2006 11 03
Di Fara Pizza

Posted by in: Food, Pictures we took

Pizza at Di Fara in Brooklyn, originally uploaded by Chris and Yoon.

Why would you take the Q train all the way out to the Midwood section of Flatbush in order to wait an hour or two in a dingy, run-down pizza shop for an old Italian guy to feel inspired enough to start making your order? Because it is very probably the best pizza you’ve ever had in your life by a long shot. This pizza was $18, if you can believe it.

The store is always filled with people passing the time walking around saying things like, “First time here? Is this your first time here? I’ve been coming here 30 years! Now let me tell you what’s best.”

See also: Slice: Di Fara

Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn, originally uploaded by Chris and Yoon.

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2006 10 22
Oatmeal Pancakes

Posted by in: Food

These pancakes are wonderful. The secret, I think, is the inclusion of oatmeal, which gives them a certain I-don’t-know-quoi. I served them with bacon, bananas and strawberries (rather than the marmalade and clotted cream recommended in the recipe, and also used yogurt instead of buttermilk) to Yoon this morning, as part of her welcome home after a week on the road (I also cleaned the entire apartment, did the laundry, rearranged the netflix cue earlier in the week so that her favourite show would be waiting for her, bought flowers and a card, made a nice dinner for last night, and made it subtly clear that although I was randy of course I knew she wouldn’t feel like nookie after a long day on the road. The moral of the story is: isn’t it funny how low, low, low cultural expectations of men make minimally decent behaviour appear, if you squint just so, almost supererogatory?).

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2006 10 18
Simple eats: Salmon, rice and arugula salad

Posted by in: Food

Nick came over for a cooking lesson tonight. Nick has terrible memory, no patience, very bad diet, and lotsa ladies, so I wanted a dish that was easy, fast, nutritious and could double as a meal for a date in a pinch. Tell me if this is not simplicity itself:

1. Rice. Put it in the rice cooker and forget about it.
2. Salmon fillet. Rinse under cold water, then coat liberally with salt and pepper. Heat up the frying pan with some oil (best is safflower oil, since it handles high heat very well) and slap on the fillet, scales down. Cover with a lid, and then cook for about 10 minutes on medium low heat. Check that it’s done by making a cut in the salmon so that you can see that it’s cooked all the way through. No need to flip it if you’ve got that lid on and you cook it long enough. Serve with a splash of lemon.
3. While the salmon is cooking, put some arugula in a salad bowl. If you’ve washed it, make sure that the argulua is dry. Add some olive oil, a splash of lemon, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and pepper.

Done! Takes 15 minutes if you’re moving sluggishly, not counting the rice cooking time. It also tastes good, and the pink/white/green arrangement on the plate is pleasing to the eye.

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2006 10 02
Gnocchi, waiting to be cooked

Posted by in: Food, Pictures we took

Just before they went into the water tonight. Not very elegant looking, but I got the job done.

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2006 02 06
Coffee talk

Posted by in: Food

Your corporate overlords have issued daily demands that you make coffee with an expensive coffee maker or French press. But I’m here to tell you that you can stick it to The Man when you make coffee at home.

Take one plate, one 50 cent strainer, and one glass measuring cup.

Put a few scoops of coffee in the measuring cup. I put in four scoops for a large mug. Note: Like the French press method, this does require a bit more in the way of coffee grounds than methods that use percolation. It’s best to use a coarse grind.

Boil some water and pour it in the measuring cup. Put the plate on top to keep it warm.

After a few minutes, pour the coffee/water mixture through the strainer straight into your coffee mug. And voila! You’ve made coffee – and you’ve stuck it to The Man! Also, I find this all easier to clean up than other methods, as well as cheaper. And since you’ve probably already got a measuring cup and a plate, it’s not sitting on your counter taking up space. All you need is the 50 cent strainer.

I suppose this all sounds very obvious, but for years it hadn’t occurred to me that I didn’t need to buy anything beyond the strainer and the coffee grounds to make coffee. I post this in the hopes that someone out there is as obtuse as my former self.


A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)

2006 02 05

Posted by in: Food

With special guests Amanda Monaco and Andrey Henkin. Yoon is practicing interviewing people for her new podcast show with Amanda right now. In fact, this typing is probably irritating the both of them right now. So I’ll stop.

A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)

2006 01 16
Gnocchi update

Posted by in: Food

Following up on this . . . Ah, this time things went much better. The first gnocchi recipe I used called for an egg. Subsequent investigation has revealed one pitfall of that strategy: you have to use more flour. That would explain why my first batch was a bit doughy. The trick, then, is to use as little flour as possible.

This time I boiled some potatoes (I just eyeballed all the ingredient quantities), and then skinned them while they were still warm (actually, while they were still a bit too hot). Then I ran them over the largest grater part of a cheese grater (I don’t have a potato ricer). I added just a bit of ricotta cheese to the same bowl.

In a separate bowl, I mixed together just a bit of flour with some salt, pepper, and nutmeg. I then slowly mixed in the flour mix with the potato shavings and the ricotta, using as little of the flour mix as possible. It’s not like pasta which requires kneading, so as soon as I had a clump of potato dough ready to go (keep adding flour until it no longer sticks to your hands), I started breaking smaller clumps off and rolling them into long, thin, round strips on a flour covered work surface. Then I cut the strips into little pieces. (Most recipes seem to call for the end result to be about 3/4 of an inch long and wide.) For fun, I then squashed each of them between a fork and a spoon to give them ridges, but that’s strictly optional.

