I had invited Priscilla for her birthday, but I was a little cooked out and couldn’t come up with anything to make. I started dreaming about the ingredients I knew she’d love – a stew of shrimp, chicken and sausage kept popping into my mind and making me hungry. So I considered what would go well with this rather unconventional trio. The cuisine of the seafaring Portuguese and hearty southern stews seemed apropro, as did capers, some wine and of course my herbs. I wanted this stew to be hearty and full with some heat from Italian sausage, a hint of sea brine, and those perfectly pink shrimp and deep brown chicken thighs.1 Comment » Keep reading »
Meatballs in my family make their own meal. They’re palm-sized and ever so tender nestled in tomato sauce with rarely a carb in sight. You could bake them in the oven – yea you could – but we like them simmered until they are just barely held together. Mom recently bought half a whole hog which she split with her good friend Priscilla who lives up the road. They’ll be cooking everything save a few offal, including the head, which are illegal to ship outside state lines. She’s still waiting on the cured bits, but ground pork, raw sausage and chops have graced our table in the last few weeks. It’s damn good pork, out of a small farm in Maine. Today we broke out the ground pork and some grass fed beef.3 Comments » Keep reading »
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.
Tomatoes are awesome this year. They’re plump, juicy and bursting with flavor; no rot, no blights. YEAH! Tomatoes are such a satisfying thing to grow. Once you get the hang of it, your tomatoes will taste and feel infinitely better (and be infinitely cheaper) than what you can buy. As long as you stake them, you can grow tomatoes in the most minuscule of places – even on a fire escape in the heart of a city. Tomatoes, generally a vine crop, like to grow up, so you just need to give them a little support. You can grow cherry tomatoes in a pot, too.Leave a comment » Keep reading »
Rocky Durham said in a cooking class we took with him back in Santa Fe, if you put grilled in front of just about anything, people will buy it. Seeing as this Santa Fean chef launched a series of successful restaurants, all called Santa Fe with exactly this premise in mind, let’s humor him and give it a try. Salad. Grilled salad. Watermelon. Grilled watermelon. Pizza. Grilled pizza. Springer spaniel. Grilled springer spaniel. Well, you get the idea.3 Comments » Keep reading »
Is there anything sexier than a perfectly fried egg? Is there anything more arousing than that shockingly orange and plumped yolk, quivering and barely peeking through the white as you prick it ever so lightly with your fork? I think not. The delicious mess of ooey, gooey sunny yolk spilling forth all over your dinner is just about the best thing that could happen to anything. So why can’t restaurants, or diners for that matter, see the egg as anything other than a cheap, rubbery substitute for dinner?Leave a comment » Keep reading »
Last year was a bad year for peas in Simsbury. There was too much rain and the peas did nothing. Maybe I got one meal out of them. As the snow fell in January, Priscilla and I sat by the fire with a cup of tea and a basket full of seed catalogs. We browsed through the seed write-ups, dreaming about next year’s garden. We tried to imagine which peas, peppers, brussels sprouts, lettuces, or onions would do well in our Connecticut soil. We strategized on how to rotate our crops this year to defy the squash borers or the cabbage moths without using poison. We tried to guess how much of each vegetable our family would want to eat in 2010. Priscilla lives five minutes away and like me she has an organic garden. She spends every available moment during the school year and all summer amidst her tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries and her 1000 heads of garlic. She and I often plant different vegetables or different varieties and then share our harvests.4 Comments » Keep reading »
PDX, Stumptown, Beertown. In broad strokes (ahem, I’ve been here for a week and a half) Portland feels like Brooklyn on half-time. In place of Manhattan you have monstrous sequoias, pine trees, rivers, bikes, b*tches and beer. The people here are very vocal about putting their money where their mouth is. The city has become a nexus for organic eateries, gluten-free bakeries, and vegan and vegetarian everything (cookies, condoms, leather and lollipops). I’m not particularly prone to labels and imitations – on my food or otherwise, but it’s damn refreshing to be in a place where quality and conscientiousness are part of the baseline.1 Comment » Keep reading »
Matt and I did some driving during Christmas break. Quite a bit, actually. We finally, after almost 10 years, moved out of NYC. It involved not only an anticlimactic exit culminating in hours of Jersey traffic, but also countless hours packing our car chock full of everything we felt was worthy of making the trip. It was a liberating and slightly nauseating experience.
We drove 2,300 miles through PA, Ohio, and Missouri, narrowly missing the snowstorm I’m sure covered many of you back east. We then met up with the Mother Road, Historic Route 66 and drove through the heartland, across the Panhandle and into the Southwest. Our little car and all our worldly possessions headed up the mountain to Santa Fe, New Mexico on Tuesday, December 22rd. The following day we surprisingly found an adorable adobe house, were all starry-eyed at how this would never have been possible on Christmas Eve in NYC, and settled in for a dry, snowy Christmas.10 Comments » Keep reading »