Recently in Seafood
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

fish stew with fennel and potatoes

Recipe in progress. A delightful fish stew from the current @bonappetit magazine. I'm tweaking it heavily but the premise it delightful.

Friends, I’m in the deep throes of stitching together a book before I send it to my co-authors for review and edits, before we send it to our editor by August 1. There’ve been lots of early mornings that involve editing and shower comes as a reward for finishing a chapter or a task. This shower as reward thing works only so well because when I’m sitting on the couch writing, no one, that is besides Forrest and a few house flies that have somehow gotten into the apartment, can judge me. Of course, there’s me judging me but I’ve lived with myself for the past 36 years, so I can take it.

Remarkably, this past weekend involved little book work (!) and lots of home improvement. We’re slowly painting our apartment white – as the previous owner thought that a yellow cream in gloss is the way to go. Additionally, the previous owners must have been smokers, or something, because the molding on the bottom turned a sickly shade of yellow. Not to mention, the previous painters (from a few paint jobs ago) didn’t believe in borders, and a part of the floor that’s next to the molding is where there are remnants of this yellowing paint. Kind of makes me want to demolish the walls and start anew but that is not in our budget (not to mention probably is a violation of our co-op rules).

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So, Saturday and Sunday, because we spent our 4th of July at Home Depot researching balcony doors and what it’ll take to the the door and the frame a lot (hint: a lot of $$$!), we painted: first a coat of crisp white (three cheers for Benjamin Moore Super White!!) and then the molding and details a dark, charcoal grey. All this takes a remarkable amount of time and – whenever dark paint is involved – precision.

Continue reading fish stew with fennel and potatoes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

brita’s roasted salmon with green herbs

the easiest and tastiest salmon recipe. it's a staple in our house and it's supper tonight. #sundaysupper

I had such lofty plans for August. No, really, I did. I was going to take it easy. Luxuriate, if you will, for the first time in I can’t even remember how long. Take a month to just have a little kinder schedule. Run. Do yoga. Cook more. Write – for me (now that’s a novel concept!) Wade through Union Square Greenmarket. Take a vacation. I boasted about it even; I was so proud that I figure out a summer month this year, to scale it back a notch. And then, a project fell into my lap.

Continue reading brita’s roasted salmon with green herbs.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

pan-seared branzino with orange-fennel salad

Debating blogging this. One of our favorite dinners and I never seem to take this in daytime. So the result is a poorly lit photo. It is however remarkably good.

These days I test my recipes when I have time to test them – which is not nearly as often I want to, or at a time of day that’s convenient. When I feel that I’ve made enough progress for the day in my other work, if there are enough working brain cells in my head, I turn to food that inspires me, ideas I want to play with. I miss the days when I could test recipes in the morning, with perfect, ample light streaming through the window, but in the real world where you have to pay various bills (and that apartment you just plunked some money on), you do what it takes to make your life sustainable.

It’s not lost on me that a good picture will make it more likely for a reader to click on a post. I’m not even talking about getting more eyeballs, or traffic, or comments, or “likes”. I’m talking about trying to convince a reader that a dish is not only worth his time and effort, but also one he’ll want to make for dinner over and over again. We all know that a good picture is usually one taken in daylight. It’s the single most important thing you can do to improve your food photography, says every food photographer worth his salt. And yet, here I am taking iPhone (no less!) pictures of my messy plate trying to convince you to make this for dinner tonight. How am I doing?

Continue reading pan-seared branzino with orange-fennel salad.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

tuna tartare

tuna tartare

When life, or in this case, a good friend, gives you freshly caught yellowfin tuna that her father-in-law caught days before (as in never frozen), you say thank you. And then you say thank you again.

