Aren’t the holidays grand? You get to see your co-workers get drunk on the company tab, eat gingerbread to soak up eggnog, and see strangers dressed as Santa Claus on the subway if you’re in the city like me. Maybe that last part wasn’t a huge bonus of the season. But the point is, you get to party more. Throw off your shoes and–even if you’re not wearing elf socks–enjoy a little whimsy and respite from the weekly dredge more … Read More
Years ago, none of my friends would have pegged me to make green bean casserole for a potluck. I didn’t really know much about casseroles growing up, didn’t see them except for lasagna. But now, three years in a row, I’ve been bringing my own iterations of green bean casserole to my friend’s annual pre-Thanksgiving party. It began when my editor at the environmental site Grist asked me to remake a few Thanksgiving recipes traditionally thrown together from canned food … Read More
For me, fall is the right time for entertaining. I spent a languid weekend preparing for two back-to-back dinner parties, post-Halloween hullaballoo (I was Kate Middleton for that, did you think you saw her walking down the street in Brooklyn?). It was the perfect antidote to a processed candy-strewn holiday, and one of the dishes I served for my friends was this vegetarian option, which I’ve been eating for lunches since. Like most long-simmered stews and soups, it just gets … 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.
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
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
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 … Read More