I thought this was funny.

September 6, 2010

Thanks to my friend Margaret for sending along this story about a 117-year-old hunk of cheese, Lithuania, and a grandma named Jojo…I’m about 10 issues behind on The New Yorker right now so I might never have read it.


“Apropos of nothing, Jojo brought out the cheese,” Burson recalled. “She said, ‘Have I ever shown you this? It’s a cheese!’ ”



Toasted Israeli Couscous with Broiled Vegetables

August 10, 2010

I’ll start with a minor confession, which may or may not be relevant by the time this post is over. I spent the vast majority of my youth really hating couscous.  I think it’s because in the sixth grade my science teacher made us each eat a handful of couscous grain by grain in order to demonstrate what it’s like to be a baleen whale trying to sustain itself on plankton. Maybe I was feeling sensitive–I had a solid wiring of braces at the time, and the resemblance I bore to a baleen whale was at its most striking (especially considering all the junk that got caught up in there. Tween years, I don’t miss you).  Beyond that, I wasn’t totally wowed by its grainy texture.  I didn’t start eating couscous of my own volition until I moved to New York after college. I was grocery shopping with a friend, who pointed out that there was a huge sale on couscous and immediately started filling up her basket. What the hell, I figured, and followed suit. It was super cheap and easy to make–which, let’s be honest, are two incredibly persuasive criteria for recent college grads.

I bring up the questionable relevance of this anecdote because this post isn’t really about couscous the way most of us know couscous. If you haven’t tried Israeli couscous, get ready to fall in love. Israeli couscous is totally different from the grainy stuff we ate in our whale simulation–it’s more like a pearl-shaped pasta.  It takes a little more time to prepare than the stuff you find in a box, but the results are far more spectacular–it has a chewy, satisfying bite that seems otherwise elusive in the Moroccan variety with which most people seem to be familiar.

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Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies

August 6, 2010

Hello readers! After a long absence (which has included some great travel on both coasts), I am back in my tiny apartment and back to writing. Thanks to family and friends for egging me on about why I haven’t posted anything in forever–your enthusiasm has been a great antidote to my laziness.

This summer has totally flown by, but that doesn’t mean that great things haven’t happened in the kitchen. Perhaps my biggest project of the summer was the six dozen cookies I baked for my sister’s bridal shower. My mother and I threw a big party at my parents’ house earlier in the summer to celebrate my sister’s impending nuptials. The theme of the day was something along the lines of “Laid Back Garden Party”–we had sandwiches and grilled vegetables catered, we made a bunch of salads and side dishes, and we poured glass after glass of homemade lemonade and sangria. For dessert, we had a beautiful Sachertorte from Marjolaine Pastry Shop in New Haven. To round things out and balance out the chocolate, I made a bunch of these lovely cornmeal cookies.

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Quick Black Bean and Corn Salad

May 14, 2010

We’ve all faced this conundrum: what do you do when you’re starving, haven’t gone grocery shopping, and are still craving something flavorful and delicious?  That’s right: raid your cupboard, freezer, and fridge, and see what you can throw together.

In my case, I was looking for some kind of side dish to go with leftover Mexican food. Something with a delightful texture. Something with substance. Something colorful. (Okay, maybe skip that last one–I really just needed a little more to eat.)  Luckily for me, I was equipped with a can of black beans and some frozen corn, and a few other odds and ends.  After a quick jaunt over to Epicurious, I threw this tasty dish together in a matter of minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

Cabrito’s Rajas con Crema

April 17, 2010

Last week, Jason and I played a great game called “Let’s Try to Find a Restaurant on a Saturday Night at 8 with No Reservations and No Wait.”  We walked from his place in the East Village through the Lower East Side and across Soho, peeking into restaurants, wanting to be fed immediately, and finding hour long waits almost everywhere. So much for last minute date night.  Then, while walking down Bleecker, I remembered Cabrito, which is on Carmine Street in the West Village. As if our visit were totally meant to be, there was exactly one open table for two in the restaurant with nobody else to claim it.

