My NPR app has become something of a lifeline to the real world for me this summer. You see, since I no longer have my 8:43 commuter train to Manhattan, I no longer have my dedicated reading time for my New York Times. I know what you’re thinking — now that I’m working from home don’t I have big, fat, wide swaths of time available to leisurely read the paper cover to cover? (Or pageview to pageview?) Well, yes. I guess. But therein lies the problem. For whatever reason, in my life, Large Wide Swaths of Time seem to be the arch nemesis of Dedicated Time, and unless there is a ritual attached to something like reading, it becomes an effort. When it becomes an effort, it doesn’t happen. One of my School Year’s Resolutions is to figure all this out, but in the meantime, I have my NPR app. Lately I’ve been downloading a few programs to my playlist (usually some combo of “All Things Considered,” “Fresh Air”, and “Morning Edition”) and listening to them while I go running. Not only does it make me feel a little more up to date — it makes the run go faster. (Not to be misread as “It makes the runner go faster.”) (more…)
Entries Tagged as 'Seafood'
August 18th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Dinner, Grilling, Seafood
July 7th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Dinner, Rituals, Seafood
For a good long stretch, when the girls were little, Finding Nemo was in the DVD 24/7 and quickly became the Annie Hall of my 30s — it seemed as though I couldn’t go a day without quoting Marlin the Clownfish or Bruce the Great White, who belly-belted the titular line of this post (you recognized it, right?) before attempting to gobble up Marlin and the lovably loopy Dory. It’s nearly impossible for me to watch a Pixar movie (particularly Nemo, Monsters Inc and The Incredibles) without asking myself at the end What am I doing with my life? And why can’t I be John Lasseter?
In the meantime I can be content with the fact that Pixar and Nemo and Co launched an underwater obsession with Phoebe that still lasts to this day. She’s been to a half dozen aquariums up and down the Atlantic coast and once even emptied her piggy bank to donate to a favorite, the South Carolina Aquarium. “Please use this money to help take care of your sharks,” she wrote to the director. The letter she received back, acknowledging the $30 donation for tax purposes, still hangs on her bulletin board.
For now, though, all her love for sea life seems to be translating to consumption as opposed to conservation — give her time…she’s seen Wall-E once and was only six. One of her favorite activities is going to a seafood market and picking out a new kind of fish to try. Last weekend, while we were staying at my sister’s beach house, we went to her idea of Disneyland: A Long Island seafood purveyor who might as well have reeled in the catch right to our shopping bag, it was so fresh. (That view of the bay up there is the store’s “backyard.”) With a little encouragement to go local — easy at a place like this — Phoebe pointed at the soft-shell crabs and two dozen lovely little Little Necks, which she and Andy cleaned and prepared together back at the house. (more…)
June 15th, 2010 · 10 Comments · Dinner, Grilling, Seafood, Sides, Salads, Soup
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ted Lee last week — he’s the co-author of the James Beard Award-winning book The Lee Bros Southern Cookbook (what they call in the trade a “category killer”) and most recently, Simple, Fresh, Southern, which is their entry into the “Everyday” category of cookbooks. (A favorite category of mine as you might imagine.) I asked Ted what I should cook from the book to prepare for our conversation and his reply sent me sprinting into the kitchen.
“Jenny, I see the weather in the NY-metro region is going to be thunderstorm-y and steamy this weekend, so go with the cold salads–Soybean and Cherry Tomato, Gingered Beets with Field Peas and Lemon, Easy Ambrosia, Cabbage Salad with Lime and Roasted Peanuts, Carrot and Turnip Slaw with Dill (sub equal qty carrots for turnips if desired). For entrees, do something quick in the broiler, like Gran’s Flank Steak or Crispy-Skin Salmon with Buttermilk Mint Sauce. And the Jersey strawberries should be slammin now: Strawberries with Port Syrup and Sour Cream. But if there are ripe Jersey peaches in yet (doubt it…) do the Cornmeal Drop-Biscuit cobbler, worth heating up the kitchen for!”
