Monday, August 27, 2012
Summer summer summertime! Yes, it's almost over, but shhhhh! don't tell the farmers' markets that! Maybe it's just the weather here, but white corn, cherry tomatoes, and sweet and hot peppers are just littering the stalls every Wednesday morning. I'm not a big bell pepper person and I'm not wont to munch on jalapeños, but for some reason shisito and pardon peppers hit the spot for me. They're sweet but still vegetal, and every now and then they have a kick. And who doesn't love a little bit of danger with a bar snack?
That's essentially what this dish is: bar food. Spicy and salty, it's begging to be washed down with something. And since it only takes about 10 minutes to make, everyone will be happily snacking in no time. Plus, they look gorgeous, don't they? The ombre reds and greens with the black grill marks are so vibrant and striking, no one will be able to resist at least a curious bite. Enjoy!
1 lb padron and/or shisito peppers
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Chili Mint Salt (combine everything)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon mint, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Heat grill to high. Skewer the peppers (this makes them super easy to flip on the grill) and drizzle with sesame oil. Grill for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until grill marks form. Take off the grill, and while they're still warm sprinkle with chili salt mixture. Pluck off the skewers and devour, preferably with a nice pale ale.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Some exciting news: I'm working on my first cookbook! (With the amazing team at Emily Bestler Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster)
And if you've been following my instagram, you've probably been inundated with photos of roasted vegetables with salsa verde, blueberry pancakes piled high, and at least one photo of a cute dog a day. The reason? I was holed up in a Brooklyn apartment for a month, testing the first 70 recipes of hopefully 200. My thought process was, if I can cook it in a small apartment kitchen with just some kitchen essentials, so can anyone. Now I'm back home finishing up the rest of the manuscript, but I thought it would be fun to put together a little photo album of some of my favorite recipes and memories from my month away from home. I'll keep you posted on how the cookbook is coming together, and might even share a sneak peak of some of the recipes!
For the recipes at the top, clockwise: Smoked salmon board; Roasted vegetables Three ways with chimichurri, salsa verde, and Moroccan spices; Braised chickpeas, kale, and lamb meatballs over cous cous; Mozzarella all year.
Going counter clockwise: Chili Shrimp over black rice; Trio of salsas: Smokey Chipotle, Classic Dried Chili and Tomato, and Pineapple Jalapeño; Crostini all year: Shrimp with smashed pea pesto, Roasted Cherry tomato and roasted garlic, Goat cheese with prosciutto, nectarines and arugula, Bosc Pear with ricotta, honey, and thyme, and Sauteed spinach with parm.
Some of my favorites! Clockwise: Pimenton breakfast potatoes and Cheddar chive grits with a poached egg; Callie's rice bowl; Baked eggs three ways, Epic Blueberry Pancakes.
I'm a bit pre-production obsessed, so picking out the perfect cutting boards and setting up my super professional "studio" between my bed and window were some of my favorite moments. Having to sacrifice a few pairs of shoes in favor of mixing bowl on the other hand, not so much.
Even though I spent most of my mornings in my kitchen, I would escape every now and then for a NOLA iced coffee at Blue Bottle or an afternoon with a friend. Whitney, from Brunellos Have More Fun explained the wonders of orange wine to me, and I don't know what I would've done without Callie's help in the kitchen.
Cooking might be my job, but eating is my hobby, and dear Lord, the eating! Freshly shaved ice with plum syrup from People's Pops at Smorgasburg, the tres leches doughnut at Doughnut Plant, and the out of control polenta board from Sauce in the Lowe East Side were some highlights.
My instagram feed is probably 60% food, 5% randomness, and 35% other people's pets. I'm a huge animal lover and am counting the days until I can call one my own. But until then, I'll just live vicariously through these photos. A special shout out goes to Cindy, the lovely one-eyed cat who's the snuggliest beast roaming Brooklyn. What a little love bug!
Waking up every morning to a weather report of 95 F and thunderstorms isn't the dream summer experience, but 9 times out of 10 the clouds separated into cartoon-like confections or gave way into glorious sunsets would even be the envy of JMW Turner. My favorite moment was watching the rooftop performance of the Brooklyn Peaches, an infinitely charming synchronized swimming team, as the leaped into the water at sunset.
I'm lucky enough to visit New York a few times a year, so it's a great opportunity to revisit favorite spots or to discover new ones. Wandering through the Natural History Museum with my brother and watching Top Gun at McCarren Park were some firsts for me, but my favorite spot in New York was, and remains, Bonnie Slotnick's Cookbooks. It's come up a few times that I collect vintage cookbooks, so in true nerd form I found myself gravitating to this little slice of bibliophile perfection. Bonnie is a lady after my own heart, and shares my same uber-specific passion: American regional cuisine from the 1930s and 40s and etiquette books from the 1920s and 30s. Yup. Big nerds. And it's awesome. She knows practically everything about every cookbook ever written, and her shop is filled with neighborhood well wishers and curious by-passers. Oh, and Max. Max is the toy poodle enjoying a little fan-action on a hot day in the bottom left corner. So yes, definitely my favorite spot in the city.
It was an amazing month filled with great moments. I have to give a shout out to some of my New York friends who made it so special: Jackie Wasilczyk, Kristin Appenbrink, Emily Cavalier, Jenn Camp, Drew Villani, the ladies at Simpatico and so many more. Thanks Guys! xoxo