Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
- this easy fennel/sausage/lentil dish I love
- a simple salad dressed with Lorenzo's oil, lemon juice and Maldon salt
- a bowl of Calabro ricotta drizzled with the oil and covered in toasted pine nuts
- a bowl full of cubed parmiagiano reggianno (oh lordy)
- a loaf of ciabatta from Grandaisy bakery
- a bowl of oil
- a bowl of Maldon
Sunday, October 31, 2010
In Rome, I was solo for most of my meals and I tried not to make them hurried little affairs. I tried to relish them. But I discovered that--in Rome at least--one gets mixed responses. I present case 1, at Da Lucia in Trastevere.
"Buona sera. Uno, per favore."
"Please wait outside." After 10 inexplicable minutes, the fellow came out and said "solo? ma, perche?"
"Perche no?" I asked, full aware of my larger metaphorical question.
"Lavoro? Vacazione?" He is still searching for some plausible reason. He seats me in a half empty restaurant and proceeds to rush me through my meal. Not only am I alone but I am not having 4 courses and I have ordered my water rubinetto (the word they don't want you to know: tap water. It's free! And tasty enough). He keeps coming over pityingly, trying to figure me out. Eventually I am given a bill with several incorrect overages (including aqua minerale). I leave not yet feeling the magic of eating alone.
Another meal is disastrous on many fronts. I headed to a pizzeria recommended by Amy (Pizzeria San Calisto). It was terrible. This made no sense since Amy is entirely trustworthy when it comes to food recs. It took me about 24 hours to sort it out; I went to the wrong place.
At this wrong place, I was pursued relentlessly by the waiter, who asked me out on a date and eventually was removed from my table by the manager. I had a magazine out. A glass of wine for crying out loud. His constant interruptions with questions asked in fast Italian I could not understand, were killing my mojo. I don't remember this scene in "Eat, Pray, Love."
I found the perfect solo meal at lunchtime one day--at another rec from Amy. It was a beautiful day but this place had no outdoor seating. I popped inside and it was quiet and cool. The other diners were all Italian--mostly businessmen, and one priest. The staff took good care of me but basically left me entirely alone to slurp down spaghetti alla vongole, verdure mista, fantastic focaccia and a nice little bottle of red (I asked for a bicchiero, I am sure of it, but....). I was not a pitiable mystery; I was not a woman looking for a man. I was a person, looking for good nourishment and some quality alone time.
Friday, October 29, 2010
I have spent a fair amount of time in Torino at this point but to suggest I know the city is a laughably incorrect statement. To suggest that I have eaten what it has to offer is also quite off the mark. In my two times there I have mostly been marooned in a southern corridor of the city, mostly behind a desk, on my feet, slowly dehydrating myself into laryngitis.
There were short forays out, both in 2008 and now in 2010--which is a wonderful thing because Piemonte is a wonderful place to eat and an even more wonderful place to drink delicious, affordable red wine (Nebbiolo, Barbera d'Asti, Barbera d'Alba). They are my absolute favorite wines in the world.
We had our staff meal the first night at Tre Galli. The carne crudo, a specialty of the region, was a revelation. Yep, that's raw meat; this rendition had shaved truffles and sea salt on top and it was sitting in an egg-based sauce of some kind. It was terrific, as was the braised tongue. As was the vegetable tart. And basically everything else we had.
Its sister restaurant Tre Galline is also good--especially their pasta. The chestnut gnocchi was so so very good. It's a little fancier and required slightly softer voices (sotto voce).
I could not for the life of me find the neighborhood pizza place (near Corso Sebastopoli and Corso IV Novembre) that I fell in love with in 2008. That is what I get for having a bad sense of direction. But we did get farinate again from the lowkey place on our corner and it always makes me happy. Farinate = chickpea flour pancake. And we were directed to a very good Napolitano pizza place called Cammafa.
On the final morning, voiceless and exhausted, I headed to the rightfully famous Bicherin and alongside Jenny and Suzanne and Taylor (who has just launched Good Food Jobs) we sugar-bombed it with insanely light but rich zabaglione, the local specialty "bicherin" (a coffee and chocolate drink) and several other things but I am embarrassed to continue listing them. Pics of the bicherin and the zabaglione are up above.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
So here goes--I grabbed this easy little recipe off the internets because it didn't require buttermilk. The first time I made it I even substituted water for the milk (didn't have milk either, sad to say). Even without milk they were tasty, but they improved when I added milk the second time. Also I had some zucchini in the fridge and had just recently discovered how easy they are to grate on a box grater (oh yeah I should blog that raw zucchini salad I made up).
And so, here you have 'em, corn zucchini pancakes. Can I get a hallelujah?
