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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

Chestnut-ricotta dumplings with butter and sage

A week before Christmas we had spent a quiet (and slushy) afternoon at Dinosaur Barbecue, and then like we always do we walked over to Whole Foods in order to get some food to make for a relatively light dinner given that we had just eaten some wings and sliders. I’m not sure what came over me while we were shopping, but I saw that they had bags of fresh chestnuts and I decided then and there I’d make something with them for Christmas dinner. (I partially blame the addition of the Silver Spoon’s Tuscany cookbook for this inclination.) After doing a little research I decided that I could fold in chopped up chestnuts into my favorite ricotta dumpling recipe, and the only question remained was how to cook them. Read More

Burrata with salsa verde and weeds

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

Tomato Salad with Chili, Black Pepper, and Cardamom

Recently The Kitchen Witch posted about how she likes to seduce late spring/early summer tomatoes by making punchy vinaigrettes, and her Kalamata olive one would be pretty fabulous if I liked olives more. But it reminded me of a recipe I had earmarked in the most recent issue of Cherry Bombe magazine in which you make a spicy oil to drizzle over tomatoes along with some lemon juice, cilantro, and sesame seeds and so a couple of weekends ago I decided I had to make it in the name of trying something that was new to me. Read More

Quasi-mushroom piadina with an Aperol spritz.

Years ago I found this recipe for piadina in an issue of Food and Wine magazine, and despite the presence of ricotta cheese I actually was able to convince Michael to make it fairly often. This was before I started making my own pizza dough so we’d use the stuff from the store, and then once I started making my own dough I think we became too preoccupied with making pizza to try making these again. Once we did use the ingredients on a full-fledged pizza, but I think it might have been too much ricotta for Michael to handle so we haven’t done it since. Read More

Cacio e pepe

Michael was in the UK for most of this past week, and so for the first time in a while I had a few days to myself to make whatever I wanted. Obviously, the first thing I did was buy a boatload of cheeses.

The next thing I did after running some errands on Sunday was to sequester myself in the kitchen to do all kinds of things: make a nice fancy brunch was first on the list and then I did some much-needed meal prep for the week. My friend D at The Kitchen Witch recently posted an intriguing recipe for a warm tomato vinaigrette, and I had bookmarked it thinking it would go really well with chicken thighs. I slow-roasted the tomatoes and whipped up a batch fairly easily, tripling the recipe she provided to use up all of the tomato passata that you make, and boy howdy is it tasty. I even made enough for Michael to have some for lunch when he got home from the airport because I’m nice like that. 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

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