And when you find out that you’re getting the best cut of all, toro, you repeat your thank you’s and cartwheel all the way home determined to make tartare. With fish this good, it’s best to leave it as fresh as possible, and in my case, I didn’t want to cook it in the slightest. A little ginger oil, some heat, a drop or two of sesame oil, and some lime juice to liven it up. That’s pretty much all it took. We served it as an early dinner course last Friday night with a side of good potato chips. By the end, I was so full, I didn’t feel like eating dinner, and yet, I had to get back in the kitchen – I’m starting work on a new project with a very aggressive deadline and every day, I test a few recipes. So much later that night, we had our second meal of the evening. A little excessive, no?

Continue reading tuna tartare.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

spicy tunisian fish stew (chreime)

spicy tunisian fish stew (chreime)

I’ve been thinking about this space in the last few weeks: how it changes with time. Life, itself, isn’t static, so it would be intuitive to think of this as a dynamic space. A year ago, Friday’s links didn’t exist, and today they do. I’m all the happier for it – I hope you are too.

Sometimes I post frequently; other times, not so much. Last summer, when I was in the throes of finishing a cookbook, I didn’t post much. I was too immersed in heavy writing and editing, and my husband and I ate a lot of “toast with things on top” and eggs made whichever way, both of which grew tiresome rather quickly. This upcoming month, in addition to some work I’ve been doing (and loving), I’ve picked up a private chef gig, and there might be another fun project on the horizon. So I might not be posting frequently in June, or maybe I’ll post about what I’m cooking for the private chef gig because these will be the types of things that will reheat rather well and should be a boon for a busy home cook. Friends, I hope you’ll forgive me for poorly lit iPhone photos should I do that, because the last thing on my mind in June will be a well-shot, well-lit, well-composed photo.

The infrequent posting could also suggest lack of interest or commitment to this space. But it’s actually quite the opposite: I only want to write about things that I think you ought to cook right now, without any delays; delicious and, for the most part, straightforward food. Sometimes, I’ll test recipes all week and they’re fine and good, but not particularly blog-worthy. It’s just regular dinner, folks, protein, grain, veg – you know the drill. Sometimes, the testing of a particular recipe takes months to perfect (there’s one on rotation like this right now – grrr). On occasions when I come across fussy recipes that are well-worth the extra effort, I save them for the kind of leisurely cooking when I can spend the whole day puttering in the kitchen. They tend to be weekends, but even Saturdays and Sundays can suddenly become full of those weekend activities like picnics and museums and hosting friends, and being outside in this glorious weather, because who wants to slave over a hot stove on a gorgeous spring (or summer day)? What you need is a reliable arsenal of recipes that will produce stunning results with minimal time and effort. In other words the recipes will have high culinary ROI.

Continue reading spicy tunisian fish stew (chreime).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

pasta con le sarde – pasta with sardines

pasta con le sarde

Last winter, while Andrew was away for work, his cousin Mike happened to be in town. Mike is an entrepreneur who lives in Boston, and if I had to catergorize the kind of person Mike is, well, he’s a bringer-of-people-together. Thus, Mike, being Mike, gathered a bunch of folks: cousins, significant others of cousins who couldn’t make it (that’s me!), and friends – for a brunch at Morandi. It turned into a swell afternoon.

Morandi, for those who don’t live in New York and might be contemplating a visit, is a great place for eating. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – they are all fantastic. But my favorite time to go there is for brunch. It’s boisterous, almost too-loud, but in a gregarious, fun-filled way, as if to remind you that hey, it’s the weekend, live a little. And so we ordered food: eggs, toast, pancakes, bloody mary’s and mimosas. There were at least two orders of Morandi’s famous ricotta fritters. When we got to the last fritter, everyone feigned a polite, No, you go ahead and take it, all the while hoping to be the lucky one on the end. While looking over the menu, out of the corner of my eye I spied pasta with sardines in tomato sauce with raisins, pine nuts, and fennel. I ordered it, and it’s been about a year now that I’ve been meaning to tell you about this dish.

Continue reading pasta con le sarde – pasta with sardines.