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Foie Gras and truffle-stuffed quail
“Once, at the Denver Airport, a bald girl in an orange dress told me I could be what I wanted.”
– Jim Harrison, The Raw & The Cooked

There’s an awful conceit abroad the interwebs these days that seems to be encouraging more people than it should to title themselves “freelance food writers”. Perhaps you’ve seen it in the “About” section of a variety of the blogs you frequent? Coincidentally, there is an expression, “facebook hot”, in use among the youth (I know this because I snuck a peak into my sister-in-law’s Cosmopolitan the other day) to describe someone whose picture they have seen on said social networking site but found to be disappointing in the flesh. I flag both these things in order to highlight the little-known fact that the internet is full of charlatans, liars, and duplicity. Continue Reading »

Spaghetti alla chitarra with monkfish liver sauce

I daresay there is a traditional dish from somewhere on the Italian peninsula that resembles this dish in some way, but in a radical, free-form departure from our blogging norms, we didn’t follow any kind of recipe here nor do the slightest bit of research in preparation. By way of an excuse, we didn’t really have time.

We’d been out for almost the entire day on yet another soul-destroying search for a new place to live, and, feeling rather bilious and irritable, were in need of emotional restoration. Returning to our soon-to-be former residence, we passed the Japanese-run fishmongers and noticed a small pot of monkfish liver just aching to be ours. Then, passing Russo’s our neighboring Italian specialty store, we bagged ourselves a box of their freshly-made spaghetti alla chitarra. Some light cream that needed finishing off, some chopped garlic, a splash of white wine, a sprinkle of chopped parsley, and fifteen minutes later, we were enjoying a the slightly bitter, oily maritime flavor of monkfish liver with a glass of chewy, slightly leathery Basilicatan aglianico. And if we weren’t completely emotionally restored afterward, we were hopeful enough to risk making another series of appointments to see terminally-dismal overpriced Brooklyn apartments the next day. Continue Reading »

Mofongo

He’s certainly not the first to make such a remark, but when in a recent episode of his PBS show Mexico: One Plate at a Time, chef Rick Bayless commented that Mexican food may be the first “fusion cuisine” in the Americas, the concept resonated with me. The collision of cultures and culinary traditions that resulted from the European conquest of the Americas had as profound and delicious consequences for its Spanish, French and English protagonists as it had on the diets of its unwilling Native American and African antagonists. Indeed, and here I understand that I’m on sensitive ground, in cultural terms one might venture that one of the few short term benefits, that became a long term legacy, of this brutal period was the fabulous variety of new dishes that resulted from this coming together of New World, European and African ingredients and techniques.

Anthropologists and historians generally agree that apart from Brazil, the islands of the Caribbean are the most “Africanized” countries of the Americas because the extraordinarily harsh conditions, and consequential high slave mortality rate, in these places required that the plantation’s human capital be almost constantly replaced, continually refreshing African traditions. This sad history has allowed for the persistence of several West African cultural traditions, in syncretic religions like Haitian voodoo and Brazilian candomblé, as well as a variety of typical dishes, in the New World. Chief among the latter of these is the filling cassava mush known throughout much of Central and Western sub-Saharan Africa as fufu. Continue Reading »

Mixed Cheese Tart with Tomatoes

A few weeks ago we were lucky to receive a serious amount of free cheese from Ile de France. You’ve most likely seen their brie, goat cheese or St. André (which I could rub all over my body it’s that good) in your supermarket but they have so much more to offer. I only wish my grocery store carried all their cheeses. They also just redid their website and it’s an excellent way to get over 500 cheese recipes or just peruse the various cheeses they offer. After chomping down on the many cheese samples Ile de France mailed us (a vast variety including Chaumes, St. Albray, Goat and Brie) , we had alot left over. We’re kinda cheese fiends and when we’re feeling in the mood to eat cheese, we’ll go to our local shop and go a bit overboard. The cheese drawer will pile up until I can barely close it. This is never a good thing. Weeks later I’ll check out what’s at the bottom of the drawer to find shriveled bits of piave, way over-ripe, acidic smelling camembert or moldy tomme. I’ll often chop off mold or use the shriveled bitsto grate as pasta toppings, but often I’ll say a prayer, shed a tear and throw them into the garbage. It burns a hole in my heart every time! Continue Reading »

Baby Octopus a la Plancha
“Reach into your memory and come up with … what food actually regenerated your system, not so you can leap tall buildings, but so you can turn off the alarm clock with vigor.”
– Jim Harrison, The Raw and the Cooked

We’re certainly not the first bloggers to find ourselves stretched thin between the demands of our regular working lives and the rather strange, post-modern existence we eke out on the interwebs, and, as happens to us every now and then, we’re kind of in the middle of one of those periods right now. Combine that with the fact that it’s been crazy hot here lately — making the prospect of getting creative in the kitchen of our sweat-lodge-like four-story walk-up apartment distinctly unattractive — and our resulting culinary output has been truly meager.

