It’s the season of no recipes needed. In winter, we might pore over splatter-pocked cookbooks, braising a stew or simmering a ragu just the right way. In the summer, things get a lot more loosey-goosey: we unsheathe the barbecue, dig into dirt, invent salads from overflowing refrigerator crispers and lounge around barefoot catching seafood, perhaps. All this fun and the peak quality of seasonal ingredients leads to a quick and effortless cooking session, if you can even call it that.
Jambalaya is not a beautiful dish. It, like its name, resembles a jumble—and I’m even told by a Southern co-worker that people in the South tend to pronounce it more like “jumbla,” too. It doesn’t play nice with restaurant-style plating. Rice grains cling to every shrimp, tasty bits like sausages and nearly-dissolved vegetables are embedded within the mysterious mass. I suppose you could deconstruct your jambalaya to place prime bits ceremoniously throughout, but then they wouldn’t have absorbed the incredible flavors of that … Read More
I was at a backyard party in Brooklyn a few weeks ago hosted by my friend June. I’d been to her paella party at about this time of year last summer, and so I knew what kind of yumminess to expect from this event. I got there a little late, again. June was just adding the shellfish to a paella pan, plunking clams and mussels hinge side down into the rice. The wide, cast-iron pan was placed on top of … Read More
Ughhh… I am not recommending you go into making this for the first time late on a Wednesday night. Ughhh… Of all the finicky nonsense that plagues much of gourmet, frou-frou, highbrow cooking, why this common street food snack so ridiculously delicate a process? I’ll chalk it up to two major things: my inexperience with the ingredients — the rice (or “vermicelli”) noodles and the rice wrappers — and with how to handle them. How wet can the wrappers get … Read More
Okay, so you won’t get any points from the 100-mile diet club with this recipe, since okra is grown in the South and the shrimp I got in Chinatown was caught or farmed probably in… the South. But you will have enjoyed a classic southern combination while satisfying your craving for spicy Thai basil stir-fry. Which is a gastronomic feat of very trifling importance bordering on nonsense. It’s Friday…