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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

Massimo Botturra’s meat tortellini from Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef, finished in sage and brown butter.

Can I take a moment and say how smitten I am with the newest episodes of Master of None? We’re slowly making our way through the season–just one new one a week–and as such I feel like we’re SO behind because the various pop culture blogs I follow have already moved on to a bunch of other shows, like The Handmaid’s Tale and GLOW. (Both are really good, and I’ll be writing about the former in this space relatively soon.) Such is the internet in the age of Peak TV, but I still prefer savoring each episode on its own especially since it’s not clear if we’ll see another season of the show, much less one anytime soon. And given the ambition Aziz Ansari and his team had with this season, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be incessantly asked when the next batch of episodes would be coming because so many people burned through the current set so quickly. 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

White Gazpacho from Appetites: A Cookbook

White Gazpacho from Appetites: A Cookbook

I actually made this back in January when entertaining a friend who was staying with us for the night, and she was so excited when I told her about my resolution for the year that she asks me how I’m doing on it and that’s one of the reasons that finally compelled me to write all of this down and track in properly. I have many books to go still, but I’m as determined as ever to get through this.

Next up: white gazpacho from Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites: A Cookbook.

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Fried oysters with avocado and black chile oil from ‘wichcraft

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

Spicy Broiled Chicken Brushed with Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar

While usually I’m really, really on top of my meal-planning game, there have been a few errant days where not only do I fail to think of a dish before we go to the store, but I’ll realize the day that I need to cook that I have zero ideas in mind. When this happened a few months ago I started Googling to see what I could whip up with what we had in our pantry. (Protip: have a well-stocked pantry for such emergencies as these.) Pretty quickly I stumbled on a Cooking Light recipe for spicy broiled chicken thighs that looked really good and extremely easy to make, so I bookmarked it and made it that night, using onion powder for garlic powder as we had plenty of the former and none of the latter. (I’ve since rectified this, naturally.) Read More

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