This is one of those dishes that is home to me. It comes out all piping hot and bubbling from the oven and you present it simply to your guests. You cut the flaky, tender crust into wedges so everyone gets a good piece and dish out the aromatic, creamy filling. The result is warmth and nourishment to the belly — pure rapture — and a dish that makes everyone feel like royalty.1 Comment » Keep reading »
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I grew up in a family that still made good of our leftovers. We pan-fried leftover grilled corn, made meatloaf, stuffed all sorts of vegetables, made soup with bits and bobs of meats and leftover rinds and things. At times I thought it was amazing and at times a cruel joke. Do they really think I’m not going to notice that the corn in my fritter is from the half cob I refused to finish yesterday?! My attitude towards leftovers depended on age, and whether at that age I saw my parents as gods or messengers of evil, plotting against me. Reinventing foods to make something new and possibly more satiating is no laughing matter. It requires gusto which my mother has in spades. Many of the soups, stews, loafs, and stuffings we revere come from these humble roots.
When Anjuli and I get together in a kitchen it is like the improvisation that goes on between jazz musicians. She has an idea and it sparks me, I enhance on it, back and forth we go until, from these sparks, a dish is created. It just flows from mind to mind and heart to heart with no effort and no ego. It is quite amazing to me. I used to sing in the 60s with a partner. Sometimes we would hit a perfect note together. The feeling of the perfection of the note would make the hair stand up on the back of my neck. It had a life of its own. When Anjuli and I cook together sometimes we create a dish that feels like that. We can just feel that it is right.5 Comments » Keep reading »
…November 11, 2009 in Connecticut, around 3:30pm to be exact…
Girl wants to make soup for boy on a chilly afternoon. A lazy, delicious conversation ensues.
Boy: What do we have on hand?
Girl: Turnips, carrots, onions, potatoes, and homemade soup stock, some tomatoes, cannellini beans, and all the spices and herbs (at least dried) we could want. Let’s stick to the things that are in season together, and nix the tomatoes. I’ve never made a turnip soup, but let’s try one. They’re a little starchy, sweet, and a little tangy, I think. That’s a good place to start.
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We’ve been moving around quite a bit lately, so it’s been hard to find the time to soak beans. Ah, bean soaking. That cooking activity we all say we don’t have time for but of course we do. Well I’ve also grown tired of using canned chickpeas when I’m in the need for some hummus. And the colder it gets, the more I like the idea of a spread and some toasted pita fresh from the oven. While the unsalted kind can work, the texture of the beans many times turns out mealy, and sometimes doesn’t accept any moisture at all. You wind up with an incredibly green, greasy, ball of chickpea dough spinning around and around in your food processor. Not cool. Amusingly enough, this is the first dish Matt and I attempted together, and basically how he was introduced to my cooking. Note to self: salting too early makes for not awesome mouth feel and impermeable starches and proteins.
You can never, ever, go wrong with this anatomy for a sandwich: crust, spread, something crunchy, something moist, and something savory. This simple formula has made some seriously classic sandwiches. Whenever I come across a sandwich in my path that I don’t particularly like, it’s always missing one of these elements. Open any fridge in any household and, dorm room kiddie fridges aside, you can almost always find the ingredients to make something delectable for lunch that fits between two slices of bread.2 Comments » Keep reading »
Grain salads can be your best friend in summer. You usually have something fresh on hand or something to get rid of, it’s all about the produce, and it’s so f*cking hot you want something cooling and excellent that doesn’t require being chained to the stove. In summer you’d be hard-pressed to find a blog or site that doesn’t include a “new spin” on this old favorite. When I found a bag of hard red spring wheat berries in the cabinet I thought I’d give it a try. Since I am not a fan of being slave to recipes (or my stove in summer, apparently), I spent a little time researching what goes well with these grain salad things people love so much.4 Comments » Keep reading »
When I think of dinner parties, I think of time I will be spending in the kitchen. My recent adventure actually left leisure time for relaxation and conversation BEFORE DINNER WAS SERVED. Shocker. There was exceptional kitchen help and there was also chicken adobo. Crowd pleaser. Leftover king. Low-key, accommodating, with some natural charisma and a lot of flavor.12 Comments » Keep reading »
Aki came over for dinner last night and we tried to do all the dirty work in advance. However, we seem to go at our own pace when cooking, and things rarely turn out like magic. After a bit of practice with this recipe, the 10 minute theatrics of making the curry come to life will surely be something to save for the crowd. The spicy and very savory curry of this dish goes well with the softness and sweetness of the fish. The shallots are similar to the small pinkish onions found all over India, and give a more complex flavor than yellow onions.7 Comments » Keep reading »