Is there any question that the guy knows how to get people excited about cooking? I instantly started plotting summer parties around each dish he mentioned. And for (more…)
June 10th, 2010 · 16 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Pasta, Pork and Beef, Seafood, Time for Dinner: The Cookbook, Vegetarian
Now, granted this might be hard because it involves some knowledge of my cookbook shelves pre-June 10, 2010. But the game is this: Can anyone guess what new cookbook has been added to my kitchen library? I’ll give you a hint. It’s wedged in between Ruth Reichl and Marcella Hazan, a few doors down from Martha Stewart and Bugialli and Bittman, underneath Julia Child and Mario Batali and Jim Lahey…? Give up?
It’s Time for Dinner, the cookbook I co-authored with Pilar Guzman and Alanna Stang while we were all still at Cookie. Although the book doesn’t officially publish until September, I received a real-life, I-can-hold-it-in-my-hands advance copy by FedEx this morning and it’s hard not to be Abby-ish and imagine myself (and my cowriters) on the same shelf as my food heroes. But the thing is — there I am. There we are. Next to Marcella Hazan!
I would love nothing more than to show you every single page in the 272-page playbook, but I’m going to restrain myself and just deliver some good news to all those former Cookie readers who have written to me telling me how much they miss the “So You Have A…” column. There is an entire chapter of SYHAs in the cookbook — 20 ingredients, 3 meal options for each, which means 60 total recipes. (Sixty recipes in just one chapter, btw.) For those of you new to SYHA, the column was one of Cookie‘s most popular pages. It charted recipes visually and the choose-your-own-adventure strategy (“head this way if you have pork; that way if you have pasta”) is tailor-made for parents who come in the door at 6:30, see a big bunch of swiss chard (or sausage or frozen peas or miso paste) in the fridge and need quick inspiration for how they can turn it into dinner. As addicted as I am to my digital recipe generating these days, seeing the flowcharted recipes spread across two pages reminded me how impossible it is to replicate the feeling of opening a book (see? It lies flat!) and getting inspired by lush photographs (thank you, Marcus Nilsson) and clean design (thank you, Number 17). Ok, I’m done now with the shameless self-promotion. Thanks for listening.
May 27th, 2010 · 8 Comments · Dinner, Grilling, Seafood
I feel like I owe you guys an apology. I’m sure when you read last week that this was Grill Week on Dinner: A Love Story, that you were picturing sizzling ribeyes, creamy slaws, fatty ribs — Not a bunch of healthy lean meats and omega-3-rich fish. (It’s only Thursday, and it’s only May, so don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to redeem myself.) But I would like to remind everyone that this is precisely why I’m so happy that the Weber is open for business again – because grilling makes it is so easy to impart deep, rich flavors without relying on a whole lot of fat.
This salmon brushed with candy-like hoisin sauce, will become your go-to fish dish of summer 2010. But the real learning here is the potatoes. Buy them fresh and buy them little, wrap them in foil with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, then put them on the grill grate for 30 minutes. (Listen to them – if they sound really sizzly, check to make sure they’re not burning.) When they’re cooked, dump them into a bowl, smash with a fork, just so enough so the flesh bursts out of their skin, pour a little more olive oil on top, a squeeze of lemon, whatever chopped fresh herbs you’ve got (we used mint) and a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche. (There, that’s not so healthy, right?) We had baby bell peppers and super fresh asparagus leftover from Monday night’s chicken-asparagus-potato-salad menu so we threw those on the grill to round out the plate.
Simple and Sweet BBQ Salmon
Anyone got a kid obsessed with the color pink? Make sure you point out that this fish fits right into the plan — that’s how we convinced Abby to embrace salmon when she was about 3 or 4.
Marinate a 1-pound piece of wild salmon in olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce for about 30 minutes.
In separate bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce and the juice from one lime. Set aside.
Grill salmon about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Brush with the hoisin-lime sauce and grill, flesh-side down, for another 3 minutes. Serve.
May 12th, 2010 · 18 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Pasta, Picky Eating, Pork and Beef, Rituals, Seafood, Sides, Salads, Soup, Time for Dinner: The Cookbook
…And, perhaps even more exciting, we also finally have an amazon link where you can pre-order our Time for Dinner cookbook. OK…how cool is that cover? I can call my own number here because I had absolutely nothing to do with it. Lia Ronnen at Melcher Media and Bonnie Siegler at Number 17 are the creative forces behind the design — as well as the 75 other cover tries that I am convinced, if decoupaged into shelf-liner, could make someone somewhere a million bucks. (Thanks, guys.)
