Friday, July 18th, 2014

Sesame Marinated Steamed Cauliflower

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When it’s warm out in the midst of summer, one doesn’t feel as inclined to eat, much less cook. Then hunger kicks in, and heavy foods like fried oysters and hamburgers from street vendors and such come into the picture and, well, why not dig in? A certain fatigue that leads to throw-your-hands-up-in-the-air lapses in eating judgement is an expected part of summertime. Problem is, you just want to throw-your-head-on-the-pillow sleep afterwards.
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Monday, July 7th, 2014

Charred Green Bean and Summer Squash Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

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I needed a green detox after cookout fever this holiday weekend. I found myself stationed at the grill this 4th of July, where one after another, people lined up to give me things to char: chicken wings, sausages, lamb chops, chicken breasts, hamburgers, hot dogs, kabobs. Thank goodness it was overcast and not very hot that day. I also managed to grill some zucchini and eggplant, but didn’t get a chance to snag any while tending the flames. The chops were much more hand-held friendly; I got a few good bites of that (thanks, Aaron). But gee, I’m feeling the burn–of too many meaty calories.
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Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Grilled Steak “Shoulder Bites” with Chimichurri (dedicated to Luis Suarez)

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I’m not usually very vocal when it comes to sports. But I have been enjoying watching the World Cup lately, and soaking in the drama, intrigue, and high-stakes tension therein. It really is a fantastic spectacle–not only of physical agility, but of nationalism, sportsmanship, and other shared, global human values. Recently we saw a star player from Uruguay getting banned from the game for four months for biting an opponent, because intentionally biting in football (or soccer to Yanks) is not okay. There were a lot of jokes to be made about this and righteous agreements or disagreements about its sanction. But biting, my friends, is primal: a primitive, crude, and universal urge. And so is barbecue.
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Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

No-Pastry Quiche Two Ways: With A Bacon Crust and A Zucchini Crust

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They say that real men don’t eat quiche. But would real men eat not-so-real quiche instead? I don’t know; I made this pair of not-so-real quiches for a party celebrating the engagement of a lovely girlfriend of mine, where only women attended. I can say with certainty that real women eat not-real quiches when that not-real component speaks specifically to its crust.
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Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Strawberry Buckwheat Shortcake

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I don’t have many photos of this one, but it’s because I was covered in strawberry sludge and whipped cream while making 80 portions of it for a country wedding upstate last weekend. Phew. I think the name of this recipe tells you everything, though: it’s strawberry season, so seize the day when you can get super-sweet, local ones in the spring. And, if you’re tasked with making dessert–particularly cake, which can have such fascinating descriptors as “yellow,” “white,” “sponge” and “short”–seize the opportunity to make it a little more interesting and tasty, like the fine strawberries you’re using. Like putting buckwheat flour in the batter. It’ll still satisfy cravings for a classic dessert, and may even trump them, as I found at the wedding.

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Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Cast-Iron Roasted Chicken Salad with Chicken Fat Aioli Sandwiches

_F1B2917-2photo: Julia Sherman

Let’s say you’re going to a cookout, barbecue, potluck, or summer picnic this weekend. Let’s say you could really go for something like a cold chicken salad sandwich, but don’t want to opt for a hastily-made rendition like at the supermarket deli or something you might whip up from frozen chicken cutlets chopped and tossed with mayo. No, let’s say you want something savory and exciting, even if this sounds contradictory to what “chicken salad” generally means to you as a food item. You want to eat something tasty, but don’t think that you have the time to.
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Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Potato Salad with Wasabi and Nori

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There’s German potato salad, Southern potato salad, curried potato salad, mustardy potato salad, boring potato salad, spicy potato salad, and there are lots of thick, mayonnaise-based Japanese-style potato salads, but I’ve never tried one with wasabi in it as well.
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Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Chutney Spiced Tomato Omelet

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Do you have a lot of curious condiments lurking in the fridge? Like a strange bedfellow that you had a one-night stand with, but for whatever reason, life moved on, and you don’t feel the need to connect? Maybe it’s that Thai green curry paste that you thought was exciting and adventurous, but has since dried up and gone stale. Maybe it’s a bottle of salad dressing that you once genuinely loved, for a time, which is now squarely in the past. I don’t mean to sound distasteful of passing phases. Perhaps they served their purpose, if fleeting; you’ll never know how those might pay off again. Perhaps you’ll simply feel more determined when whisking a dressing from scratch someday, or assume a more sophisticated air in a Thai restaurant, detecting the nuances in a sauce. Maybe a friend will relate a curious encounter she had with someone, and you’ll feel yourself nodding knowingly, before doling out your piece of advice. Well, I’ve got a new fling that I — for now at least — intend to enjoy before its expiration date.

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Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Blanched Asparagus Salad with Cucumber, Hard-Boiled Egg and Bacon

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I’ve been seeing a lot of folks drinking green smoothies these days. By folks, I mean women, for the most part, and those living in NYC, by geographical default, and, in particular, again by sheer observational default, those coming from and going to their offices for a morning or midday pick-me-up-instead-of-coffee. So I feel a sort of social pressure being of this class to partake in green smoothies (or juicies), too. But I prefer to eat, not drink, my greens. And I can think of one healthy green vegetable that would never be squeezed raw into a beverage.

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Monday, May 5th, 2014

Quinoa with Portobello and Peas

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Doesn’t the sound of mushroom risotto just pull you by the tastebuds? Creamy rice, earthy morsels of mushrooms, and often sweet peas buried in between. This luscious dish appears on so many restaurant menus as a standard option, perhaps due to its vegetarian-friendly disposition, and I’m tempted to make it on chillier nights when I feel like eating somewhat “light.” But it requires patience, attention, and some good stock to cook well, three things I don’t always have on weeknights.
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