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Mezcal-cured salmon with cream cheese foam

Longtime readers (all five two of you) will know that it’s hard for me to say no to a cured salmon–I’m pretty sure it’s my absolute favorite way to eat it these days–and while I’ve tried a few different ways with citrus over the years, a few months ago I stumbled across a really intriguing version that called for mezcal and dried chipotle peppers ground with salt as the primary (and only) curing ingredients. The recipe came from Alex Stupak of New York’s Empellón restaurant group. He’s popped up in a few episodes of The Mind of a Chef and prior to starting his own group of Mexican-inspired eateries he served as a pastry chef at Alinea and WD-50. Read More

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

The Dome Patrol in The Carousel Bar.

One thing I really, really wanted to do on our New Orleans trip was to get some inspiration from any and all of the places we visited. I had my trusty small Moleskine on me at all times along with a pen to jot down things I observed, but perhaps one of the best things we found ended up not needing that much note-taking: the Dome Patrol cocktail as found at the Carousel Bar. 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

Vermouth sabayon with mixed berries

Of all of the various foams I’ve tried out with my iSi whipper, the one that has dogged me the most has been sabayon. It was a little frustrating because it was one of the few desserts that I actually had a recipe to try out, but every time I made it so little of the sabayon actually dispensed that I was convinced that it was me doing something wrong and not the recipe.

I was encouraged to try it again after watching the Good Eats episode “The Proof is in the Pudding” recently, because Alton Brown makes a sabayon the traditional way but it looked like it might hold the secret to the issues I was encountering. It boiled down to a few key changes: 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

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