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Dark Plum Sparklers

Labor Day weekend is almost here, and while some may be celebrating because their kids are back in school, I’m celebrating because it’s definitely the best time of year for produce. Tomatoes are hitting their peak, stone fruits are flourishing, and some of those early autumn treats are starting to trickle into stores and farmers markets. One of the things I really miss about living in New York was going down the Union Square Greenmarket during this time of year, because leaving the subway station around 15th street by the NQR line meant that you would be inundated by the heady scent of the best produce the market had to offer as you walked up the stairs, and inevitably you would then be smack in the middle of so many possibilities. It seriously ranks up there on my list of favorite smells along with the Mediterranean Sea.

In honor of the holiday weekend and the bounty of deliciousness at your disposal right now, I’m going to share some of my favorite ways to enjoy the best the season has to offer. Read More

Rockfish ceviche

In my ongoing commitment to not complain about the days when they get too hot or humid here, I’m instead leaning into it by relying on ceviche on days when even thinking about turning on the stove seems too unbearable. The beauty of having Cross Street Seafood and Kwon’s Fresh Produce so close by means that whenever the inclination hits I can take fifteen minutes and pick up a gorgeous fillet of fish and whatever ingredients I need to make it happen. 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

Apricot-ed Pork with Tomato and Stone Fruit Salad

The arrival of August brought with it significantly more comfortable weather than one would normally expect this time of year, but more importantly coincided with the arrival of The Mind of a Chef’s third season on Netflix. We had DVR’d as much of the season as we could last fall, but of course with the move we had to give up the box and either wait not-so-patiently to appear on our streaming networks or bite the bullet and buy the season outright. (We probably would have done the latter if PBS didn’t break up the DVDs by chef, which is kind of annoying on their part, but so it goes.) Like season two the episodes are split between two chefs, with the first half devoted to Edward Lee (he was on the ninth season of Top Chef) and the second to Mangus Nilsson (his restaurant in Sweden is ranked 25th-best in the world as of 2015). They both bring some really interesting worldviews to the series, whether it’s ice fishing in the pale blue dawn or taking us through favorite haunts in Queens, and their styles of food are both so different from what we usually make that it’s so much fun to immerse yourself and binge-watch the whole series at once. Read More

Almond Mussels

It was a couple of weekends ago now on one of the few lazy Sundays we’ve had in a while and I was completely lacking any inspiration on what to make for dinner that night. I knew we were going to have steak because Michael had been letting one dry out for a day or so in the fridge (not so much dry-aging but just letting some of the moisture of the steak soak into a paper towel–it does make for a really good at-home slab of beef) and so really I needed to think of what could go well with that. Neither pasta nor bread/toast felt right for that night, so I started flipping through A Kitchen in France and immediately landed on Mimi Thorisson’s almond mussels.

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Hummus Kawarma from Jerusalem: A Cookbook

Given everything that’s going on in my newly-adopted city, it feels frivolous to post about food and recipes as if everything is awesome which is why I’ve been a bit quiet around here. It’s definitely been a surreal few days, from meeting Bryan Voltaggio and getting his latest cookbook at the Orioles game on Saturday to then being detained for a bit towards the end of the game, and then of course the events from earlier this week. You can still feel a little tension in the air, even around my neighborhood–everyone is trying to look out for everyone else and make sure they’re doing OK, which seems to be the dominant. Being as new to the city as we are, I feel ill-equipped to write about it at length, but here are some really thoughtful, interesting perspectives from people who understand the city and its dynamics far better than I do.

Of all of the positive pictures that have begun circulating on the internet as the city both cleans itself up and continues to protest, this lady (and the others who were burning sage along with her) has been giving me all of the feels as I write this.  Read More

 

Open-Face “Bikini Comerç 24” Crostini

Writing about Tapas 24 in Barcelona has been on my to-do list since we finished our lunch there three and a half months ago, but I hesitated only because I was determined to offer a reinterpretation of one of the dishes we had and it took a little time to get it right. My notebook is covered with sketches of ideas and I’ve tried a few different iterations over the past few months, and I think I am satisfied enough to provide you with a delicious, very simple canapé for any New Year’s Eve celebrations. Better yet, it will not require to you get your hands on a fresh black truffle. (I know, I know—how magnanimous of me. You can hold your applause until the end.)

A moment of relative quiet in Tapas 24.

Tapas 24—it probably helps to add some context—had long been on my list of must-visit places in Barcelona (it’s strongly recommended by the crew at Barcelona Wine Bar via its guide to the best in Spain), but it was only on our most recent trip that we were able to make that a reality. The chef Carles Abellan was an acolyte of Ferran Adrià before setting out on creating his own little empire of restaurants, and Tapas 24 became the more casual offshoot of his first restaurant Comerç 24. Michael rightly likens the atmosphere of the place to that of a bustling train station, only I can assure you that the food is far better even than the likes you would find at Grand Central Terminal. There’s a set menu of classics plus daily specials, and during our meal we were both able to find a favorite off of each menu. While Michael preferred the pork belly with cabbage, shallots, and butter lettuce, I was partial to the bikini Comerç 24 for reasons that will be wholly unsurprising.

Bikini Comerç 24.

To be completely honest, I was a little mad at this sandwich because it’s simply black truffle, mozzarella di bufula, and jamón ibérico pressed between two pieces of white toast and cut into triangles, but all was quickly forgiven when I bit into the first one. My eyes bugged out (so much that Michael kept taking pictures of me diving into the rest of the plate) and I had to pace myself from wolfing down the whole plate before he could even get a taste. Even in the haze of a sandwich-induced stupor I knew that I’d want to revisit this again and again, so once we got back from our trip I started my experiments shortly thereafter. Read More

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