23 May 2006


I guess it's been a while since my last post. April and May were a blur of activity. I've moved in with M, which means cooking for another person, which is a pleasure. It's also interesting to find out her likes and dislikes and fine tune my food to find a happy medium between us. The greatest difficulty thus far is getting her to open up about what she thinks about the food. I think she thinks it's complaining, rather than valuable feedback. Just one of the many adjustments we've both had to make.

Some food notes from the last few months, in no particular order:
  • We went and stayed with M's sister in Kentucky to go see the Kentucky Derby qualifiers at Keeneland. One of the activities for the weekend was tailgating. The stand-out was the cold fried chicken. They bought it the night before and put it in the fridge while it was still warm. It was unbelievably good the next day. The big lesson here is that you should always buy exactly as much chicken as you need, no more, because if there are leftovers, the remorse of having chilled a devastatingly good piece of fried chicken for no good reason sticks with you for a while.
  • In Lexington, I tried David Chang's recipe for roast brussels sprouts with kimchi and bacon, but without the kimchi. It was a dud, mostly because the sprouts were big and sort of grainy. I'm still trying to figure out how to treat those big sprouts you get at the market. Long, slow cooking to reduce them to buttery sweetness is one thing I haven't tried yet. Must consult M about her feelings on this.
  • The Nathan's hot dogs are better at Shea Stadium than Yankee Stadium... but I might just have gotten lucky and gotten a well-heated dog off the hot rollers, where usually they come steamed out of the box the vendor carries. Oh, and they have better mustard at Shea.
  • The tiny kitchen in our new apartment has spilled out into the entryway. Lots of shelving with lots of cookware.
  • We have a dishwasher now.
  • I made curried cauliflower, with coconut milk, mustard seeds, frozen tamarind pulp and onions. It was pretty good. Not sure if I like the souring effect of the tamarind. I think next time just a basic curry.
  • Last night, I made beef short rib biryani, to be eaten today. Simple recipe but calls for long cooking. Will update on how it went.
  • We went to the Strip House, a steakhouse near Union Square, with some coworkers of mine. Awesome duck fat potatoes and creamed spinach. I was lukewarm on the steak. We took home some of M's rack of lamb and some of the creamed spinach (with white truffle oil). I made a bechamel and stirred in the spinach, tossed this with orecchiette. I sliced the lamb thin and reheated it. I layered the lamb over the pasta and then deglased the pan to make a broth, which I poured over the whole thing. It was really great. I tried to recreate this with my own, lighter version of creamed spinach, with cannelini added, given the affinity between spinach, lamb and white beans, but it had to sit overnight due to a miscommunication, so ended up mushy. I'd like to try this recipe again, maybe with a braised lamb neck, stripped and shredded, and cannelini over creamed spinach, served over noodles. Maybe penne would be a better option.
  • We now live upstairs from Tal Bagels, voted the best bagels in the city in 2005 (Citysearch). I've been going down regularly in the mornings to pick up a pumpernickel and a sesame bagel. They're usually hot out of the oven, with the crust anywhere between still-cripsy and slightly chewy. An unbelievable pleasure. I hated pumpernickel before, but guess I just hadn't had a good one. Their lox are incredibly expensive at $36 a pound, but are oily and soft and just don't stand up to the stuff from the supermarket. So for now that's a Sunday treat. It's supplanted smoothies and eggs as the breakfast of choice... and for good reason.
  • 2 lbs of green beans is a LOT of green beans.
  • I made risotto primavera with green beans (see above), asparagus, shredded carrot, and some leftover homemade basil. There wasn't enough parm to grate into it, but pregrated pecorino romano did just fine. The rice was mushy, though, so I guess I'm out of practice with the pressure cooker...
  • I suppose using the pressure cooker on those curried beef short ribs would make it a week night dish. Must remember to try that.
  • We're using FreshDirect now. I like their butchery, even if it's expensive. The veggies are passable, not really the quality I was expecting. They carry kefir, which simplifies the guanabana smoothie to three ingredients.
  • It's lychee season!