In honor of this milestone, I’m giving you a recipe (tweaked a bit) that comes from one of my favorite chapters of the book. The chapter is a “starter kit” on feeding the baby called “What’s in it for me?” where we show how to prepare basic fresh baby purees (avocado, sweet potato, bananas, etc.), then give instructions for how to take those purees and use them as the base for grown-up dishes. (So an avocado mash turns into taco topping, a peach puree is stirred into a Harry’s-style Bellini, you get the idea.) When we batted around ideas for grown-up-izing baby’s pureed sweet potato, Alanna, who wrote the section, suggested mixing in a miso butter with scallions. Apparently people knew about this combination? I did not, but let me just tell you, it’s a revelation — a revelation that my kids have come to like more than a plain sweet potato.
Sweet Potatoes with Miso Butter and Scallions (adapted from Time For Dinner)
2 whole sweet potatoes or yams
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons miso (white)
2 tablespoons chives or chopped scallions
Roast whole sweet potatoes at 450°F for 40 minutes. While they are roasting, mix together remaining ingredients. When potatoes are ready, slit them in half lengthwise, scoop out some flesh for the baby and mash with a fork. Top the rest with miso butter. (For Abby, I scooped the flesh out of the skin and tossed it for her in a special bowl. Seemed to do the trick.)
May 11th, 2010 · 6 Comments · Birthdays, Holidays, Celebrations, Posts by Andy, Rituals, Seafood, Sides, Salads, Soup
If you’re going to have a site devoted to family dinner, you gotta walk the walk, right? So when I asked Jenny where she wanted to eat for her birthday dinner last week, I should have known what the answer would be: home. I huddled with the kids and asked for some help: what should we make? The only requirement was that it be something everybody in the house eats, and it couldn’t be chicken or pizza. Phoebe wanted steak, Abby didn’t. (“It’s not fair!” she claimed. “Phoebe always gets steak!”) Abby, aiming high, suggested something called macaroni and cheese, but Phoebe doesn’t eat pasta. (“Too slimy,” she said.) So we settled on salmon. The question was, how to make this feel more festive than your normal Thursday night dinner? We needed some good sides. We wanted to make something we’d never made before. I had an idea.
We might not have been going out to a restaurant for a dinner, but what if we had one of our most favoritest restaurant dishes at home? We don’t get out too much these days — i.e., ever — but we did manage a meal at David Chang’s Momofuku about six months ago, and Jenny still talked about his brussels sprouts. They were crazily flavorful, charred to a crunch, salty, cilantro-y, and… didn’t they have, like, Rice Krispies sprinkled on top? I wondered if they were hard to make. Turns out, they’re not. (And because we had a good-looking head of cauliflower in the refrigerator, I decided to use that, too.) When Abby found out that her vegetables on this night would include fried Rice Krispies — not to mention sugar — she shifted, like that, from ambivalent skeptic to unblinking believer.
April 30th, 2010 · 15 Comments · Dinner, Quick, Seafood
Here is the very definition of a Nice Problem: A healthy dinner that cooks too quickly, allowing for no time to savor a glass of wine while one prepares it. I’m not kidding. This spicy shrimp (adapted over the years from an old Cooking Light recipe) takes about 10 minutes from start to finish — and closer to five if you have the spices mixed already. Phoebe requests the dish often, so we periodically prepare a stash of the smokey paprika rub to have it ready to go — the spice mixture even gets its own special jar painted with her name. Of course, in the eyes of the little sister, there is no more flagrant example of condiment injustice, so we painted a jar for her, too and filled it with McCormick’s California Garlic Powder.
I only had regular Nan toasts to serve with the shrimp, but you can find whole wheat at most supermarkets.
Spicy Shrimp with Cilantro and Lime
Below are the spice amounts to sprinkle over one shrimp dinner for four. Triple or quadruple if you want to make a stash to have on hand for the next time.
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1. Mix together the above spices. Sprinkle over 1 1/4 pounds of peeled shrimp.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to pan — try to get the spiced side down — and saute 5 minutes until done, adding more spice as they flip around and cook.
