Recently in Seafood
Friday, September 28, 2012

branzino with roasted grapes

You would think that working from home might mean that we dine on fancy, elaborate dinners, and that Andrew eats like royalty around here. I run an elaborate ruse: come weekdays, we’re all about quick meals around here. Roast chicken is for the weekend, and so is stuffed cabbage. Mondays through Fridays, it’s all about the manageable, or if I am feeling lazy – take-out.

Our regular weeknight rotation includes: shrimp and broccoli, deconstructed banh mi, merguez burgers, Thai beef salads, and lots and lots of pasta dishes.

But sometimes, instead of cooking a meal I can’t wait to write about, I fail. I burn dinner. I discover that chickpeas and kale stewing together in a slow-cooker, while sounding amazing in theory, look like the split pea soup they used as vomit in Poltergeist.

[I just wrote “vomit” on my blog. Excuse me for my brutal honesty.]

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Friday, August 3, 2012

hake with olive oil, butter, and lemon

cooked hake - our saturday night dinners post farmers' market

Things they should tell you when you’re writing a book.

  • You will spend three times as much time on it as you think you will. Plan accordingly.
  • Life will happen as you fast-approach deadline and you have to juggle it.
  • On Monday, you might this it’s Friday, and on Wednesday you might think it’s Monday. Days of the week will cease to have the same meaning they do for people with regular desk jobs.
  • You will treat taking a shower as a major accomplishment. At times, you will skip it and not think twice on your decision. But when you do, you will pat yourself on the back if only inside your head.
  • As for getting dressed, you might find yourself at 2 o’clock in the afternoon still in your pajamas. And you’ve been writing since 7 am. You might stay like this ‘til dinnertime and change into shorts and a tanktop before your husband comes home for dinner.
  • Your idea of a nutritious meal will be peanut butter toast and coffee. Anything requiring chopping, stirring, kneading, and most importantly, clean up – are way too time consuming. Dishes with crumbs will pile up by your desk or on the coffee table.
  • You will order more take-out than you care to admit to others. And it won’t be the cooking that you won’t have time for – but the clean up.
  • You will develop that weird cramp in your shoulder which will switch sides on occasion, but will be mostly persistent in one pesky spot. Aleve and Advil will fail you. So will a chair massage in a local nail salon. You might even stop noticing it for awhile or accept it as the new phase your body has entered. Much like that one stray grey hair you found the other morning, but chose to pluck before it saw the light of day.
  • You will ask for an extension. You will be granted an extension. You’ll feel terrible about because you’ve never, not once in your life, handed something in late.
  • Continue reading hake with olive oil, butter, and lemon.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

cornmeal-crusted fried soft-shell crabs

crabs!

There are days I’m productive. Things get crossed off the list, I feel a sense of real accomplishment. I even high-five myself. In my head. Other days, I stare at my cuticles trying to remember when was the last time I had a proper manicure. “The hangnails,” I think, “are preposterous. I mean, just look at them! Look!” Those days I feel like I barely move the needle. It would seem that I am deep at work, but then I raise my head and realize I’ve typed a page. Edited one recipe. This is not an exercise in productivity, it’s just wastefulness.

On the other hand, I think, I’ve noticed that the blooms have fallen off the tree across the street and it’s now heavy with leaves. And now that it’s raining, the leaves are all wet and the tree is bending down even lower. That should count for something, right? Observing the small quotidian things. Taking pleasure in the everydayness of it all.

Continue reading cornmeal-crusted fried soft-shell crabs.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

lobster rolls

lobster roll, ready to eat

My darlings, you can take a girl out of New England, but you can’t take New England out of the girl. That I can say with the utmost certainty.

It’s been ten years since I called myself a Massachusetts resident. After college I planted my roots in New York, and stubbornly, because New York wasn’t always the gentle and welcoming city to me (is she to anyone?) made sure, day by day, month by month, that New York and I got along. I courted her, patiently growing to appreciate different neighborhoods, seeing the beauty where most tourists saw squalor, walking her streets. We had a slow and steady courtship, but I was playing it for keeps. New York, finally, opened her heart wide to me, and I to her.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

coconut green curry mussels

Green Curry Mussels

Before I started working professionally (i.e. for a living) as a recipe tester and a kitchen assistant, and began to spend the work day hours making six to eight dishes in quick succession, I didn’t really contemplate why people who were cooking all day long professionally liked to order take-out upon getting home. I remember talking to one private chef and recipe developer, and I asked her what she was making for dinner that night. Her response was succinct – there’s a great Thai place around the corner that makes excellent pad Thai. After being on her feet for eight hours, chopping, sautéing, and cleaning up, she was not about to get home and do it all over again. And until I started cooking all day long myself, I didn’t quite get why. But the simple truth of it is this: after a complete day of cooking, even frying an egg on toast just seems a bit much.

You know what else is hard after being on your feet all day? Everything. It just zaps you – intellectually and physically. Your body sort of aches and grows a little heavy as the day wears on. You check yourself in the window on the train ride home and realize you’re a hot mess. Your hair develops a bit of a frizzy halo, your forehead shines like a beacon in the night, there’s some pancake batter in your hair. But you don’t care – you wear your fatigue like a badge of honor. You’ve earned it. And when you get home, you just sort of want to sit on your couch with your feet up and unwind a bit. And you’re so grateful that there’s someone out there who is willing to cook you food and bicycle it over.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

coconut ginger shrimp

coconut ginger fried shrimp

What would you do on a day when it really, truly feels like spring? Us? Like the uncool and responsible adults that we are, we worked against deadlines. And then, after hours of slaving away at our respective laptops, we resisted the urge to order take-out and made shrimp for dinner! Delicious, dead-simple, ready-in-minutes shrimp, delicately flecked with coconut and ginger. I think we deserve a gold star!

And while we’re no strangers to Sunday work, it was made particularly painful given that it was so lovely out. We wanted to go and play hooky, but instead, we finally moved the two supremely ugly plastic storage bins out of our bedroom, which were mortifyingly depressing to look at (at least for me) and now the bedroom looks lighter, more airy, bigger (imagine that in NYC!). Have I mentioned that it’s been on our to-do list since mid-January when Andrew moved in? I finally broke down and requested that the one, single thing I want for my birthday, besides a pony, is for us to put those boxes away. Andrew, being a guy, looked at me as if I had two heads. Apparently, men have a whole different definition for clutter than women do.

Continue reading coconut ginger shrimp.