July, 2010 Archive

Saturday, July 31, 2010

sweet and smoky oven spareribs

oven spareribs

On the kind of clear-skied, warm summer evening when people without sleepless, feverish babies to tend to were drinking beers outside and grilling on rooftop decks, we stayed in last night and, for once, did not feel the eensiest bit jealous. We were eating ribs for dinner and we hadn’t even needed to leave our apartment to get them.

two and a half slabs
for the rub

I never knew I could make ribs in the oven. I hadn’t even considered it. Ribs were the jurisdiction of trophy-winning Southeastern barbecue gurus, with trademarked rubs and secret mops. They were my friend Molly’s thing, and so we left them to her even though our summer has been woefully short of them since she left us for the mountains again, sniffle. They were not the “thing” of New Yorkers who live in small balcony-less apartments with smaller ovens and absolutely no barbecue tradition or rib religion to draw from, but Harold McGee changed all that. I am giving him a standing ovation as we speak.

patting the spice rub onin foil packets, ready to bakepierces with a forkdraining juices from rib packets

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

nectarine brown butter buckle

baked, buckled

I have to apologize in advance: this is a cookbook reject. I know! “A reject?!” you’re probably thinking. “Now why would I want your rejects?” Because this is a delicious reject; it failed because I decided to go in another direction, such a different direction that about the only thing the other one has in common is the word “buckle” and I’m probably renaming it anyway. Gosh, I sure like to make things difficult, though that’s not really news.

jersey nectarines
nectarine sections

Needless to say, working on a cookbook is keeping me busy. Well, that and this (and this lost kneecap; we can’t find it anywhere!). I’m learning a lot I probably should already know. Just Monday, I learned that if I didn’t bake a cake long enough, it would sink in the middle! The week before, I realized if I had my camera on the wrong settings, everything would come out blurry and I’ve have to start all over again. Because I’m cooking seasonally, I’ve learned that things only go out of season when you need them most. (Rhubarb, baby, come back! I wasn’t finished with you!)

batter

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

summer succotash with bacon and croutons

succotash with bacon, croutons

[Er, croutons not pictured.] Here’s the thing: If you told me you were serving succotash with or for dinner, I’d inwardly groan. People, I’ve had all sorts of succotash — a summery stew of corn and lima beans, often with tomatoes, yet still so bland that no added butter or cream saves it for me, and when adding butter and cream don’t save something for me, you know something is terribly wrong — and can’t think of one that I wanted to run home and make for myself. It might be because it’s usually in the off-season, when the above come frozen and no, it’s just not the same. It might also be because I once had a roommate that would open cans of succotash, not drain it, heat it in the microwave and eat it straight and guys, it’s been many, many years and still, my stomach turns. Don’t ever live with me. I’m a jerk.

corn, limas and cranberry beans
split cherries

But this is different. This was a midsummer dinner dream, the result of another bleachingly sunny, sauna of a day when I staggered around the market and realized if I put this stand’s corn and that stand’s shell beans and those purty tomatoes together, I might make a succotash that was worth writing home about. I wondered if you could pork it up. I wondered if I could pass it off as a main course. I came home with the haul of all hauls and discovered, as I often do, that Gourmet (moment of silence) had beaten me to it more than a decade ago. I love it when they do that.

lima beansspeckled and pink cranberry beansmmm, sweet crunchy corntomatoes, so fresh and so sweet

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

raspberry brown sugar gratin

ugly, wonderful things happened here

This is the ugliest, best thing I have ever made with three ingredients and the happy ending to three weeks of obsessing. And here you probably just thought it looked like an accident, didn’t you?

raspberries

This plan hatched last month when Regina Schrambling declared on Epicurious’ Epi-Log that one of the best ways to eat summer berries is to “just add fat” to them. Well, she didn’t have to ask me twice! Buried near the end of the post, however, is the real gem, a summary of a recipe from New American Classics by Jeremiah Tower (I thought his hair looked familiar…) in which berries, sour cream and dark brown sugar are broiled together in a shallow dish to create something he calls a “Russian Gratin.”

ingredients
piling in the berries

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

scalloped tomatoes with croutons

scalloped tomatoes, seriously

The Food Network had the audacity (I am joking, a little) to air an episode of Barefoot Contessa in which she makes a “scalloped” dish with bread cubes, garlic, basil, Parmesan and the brightest most summer-bursting-forth, musta-tasted-like-the-heavens-above, thanks-for-rubbing-it-in-guys tomatoes over the winter, when there was absolutely nothing I could do to bring this dish into my kitchen. It wasn’t fair. It felt outright mean. For people as berserk about summer tomatoes as I am — people who avoid them in the off seasons, when they’re tomatoes in name only — being reminded of that which is as impossibly far off as the notion that there are days in the summer that are so hot, we actually long for the kind of weather that requires Gore-Tex and hot cocoa. It’s basically crazy talk.

basil, tomatoes and bread
grated parmesan

Well, that day is today. Seriously, every time I arrive at the market during this wretched July, I am so hot, I’m almost dizzy (Do I remember my water bottle? Of course not. Do I feel like a tool for whimpering over the heat while carousing with people who work in fields all day? Um, yup.) and I cannot remember a single thing I had meant to buy because the sun, it’s like blistering my brain and ooh look! Tomatoes! Ah, summer, that’s why I keep you around.

tasty tomato-ness

Continued after the jump »


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