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Thursday, April 19, 2012

pasta with garlicky broccoli rabe

easiest garlicky broccoli rabe pasta

In my humble opinion, there’s cooking and there’s cooking. (I know, I’ll just give you a minute for the staggering profundity of that sentence to kick in.) What I mean is, it’s one thing to turn banana bread into a crepe, that crepe into a cake, that cake into a vehicle for walnut butterscotch, drooling, diet-postponing, and seconds, and it’s an entirely other thing to find yourself at the playground at 5:15 p.m. and realize a) you don’t actually have anything in the fridge that you can turn into dinner, b) you, in fact, barely feel like cooking, in fact, your interest in cooking is only a single degree stronger than your desire to order in, so this better be easy, and c) the adjacent farmers market which you have heard from others boasts ramps and asparagus and spinach and other new! spring! delights! in fact, at the tail end of the day, boasts few things aside from a straggler of a single bundle of broccoli rabe. And you like broccoli rabe, you’ve warmed to it quite a bit since you’ve accepted it into your life, but you hardly excel in turning it into a lightning-quick, lazy, and completely satisfying dinner (or LQLACSD for short).

all you need: oil, pasta, garlic, rabe, pepper
mowing the rabe lawn

Or, I didn’t before last Wednesday afternoon. This thing where you can grab anything at random without a shopping list in hand or recipe in mind and transform it effortlessly into a LQLACSD, this is real cooking. This is what separates those grandmothers that cranked out dinner like clockwork every night for 60 years, that didn’t throw in the towel because they only had canned peas and stale rice in the pantry, from the dilettantes. And people? Over 750 recipes into this site, I’m still getting there. Sometimes a simple recipe, one that you make once and instantly memorize and throw into the dinner rotation, helps.

pretty, pretty pasta ("campanelle")

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

buttermilk roast chicken

buttermilk roasted chicken

Without a doubt, the very best part of fried chicken is the battered, seasoned, gold-tinged and impossibly crisp exterior. But, as far as I’m concerned, the tender chicken within is no distant second. The best fried chicken recipes have you soak the uncooked chicken in a salty/sweet brine of buttermilk and seasonings for at least day, resulting in meat that’s decadent long before it hits the fryer. Wouldn’t it be great if the insides could garner the same gushing their pretty skins do?

the next evening
drizzled lightly with olive oil

This is what I was thinking of when I stumbled on an old Nigella recipe for buttermilk roasted chicken. Of course, that was four weeks ago and for three of them, I sat at a table piled with eraser dust and red pencil overlooking the avenue below, editing away dreaming mostly of the buttermilk chicken I would finally make when I was done. The recipe turned out to be a good place to start, but I wanted more — a longer soak, more salt, less oil, more garlic and, for some reason, I felt the recipe was itching for paprika. So, I went another round with it last night — finishing it with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of more paprika and flaked sea salt before roasting it — and this, at last, was the buttermilk chicken I had dreamed about.

sprinkled with paprika and sea salt

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

carrot soup with miso and sesame

carrot soup with miso and sesame

I hadn’t meant for this soup to be so quintessentially early January — that would be, virtually fat free, dairy free, gluten free (miso dependent), vegan and the very picture of healthful do-gooding. It’s about one cube of tofu away from earning a halo or at least being surrounded by singing cherubs. In fact, if you advertised a soup to me with all of those qualities, I’d probably run in the other direction because I am a dietary heathen, and I love butter, even if overdoing it in December now requires it in moderation. For the rest of time.

looks like january
carrots, trying to be artsy

In fact, the reason why I made this soup is because, in general, I don’t find carrot soups all that interesting and wanted to challenge myself to make one I’d love, and eat often. I turned to one of my favorite dressing recipes for inspiration — the ginger-carrot-miso awesomeness most of us know from sushi restaurants — and decided to mash up a miso and carrot soup.

ribbons of peels

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, October 20, 2011

cumin seed roasted cauliflower with yogurt

with feta-yogurt, pomegranate, mint

I do this dreary thing every October where I decide on the first day that requires a scarf and a hustle in your step to keep warm that the long, gloomy descent into winter has begun and soon the world will be brown, gray and frozen and this will continue until April or beyond and I might as well stock up on some farro and root vegetables and climb into my igloo because that’s all there will be for a long time. I am clearly no fun at all, and also a little blind as I declare this while stepping over crinkly flame-throwers of leaves, while the sky is still fantastically blue and generally, without even have stepped through a farmers market. Because the markets? Are actually as pretty as they get all year, tables overflowing with everything from carrots to late summer squash, hearty greens, tiny pumpkins, marble-sized potatoes and great big globes of broccoli and cauliflower. It’s now or never to haul it home.

hello, pomegranate season
berries of winter

In the early days of blogging, the phrase Cheese Sandwich Blogs was used to unkindly refer to blogs so dull that their authors would even describe what they had for lunch that day. What we learned, in theory, was that nobody cares what you had for lunch. And yet? I’m going to tell you anyway, because it’s been abysmal: Twice this week already, it’s been cold cereal. Last week was a string of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the kind of bread that I purchased for its extended shelf life. I’ve been passing lattes off as breakfast (it’s French and cosmopolitan, right?) and I think we’ve ordered pizza for dinner three times in three weeks (leading to three next-day lunches of cold leftover pizza). As it turns out, even people who love to cook more or less eat terribly when they’re working around the clock to meet a deadline. Or, ahem, have missed a deadline, not that anyone is counting. But today, today I had this for lunch and the world has so much brighter since.

mm, brains

Continued after the jump »

Monday, September 12, 2011

red wine chocolate cake

red wine chocolate cake

Saturday night, New York City was the loudest I’d heard it in a long time. I should preface this by saying that I live in a noisy part of an already noisy neighborhood and under the best of circumstances — NYU students gone for the summer, long holiday weekend, rain — there’s always a Saturday night ruckus. But this was something else. This woke me up. I swear, I heard a trumpet, more sirens than feasibly possible, people cheering like the Yankees had won the World Series (did they? no wait, something about football?) and when I went to the window, I saw a Vespa go down the sidewalk and I couldn’t get back to sleep. For the eve of such a somber anniversary, there was hardly anyone bummed out after midnight. I like that about this place, even grudgingly, even at 1 am.

the line-up, with bedell first crush!

I don’t have a 9/11 story. It barely happened to me. I mean, it very much happened to me, it happened to my city, I lived here at the time and it broke my heart. But I didn’t work down there, I didn’t know anyone that did, and were I to spin any kind of dramatic retelling, it would be inauthentic as it’s just not my story to tell. I wasn’t even on the island at the time, as I worked in the Bronx back then and I remember, distinctly, and in hardly my finest moment, feeling like I immensely hated my life right then, stranded miles and miles from everyone I cared about, stuck at the kind of job where they asked you to get back to work shortly after the first plane crashed. I wanted a different path, I just didn’t know how to forge it for myself.

swirly batter

Continued after the jump »


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