Last year you may recall that I declared spring and summer to be rosé and caftan season, and let me tell you it was pretty grand floating through the apartment in a breezy caftan with no pants and sipping rosé on our balcony on particularly balmy evenings. I have no way to prove this but I’m convinced that this declaration was extremely beneficial in helping us enjoy our last New England summer. We made sure to head to the local beach as often as possible and sometimes I’d even ditch my car at the office and we’d walk home on a Friday night after a delicious dinner at Dinosaur Barbecue, and naturally we made many trips into the city. While we had no idea how chaotic things would get by August, I’d like to think that we were slightly better-equipped to handle all the change headed our way but that’s probably the hindsight talking.

Well, this year I’m going to take a similar tact and declare that it will be again a season of rosé and caftans–I even have my eye on a new one to mark the occasion–but since we’re no longer living within ten minutes of a beach, I also felt that I needed to add something new to the mix. Caftans are still all well and good for hanging around our apartment as I’ve heard that “swamp-ass” is an apt descriptor of Baltimore weather during the height of summer, but it’s also time to add something a bit more, well, company-and-outside-appropriate to my summer aesthetic. I just have to wait for something to eventually make it to my doorstep prior to writing about it. Read More

Blood Orange and Rosemary Marmalade with Goat Cheese

Given how limited the blood orange’s season used to be, it’s definitely a little odd still seeing them in store but if this means I can enjoy them a little longer, then so be it. I’ve been using the combination quite a bit in prosecco-based cocktails over the course of the winter to great success, but ever since my last batch of kumquat-rosemary marmalade I wanted to see what a blood orange and rosemary marmalade would taste like. In search of something interesting to accompany some cheeses I had in mind for our houseguests this past weekend, I decided that if the produce stand at Cross Street still had serviceable blood oranges I’d finally give this variation a try.

The main issue I was concerned about was the matter of the pith underneath the oranges’ skin, because unlike with kumquats, there is usually a sizable layer of the bitter white stuff between the fruit and the skin in an orange and I was worried it would make the whole marmalade too bitter to enjoy. I’m not sure what I was worried about, as we’ve cooked down lemon wheels with chicken and I’ve eaten them whole with abandon so many times, but my fears were completely unfounded. The marmalade does benefit from sitting in the fridge overnight before serving, though, because the flavors need a little time to meld together in the best possible way.

Like with all things blood orange, though, perhaps the best part of this marmalade is that it turns into this brilliant red-orange mixture, so you know it’s going to look as appealing on a board or on a cracker as it tastes. This will likely serve as a mighty fine evening snack this week for those days I need to make dinner or even just unwind a bit, and now I feel doubly intrigued to try this recipe with some other citrus fruits while they are still in the store.

In the meantime, try to find a couple of blood oranges and try this for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Blood Orange Marmalade
adapted from ‘wichcraft

  • 2 blood oranges, sliced into thin rings and then cut into quarters
  • 1 small rosemary sprig plus one spring of rosemary minced
  • 12 crushed peppercorns
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1/4 water

Bring the water and sugar together and stir until dissolved in a medium saucepan. Add the blood oranges, rosemary sprig, and pepper and combine well, then bring the saucepan to a simmer and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the oranges are translucent and the sugar has formed a thin syrup. Add the minced rosemary and let cool, and then transfer to a container to store. Serve as desired and use within a week or so.

Bluepoint oysters with cava, shallot, lemon, and basil vinaigrette with pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato).

I’m pleased to announce that The Manhattan [food] Project has become a blogging partner of The Sustainable Seafood Blog Project, and as such you’ll start seeing more content around sustainably-sourced seafood and ways to enjoy it at home. Both Michael and I do what we can to buy as much sustainable seafood as we can and during the week we stick with tried-and-true favorites like trout, skipjack tuna, striped bass, and Pacific cod, while on weekends we may also indulge in some bivalve action. Since our move we’ve also been eating quite a bit of local rockfish and though it is a bit of a strange fish to get used to from a cooking perspective, it’s extremely delicious.

