One thing that I like about cooking is that even if think you know a recipe, there’s always a better version lurking around the corner. It’s always possible to make something better. So, for example, homemade hummus: I’ve been making it for a while. Generally, I just strain a can of chickpeas (reserving the liquid), toss it into a food processor with some garlic, some tahini, some lemon juice, a splash of olive oil, salt and a little of that liquid. Whir it up and I’ve got hummus. I’m usually pretty happy with the results.
2013 is the year of pink grapefruit halves. I don’t mean that in a broad sense, like a trend prediction, I mean that in a personal sense. This year is a year in which I’ve already eaten my weight in pink grapefruit halves and it all started, appropriately enough, on New Year’s Eve day with Matt Lewis, co-owner of Brooklyn’s Baked. We were at Pulino’s in Manhattan and we shared a pink grapefruit half that was so outrageously delicious, I’m not going to tell you about it yet. We’ll save it for the finale.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!
As a Jew, I’m not quite sure who St. Patrick is or why he has a day; I’m more familiar with St. Schlomo and his afternoon where you eat chopped liver and call your grandmother, but that’s neither here nor there. What is here and there is that some of you (many of you?) will be drinking beer today, and I’d like to tell you about something that I experienced involving beer last Saturday during a meeting of the “Bad Movie Club.”
There’s a lot of hubbub in New York, lately, about lobster rolls. Apparently there’s a glut of lobsters (see this New York Magazine article) and new lobster shacks are sprouting up all over the city. My loyalty, as always, belongs to Pearl Oyster Bar which makes the best lobster roll I’ve ever had. But did you know that its chef, Rebecca Charles, once taught me how to make her signature lobster roll for a video Craig and I did for Serious Eats? And did you know that, since then, I’ve made several more lobster rolls–always marveling at how easy it is? Because it is, indeed, very easy. And with lobsters really cheap right now in New York ($5.99 a pound at Citarella) this may turn out to be something you’ll want to do at home too.
I had the apples, I had the butter, I had the sugar, the vanilla extract, and even the cornmeal. Jimmy was coming to dinner (see here) and, with only an hour or two to prep, I knew there had to be dessert. So I yanked down Karen DeMasco’s newest book, The Craft of Baking, and followed her instructions for a caramelized-apple skillet cake.
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.
Dear Craig Claiborne,
I am greatly enjoying your somewhat notorious autobiography, “A Feast Made For Laughter.” Sure, it’s a little creepy when you talk about touching your dad’s erect penis while sharing a bed, but I appreciate your zeal for people and food. Case in point: early in the book, you tell a story involving Parker House rolls. Your brother passes you a basket of them and instead of taking the basket from him, you start to reach your hand in and take one out and your brother, appalled, drops the basket to the floor saying: “When anyone passes you a basket of bread, you take the basket. Or at least you touch it as a gesture of thoughtfulness.”
This passage amused me because it’s a good story, but mostly it made me hungry–hungry for Parker House rolls. I cracked open “The Joy of Cooking” and found the most basic recipe in the world; a recipe that required only yeast, butter, flour, sugar, salt and milk. I’d write out the recipe here, but it’s so standard any internet search will suffice. And those rolls–which took a few hours to rise–were quaint and comforting, the kind of food you want an American food icon to eat. Thank you for inspiring me to make them; I look forward to the rest of your book.