Serious Eats Roundup: Pork Chops, Brandade, and Breakfast Sausage

21st Jun 2010

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Our weekly roundup of what the two of us have written over on Serious Eats.

"Dinner Tonight" Column


Slow Cooked Salmon with Ginger and Scallion
This simple salmon dish is cooked in a low oven so the flesh stays moist and succulent.

Thick-Cut Pork Chops with Apples and Onion
The classic dish of pork chops and applesauce is spruced up h...

Pasta with Butter, Bottarga, and Breadcrumbs

"The bacon of fish" elevates this simple pasta to transcendence

11th May 2010

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You may remember awhile back my lamenting post about a favorite ingredient I couldn't find in Chicago. The ingredient that Claudia at Cook Eat Fret christened " the bacon of fish ." Something relatively undiscovered and very difficult to find in the U.S. A secret ingredient, you might say. Well, I'm done lamenting. Because I have found bottarga, the cured roe sack that's pressed and dr...

Serious Eats Roundup: Spicy, Steamed, and Braised

10th May 2010

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Our weekly roundup of what the two of us have written over on Serious Eats.

"Dinner Tonight" Column


Dinner Tonight: Spaghetti with Bottarga and Almonds
Bottarga is the secret ingredient for this incredibly simple pasta.

Merguez Sausage with Collards and Couscous
This is definitely not your usual Southern version of collard greens. H...

Homemade Gnudi from The Spotted Pig

Make these ethereal little bites at home.

15th Apr 2010

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I'm pretty sure the word "gnudi" wasn't on anyone's radar until they were served at The Spotted Pig in New York, which was when they became a food dork household name. In Italian, "gnudi" means what it sounds like in English: naked. It refers to little pasta-like dumplings that are "naked" of their pasta wrapper, raviolis without anything to enclose them. Gnudi are a bit like gnocchi, but...

Serious Eats Roundup: Fresh Sardines, Bay Scallops, and Good Pasta Salad

8th Mar 2010


Our weekly roundup of what the two of us have written over on Serious Eats.

"Dinner Tonight" Column


Pimento Cheese Burger
Who needs ketchup, when you've got this incredible southern spread as a condiment?

Sardines with Lemon and Mint Salsa
Blake finds an salsa with "cutting brightness and acidity" to dress up these fresh sardines.


Can Pesto Be Improved?

Not all pesto is created the same.

19th Feb 2010

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I've been eating pesto with pasta since I knew how to boil water. That dense, fragrant, herb-y concentrate tossed with hot noodles -- it's magic. Even when I had no idea how to cook and bought pesto in a jar, it was wonderful and my favorite dinner. It provides that burst of freshness in the middle of February, and it's delicious enough that the flavor stays in my brain for days.

The only p...

My Chicago: Caputo Cheese Market, and a Search for Bottarga

This fishy roe is a meal in itself.

26th Jan 2010


My Chicago is about life as a cooks and eaters in our home city. Markets, restaurants, secret finds, really tasty bites--or just a great story. We're lucky to live here.

Bottarga would handily win the award for "foodstuff with least correlation between attractiveness and deliciousness," if such a thing existed.  It is a brown, firm lobe, and, poor thing, really quite ugly. A cured, pres...

Wednesday Links: How Not to Die from Liquid Nitrogen, and The Future of Food Media

13th Jan 2010

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[Photographs: chispita_666/Flickr CC and Cooking Issues blog]

Wednesday Links is our weekly collection of the four most interesting food reads we've discovered in the past week. Enjoy!

The Paupered Chef Gift Guide

16th Dec 2009

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Well, guess we better throw our hats in the ring: it's the time of year for gift guides and we're not afraid to participate. We've avoided it for 4 years, but our streak is about to come to an end: we hereby present the first annual Paupered Chef gift guide.

We've got kitchen gear to recommend, and some awesome food products, too. From what we have learned, cooks really just need a few basi...

The Way Around: Butternut Squash Ravioli with Butter Sage Sauce

A better way to make ravioli.

21st Jan 2009


What kind of flour should I use? I had quite quickly settled on 100% Semolina flour when I first made tagliatelle, because I loved the bite that it gave my fresh pasta.  When I made the first batch of ravioli, I just started there, figuring it would work for all fresh pasta recipes.  But as I read more and more, I noticed that most of the recipes specifically called for all-purpose fl...

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...

Ragù alla Bolognese

Because fresh pasta deserves a sauce this good.

20th Nov 2008


Once I figured out how to make fresh pasta , I waited all of 12 hours before I set out to create my own Ragù alla Bolognese.  It was a goal of mine ever since watching an episode of Heston Blumenthal's TV series In Search of Perfection .  The premise of the show is for the acclaimed chef to reexamine some stodgy British classics by going back to the roots of the original dish.  His f...

Homemade Tagliatelle and the Curse of Fresh Pasta

16th Nov 2008


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...

Ristorante Matricianella

Blake visits the Eternal City for one night only.

29th Oct 2008


We only had one night in Rome to eat. So where would we choose?  We had no idea where to begin.

My friend Mitchell Davis came to the rescue when I emailed him to ask for help.  One night in Rome?  "I’d try Matricianella, I think, if I had one night. All the classics, well prepared, great wine list, not pricey."  Indeed, classics were what I wanted: specifically, a giant creamy steamin...

Pasta Cacio e Pepe: Are Fancy Pastas Worth It?

14th Feb 2008


Do fancy ingredients make better meals?

