March 30, 2013 § 56 Comments
I went a little insane this last week. I went for a walk with the dog and didn’t need to wear a hat. My face didn’t feel cold at all. I knew intellectually that was possible, but I had actually kind of forgotten what that felt like. And I was like, “SPRING!!!!!”
So then I decided we were going to celebrate both Passover and Easter – Joel’s background is Jewish and mine is Lutheran, so I figured we were allowed. We (ok, really it’s me, but Joel goes along with it so well) are extremely attracted by events, holidays, and meals steeped in symbolism, and both Passover and Easter are ideal for this. In addition to planning big meals for each holiday, I also decided it would be best if we made all of our own matzoh and Easter candy homemade. No problem, right? Ha. I feel like my every spare moment has been in the kitchen, which I don’t really mind. But, then my advisor finally sent me comments back on one of my dissertation drafts, so I was supposed to be editing that too. Oops.
But, so far, it’s all been totally worth it. And as long as the lamb cake I’m currently baking comes out of the mold without its face falling apart, then I feel like we’re ready to rock and roll.
It feels amazing to have my energy coming back because I’ve been pretty exhausted for the last couple months…Which brings me to our very big news. It, as you may have already guessed, has everything to do with an entirely different sort of, shall we say, baking project, with buns in ovens, and all. And I don’t mean the hot cross kind.
That is to say, come late September we’re expecting a new family member to join our little family!(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) We couldn’t be more thrilled. Or terrified, of course. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 3, 2012 § 21 Comments
When I came up with the idea of making breakfast arepas, I felt extremely innovative.
I was first introduced to arepas several years ago in Boston by a friend of mine who excels in the sniffing-out-cheap-but-good-street-food department. I enjoyed the golden cheese-filled corn cakes a lot – it’s hard not to like warm cheesy corny stuff – but they didn’t excite me to the degree many other street foods (did somebody say kimchi tacos?) do.
Why? Probably because, for unknown reasons and a shameful lack of imagination on this front, it took me until just days ago to realize that you could stuff an arepa with more than just cheese or cheese and beans. So much more!
A few days ago, I saw an image of arepas filled with avocado, pork, and salsa, and my immediate thought, because there are few things on this planet I love more than avocado + egg for breakfast, was “arepas filled with avocado and fried eggs! ImustmakethisandeatitNOW!!!!” And I felt very clever for having such a unique idea.
Then, last night I was texting with my brother who lives in Manhattan (he has power back! Yay! I hope everyone else still without power also has it restored ever so quickly!) who had written to me to tell me that I really needed to try making a bourbon and maple syrup milkshake. (Um, yes, clearly I do.) Somehow it came up that he had eaten an arepa for dinner, and I told him excitedly, “guess what! I’m making breakfast arepas tomorrow morning!” « Read the rest of this entry »
July 27, 2012 § 23 Comments
I’ve been meaning to make this corn salad for a ridiculously long time, ever since Joel first told me about the amazing grilled corn he used to eat when he lived in Mexico. As far as I could tell, he couldn’t bring it up often enough, it was that good. And from his description, I believed it was exactly as delicious as he remembered it being.
Elotes is grilled corn smeared with mayonnaise, rolled in crumbled cheese and spices, and spritzed with lime. If you ask me, that hits pretty much all the most important food groups and flavor categories. It sounded like something I wanted to be able to shovel into my mouth by the forkful.
June 18, 2012 § 26 Comments
We stole away to New York City for the weekend. Just a day and a half. A hiccup of a trip lengthwise, but packed full enough to have been a long happy sigh.
Two of our dear, dear Boston friends are natives of the place – well, one is a true native, but the other did live there for a long enough sojourn to have gone native – and basically ever since we’ve known them we’ve been trying to plan a time for this jaunt.
It became an imperative to fit it in this weekend, though, before we must part ways. At least for now.
The two of them are as excited about sharing beautiful, delicious, made-with-care food as we are, so our day and a half was structured almost entirely around that.
We visited as many of their favorite places and tasted as many of their favorite foods as could be squeezed into our packed agenda. We ranged around every corner of Manhattan and tried a little of Brooklyn on for size as well. « Read the rest of this entry »
May 24, 2012 § 28 Comments
What do you call a large group of guests about to arrive? A gaggle? A bevy? A pod? A platoon?
How about a gift of guests? I suppose one does not without fail feel this way about one’s guests. But, it’s how I think of our guests who are coming for this weekend, so let’s go with it.
We have a gift of guests on their way, trickling in throughout today and tomorrow. And, although it truly does feel like a gift that folks are coming to visit, let me tell you, I could be a circus act with my frenzy of activity today.
With my hands I’m juggling meal planning, cooking, and last minute cleaning (of course the dog would choose to shed her winter coat right now). With the right foot I’m fending off the lions of hostess anxiety, and with the left I’m stomping out a couple of little work/research fires. And on my head is teetering the rest of the to-do list. (Call the vet, water the garden, write that memo…) All I need is a flower that squirts water and a big red nose!
