Hubris is a funny thing: leading up to our move, we didn’t do much in the way of packing because I think we were feeling a bit superstitious about all of it, and so the most I did was clear out two closets’ worth of boxes and other assorted items and move them downstairs so that they would be ready to go come that Friday afternoon as soon as we had the keys. Those were quickly transported downstairs in short order, and that started what seemed like a marathon three-week push to wrap, pack, and move all of our possessions one measly floor down in our building. We squeezed in some painting too–just a few accent walls for now–along with two trips to IKEA, but in the end we were mostly moved out by the last week in April and so we had a little time to make sure we hadn’t missed anything. (We did: an old robe I had on the back of our bathroom door was kindly left at our new door by the listing agent for the old one.) It was exhausting, but ultimately pretty satisfying, work. Read More
About a week ago I found a link to an article on the myth of easy cooking–in it the author claims that cooking for the most part isn’t very easy or fast, and with so many ways of ordering food made available to us, sometimes it’s simply much, much faster to get some relatively-wholesome food via Seamless or similar. On one hand, she’s right because if you did take her approach and stop at the market every day for ingredients and then set down to cook them when you got home from work, it would take an enormous amount of time. Read More
As creative as we like to get in the kitchen on weekends, I have to admit that we are pretty susceptible to falling into dinner routines (or ruts, depending on how you look at it) on weeknights. If work is keeping us really busy it becomes much easier to stick with what we know and bang out dinner without much thinking, but too much of that will leave me feeling rather uninspired, and there’s something to be said about closing out the day with a delicious meal that isn’t just the same old, same-old. Read More
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.*
Welp. Well, I guess it’s really fall, even if the temperatures have crept close to the 70s a few days ago, and threaten to do so later this week. You know how I know this? The darkness has been making a hasty return sooner and sooner every day, and as someone who lives in the Northeast and prefers taking pictures of my food in natural light, I hate it. So please bear with me as I once again readjust to the awful artificial light in our apartment. Clearly, I will never take this transition well.
One of the few bright spots about this transition to colder weather is feeling the need to take the shears to my pots of herbs while they are still lush and vibrant. My oregano plant has been left to its own devices all season and has gotten positively unruly; because it’s considered to be really strong in taste, the only amount I’ve needed to use are a few sprigs here and there in recipes all summer. I despaired of finding a proper way to dispatch of it until I found this lovely pesto recipe from Saveur, which called for one and a half cups of packed oregano leaves and only half a cup of basil leaves. A little more than a week ago I trimmed back my plant to make the sauce to pour over pasta, and the results were not only really satisfying, but this pesto felt more autumnal compared to the ones I’ve been making all summer. Read More
Neither Michael nor I said the actual words over the course of the last week of 2011, but in retrospect it was pretty clear we were both missing our tiny kitchen after four days of holiday celebrating with not much opportunity to get behind the stove. Day two of our mini-we-miss-New-York-Week (subtitle: the week we bounced back and forth between Tom Colicchio and David Chang’s cookbooks) was another “let’s take on a Serious Project!” day–although while this is a dish that takes some time to make, with a little planning I could see us enjoying this on a random weekday evening. It was also a great opportunity to break in one of our Christmas presents (although that is a very poor choice of words given what it is): Read More
After the escapades of my first foray into adventurous cooking on my own, I resolved to do better; specifically, I resolved to manage my time so that I wouldn’t be eating dinner at 8 once again. So I kept my time out of the apartment to a minimum and got my chicken into its marinade in the middle of the afternoon, because I was really excited about what I was making on Sunday and I really didn’t want to muck it up. This is a recipe that I had in my head for well over a week, and was one of the main impetuses to go to Despana the day before: it called for a cazuela and I love nothing more than a great excuse to hit up my favorite specialty shop in the city.
In any case, this fixation came about because I happened to pay attention to an episode of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef a few weeks ago. She was making this garlicky chicken over an Israeli couscous concoction and it sounded pretty good to me, especially because it called for several vegetables–thereby making it not nearly as “guilty” an indulgence as, say, aglio e olio.
(I know I keep coming back to that particular pasta dish, but really–it is the easiest dish I know how to make and the temptation to break down and make it in the face of more complicated fare was always present in the back of my mind. I even bought a box of angel hair to keep in the pantry for emergencies.) Read More