Check Us Out in Newsweek

15th Nov 2010

20101115 hotdogs

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: pick up a copy of this week's Newsweek , and you'll find my name on page 56, next to a little photo spread of Chicago's glorious hot dog!  They're paired with a great article by Julia Reed about our great high and low end cuisine—from Alinea to the best hot dogs in the country—and the arrival of the Michelin Guide in Chicago (By the way, I’ll...

Apologies for the Construction

1st Nov 2010


You may have noticed that we are having a few technical difficulties at this time. We were hacked this morning, and had to jettison the old design for now, which leaves us with this ~~ default picture of an old man walking down a tree-lined path. However soothing the image may be, it doesn't have much to do with food, and we promise to fix this glaring error as soon as possible ~~ . Update: ...

Serious Eats Roundup: Quinoa, Chickpeas, and Chicken

18th Oct 2010

20101018 ser

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

"Dinner Tonight" Column


Quinoa, Chickpea, and Spinach Salad with Smoked Paprika Dressing
I picked this recipe from Bon Appétit solely for the smoked paprika dressing.

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup
Roasting adds a depth of flavor that simmering wil...

Serious Eats Roundup: Ham and Pear, Grilled Beef, and Ebert''s Chicken and Rice

13th Sep 2010

20100913 ser3

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

"Dinner Tonight" Column


Ham and Pear Crisp with Spiced Butter
The butter used to coat the bread is mixed with ground coriander, ginger, and pumpkin pie spice creating an almost Christmas-y aroma, which plays off the sweetness of the pear and the ham perfectly.


My Chicago: Cafe Spiaggia

Chicago's famed restaurant revamps their cafe

11th Aug 2010

cafe spiaggia 1

Spiaggia isn’t the sort of restaurant you waltz into on a whim--you have to wear a jacket to eat there, its gorgeous dining room has floor-to-ceiling windows, they have a cheese cave, and, oh, it’s really, really expensive. But the secret is that Spiaggia also has a cafe . It’s casual, intimate, and the food is superb. The attention to detail that is expected of a high-end restaurant...

Serious Eats Roundup: Seafood, Summer Squash, and Quail Egg Salad

26th Jul 2010
se roundup 7 26

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

"Dinner Tonight" Column


Shrimp Quesadilla with Kale
Stuffed with poached shrimp marinated in lime juice, this comes out like a cross with ceviche.

Scallops with Corn and Fava Bean Succotash
A trip to the markets of Montreal yield this simple recipe inspired by a...

Serious Eats Roundup: Breakfast Sausage, Italian Sausage, and Squash

24th May 2010

20100524 ser

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

"Dinner Tonight" Column


Spicy Italian Sausage with Peppers Sandwich
An Italian sausage and pepper sandwich is usually tired and boring, but this one adds some much needed acid to the party.

Olive Oil–Poached Salmon
Poached salmon is a standard, but swapping...

Serious Eats Roundup: French Toast Sandwich, Creamy Beans, and Lentils in Pasta

17th May 2010

se roundup 5 17

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

"Dinner Tonight" Column


Monte Cristo
Essentially it's a ham sandwich that's been cooked like French toast. A mishmash of dinner, breakfast, and chaos, all on the same plate. Oh, and it's delicious.

Lamb Chops with Crème Fraîche Beans
Lamb chops need nothing...

The Rum Sidecar

Substituting brandy in this variation on a classic cocktail.

9th Apr 2010

rum sidecar 2

Making cocktails is a tricky business. The balance--between sour and sweet, harsh and smooth--can easily be lost if one isn't careful; most recipes are so expertly calibrated that making any kind of substitution is a bad idea. A cocktail is often a significant investment that goes down the drain if you screw it up (or in my case, gulped down with a wince because I am incapable of admitting...

Wednesday Links: Fajitas, Food in Film, and the Fragility of Restaurants

24th Mar 2010

[Image courtesy of Troy Fields and the Houston Chronicle]

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

Not So Clear Cut
A disturbing tale of what really goes into a plate of fajitas.

The Last Days of Kugelis
The worlds oldest Lithuanian restaurant just closed on the South Side. Sky F...

