what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.
I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring–
afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy
There is a second hand shop in our neighborhood whose opening hours are impossible to predict. An aged proprietress lives above the store and opens only when the mood strikes; she is selling the mismatched detritus of her life. “I always loved buying things,” she tells me in a Brooklyn-tinged warble, “But now?” Her eyes rove strings of colorful beads, a crystal decanter, a wicker lamp. “What am I going to do with all this?”
I have unearthed many a gem in her store, usually sold for a song–a heavy pitcher winking with bright red roses, a set of six, flared champagne coupes. I particularly loved a juice glass, mottled with ivory and canary yellow flowers. It was a small but distinct pleasure–to fill that glass and watch the flowers pop. Read more »
I present to you this salad, because soon, very soon, we’ll launch without abandon into holiday-ready, cold weather recipes, and I wanted to offer one last breath of sunshine on the plate before we do. (In fact, my next two recipes will be desserts worthy of a Thanksgiving table. Consider this salad a sort of nutricional counter.)
This dish is based on an old menu item from The Madison in Hoboken. Their model included salmon, arugula, red onion, and crispy fingerlings, but also jicama, tomato, and feta, should you like that combination better. (Clearly I haven’t adapted the original too much; what can I say, it was already a really tasty salad.)
I’ve never been much of a, “Oh, I’ll just have the salad for dinner,” kind of orderer, but for this one I always made an exception. It’s satiating, but never heavy. The flavors are clean and the textures balance well. In short, it’s just the ticket before launching into a holiday eating program. Read more »
Dear reader, I had every intention of dispatching a lobster yesterday.
I wasn’t looking forward to it, for several reasons. For starters, the last time I whacked a crustacean was in culinary school. It was 110° with the stoves turned off. We were each given a silver bowl full of wriggling, mud-brown crabs, and then on went the ranges. I poured a wheel of oil into my large pot, and waited until it was nearly smoking. After a silent “excusez-moi” to my ill-fated crabs, I tipped them in.
The truth is, the smell of ten bowls-worth of little crabs in a very hot kitchen is not the finest scent in the world. I would not recommend bottling it for sale. Read more »
The impetus for these tacos was pretty simple: although it’s been dreary, dreary winter in New York for months now, the last few days have been glorious. Like, leave-your-coat-at-home-and-run-though-the-streets-with-your-arms-in-the-air glorious.
So when it came time to make dinner, I wanted to build upon the theme. I don’t have a hammock in my living room (not yet, at least), but I figured this was the next best thing. Well, this and the Coronas I served them with. Feel free to pretend you are grilling the shrimp on an actual barbeque, instead of on the little grill pan you bought from Ikea. Read more »
This pizza is for a winter weeknight when you want something tasty and substantial, but you do not feel like venturing out for too many ingredients. I typically have most of the ingredients on hand, or if not, some version of them: various nubs of leftover cheese, wilting greens and herbs, some form of leftover potato or onion, etc.
I should say that, although it feels like cheating to me, I do not make my own pizza crust for this recipe. Because this is a “make the night of, with as little fuss as possible” kind of recipe, I use either pizza dough purchased from my local Neapolitan joint, Sottocasa, or I buy naan from the supermarket. To make things even easier, you can also make most of the elements of this pizza ahead of time.
This pizza was my first go-around with a pizza stone, and here is what I learned: If you toss flour onto a stone surface that has spent an hour in a 500 degree oven, it is going to burn. Really, really fast. Then you will be forced to run around your apartment like a headless chicken, opening windows and turning on vents. It’s not a pretty picture. My suggestion, therefore, is to simply make sure the bottom of the pizza dough is well floured before you put it in the oven. Read more »
Life lesson: when making a mayonnaise or aioli, it is advisable to find yourself an able-bodied Frenchman. Because here is the thing—you really have to beat the bejesus out of that thing. Your arm should hurt when you are done. Further advice: it is not sagacious to ask your Frenchman to make said aioli when he is trying to get ready for work in the morning, although if you ask very sweetly, he will probably do it for you anyway.
I have been meaning to make crab cakes for a while, mainly because previously mentioned Frenchman adores them, and because I spotted some lump crabmeat at the fishmonger the other day. (It really doesn’t take much.) Before you get yourself into a tizzy, let me concede up front that these are not “traditional” crab cakes. I added a couple extra ingredients I thought would complement the taste of crab, without overwhelming it. Read more »
Over the summer, I attended my first wedding. (I am twenty-six years old—it was a long time coming.) I am not sorry to say it set the bar quite high for all future nuptial celebrations. For one thing, it was held in the Irish countryside in the flush of summer. We heard mass in an aged church, led by the groom’s Irish-priest uncle. And then there was the party, impossibly posh and lovely, which continued far into the evening.
My mother is fond of saying that wedding food is terrible. “Enjoy the canapés,” she says, “because everything else will be awful.” But this is a false doctrine at 100% of the weddings I’ve attended so far. Yes, hors d’oeuvres were served, along with tall flutes of Cava on the patio (that is, before it started pouring; we were in Ireland after all). But a multi-course dinner (replete with fish forks and wine pairings) followed. And then there was a dessert bar. (Here the details start to get fuzzy. Can you blame me? It would have been a crime to let all that wine go to waste.) At some point I remember giggling with my sister over my parent’s, uh, spirited dancing. Around midnight, they set out fish and chips and other miniature fried things….Let’s just say this was not a wedding for the faint-of-stomach. Read more »