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
Despite taking that unexpected break from this project back in July and August, I’m actually really, really close to my goal now of making something from all of my cookbooks. Per the spreadsheet I’ve been using to track my progress I’m now 93% of the way there, and I only have seven books left to go before I’m finished. Most of this was due to me returning to this project with a vengeance in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve since flagged stuff to make in every single remaining book so I have a plan–I just have to figure out when I’m going to make everything.
One of the hopes I had for this exercise was to be able to introduce new recipes into our repertoire, because we had been leaning hard on old favorites a bit too frequently lately. My big hope was to find a few new ideas on what to do with our weekly boneless chicken thigh staples, because as I alluded to in my last post I had been resorting to throwing them on the Griddler and then tossing them with some sort of mango salsa or herby pesto. A fine idea to have, of course, but also kind of boring after doing it too frequently. Read More
Whenever someone makes a crack about the flimsiness of IKEA furniture I want to tell them the story of our two tall BILLY bookcases that have moved from New Haven to New York to Stamford and then to two apartments in Baltimore. They’ve held up remarkably well given all of that activity, and right now one of them is playing host to 102 of our cookbooks, plus my various issues of Cherry Bombe, Lucky Peach (RIP), Fine Cooking, and Food and Wine. When I was organizing this shelf again after Christmas, I realized that I really shouldn’t buy one more cookbook until I’ve given all of our current ones a spin, perhaps signaling any that might not be living up to expectations and could potentially be given away. Read More
In response to the executive order on immigration issued at the end of January, I’ve seen some food sites offer lists of cookbooks that celebrate the foods of the seven countries listed in the ban, with one of Food52’s selections being the book Moro: The Cookbook. I’ve been wanting to write about this book for some time, and well, now feels like an apt time to do so. It’s the cookbook companion to the restaurant of the same name in London, and the chefs Sam and Sam Clark draw inspiration from both Spain and several Northern African countries that run along the Mediterranean. There are lots of great recipes for both tapas and mezze contained therein, but to be frank, the recipe that makes this book a worthwhile addition to your cookbook shelf alone is the one for homemade harissa. Read More
We’re not even at the major December holidays yet, and already I’m pretty exhausted. I blame this on the fact that we’ve been busy either going to hang out with friends or visiting family, and while it’s been fun…the introvert in me is definitely yearning for a battery recharge. Thankfully I’ve managed to get most of my holiday shopping done, with a few more gifts necessary to make it fully complete, but we have a lot of planning yet to do for our New Year’s Eve party (menu to finalize, shopping lists written, and cleaning to do!) and as a result I haven’t been this thankful to have multiple days off at the end of the year in ages. We’re scheduled to entertain my siblings-in-law this weekend, but I’m not sure if the weather will make us postpone those plans to another date or not yet. I hope they can come, but I also understand i they don’t want to deal with driving in crappy conditions to get here. Read More
You guys, my ass is tired, both literally and figuratively.
We’re coming off a streak of weekends where we were either hosting guests or being guests ourselves, and while it’s been a lot of fun, it’s kind of sapped my inspiration for cooking. That’s not to say that we haven’t been cooking of course, but we’ve definitely relied on old favorites rather than new recipes, and I’m hoping that this upcoming weekend I can rectify that and spend some quality time with my cookbook collection. During this same time I’ve had some pretty intense workouts (this is what happens when you watch the kickass women in the Crossfit regionals) so there have been several days where I tend to walk like Frankenstein’s monster after getting out of my car or a chair. Read More
It feels like vermouth is having a bit of a moment these days, isn’t it? It’s a moment that has been years in the making of course—I remember a few years ago when my friends at Saugatuck Grain and Grape were sampling tastes of a ridiculously delicious sweet vermouth that I had previously never heard of, and then a couple of years later one of the helpful people at Fairway’s wine shop was enthusiastically recommending a bottle of Vya to complete a little gift to Michael of Manhattan fixings. Now Spanish vermouth is getting stronger traction here, with brands both old and (seemingly) modern popping up in tapas bars and liquor stores alike with greater frequency.
I am by no means an expert on the stuff, but lately I’ve found myself embracing it and not simply as a mixer to go with whiskey or gin, or even as a substitute for regular wine in cooking. There are some really delicious brands out there and served in the way they were designed to be enjoyed…I have to say that I might be open to fer un vermut (or “to do a vermouth”) more often. As it is the case with many new experiences, however, I’ve found that this is often best done with the help of a familiar intermediary, and here cava is the ideal companion to convince you that vermouth is a mighty fine beverage component and not something to merely look at when fixing a martini. Read More