Grain/Rice Archive

Thursday, June 21, 2007

lemon risotto

that 70s salad

I hate clutter. You might think that this means that I live a Type A sort of white glove test-passing existence, but anyone who knows me can vouch wholeheartedly that I do not. Because I’m lazy. But every so often (er, 28 days or so) I go on a cleaning bender and purge and sweep to my heart’s content. My inboxes get Bit Literate, absurdly insignificant things get vacuumed (dusty ledge around the walls of the apartment, your days are numbered) and things cluttered in this ever-expanding document called “to blog” get purged, well, onto your screens.

I’ve gotten especially behind this month, so I hope you don’t mind that I dump five ideas onto you and then move onto what I really want to talk about, this new awesome thing that rhymes with nacro and nens. Sad but true, this entry is the equivalent of bartering two more bites of broccoli at the dinner table to ensure that you can get a scoop of Breyers Neapolitan for dessert, but like the brown, white and pink-striped stuff always was, I’ll try to make it completely worth it in the end.

dizzying array of cucumbers

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

barley, corn and haricot vert salad

arugula, green bean, corn and barley salad

I have an affliction of sorts; no matter how fantastic, transcendent a recipe has been or how much I’ve sung it’s praises from the high mountaintops, I almost never make it a second time. I thought I could blame this website, always pushing me forward and urging me to try new! different! shiny! things, but who am I kidding? I’ve always been this way. Though I always say I’m just looking for tried-and-true recipes to laminate, frame, and keep forever, those that will never fail you or me so that I can stop looking, it’s not true. I’m still looking. I’ll always be looking.

There are exceptions. In one week, I made the Black Bean Confetti Salad twice, shocking myself as much as my dining partner. There have been two batches of Russian Black Bread because a week without it is a week I don’t want any part of. As summer comes ’round again, I’ll be certain to make a new batch of barbeque sauce and the strawberry lemon sorbet so good, you’ll eat none other again. But for the most part, if I’ve cooked something that you’ve liked, you best stuff yourself good and well with it because you’ll probably never see it again.

haricot vert

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, March 25, 2007

risotto al barolo + green crostini


Notorious egos and generally making a spectacle of oneself kinda bore me, so it’s little surprise that I don’t share many New Yorkers enthusiasm for the orange clog man himself, Mario Batali. Sure, I’ve watched his Food Network show dozens of time and even found myself humming along to his opening music, yet all of this brouhaha around Del Posto as the ultimate embodiment of foodie excess has nauseated me. Even if I had the spare change for a $90 rack of lamb, I’d never spend it there, or on that, no matter how great those party-favor breadcrumbs are. So, it surprises me as much as it may you that I’ve eaten there not once, but twice in the last month, and loved every last bite of it.

risotto al barolo, i mean, sangiovese

Of course, I am not eating at the restaurant proper, but one of the best kept secrets on 10th Avenue — the Enoteca inside. Forty-one dollars buys you four courses, and an extra nineteen buy you a sommelier chosen wine pairing for each course. (Try not to groan when they bring you a Bastianich wine. I swear, it’s very good.) The food is some of the best Italian I’ve had in this city, comparable only to Al Di La in Park Slope, and it impressed both my parents when we went for their anniversary and Alex’s family, for his father’s birthday. I’ve tried the veal ravioli with cauliflower, gnocchi Bolognese, pork marsala and even a teeny, tiny whole chicken–no eggplant parmesan or meatballs as far as the eye can see. I may be tired of this guy’s overexposure, but the food goes a long way towards making up for it.


Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

bulgur salad with chickpeas and red peppers

bulgur salad

One thing I have heard a lot of since I launched this site but six months ago is “I just don’t know how you find all that time to cook.” And while my typical response is that “Oh, well I don’t have a life so that makes it really easy,” and I’m only a little bit joking — my office is 13 blocks from my apartment, I rarely work past 6:30 p.m., I tend to wake up hours before my husband on the weekends, eager to fiddle with recipes that would otherwise be too time-consuming, and I don’t have the energy or the liver to go out many nights a week anymore — the truth is that aside from making some fresh pasta with about two pounds of wild mushrooms two Sundays ago, I haven’t cooked dinner for us in weeks. And I hate it.

You know the song; gym, errands, dinners and drinks and too many nights of getting home with no energy or, frankly, ingredients to start anything but pasta with butter and garlic, delicious but probably not the best bang for your caloric buck. If you are what you eat, I should be about 50 percent steamed vegetable dumplings, 30 percent black bean soup, 10 percent tofu pad Thai and an equal part mushroom, leek and goat cheese crepe by now, and while all of these things are excellent examples of the range of auto-dial food available in my part of the island, it does not mean that they are met with any less groaning as we pour through white container after container, creating a hideous amount of both waste and food ennui. Sure, things do get prepared in the kitchen — a biga at 11 p.m. on a Saturday, a soda bread at 10 on a Thursday, a cake on a Saturday morning — but nothing before 9 p.m., or you know, pretty much the point-of-no-return to start home cooked weekday dinners.

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, March 15, 2007

mediterranean eggplant and barley salad

mediterranean eggplant and barley salad

I don’t know if the name for this affliction is procrastination–hey, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least, she says, eyeing the sinkful of last night’s dishes–but when I need to get things done, I have this bad habit of doing them either right-that-very-moment or pretty much never. When I return from a vacation, I either get every single thing out of that suitcase and into its proper closet or hamper within twenty minutes, or it sits on the floor of the bedroom for weeks, as it has since we’ve returned from Charleston. I return a garment I’ve changed my mind about the very next day, or it sits in a bag, as has a certain Banana Republic blouse, for six (cough, eight) months, my husband looking pointedly at it and then back at me often enough that I just downright ignore that too. Once something leaves my short-term memory, it may as well be lost for good, but in recipes at least, today I am on a rescue mission.

mediterranean eggplant and barley salad

You know, I’ve never been one to malign vegetables or healthy food, but I think that’s exactly what’s happened here. I don’t dive into posts about them the way I do with cakes, frosted, sprinkled, rolled, yeasted, basted, braised and pressed things; the more everyday stuff always ends up backlogged, and then accidentally forgotten. And it’s a shame, because if I had more of this Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad right now, I’d eat it for lunch and then dinner again.

Continued after the jump »