A couple months ago Matt and I stopped ingesting large sums of caffeine. For people who spend a lot of time at their computers – writing and programming respectively – this is sort of professional suicide. We cut out basically everything except chocolate. And I’m not saying we swapped it out for some English Breakfast or Mate, which. BTW, is NOT coffee, but a bitter tonic that makes you feel like your chest is in a vice grip. For people who know us, this was a huge red flag – not the first indication that we’d gone off the deep end. They assumed we were half way to converting to Jainism and wearing bug nets in front of faces so we didn’t, perchance, swallow an unsuspecting fly, and that our cussing had been reduced to references to sweet snacks. Naaah, we’re still us, just not artificially pepped up like jackhammers. Really, my body needed a break. The caffeine wasn’t working anymore. Part of me also assumed I’d be like all the other 20-somethings out there who look back fondly and sheepishly at that one glorious year after college when they attempted to get off the juice. Or that it would be like the time we went on THE MASTER CLEANSE. We subjected ourselves to a few days of eating lemons, grade A maple syrup and cayenne pepper before we broke down, partially because we could barely concentrate enough to remember to drink the stuff, and raced around Manhattan looking for maple sugar candy leaves or a maple tree to tap. This is before we realized Manhattan is not in New England.Leave a comment » Keep reading »
A couple weeks ago, our friend Gail brought us some ramps. She had carefully pulled them out by the roots in the woods at the corner of her yard, washed them off, and double bagged them. They sat in our fridge and I wondered what to do! Wild ramps are delightfully potent, sweet and tender but with a good kick, just like the good cousin of a leek would be. In sweet and early spring they are an incredible find. Come late and they will most certainly kick you on your ass. So they sat in the fridge while I thought of pestos and pastas and sauces and stuffings and such things.7 Comments » Keep reading »
The farmers’ market here, while quite small in the winter, is rightly so quite proud of its produce. We recently bought some sweet, purple garlic from friends of Matt’s Teague and Kosma Channing, who founded Gemini Farms outside of Santa Fe. We also brought home these two huge, beautiful ruddy beets.Leave a comment » Keep reading »
I sometimes realize how incredibly lucky we are that we all cook, not only cook but love to cook.
With all the holidays and a disaster or two thrown in, I have not had much time to write either on the blog to all of you or to work on our cookbook. I wanted an uninterrupted 3 hours or so with no other responsibilities so I could just dive in. Sometimes writing is like painting, it takes time to submerge yourself. That, in my experience, is when my writing starts to live and breath. Austin, Anjuli’s brother is back from Bulgaria. He is tall and lean and vegetarian. It is hard to keep him full. We all, including him, take turns.Leave a comment » 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 »
Choosing a healthy diet today isn’t easy. When I was a kid, class and religion still dictated most of our eating habits. Nowadays pollution, GMO, obesity, and big industry further complicate our choices. The concern over eating a tuna fish sandwich back then was the stink. Today it’s such a loaded issue I take pause before publishing the recipe.2 Comments » Keep reading »
Ceramic vessels have been used for cooking for centuries the world over. The sand pot in China, cazuela in Spain, and the tagine (tajine, or طاجين in Arabic) in Morocco all take advantage of ceramic’s porous nature and the moist environment created by these covered casserole vessels that release steam gradually. Vessels like these are used to cook food slowly, creating juicy and tender proteins simmered in rich, flavorful sauces with little need for additional liquid or fat. I recently bought a contemporary version of the tagine from the French company Le Creuset. Our first tagine dish was savory, a little buttery, with a kick of spice, and included incredibly moist, succulent fish and enough broth to dip bread in to our heart’s content. Oh joy.13 Comments » Keep reading »
Do yourself a favor. Make this for lunch tomorrow. A little party with smokey, spicy, and sweet is a good break from the monitor. These eggplant and shishitos came from the Union Square Greenmarket. The nightshades in this recipe are not skinned or seeded, so anyone avoiding the toxins beware. IMO spicy capsicums and larger eggplants are better skinned, but the smaller, milder ones are better whole (seeds and all). I also really love roasted garlic rubbed on toast, or roasted and just popped in your mouth. So, admittedly, when I assembled these sandwiches this morning I ate one clove and rubbed the other on the toasts.3 Comments » Keep reading »
The "nightshades" are out in abundance. Members of the Solanaceae family, among them peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and mushrooms are being harvested and brought to markets all over the east. Many nightshades are rich in alkaloids, chemical compounds that act as the plant’s defenses and can be toxic to us. The effects of their toxins can range from irritant (chilies) to stimulant (cocaine) to death (mushrooms such as the death cap). So lets just say the nightshade family has given us some of the best and worst of edibles.
On my recent trip to the market I couldn’t resist the brightly colored bell peppers (Capsicum Annuum), the only capsicum with a recessive gene for capsaicin, the heat-producing alkaloid that irritates the pain and heat receptors in the mouth and nose, and basically causes us to sweat and reach for the milk when we eat good salsa.1 Comment » Keep reading »
I have a thing for olives and chicken. In this recipe, the sweetness of the caramelized onions pairs nicely with the savory chicken salad. Tarragon is not appreciated enough. It’s a little sweet, has a licorice flavor and a hint of cinnamon.Leave a comment » Keep reading »