Every time I lacto-ferment something and it turns out well I breathe a huge sigh of relief. Home picklers out there, you feel me, too? Seriously, a few moldy “sauerkraut” experiments or squishy, pukey cukes all play into the glory that is the perfect peck of pickles when it does happen right. And right it did happen most recently, with a jar of cucumbers that were left to sour over a hot summer week.
This month marks ten years since I’ve been writing this blog. Ten years of scribbling, cooking and ranting about not eating out. 607 original recipes, 60+ Reasons For Not Eating Out, scores of profiles, ruminations and home-cooking events totaling 971 posts. Dozens of Huffington Posts and writings elsewhere. Two books. And seven years and 279 episodes of podcasts on Heritage Radio Network. It’s been 10 years.
I remember when eggplant, like portobello mushrooms, was more or less encountered as a substitution for meat. This often occurs in dishes like eggplant parm, deep-fried so as to give it more texture, or when smothered in sauces, like a thick curry, obscuring the quivering, greyish-purple stuff that it is. But I think eggplant is great when prepared with some meat, as its spongey flesh absorbs flavors readily, making it easy to use less of the actual meat in question. And it’s a good way of enjoying eggplant—seeing, … Read More
Here’s a preview to a much more delicious post to come, one that actually uses the preserved lemons in a recipe. But it’s always nice to dig deeper into the ingredients of a recipe, especially when they might seem exotic and elusive at first. If you’ve ever tried Moroccan food, you’ve probably come across this singular ingredient in a tagine with chicken. I’ve made many renditions of the dish using just fresh lemons in lieu of hunting down the proper stuff, and … Read More
Summer’s a good time for a ‘mezze meal.’ With so many vegetables in season, you can easily pull together a colorful assortment of stuff to dip and mix from a plate with pita. This isn’t a very elaborate version of what that could be—try a colorful assortment of lots of salads and sides for a casual dinner party—but it hits the spot, and fills you up in all the right ways, making you feel both healthy and satisfied.
Zucchini and other summer squashes are truly versatile veggies. But I rarely think of baking them—perhaps due to the scorching heat when they’re in season locally. While some baked goods seem invented to hide the stuff rather than celebrate it (zucchini “bread”?) you can really get your fill on its flavor by slicing into layers upon layers of zucchini inside this savory tart’s shell. Its texture becomes something almost like custard inside, and a crust of cheese to top it all off can’t hurt … Read More
You don’t have to have ripe, juicy tomatoes and basil leaves to enjoy some slices of fresh mozzarella on a plate. The classic combination (known as Caprese salad) is not overrated by any means, but if your crisper drawer is bursting with greens instead of tomatoes since your early-summer CSA began (or if you just want to sneak more greens into your diet, noble you), then you can play up this concept anew.
We live in blessed times. I mean, seasonally. It’s late-spring, and we have things popping out of plants that are incredible and edible (and not edible, but fragrantly incredible, like wild lilacs, too). I recently had the plum privilege of being a judge for a cookoff held by GrowNYC, where I got to observe the making of, taste the outcome of, and help decide the winner of two very excellent dishes prepared by local restaurant chefs. Held in partnership with … Read More
Summer comes as a sudden burst in New York City, a gushing declaration of heat, humidity and sun. Like a blast of fireworks or a Memorial Day hibachi grill, the heat is suddenly on for the long haul — no more stalling, sputtering, or beating around the bush. “Coffee” becomes cold brew; shoes become sandals; parties become barbecues; ramen becomes chilled noodles. This is science, and who am I to fight it?