On the few occasions we have been behind the burners, it’s only been for short periods, and, in this case, just long enough to cook marinaded baby octopus a la plancha in a cast-iron skillet. This is the result. It was delicious, and, yes, our apartment was a few hundred degrees for the rest of the evening. Seeking to avoid these sauna conditions, we have recently resorted to the dangerously illegal practice of grilling things over a tiny fold-up barbecue on the roof of our apartment building. With a bit of luck, the steamy conditions will break before repeated exposure to grilling temperatures melts a sink-hole into the ceiling above us. Continue Reading »

tacos al pastor

In our humble opinion, there is a serious and shameful lack of sodas made with real sugar available in America today. When we were in Argentina last year, among the most (of many) pleasurable experiences was drinking a Coke out of a small bottle and having it taste like it used to. The fact that soda companies in America are now releasing “special” and “old school” editions that contain sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup just lampoons this ridiculous situation.

Now, we’re not exactly giant soda drinkers, and when we do indulge, we tend to go for things like San Pellegrino’s limoncita, except of course when we’re enjoying Mexican tortas (sandwiches) for lunch at the Mexican-run deli on our Brooklyn block. Then, we will always get a nice cool bottle of Jarritos, and most commonly, the flavor is pineapple (piña). Imagine our delight then, when we were recently invited to sample all 11 varieties of Jarritos. Continue Reading »

The destiny of nations depends upon the manner in which they are fed.”
– Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

52 Loaves

The basic premise of William Alexander’s recent book, 52 Loaves, like his first title The $64 Tomato, is that the author becomes so obsessed with a particular project, in this case creating (and growing wheat for) the perfect loaf of country bread, that he devotes a year (hence the title) and a great deal of energy and money, in the pursuit of his goal.

I’ll leave aside the obvious shades of mid-life crisis that dominate the book’s context, and I’ll ignore the far-too-frequent-for-comfort discussions of Alexander’s marital relations that I feel like he included to appear less of a nerd than a bread-obsessed IT director might otherwise, and focus instead on the fact that, as with many quests, his journey ultimately became more important than his goal. Alexander’s aim may have been to master the art of baking au levain country loaves at home, but in the course of his year-long peregrinations across North America, and to Morocco and France, and wittily transcending his middle-aged, obsessive-compulsive suburban dad identity, he finds much more than a faultless bread recipe, becoming a fount of fascinating knowledge and experience about life and human history. Continue Reading »

Yellow oyster mushrooms in vermouth cream sauce
Though we are best known as intrepid gastronomic voyagers, taking our taste buds to the very corners of the globe to bring you, fortunate reader, the tastiest and most authentic delights from obscure and far-flung kingdoms, we’re also (in the same way that Clark Kent was also a brown-suit sporting hack when not moonlighting in tights and a cape) just normal workaday folk who periodically wander down to the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning and pick up some fresh, local ingredients. Yes, I know, it is almost impossible to believe, but I swear it’s true. Continue Reading »

Arroz con Gandulez (Rice w/ Pigeon Peas)

When our readers actually read our posts, it feels really good. Because we often write a lot in our post, it is understandable why some may choose not to actually read our words. We understand how many blogs exist, and many only have time to do the “blog drive-by” (you know what I’m talking about – the “I’m going to just look at the pictures quickly then comment something like damn! that-looks-deeelissssh!” drive by? We’ve all done it). But the thing we love the most about writing a blog about food from all over the world, trying to infuse history, cultural anecdotes and as much authenticity as possible, is when we get schooled. It’s almost like a sick, food-centered type of masochism. It’s almost as if we are bent over some Argentinian, Spanish, French or Italians knee as they spank us very hard telling us how wrong we were about _______________ (insert ethnic dish of choice here). Knowing we have people actually reading what we write (and telling us how we can do things better) makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It shows us that people are actually reading our words and are interested in enlightening people about their culture. When we get something wrong on the blog, getting schooled helps us learn and grow and we love it. Continue Reading »

Duck Empanada / Empanada de Pato

Being the innate pessimist that I am, watching a small boat being knocked around like a dodgem car on the rollicking, blue-grey seas at the normally placid Jersey Shore this past weekend put me in mind of the Costa de Muerte, the coast of death, on Spain’s north-west coast, where Galician fisherman have taken their lives in their hands for generations. [In a quirk of editorial fate, I may, unwittingly, have taken inspiration for this flight of fancy from the cover (then unopened) of this month’s Bon Appetit, but as you will see, if you persevere, there is a mite more detail below than Barbara Fairchild typically provides.]

