I have a vivid memory of being in Venice with my parents in the early 2000s (it’s documented here) when my brother and I decided to freak out our mother by drinking espresso after dinner. We were actually always a coffee-after-dinner family but the coffee was always decaf. To this day, my parents still order decaf if they’re in the mood for a hot beverage after a big meal. But in Italy, drinking espresso after dinner is a tradition and to quote Tevye, “Tradition!” So we drank the espresso and, as far as I can remember, we still fell asleep and all was fine. But my mother’s concern was still on my mind when I made Susan Spungen’s Dirty Chai Earthquake Cookies for a dinner party last week.
The best pierogi I’ve ever eaten in my life — one that ruined all other pierogi for me — was at Michael Symon’s now-closed restaurant Lola in Cleveland, Ohio. I still remember what it looked like: a half moon of crispy dough stuffed with beef cheeks. It was maybe one of the most decadent things I’ve ever tasted; somewhere between an empanada and a calzone; the amount of labor that went into it was evident with every bite. I vowed to make it some day from Symon’s cookbook (which has my favorite chili recipe) but never did.
Enter Nicole Rucker, this week’s guest on You’ve Got to Taste This. Nicole’s in a cookbook club (sorry men, it’s women only) and one of the most successful recipes they’ve ever tested happens to be the pierogi recipe that she sent me to make this week. They come from Zuza Zak’s cookbook Pierogi, which makes sense, and they’re stuffed with this magical mixture of caramelized pork blended with soaked dried fruit, boiled in salted water, and then sauteed in copious amounts of butter. Needless to say, they were an absolute trumph.
Some new friends were coming over the other night and I asked them what they ate and they said “we eat meat but mostly vegetables” and that’s when I knew I was going to serve them a pound of cheese. It’s not that I was trying to fatten them up or punish them for being so wholesome, it’s just that I count cheese as a vegetable. But on the off chance they were looking for real vegetables in their dinner, I decided to find a recipe that had cheese AND a vegetable and landed on Melissa Clark’s recipe for baked pasta with ricotta, fontina, and roasted mushrooms.
Baking a recipe at home is hardly a political act and yet, as a show of solidarity, you can’t really argue against it. With all of the horror going on in Ukraine right now, it feels important to honor and celebrate Ukranian culture, especially its recipes. If that sounds like homework, let me put it another way: Ukranian food is delicious and if you decide to give it a go, do what I did and start with Olia Hercules’ Makoviy Rulet, an elaborate Ukrainian braided apple poppyseed bread.
This recipe comes to us by way of London-based journalist Felicity Spector, my second guest on You’ve Got to Taste This. Not only is Felicity a scholar of the region, having won a Fulbright to Harvard where she did her masters, she’s a wonderful cook as evidenced by her popular Instagram page. Our talk today covers everything from the rise of British cuisine to her heroic act helping to gather and deliver baking supplies to ravaged bakeries in Kyiv.
Sometimes I make mental note of a food-related thing that leads me to buy another food-related thing and then that food-related thing sits around for a very long time until I look at it and remember the original food-related thing that led me to buy it in the first place. That’s the case with the original Tartine cookbook; Samin Nosrat mentioned in a podcast or in an interview (possibly with me?) that the recipes in it are flawless and it’s one of her favorite baking books. That book has sat around forever and I’ve never made anything from it until yesterday when I remembered that I had a glut of poppy seeds (long story) and thought that I’d make the lemon poppyseed cake from it because I’ve had it at the bakery and it’s surprisingly light and citrusy. But then another recipe caught my eye on page 191: a recipe for a marbled matcha pound cake.
Every so often, I think about my dog and the fact that I could never eat him. Then I think about how he looks like a piglet and how I do eat pigs by way of bacon. But if I do eat bacon and bacon comes from a pig aren’t I eating a version of my dog? Don’t worry, I’m not making a case for vegetarianism (though there’s certainly a case), I’m setting up a post about a porcini rosemary tomato sauce.
Hi, my name is Adam Roberts and I started this food blog almost twenty years ago (it’ll be exactly twenty years next year!) and I haven’t blogged on it for a long time. That’s because I found other outlets like Substack and podcasting and Instagram and TikTok and cookbooks to express myself food-wise. Then yesterday I had a revelation: nowhere, in the Amateur Gourmet metaverse is there anywhere to share recipes. Especially ones that you can print. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what people want the most from food writers? Recipes? That they can print? “Maybe I should take the old food blog out for a spin,” I thought to myself. And here we are.
Hi everyone, did you know I’ve been writing TWO Amateur Gourmet newsletters a week, filled with recipes, restaurant reviews, and links? The Monday one is totally free and if you find yourself loving it, you can get the Thursday one for just a small fee. Enter your e-mail address above and join the fun! Or click here to see what it’s all about before you sign-up. Either way, I’ll see you over on Substack.
If you know anything about me you know that I love two things more than anything else: (1) cooking and (2) Broadway musicals. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to become friends with one of my favorite Broadway actors, Gideon Glick (we met up at The Russian Tea Room), and over the pandemic we jokingly sent each other funny Broadway-themed dishes for a potential Broadway cookbook: Sunday in the Pork with George. Bundts on this Island. The Sound of Moussaka. At some point, I pitched this idea to my brilliant cookbook agent Alison Fargis at Stonesong and she loved it. Then we hit the jackpot and convinced renowned Broadway illustrator Justin “Squigs” Robertson to illustrate the book for us and guess what? We just sold the book to an incredible publisher: Countryman Press! So look out for GIVE MY SWISS CHARDS TO BROADWAY, coming Fall 2022. 🎩👯♀️📚🍴💫