Sunday and impromptu dinners

October 3, 2016 § Leave a comment

Chances for me to cook are pretty rare (even though I love it and find it very relaxing and rewarding), but with a slower work schedule in August and September, Katie and I began to ramp up our time in the kitchen. Since she works at the Sunday greenmarket right in front of the Museum of Natural History almost every week, we thought it’d be nice to focus on using whatever produce she’d brought home that day and supplement it with whatever we picked up at the grocery store or already had in our pantry.

Below is a dish from one of our first dinners, which featured the sweetest summer corn, cherry tomatoes and aromatic basil. Barely even a recipe, I started with a healthy glug of olive oil over medium-high heat and fried some whole smashed garlic cloves to impart their flavor without having any actual chunks of garlic (hate biting into a super pungent bit of garlic). Fished them out after they turned golden and crisp on the edges and then added halved grape tomatoes and sautéed them in the oil on high heat until they started browning and bursting. Next came the corn until it too had some color, salt and pepper to taste (with red pepper flakes because I like the heat, maybe a pinch of sugar to boost the sweetness of the corn) and that was a basic sauce.

After cooking the linguine a minute or so shy of package instructions (it continues cooking when tossed in the sauce), I added the pasta to the corn tomato mixture and about a cup of starchy pasta water to add a little bit of body since it was on the drier side. Mixed everything together some more with a healthy heaping of grated parmesan so the sauce, cheese and pasta water became a nicely emulsified sauce and then added some torn fresh basil and of course, more cheese on top. So delicious and simple to make and a wonderful way to showcase some of summer’s great offerings…

A couple weeks later, I was craving Korean food and beef and instead of opting for Seamless, thought I’d finally try out the Lucky Peach cookbook, Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes. Were the recipes actually easy? This soy-braised short rib dish certainly was and, with the new potatoes and carrots, proved to be a full meal in itself. Would I have to get random-ass Asian pantry items? Not really – as I already always have soy sauce, mirin and toasted sesame oil on hand (the most Asian of the ingredients listed). As with any kind of braise, it takes a few hours at low heat on the stove for the meat to become super tender but damn is the wait worth it (plus it makes the entire apartment smell amazing). I found some super funky napa cabbage kimchi in the fridge and leftover Momofuku ginger scallion sauce to counteract the richness of the beef and parked my ass in front of the television to watch Stranger Things for a perfect quiet evening at home.

Last week, I actually managed to cook three separate times, including the below dinner with Cindy. I missed the salmon dish I used to order from Il Brigante all the time when I worked in the Financial District so made seared salmon fillets with a punchy lemon caper sauce using this Williams-Sonoma recipe as a rough guideline, a classic broccoli salad with mayo-mustard dressing, toasted slivered almonds, grape tomatoes, bacon (of course) and red onion, and my tried and true roasted potatoes with an insanely good truffle mayo I’d brought back from my trip to Paris. Had a nice crisp white wine and have to say even I was impressed with how great of a meal it was.

Then, this past Friday, instead of going out to eat with Cindy and Beth, I managed to leave the office a bit early and put together this eggplant involtini (I’ve been making and modifying this recipe since law school). It’s a lighter take on a classic eggplant parmesan that doesn’t involve all that breading and frying yet still comes out bubbly, cheesy and super satisfying. In an effort to eat more greens, I also made a salad of wild arugula, grape tomatoes, slivered almonds, avocado, shaved parmesan and this wonderful, easy mustard dressing from Bon Appetit. Again, modified it a bit to personal taste (I like a lot of acid in my dressings) and it turned out to be a hit. Plus, I had plenty of dressing leftover for subsequent salads.

Rounding out the meal were some fantastic cheeses and charcuterie from Murray’s provided by Cindy, a couple bottles of wine (whatever I had in our fridge) and then superb Lady M desserts courtesy of Beth. I’ll always love trying new restaurants and bars but it’s been so nice to spend some relaxing time at home, both in the kitchen and at the dining table, in the company of wonderful friends with delicious food and wine. I can only hope this trend will continue as the weather starts to get chillier and I can really bust out the braises, stews and baked goods and crank up the oven.

Out and about

October 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Family dim sum at Chinatown classic, Jing Fong:

Drinks at Dead Rabbit right by the office:

More dim sum, this time while working from home and ordered from Nom Wah:

A lunch of white wine and fresh, grilled seafood at Via Carota before my trip to Croatia:

Square pizza at Harry’s Italian as my first meal back in the U.S. after Yacht Week:

Simple summer meal at home with tomatoes and basil from the Union Square Greenmarket, Murray’s Cheese ricotta and Blue Ribbon country bread:

Late-night drunken eats at Crif Dogs on St. Mark’s:

Ordering in Xi’an Famous Foods for Laura’s birthday meal:

The #1 at Black Seed Bagels in Nolita (so good):

February food randomness

March 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

Artemis and I took advantage of the BYOB offer at Union Square Cafe during one of the several snow storms that pummeled NYC this winter: fried calamari with spicy anchovy mayonnaise and chicken liver crostini with shaved brussels sprouts salad; Berkshire pork with winter squash and polenta, the winter beef entree and a side of broccoli rabe; two bottles of Italian red

Weekend lunch with Melissa at my favorite neighborhood spot, Lupa: black and white tagliatelle with mussels and jalapeno; succulent heritage pork arista and a plethora of sides (fingerling potatoes, more broccoli rabe and brussels sprouts)

Catching up with Hussam over the braised beef tongue tacos at Empellon Taqueria, another one of my go-to’s in the Village:

Galentine’s Day dinner of linguine alle noci and eggplant involtini with a dessert of Molly’s Cupcakes courtesy of Alice:

Snow day lunch with Laura at Do Hwa: seafood dolsot bibimbap and the daeji bulgogi with watercress salad

A belated Chinese New Year’s lunch with the family at BQ-HQ: roast duck and pork, fried whole fish, lots of greens and Mama’s dumplings

Recently

February 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

3:00 am Korean BBQ at Miss Korea in K-Town…

An impromptu, late night meal at Benchmark in Park Slope with the most awesome foie gras dish served with peppered pineapple, pecans and bourbon glaze (so good we ordered a second one) and filet mignon with purple potato gratin and caramelized marrow

Pecorino, golden raisin and pine nut kale salad to balance out all the gluttony

Homemade chicken parmesan during the night of the snow storm that turned out to be no big deal…

The roast beef press during lunch with Cindy at that old standby, Grey Dog

Greatest delivery pizza ever from Spunto (with caramelized onions, mushrooms, hot Italian sausage and a ton of red pepper flakes)

Recently…

January 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

A full-on late night meal at Empellon Taqueria after cocktails at Wilfie & Nell – spicy cucumber margaritas, guacamole and seven salsas (one of which almost burned my face off), gooey queso fundido with shishito peppers and a trio of tacos (lamb barbacoa, beer braised pork tongue with potatoes and fish tempura)

Afterwards, a stop at Bar Sardine, where I had Cape May Salts for the first time (wish the bartender, who was clearly new, did a better job of shucking though) and we stupidly decided to order a magnum of wine because it was more “economical”

Brie, honey and black pepper croutons at Les Halles in Midtown during Friday night dinner with co-workers – two orders of these would be a great dinner

A lunch of roasted asparagus and broccoli with parmesan to make up for all the week’s indulging

Fatty ‘Cue

September 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

Damn, just saw that these photos were taken on June 28…boy, am I behind.

Anyway, this was a meat-centric dinner with Laura and Katie at the amazing Fatty ‘Cue in West Village (just a couple blocks from my summertime apartment), one of Zak Pelaccio’s many awesome restaurants. By the way, I liked this a lot better than Fatty Crab, which was still pretty good in itself. Lament the lack of greens and fiber all you want, but at the time, we were in the mood for juicy, Asian-influenced barbecue and little else.

Ham, jam, butter and bread

Toasty pretzel rolls served with rosy, fatty ham, a condiment called cincalok made with itty bitty fermented shrimps, and dry-fish-dusted butter. So many funky elements in one starter…

1/2 pound deep-fried bacon with sweet and spicy salsa verde

Yes, you read that right, and it was bleeping delicious. Slightly charred pork belly with layers of fat and lean meat, paired with a picante, acidic sauce to balance everything out.

Heritage pork ribs with Indonesian long pepper, fish sauce, and palm sugar

Incredibly tender and running-down-your-arm juicy…Pelaccio emphasizes palm sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice as the holy trinity of Southeast Asian cooking and it comes across the most in this simple-looking dish. The best part was tearing meat off the rib with our sticky fingers and dragging it through that sweet, sweet jus.

Fermented sausage with asparagus, ginger, chili, toast and poached egg – more funk (in a totally good way)

Lamb shoulder with yogurt dip and grilled pita

For a primer on Southeast Asian cooking with Zak Pelaccio, Bon Appetit has a pretty cool feature which you can find here

Fatty ‘Cue
50 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014
212.929.5050

Shredded chicken for anything

February 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve finally started using my dutch oven and have gotten into the habit of cooking chicken or beef for the week to incorporate into my meals. Case in point: these shredded chicken tacos from the NY Times, which I downsized a bit.

For the tacos, I heated up some corn tortillas and loaded up on toppings like fresh guacamole, salsa, and cheese. Another great use is saving the cooking liquid and letting it cool so you can later skim off the fat that’s solidified on top with a spoon and use the leftover “broth” as a base for spicy soups. I even mixed the broth with fresh lime juice and then tossed it with the chicken, salad greens, cubed avocado and sliced red onion to create an impromptu Tex-Mex inspired salad, bringing me back to the days of the Guacamole Greens salad at Sweetgreen in Washington, D.C. Who says chicken has to be boring and bland?

Shredded chicken

4 chicken thighs
1 onion, quartered
3-4 smashed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste (be aggressive with the seasoning)

Combine all ingredients in a pot and add water to cover. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Partially cover and lower heat so mixture comes to a gentle simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until the meat is very tender. Remove from cooking liquid and cool. When the chicken has cooled, remove the skin and shred meat with fingers. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve as you like.

Easy salsa fresca

February 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

Chips and salsa have to be one of my favorite snacks. I can usually just eat it as a full meal. Usually I get the standard Tostitos brand salsa in medium spicy, but today I was craving something fresh and zingy. Plus, I had a large cartoon of grape tomatoes that were looking the worse for wear and needed to be used pronto.

This recipe is highly customizable and based on personal taste. I used handfuls of diced grape tomatoes, diced red onion, red pepper flakes (normally I’d use jalapeno but didn’t have any today), chopped cilantro, a couple squeezes of lime juice for acidity and brightness, a light drizzle of good olive oil, and salt. Cilantro-haters can cut the herb, chili heads can add more spice, and you could probably also add some other fresh-tasting vegetables like cucumber or watermelon. The possibilities are endless for this quick, easy, and healthy afternoon snack.

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