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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

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Massimo Botturra’s meat tortellini from Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef, finished in sage and brown butter.

Can I take a moment and say how smitten I am with the newest episodes of Master of None? We’re slowly making our way through the season–just one new one a week–and as such I feel like we’re SO behind because the various pop culture blogs I follow have already moved on to a bunch of other shows, like The Handmaid’s Tale and GLOW. (Both are really good, and I’ll be writing about the former in this space relatively soon.) Such is the internet in the age of Peak TV, but I still prefer savoring each episode on its own especially since it’s not clear if we’ll see another season of the show, much less one anytime soon. And given the ambition Aziz Ansari and his team had with this season, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be incessantly asked when the next batch of episodes would be coming because so many people burned through the current set so quickly. Read More

Spring Onion Frittata on Toast

Do you have those recipes where you have them flagged for seemingly ever but never bother to make them? On my list of those was a spring onion frittata from Franny’s meant to serve over toast. The primary reason why I held off on this, I think, was poor timing–whenever I would happen to flip through the book looking for meal ideas spring onions would never be in season, and while the recipe claims you can use scallions in their place, it didn’t feel like the same sort of recipe at all. Fortunately, Michael made a stop at the Teet on his way home from the airport two weeks ago to get some groceries for dinner that night, and was very excited to show me that spring onions were finally back in season. Finally remembering this recipe at the appropriate time, I bought another bunch the following weekend because by hell or high water, I was making this dish, goddamnit. I even made a special trip to Dawson’s by my office the day I planned to make it to get some good bread and actually make toast to serve with this. Read More

Chestnut-ricotta dumplings with butter and sage

A week before Christmas we had spent a quiet (and slushy) afternoon at Dinosaur Barbecue, and then like we always do we walked over to Whole Foods in order to get some food to make for a relatively light dinner given that we had just eaten some wings and sliders. I’m not sure what came over me while we were shopping, but I saw that they had bags of fresh chestnuts and I decided then and there I’d make something with them for Christmas dinner. (I partially blame the addition of the Silver Spoon’s Tuscany cookbook for this inclination.) After doing a little research I decided that I could fold in chopped up chestnuts into my favorite ricotta dumpling recipe, and the only question remained was how to cook them. Read More

Croque madame and croque monsieur, porquois pas les deux?

You guys, I’m pretty stoked about a plate, and I swear there’s a good reason for it.

If the design rings a bell for you, it’s probably because it’s based on a fairly famous wallpaper print by the company Scalamandre. If you ever went to the New York restaurant Gino’s in Midtown you would have seen the walls covered in this paper because it was specifically designed for this restaurant:

Gino’s in Midtown. Sadly, this place is now long-gone due to rent hikes. (source)

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Grilled Oysters with Horseradish Aioli and Pancetta

As a lover of all things oyster, I have to admit that usually my preferred mode of eating them is raw and right out of the shell, maybe with a little lemon, horseradish, or mignonette. I’ll enjoy a good fried oyster po’ boy from time to time, of course, but I never really warmed to the idea of grilled oysters until we finally had Drago’s chargrilled oysters as part of an early evening happy hour on our last New Orleans trip. The concierge immediately directed us to the Drago’s that’s in the Hilton Riverside, and while the decor there screams that you’re eating in a hotel bar, the food is far better than what you’d get at a normal hotel. The original Drago’s is in Metarie so it’s not as easy to get to if you don’t have a car, so for many visitors the Hilton location is a good compromise. Read More

Vermouth sabayon with mixed berries

Of all of the various foams I’ve tried out with my iSi whipper, the one that has dogged me the most has been sabayon. It was a little frustrating because it was one of the few desserts that I actually had a recipe to try out, but every time I made it so little of the sabayon actually dispensed that I was convinced that it was me doing something wrong and not the recipe.

I was encouraged to try it again after watching the Good Eats episode “The Proof is in the Pudding” recently, because Alton Brown makes a sabayon the traditional way but it looked like it might hold the secret to the issues I was encountering. It boiled down to a few key changes: Read More

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