The ocean’s bounty has never been translated into material riches in that part of Spain, and even in modern times, in spite of renewed interest centered around its albariño and mencia wines, artisanal cheeses, and gooseneck barnacles, it remains comparatively impoverished. Consequently, Gallegos have, for generations, cast their fortunes in the wind and sought better lives for themselves in other parts of Spain and the New World, including Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, Argentina, and Cuba. Continue Reading »

fagiole e salsicce

“I eat my candy with pork and beans.
Excuse my manners if I make a scene.”

Pork and Beans, by Weezer

I could begin this post with a rose-tinted anecdote about how, during the run-up to our wedding in Italy, as Amy and I were lingering romantically over a typically rustic Tuscan dinner one warm June evening against the background of a bucolic, rolling landscape with honey-colored buildings dotted sparingly among neat rows of vines and olives — our eyes locked together over a tablescape of starched cloth, antique silver and leaded crystal — the air, heavy with the scent of lavender and the hum of cicadas, seemed to stir momentarily, as if a gust of breeze from we knew not where had suddenly, and unintentionally, loosed itself, darkening our moods and furrowing our brows with its unwelcome interruption. Continue Reading »

Own-o Kow-swear

There is so little information available about Burma (or Myanmar, depending on how you rock it) that after the inevitable Wikipedia entry, the CIA World Factbook is the second item that appears in Google’s search results. This anonymity is largely due to the military dictatorship that has kept the country under lock and key for much of the last 50 years. Even typhoon Nargis, which smacked into the Burmese coast in the spring of 2008 killing 130,000+ Burmese, shamefully failed to change the government’s secretive operations in spite of a large international relief effort.

Burma has not always been so mysterious. During the latter half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th, the country was annexed to the British Raj of India (mostly to arrest the expansion of the French across Indochina from Laos and Vietnam), and quickly became an integral part of the British Empire supplying a rich abundance of jewels, hardwoods and spices to global markets. Indeed, the British, favoring the temperate north of “Upper Burma” over the fetid, malarial Rangoon (now Yangon) in the south, made the previously small, provincial town of Mandalay their capital, opening up that previously undeveloped area in so doing. It was during these heady days of fortune-making, steamy nights and opium dens that the sense of exoticism and opulence surrounding the city of Mandalay developed (which the Vegas casino Mandalay Bay riffs off, despite the fact that Mandalay is more than 500 miles inland). Continue Reading »

Galbi/Kalbi/LAGalbi

I’m not reinventing the wheel here. Korean food is slowly getting the recognition it so rightly deserves across America.  Although you may not be able to find as giant a Korean menu in Des Moines as you would in Los Angeles or New York, you’d be surprised how many Korean BBQ restaurants exist. (Upon a bit of research, Des Moines did have a Korean restaurant, but, unfortunately, it closed.)  My point is, Korean food could have a mass appeal if more people were exposed to it and just gave it a try. Continue Reading »

Charcuterie plate
A lot has been made of the glory and diversity of America’s road-foods by such hit US TV shows as Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, which, if you haven’t seen it, features a bleach-blond moron traveling the highways and byways of this great nation gorging himself on deep-fried hamburgers, the world’s spiciest chicken wings, and platters of barbecue so big you could almost hear his car’s shocks wince. He then jumps back behind the wheel and steps on the gas to make it to the next neon-signed heart-stopper before his cholesterol level has the chance to drop below 300.

As you may have inferred, I am not overly impressed by this show or others like Man vs. Food that marvel at just how gluttonous and boorish the host can be. Perhaps it’s because I frequently over-eat and then avoid looking at myself in the mirror, but in the same way as I don’t favor shows featuring close-ups of young fools guzzling booze, like, say, The Real World, I also don’t enjoy watching some fat guy shoving 4 pounds of pancakes down his pie-hole surrounded by the cheering obese. I find it all, shall we say, sorta gross.

