July, 2011 Archive

Saturday, July 30, 2011

corn, buttermilk and chive popovers

buttermilk popovers with corn and chives

I hope you didn’t think I forgot about you this week, or actually hopped on a plane to Mexico, as repeatedly threatened during last week’s taco fest. The truth of where I’ve been is far less interesting and could be roughly summarized as: man, am I a terrible cook this week. However, the week started out promisingly; I nailed a cookbook chicken dish on the first try (that I’d been certain would be no good at all) and brimming with confidence — maybe I should trust all of my cooking instincts! maybe I am good at this? — I decided to make a dish of slow-roasted vegetables that turn out should never have been slow-roasted, unless vegetable leather is your thing. Oops.

buttermilk, flour, eggs and corn
more corn

I gritted my teeth and decided to move on, as I had on my agenda to prove that my recent acquisition of a popover pan — yes, a pan that makes one thing, and one thing only, purchased by the person who used to insist that you buy no single-use items for a kitchen, unless your kitchen has cabinets by the dozen, in which case, can I borrow one? because I can’t fit this pan anywhere — had not been a late-night impulse purchase but a justified step in bringing us my idea of summery popover nirvana. Or something.

splattery batter

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, July 21, 2011

charred corn tacos with zucchini-radish slaw

charred corn tacos

I would not say that previous to the last year, we were not taco people. I can think of several carnitas that have brought me nearly to tears (and definitely to tears when they stopped delivering) and we’ve been doing an egg-tortilla thing for years. But at some point in the last six months, I got bit with the taco bug bad and now I can hardly think of anything else to eat. Saturday afternoon and the toddler is napping and suddenly we’re hungry? Black bean tacos! Nothing but a couple zucchini in the produce drawer? Roasted zucchini tacos for dinner! I’m about thisclose to becoming the sort of person who puts peanut butter and jelly on a taco. The taco has become the answer to all questions.

slaw to be
tiny matchsticks

It’s this obsession that finally got me to unearth a dish I’ve been meaning to put my spin on for two years. That’s more than a lifetime, if you’re this guy, and even he doesn’t know why it took me so long. The dish is called esquites and from what I understand but have sadly not yet experienced yet in person, it is a street snack in Mexico. Corn is cooked in butter with onions, garlic, chiles, an herb called epazote and salt. It’s then seasoned with lime juice, chile powder and served with mayo in small cups. Oh hi, are you still here? I’m not, because every time I read that description, I run to JFK and book the next flight to Mexico.

charring the corn, duck!

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, July 16, 2011

whole wheat raspberry ricotta scones

baked raspberry ricotta scones

This is the very first recipe I developed for my cookbook. It came as an accident — you would think that someone who spends as much time shopping for groceries as I do wouldn’t constantly run out of flour and cream mid-recipe but I’d surprise you — but I immediately fell in love with it and knew it needed a home in print. Over the last year, I made them whenever I’ve had an excuse and a few times that I didn’t. They fit so squarely within the vision I had for the book that when everything else felt impossible I’d think, “It’s okay. I’ve still got those whole wheat raspberry ricotta scones.” They made me happy.

I just read that back to myself and realize how weird it sounds. It’s been a weird year.

raspberries + flours
raspberries meeting their end

And then, just as quickly as I fell in love with them, I cast them aside for something else. One day in June, a day when I was playing around with breakfast recipes long after I promised I’d cut myself off, I made a new scone and without even blinking, swapped it in and kicked these to the curb. Poor scones; it’s not their fault they’re not the prettiest. They’re a bit craggy and their final shape is always hard to predict. The dough is messy — you cut raspberries right into it, like butter, but don’t worry, there is also butter — and it needs to be treated with a gentle hand. I had my reasons to give it the boot but still.

ricotta, heavy cream, yes

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, July 10, 2011

flatbreads with honey, thyme and sea salt

flatbreads with thyme, honey and sea salt

Crisp flatbread. Fruity olive oil. Nutty cheese. Warm honey. Faintly crunchy sea salt. Fresh thyme. I can probably skip the rest of the post, as what else is there to know? You might like all of these things separately but together: welcome to my latest addiction.

sea salt, olive oil, honey, cheese, thyme

This is straight off a restaurant menu, though I’m always a bit embarrassed to mention than lest someone from the kitchen of this impeccable restaurant be reading along at home and feel insulted by this bastardization of their worthy efforts. Maybe I got it all wrong. Maybe my memory failed me. Maybe they spent 24 hours kneading the dough to this work of flatbread art and I have the audacity to suggest that you can get equivalent greatness from something that comes together in 5 minutes. My aim to extol, not insult so let’s just call this an approximation of it.

spanish cheese

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

skirt steak with bloody mary tomato salad

skirt steak with blood mary tomato salad

Back when I started dreaming up a cookbook I would one day write, all I knew is what I didn’t want: I did not want to work every weekday, weekend and evening on it, I did not want to set an insanely close deadline and then have to hastily throw together a book I wasn’t pleased with and above all else I did not want the time I had to devote to this web space to become squeezed, although I understood that there would probably be a harried point right near the end that all three rules could be suspended for a good cause. And indeed, they have been. I hope to deliver my manuscript in August and it’s pretty all-consuming right now — in a good way, because I’m finally starting to see the whole thing coming together. So, if things are a bit slow between now and then, do understand that I cannot wait until late summer when my attentions can be what they were before my son was 4 months old, and instead of doing normal New Mom things like catching up on sleep or rounding up preschool applications (ha!), I decided that at my earliest convenience, I would write a book instead.

ready to begin
sherry vinegar-ing the onions

Nevertheless, not a day goes by when I do not cook and this past weekend, it was my favorite kind: the lazy kind, mostly whims. On Friday, well, Friday was a crazy day and I’ll tell you about that real soon. It involved a cake I’m auditioning for the cookbook and a late summer dish I’ll tell you about even sooner. Also: photographers. It was a little scary, but it ended with some Vermontucky Lemonades, so I didn’t mind. On Sunday, I caved to the blueberries and peaches and decided to make two pies, but left one with my in-laws and delivered another to friends at their new house and can’t tell you how they came out because I wasn’t there when anyone cut into them. But warm pie fresh from the oven? I’m going to assume nobody complained. On Monday, I made a slaw and baked America one of those goofy berry-topped birthday cakes before heading out to watch the sun set behind Manhattan and catch the faintest glimpse of the New York Fireworks West Side of Manhattan and New Jersey Fireworks with friends.

so many tomatoes

Continued after the jump »


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