Moms love French food. Soufflés make her sparkle. Provençal sounds like a good name for a kid to her. Bistros are her preferred bar. The allure of this country’s culinary je ne sais quois can might coincide with a vast generation clued in to its mysteries and virtues by a tall, warbly-voiced, and ever so ladylike American named Julia Child. Then again, my dad knows much more about The Way to Cook than my own mom, who’s never dabbled in … Read More
No seasonal food taboos can get between me and my favorite Italian rice dish (are there any others?): risotto is delicious year-round. It simply absorbs the season into its gooey mass and holds it there snug like a mother kangaroo. Lemon? Sure. Crisp spring vegetables like sugar snap peas, juicy zucchini and fresh chopped scallions? Why not? Welcome to spring, risotto. You’re looking green and well today.
As I was celebrating the shameless drinking holiday oft misunderstood as Mexico’s Independence Day this weekend, I learned that a) Cinco de Mayo is not even terribly important in Mexico, and that b) it was mostly invented by American spring breakers crossing the border to get wasted, so says a friend who happens to be Mexican. So why is New York city, a far cry from Tijuana, also crazy for this holiday? Sure, there was a battle in Puebla, Mexico … Read More
Wild local fish like flounder, stripers and bluefish are in season — all good stuff, in my opinion, to steam whole, Chinese style. This weekend as I was gathering ingredients for a 6-person dinner party, I familiarized myself with another: the wild local porgy. A small fish by nature (not many grow over 6 lb, according to this fact sheet), its mild, sweet flavor lends itself well to a light preparation such as steaming. Once cooked, its flesh was moist … Read More
I’d like to think of this as less a recipe than an olfactory cooking cure. Somewhere along the ranks of boiling a slow-cooked pot of chicken soup — it’s those hours of comforting smells, I’m convinced, that ease the common cold long before its consumption. The savory, sweet and spicy smells emitting from my oven as I baked this helped lift me out of an early spring slump — and eating it didn’t hurt, either.
“Give a man a quiche and you satisfy his need for quiche for a day. Teach a man to make quiche, and you give him quiches for life.” –New Half-Chinese Proverb And teach him also that you don’t have to make it for breakfasts… No doubt quiche was given a bad rap in the eighties. I guess people still think of it as one of the more fussy, frilly and feminine of the brunch species; but what man, really, doesn’t … Read More
We all know that ground turkey is the new hamburger if you’re looking to go easy on your heart. But I never found this a satisfactory replacement unless it was used in a sauce or stew of some type — in which juices from all kinds of ingredients run free and wild as piglets in a pen. A turkey burger? Not even close… but ground turkey in chili? Seconds, please. Besides, you’re bound to end up draining most of the … Read More
Ah, the good ol’ two-step. Like the dance, this one carries a myriad of variations. Then again, I never did learn the dance, in any style, and now I kind of wonder what happened to that swing and formal dance revival that took hold of the city several years ago. For that matter, what happened to any kind of dance craze? There has been a bit of a granola craze going on as far as I can tell — everywhere … Read More
I got an ice cream maker. I was watching the episode of Good Eats all about premium ice cream and how simple it was to make, and the next day I ran out to buy an ice cream maker. For $50 I’ll never have to go to the corner bodega to grab a pint of Haagen-Dazs again — sweet. The first batch, a basic vanilla ice cream made from the recipe in the Cuisinart machine’s instruction booklet, was refreshing, sweet, … Read More
Since the no-knead bread-off at the Brooklyn Kitchen last week, I haven’t been able to stop making bread. Thoughts of forging a foccacia from the technique, or elegant dinner rolls have been clouding my mind as well. At least one of those urges had been released the other night, when I tried to make a French baguette from the recipe. Knowing well enough that the bread needs to cook inside a dutch oven, or other large, covered vessel able to … Read More