On a more serious note though, if such shows are truly representative of the best road-food in this country, and were I an American truck-driver, I would fear for my health. I know from personal experience that driving isn’t one of the more healthful occupations given the innumerable sedentary hours in the cab, but when the majority of truck-stops offer only greasy fast food, you can be pretty sure that expecting to to enjoy a long and healthy retirement after 40 years in the game may be optimistic. Continue Reading »

Pollo al Ajillo - Chicken in Garlic-Brandy Sauce
“Eat no garlic nor onions, lest they find out thy boorish origin by the smell…”
-Don Quixote to Sancho Panza, Chapter XLIII,
Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Sitting around the table last night with gusts of strong breath coloring our domestic atmosphere, Amy and I were considering the profound effect garlic has on Spanish cuisine, and we wondered aloud whether any other national cuisine makes such abundant and varied use of the perfumed rose. Certainly, French and Italian food incorporate garlic with spectacular results, as do Greek, most other Mediterranean cuisines, as well as Chinese and Indian, but if there’s a cuisine that, to us, is characterized by garlic, it’s Spanish. Continue Reading »

Beef Carbonnade with buttered noodles
Amy and I spent the week between Christmas and New Year in the French departments of Picardie and Nord-Pas-de-Calais which are, historically, along with large swathes of Belgium and Zeeland in Holland, part of the larger area of Northern Europe known as Flanders. These mostly flat and seemingly bucolic rural regions of north-eastern France were the site of the fiercest trench warfare in World War I and are today known more for their giant military cemeteries and grim rows of crosses stretching to the horizon than for the food they produce. Driving the Somme Valley in French Flanders is a sobering experience even in the heat and brightness of high summer, but in the freezing, drifting fog of deepest winter, when the white headstones seem to lurch out at you and then disappear into the mists like the many ghosts they recall, it sends a mighty chill through both body and soul. A chill that the regional cuisine seems to be have been invented to dispel. Continue Reading »

Salade de confits gésiers (Salad with Confit Gizzards)

Do you ever wish you had a secret power? I don’t mean like some stupid superhero who can fly, make it rain, or look great in a unitard. I mean like a gerbil’s ability to store tasty bits in its cheeks for later, or a tiger’s ability to eat 30lbs of wild boar at a single sitting, that kind of thing. No? Hmm, well, I do, and sometimes, in my more reflective moments, I find myself wishing I was blessed with a gizzard. After all, would not my diet be expanded and my ‘intestinal transit’ made smoother if I possessed a specialized second stomach that enabled me to grind up and enjoy commonly indigestible foods? Continue Reading »

Mulligatawny Soup

One finds mulligatawny soup on an Indian restaurant menu the same way one always finds buffalo wings or nachos on a bar menu. It just has to be there – if it wasn’t on the menu you just know there’s something wrong with the place. But how many of you have ever ordered it over the papadums or samosas to start your meal?  Like many dishes ordered at your local Indian, it can feel like a bit heavy.   This is a good thing if you make this your lunch or your dinner, which is why I absolutely love making batches of this incredibly hearty and extremely inexpensive soup that lasts for many meals. Continue Reading »

Hake "Juan Mari Arzak"

It is no coincidence that, in the 30 years since Franco’s death, Spanish creativity in the arts, architecture, business, and gastronomy has blossomed. It is also no coincidence that it has been, predominantly, though not exclusively, Spain’s sub-national and regional groups — who were repressed most viciously by the Fascist dictator — that have led this rebirth. Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, designer of some of the most stunning buildings of all time, and Catalonian Ferran Adría, who runs what is, almost undisputedly, the world’s best restaurant, are but two whose genius has prospered in the post-Franco era. One could also point to more general trends of economic prosperity (prior to the recent global meltdown) in formerly moribund provincial cities like Bilbao and the resurgence of regional languages as evidence of this Spanish renaissance in recent times. Continue Reading »

Chocotorta

A quick, sweet post to kick-start your weekend about a ridiculously simple, ridiculously delicious Argentinian dessert – Chocotorta. This very popular dulce de leche-spiked, layered dessert reminds me a bit of tiramisu with an Argentine twist. What could be more Argentinian than dulce de leche? When Joan of Foodalogue revisited her Culinary Tour food event (which I love, by the way) to represent South America, I looked at the list and saw Argentina and thought about all the Argentinian specialities we still wanted to make for the blog. We had done so many Argentine posts before (including locro, milanesas, choripan and the ubiquitous parilla delicacies), but never anything sweet. With the deadline looming, I quickly did what I could to recreate the fabulous, famous Chocotorta. It’s not perfect, but it sure was delicious.

