Deep-Dish Pizza: Round 2

Nick learns from his mistakes and makes a good deep-dish pie at home.

3rd Apr 2009

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I was determined not to fail this time.  My last attempt at deep-dish wasn't an absolute failure, but it was close.  It was too soggy and messy , and had none of the glorious qualities that my favorite Chicago pizzeria, Pequods , displayed.  I theorized about all kinds reasons for the failure, thinking it had something to do with the crust.  Then I just gave up and asked you all...

The Plunge: Homemade Ravioli

13th Jan 2009

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How long do you cook ravioli?  I wondered this precisely the moment after I plunged my handmade ravioli into a raging cauldron of boiling water. It didn't occur to me that it might be an issue. I had always thought you pulled them as soon as they floated, or was that just gnocchi? When I consulted my recipe in The Silver Spoon it said I needed to cook them for 10 minutes, which sounded abs...

Homemade Tagliatelle and the Curse of Fresh Pasta

16th Nov 2008

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I've had a tumultuous history with fresh pasta.  Though I adore dried pasta in all its forms and permutations, my adventures with the fresh can best be described as a disaster.  I've wasted hours and honestly lost friendships to the stuff.  For this I've relegated fresh pasta to something I may order at restaurants but never, ever make at home.

Perhaps I wasn't giving it a fair shot.  When...

A Night of Broiled Pizzas So Hot, Things Shattered

18th Jan 2008

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What's more fun than a make-your-own-pizza party?  Not much.  My friend Austin was in town from Providence, Rhode Island, where he teaches Spanish, Latin, and mythology.  Often when we get together it's an excuse to do a lot of cooking.  Throughout college he would make Nick and me ridiculously good brunches with fresh chorizo, eggs, and breakfast potatoes, and occasionally expose us to hi...

Risotto alla Milanese

8th Nov 2007

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Back when I was writing about corn risotto and the magical risotto pancake , I was kicking around the Internet trying to discover exactly how to make one correctly.  Recipe after recipe called for a very specific risotto preparation, one I'd never even heard of, something called Risotto alla Milanese, or Milan-style Risotto.  It's flavored with chicken or beef stock, a simplified base of...

I Invented a Risotto Recipe and Figured Out What to Do With the Leftovers

3rd Oct 2007

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The other day I was watching Iron Chef and Lidia Bastianich was a judge on the show.  I'd never seen her in this role, and, frankly, it was scary.  The woman is a strange blend of passion and unsmiling seriousness.  Generally people who love food are laid back and groovy, and enthusiasm is usually tempered with a good dollop of sheepish self-consciousness: "I know I'm obsessed, and it m...

What Is This Mysterious Pizza Called?

1st Oct 2007

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Perhaps spurred on by Blake’s admittedly tasty-looking pickle butter , I finally caved in and decided to write about one of my favorite snacks.  Though a tad less refined, and even a bit shameful, it’s something I absolutely adore.  I wish it were more interesting.  But it’s simply a thin crust pizza with a fried egg on top.  Not exactly a revelation, but it’s quick and surprisin...

The Not-So-Humble Hot Brown

9th Sep 2007

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I’ve been gathering cook books by whatever method I can...and beggers usually can’t be choosers.  I borrow nearly anything I can lay my hands on.  I owe lots of money to the library.  And whenever I get to head home I usually make it out with an armful books my mom hoarded over the years ( I promise I’ll return them!).  One of those was The Louisville Courier-Journal Cookbook.  By a...

I Joined the Park Slope Food Coop and Found Garlic Scapes

21st Jun 2007

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Since moving to Boerum Hill , groceries have been tough.  We used to live steps away from a B61 bus stop, which takes you directly to Fairway , where almost any food or ingredient can be bought, and at reasonable prices (though their produce isn't always the best).  But now going to Fairway truly is a hassle, and I don't think we've since been.  Shopping in Manhattan is fine in small...

My Favorite New Dinner: Fregola with Zucchini and Pine Nuts

15th May 2007

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A couple months ago I was eating at Otto , which is the place to bring friends who are visiting: a bit touristy, but very affordable; good to great food that’s easy to share; and most importantly, they have olive oil gelato , which floors just about everyone who tries it.  One thing we always do is order lots of the $4 vegetable dishes, like tiny radishes with anchovy-mustard sauce, o...

Pasta Carbonara Part Deux: Simpler, Heartier, and Less Healthy

22nd Mar 2007

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It happened again.  I'm just minding my own business, slowing making my way through Bill Buford's book Heat , and I get to passage where Alex, a former chef at Babbo, describes how Frankie, his screaming superior, had taught him how to make pasta Carbonara:

You render your guanciale, and make a sauce with and the egg whites, and then, after you've plated it, you add your yolks, uncook...

Eggs in Purgatory

15th Mar 2007

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I'm not sure why, but it wasn't until last week when my mom handed me a fresh copy of Heat , that I realized I had forgotten to read it.  I'd read another Bill Buford book, his manic and terribly disturbing Among the Thugs , along with his New Yorker profile on Batali and a narrative on his experience slaughtering animals in Tuscany, the latter two of which are included in some form in...

Roasted Squash Salad with Bacon and Dandelion Greens

11th Oct 2006

Squash_salad_1 Someone is really concerned about us. We eat a lot of meat and not enough vegetables.  Nick spent a week devouring ham and now his face is the color of plain file folders .  (I'm in the office--this is the only simile available to me.)  We're facing vitamin deficiencies, colon problems.  We're afraid to go outside.  Because if we just ate a bunch of raw vegetables, we'd have nothing...

White Risotto with Pesto

Trust this recipe, and never lose faith: it is actually quite simple, and can be used as a launching point for lots of other inspired ideas.

21st Jan 2006

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I remember vividly the first time I thumbed through a cookbook with a sense of purpose. I was home on a break during my freshman year of college, and my mom had been relating to me her excitement about a book my sister sent from London.  She excitedly exclaimed that “it had even been autographed.”  I smiled and nodded approvingly, unaffected.  It was a cookbook, after all.  My sister w...

Pasta with Parmesan and Nutmeg

This is the easiest recipe this side of Dominoes, it’s pretty gourmet, and if you can boil water, you’re 83 percent there.

19th Jan 2006

One thing I’ve found difficult about cooking is that it’s really hard to start when you’re hungry--you have to plan ahead.  Once you get started you get your momentum going, and there’s always ingredients to snack on, but it’s the getting started that proves difficult.  The inertia works against you at first.  Since I get lazy when I get hungry, I end up heating canned soup.

This evening, with...