I can’t believe I’m writing this on the day of the World Cup final—it definitely has flown by even faster than it did four years ago, and what a tournament of surprises: who would have thought that the US Men’s National Team would not only make it out of the Group of Death but that Tim Howard would make a record 16 saves during the match against Belgium? (I’m pretty salty that he isn’t on the best goaltending award shortlist, by the way.) Moreover, who would have expected the epic meltdown that was the Germany-Brazil semifinal, especially considering that Brazil had the ultimate home pitch advantage? Read More
It was with very mixed emotions I said goodbye to Michael a few Saturdays ago—I was off to Pennsylvania for some early-birthday celebrations with my family, while he was getting ready to head to England for a near-week-long trip. This wasn’t the longest he’s ever been away, but it is the furthest, and not having him handy when I was cooking, even remotely, meant that I was really on my own when it came to meal planning that week. And unlike the last time he was away for a long stretch, I wouldn’t have nearly enough time as I have in the past to plan my meals; after all, there was a Clásico to watch, and a barbell to lift, and groceries to buy on Sunday once I returned home from the Stamford train station. Fortunately, I was wise enough to ask for Made in Sicily for my birthday from my family, so I had a quiet ride on the Keystone to flip through its sizable pages.
It’s a pretty exhaustive tome on all things Sicilian that’s heavy on the vegetable, pasta, and seafood dishes, and it made me wish a few times at least that my birthday was a little earlier on the calendar so I’d have more time to take advantage of the many delicious tomato dishes on display. Other recipes definitely intrigued me until I realized the called for bottarga or uni (i.e. sea urchin roe), two ingredients that aren’t exactly cheap here in the U.S., but perhaps if I’m feeling particularly adventurous (and flush with cash), there may come a time to treat myself if only to try it in the future. I settled on a recipe that I had seen before, but never made from this book: a pesto trapanese that was exactly what I wanted: a fresh sauce made thicker by the inclusion of almonds and more refreshing with a healthy addition of mint. It may not need the processing I put it through via the blender, but I prefer a blended pesto over a very rustic one, and I loved how it coated every strand of the bucatini. Read More
In the five and a half years I’ve lived in Connecticut and New York, I’ve been fortunate to be within easy walking distance to gourmet shops that stocked most of the basics we might need for a weeknight meal–in New Haven, it was Romeo and Cesare’s, and in New York I didn’t even have to leave my own building as our apartment was literally above a bodega. I’m going to miss being able to take the elevator down there and swan around in flip flops and tank tops ind the dead of winter while the bundled-up folk give me the side-eye, but now I miss it as an easy resource to pick up a block of cheese, some lemons and limes or a can of chiles in adobo whenever I needed it without adding any significant time to my otherwise epic commute, because it allowed us the freedom to be spontaneous.
Now that we’re in Stamford, things have changed drastically. The closest convenience store to our building advertises their stock of sodas and body oils, which doesn’t inspire the most confidence in the quality of any food they might carry, so if either random inspiration strikes us or we realize that we forgot to get something at Fairway, the closest store we have to walk to is…Target. Read More
Alternate titles for this post included: One stew to rule them all, You call that a stew? THIS is a stew, and finally, The epic stew of epicness. Working in an academic lab here in NYC for the last 1.5 years, I have been exposed to many college students and their requisite speech patterns. One word I hear often (besides random) is ‘epic’, used to mean something impressive. That’s a poor definition, for a more complete definition, read on.
This time around we didn’t use the leeks from the original recipe, but this is a pretty perfect pantry recipe. Michael even substituted out the stock for water and was generous with the salt, which worked really well and didn’t make it terribly salty.
As I’m getting over the last bits of a chest cold, it was exactly what I wanted yesterday.
Usually, once the weather turns balmy my appetite tends to wane a bit and there are days where I don’t crave for much more than a cup of Rita’s Italian Water Ice (mango, wild black cherry or passionfruit, please) and my mind turns to grazing on random, small foodstuffs. The exception to this is whenever I am able to spend time in a body of water, be that a pool–or on very lucky days, the ocean–as when I emerge after a few hours of frolicking, I tend to become positively ravenous.
Memorial Day weekend did not present any swimming opportunities (that came a week later when we visited my parents to celebrate my mom’s birthday), but we ended up doing the walking equivalent on our Met excursion on Sunday, turning me into what Charles Schultz famously called Lucy van Pelt: a fussbudget. Read More
[Editor’s note: there are dishes that we have on such a regular basis that we don’t think to obsessively photograph them, so they will pop up here and again as simple meal solution ideas that we think deserve a tryout in your regular meal rotation.]
You see, I have these two friends whom I love dearly. One time we visited them and I learned about one of their rituals, hummus night. Something so simple yet so profound. Can adults base an entire nightly meal around a dip? They sure can.
And why not? Hummus is such a versatile instrument that it can play with any other dish or mood. I have a standard base to start with and additions, which get added at the end anyway, are nearly limitless. This will feed four with lots of dip-ables or two with ample leftovers for lunches. The basic formulation is as follows:
- 1 clove of garlic
- Juice of 1/2 – 2 lemons*
- 2 cans of chick peas, rinsed
- 1-3 tbsp water
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Combine the first five ingredients in a food processor or a blender. If using a blender, be aware that the stuff may stick to the sides and you’ll be stopping and scraping often. Once it’s all mixed, add the olive oil to the whirring gizmo carefully to make a smooth texture. Transfer to a bowl and serve with toasted pita, crudités, crustini, or whatever else you can think of.
*I leave the lemons open to the user. This falls to the flavor-building section of the construction. When you go to the store, you see a million kinds of hummus; it has more mix-ins than Cold Stone ice cream. Like said ice cream, I find many of the additions unnecessary, but a few work well. Greenery like parsley or blended arugula work very nicely, sun-dried tomatoes in oil are a great addition (but a bit fussy), lots of lemon, cumin and additional garlic is great. You can kick-it-up to five-alarm status by stirring in pureed canned chipotles in adobo, which tastes amazing but is culinary masochism at it’s best. Peanut butter approximates the traditional tahini, or you can use the real stuff (which I have in the past) to give it body. I like more Mediterranean tastes in mine, but the only way you’ll know for sure is to try a few. Experiment with your dippers as well. If you come up with anything strange and wonderful, let us know!
Hummus is great because it can serve as a great party food, an appetizer, a fast light meal or a member of a dinnertime ensemble. Hummus, in many ways, is like a big bowl of potato chips. You can certainly eat the entire thing in one sitting, or you can leave it out and grab little bits over a period of many hours. Unlike potato chips, though, this is way better for you. So, until next time, friends, cook on!