Just like any famous American desserts, the Chocotorta can be made in a variety of ways.  It seems as though different families make it different ways.  Two things that are constant in every family’s recipe are chocolate wafer cookies or biscuits and dulce de leche.  Some soak their cookies/biscuits in coffee before they begin to layer, others soak it in milk, cafe con leche or even sweet wine. Many use a mixture of only cream cheese and dulce de leche for the filling while others use whipped cream or a mixture of whipped and cream cheese. Some top their chocotorta with icing, chocolate or dulce de leche and others just top it with a final layer of cookies/biscuit.  I take all these variations as a “freedom of choice” – be creative and make your chocotorta the way you want to! Continue Reading »

Pici con Ragu dell' Anatra

It might be generational, or, perhaps, philosophical, but there are, on the one hand, those who enjoy and appreciate handmade things, and the art and craft they require to make, and, on the other, those who prefer their things machine-made, reliable, and standard. The ‘things’ here could be quite literally anything. My father, who, to me, is the quintessential scientist and pragmatist, believes that most, if not all, advances for the betterment of mankind have come as a result of the increased use and application of machines, technology and science. In fact, he would argue, I’m sure, that this blog is evidence of the fact that even something as Luddite as cooking can be improved through the application of technology, though regular readers – with good reason – may not agree.

My mother was cut from very different cloth however, and, though a nurse who believed sincerely in the power of modern medicine, sanitation and inoculation, she was a true amateuse of a hand-turned chair-leg, a cut-glass goblet, and, much to the detriment of my appearance during my tender years, a hand-knitted sweater.  She was also a great lover of gardening, baking bread and, despite the fact that it rarely worked, yogurt-making. I think it’s from her that I get most of my culinary instincts, as the very notion of spending three or four hours in the kitchen doing anything would horrify my dad. Continue Reading »

Pollo en Salsa de Cacahuate

Ever have one of those days where the only thing that gets you through is knowing you are going to have a good meal later on?  I have no idea where I read about this dish, but one day, trying to unwind after a long, frustrating and tiring day of putting out the fires that are usually started by teenage drama (I moonlight as a school counselor, in case you forgot), a mental picture of this dish formed in my head and I immediately went to the store to try and make it.  This dish is definitely not for the nut-hater.   But, maybe it could be?  As a girl who used to eat peanut butter on a spoon every day for breakfast (I’ve now matured to peanut butter spread on multigrain toast), this dish made me very, very happy. Continue Reading »

Chivito and ensalada rusa

Made during the horrid, self-reflective, and, frequently, gassy hours aboard a trans-Atlantic flight this past weekend, our New Year’s resolutions swore us to no less than three weeks of Spartan, monkish grazing on whole grains, green vegetables and lean protein in order to trim ourselves of burgeoning, lumpy mid-sections brought on by the combined Holiday calories of three Thanksgiving dinners, two Christmas roasts and a New Year’s trip to France.

However, we have since surprised, or dismayed, even ourselves with the deplorable level of willpower demonstrated in abandoning our resolutions after just three days. Only slightly less amazing is that three days of salads could drive us to such an extreme. Perhaps the only positive we can draw is that at least we’re starting 2010 with a gastronomic bang instead of whimpering abstemiousness. Continue Reading »

Roasted Pork Roulade with Sausage, Pistachios and Chestnuts

Before we head off to England (and a five day side-trip to Northern France) to visit the across-the-pond family, we wanted to leave you with a different option for your Christmas Day meal.  Some families love making hard-core meals for Christmas Day dinner – meals that take hours to cook and include many courses or many side dishes.  If that is your type of meal, then you may want to save this recipe for another time (perhaps when you’re hung over on New Year’s Day?).   This dish is so flavorful and so freaking easy to make.  You know what makes it even better? It’s a cost-effective.  So chat with your butcher, make it easier and just ask him/her to butterfly that pork for you, grab a huge mug of egg nog or mulled wine, throw on some Johnny Mathis and spend some time doing what real Americans will be doing – hanging out with Ralphie. Continue Reading »

Diver scallops with lumpfish caviar and bottarga

For a while last year and earlier this year, bottarga, it seemed, was the new black. Like truffles, it had become, if perhaps more temporarily, the new foodie trend obsession and blogs everywhere were doing all kinds of inventive things with it, like this, this, even this. Never wanting to feel left out of something, we fell into contact with a very nice gentleman, Robert, from Florida, via our friend Claudia at Cook, Eat, Fret who generously supplied us with a sizable shipment for free!

