March, 2010 Archive

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

spinach and chickpeas

spinach and chickpeas, espinacas con garbanzos

First off, this dish is not called “spinach and chickpeas”, it is espinacas con garbanzos. Don’t you agree? “Spinach and chickpeas” is something you eat because you should — it is healthy and you aspire to be. Espinacas con garbanzos is something you eat because it sounds sexy, and doesn’t taste half bad either. It’s hearty and smoky with a little kick, you eat it on little fried bread toasts at a tapas bar in Spain.

chickpeas, from the slow cooker

Or, you know, in New York City on another brutally rainy March night. My friend Ang had a tapas pot-luck last Friday (the baby ditched us for a better party at his grandparents house) and, yes, I brought a Spanish dish to a Spanish party that did not include a single format of pork. Wild! Hey, I figured others would have the chorizos and jamón serranos covered. Me, I wanted some Spanish comfort food. I’d tried a version of this dish a few years ago, thanks to the sweet nudging of Ximena at Lobstersquad and instantly loved it. It sounds like it would be too simple to hold your interest, perhaps something you’d eat because you “ought” to, but it tastes like something you’ll crave again and again.

draining the spinach

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Monday, March 15, 2010

irish soda bread scones

soda bread minis

Let’s just get this out of the way from the get-go — don’t let the title fool you. This here is American soda bread. It has raisins. It has caraway seeds. It has butter, eggs and even some sugar. It stales quickly, but not nearly as quickly as the authentic stuff (almost entirely comprised of flour, baking soda and buttermilk) would. Oh, and I made the “bread” into “tiny breads” and I liken them to scones. Look, when I blasphemize a recipe, I like to go all the way, okay?

mixing it up with a fork
gathering to knead the dough

So now that we got what they are not out of the way, let’s talk about what they are: a triumph! Okay, perhaps something less dramatic, but briefly in my kitchen on Sunday morning (before heading out to an afternoon in the apparent floodlands of Central Jersey), it sure felt like it. A month or so ago, I had spied a Irish soda bread scone at Whole Foods that was fairly run of the mill for a scone — dry and uninteresting; “soda bread” really in name only. And I got to remembering how much I like the crackly coarse crust and plush interior of a good Irish soda bread, not to mention that curiously addictive raisin-caraway combo and knew there had to be a way to make these the way I believed they ought to have been at home.

wee soda breads, scones

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, March 11, 2010

breakfast pizza

breakfast pizza, ready

My son’s favorite game in the whole world is Let’s Play With The Other Baby! You Know, The One We Keep In The Mirror. We bring him over to this giant mirror in the hallway and he goes berserk, he paws at the “other” baby, kicks his legs, squeals and laughs. It cracks us up too. Babies: they’re so cute when they’re kinda confused!

pizza dough, after night in fridge

It took us a few weeks to realize how sad this game actually is. My little monkey is so outgoing and eager to make friends that he’ll play with an imaginary baby that lives in the mirror to get his fix. Perhaps, we realized, hanging our heads in the shame of being the worst parents, ever, it is time for him to meet some other babies his age that he can paw and squeal at in person and they can hopefully paw and squeal back. But, of course, this isn’t a story about Jacob’s first playdate, it’s about what I made for breakfast.

cheese, scallions, herbs and bacon

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Monday, March 8, 2010

coconut milk fudge

coconut milk fudge

I’ve got a mad case of wanderlust. You’d think that after taking in vistas like this two weekends ago and this just yesterday, I’d be happy just to be here. But even New York City on the stunning brink between a snow-blanketed February and a shiny, breezy March aren’t enough to keep me from dreaming about South America. Northern Italy. India. China. Austria. Rome. Cuba. St. Louis, if it promises me more spun sugar cake. And now: Brazil.

rolling in chocolate vermicelli
rolling in pistachios

There was an article in the New York Times last week about how sweetened condensed milk is having a “moment” — apparently eschewed by food snobs, home cooks from Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean couldn’t care less as they know it’s the manna, the building block of many awesome things from Key Lime Pie to Vietnamese Coffee to Dulce De Leche. It’s okay, I’m drooling too.

rolling in toasted coconut

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

warm mushroom salad with hazelnuts

warm mushroom salad with hazelnuts

So, this is a tale of two salads. No wait, three. Okay, this is the tale of three salads. The first one crossed our table at brunch with my mother and the little pilot two weeks ago (you might remember that our last brunch together resulting in us obsessing over monkey bread; who knew brunch could be such a source of inspiration?) at one of my favorite local restaurants: warm mushroom, softly cooked, chestnuts cooked in brown butter, bacon lardons and a port reduction. We haven’t stopped talking about it since.

torn wild mushrooms

So, when I was looking for a salad to make for our accidental dinner party last weekend that did not hinge entirely on out-of-season always-going-bad-too-fast never-tasting-as-good-as-they-should salad greens and spied on a warm mushroom salad in the always-amazing Sunday Suppers at Lucques, I had a good feeling about it.

chives, shallots, hazelnuts, mushrooms

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