March 6, 2012 § 19 Comments
My father, who is both a wonderful person and a wonderful eater, and one of the most truly consciously healthy people I know, has been having to make some dietary changes lately to try to figure out some minor allergies. That’s putting it mildly. By “some” changes, I mean he’s doing sort of the mother of all elimination diets. Even things like rice and potatoes, which are usually allowed in elimination diets are o-u-t, out.
If you’re exceptionally noble and self-possessed, I suppose you could see the good in such limitation. The strict form of the sonnet can give rise to even more beauty and creativity than free verse, and all that la dee da. But, overall, it has got to pretty much suck. Perhaps even with a capital S. That’s how I would feel about it, I know.
February 21, 2012 § 15 Comments
Last Friday night we went out to dinner with some friends at a postage stamp sized little pop-up restaurant called Whisk, just around the corner from our house. We had an absolute blast, which was mostly due to being in the best of company, but the seven course tasting menu offered at the restaurant, aka the dining experience, was quite fun too. The food was legitimately good, fancy and conceptual, though it was not flawless.
Usually I sneer a little at deconstructed this, foamed that, or anything made into a gel version of itself. It can seem so pretentious. So if it is going to be done, it either needs to be executed near perfectly or be done tongue in cheek. At Whisk, it was neither, but they were so incredibly endearing and effusive about their project, so adorably bumbling as they mispronounced Camembert and granita in their excitement, that any apparent pretention was immediately forgiven. It felt like we were all playing house together, and we got to eat a very delicious meal during the course of it.
And I must say, their plating was truly beautiful and creative. I love carefully, stunningly plated food. It has some of the interesting aesthetic elements of abstract art and sculpture, except then you get to devour it! It is not something I have ever given a try myself though, except for carefully placed mounds and dollops (I do have this idea for a crazy project loitering in the back of my mind that, if enacted, could thoroughly change this, but that is something for the future). And, when I looked at the meal I created for us the very next day, it provided a pretty amusing contrast to Friday’s edible art. On Saturday, we ate piles.
December 17, 2011 § 4 Comments
My lunch has left me fixating on leaves. It’s similar to when you think too long about a word and after a bit you aren’t sure whether it actually is a real word because at that point it sounds too weird to you. I do this relatively frequently with the word ‘which’. It’s awkward.
Anyhow, as I ate my lunch – this unabashedly leafy salad – the fact that we eat leaves became odder and odder to me. Leaves, people! I started to feel like maybe I was confused. Maybe I was a manatee or giraffe or some other animal that grinds away pensively at greenery.
Do we really eat leaves? The red bursts of the poinsettias decorating coffee tables at this time of year, those are leaves. On my run yesterday I chased some last oak leaves as they fluttered down from the trees (I find chasing after falling leaves to be one of the most elating and gleeful activities. It always makes me feel like I’m 4 or 5 again). They weren’t that dissimilar from the foundation of my salad (well, apart from being dried out and brown, which my salad distinctly wasn’t).
It was a disconcerting moment. Particularly because a not inconsequential portion of my diet is made up of leaves. In fact, I love leaves. In the summer, I eat salad like it’s my full time job. In the winter, I eat a lot of greens as well, but usually in sauteed or braised form, which renders them far less leafy looking.
Perhaps that’s why I was having trouble with the concept of leaf-eating. As mid-winter bears down on us, salads do tend to seem incongruous. Cool, refreshing, light, not exactly what you’re looking for when you want rib stickiness, something to warm you from the inside out.
But, there are exceptions. Salads robust and hearty enough to deserve a place on the winter table. And, in spite of my perplexing ruminations while eating it, I do believe this is one of them. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 17, 2011 § 13 Comments
So, I know I said that I’m going for simple dishes right now, but I had to make an exception for this sexy little number. I mean, just look at it. Can you say no to this salad?
I didn’t think so.
I want to be forthright with you and let you know right from the start, this is a fussy piece of work. But it’s worth it! Worth it for the oohs and ahhs it will garner, as much for its flashy good looks as its gorgeous layers of flavors.
It’s a “chef recipe” (different from a chef salad!), hence the little twists and turns of technique that take extra time and attention but also elevate a salad to dinner party fare, or beyond. The original recipe is from ABC Kitchen in New York (I think that means it errs on the side of haute) and translated for the home kitchen in the new Serious Eats cookbook.
I saw it on the food52 website, and my I-need-to-cook-that-right-now-dar started beeping like a metal detector in Fort Knox. (Do metal detectors even detect gold? They do, right? I’m imagining one of those goofy paddle-shaped ones people bring to the beach, not the kind you walk through before going into a government building.) « Read the rest of this entry »
July 23, 2011 § 9 Comments
I’m afraid I don’t really know what to say right now. I’m in shock. Still in shock and disbelief over the unspeakable tragedy yesterday in Norway.
My parents and brother are there right now visiting the rest of our family. I got a call to say they were alright even before I saw the news. I was relieved, but also had the wind knocked out of me by the horror. I spent the rest of the day checking the Norwegian news for updates. And intermittently bursting into tears.