Tomato, Burrata, Prosciutto, and Basil Salad with Sherry-Garlic Vinaigrette

I don’t know what’s worse: having to go on a work trip immediately before or immediately after a vacation. Michael had to fly down to Jacksonville, FL the day after we got back from our little sojurn in Rehoboth, and so I was looking at a few days of making food just for myself. On the drive home from Delaware I devised a little menu for the two nights he’d be gone, deciding on ricotta dumplings (because it’s been too long since I’ve made them) and initially, the arugula-prosciutto-orange salad I made a few times back in Stamford. The ricotta dumplings were as delicious as ever, and made better from using some of the herbs growing on our window sills, but to be truthful I wasn’t really feeling the arugula salad the next day. I mostly blame this on the fact that the package of arugula I got was really disappointing, but let’s just say there were other factors involved as well. 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

Escargots from the Thames Street Oyster House, along with Cherry Bombe.

If I could pick any word to describe our holiday weekend, that word would be rejuvenating*. It was so nice to put in a half-day’s worth of work before the office closed, take care of some errands, and then go out and get some food on Friday afternoon. I was able to hop on the free commuter boat over to Harbor East and then headed eastward to Fell’s Point and it was so nice to feel the harbor breeze on my skin during that short ride. Grabbing a stool just about ten minutes before the kitchen would close for the rest of the afternoon, I quickly put in an order for escargots along with a small platter of oysters and clams. I had considered getting something more substantial, but it had been a hot walk over and the second I bit into one of those Delaware Salts I knew I had made the right decision because it was exactly what I had wanted. Paired with a nice white (and a rose with the escargots) and the latest issue of Cherry Bombe, it was the ideal relaxing late lunch. Incidentally, I also found a bunch of things I wanted to make in that issue, so if you’re at all interested grab it up immediately if not sooner. 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

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

Dark Plum Sparklers

Labor Day weekend is almost here, and while some may be celebrating because their kids are back in school, I’m celebrating because it’s definitely the best time of year for produce. Tomatoes are hitting their peak, stone fruits are flourishing, and some of those early autumn treats are starting to trickle into stores and farmers markets. One of the things I really miss about living in New York was going down the Union Square Greenmarket during this time of year, because leaving the subway station around 15th street by the NQR line meant that you would be inundated by the heady scent of the best produce the market had to offer as you walked up the stairs, and inevitably you would then be smack in the middle of so many possibilities. It seriously ranks up there on my list of favorite smells along with the Mediterranean Sea.

In honor of the holiday weekend and the bounty of deliciousness at your disposal right now, I’m going to share some of my favorite ways to enjoy the best the season has to offer. Read More

Tomato, Mozzarella and Plum Salad with Pistachio-Lemon Vinaigrette

I promise I’m not going to whine about how hot it’s been here, because I whined plenty when it was too cold and I want to be thankful for the many bright and sunny days we’ve had over the spring and summer so far. I will say that I’m thankful that a cold front blew in yesterday  (and when I mean blow, I mean blow because the winds howled last night) and I can open my windows again.

Unlike in Stamford where we’d hide in our less-than-optimal air conditioning and only venture out to go food shopping and maybe spend a few hours at the local beach, we haven’t let the heat stop us from going out and about, especially on the weekends. (I just have to make sure that I don’t try to apply sunscreen to my face post-workout without allowing some time for evaporation, because OH MY GOD MY EYES.) Granted, during this most recent weekend our main reason to go out was to go to the Rare and Obscure Beer Festival at Max’s Taphouse which was both a lot of fun and the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate after a two-mile walk over there, but still–the fact that we’re not just cloistering ourselves in air conditioning during these heat waves is progress for us. Read More

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