In the words of my father, “Darlin, you really went to town on lunch.” Well, not exactly. What he was referring to was our lunch today of mushroom barely and chicken soup with focaccia. The focaccia was made last night by Matt in a baking frenzy – or as much as rolling out pizza dough and topping it with rosemary and goat cheese and little slivers of onions can be considered a sudden impulse. Yet focaccia does lend itself to a certain spontaneity and resulting crusty satisfaction. And we had mom’s post fresh in our heads to fuel the fire. While the dough was being rolled I stuffed a chicken in a pot, covered it in water and made the fixings of a good stock. After an hour or so of ever so carefully simmering the contents – which on mom’s stove requires a ton of finagling of knobs and peeking under the cocked lid to make sure the bloop, bloop is constant – we took the chicken out. I had started to feel the kind of crappy where your head is stuffed with foam and your kidneys hurt and you just want to lay on the floor in the kitchen and moan. So I lay there, perfectly useless, while Matt pulled apart the steaming chicken with a fork and a thumb. I did emerge a few times to pull dark chicken meat from the bowl and pop it in my mouth. I think boiled chicken may still rival the roasted kind in my book. Then we threw the bones back in and continued to barely simmer the stock, for what was supposed to be two more hours. At this point you’re aiming to get all the gelatin out of the bones. Well, unsurprisingly, we fell asleep somewhere in there and woke up at 2am to find the stock had been going strong for three long hours. It was down to about 2 inches in the pot including bones and vegetables and such. Ooops. It smelled divine, but we effectively had the essence of chicken stock, boiled down to very little. Matt strained it while I wobbled around, brushing my teeth, thinking about stock and getting into bed.4 Comments » Keep reading »
If I want something impromptu that I can whip up from start to finish in one hour and still call it homemade bread, something I can offer for lunch to dress up a homemade soup, for example, expecting each and every time I make it to hear oooooh, I make focaccia. I make it with my pizza dough, paint it with olive oil, sprinkle it with minced garlic, rosemary and coarse salt and voila, in six minutes at 500F I have a crusty masterpiece.1 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 »
I sit two feet to the left of our fire. It sputters and pops and burns and desires way too much wood due to its intense updraft (we’ve gone through a full carload – truck, seats, and all – of wood in one week). But it is fire and its flames lick high up towards the chimney. I’m sure all kivas were not created equal and this one definitely serves the decorative gods not the heat gods, but we love it and tend to it just the same. Its heat radiates just enough to touch the right side of my body and all the way up to my cheek. Sometimes I walk over to it and stick my butt out to get it a bit toasty before sitting back down.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 »
Cabbage is a satisfying vegetable to grow in the garden like carrots and parsnips. It is relatively undemanding and available from July on in the garden. In the fall after hard frost, when you have harvested everything from the garden, it will keep in the fridge for at least a month. We consider it a staple, like carrots or onions, that we almost never have to buy.
Cabbage, by many, is considered a poor man’s vegetable and thus there are millions of recipes from around the world for wonderful cabbage soups. The following was inspired by the Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine, with my adaptations.10 Comments » Keep reading »
My good friend and former business partner, Diego, brought me some beef from a little, tiny Uruguayo grocery store in Queens that imports its beef from Uruguay. The store is close to a wonderful Uruguayan restaurant called El Chivito D’Oro in Jackson Heights.
I have traveled to Uruguay over 30 times in the last 15 years for work and pleasure, creating with Diego our travel company, Discover Uruguay, which features travels to Uruguay and parts of Argentina and Brazil. I turned my share of the company over to my cohort about a year ago to pursue my passion for cooking.Leave a comment » Keep reading »
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 »
Anjuli has been inviting me, her mom, to post on her blog. I am a little old for this sort of thing, but I will give it a shot. I certainly love her blog. I feel honored.
Ramani, Anjuli’s dad, has been bothered by spicy food lately. He grew up in Bombay, so this is not something we take casually. This is up on the level of Greek tragedy. He strongly felt that without heat there can be no flavor. Poor guy. But yesterday he had an epiphany. We created a dal with herbs, garlic and onions and he loved it. I don’t mean he sort of liked it, it was ok. I mean he loved it.4 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.