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on our cookbook shelves

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

Ham and egg tapa from The Book of Tapas

One of the objectives of this whole cook-through-my-cookbook-bookcase experiment was to reconnect with cookbooks I used to use all of the time but have since…well, not abandoned, per se, but haven’t referenced as much as I’d like to. The Book of Tapas is one where I have a handful of recipes that have entered our regular rotation—I’m particularly fond of the lemon-garlic chicken wings—but a few Fridays ago I decided to finally try a recipe I sort of half-assed back in New York and then never attempted to make again: the ham and quail’s egg tapa. 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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Strascinati con pomodoro e basilico

I’ve decided that I’m going to master making pasta completely by hand. This thought first came about a few weeks ago when I was trying and (mostly) succeeding in making a Puglian dough out of water and semolina flour, but was cemented when we finally sat down to watch the season two premiere of Master of None. Earlier that evening I had been feeling rather vulnerable and grouchy but thought that a solid workout and some soothing yoga had calmed my nerves. Then Aziz Ansari has to go and make a big, soaring love letter to classic Italian cinema and show this sequence:

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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

Spring Onion Frittata on Toast

Do you have those recipes where you have them flagged for seemingly ever but never bother to make them? On my list of those was a spring onion frittata from Franny’s meant to serve over toast. The primary reason why I held off on this, I think, was poor timing–whenever I would happen to flip through the book looking for meal ideas spring onions would never be in season, and while the recipe claims you can use scallions in their place, it didn’t feel like the same sort of recipe at all. Fortunately, Michael made a stop at the Teet on his way home from the airport two weeks ago to get some groceries for dinner that night, and was very excited to show me that spring onions were finally back in season. Finally remembering this recipe at the appropriate time, I bought another bunch the following weekend because by hell or high water, I was making this dish, goddamnit. I even made a special trip to Dawson’s by my office the day I planned to make it to get some good bread and actually make toast to serve with this. Read More

Pan-roasted mushroom salad with pickled sunchokes and braised pistachios

As happy as I am that winter is officially OVER, I’m really over this back and forth on cold weather versus hot weather we’re having right now. (Currently I’m writing this while wearing a scarf, a sweater, pants, and flip-flops as the temperatures drop into the 40s, and yet it’s supposed to be sunny and in the low 70s this weekend.) Be that as it may, at least we can all be thankful that springtime produce is slowly making its way into the market. Spring onions are already there, and I’m counting down the weeks for ramp season to be upon us–I have a feeling I’ll be trolling Whole Foods and Dawson’s on a weekly basis to get my hands on those. Read More

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