This past Monday, the 6th Annual Casserole Party was just as promised the biggest and best one yet. The casseroles were good, but what was truly golden was the giving community spirit from everyone there. This event was free and open to the public, and any donations received was purely optional. Yet between the 44 teams of chefs who entered their casseroles in the cook-off, its organizer Emily Farris, the Brooklyn Kitchen who held the event at their space, Brooklyn … Read More
If you find yourself oddly annexed between two seasons (spring and summer) with ingredients (shell peas and red plums) by way of travel (to upstate New York and back to NYC), then this is what you might make. Especially if you’ve just discovered an ingredient from Italy called fregula, small granules of toasted semolina pasta that tastes a bit like burnt crumbs.
Anyone who’s a real purist of pasta is going to take one look at these misshapen dumpling-like things and sneer. Can’t blame me for being a little over-ambitious for a weeknight meal, but you can for exaggeration in calling these “orecchiette.” Well, I’m just not sure what else to call them. But they taste alright — especially when tossed in a buttery, fresh lemon sauce and surrounded by spicy broccoli rabe.
“Yes, but what do you eat every day?” people would ask. You can’t possibly be making something this elaborate and eye-catching if you’re cooking every day, the skeptics said, referring to photos on this blog. And no, for sure, I did have before me something that looked amazing, or that was even planned out before it came together on a plate, for most of the meals during my two years of eating in. So what did I eat most of … Read More
If there was one thing you could eat every day, for the rest of the days of your life, it probably wouldn’t be arugula. If asked to name a potato preference, sweet ones would rarely take the cake. I’m going to wager that one’s favorite pasta or starch substance isn’t typically gnocchi. And when you feel like a nut, hazelnut isn’t the first type that springs to mind. Yet in this dish of culinary underdogs, there’s another unsung aspect about the ingredients: these … Read More
The problem with soaking dried beans, which isn’t a probably exactly, and wouldn’t be one in the first place if you’re a little better at stomach-eye coordination as I am, is that you’re usually left with far more beans than you had bargained for. Water plumps up the beans, sometimes creating pot overflows and dried, un-soaked portions at the top. (It’s a bit like planting a magic beanstalk, with less fees, fies, foes and fums.) Ever since the Cassoulet Cook-Off, … Read More
This isn’t really a political blog, but in light of recent circumstances (ahem — GObama! — ahem), I thought I’d make a little exception. Because if there’s one thing I learned from the long road to the Presidential election, it’s that food is political. Period. You cannot like arugula, for instance (which ironically was only a peasant food in Italian cuisine until recent waves of popularity), without being “elite” (and possibly, a terrorist). Let’s look beyond that. This casserole combines … Read More
Oops… I did it again. I forgot to take photos of this main course du jour, once it was all layered, baked and poised at its prettiest. It’s a shame, this “lamb”sagna was really a treat. I spent a long time poring over what spices and add-ins to put in the sauce (eventually settling on a Moroccan theme, with fresh mint and raisins), what type of cheese to top it with, and if/how to make fresh pasta sheets for it. … Read More
It doesn’t have quite the timeless ring of “black beans and rice,” but here we are anyway: black bean ravioli. Where cheap comfort food and painstaking pasta-making collide. And like many good twists on classic dishes, this one was difficult and time-consuming to make, even with my disregard to the uniformity of the ravioli’s shape and overall prettiness. But if you’ll recall my last kitchen disaster with black beans, at least these homemade raviolis were edible. Actually, they were delicious, … Read More
This is either a very boring fact or a semi-interesting cooking tip, and if you grew up eating lots of Chinese food like me, you probably already know it even if it’s never been said aloud, but foods that share a similar shape and size go together. They just do. So if you’re cutting up chicken to go with green beans, you do long, thin strips. If you have something like fava beans and you’re cooking it with firm tofu, … Read More