I do enjoy a vacation from blogging sometimes. There has been no shortage of cooking, both here and in Vermont, but not so much documentation. Among other memorable events, I taught a bread class, cooked for 75 or so people at a charity benefit, and fed my family daily as is my wont, but just wasn’t feeling the writing about it part. With an average of a post every other day for six and a half years, I don’t feel bad about taking a break. So now, as regular content resumes—subject to an impending deadline and how well I stave off the cold that Milo caught right before his birthday, torpedoing a weekend’s worth of fun—I’ll begin lazily simply with a few shots of How I Spent My Summer Vacation. Keep reading I’ve Seen Fire And I’ve Seen Sauce…
Last weekend we went to Vermont to escape the heat and do some serious relaxing. We brought up a bunch of stuff from the garden and some meat from the freezer so we were well provisioned, though that did not stop us from hitting the Saturday market and getting more food. That evening I went to town on all the bounty, and this meal was the result.
Keep reading Where There’s Smoke, There’s Dinner…
Last night at dinner Jack mentioned that the big agriculture fair was happening down at the convention center at Porte de Versailles. This was doubly coincidental; not only did it accidentally correspond with my visit, but it was in the very same space where I used to install and deinstall copious quantities of contemporary art at the FIAC every October. That fair has moved back into the Grand Palais–it was relocated during extensive renovations–but this agriculture thing is freaking gigantic, using just about all the halls, which translates into acres upon acres of floor space dedicated to food and drink of every imaginable variety (provided it has something to do with France, or at least Europe). This here is the real Charcutepalooza.
Keep reading Ivresse Oblige…
Back from Chicago, this evening I revelled in a bunch of fat, beautiful roots from the garden. New potatoes, chioggia beets, carrots of many colors, and turnips, plus foraged black trumpet mushrooms, peas, herbs, wine, vinegar, and salt. I ate it straight out of the pan, standing over the stove, so you will get no picture. But it tasted very good, and I am happy to be home, even if I miss my family who stayed behind for another week. While there, we had some good food, so this post will recap the 4th cookout and a couple of fine bottles we enjoyed at some friends’ house. Because you all care so much about my vacation, and you’re right to.
Keep reading If I Was Crying… It Was For Freedom…
That’s what the email said, just to ensure that the more squeamish guests would be arriving around 5.
The invitation landed in my inbox because Eve had emailed me, asking “do you know where a friend can get a pig?” and I directed her to Richard at Northwind farm, where they raise a variety of first-rate pastured meat. I get my belly from them (in more ways than one). In exchange for the pig hookup, I got to attend a special sort of barbecue. The kind that begins with a live pig, and ends with dinner. Tate, the host, thought it would be a good idea if all of his hipster Brooklyn foodie pals connected with their meat in an intimate and direct way, seeing exactly what it is that goes into bringing an animal to the plate. It was an interesting idea, and I was by myself that week, so the prospect of meeting some nice people while soaked in pig’s blood seemed like a no-brainer. I charged both camera batteries (I have two now, because Claudia sent me one).
Richard and the pig arrived (a little after noon, actually) and he described how the pig would meet its end. He slipped a couple of ropes around the animal. Tate loaded the .22, and they worked out who would stand where. The picture below shows the moment where the pig figured out that the day was not going to go very well at all.
Keep reading "The Pig Dies At Noon"…
We were in Vermont for the weekend, enjoying some absolutely perfect weather. Some swimming, a little (unsuccessful) fishing, and general relaxation were the totality of the agenda. And eating. That too.
I brought a cooler full of garden, and we worked our way through it over the course of our stay. To begin, a glorious treat in the form of our first zucchini flowers stuffed with local smoked gouda, dredged in local eggs and whole wheat flour, and fried quickly. I served them on a plate that my Mother made sometime before she made me.