The mission of the Project is to band together bloggers who want to help promote the message of sustainability when it comes to seafood, and moreover inform and encourage consumers to be asking for more sustainably-sourced seafood at their local stores. The market is an extremely confusing one, because it isn’t so simple as buying certain fish and avoiding others; sustainable fishing practices are also scrutinized to ensure that the surrounding aquaculture is disturbed as little as possible. Monterrey Bay’s Seafood Watch is an exhaustive source on identifying the best fish choices out there, while Greenpeace publishes an annual scorecard listing the best and worst retailers to buy seafood across the country. The latter has wrought some serious changes over the years regarding what consumers have available to them in-store; most notably, Trader Joe’s earned a ranking of 17th out of 20 chains evaluated back in 2008 while as of 2014 they have moved up to fourth on the list and have a “Good” rating. Read More

Blackberry Chicken

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a fantastic article in which a writer for Vice’s food site invited a French sommelier to test out some wines that are blatantly and shamelessly targeted at women. The results are exactly what you think they would be, as the tasting notes from both Perrine Prieur (the sommelier) and Gray Chapman (the writer) are hysterical. Prieur has no qualms in declaring one red “like a bad tank that hasn’t been cleaned, that they’re just throwing shit into,” while Chapman slayed me with several quips that I won’t spoil for you here.

It might seem like an easy premise for a bunch of laughs–ooo, the fancy French sommelier doesn’t like mass-produced wine–but it’s pretty clear that Prieur came to this experiment with an extremely open mind and was just crestfallen every time the alleged varietal was revealed to her. More importantly, she made a point of showing Chapman several wines in her own shop that were less expensive and more complex than any of the ones that were part of the taste test, and that’s the reason why Prieur has rocketed onto my list of favorite lady sommeliers along with Gretchen Thomas of the Barteca restaurant group.*

Read More

Roasted Chicken with Safflower and Lemons

While I know it’s easy to hate the switchover to Daylight Savings Time because of losing an hour of sleep, I have to admit that I don’t hate it at all and now that we’ve moved back into the Mid-Atlantic, I kind of love it. Sunset on Sunday following the change was after 7:00 which is nothing short of extraordinary. Admittedly I am usually very in favor of this change because as a food blogger who likes to take pictures of the food we eat in natural light (and much preferring to do so when we actually cook it), being able to do so in the beginning of March feels downright heady. I can’t wait to see how bright it gets here in the summertime.

It’s fitting, then, that on the first day of extended daylight we make a roasted chicken that’s so bright and sunny itself thanks to the use of saffron and lemon. It’s a recipe from Saveur that’s incredibly simple with an extremely short ingredient list, but it creates such a savory and juicy chicken that even adding some potatoes to the roasting pan made them delicious by association. Read More

Outside Galatoire’s on Bourbon St.

[Full disclosure: I was graciously provided a copy of this book for review, but all opinions are my own.]

It’s been nearly two years since we went to New Orleans, and maybe it’s a function of the recent frigid weather and watching old Top Chef episodes set in the city, but I’ve definitely found myself craving some Gulf oysters and some barbecued shrimp and a Sazerac or two, so when the opportunity arose to review a new travel guide on the restaurants and bars of the city, I immediately said yes.

Some bourbon to accompany this lovely book.

25 Definitive New Orleans Restaurants (Plus A Dozen Damned Good Places To Drink): One Novelist’s Notes on a 40-year Spree of Gluttony & Guzzling by Steven Wells Hicks (that’s an affiliate link) aims to go beyond an average restaurant guide, because instead of “a glorified telephone directory sprinkled with capricious star ratings” (his words from the introduction), you’re instead presented with a series of essays on restaurants that will likely provide a good meal but also lend some insight as to the spirit and the history of the city and its culture. History is a huge part of this book: the essays I read are packed with everything from restaurant origin stories to apocryphal tales of dignitaries being sent back to the line at Galatoire’s to wait for a table like everyone else to the evolution of the Hand Grenade and its many spawn-like concoctions. The book is also divided into sections ranging from classic must-visits to neighborhood restaurants, and one section is devoted to the origin of specific dishes like Antoine’s Oysters Rockefeller to Central Grocery’s muffaletta, and his descriptions are so rich that even an olive-eschewer like myself could hear her stomach growling as he described the city’s signature sandwich. Read More

Blackberry-Rosemary Compote with Crottin goat cheese

If you follow me on Instagram (you should! I post there sometimes!) you may have noticed that over the course of February I was posting shots of various tableaux, usually featuring wine and/or cheese and tagging a local wine shop in all of them. It was part of a promotion they were running in which they would randomly select a winner and give them a $50 gift card, and while winning would obviously be awesome (a winner hasn’t been announced yet as of posting this), I also really liked the chance to exercise some creativity and take some interesting photos. Moreover, it also gave me an excellent reason to experiment some more in making some flavorful accompaniments to cheeses, and while the contest itself may be over, I’m looking forward to expanding my repertoire.

First up on the list: blackberry compote. Read More

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