Posts tagged parve
Thursday, August 7, 2014

mario batali’s eggplant caponata + some news!

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Folks, I have much to tell you, and I had hoped that August would be off to a slow start, but I was wrong. It’s been pretty busy and a few things here and there needed to be done for one of the books, so that’s kept me occupied. We had family visiting over the weekend, and by far, my personal highlight was going through The Food of Spain with my two-year old niece who was riveted. She fell completely and unabashedly in love with Angelita Carcia de Paredes Barreda (an 84-year old Franciscan nun) on page 214 and for twenty minutes straight we played the game of “Where’s the old lady?” She was also really taken by the fried goat cheese, but then again, who wouldn’t be? Fried goat cheese is stuff of the gods, right?

I don’t know why, and there’s no segue or connection to my news or to eggplant caponata I wanted to tell you about, but I’ve been thinking – a lot – about a really good high school friend of mine. When I say really good, she might have been one of the biggest influences in my life. She was fiercely smart – smarter than anyone I’ve ever met – and well educated. She spoke, and picked up, languages with great ease: Russian, Arabic, Farsi. She taught herself ancient Greek; she was fluent in Latin. She introduced me to authors and food; music and theatre – and she had a razor sharp wit. I always, always, looked up to her. She pulled me through some hairy situations and it was wonderful and lovely to spend our post high-school and college years in New York. She took me to a hole in the wall restaurant that served outstanding pasta alla carbonara, she extolled the virtues of cacio e pepe; and I still fondly recall our incredible meals at the now-shuttered, excellent, Cookies and Couscous that served, well, you get the idea. She was incredibly hard to get to know, but through our many years of friendship, there were moments when she’d open up. She was like a sister to me.

And then one day she stopped answering her phone. And then the number became disconnected.

Continue reading mario batali’s eggplant caponata + some news!.

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).

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

my favorite tuna salad

Working lunch. #nofilter

I get emails from time to time asking me what I, as someone who works from home mostly, eats for lunch. I can tell you this much: it’s not glamorous. Often, I’m so busy that I barely have time to toast a piece of bread and spread some peanut butter over it, and lots of recipes I test don’t a proper lunch make, unless you want to argue that cake, especially if it includes a vegetable or two, can be justified as lunch.

There have been times, I’ll admit, to heating up Trader Joe’s chana masala, and before you shake your DIY finger at me in judgement, I just would like to say: Trader Joe’s makes a mean chana masala. How? I don’t know, but they do.

Generally, it’s not uncommon for me to be reheating whatever dinner leftovers we have, and unlike my husband, I love leftovers. Of course, as a last resort (or an insanely strong banh mi craving), there’s always take out.

On days when I allow myself to take a wee break to compose my lunch, there’s a fun trip through the pantry. I’m generally good at cobbling together a decent lunch for myself when time allows. Today was one such day. And I decided to make myself my favorite tuna salad.

Continue reading my favorite tuna salad.

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

chocolate chunk and sea salt challah

chocolate chunk and sea salt challah

Believe it or not, but making challah with chocolate and sea salt had been on my mind for awhile now. Years ago, while on a walk getting lost in the city, which was still new to me, I got caught in the mother of all storms. Or so it seemed, because typical to my habits, I never check the weather when I head out for a day-long excursions. It’s a good thing I married a guy with several radar apps on his iPhone, otherwise, I might have gotten blown away by now.

Anyway, seemingly out of nowhere, the skies opened up and dumped what seemed like buckets and buckets of rain on New York. I couldn’t even see individual drops or streams. It was a wall of water coming down with the mightiest of forces. I ducked into the first café I could find to pass the time. Once seated, I quickly scanned the menu and ordered a chocolate brioche bread pudding. I expected a chocolate brioche made into bread pudding, but instead what arrived was regular brioche with generous chunks of chocolate tucked between the bread slices. Even better, I thought. But that wasn’t all. On top of the bread pudding, there was a slight shimmer – a delicate sprinkling of flaky sea salt.

Continue reading chocolate chunk and sea salt challah.

Monday, September 10, 2012

amazing chocolate pudding

chocolate pudding

Hello there. Sorry for vanishing into the void, but I’m back. Sort of. August was a blend of crazy, busy, and sad. I won’t get into the sad, but there was a lot of travel between New York and Massachusetts and not of the happy variety either. Amidst the travel and gaining two additional roommate for a few weeks in August, I submitted the manuscript I co-wrote with Chef Forgione. The recipes alone were over four hundred pages. How I got it done, I’m not sure entirely, a lot of it had to do with a generous friend and her home office.

While it’s taken me three weeks to tell you about chocolate pudding, I hope you forgive me. I’ve been feeling a little stretched as of late, despite a relaxing week in Wellfleet where I diligently ate oysters and chased them down with beer. It feels like a far away memory now. I could, easily, have spent a whole month out on the Cape and hope to do so someday soon.

Most recently I had made chocolate pudding to justify my dessert-for-dinner excuse. I had a filled cavity from earlier that morning and could hardly open my mouth. Applesauce seemed too boring. And it was too warm to contemplate mashed potatoes. Rice pudding, delicious as it is, required chewing. Naturally, the next possible choice was chocolate pudding. Obviously, right? Right??

Everyone I know likes chocolate pudding. Even people who are ambivalent towards chocolate, like chocolate pudding. But here’s the rub: some of most of the recipes were far too rich and far too sweet for my palate. In doing a bit of research I found that many of the recipes use egg yolks, and while I’m all for yolky richness, I like my chocolate pudding to have singular, clean chocolate note. Less of a custard, more of a pudding, if you will.

Whenever I crave chocolate pudding, it’s impossible for me not to recall a certain disaster that once befell an apartment I was renting on the Upper East Side. Back then, I used to be a big fan of Swiss Miss chocolate pudding snacks, which I purchased weekly at my local Gristedes. At the time, I was working for a certain investment bank where my hours were long and my teammates were not very nice. When I had initially accepted the position, it was to do x, y, and z. I was, instead, relegated to the tasks no one wanted to do, and in the end just about everyone on the team came in at 9 and left at 5; whereas I had to be in at seven thirty in the morning and left well after nine o’clock at night. On most weekends I spend at least one day in the office. It was some time ago – I was very meek and didn’t know how to speak up for myself. Thankfully, I’ve become much better at this.

Continue reading amazing chocolate pudding.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

sweet potato patties croquettes

sweet potato patties

Let’s make this one short and sweet.

Yesterday, I gave you a tip about making homemade matzo meal – I’m still embarrassed about it. Sort of. I don’t want to presume that this is what everyone does and knows. But I also don’t want those who thought it was a great tip to feel insulted either in that I might have thought that this tip was sooooo beneath me, and just who do I think I am, etc., etc. I’ll stop with the internet equivalent of hand-wringing already and just move on. There are more important things on the docket.

Continue reading sweet potato patties croquettes.