Tag Archives: American Food

Auspicious, Delicious

7 Jan

Well, hello there! Happy 2010 to you!

I hope your New Year started well, in fact, I honestly hope your New Year started with as delicious, and auspicious, a meal as ours did.

I decided that this Christmas was going to be the Christmas of beans.  It was a bold choice, I know, but much like any other person who has been touched by zeal, I felt the need to spread the gospel even if it meant giving gifts of dubious motivation.  So since my stepsister was getting a new crockpot from us, it was full of beans.  And since both of Isaac’s parents hail from the South, they got beans too.  Plus, both my stepsister and Isaac’s mom are trained anthropologists.  I figured that despite initial skepticism, they would come to see the beauty, cultural significance and, most importantly, the deliciousness of my gift.

I’m still waiting.

But, really, this is all just a long-winded way of saying that I kept a bag of beans for myself.  I mean, a girl needs to gift herself at Christmas too, right?  I had ordered a bag of Yellow-Eye beans to give to my stepsister, but when they arrived, they were so beautiful and so full of promise I just had to keep them.

And so we found ourselves on New Year’s Day watching the snow and the birds and boiling a ham hock and soaking beans.

Head below the fold for my versions of Hoppin’ John, Collard Greens and Red Rice, with a twist, of course.



4 Mar

I love eating in. And if you’re here, you probably like eating in, too.

West Village Reflection

But, I really only like eating dinner in. I’m not one of those people that enjoys rolling out of bed and brewing a pot of coffee while poaching eggs and toasting bread. Nope. And I’m not into crafting composed salads and delicate sandwiches for lunch either. Uhuh. That, my friends, is why god created restaurants!

The weekends are our time to explore all the culinary goodness New York City has to offer. Recently I’ve lunched on a Hangtown Fry at Stone Park Cafe, the most succulent and tender ginger-slicked cuttlefish at Lucky Eight, cheese bureks at Djerdan, thin, pliable waffles with salty butter and lingonberry jelly at Nordic Delicacies, kimchi-filled dumplings at Mandoo Bar, avgolemono and halloumi, cucumber soup and sauerkraut salad and mahogany-lacquered squid tentacles.

The Other Side, Flatiron Building

Our weekend lunches are often the highlight of my week. We’ll plan entire outings around them. But this world of food at our feet can sometimes cause trouble.

It is exceedingly rare that we both wake up craving the same food. And so a gentle negotiation must take place. Sometimes feelings get hurt or toes get stepped on, but the belly always wins, because no matter who’s cuisine reigns supreme, lunch is always delicious.

Midtown Apartment Building

And so, on Sunday, when I woke up with a serious culinary itch that needed scratching, it was nice to realize that very little cajoling would be necessary to get Isaac to accompany me to Miriam in Park Slope for crispy dough, shakshuka and labneh. It must have been this ridiculous, hilarious short film full of silly songs about hummus we watched the night before that put the idea in my head. Israeli food is so good.

The problem is, it seems that all of Brooklyn has come to this conclusion as well. The place was packed. You couldn’t have wedged another body or Bugaboo in there. I was gutted. My head was stuffy and I had acquired a wicked, hacking cough somewhere and all I could think about was their addictive, mysteriously green harissa. But it was obvious it wasn’t meant to be. So we walked out, sadly, and wandered down the block for seriously mediocre “Mexican” food.

The UN

But all was not lost. After a stop at Bierkraft for cheese and beer, we went home, where Isaac made chicken stock from the chicken carcass I had pot-roasted the night before while I convalesced on the couch. He had gone to the store and picked up jalapenos, cilantro and limes. He was planning to use them to flavor the strained stock to make a Mexican chicken soup.

But, that’s what I’d had for lunch. Granted, it was impressively mediocre, but still, I was craving something with intense flavors, so I suggested he use them to make a bastardized pistou. That way we could each flavor our bowl to an appropriate degree and the flavors would be fresh and punchy.

MexiMoroccan Chicken Soup

So he did, and it was wonderful; a spicy, tart, zingy cross between salsa verde and Miriam’s fiery harissa. It was just what the doctor ordered and completely erased our unfortunate lunch from my memory.