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar (scant or less)
1 tsp kosher salt
4 ears corn
1 small or medium zucchini, skin on, grated and drained
3/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and 1 tsp salt in a medium bowl.
Cut kernels from cobs and use the back of a knife to scrape the pulp from the cobs--this is a marvelous technique that I can't believe I only started doing this summer. Add grated zucchini. Whisk in eggs, oil, and butter. Add to flour mixture.
Heat a griddle over medium heat until hot, then melt butter to grease the pan. And then make pancakes, you know what I'm saying? Wait until you see bubbles in the batter, that's how you know you're ready to flip them.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I headed out to Breezy Point last weekend for a day of wave watching and hanging with friends. The food Google map in my head went off: taco alert!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Oh dear, where have I been? Things got nutty, and blogging for pleasure went bye-bye.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Also, just saw a piece on ABC about how we're making our pets obese as well. The culprits: over-feeding our animals as a substitute for love and the amount of crap pet food companies are loading into the food. n.b. the piece is called "Heavy petting," because apparently someone over there loves a good pun as much as I do.
A buddy forwarded me a link to an article about CSPI's Xtreme eating awards--which go not to competitive hot dog eaters but to restaurants that offer single servings that contain enough calories to feed a small family. This makes me really mad, it does.
I think about too muchness a lot. I sometimes joke that I am like a cow that you have to bring back from pasture because I will keep eating and eating. I am a completer. Leaving anything behind feels strange, so I empathize with the eater who finds themselves at the Cheesecake Factory polishing off a 1,400 calorie dish. Why the F is this restaurant serving such a thing? Wouldn't it be more economical for them to serve something smaller? Oh right, food is cheap.
I read all these stories (above) in the past week alone. With a few episodes of "Biggest Loser" and Jillian's new ridiculous weight loss show thrown in. I cry when I watch those shows, mostly because they have been genetically engineered to bring women to tears (like sugary, fatty foods engineered to make us crave them), but also because I see people trapped in a world where the food cards have been stacked against them, where too muchness is the easiest choice in every direction.
Monday, June 07, 2010
For this reason, I decided making a dish with both radishes (pink lady variety) and peas was a very good idea, even if I couldn't picture how it might turn out. For good measure, decided to throw in spring garlic. Totally excellent combo--one greenmarket trip, one dish.
For the record, am still exploring what/who I go great together with.
Quinoa with spring garlic, radishes, and peas
(2 small servings)
3/4 cup quinoa
3 pieces spring garlic--white bulb up to light green--minced
1 small onion
3-4 tbsp olive oil
salt n pepa
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
2 cups shelled peas
1/2 bunch radishes, trimmed, sliced in half
- Saute onion and spring garlic in 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat
- pinch of salt with that as you soften until translucent
- Add the quinoa (which you have already rinsed several times)
- Add the wine, bring to a boil then simmer for a few minutes until wine evaporates
- Add the water, bring to boil, then cover, lower heat to simmer
- Let cook for 20 minutes or so
- While that's happening, heat up the remaining olive oil in a pan
- Also, bring some salted water up to a boil (this water is not in teh recipe above)
- cook peas for 3 minutes
- Brown radishes in heated oil, a minute or two on each side
- When quinoa is cooked, and when peas and radishes are cooked, mix 'em all together
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Here I am in Detroit. In a really tall, very odd hotel with a sick view of Canada and its Caesar's Palace, taunting us with their Canadian gambling and free healthcare and whatnot.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
"But I thought you were philosophically opposed to cleanses," Julie wrote to me, in an email yesterday. "It's true," I wrote back, "I am." WTF then? Why did I spend two days in agony, carb-less, sugar-less, caffeine-less, alcohol-less, meat-less and dairy-less?
3 Stalks of kale
1 small Cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 Cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 avocado, diced
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 lemon's worth of lemon juice
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
That was the subtitle of my talk at Ohio University last night, where I was a guest speaker for earth month. I explained to the students how if you pour water on your computer while it's on the twitter homepage, actual food will grow out of your keyboard.
Sustainability coordinator/guru Sonia Marcus hosted me for a super fun day during which I visited an Environmental Journalism class, participated in a round table lunch discussion, chatted with a News Writing class, and gave a talk focused on Building Online Communities in the food movement (see above).
I really enjoyed talking with the students, and having the opportunity to reflect upon my writing, reflect upon this blog, and how it ended up being the foundation for allowing me to "become"/call myself a writer. In thinking about things, and in being asked to answer smart questions, I came up with answers that surprised me sometimes.
