Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Roasted Eggplant “Salsa”

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What do you get when you mix two classic condiments: a creamy roasted eggplant dip and a tangy, fresh tomato-based salsa? A colorful cross. And why not? I always liked the brightness of adding fresh citrus juice to roasted or grilled eggplant. It sort of livens the greyish thing up. I also get frustrated, sometimes, spilling the juice of a fresh tomato salsa while trying to scoop it up with a tortilla chip. Or getting one piece of onion on a soggy chip after much effort.

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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Fresh Tomato and Smoked Salmon Salad

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Do you ever edit yourself, after something’s been said and done? After you’ve cleaned off a meal that you enjoyed to its fullest, then start believing that it wasn’t all that it could be? I have this compulsive habit sometimes, and right now I’m really wishing that I’d scattered crisp red onion across this dish, like slivers of orchid petals. And maybe pinched speckles of Maldon sea salt and black pepper on top of those tomatoes and lettuces, and–eh… it was still good. Let your imagination make it even better after trying it, too.

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Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Pan-Fried Noodles with Kale and Summer Vegetables

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Whenever I have a plethora of random vegetables with no assigned purposes, I start to panic think along the lines of stir-frying them. This tends to happen a lot in the summer, when stockpiles of goods from farmers market strolls begin to overbear my fridge. Everything looks so good, and there are so many kinds of vegetables in season now–eggplants and peppers, beans and leafy greens–it’s like looking at a menu that you want to order everything from. But fortunately with shopping, the eating can occur much more gradually.
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Monday, August 4th, 2014

Grilled Lamb and Peaches with Peach and Green Bean Succotash

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You might consider a hearty red meat like lamb a more winter-appropriate food, not on your summer cookout menu. Or you might associate it with restaurants rather than your home-cooking menu, any time of the year. But I think it’s a secret weapon to creating a fun outdoor feast that tastes like it came from a gourmet gastropub.
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Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Chilled Fava Bean Soup

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Ah, fresh fava beans. Who else first heard of this legume via Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs? If so, it was a most disturbing way one can be introduced to a new food (and I am amongst those). No, I didn’t eat fava beans for a good long time after seeing that movie, but it wasn’t because I was afraid. It was because I never did encounter them, least of all fresh and whole still in their pods, until some twenty years later, at farmers markets in my city. Read the rest of this entry »

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Sour Cherry Sorbet

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Sour cherries, unlike sweet, are just about the sharpest taste you can get from a stone fruit. Eaten raw, these little gems will make your mouth hurt and your face flare up with weird expressions (just try one without making a face). They’re as crimson as cranberries once crushed up. But when cooked with a little sugar, sour cherries take on a unique, classic-candy flavor, which you can’t get from sweet cherries. Not by a long shot.
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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 get 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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