Wednesday Links: Heavy Pans, Great Techniques, and the new Escoffier

17th Feb 2010


[Photo from Cooking Issues ]

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

Heavy Metal: The Science of Cast Iron
Finally, someone sees through the false information that cast iron is a great conductor of heat. It's just the opposite, which is why we love it: it responds slowly to temper...

Duck Rillettes

22nd Sep 2008


It was a last-minute whim, but there I was at the checkout, buying a whole duck. I've cut up dozens of roast chickens into legs, thighs, and breasts -- usually with the meat and skin steaming and burning my fingers -- so how much harder could it be to do the same with a duck?  Above all, it's much cheaper to buy a whole duck and cut it up yourself than it is to buy the parts separately -- and...

Everyone Should Get Married

19th Aug 2008


For the past year I have been banned from buying new kitchen appliances.  Once Abby and I got engaged, she decreed that I could not willfully purchase anything new for the kitchen because we would be getting wedding presents.  She was immovable.  So as Blake ground his own meat for hamburgers with a Kitchen Aid and made his own no-knead bread in a Dutch oven, I sat and read wondering w...

Our First Year at the James Beard Awards

9th Jun 2008


For those who didn’t catch our incredibly late Sunday post , we were both live bloggers at the 2008 James Beard Foundation Awards.  See those all access passes?  We could essentially go anywhere we wanted to at Lincoln Center.  To check out the trouble we got into, visit the James Beard Live Blogging Site .  There you’ll find a nice recap of us chatting with Nancy Silverton about he...

The James Beard Awards

8th Jun 2008

Beard_medal_3 Join us tonight at the James Beard Foundation Awards.  Nick has only just flown in from flooded Indiana and we're off, clad in tuxedos to see what we can see and eat as much as we can.  We'll be among the guest bloggers bringing you live coverage throughout the night.

Check us out live here starting after 6:00pm EST.


Polenta, Where Have You Been All My Life?

24th Apr 2008


Polenta is only water, salt, and cornmeal, unless a cook chooses, in the style of risotto, to finish with a knob of butter or a hill of Parmesan cheese.  It is one those dishes so simple, its execution can be lackluster or transcendent, depending on who makes it.  What happens when these three things are combined is anyone's guess.  The result can be like cornbread blended with water, a sou...

Edna Lewis''s Fried Chicken

9th Apr 2008


In the midst of deep frying chicken last week I dreamt of Loretta Lynn .  This happens only occasionally, and usually is musical in nature, but this time I had an image of her pan frying chicken in a large iron skillet.  Sure enough, I found some rather hilarious commercials of her pawning Crisco on YouTube .  How wonderful, I thought, that the amazing country singer never had...

Some More Obscure Food Magazines

8th Apr 2008


Recently I was talking to a friend about food magazines, who figured I would know of some good ones. I offered the obvious choices— Gourmet, Saveur, Bon Appetit —but she quickly stopped me.  “I’ve read those,” she said.  “They don’t really do much for me.”

I asked her why, and the conversation ended up being about how bored this person was by the big, storied food magazines that we're a...

Fresh Corn Tortillas: Worth the Wait?

4th Mar 2008


Corn tortillas are my comfort food.  I use them as carrying cases for simple, satisfying meals and I use them a lot.  They are a mainstay on my lazy Sunday breakfasts and always around when it’s time for a feast.

Part of that comfort factor comes from having them in my fridge at all times.  While not as resilient as Twinkies, they can hold up for a time if properly wrapped in the fridge. ...

Cheese Making Part 2: Yawn, I Made Ricotta

14th Jan 2008


After I miraculously created a ball of mozzarella from a gallon of milk and some powdery substances, I declared it a miracle and couldn’t wait to do it again.  And true to my plan, I tried to make it twice since that date and failed bitterly both times.  Much could have gone wrong.  I believe the first failure happened because I used cheese salt instead of citric acid at a crucial ste...

Risotto alla Milanese

8th Nov 2007


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...

The Plate

9th Oct 2007


Due to some really bad planning on my part, I didn't have the lead picture of yesterday's localvore post.  But I have it now.  Here are all our rules laid out officially on a paper plate.  The plate was xeroxed and sent to me.

