Saturday, March 22, 2014

orecchiette with mint pesto, peas, and ricotta


If, for some reason, I started a list of "most adorable foodstuffs," orecchiette would be near the top.  They would place right above kiwiberries (kiwis about the size of a grape tomato, squee) and behind any cake frosted to look like an animal (particularly a monkey).  Orecchiette means "little ears" in Italian, because of its vaguely ear-like shape.  This utterly darling moniker gives it the clear edge over, say, the kumquat—sorry, kumquat, I'm digging your tiny fruit vibe (see above re: kiwiberries), but if you want to win this thing, try to put more effort in your name, 'm kay?

While orecchiette are objectively adorable, I have to admit that I don't love them—they lose points because of their tendency to stick together, forming a massive pasta clump so large that I worry it may someday grow a brain and overtake the earth and we will have to worship clumpy pasta overlords.  My husband, though, loves these little ears specifically because of that glomming effect, which is an easy way to just mainline straight starch.  Incidentally, if anyone can recommend a tried-and-true nonstick method, please share, because my household has a real problem with starch comas.  (And don't suggest "just don't eat the clumps" because, for real, there would be mutiny.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

black soybean bowl with brown rice and quick-pickled vegetables


I suspect that by now, many of you are in a new place where you're going to stay for a day or two, perhaps for even longer.  Maybe there is an evergreen to dress up all sparkly, and some little ones running around underfoot.  Maybe there are some gifts yet to be wrapped (or all of them, in my case).  And almost definitely there are cookies to be eaten, or eggnog to be drunk, or gingerbread homes to be nibbled piece by piece until the little gingerpeople are totally homeless and then there's nothing to do but to eat them, too.

Or maybe, all of the above.  This is the time of year when I revel in excess, pouring a second or third glass of eggnog with a breezy cry of "tis the season!"  I don't ever count calories, but at some point my body just hits a wall and I have to dial it back—or, I slip into an eggnog-induced coma.  Whichever comes first.  (Usually, it's the coma.)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

mashed potato pancakes


If ever I had foreseen, during the 2.5 years this blog has been in existence, that I would be writing a recipe with a mere TWO ingredients (and for Thanksgiving, no less), I think I might have quit on the spot.  This is the future of food writing?  There is no need to go on.

Well.  This recipe isn't exactly for Thanksgiving; it's for those lazy days afterwards when you've eaten too much and walked too little, and your fridge is crowded with leftovers that are perfectly fine on their own, but why not spruce things up a little?  I learned the magic of doctoring leftovers a few years ago, when I went down to Jersey to spend Thanksgiving with a friend who had just gotten back from two years in the Peace Corps—lucky her, living in Kazakhstan right when Borat became a thing.  Most of her family had come to Jersey to welcome her back, and we all sat down to Thanksgiving dinner that had been cooked on a hotel stove with only a couple of pots, one pan, and a colander.  It was delightful.

For some reason, during that dinner I learned the Russian word for pancake (blin—pronounced 'bleen'), which was totally appropriate for two reasons:

First, because in Russian, 'blin' can be shouted as an expression of dismay, as in 'darn!' or 'dagnabit!'
This was done several hundred times during some rousing games of Apples to Apples.

Monday, November 11, 2013

pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing



Most people have a spare pumpkin sitting around at this time of year, and I've got two.  I never got around to carving a greeting for the hordes of trick-or-treaters who rang our bell this year, from the itty-bitty bumblebee to the six power rangers.  (Does that mean power rangers are cool again?  I'm still recovering from when they were cool the first time.)

I love cooking with pumpkins, but it's a bit of a pain to hack them up and scoop the seeds out.  Luckily, I used to have a steady source for pre-hacked-up, pre-seeded pumpkins: every year, my former landlady (hi, Amy!) would very neatly carve a pumpkin on the morning of Halloween, leave it out for the day, and ask me to dispose of it in the evening.  No problem.  I disposed of them right in my oven.


Monday, October 21, 2013

foolproof roast chicken


Since I just spent a whole post talking about how vegetables are the next cool crowd, I should probably explain that this roast chicken post is not a retraction of that thought--it's just a byproduct of my stubbornness.  I am a stubborn person, and right now I am stubbornly refusing to turn on the heat, be it 64 or 61 or even an obscene 59 degrees in my apartment, because it's October and too early to turn on the heat.  NO.  I will NOT.  But this means that sometimes, the only comfortable place to be is in the kitchen with the oven on full blast.  It's been working out so far.  Plum and flax seed muffins?  Check.  Roasted butternut squash?  Check.  Foolproof roast chicken?  Double check.

This recipe has two ingredients: chicken, and salt.  That's what makes it foolproof.  There's no futzing around with lemon, no rosemary, not even black pepper--those things are scrumptious and I have nothing against them, but the secret to this chicken is that it doesn't need them.  Truly.  It stands on its own, both in deliciousness and in ease.

Monday, September 30, 2013

cardamom milk tea


As one of six people remaining in this country who have not seen a single episode of Breaking Bad, I was completely oblivious to the fact that I have been sitting on fame and fortune this whole time.  Literally sitting.  Apparently, Walter White owns the same couch and chair set that I have in my living room.

Up until I was alerted to this fact, my closest brush with fame was at four years old, when I took first place in a coloring contest.  My "cow in shades of green and purple" was like something straight out of Picasso's sketchbook.  (The prize?  Coupons for ice cream, which to a four-year-old is seriously the best prize ever.)  Anyway, sitting on these couches makes me feel famous by osmosis, like if I saw Julia Roberts getting into a taxi or something: it's nothing to actually brag about, but I still totally would because it makes me feel important.

My apartment mates and I had a discussion about selling our famous furniture as collector's items, until Heidi pointed out that we can't list "Breaking Bad Furniture" on Craigslist because who would click on an ad for some furniture that is bad and breaking?  Fair point, well made.  Also: then we would have to sit on the floor, and the dust bunnies around here can be rabid.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

italian-style grilled eggplant "sausages"


You guys, it's okay to eat vegetables again.  Or, rather, it's cool to eat vegetables again. Bon Appetit’s August issue lauded chefs who are "celebrating produce with a reverence formerly reserved for Wagyu beef." Down the newsstand, Food & Wine featured a glowing vegetable-centric article, while its editor-in-chief proclaimed vegetables to be "the new pork, the new cupcake, and the new craft beer all in one.”


If Food & Wine is, like, Vogue for foodies, this means that vegetables are about to become your over-the-top, hipster-friendly imperativesort of like the edible version of the skinny jean. If you've already been diligently eating your vegetables and enjoying them, like some sort of mouthbreathing weirdo, good news! you're now a trendy weirdo. Because in the same way that pork, cupcakes, and craft beer have all had their fifteen minutes on menus and in specialty stores, here comes the year of the vegetable.