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Friday, June 4, 2010

lamb chops with pistachio tapenade

lamb chops with pistachio tapenade

One thing I am realizing about going a long time without eating meat (15 years) followed by a relatively short time eating as a moderately enthusiastic meat eater (5 years and change) is that it doesn’t always occur to you to include it in meals. In fact, I have apparently only made four dishes on the site this year that include meat, and two were briskets for big dinner parties. With a fridge bursting (literally; if you can find room for a jar of mayo in there, you’d be my hero) with spinach and scallions, radishes, real baby carrots, sugar snaps, shelling peas and tiny freshly-dug red potatoes rolling off the top, I can hardly imagine why I’d need to roast a chicken. But when I was going through my (very, very, very long) list of Recipes I Want To Try last week, these lamb chops jumped out at me, promising to at least temporarily break me out of my asparagus — hashed! ribboned! tossed with pasta for one! — rut.

toasted pistachios
flat-leaf parsley

There were three big sells on this recipe for me, the first being Anne Burrell: I love everything she cooks. The second was that these chops are entirely in the kitchen and I had no idea you could make great lamb chops without a grill. Related, reason three is that, I only recently discovered that I like, nay, love lamb chops. Adore them. In fact, I think my enjoyment of lamb chops — versus dabbling in ribs or a vague appreciation of steak — is pretty much the only thing that makes me a “real” meat eater these days, which I define as liking the taste of something so much, you’d even enjoy it plainly, just salt and pepper on a grill. That’s love, right?

capers, pistachios, olives, parsley, garlic
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Monday, May 24, 2010

scrambled egg toast

scrambled egg toast with goat cheese

Let me get this out of the way from the get-go: I cannot believe I’m discussing scrambled eggs today. I like to think of myself as somewhat particular in vetting out what I think is worthy or not worthy of your humble click over here, and I can’t say that scrambled eggs would normally make the cut. In fact, if you are happy with your scrambles, if you’re pretty sure you’ve got that whole moving the egg around the pan thing down pat, I won’t even be offended if you come back next time, when I figure out what to do with the four pounds of strawberries in my fridge. Or last time, when we made rhubarb tarts.

egg pretties

But this is for the rest of us, myself even, who do not let anyone else, not restaurant, not short-order griddle guy at the bodega, nobody, make our scrambled eggs. Because they are, almost without fail, terrible: dry, stiff and overcooked with a telltale brown spot where they stuck to the pan, forgotten. Shudder. Scrambled eggs are best made at home, and where their path from frying pan to plate to fork to your belly is as short as possible. Scrambled eggs should have a short lifespan.

fork beaten

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

shakshuka

shakshuka

There are a lot of reasons to make shakshuka, an Israeli Tunisian dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce: It sounds like the name of a comic book hero. Or some kind of fierce, long-forgotten martial art. Or perhaps something that said comic book hero would yell as they practiced this elaborate martial art, mid-leap with their fist in the air.

peppers, garlic, onion and tomatoes
garlic, chiles and onion

Or you could make it because when I talked about making eggs in tomato sauce a while back a large handful of comments were along the lines of “oh, this sounds like shakshuka” and “I think you would love shakshuka” and “you really should make shakshuka” and you may have shrugged and forgotten about it until you finally had it at a café one day and whoa it turns out you really would like shakshuka!

peppers and onions

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Friday, February 12, 2010

spaghetti with cheese + black pepper

black pepper and cheese spaghetti

Alex and I had an accidental date a few weeks ago, accidental in that we set out to take a walk but the conversation quickly turned to “I wonder if we could get a table at Lupa.” The answer, by the way, should be no. One can never get a table at Lupa. They don’t take many reservations, they’re not very big and just about everyone in New York City loves to drop in there for a meal. It is for this pile of reasons that we’ve never been. Or we never had been. Because that evening, there was exactly one eensy little table free and there we were, having an impromptu dinner out on a weekday night, something that would have been nothing out of the ordinary, say, five months ago but as parents to a young dough ball, it was nothing short of earth shattering.

lots of freshly, finely ground black pepper
finely grated romano

I ordered a beer and the spaghetti, well, the bavette or linguini fini, but for the purpose of this story, it will be spaghetti because it was just that humble. When I trust that a place won’t disappoint, I have a tendency to order the plainest thing on the menu, hearkening back to my deep-seated belief that great chefs make you wonder why you’ve wasting so much time with gimmicky sea salts and foie anything when you could be eating a perfect bowl of spaghetti. And this cacio e pepe? It sang to me. Well, sang and then admonished, as food often does in my presence, “seriously, lady, why haven’t you made this yet?”

spaghetti, al denteish

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

walnut pesto

walnut pesto

I really, really like walnuts. They manage to be vaguely sweet but still meaty and they have this slight bitterness that goes with, well, everything. I like the way they round out the sweetness in these amazing walnut tartlets in the archives that I’m certain get overlooked by everyone but me, and contrast the sweet figs in this biscotti.

walnuts, garlic, parmesan, thyme...

But I think they get especially awesome in savory applications, and not just as an accent to pasta or a salad. This “pesto” caught my eye — in an article about wine bars moving beyond serving the ubiquitous olives and cheese plates, something I can totally get behind — because it’s not basil pesto with a few walnuts for good measure, it’s not an olive tapenade with crunch, it’s actually a base of coarsely ground walnuts picked up with garlic, sherry vinegar and sundried tomatoes.

walnut pesto

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