Category Archives: Food Bits

With A Little Help From Your Cheesemonger

November 19, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 23 Comments

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This is Molly. She works at The Cheese Store of Silverlake, one of my favorite places to shop before a dinner party, and recently I decided to go in without an agenda. “Look Molly,” I said, “usually I come in here with a recipe and then just get the stuff I need, but this time I’m putting my fate in your hands!” She gave me a weird look. “What’s the best thing I could possibly make for dinner using the cheeses from your shop?” She thought for a moment and then said: “Ummm…what about spaghetti in a spicy tomato sauce with white anchovies and a raw pecorino?” Umm…what about YES!??!

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I Roasted Some Vegetables And They Were Good

November 5, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 6 Comments

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It’s so funny to think about how recipe-obsessed I was when I started cooking. I mean, seriously, if a recipe called for a teaspoon of salt, I’d practically count the granules. Now I rarely cook with a recipe and it’s hard for me to imagine following a recipe to the letter. Which is why getting that box of CSA vegetables every week is so fun; it’s a chance for me to flex my non-recipe following muscles in the kitchen. And so it was that I had an acorn squash (I’m pretty sure it was an acorn squash) and some Brussels sprouts. My plan: to roast ‘em like a rock star.

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Brenda The Waitress

October 9, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 1 Comment

So sad to hear about Jan Hooks, one of the funniest and most original women to ever grace the stage of Saturday Night Live. I knew her best, actually, as Martin Short’s co-star on an NBC special with Phil Hartman that I recorded on a VHS tape and watched over and over again in high school (I still have a lot of it memorized). But nothing comes close to the sketch you see above, considered one of the best SNL sketches of all time. Calling it a sketch, in fact, feels like something of an insult; it’s more of a mini-play and Jan Hooks is wonderful in it. May she rest in peace.

Restaurants That Do The Right Thing

October 9, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 4 Comments

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That sandwich you see towering above you is called the Stella Hero from Stella Barra Pizza, where Craig and I went for lunch before seeing Gone Girl this past Sunday. The question isn’t “what’s in that thing?”, the question is: “What isn’t in that thing?” It’s got smoked ham, turkey, capicola (cured pork shoulder), tomato, Caciocavallo cheese, Giardiniera (a spicy pickled condiment), and lettuce. It’s a sandwich for the ages, served on warm crusty bread that’s a perfect foil for all the soft meats and cheese inside. There really isn’t a bad thing to say about it, except this: it took 30 minutes to get to our table.

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Leftover Panzanella Cake with a Fried Egg

September 12, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 3 Comments

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Resourcefulness is a quality that emerges gradually as you get more comfortable in the kitchen. At first, you might make a panzanella salad–with big chunks of toasted bread, heirloom tomatoes, garlic, a little anchovy, some basil, olive oil, and red wine vinegar–eat most of it and then throw the rest away because panzanella doesn’t really keep. That’s level one of being a cook. But to graduate to the next level, you should put the leftover panzanella in the fridge and figure out something to do with it the next day. Option 1? Blend it into a soup (why not? It has all the makings of a gazpacho and a tomato bread soup combined). I went for Option 2: frying it into a cake.

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How To Eat Crow (Or: Kristin Puts Me In My Place About Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts and Pizza at Home)

September 4, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 20 Comments

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When someone has a target on your head, it can be a scary thing. But ever since I wrote that article “Ten Things You Should Never Serve At A Dinner Party,” Craig’s sister Kristin has been out to get me. She first made herself known in the comments: “Dear Amateur Gourmet,
Allow me to introduce you to two of my close friends I call Chicken Piccata and Chicken Marsala. They are delicious when made properly, and if you think they’ll always be dry, leathery, and inedible then you apparently have not spent enough time eating in Steve Johnson’s kitchen.” (Note: Steve Johnson is Craig and Kristin’s dad.) “I don’t get this vendetta against b-less, sk-less chicken breasts, I think it’s entirely too stringent. They’re the blank canvas of the meat world! (I stole that phrase from another blogger.)”

And so it came to pass that on a recent trip to Bellingham, Washington, Kristin totally and absolutely put me in my place.

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A Summer Feast for Todd and Jim

September 2, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 21 Comments

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So remember that time that Jim Parsons and his partner Todd Spiewak made my rainbow cookie cake for Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his partner Justin Mikita? Well, since then, Jim and I have been e-mailing and trying to figure out a time for him and Todd to come over for dinner. We finally picked a date–Saturday, August 30th–and we each spent the time leading up to it in different ways: I went to the Pacific Northwest and ate Dungeness crab on a beach; Jim went to the Emmy Awards and picked up his fourth trophy for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. At last, the dinner was upon us and it was time for me to cook.

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Summertime Vacay

August 21, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 18 Comments

Hey folks, taking a little time off for summer vacation, but I’ll be back after Labor Day to entertain you with more stories, recipes, and amateur gourmet antics. In the meantime, here’s my take on Gershwin’s “Summertime” on piano and harmonica. Enjoy the rest of your August!