Sardines, Mustard & Triscuits

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It all happened very quickly. My friend Jimmy IMed me and asked what we were up to, we said nada, decided to all go to a movie but first, I invited him over for dinner. “It won’t be fancy,” I warned. “Probably just some pasta.” (I had penne in the cabinet and cauliflower in the refrigerator, so I knew I could make this recipe, minus the broccoli.) But after the plan was set, my hosting gene kicked in and I felt the need to also make a dessert and an appetizer. The dessert? I’ll tell you about that later. But the appetizer came together in no time, and it had everything to do with having three ingredients on hand: spicy mustard, a box of Triscuits and a can of sardines.

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Roasted Chickpeas

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Let me say right off the bat: this is not a great recipe.

It has the potential to be a great recipe–I really wanted it to be a great recipe–but as it stands right now, it’s in need of some serious tweaking. And that tweaking may just be the simple addition of a Tablespoon of olive oil, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Creamed Mushrooms on Toast

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When I’m home alone and making dinner for myself, my standards change dramatically. If Craig’s there (and he usually is), I know he has certain expectations about what constitutes a dinner. That’s fair, because most people do. But alone? My standards go out the window and I just improvise a meal with whatever I have on hand. And the other night, while Craig was in London showing his movie at the Raindance Film Festival, I happened to have the following on hand: mushrooms, thyme, cream and bread. That’s why I decided to make something I’d never made before, something I wasn’t even sure constituted a proper dinner. That something was creamed mushrooms on toast.

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Deviled Eggs

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There are certain dishes that I don’t like until I make them myself. For example, this may come as a shock to you, but I used to hate–and I mean hate–macaroni and cheese. I know! But I grew up in a non-cheese household (longtime readers know that my dad hates cheese) so whenever I’d go to someone’s house and there’d be mac and cheese for dinner, I’d have to make up an excuse not to eat it (“I’m allergic,” I’d say.)

But then, once I got into cooking, I made a few mac and cheeses (here’s one here) and once I understood the basic components of the dish–the bechamel, the way the cheese melts into the sauce, the way it all bakes in the oven–I could stomach other people’s mac and cheese because I understood what it was and how it was made.

Now, after last night’s effort, I feel the same way about deviled eggs.

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Molly’s Slow Roasted Tomatoes (Pomodori al Forno)

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A journey of a thousand miles may begin with one step, but a recipe of several steps begins with precisely 2,408 miles. Specifically: the distance from New York to Seattle.

It was on the plane from New York to Seattle that I read last month’s Bon Appetit magazine which featured our friend Molly Orangette’s recipe for slow roasted tomatoes. The recipe was adapted from the one at Cafe Lago, a restaurant Molly writes lovingly about in the accompanying article, and a restaurant that’s back-to-back with an apartment where Craig used to live with his friends Ryan and Kristen.

The story might’ve ended there, with me reading about Cafe Lago’s Pomodori al Forno on the plane, except the story–like those slow-cooked tomatoes–gets richer as it goes along.

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Baked “New” Garlic with Creamed Goat’s Cheese

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You’ve seen it at the farmer’s market, you’ve read about it on Ruhlman’s blog. It’s the tall, stalky plant that look like Beaker the muppet when held upside down.

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[Image assembled haphazardly in Photoshop with picture from Ruhlman’s blog and a stretched-out picture of Beaker.]

It’s new garlic, or Spring garlic, or green garlic (depending on who you talk to) and it’s prized in the food community for its subtlety, its nuance, and its unique, Springy flavor. I’d cooked with green garlic before (see green garlic soup) and yet I hadn’t been entirely won over.

But now I’m whistling a different tune, thanks to my new favorite cookbook: Roast Chicken And Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson. The recipe he offers is truly simple, and yet in its simplicity lies the key to unlocking the mystery and the beauty of new/green/Spring garlic.

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Smoked Salmon Dip

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Cooking is a funny process. If I gave you a spoonful of cream cheese and a spoonful of sour cream and told you to put them both in your mouth at the same time you’d gag and say, “Sick, man, get out of my face.” But if I mixed that sour cream and cream cheese together in a bowl and tossed in horseradish, lemon juice, dill and pieces of smoked salmon you’d say: “Ooooh, look at that lovely dip. Let me have it!”

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How To Make Latkes

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Hanukkah may be over today, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to make latkes. If you’ve never made latkes before, may I suggest you do so tonight?

It’s pretty easy and pretty rewarding. Granted, it’s not guiltless food: eating a bunch of latkes is basically equivalent to eating a bunch of french fries, so you may want to serve them on a treadmill with a side of personal trainer. But holiday time is about treating yourself, isn’t it, and when was the last time you tre

[THIS POST HAS BEEN INTERRUPTED BY A FAN WHO JUST APPROACHED ME AT THE COFFEE SHOP WHERE I AM WRITING THIS. SHE SAYS SHE’S BEEN READING ME FOR A LONG TIME, THAT SHE’S A GEOGRAPHY TEACHER AND THAT SHE LIVES IN BUFFALO. I TOLD HER THAT I AM TERRIBLE AT GEOGRAPHY, THAT I REALLY DIDN’T KNOW WHETHER PHILADELPHIA WAS NORTH OR SOUTH OF NEW YORK, AND SHE GAVE ME A PITYING LOOK.]

Where was I? Oh yes, latkes. Let’s continue below, shall we?

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