Professor Hans Meyer covered my talk here. My main takeaway: every time I see a photo of myself giving a talk, that is what I am doing with my hands. Also, n.b. that his students were assigned to live tweet my talk, and I really enjoyed reading their commentary once the talk was done. You can read the comments here, and please take note that I was described as "adorable." I will dine out on this for the next week at least.
Lastly, I mention Athens, the only town in Ohio that could make you forget the other lame places in Ohio. Super locavore, nestled in Appalachia, home to wild pawpaws and black walnuts, and a local cafe that has slow food posters all over the walls, and delicious homemade bialys-Athens, I heart you.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Next week, the hunt for ramps continues.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The Jane Hotel: There's been a gradual renovation and evolution over at The Jane Hotel and I am loving it. Gone is the lobby theatre where I saw the marvelous "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and the laughed-so-hard-I-peed "Debbie Does Dallas (the musical)." Now the lobby has been carved up into an actual hotel lobby for the super cheap and tiny rooms upstairs, as well as into a wood paneled old-timey bar and a larger, cooler version of NoLiTa's Cafe Gitane. It's vintagearrific and they make a great cappuccino. Plus great light from the Hudson.
Co.: Have now been to Jim Leahy's Co. on 24th and 9th four times. Which is enough to say, for absolute sure, that it rocks. I haven't checked out every pizza place that everyone's buzzing about (Motorino, I'm coming soon, I promise) but I put forth Co.'s slightly more doughy crust as one of the best. Plus I love the space and the servers are so nice.
DiFara's: Oh, speaking of pizza, did I mention I finally got my ass to DiFara's? HOT. DAMN. It always surprises me when something so hyped is actually that good.
Hundred Acres: This really shouldn't count as a new place since I have been going to brunch here on a regular basis for the past 2 years (in fact I reviewed it in the NY Post magazine!) But it's turned out that when friends come to visit from out of town they say: OMG can we go to the brunch place near your house? And that reminds me for a sec that I shouldn't take it for granted. It's good. The food is good, the space is nice, the bloody mary rocks. And they take reservations, and they never give you lip.
Iris Cafe: I am so proud of Rachel! She opened this adorable little cafe deep in Brooklyn Heights a few months ago. It seemed like a modest endeavor, even if she was meticulously curating the menu, and training her baristas to be hardcore experts in the Stumptown style. Fast forward and she is being reviewed by the heavy hitters, including "Best Cafe" in NY Mag 2 weeks ago. Totally deserved. Get yer ass there for a homemade stickybun, or a ham and cheddar biscuit with a soft boiled egg on top.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
5 years later, my nephew was here to eat it with us, and this time I'll write it down so that if he ever wants to make it, it's here in cyber space for him. Hell, he already loves to read cookbooks and he's only 18 months old.
1. Head to Chinatown via Vanessa's dumplings on Eldridge, where for a buck you can get 4 fried pork and chive dumplings.
2. Stop and watch the bike polo tournament on Chrystie and eat out of your styrofoam container.
3. Look for the rice noodle ladies. For a while.
4. Find them at Grand and Bowery on the Northeast corner and buy 1 bag of rice noodles for a buck and a bag of bean sprouts for 50 cents. Next door buy ginger, scallions, snow peas, garlic, onions.
5. Buy Murrays chicken thighs at Gourmet Garage.
6. Trim chicken into skinless chunks.
7. In a wok, heat up 2 tbsp canola oil.
8. Cook chicken pieces until cooked through, remove from wok.
9. Fry up some sliced half-moon-shaped onions; add minced garlic, add minced ginger.
10. Add a bunch of cleaned and trimmed snow peas, then a few tbsp soy sauce.
11. add in sliced scallions, rice noodles, more soy sauce.
12. Add chicken and bean sprouts, keep tossing until all is well coated.
13. Forget to take a picture; or if you want to do this whole recipe one better than me, you could actually remember to take a picture. That'd be awesome.
This dish is so insanely good. I want to say, for the record, that I appreciated the hell out of it, even when my Dad was alive, and that I appreciated the hell out of him, too.
Allora: Dad, for you, because of you.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
You walk into Whole Foods and you face a wall of milk. Depending on the branch, the selection will vary. Same thing with Gourmet Garage, Food Emporium, you name it. That’s because supermarkets each have their own buyers. So, how do you decide what to buy? What’s healthiest? What’s worth the extra money? Here we clarify some of milk’s greatest mysteries about rBGH, organics, expiration dates, farmers markets, and whether or not skirting the law for the unpasteurized raw stuff is worth it.
Read the whole post at WellandGoodNYC!
