January 2, 2013 § 2 Comments
I can’t believe that I’m about to reference the movie Pitch Perfect while discussing cooking, but here goes. Last night, I watched this perfectly “popcorn for the brain” flick. The movie’s main character, Beca, likes to make electronic music, and she takes her penchant for mash-ups to a college acapella group that she’s somehow strong-armed into joining. She takes a bass line from one song, a melody from another, lyrics from another and puts them together in surprising but harmonious ways.
As I was figuring out what to do with the container of bulgur wheat that I accidentally cooked (rather than soaked) two days ago, the large bag of chard in my fridge, and not much else in the way of dinner ingredients, this idea of mash-ups came back to me.
So I did it to the bulgur and the chard.
I took the idea of Indian flavor pastes and made a simple one out of minced cipollini onions and garlic, a generous squirt of tomato paste, cumin, cayenne and salt. I added collard greens, which I learned to slice into thin ribbons and saute in olive oil from a South American recipe, maintaining their fresh green flavor rather than cooking them to a pulp as you often see. I stirred in the cooked bulgur like I might when making fried rice (or rather, when my husband does, as that’s his specialty). And then I topped the whole lovely mess with toasted walnuts, which I got from a vegan cooking website.
And it was a heck of a lot tastier than I expected. A pleasant surprise for a Wednesday night dinner. Happy new year!
BULGUR CHARD MASH-UP
Yields: 2 servings
November 25, 2012 § 2 Comments
Two years ago, we hosted Thanksgiving for nine of our family members, plus the two of us. I photo-logged our experience here — everything from having to clean the turkey in the bathroom sink to grilling leek bread pudding due to a lack of oven height. We experimented with a lot of recipes. I started five days in advance and cooked way too much food.
It was a good feast overall, and it was rewarding to host. But as it was my first time, I was kind of stressed, and some parts didn’t turn out so great (while the grill imparted a nice smoky flavor to the leek bread pudding, it also made the bottom and sides way too crunchy).
This year, we did a redux. And it was awesome.
It was awesome because our NYC apartment renovations were completed just in time, the day before. After a long 14 months of living in a temporary apartment, and even a few hotels, and eating out nearly all the time, it felt glorious to be HOME. To smell turkey roasting, to have a pie cooling on the counter, to drink wine while chatting with family and listening to jazz…all in our own place, candles lit and a fire burning.
It was also awesome because while I haven’t cooked Thanksgiving dinner enough times to have experienced the magic of habit-forming, there was a flow to it. While I wrote out a menu and plan last time, this year, I just went with it. We also invited my brother Paul and his girlfriend Stephanie F to help. (Note to self: two different dressings are easier to make when you have helpers dicing all the onions and celery.)
Stephanie F fortified us with a deliciously spicy salsa fresca.
We made a cornbread, bacon and kale dressing…
…along with a traditional Thanksgiving dressing with challah from Amy’s Bread, fresh herbs, Cortland apples and chestnuts.
After letting it rest for an hour, Matt carved the heritage turkey.
The 48-hour dry aging in the fridge under a salt crust, and the long rest, allowed the turkey to reabsorb its juices, making it one moist, tasty turkey.
We filled our plates…
…and sat down to eat.
Then we ate some more.
And this is how we felt.
April 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
Nearly two years ago, we happened upon Freeman’s winery. We listened to a dream that became real life, enthralled while drinking pretty pinot noir in a dim, humid wine cave carved out of a eucalyptus-crowned hill in the heat of August.
Today, we’re back. At an open house with a crowd of friends and Freeman wine lovers, lying in the grass listening to crickets while drinking more pretty pinot, simply…enjoying ourselves. Loving the warmth, the sun, the wine and life.
And it all makes me realize: there are dreams that we may one day make true. But in the meantime, there is living the dream of this moment — being with people you love, enraptured by the present.