Next up, we had a variation on many of our recent meals: some form of protein on top of stir-fried garden on top of a starch. They’re all sort of phone-ins, but as long as I keep mixing up the specifics and the ethnic leanings, I can create the illusion of variety. In this case it was beautiful grass-fed ribeye atop broccoli, peas, carrots, zucchini, green beans, and herbs on brown rice vermicelli with a somewhat spicy Thai-adjacent sauce of sesame oil, rice vinegar, nam pla, soy sauce, curry powder, and a bit of maple syrup. Lots of Thai basil helped.
The next night, we had wild sockeye salmon with garlic scapes and an interesting sauce that I’ll be working on over the coming months; it was sort of an accident, and got me excited about an intentional version that could go one of several ways. I seared the salmon in an iron skillet, which was pretty hot, and . . . → Read More: I Love A Parade
John’s birthday party was Friday, and it was to be an all-finger food potluck. I didn’t have a ton of time to plan or shop, so I made do with things around the house, centering on two forms of duck from the freezer. I defrosted a moulard breast and two pieces of foie gras–both local–and went outside to pick currants. The pink and white currant bushes I planted last fall have taken off, loving their new environs and fruiting prolifically. I got just shy of two pounds of fruit from them both, doing a not very thorough job so there will be more to enjoy in the coming days.
Keep reading Canapés…
There’s nothing like a series of splendid dinners to make a week of menial labor into an altogether pleasant experience. Using the wonders of technology, I was able to get in touch with some friends beforehand, and line up some highly enjoyable soirées. Here’s a brief rundown:
Keep reading Mishpacha…
It was a busy week, and it’s good to be back; it’s so clear, mild, and perfect here after the tropical heat and humidity. Despite the hard work, there were some good meals (and not a little time in the pool at my gallerists/hosts’ house). Initially, it was just me staying there; the other artists arrived later in the week. I had one evening to myself, so I rummaged around in the fridge to construct a dinner. Finding fingerling potatoes, half a fennel bulb, some onion, shallots, cream, and a bit of old sparkling wine, I assembled it all into a decent gratin, seasoned with herbs from their back yard, making a salt-rubbed cucumber salad as well.
The next day, we (now numbering four) went to Hiro’s Yakko-San in North Miami. It’s a wonderfully authentic and unpretentious place, serving a wide variety of izakaya-style small plates. We had fried shishito peppers, triggerfish skin jerky, seaweed salad, spicy clams (with an insanely good sauce, which we refused to let them take away; we asked for rice to soak up the last of it) fried udon, kimchi, broiled mackerel, and a few other things that I’m forgetting, washed down with Kirin Ichiban and a good Daiginjo sake. Fantastic, and a welcome alternative to ubiquitous sushi-joint fare. As an example, take a look at the lovely seaweed salad:
The following night I offered to cook for them, since they had opened their home to me for a week and I wanted to reciprocate a little bit. . . . → Read More: Miami
I’m heading off to Miami today for a show- I’ll be gone a week- so here’s the post of the ridiculously off-the-hook steak we had the other night to tide you over until I get back. It’s a perfect example of how the simplest ingredients can attain perfection when they’re properly sourced, grown, and prepared. In this case, a seriously badass steak and a bunch of just-picked vegetables. Sounds pretty average, right? But oh, what glory.
One last quick play for immortality before all the details: please click here, find “Cookblog,” (still holding at #3) and award me the number of hats that you fell this humble effort deserves. I’m going to predict that you’re feeling generous, and elated at the prospect of reading about one of the 3 best steaks I’ve ever eaten, so you’ll vote 5 hats and then rush back to read all about it.
We went to Chris and Sirkka’s house for dinner, bringing the raspberry tart from the last post and a couple of bottles of wine. Chris had been to Fleisher’s earlier and came back with one of their amazing dry-aged top sirloins. We wandered out into their garden- outperforming ours by a long shot, as usual- and figured out what to eat with the meat. We settled on a purée of celery root, turnip, and potato, a shaved beet and fennel salad, and braised turnip greens with collards and bonito shavings. For the beets and fennel, we shaved them on a mandoline, and then kneaded them . . . → Read More: Try A Little Tenderness