Oh, happy fall. Like with many folks I’ve spoken to here and there in the past couple weeks–friends and strangers at the post office alike–fall is a favorite time of year. It ushers in cooler nights and breezes, colorful leaves on the trees, and that unmistakeable smell… of fall. I liken this to the scent of apple cider. It’s somewhat earthy but sweet. Of course, fall is when we see the annual harvest of apples, and cider is somewhere not … Read More
It’s easy to eat a lot of Mexican food in the late summer and early fall. You’ve got ripe tomatoes, corn, tomatillos, and chili peppers of all kinds. But it’s also easy to turn that idea into something really greasy, cheesy, and heavy; something more or less like nachos supreme (which we all know isn’t really Mexican but rather Tex-Mex as interpreted by fast-food and/or Midwesterners–taco dip, anyone?). So let’s take it back to a fresh, clean point of view.
Ruby-red smoked salmon is luscious alone on a good piece of crusty bread—or, if you’re a New Yorker, on a bagel. But a schmear of cream cheese along with it, too, adds richness that gives its strong flavor legs. For a smoked salmon (or lox) dip with cream cheese, I tried to incorporate aspects of my current environment, while nodding to traditions. It turned out that I had—favorably, and rather by chance—just the ingredients to make a total classic rather … Read More
There’s been some talk about the new “never-ending” pasta bowls at the Olive Garden lately. It seems the franchise is disregarding the low-carb (or the fresh and local) dietary trends of the day, and beckoning diners with even more all-you-can-eat. (My favorite crack? “When you’re here… Why are you here?“) Well, I happened to eat at the Olive Garden in New York City recently, to celebrate my friend Kara’s birthday. It was a nostalgic gag that myself and 14 other … Read More
I love making new food discoveries, like making new friends. This late summer-almost fall, I came upon some warbled bean pods that were blushed with red on the bright green outsides. Fresh cowpeas, so the sign for them had read. This wasn’t at the farmers market, where I usually find my rare produce delicacies–but at the bodega down the block from me in Brooklyn, which catered to a mostly Caribbean neighborhood clientele and was run by Korean owners. I have … Read More
It doesn’t take more than a couple fresh ingredients at their prime to make an appetizer that you might spend upwards of $10 for in a restaurant. But in a restaurant, a dish like this–even with so simple a philosophy that I can agree with–nags me a little. It’s just too precious. Too plated. And often, too skimpy.
Last summer, ten friends and I kissed the summer goodbye with a beach weekend and a clambake. I wrote afterward that there was no greater communal food activity than this, if you’re by the shore with many people. I take that back just a little. Because for all the seaweed we let sizzle on molten-hot rocks, and crustaceans that reddened atop those before cracking open, there is another awesome group food that should not be overlooked in the summer: paella.
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 … Read More
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 … Read More
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 … Read More