At that point you’re basically done. Just throw the finished product into salted boiling water as soon as possible. Remove them about a minute and a half after they start floating on the surface of the water. If you used too little flour or you cook them too long, you won’t have any gnocchi left – they’ll just disintegrate. So be quick about it!

I didn’t bother frying up the gnocchi in butter once they were out of the water, as I did last week. I just threw on some warmed up left-over lamb ragu that I had frozen earlier. This time, it seemed to work: The gnocchi just melted in my mouth. Yummy, yum, yum! Like butta!

(Credit where it’s due: I did this without a recipe book, but of course first I skimmed about a dozen recipies online. Pretty much everything I’ve said here is taken from one or another of them.)

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2006 01 16

Posted by in: Food

I made gnocchi with lamb ragu for several members of Team Explananda last week. I was happy with the lamb ragu, but the gnocchi were merely so-so. Back to the drawing board. Anyway, poking around the internets, I just came across this:

Florentines call gnocchi topini (field mice), because the home made ones vaguely resemble mice in size and shape. This can produce a certain amount of confusion outside of Tuscany; one of my wife’s aunts once caused a stir in a restaurant in Rome when she saw someone else eating gnocchi and asked for topini. The waiter said there weren�t any, and when she insisted there were, went to get the owner, who stiffly informed her that there were no mice in his restaurant. Eventually the misunderstanding was cleared up and she had her topini.

I also liked this:

In the Tuscan area of Italy, spinach-and-ricotta-flavored gnocchi are called strozzapreti, or priest-stranglers. Apparently a priest choked and died after eating too quickly, because the gnocchi were so delicious.

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2006 01 10
Baby Spinach and Avocado Salad

Posted by in: Food

This is a not-very-good picture of my latest favourite salad:

It’s very easy to make: Take some baby spinach, wash it, and pat it very dry. Cut up an avocado or two (I use one per serving, but that’s because I’m sort of a pig), and throw it into the mix. If you’re feeling really decadent, cut up some fresh – if it’s not fresh, don’t even bother – mozzarella cheese.

This goes very well with the simplest of dressings: In a bowl or whatever, vigorously mix some olive oil, red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt, a bit of pepper and some Dijon mustard. The mustard is especially important, since it acts as an emulsifying agent for the otherwise unmixable olive oil and vinegar combination. (Thanks, Alton Brown!) Add just as much dressing to the salad as you need to in order to lightly coat it.

And you’re done! Total preparation time, even if you’re a real dawdler, is about five minutes.

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2005 12 10
Recent eating

Posted by in: Food

Well, you clicked all the way over here, so the least I can do is send you away hungry.

Three characters from the sidebar were over for dinner this evening: Nick, Brad and “A”. I made fresh pasta for the occasion. Here’s the pasta after I put it through the press and right before I stuck it into the fridge to settle.

Yummy huh? But how about a close up?

And just two hours later, it was all in our bellies.

Alas, when they got here I forgot to take a picture of the full meal. I made pasta sauce with meatballs. I find the trick with pasta sauce is to use things that are roasted, so that you get a nice smokey flavour: fire roasted red peppers, fire roasted tomatos, and then I roast some garlic in olive oil and squeeze it out into the sauce. (Then I blend it all with a hand blender.) The other trick: Use beef broth in your sauce. The meatballs were baked separately first. Tonight, I used a blend of turkey and beef.

I also served a salad of baby spinnach and lettuce with a dressing which contained: anchovies, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, dijon mustard, and sherry vinegar. It’s nice to grind the anchovies in with the other ingredients using a mortar and pestle. Wait until the last minute, and then throw the dressing on the salad, and sprinkle freshly grated parmesian cheese.

I forgot to blog our meal last Sunday. It was the first day it snowed in NYC, so of course everything had to grind to a halt to celebrate Snow Day properly. We made duck again, this time using a very simple mushroom and red wine sauce. The salad was thrown together using: lettuce, an anjou pear, tomato, gorgonzola cheese, and other stuff I’m too lazy to remember. Here it is:

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2005 12 02

Posted by in: Food

One, two, three.

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2005 11 26

Posted by in: Food

Last night’s dinner:
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2005 08 12
Bacon, bacon, bacon

Posted by in: Food

Oh yeah!


A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)

2005 08 10
Aloe-la. A-A-A – Aloe-la.

Posted by in: Food

We found this in the grocery store, and brought it home in the name of science. It is chunks of Aloe Vera bathed in muscat flavored syrup. Yes, aloe vera, the stuff that’s good for sunburns.

Yum. The chunks are translucent, 1″ x 1″ x 1/4″, with visible vein structure in them. They are sliiightly crunchy, in the way that is familiar but I can’t place. Maybe like a big green grape? Not as crunchy as watermelon. Spencer thinks they’re like lychees. Very fun and slightly oogy to eat.

(Warning: My internet research suggests that one should eat only a few chunks; aloe can be a laxative.)

And, as the package tells us, “It contains of Enzymes that will support the healthy of body.”

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2005 08 04
Recipe Challenge

Posted by in: Food

Ok, readers. I’ve just come from the farmer’s market down the block with:
-baby red potatoes
-green onions
At home we have lots of cheese of different types, milk, and other basics. The challenge is, what should I make for dinner? It’s 175 degrees here, so I’m thinking maybe a cold potato-celery soup and corn on the cob? Anybody know a good one that I can make with the ingredients I’ve got?

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