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
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
I’m not averse to wheat or gluten myself (knocking on wood), but I’m well aware of friends and general masses of folks who are looking for that delicious diversion from eating such products. So, for the crispy, crackly “crust” on a fish fillet, I crushed a grainy mixture of aromatic spices instead of looking to starch-based solutions. Then, since we’re creating such a textural complement to the otherwise tender fish, why not make fish itself the crusty crouton for a … Read More
If you’re familiar with the dry-style stir-fries of Sichuan cuisine — Kung Pao chicken, or beef with cumin — this is its soupy antithesis. Translating literally to “water-cooked fish,” it’s fish slices gently poached in a not-so-gentle broth. No, it’s not just water in there. Infused with dried chilies, Sichuan peppercorns and chili bean sauce, it’s a tingly, vermilion bath loaded with slivered vegetables like cabbage and celery, flavors melding. And because of its stew-like consistency, it’s perfect for winter … Read More
Of all the elaborate communal meals to make, there is one that should stand without question should you ever be on a private New England beach: the clambake. After a whole summer of firing up charcoal for barbecues on the stuffy, blackened rooftops of Brooklyn, eight friends and myself found ourselves in such a tranquil idyll last weekend. We did not miss the opportunity.
Too many tomatoes. That’s something I didn’t think I’d ever be saying earlier on in the summer, or, least of all, during the colder months we’re heading into now. But currently, in the Northeast, it’s tomato mayhem. For the last several weeks, I’ve gotten more and more reinforcements of tomatoes from my CSA. I had my volunteer shift last week, and was given the task of sorting tomatoes. There were far too many for the (many of them vacationing) members … Read More
Oh happy day — midsummer has arrived, and all my favorite foods like peaches and sweet corn are now in season. My life is finally complete. I thought I’d celebrate with a confetti of those things, splayed across a delicate-tasting canvas of fresh flounder fillets. Nothing too crazy at this party, except for that crack-pow-pop! like fireworks in the sky of flavor–juicy, crisp, tender and sweet. Man, I wish the Fourth of July came a little later into the summer … Read More
I love the idea of popping a whole fish in the oven, to roast until sizzling sounds are heard, and the flesh is juicy and opaque. But I don’t love the idea of just plunking the whole fish down on a baking sheet, as it’ll stick to the pan, becoming slimy and weird. The fish’s natural juices will get totally wasted while cooking, spilling onto the abyss of a blank sheetpan that you’ll have to scrub well soon. So I … Read More
There are two ways to prepare squid (aka calamari) with succulent results: very quickly, as in searing, grilling, or flash-frying; or very long, as in braising, stewing, or slow-roasting. Anywhere in between will yield rubbery, rigid bands like undercooked cartilage. I went with the latter preparation for this late-winter, almost-springlike, one-seafood stew. It could be plopped on top of pasta, or sopped up with pieces of bread. Tentacles had never been more tender.
Just because the holiday season is officially over doesn’t mean cooking has to return to a boring routine. I’ve resolved to cook more under-explored foods this year, and stood at the seafood stand at the market for about five seconds before deciding on clams. Why? Because they — like daikon radishes, which were also snatched from a nearby market bin — are quick and easy to cook, flavorful, healthy, sustainable, and very inexpensive to boot. Hm, I guess that’s not … Read More