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dinner

Selections from our meat and cheese board.

Happy New Year! It’s so surreal that it’s January and actually cold out (although I was one person who was not sad about the warm December whatsoever). I hope you all had fantastic celebrations and have started the new year off in a good place, filled with the possibilities of new experiences and new beginnings and all that jazz.

Our New Year’s celebration was normal in that it was filled with food and drink and lots of cooking, but slightly different as this year we had a few more people to celebrate with over the course of the evening between our out of town guests as well as some locals. It all went really well and we had a lot of fun, and I think the spread this year was one of the most impressive yet. Read More

Open-Face Croque Monsieur from Pastis

Despite the fact that it’s been years since we’ve been there and it’s been well over a year since it closed, every once in a while I still get a craving to go to Pastis. In spite of all of the irritations about the place–the crowds, the rather ridiculous prices, the cramped banquettes and tiny tables–every visit there would still be a pretty fantastic food experience, and I’ve even taken their lead on a few dishes and incorporated them into our normal recipe rotation.

Plus, it was arguably the prettiest of Keith McNally’s very pretty restaurant empire: lots of dark wood and penny subway tile, but not as dark as Balthazar nor as intentionally run-down as Lucky Strike. (I have yet to visit his newer places so I can’t speak to them, but I imagine they are also very, very pretty but probably not as aesthetically pleasing to me as Pastis.) While it helped that there always seemed to be a preponderance of European tourists eating there at all times of the day, you really did feel like you were being swept into a bustling bistro in a hip Parisian neighborhood and the only thing missing was being able to light up a cigarette or two while you lingered over French 75s and omelettes. Read More

Puglian stuffed chicken. (Related: I HATE STANDARD TIME AND NO GOOD LIGHTING.)

While only the most intense heat and extreme humidity will keep us from roasting a chicken, I have to admit that now that the temperatures are getting cooler again and it’s becoming seasonally appropriate to roast a bird for Sunday supper and it’s actually quite nice and very comforting to do so. This blog has captured the many iterations we’ve done over the years, from Ina Garten’s engagement chicken to a Spanish-style lemon and saffron version to a Roman-style chicken replete with olive oil and fresh herbs, but this one pictured above might be my favorite one we’ve tried. It comes from the cookbook Puglia–one of the cookbooks I called out in last week’s gift guide–and it might be the perfect chicken to have on a chilly Sunday night between now and the start of winter because to me it combines the best of fall’s flavors with a little more substance than a typical roasted chicken. In fact, were it possible to somehow get a turkey to taste like this chicken I would be far less inclined to agree with Jake Peralta from Brooklyn Nine-Nine that turkey tastes like napkins. Read More

Busiate with pesto trapanese

Fall is here, and already I’m unimpressed because I feel like it’s been nothing but grey and cloudy days since the Equinox. And now we’re expected to get buckets of rain for the next four days or so! How are we supposed to enjoy all of those fall things that are so amazing people start yearning for them at the beginning of summer if we all have to be cloistered up inside?

It’s nonsense, is what it is. Read More

Gambas Flambées with Pastis

If the galettes were a foray into the unknown, the following week was a retreat into the familiar and easy. Initially my plan was to have dinner planned for three nights, but Michael’s schedule changed and I ended up only needing plans for two, so one of my favorite meals alone–ricotta dumplings with arugula–had to wait until lunchtime on Friday. Oh well.

Still, I ate very well: Tuesday I made Rachel Khoo’s delicious fig and liver salad. I wrote about this salad last year when I first read about it and felt compelled to make it, but Fairway didn’t have any fresh figs at the times so I subbed in some Italian plums instead. Thanks to Whole Foods I was able to make it as written, and I even splurged and bought some organic chicken livers. I’m not one to get up on soap boxes to sing the praises of organic foods, but I’ll make an exception for chicken livers. Since they are organs that filter things, the fact that they come from chickens fed an all-vegetarian diet means that they definitely taste way better than the super-cheap ones I’d find at the grocery store. They still don’t break the bank (a pound of them cost me $4) but the difference is extremely notable. Read More

Galettes bretonnes with prosciutto, burrata, garlic, and thyme

Michael was traveling quite a bit over the past two weeks, going to such varied places as Bangor, Maine, and the suburbs of Toronto. (He didn’t even get a stamp in his new passport for the latter!) It’s the first time he’s had to travel for work since we moved, so it was subsequently my first opportunity to have a few sessions of sabor de soledad. Over the years of cooking for myself I’ve tried to strike a balance between trying new things and indulging in dishes and ingredients that I like but Michael doesn’t. Cheese often plays a big part–but not always–and sometimes I’ll even content myself with a big salad.

This time around, I had some fun with French food, from making my first galettes to flambeeing shrimp for the first time on my own. I’m not sure what exactly sparked this sudden desire for French food–perhaps it was the abundance of crisp French roses and whites we enjoyed this summer–but I found myself flipping through both Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen and Mimi Thorisson’s A Kitchen in France with greater frequency, mentally noting dishes that I wanted to make as soon as possible. Read More

Pork Belly with Sweet and Sour Fresh Figs

Over the spring and summer we made a conscious effort to switch up our weekend rituals so we could make time to go out and do some serious city exploration. This usually meant that I would do my workouts early in the day rather than late in the afternoon, and we’d then take a walk down to the harbor and wander around for a few hours before inevitably getting a beer at Max’s and then heading to Whole Foods to pick up any incidentals we might need for dinner. (It helps that we no longer have the Food Network or the Cooking Channel to distract me into hate-watching them for hours, admittedly.) So while I’ll still take the time to flip through cookbooks, some days the inspiration doesn’t come by the time we want to leave so we’ll put our culinary fate into the hands of what’s available at the Teet or the Whole Foods and hope for the best. Read More

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