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Pressure-cooked fresh tomatoes–even better than canned.

I’m finally finished with my cookbook project–after nine months and change, I’ve cooked or made at least one thing from every cookbook in our primary collection, all 105 of them. In retrospect it was a really valuable exercise, not only because it gave me a new appreciation for the recipes that I had at my disposal, but also in helping me develop some really helpful techniques. Had I not set out to do this I wouldn’t have tried Massimo Bottura’s method for making pasta completely by hand, or Alton Brown’s shrimp scampi, or Mimi Thorisson’s dry pan-roasted mushrooms. I’ve pushed myself in ways I wasn’t expecting, and because of that I feel like I’ve grown as a cook, and I feel better-equipped to improvise where necessary. Read More

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My thyme going nuts.

Welp: it’s finally starting to feel a bit more seasonal. Saturday was the first in ages that hadn’t gone above 70 degrees as the high, which is weird considering we were dancing close to 90 earlier in the week. (I know this personally for a fact because a post-work jaunt across the harbor to Whole Foods left me a pretty drenched mess, even with a boat ride to cut into the walk itself.) When we lived in Stamford this would have me feeling both wistful and worried over how I could possibly my herbs before the winter temperatures took them out; at least here, with my indoor windowsill garden, I don’t have to fret over that.

I’ve been meaning to offer an update of sorts to my gardening exploits, and now seems as good a time as any to do so. My plants from last year are all still going strong. We were worried that something was wrong with the basil, but it turned out it was likely only suffering from a few nights of having the window open when it was still cool at night. The most exciting development among those plants is that my Meyer tree has not only blossomed, but is gestating a lemon as we speak! Apparently they can take up to 6 months to mature and turn yellow, and based on my calculations that might be happening sometime within the next few weeks. In the meantime a new branch of the tree has sprouted up and seems to grow like a weed, and I’m hopeful that a few more buds might be forming, but to be perfectly honest I am simply glad that the tree seems to be doing well and hasn’t died yet, you know? Read More

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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Pressure Cooker Pho Ga from Serious Eats

Pressure Cooker Pho Ga from Serious Eats

So how are you all doing? Last week was incredibly rough (if you follow me on Instagram you know who I voted for), and it’s taken me some days to process it all. I’ve been writing every day, but I couldn’t bring myself to write about food until the weekend. Instead, I’ve been writing to my congresspeople begging them to publicly and loudly denounce all of the hate speech and hate crimes that have been unleashed in the last few days (and blaming a certain person for it) as well as to continue to fight for the causes I voted for, and writing a thank-you note to my preferred candidate for taking on this shit-storm of a campaign cycle. Read More

Heirloom Tomato Pizza with Mozzarella di Bufala and Basil

Heirloom Tomato Pizza with Mozzarella di Bufala and Basil

It’s been over five months now since we moved into our place, and once we were able to organize the space the way we wanted to we haven’t done much in the realm of home renovations save for adding potted herbs to the window sills and finally installing some curtains in the living room that weren’t hideous. Naturally we have a little wishlist of things we’d like to do, but we’ve been trying to show some patience on that front because these things cost money and we want to be sensible about this. (Plus we have to replace our hot water heater soon because it’s at the age when it can go and two others have already gone within the past year in our building.)

Now, one of the great things about our place is that it didn’t need a ton of work to make it look good since we had things like the original hardwood floors and the gorgeous anaglypta wallpaper, but that doesn’t mean improvements don’t abound. The biggest project will be redoing both bathrooms, as I loathe the tiny tile lining the floor and the wall tile is just bland as hell, but that’s going to be down the road a bit still because it’s going to be a really big project. Besides–unless you really have any interest in me babbling about bathroom design inspiration, I’m going to keep the house talk to at least be tangential to food. That, of course, means some sprucing up of the kitchen. Read More

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

Chicken Thighs with Lemon-Basil Sauce

It’s hard to believe that July is winding down already, but then again so much of it passed by in a blur. I’m grateful that we’re still slightly less scheduled for August (just one weekend trip planned) but instead I’m taking on the rather enormous task of pulling together a 35th birthday party for Michael just under a month from now. We’re not new to hosting larger affairs–back in New Haven we hosted an annual Hall Benedict Food and Wine Classic every fall–but it’s frankly been a long time since we’ve been host to more than four or five people at a time and frankly, I’m a little scared. The only way to handle this (at least for me) is to make a ton of lists, so I now have a Google Sheet spreadsheet populated with everything from menu ideas to guest lists and timelines so I can figure out what I’m going to do on the days leading up to the big day. Read More

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