There’s a multitude of reasons I prefer eating dinner at home. No need to make reservations, no waiting for an overbooked table at an overcrowded bar, no need to listen to another person’s conversation, no waitrons rushing dessert, but most importantly there’s the chance to make unintended culinary discoveries.

MexiMoroccan Chicken Soup

Oh, and the wine is cheaper.

Head below the jump for the recipe for Isaac’s MexiMoroccan Chicken Soup and a bit about Pot-Roasted Chicken.

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The Chowder Bowl

5 Feb

So, the Giants won the Super Bowl.

Fourth Avenue Station, Brooklyn

If you’re anything like me, you’re still trying to figure out how they even got into what the NFL wants you to think of as “The Big Game” in the first place.

Perhaps, as a New Yorker, I’ve come to expect our teams to be mostly mediocre. The Yankees, as much as I love them, seem to have lost the come-from-behind fire that made them so exciting to watch for so many years. The Mets are always claiming to have finally procured that last player they need to become the best team ever, and then nothing happens. And then there’s the Knicks. Oh sweet mercy, the Knicks! Have you ever seen such a spectacle? They’re like a goat rodeo masquerading as a professional sports team.

Fourth Avenue Station, Brooklyn

I suppose I should admit right off the bat that I’m not a football fan.

That said, I was still aware that the New England Patriots were having a “magic season.” I knew that their quarterback was dating Giselle, I knew that they had the hubris to pre-print a book about their perfect year, I knew that they were virtually guaranteed to win. Yet I had no inkling that the team from our own backyard (also known as New Jersey) was even fair to middling this year.

And so, even though it is once again “TV free February,” Isaac and I granted ourselves a special dispensation to watch the game. And Puppy Bowl, of course. And since you can’t have a Super Bowl without food, I discovered something important, something I could get behind. This game wasn’t about a perfect season, or blue-collar heroes, about pretty-boy quarterbacks or coaching dynasties.

Fourth Avenue Station, Brooklyn

Oh no my friends.

This game was about chowder supremacy.

New England clam chowder vs. Manhattan clam chowder. Creamy and white vs. tomatoey and piquant. The chowder known around the world vs. the chowder maligned as the “other” chowder. The chowder kids cheer for vs. the chowder that makes kids groan.

Fourth Avenue Station, Brooklyn

But, not really. In my heart, there is only one chowder. New England clam chowder forever! I’ve tried to like Manhattan clam chowder, I really have. I love tomatoes and I love clams, but Manhattan clam chowder I do not love. It’s not a chowder. Chowders have cream and butter. But Isaac? Exactly the opposite. He loves Manhattan clam chowder best.

So instead of making New England clam chowder, which would have implied clandestine culinary support of the Patriots, or Manhattan clam chowder, which would have made the cook grumpy, a sure way to ruin the soup, we made Brooklyn clam chowder.

Fred loves football AND clams

What’s Brooklyn clam chowder you ask? It’s an homage to two of the greatest dishes we’ve discovered since moving to Bay Ridge.

The first is Polonica‘s cucumber soup; a simple broth, made creamy with a touch of sour cream and flavored with Polish dill pickles and tons of fresh dill. The second is a special we had once at local Italian stalwart Canedo’s; clams and mussels steamed in white wine with tons of garlic and hot, pickled cherry peppers.

Homesick Texan's Mythical Biscuits

Brooklyn clam chowder has its foundations in New England clam chowder, but the pickled peppers do give it a Manhattan chowder-esque reddish hue. I know it sounds weird to put pickles in soup, but you’ll just have to trust me on this. They add a beguiling flavor that’s very hard to put your finger on, an unexpected lightness and delicacy to a soup that can be a bit heavy.

Brooklyn Clam Chowder

If I may mix my metaphors, this chowder is a real home run. Especially when served with an endless supply of Lisa’s extraordinary biscuits, a pat of Ronnybrook garlic butter and a growler of locally-brewed SixPoint beer.

Brooklyn Clam Chowder

Top it all off with a Giants victory, and you’ve got the recipe for a very pleasant Sunday evening.

Head below the jump for the recipe for Brooklyn Clam Chowder.

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