And while you're there, why don't you read their piece about the wonderful Mary Cleaver--owner chef at Chelsea Market's The Green table (and the catering company Cleaver & Co.) Mary catered my boss' wedding and in the rich tapestry of beautiful meals I have eaten in my life, it stands out as a dazzling and delicious thread.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
For me—as for many of my colleagues—this isn’t so very different from a regular week. I usually make my lunch at least 3 days, if not all 5 workdays. Although lunch eats in DUMBO are better than in some neighborhoods, stuff I can make at home will almost always be better. It seems to be merely a matter of organization/planning, and making the time to prepare something. True, I’ve been eating kale salad for four days running, but it did have blood oranges and avocado on top, and those sweet potatoes I baked in the office toaster oven sure made the office smell good.
On Monday, Anna Lappe came to our office and wrote this lovely piece about the merits of eating in and how it made her lunch date with Josh (Viertel) more fun and more delicious.
I myself found that the challenge got me:
Eating at home with a friend in a very casual and potluck-y way that made both of us think: why don’t we do this more often?
Using up food in my fridge and not throwing out as much as I sometimes do (i.e. no produce was harmed/tossed in the making of this experiment)
Spending less money
The bog trick will be the weekend, which is often structured around dinners and brunches and the like. Wish me luck.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Not only have I decided to follow the HuffPost's challenge to eat in for one week, I have also decided to try to eat healthier (every once in a while I must remind myself not to eat every single meal as though it were my last). Hence the baked sweet potato and kale/citrus salad I had for lunch. One hour later I felt like gnawing off my own fist.
Note to self: tomorrow, pack protein.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Every few months I have the ladies over for dinner. I know lots of ladies, but for whatever reason, this group--mes soeurs--are called "the ladies." Making a nice home cooked meal is how I lure them to my apartment. "Bring wine," I say, and they do. Sometimes they bring their boyfriend/fiance/husband type person, and this is also nice. We have had these gatherings all over this city: in the East Village, in Cobble Hill, and here in UPS depot land (I have also supped with them in Los Angeles, Paris, Santa Fe, North Captiva and beyond but my dinner parties have remained in NYC).
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
According to this web site I found, this restaurant has been around since the dawn of time--truly, for hundreds of years in some form or other. So, when my parents brought me and my brother there, circa 1985, it was--how do you say?--quite well-established.
To say we had no money back then isn't entirely true, I guess, since there we were, a family of four in Paris, on vacation. But this trip was certainly a luxury, and one that I imagine my parents had to budget for very carefully. They understood that France is about food. So in between Louvre visits and Tour Eiffel climbings, they scheduled in two fancy dinners, one of which was at the Michelin-starred La Tour d'Argent.
I will not forget that plate of food for as long as I live; I had never seen food presented before. 3 small medallions of beef arranged in a circle, interspersed with little bundles of buttered, julienned carrots, each tied with a chive. And a small dome of potatoes in the center. Amazing! And 6 waiters circling around the table like synchronized swimming swans.
On the way out we stopped in the gift shop and my father scrounged together the remaining francs in his pocket to buy an insanely overpriced ashtray as a reminder of this decadent French evening.
P.S. The next day I insisted on being brought to McDonald's on the Champs Elysees, declaring myself "sick of French food." A Canadian TV station snagged us on the way out, interviewing us to find out why in god's name we would travel to France, the home of fine dining, and go to eat at McDonald's. My parents were mortified, but said nothing, my father no doubt fingering the porcelain ashtray in his pocket.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Monday, January 04, 2010
(Good friends and a moderately big apartment help, btw. I don't take either of those things for granted, even if it seems that way when I stick them in parentheses).
Stuffed Mushrooms (see Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"): they are very easy and very delicious and make use of pantry staples like bread crumbs, olive oil and grated parmigianno reggiano, which I keep in my freezer.
Stuffed Dates: slice open a date, stuff in a little blue cheese, pop a roasted almond on top. Repeat.
Pigs in Blankets: Mini Applegate Farms cocktail franks, a little biscuit dough, some good mustard.
Use what you have: I had a box of red velvet cake mix thanks to CC, so I bought cream cheese frosting ingredients and got to work the night before the party. I also had lots of leftover Rice Krispies and marshmallows from the Avant Garde Restaurant, so I made rice krispie treats.
Invite a chef: John is an amazing chef and generous to boot, so that meant beautiful creme caramel, a savory cheesecake that I'll call a "sformata," a white bean dip and chocolate truffles. I mean, hot damn.
Invite friends to bring stuff: You might get a cheese plate from Saxelby's, homemade deviled eggs, tons of good champagne, homemade pickled beets and homemade BBQ sauce. Hypothetically speaking.
And voila. Add a TV for watching the ball drop, and heat (my boiler punked out the next day) and you're all set.