Over the last couple years, with a great deal of enthusiasm, I've learned to cook more skillfully.  I spend all sorts of time reading endlessly about technique, ingredients, and recipes, and I cook almost every day.  I think my cooking has improved.  I've developed good instincts.  I know that a roast chicken needs to be very dry before it goes in...

Linguine with Clams from the Babbo Kitchen, via Bill Buford

From his memoir Heat

24th Jan 2008


My favorite passages from Bill Buford's Heat are set in the Babbo kitchen, when he describes with fear and awe the wonder that is a busy restaurant kitchen at dinnertime-- tickets flying, steam vaporizing, oil popping. Orders arrive faster than they can be made; you are perpetually behind. The heat, of course, is unbearable-- like a shimmering wall when you enter the kitchen. Sweat...

Risotto-style Pasta: How to Make Dried Pasta Taste like Fresh

29th Aug 2007


I’d venture a guess and say that there’s nothing I cook more than pasta.  For someone as devoted to simple cooking with simple ingredients as I’ve become, there’s no dish more fitting and open to invention, nor in possession of a learning curve that’s forgiving at first, but can take a lifetime to master.  It’s easy enough to make a tomato sauce and boil some pasta—college stud...

Ziti with Tuscan-Style Cauliflower

27th Aug 2007

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Before this point in my life--some 24 years in--I’d never willingly eaten cauliflower.  Sure, it'd been sneaked into some of my dishes.  But I know for a fact that it has not played an integral role in any dish I’ve ever made.  A quick scan of our directory reveals only 1 mention of its name, and that was for a curried cauliflower dish that we didn’t even cook!  One of Blake’s form...

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...

Macaroni Gratin vs. Macaroni and Cheese

27th Feb 2007


I’ve already done my public fawning over Thomas Keller’s cookbooks.  The absurd attention to details, the flowery short essays about “the importance of onion soup” in the philosophy of bistro cooking, the potential of preparing-ahead the “building blocks” of cooking (like soffrito and aioli ) that allow you to continue preparing uncomplicated dishes with simple, inspired combin...

The Disputed Origins of Lasagna

9th Feb 2007

By Elin Raun


Lasagna , on the contrary, is British. Or so they claim . In a feud finding its origins in the first cookery book believed to be published in Britain (during the reign of Richard II in the 14 th Century), British researchers declare the dish, widely believed to be Italian, as their own. After much jockeying between cooks and diplomats, no one can be sure. Perhaps the Rom...

As Tomato Season Ends and They Start Getting Cheaper at the Farmers'' Market, A Recipe to Take Advantage

20th Sep 2006

Tomato_pasta_2 Traditionally, I've wondered why farmers' markets are so expensive.  It's almost a given that the price per pound for things can reach double what you'd pay in a grocery store.  It doesn't make any sense to me: we're cutting out lots of middlemen, the farmer and I, by communicating directly with one another.  There's no shipping the tomatoes halfway around the world, no large distributor tha...

The Good Life: Zucchini Crostini, A Frozen Rabbit, Easy Summer Pasta, and an Olive Oil Fruit Dessert

26th Jul 2006

Img_2037 It began when my friend Glen T. Tremaldi, who runs a community garden in Boerum Hill, informed me of his zucchini overstock.  "You should see the zucchinis I picked. The size of your calves," he said.  And he wasn't joking.  They were the size of melons.  Then he related something about a frozen rabbit that was bought some time ago from a butcher on Court St., who had divided it up into ser...

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca: Whore''s Spaghetti

29th Jun 2006


Before the poor whore jokes start to spouting out, before we talk about how quick and easy this dish was, how lustful and robust the flavors were, I'll dispel the obvious and hopefully show how these ladies of the night were actually thrifty chefs without the benefit of access to fresh ingredients.  How the whores of Italy were, actually, quite creative.

Fun fact of the day courtesy of Dian...

Penne with Smoked Trout and Sugar Snap Peas

15th Jun 2006

Paupered_chef_758 I’m a sucker for simple, easy-to-prepare pasta dishes that depend on an inspired combination of good, fresh ingredients.  The last revelation was from Diana Seed’s The Top 100 Pasta Sauces and involved, similar to this dish, a smoked fish (salmon) and heavy cream.  The way cream binds everything together and lends a richness to envelope the smokey-yet-fresh taste of the fish--to th...

Spinach Pasta with Smoked Salmon Cream Sauce

18th May 2006

Library_4715 I came across a book at the Strand Bookstore some time ago called The Top 100 Pasta Sauces , and was intrigued.  Slapped on a cover was a gold circle that declared it had sold “Over 1 million copies,” and I felt a bit like I’d missed the boat, as this was an old used one that somebody was through with.  Flipping through it I found beautiful colored pencil sketches, which gave th...

Pan-Seared Salmon with Pasta and Spinach Cream Sauce

This pasta is surprisingly light, a delightful characteristic considering the richness of the cream.

9th Feb 2006


While our enthusiasm for cooking has grown immensely over the past year, we still feel mostly reluctant to toss our recipe books aside and approach the task with our own original ideas and ingredients.  A sense of improvisation comes with confidence, and as the acting theorist Konstantin Stanislavski suggests, cultivating concentration and trusting one's instincts.  Instincts.  We don't do...

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...

Pasta Carbonara

This recipe loses the cream altogether, replacing it with white wine.

15th Jan 2006

Pasta Carbonara

  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 thin slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound farfalle pasta
  • 4 egg yolks
  • small handful chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water

Serves 4.

Recipe adapted from Cucina Rustica

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Get a huge pot of salted water boiling...