I have to admit that my ordering habits in Mexican restaurants tend to be pretty predictable. Nine times out of ten I will go for guacamole and then any kind of dish with carnitas. The last time I had been to Cabrito, though, I was with my friend Marissa, who told me that I had to try their rajas con crema–roasted poblanos in cream, served with tortillas. I became a convert that day. This time around, when Jason and I ordered the rajas, he told me I should try to make it at home. To my delight, Cabrito actually posted their rajas con crema recipe in the Village Voice last  year, so I made this last night for a couple of friends who stopped over for dinner.  Here’s my adapted version.

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Moroccan Beef Meatball Tagine

April 10, 2010

Wow, has this girl ever been delinquent. “Update Blog” has been on my google tasks list forever and ever, but somehow this has fallen through the cracks. Since my Superbowl post, I have turned 25 (yay, maybe?) and, perhaps as a result,  have also been trying to make some big life decisions. I have definitely been cooking up a storm as a means of zoning out and soul searching, yet somehow nothing has ended up online. But right now, I’m on the MegaBus back to New York from a hit-and-run trip to Boston. After listening to the NPR Food Podcast and an episode of The Splendid Table (pronounced spuh-lehndid), I’ve realized that the abundant free WiFi and the 2+ hours left on my trip back to NYC gives me little to no excuse not to get back in the game. So now, as I sit here on the top deck of an overheated bus, surrounded by sleeping comrades left and right and with the gorgeous voice of Jeff Tweedy piping through my headphones, I give you meatballs.

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Apple, Pear, and Cranberry Crisp

February 9, 2010

Some people are football fans. Some are not. Some like this team. Some like that one. Sports have the power to create bitter enemies. They can also bring people together–especially when food is involved. Yesterday a gaggle of my nearest and dearest gathered together to watch the Saints take on the Colts, but none of us were really that emotionally invested in the outcome (though we were all rooting for New Orleans, it was undeniable that it was a room primarily of Jets fans).

What really spurred everyone’s enthusiasm was the food that we ate. Our host provided killer chili and guacamole; others contributed the best soy-garlic fried chicken in the world, my favorite doughnuts in New York, and some other luscious pastries.  It was almost overkill that I brought this apple crisp–but luckily, my friends dug right in.

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Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic: A Love Story

January 28, 2010

This is a story of boy meets girl.

Okay, maybe not, but that sounds better than “this is a story of chicken meets garlic.”  Or does it?

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic is a well-loved recipe by many–there are zillions of recipes out there. Still, in spite of this fanfare, some people might feel inclined to shy away.  40 cloves–which is about two heads of garlic–sounds like a lot of, well, pungency.  This became especially apparent when I was talking to my dad the other day while separating out the garlic for this recipe.  When he heard the answer to his question of “what’s for dinner tonight?” he immediately responded with, “yeeeeesh.”

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Split Pea Soup with Garlic Croutons

January 8, 2010

So, this January in New York has been perhaps the most bitterly and unforgivingly cold one I’ve had since I moved to the city–and we’re only eight days in. Maybe it’s lucky, then, that I am starting the new year off working full-time from home. That’s right; no more office for the time being. Just me and my computer. The bad thing for me about this new situation is that it’s making it ridiculously hard to be disciplined about staying on task. Today I managed to be really good. I got up, had a bagel and coffee, showered, and went straight to Starbucks, where I pounded away at my keyboard until a woman sat next to me at the counter who smelled unmistakeably of cat food and I had to leave.

The past few days before this, however, were not quite as productive–mainly because I’ve been sick and have been living in a nyquil-induced haze. In fact, in the last forty-eight hours, my major achievements have included doing my laundry, listening to every Wilco album in succession (including the two Billy Bragg collaborations) and making three trips to Whole Foods.  Luckily, when you combine feeling sick + cold weather + overabundant groceries, you can sometimes emerge with something really tasty to make the pain go away, like this split pea soup.

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Holiday Roundup

January 7, 2010

Happy post-holidays from Picasso Bear (who, in retrospect looks a little more like sassy coy bear…)! Needless to say, the holidays are long gone, but I thought I’d post some highlights from the past few weeks. I was back in Connecticut hanging with the fam for a couple of weeks, which was a total delight. Check out some of our photos, after the jump:

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