May, 2007 Archive

Thursday, May 31, 2007

zucchini carpaccio salad

zucchini carpaccio salad

Here in the Northeast, where our winters get frigidly cold and our summers are known to snap into the high 90s for days on end, I have a somewhat sinister theory about the weather, and that is that it’s mocking you. It’s waiting for you to snap and when you do, it has a hearty laugh at your expense. Bust out the ski jacket, 20-foot scarf and Gore-Tex accessories the first cold day in October? Snicker, snicker. Sink down in front of the a/c with a bag of ice on your forehead the first 90-degree, 100 percent humidity day in June? Imagine the sun’s Mr. Burns-ian cackle, muttering “excellent.”

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but hoo boy, is it hot up in NYC right now–and it’s not even June yet, which means that it’s too soon to succumb to bowls of icy granita and dinners of frozen grapes and proscuitto-wrapped melon. Fold your cards now, and what will you do when summer really steps up to the plate (and God-willing, the Yankees) in July? Nope, no, can’t have it. But it doesn’t mean that tonight is not as good of a night as any to take a step back from the stove with something I fell upon two nights ago that was so gorgeously simple and different, I could imagine it keeping us cool all summer.

salted and soaking

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

strawberry-rhubarb crumble

strawberry-rhubarb crumble

I’ve baked more fruit crisps in the last few years than I could count on both my hands and all of your toes. And no matter which sweet thing has managed to find its way into my gaping maw between crisps, it’s damn near guaranteed that I’d have preferred that it had been some variety of baked fruit, in its countless incarnations. There’s been an apple-fresh cranberry, apple-raisin, apple-pear, peach, peach-blueberry, peach-raspberry, mixed berry and one day, hopefully very soon, there will be a mango and also a sour cherry.

strawberries, rhubarb

But before we get into my new favorite topping, let me give you a rough outline of the makings of any baked fruit crisp. Fruit of your choice is washed, prepped and coarsely chopped and tossed in its baking dish (usually, a deep dish pie pan, but it can be scaled up easily to a 9×13) with somewhere between two tablespoons (for a not very leaky fruit) to half a cup of flour (berries, I’m looking at you), some sugar (more for rhubarb, way less for peaches), a pinch of salt and some flavoring, be it lemon juice, cinnamon or a scrape of vanilla. Go wild. The topping always begins with melted butter, because it’s the easiest and it has never failed me, a few tablespoons of brown, white or crunchy sugar, and a mixture of flour/oats/finely chopped nuts or just flour. This mix is spread over the fruit mixture and popped in the oven for 40 to 60 minutes, while a resolution-weakening aroma wafts through your apartment. There is simply nothing not to love.

strawberry-rhubarb crumble, ready for the oven

Continued after the jump »

Friday, May 25, 2007

such a fine and natural sight

homemade bbq sauce, tiny brushfinished slaw

As we often do at the end of a summery day, Alex and I had a barbecue last night. No, we haven’t moved out of our “penthouse,” nor have we figured out how to reappropriate our one square-foot fire escape landing as a deck, nor did we didn’t schlep out to Brooklyn where open spaces are less of an anomaly. Nope, we had it right inside our own apartment. Alex made a massive batch of “his” barbeque sauce, I made the baked beans, we slivered some cabbage and tossed it with coleslaw dressing, seared some chicken sausages from Whole Foods (that completely freaked me out because they had black beans, whole ones, inside–ew) and popped open a couple cold ones.

margarita chickenbeans, beans, they're good for your heart...

When you’re as barbecue-obsessed as we are, you can’t be limited by your lack of grill and patio. These everywhere-but-nyc standards are just minor setbacks, wee hurdles to overcome. The only thing you really need for an awesome barbecue is good company and failure-free recipes.

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

coconut pinkcherry yogurt

coconut pinkcherry yogurt

Like ten zillion other brides with mile-long registries, I received an ice-cream maker as a wedding shower gift two years ago, but when I finally busted it out last summer, I ended up really struggling to find good recipes. Why so much sugar in a cantaloupe sorbet? Isn’t it already sweet enough? Why should I add an equal part of water to watermelon puree? It’s a weak flavor to begin with, why dilute it so? Why do so many frozen yogurt recipes call for oddities like gelatin and milk? Can’t you just freeze yogurt? These questions nagged at me as I tried recipe after recipe, and save for a single strawberry sorbet that I still dream of late at night, each final product disappointed me in the exact ways that I predicted it would.

Yet, being a newbie in the world of homemade frozen things, I lacked the confidence to go out on my own, which is why when my new best friend (shh, I haven’t told him yet) announced that his newest cookbook would be aptly titled “The Perfect Scoop” I just knew that it would have the guidance that I needed. By some obvious, glaring oversight on the purchasing department of my Chelsea Barnes and Noble had the nerve to not stock it, and in the two weeks between the time I ordered and received the book, my torture was increased tenfold by having to view countless other examples of the awesomeness of this cookbook.

Continued after the jump »

Monday, May 21, 2007

cellophane noodle salad with roast pork

cellophane noodle salad with roast pork

You know, it’s so easy to get in a rut. Invite some friends over, get what you need, hustle to have everything ready, as people arrive when they may either slightly over or undercooking certain things because it’s impossible to perfectly time, bring out a big platter or two of what-not, “ta-da!” it, dig in, eat and drink too much and well, then what? Is that all there is? It’s not the company but the routine threatens makes it less wild the eighth time around.

And I confess that I was looking for yet another Spring pasta dish when I ran across this recipe that was anything but what I ever thought I’d make. But like those red shoes (I bought mine in February, mind you) or that soft-spoken guy that is so not your type (I married mine almost two years ago), sometimes what you never predicted is exactly what you need.

pork tenderloin

Continued after the jump »


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