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Confetti cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar.

Confetti cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar.

Happy 2017, my friends! My year started off inauspiciously with my phone suddenly not working, so I have to send it to LG to see if it’s salvageable. (At least my old Razr smartphone is functional so I’m not completely without a phone right now. Here’s hoping it can hang on until August when my upgrade is finally available.) The weather hasn’t helped much in that it’s been dreary and rainy for the past few days, and while I know we need the rain, it doesn’t help with the whole getting back in the swing of things all that much. Read More

Not pictured: the birthday cake crumb and the empanada meat mixture chilling out in the fridge.

I was all ready to wax philosophical on you all on how I like to plan for parties…but I’m in the midst of party planning and can’t do that just yet. Above is a glimpse of what I’ve been up to in our kitchen, and I can’t wait to share the details with you in the new year because that’s probably when I’ll finally have a chance to sit down and write in earnest. Read More

Shrimp and Spicy Chorizo with Garlic

When I was planning the menu for our big party a few weeks ago, I had it in my head that I would save a few of the dishes to make while people were there, if only to provide a bit of spectacle and give me a chance to retreat from everyone so I could focus on cooking. The problem with this idea is that inevitably everyone likes to gather in and around the kitchen, whether it’s open or not, and so that doesn’t leave for a ton of space in which you can maneuver. Fortunately it turned out that we had way more food than we bargained for and didn’t need either of these dishes, which worked out well for yours truly because I could never decide on a good time to prep them and as a result, I didn’t waste any food from either dish. Score! Read More

Snails in salsa arribata

Back when spring was easing into summer, I really didn’t fully appreciate just how much we had planned in the first few weeks of the season, and here we are in the middle of July. One thing I resolved on doing this summer was to spend some time revisiting my favorite Catalunyan dishes since we wouldn’t be making our biennial trip over to Europe this year, what with us buying a house and me buying a new car, but with everything we’ve been up to it’s been awhile since we could devote a couple of days to anything more fun than a typical weeknight meal.

With a weekend looming on the horizon with no plans but our own, I decided to give us a chance to relax and give ourselves a mini Caldes d’Estrac vacation, at least with food if not in beach time. Rosado would be poured, caftans donned, and my hope was each dish would bring us back to those warm days we would spend along the Mediterranean coast. Read More

Escargots à la Bordelaise in the style of Galatoire’s

Back in November I did a very silly thing. I had this Amazon gift card that had been sitting on my desk for months, and for the life of me I couldn’t decide what to get with it. This was mainly due to the fact that I felt very uncomfortable about the circumstances in which it came to be in m possession, so I could never figure out what exactly should I get. I immediately dismissed all things practical because that’s no fun, and so I was toying with adding a couple of books to my cookbook collection or maybe getting a heavier kettlebell.

Instead, I ended up getting a used copy of Galatoire’s cookbook that was in very good condition and a cast iron snail pan.

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Pork Belly with Sweet and Sour Fresh Figs

Over the spring and summer we made a conscious effort to switch up our weekend rituals so we could make time to go out and do some serious city exploration. This usually meant that I would do my workouts early in the day rather than late in the afternoon, and we’d then take a walk down to the harbor and wander around for a few hours before inevitably getting a beer at Max’s and then heading to Whole Foods to pick up any incidentals we might need for dinner. (It helps that we no longer have the Food Network or the Cooking Channel to distract me into hate-watching them for hours, admittedly.) So while I’ll still take the time to flip through cookbooks, some days the inspiration doesn’t come by the time we want to leave so we’ll put our culinary fate into the hands of what’s available at the Teet or the Whole Foods and hope for the best. Read More

Bacon-wrapped shrimp: Ron Swanson’s favorite food wrapped around his third-favorite food.

(Ed: I’m going to write about Parks and Recreation and make some references to events that unfolded in this most recent season, but there are are no spoilers about the actual finale here as I wrote this prior to it being aired.)

To thoroughly transpose a line from Shakespeare, I come not to bury Parks and Recreation, but to praise it. After all, It was truly the little sitcom that could–much like its spiritual predecessor, it started out with a shaky and short first season and then quickly found its footing with its second–but for whatever reason it never was able to break out to a huge audience despite being one of the smartest and funniest comedies on TV. To be an ardent fan meant knowing the show was constantly on the brink of cancellation year after year (with few exceptions), so while I’m annoyed that NBC has decided to burn off this final season by airing episodes back-to-back for seven weeks, I’m grateful that the series was able to make it to 125 episodes in the first place.

There are so many things to love about this show, but I think what may stay with me the most is that no other show, certainly in recent memory, used food to comedic effect better than Parks.* (30 Rock came close with its night cheese and a dogs taking steaks and Cheesy Blasters, though.) Whether it was grandiose set pieces like the Snake-Juice-fueled disaster from “The Fight” to the simple act of Tom Haverford singing “this is how you eat it” before diving into a hot pepper, food so often served as a springboard for fantastic comedic moments but also showed that it could forge bonds between even the most unlikeliest of people. In a recent interview Michael Schur noted that food (and specifically breakfast food) was a way for Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson specifically to come to an accord despite deeply different political viewpoints:

They are such different people, and we independently arrived at Leslie + waffles and Ron + bacon, so suddenly it seemed like a point of overlap. I always thought of it as hopeful. There is an old trick of diplomacy, where if you have two warring factions who agree to sit down at a table, you first choose something very simple and uncontroversial that they can agree on. You say, “What does everyone want to drink, water or motor oil?” When they all say water, you have begun the session with a point of mutual agreement. For Leslie and Ron, a 19th-century libertarian and a 21st-century progressive, that thing is breakfast food.

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