With all of the traveling we’ve been doing in the last few weeks (two weekends ago we were in Philadelphia, and then this past weekend we were in Chicago), opportunities to cook fun stuff at home have not come as readily as they normally do for us. Since I had a half-day on Friday and could work from home for it, we decided that it would be the perfect day to make dinner at home rather than go out as is our usual wont and so I went about looking for something special to make. My cookbook flipping took me to Mexico From the Inside Out, and while I came up with a fun menu for that evening, what initially drew me in was a dish I had to make for myself for a decadent lunch: burrata with salsa verde and “weeds.” (More on that in a bit.) As soon as I hit the official office closing time I shut my laptop and headed out to take the commuter boat over the harbor to hit up both Whole Foods and a local Mexican grocery store called Cinco de Mayo to get the necessary supplies. The latter was perfect for getting tomatillos and blue corn tortillas and limes in bulk, while the latter had my burrata and a few other things I needed (like a ludicrous amount of cereal to bring to work). Read More
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.
If you follow me on Instagram (you should! I post there sometimes!) you may have noticed that over the course of February I was posting shots of various tableaux, usually featuring wine and/or cheese and tagging a local wine shop in all of them. It was part of a promotion they were running in which they would randomly select a winner and give them a $50 gift card, and while winning would obviously be awesome (a winner hasn’t been announced yet as of posting this), I also really liked the chance to exercise some creativity and take some interesting photos. Moreover, it also gave me an excellent reason to experiment some more in making some flavorful accompaniments to cheeses, and while the contest itself may be over, I’m looking forward to expanding my repertoire.
First up on the list: blackberry compote. Read More
Signs you probably have been watching too much Top Chef via Hulu recently:
- You’re obsessed with timing and food prep, to the point where you have no issue doing significant prep work on a weekend afternoon because you’re paranoid something is going to happen when you actually get down to cooking dinner for real.
- You really, really want a GIF of Dale Talde yelling “FUCK” after his team lost the mise en place relay race before Wedding Wars because you need it to express your frustration with so many things in life. (Unfortunately it’s not in this clip but this is as close as I could get it.)
- You’re very upset that you can’t make one yourself and be done with it.
- You get very strong inclinations to make everything from Tom Colicchio’s cookbooks.
- You get feelings of anxiety when you go into your new-to-you supermarket because you know if you only had 30 minutes to shop you would be TOAST and not get half of the things you needed.
New Year’s Eve is my favorite food holiday, full stop. We don’t have to follow any specific food traditions, and instead we can make a number of small bites that follow whatever whims we may have in mind that particular year. In reality, the only rules that we do have around the holiday are simple:
- No leaving the apartment, even to do this same thing at someone else’s house, because that never ends well.
- Loungey clothes are necessary, if not required.
- Games will be played
- Wine, especially bubbly wines, will be consumed.
When our friend W asked what our plans were, I explained that we were pretty rigid on the not-leaving-the-apartment thing (seriously, the last time we tried to do this on New Year’s Eve, I ended up with a stomach virus) but that they were welcome to join us. As soon as she said that they would love to come, out came the cookbooks to brainstorm some ideas on what to make. I may have also put the El Bulli episode of No Reservations on while I browsed, and ultimately came up with more ideas for this dinner than I did for the dinners I was supposed to be planning for…because that’s how things tend to go.
Besides: a meal of this scale requires several days of brainstorming, and I ended up finding some fine meals to have on Sunday and Monday shortly thereafter. So there, husband. Read More
Not long after our friend T moved out to Chicago, he sent me a link to a wine bar/cheese shop that wasn’t far from his apartment that he thought I’d like, all but promising to go there when I eventually paid him a visit. I hadn’t forgotten about the place in the intervening months that followed, so when I was finally able to head out to the Windy City a few weeks ago to finally see him, going to Pastoral (the wine/cheese shop) and its sister bistro next door Bar Pastoral was one of the few definitive plans I had for the trip, and perhaps the only disappointment I had was that I only was able to eat there once.
But oh, was that one time a memorable one!
T was completely wiped from a particularly grueling work week, so by the time we sat down at the bar he was more than happy to let me run the show. Since this was my first time there, I decided to cede control to our very helpful bartender, who recommended a nice selection of cheeses: a soft cheese made with water buffalo milk, a lovely blue cheese, and a firm cheese that I’m pretty sure was Manchego. (This bad food blogger forgot to write them all down. Boo.) Some slices of chorizo and prosciutto di San Daniele finished the plate, along with a little loaf of crusty bread and a nice glass of red wine. Even better was that each cheese came with its own specific garnish, ensuring that when you loaded up a piece of bread with your cheese of choice, you were going to get a complex, complete bite.
Truffle-laced anything, if you ask me, should come under a great deal of scrutiny. There was a great article in the New York Times from a few years ago that blew the lid off of the “magic” of truffle-infused-olive oil and frankly, had me wary of anything that claimed to have anything to do with the prohibitively expensive fungus. I reluctantly got back on the truffle bandwagon when I finally tried a can of porcini and truffle sauce that reminded me of Piemonte in an instant (minus the plane fare and the two-hour drive from Malpensa). I was slightly more convinced when a small Italian import brand sampled white and black truffle mayonnaise, honeys, and butters a few times at Fairway, though the price was still a little too high for what it was. Then Steve Jenkins–the man who wrote the book on cheese and is Fairway’s cheesemonger–made an appearance at Fairway Stamford last weekend and was sampling this cheese…and now I’m firmly back on the Truffles Are Awesome But Only In Specific Situations. Read More