Robert, on top of being such a kind-hearted soul, is a craftsman of some note who actually hand-makes his own bottarga (smoked, dried roe/fish egg sacs) from Gulf of Mexico mullet, and after hearing our plaintive cries took pity and sent us some in the mail. I am absolutely positive that he thinks us the most ungrateful and churlish tykes in this hemisphere as this was no less than six months ago and we have nary said a word to publicly acknowledge him, his delicious product (which you can learn more about here), or our indebtedness, since. Continue Reading »

Raviolis with Walnut-Truffle Cream Sauce

As with a few other fellow bloggers, we were lucky to receive one of my favorite “blog freebies” to try recently – truffle products by La Boutique de la Truffe.  Cha-ching!  As some know, for most of us, blogging will barely help us buy a cup of coffee at a year’s end – that is if you have an ad up.  When we get offered to test out powdered sauces (gag) we usually pass, but when truffles were offered I jumped up and down like a little schoolgirl.  I know truffles seem to be that annoying foodie buzz word that gets all us food-lovers screaming like Beatles fans in the 60’s, but I still say they are worth the hype.  It is obvious we like them – a lot.  You’ll find truffle recipes all over We Are Never Full: like here and here and here. And if you indulge and buy something from La Boutique, it is an investment and one that will pay off in big flavor that really can not be duplicated any other way. Continue Reading »

locro de mondongo

La Cupertina, at the corner of Cabrera and Godoy Cruz in the charming Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo Viejo, is reputed to have the best traditional Tucuman empanadas in the city. And, certainly, they are rather good. So tasty, in fact, that we bought a dozen for carry-out the day we left Argentina and nursed them carefully all the way back to our freezer in Brooklyn to enjoy nostalgically a month or so ago.

Replete with savory pastry and chicken, cheese and beef humita (a stew of grated corn kernels, beef, hardboiled eggs, raisins and olives, but more about that in a later post) fillings, we were strolling arm-in-arm along the streets of our own neighborhood when we came across one of the glories of Brooklyn life: a selection of books put out for free on someone’s stoop. Among them was Así Cocinan Los Argentinos (How Argentina Cooks) by Alberto Vázquez Prego — a more timely find would be hard to imagine — and, of course, we immediately grabbed it. Continue Reading »

Roasted Beef Bone Marrow On Toast

Sometimes there is just no reason to be extra creative and come up with your own spin on a dish.  Sometimes you just have to follow a recipe exactly as it is.  Sometimes you have to trust that the least amount of ingredients and cooking time is just right – no need for tweaking or fiddling with.  And sometimes, and only sometimes, do you just have to believe the hype. Continue Reading »

Baked Chipotle Chicken Wings w/ Challenge Butter

We’re going to make this one short and sweet — the Phillies, my beloved Philadelphia Phillies, just couldn’t do it this year.  What was even worse was that they played the Yankees and I live in New York City in a new apartment building surrounded by Yankees fans.   I just couldn’t face to finish watching the final game as the Phillies handed their World Championship title to the team with not only the richest ball players (who have won the World Series 26 times before) but also to a team filled with wanna-be celebrities (ahem, A-Rod – here doing what he does best, looking in a mirror and kissing himself and, ahem, Jeter) and actual celebrity “fans” and girlfriends (if I had to see stupid Kate Hudson, Jay Z or Rudy Giuliani one more freaking time…). Continue Reading »

garlic soup

Turning rustic country fare into a slick restaurant best-seller has become so hackneyed these days that finding a post-modern reconstructed pot-au-feu for $45 in a hot new city dining spot can’t be far away. However, (and while we may be wrong) it might be a while before this garlic and wine soup hits high-end eateries — and not because it’s not restaurant-grade food, but rather because it’s the kind of dish that seems like it can neither be adapted nor re-imagined in a single way that wouldn’t detract from the original.

Do not to be discouraged by the glut of garlic called for, even if you’re cooking for those suspicious of its myriad charms. For, while it is unavoidably redolent of the “perfumed rose”, the flavor is mellow rather than aggressive, far cleaner than you might reasonably expect, and altogether heartier than a simple garlic and broth concoction would suggest. Continue Reading »

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