally budding back to life and offering some gorgeous color. I try to keep reminding myself of this while I’ve been struggling with some writer’s block recently for a variety of reasons ranging from being busy with social engagements to feeling ennui in the spring, and the latter feeling is totally bullshit. Spring should be the last season in which ennui should be able to take hold of me, because for once everything I love is coming back: the light, the lush greenery, and the better produce. How can I struggle with existential crises when spring onions are back in the market? Read More

Chicken Liver Mousse Parfait with Socca

Chicken Liver Mousse Parfait with Socca

Back in October I received an unexpected but very welcome birthday gift from a dear friend: a turntable. I’ve had a small collection of records that have been traveling from apartment to apartment with me and finally I had a vehicle on which to play them whenever I wanted. I also went on a bit of a record buying spree, picking up some albums that I’ve long wanted on vinyl but couldn’t justify because, well, I didn’t have anything on which to play them. I had some great fun over the holiday season decorating the apartment to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack and playing some mellow jazz on New Year’s Day, but what I was looking forward to most was the simple act of coming home, pouring myself a glass of something, and letting the stress of the week go as I listened to the sweet strains of John Coltrane Live at the Village Vanguard or started a mini dance party set to Otis Blue. Read More

Wild mushrooms with egg yolk.

Wild mushrooms with egg yolk.

[Editor’s note: to echo a phrase from very sage person Caitlin at Fit & Feminist, it’s very weird blogging about food right now, but self-care is important in order to not lose one’s mind. If you’re as horrified by the actions taken by the current administration this past weekend as I am, please consider donating to the ACLU or the International Refugee Assistance Project if you can to help those who are affected.]

Deconstructed dishes are not the kinds of recipes you expect to find in a cookbook focused on country cooking until you consider that deconstructions almost work best in the country, given that you’re able to find fresh produce and the like.

The idea of deconstruction as a technique both intrigues and infuriates me; on one hand, it’s fun to play with the idea of, say, deconstructing a cheesecake and then bringing it all back together in a different way which I did a couple of years ago…and then there’s things like Ina Garten’s deconstructed lobster roll from one of her traveling shows in which she presents her husband a cooked whole lobster, some rolls, and some dip on a platter and invites him to “dig in!” Read More

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