3. Toast a few pieces of Nan (such as Kontos brand) and serve with cooked shrimp, a spoonful of plain yogurt, chopped cilantro, sliced almonds and a squeeze of lime.
April 28th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Dinner, Seafood
I laid down a few rules for myself before I started this website. No using that word that starts with “food” and ends in “i-e.” No going into detail about things like the interplay between quince paste and aged gouda. No fetishizing. No buying into the whole two-week ramp frenzy that takes over farmers markets and f–dies this time of year. (Aren’t there more important things to get excited about, like, for instance my daughter’s 15-second solo in the 2nd Grade Songfest last week? I’m sorry. I’m sorry. No bragging should probably also be a rule. I’m sorry! I’m sorry!)
But the thing is, I do happen to love those wild, earthy, oniony ramps — mostly because, like daffodils and magnolia trees, they are one of those first fleeting signifiers of spring. And probably also because I don’t actually have to personally partake in the frenzy. The frenzy — how’s this for lucky? — comes to me! Every year, my friend Yolanda (that’s her kick-ass family travel blog, Travels with Clara, over there in my blogroll) shows up on my doorstep or in my office carrying a bouquet of them like a prom date with a corsage. This year, she met me on a busy corner of Soho just to hand me my share of the ramp bounty that is her Catskills backyard. So what am I supposed to do…not get excited? I didn’t. Honest. I just sauteed the things in olive oil, fried some fish, and played it cool.
April 21st, 2010 · 15 Comments · Dinner, Quick, Seafood
I realize there is a whole segment of the American population that is going to be instantly turned off by the title of this post. Seafood and cheese — that’s just…wrong. But this recipe might just change your mind, as it did for me the first time my friend Melissa made it for us about a decade ago. Melissa, co-author of The New Brooklyn Cookbook, was one of my first kitchen heroes — one of those friends who would serve me something that I would then pass off as my own to the next dozen dinner guests I cooked it for. (Oh, this? Just something I came across…hmm where was it???) We’ve served it to bosses and in-laws, neighbors and siblings. And, of course, to our children — even when it meant cleaning the sauce off a few pieces of shrimp before serving.
To make: Preheat oven to 425°F. Saute two minced garlic clove in olive oil in an ovenproof skillet set over medium heat. Add one 28-ounce can of tomatoes (drained, very important), and stir, breaking up tomatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes. Nestle in a pound of shrimp and cook until shrimp starts to turn pink all over, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle two-ish handfuls of feta on top and bake in your preheated oven for about five minutes until cheese is melty. Remove from oven, add chopped parsley and the juice of half a lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
March 26th, 2010 · 4 Comments · Dinner, Picky Eating, Posts by Andy, Seafood
It didn’t take us long to figure out that, when it comes to rolling out a new product at the family table, so much depends upon the marketing campaign. I doubt our kids would have gone within a mile of cauliflower had we not first introduced it to them as “white broccoli.” They wouldn’t have sniffed brussels sprouts had we not sold them relentlessly as “baby lettuces.” Same goes for baked beans (“sweet beans”), bell peppers (“rainbow peppers”), dried cranberries (“red raisins”), and on and on. It’s the oldest trick in advertising and that’s not by accident.
Our latest venture in rebranding involved the kind of intimidating-sounding fish en papillote, which is just a fancy way of saying fish steamed in parchment paper. Neither description had a chance of flying with our kids. So we came up with something a little more intriguing. (Notice I did not say misleading.) Fish Presents, is what we decided on. Tonight we’re having fish presents! “Presents?” they asked. I gave them no further information.
The best thing about this meal is that you can chop everything ahead of time and then have the kids help you assemble and “wrap” the presents. So I sliced up 1 lemon and 1/2 a medium red onion, nice and thin, and 1 cup of shitake mushrooms. I boiled about 10 baby bok choy in salted water for two minutes, strained, and set aside. I poured 1/4 cup of olive oil into a small bowl and added a few red pepper flakes. Then the kids grabbed their stools, and we started the assembly line. Here’s how it goes:
I think I came up with what may be an untoppable menu for lunch at the beach, if I do say so myself. Shrimp rolls, potato chips, and lemonade. I made a tray of these at my sister’s beach house last year and think I’m going to have to make a ritual out of it. If I’m invited back.