Category Archives: Food

Asparagus Pesto

I adore asparagus and Mark Bittman’s asparagus pesto looks amazing and sounds pretty simple to make. I might have to add it to the list of things I want to make this weekend. Bittman says he could eat this with a spoon. I definitely want some.

{image by Evan Sung, from NY Times}

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Things I want to cook this weekend

This is more like Alyx’s to-do list for the weekend, but I thought I’d share it with everyone anyway.

1. Pasta Carbonara. After reading about the virtues of carbonara in last month’s Saveur (which I now can’t find online…), I have had an unstoppable craving for the stuff. Time to bite the bullet and just make it for dinner tonight. I like the addition of leeks in Bon Appetit’s April 2008 recipe (pictured left) and the whole poached egg in Gourmet’s October 2009 recipe (pictured right). I’m already thinking about rushing home after work today to make some and it’s not even 2 pm yet….

2. As I mentioned the other day, my good friend Alice is coming over on Sunday to bake bread with me. We’re going to be making a plain loaf and some focaccia, which I have never tried to make before. Focaccia is one of my favorite kinds of bread. I love bathing it in olive oil and rosemary and stuffing it in my mouth. I have complete faith in Mr. Lahey at this point, so I am very excited about trying out his focaccia recipe.

3. I have been thinking about this breakfast pizza ever since Smitten Kitchen posted about it last month. Maybe I just have bread, egg, and bacon on the mind (see items 1 and 2 in this list), but it looks amazing. With all the bread baking going on this weekend I don’t know if I’ll get around to this one, but I hope to soon. {image and recipe from Smitten Kitchen}

I could go on at this point. I am drooling over Alton Brown’s chewy cookies on Lovin’ From the Oven. And I’ve been wanting to try Gourmet’s Caramel Pecan Cakes as cupcakes with cinnamon icing and a drizzle of caramel. And I could go home and look through all the flagged recipes in my stacks of food magazines. But I probably won’t even make it through the first three things on my list. This is the problem with accumulating foods I want to eat faster than I can eat them.

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Bread Porn

I made another loaf of bread the other day and took a bunch of pictures. Check out the rest of them after the jump.

PS My amazing friend Alice is coming over on Sunday for a full day of baking! I think we’re going to make another loaf of basic bread and try Jim’s focaccia recipe!

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Wednesday Food Links

1. If Keith McNally is Eeyore, then which restaurateur is Winnie-the-Pooh? Build the entire A.A. Milne cast out of restaurant industry personalities on Diner’s Journal. {from The New York Times}

2. Slate is having a conducting an experiment to test whether traditional food magazines or new crowd-sourced food websites provide better recipes. Cook’s Illustrated will represent the magazine side while food52 will represent the crowd-sourced side. Slate invites its readers to test a pork shoulder recipe and a sugar cookie recipe from each resource. It seems kind of funny to me that Slate is crowd-sourcing this experiment themselves and I wonder if there will be control variables to account for this. I’m guessing there won’t be. {from Slate}

3. Edward Schneider posted in Diner’s Journal about these sardines he and his wife found in Paris that were packaged in butter instead of oil. I love anything drenched in butter, so of course I want to try them but sadly Edward says they are difficult to find here (for example, they aren’t on amazon.com). A lot of readers responded that they heat up oil-packed sardines the same way he prepared the butter-packed sardines, but of course I want the butter version. I could just heat up some American sardines with a stick of butter and see what happens, but I want the sardine-infused butter situation Edward describes in his column. {from The New York Times}

4. Recipe Look is an amazing food blog with hand-illustrated recipes. I want every one of those printed on a tea towel or canvas grocery tote. {image from RecipeLook, via NotCot}

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Macaron Mania!

You should know by this point that I love macarons. I read about them, eat them, and occasionally try to make them. So I was very please to see TWO macaron mentions in the blogosphere yesterday!

1. Vic’s Blog featured this pretty pink macaron from Harrod’s (one of my favorite stores of all time). {image from Vic’s post}

2. The British Larder posted a “Macaron Frenzy” that I absolutely adored. I love the suggestion of edible glitter, as I love anything that sparkles. {image from The British Larder}

3. For the bonus round, here is a slightly older post from the amazing and legendary David Lebovitz about the macaron craze that has taken the food world by storm over the past year. {image from David Lebovitz’s post}

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Cucina Povera

This post has been brewing in my head for many days now. After about two months of blogging, I was reflecting on the fact that out of 112 posts, 36 are about food, 13 more than the next leading category (“Style” which I apply to anything I can’t categorize that might be vaguely style related). I know that I love food and cooking, but as I continued to write about and contemplate food, I started to meditate on what attracts me and so many others to the kitchen.

During this contemplation, Bon Appetit and Saveur both featured articles that discuss cucina povera, an Italian cuisine named, literally, “cuisine of the poor.” Don’t let the name fool you though, because the food is absolutely delicious and more satisfying than you could imagine. It was while I was reading about cucina povera that I realized what really attracts me to food. The defining features of this cuisine are its faith in the ability of just a few ingredients to create an amazing meal and its resilience in the face of scarcity and adversity. Because these recipes were first drafted by the poor, they feature a small number of locally available ingredients. They have streamlined the flavors and textures to what is required for a satisfying meal. At the same time, there might be a shortage or complete lack of any one ingredient at any specific time, so the recipes are easily adaptable to other ingredients.

Although other cuisines in Italy and beyond clearly take pleasure in featuring exotic or rare ingredients, employing molecular gastronomy tricks, or creating amazing and complex flavor compositions, I believe that to some extent all cooking is about knowing what you need to accomplish your vision and about being able to think creatively and adapt on the spot. Moreover, these are qualities that I admire and strive toward not only in the kitchen, but in a much more general sense: simple satisfaction, streamlined efficiency, flexibility, and ingenuity. So that is why you end up reading about food a lot here and why I love it and think about it and write about it all the time. Food can bring out the best in all of us.

{image from Saveur; read the Saveur article; cook bass from the Bon Appetit recipe}

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PB&J Bread

Finally, here is the PB&J bread I talk about endlessly. There’s my loaf, pictured above, about to go in the oven. This bread also turned out great, which leads me to believe that Jim Lahey is a demigod. However, making this bread was a little bit more of an adventure than my first loaf. The recipe is still pretty basic in terms of ingredients, with flour, yeast, water, salt, egg, and peanut butter going into the dough. You have to wait around for another 12 hours or so until the dough gets big and gassy. Then you smush it out into a big rectangular sheet, spread jam or jelly all over it, roll it up, and pop it in a loaf pan for a quick second fermentation before you bake it. This was all very straightforward except for the part where I had to pop it in the loaf pan. I’m not sure if my dough wasn’t the right consistency or if I missed some crucial dough-handling chapter, but after I rolled up the jam in the dough, my bread-to-be looked like a giant, fat slug. I mean a HUGE slug that was extremely movement-averse. This is extra stressful because now you have all this fruit stuff inside the slug, so if you manhandle the slug into the loaf pan, it will just burst and create a big mess. I finally negotiated my slug onto a baking sheet, shoved all his lovehandles into the upside-down loaf pan, and flipped the whole contraption over. That’s why my dough is all wrinkly and ugly instead of smooth and perfect like Jim’s in his book. All this aside, the bread was still delicious. More pictures after the jump.

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