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Pigs in a blanket with black pepper pastry.

In the section on entertaining in Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites: A Cookbook, one of his suggestions is to always keep some frozen pigs in a blanket on hand because from his experience, no matter how fancy the affair everyone will come clamoring for some meat in puff pastry. It’s a fine idea, and one I’ll probably keep in mind for our next New Year’s Eve celebration, but if I’m entertaining a smaller group of people I want to do something a little more special. Read More

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

Cured Beef with Watercress Salad from Hawksmoor at Home

I’m not sure what it was that made me think making salt-cured beef in the fridge was a perfect idea for a chilly January weekend, but all I do know is that when I took out our copy of Hawksmoor at Home one Thursday morning before breakfast and I flipped open to that page, my stomach growled. Audibly. It also seemed so simple and the flavors so perfect to this time of year, since you grate up quite a bit of celery root and throw in some rosemary springs to meld with the salt and brown sugar–I mean, it was practically begging me to give it a try. Michael was sold on it pretty quickly, so over lunch I went out in search of ingredients and was able to place a lovely, just-over-one-pound piece of tenderloin into the cure and then into the fridge and I could feel very pleased that half of my Saturday dinner prep was well underway.
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Homemade Chicken Wings with Spicy Barbecue Sauce

In order to understand what we were attempting here, I need to comment that my restaurant in the area is Dinosaur Barbecue. Without spending the next fourteen paragraphs waxing on about the merits and wonders of this place, I will simply say that if you want good, fun barbecue in NYC, look them up.

I enjoy chicken wings, very much. Ever since I made them for E and I, (Vietnamese-style) she and I have been waiting for the next opportunity to recapture the magic, so to speak. Sure, it was Super Bowl Sunday, but I assure you our mutual and exclusive thirst for chicken wings that night was something altogether stranger than simply wanting traditional football fare, as she alluded to yesterday. Alton Brown did a show on making wings at home, but we both were in the mood for saucier, more BBQ-stlye wings opposed to Buffalo so I figured I’d sauce them before cooking them as well as after (with Buffalo, the cooking should be done dry then sauced at the very end). This was fortunate because making crispy wings without a deep fryer is… arcane at best. Read More

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