Yes, we did call ourselves local-yocals.  Yes, we did repeat the spices commandment.  Yes, the last rule does dictate that Nikki must bring a local date to each gat...

Localvore Week 1: I Tried. I Failed. I Bought Butter.

7th Oct 2007

localvore 1

It came to us late in the evening some time in early September.  A few bottles of wine down and numerous beers under our belt, we decided that we would try to eat all locally for a month.  While not exactly a novel concept, it felt noble.  We’d help Ohio farmers and eat well in the process.  We toasted to the prospect and ceremoniously wrote the rules out on a paper plate.

Those rules and r...

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

3rd Oct 2007


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...

How to Make Pad Thai

13th Aug 2007


Part of the reason I bought a wok in the first place was because I read the excellent, thorough, and inspiring post at Chez Pim called "Pad Thai for Beginners." It made a mysterious dish of the takeout world suddenly, approachably attainable.  Every step was lovingly explained, each ingredient inspected.  Pad Thai could be mine.

With a wok bought, seasoned, and oiled , I set off...

When Cheaper is Better: How to Season a Wok

10th Aug 2007


Usually, when you're buying cookware, the rule is this: spend more for better quality.  Sure, those big boxed sets of cheap, thin pots and pans at IKEA or Target are tempting, in that pre-packaged, one-stop-shop sort of way: but how good can you really do with pots and pans that average out to $5 a piece?  Your sauces will burn, your food will stick, you'll be unable to simmer anything becau...

The Paupered Chef in Print

11th Jul 2007



Our first-ever print article is published in The Washington Post today !  It's about what to do with all those leftover herbs in the fridge. If you can get your hands on a print copy, it looks quite good on the page, too. Enjoy!

O Hi O: What I''ve Done On My Summer Vacation

9th Jul 2007

wonder bread 2

It's been a while.  I know.  I'm sorry.  But I haven't been lounging around, skipping work, or shunning the internet.  Hell, I haven't even really been on vacation.

What I have been doing a lot of recently is driving.  It took well over 500 miles to get an aging car to the Midwest.  The car promptly threw a fit when we parked it in the driveway, overheating then leaking, until we had to g...

What You Should Do This Sunday

5th Jul 2007

It's been an impromptu vacation here at the Paupered Chef.  Does it count as a vacation if you don't necessarily plan on it?  We'll be back to our blogging by Monday with some exciting announcements, so you'll have to wait until then.

But in the meantime, if you live in New York, there is a promised-to-be-legendary last-minute event being put together by Tom over at Grocery Guy , in Sou...

Vermouth Is More Than an Alternative to Wine

13th Jun 2007


Curious about what vermouth is made with, and how it can be useful in cooking?  So were we. Head over to Serious Eats and we'll tell you about it .

OJ for the Masses

23rd May 2007


Tired of paying extra for that glass of OJ? We tested some oranges and came out with an economical alternative.

So Much Celery

19th Apr 2007

Help us find ways to use one of our least favorite vegetables in the fridge .

Seriously Confused

4th Apr 2007


Think the world of wine is just sort of confusing?  Watch us destroy what little faith you still had, and gain a few tips for your next quick stop at the wine store .

Are Frozen French Fries Any Good?

28th Mar 2007

Maybe you've heard about the Thomas Keller controversy over frozen fries .  Well, we tried to make some at home--with mixed but interesting results. Check it out !

A Toast to Wednesday

21st Mar 2007

Got a problem with screw caps on wine? Head on over to Serious Eats , where we'll try to talk some sense into you!

Serious Eats Spring Break!

14th Mar 2007

No, we're not on spring break baking our pale flesh under the hot sun--though now that I mention that...  Instead, Blake's been in Brooklyn.  But he did get his hands on some of the first asparagus of the season. Check it out !

A Blog Breather

7th Mar 2007

Take a break from all this year end nostalgia and head over to Serious Eats to see how we learned to broil pizza .  As you might imagine, we love it.

Wednesday Blogs

28th Feb 2007

We've been keeping busy.  Tomorrow will return to our normally scheduled content, but check out what else we've been up to lately.

Recently, we've been setting the beer aside and dipping our toes into the cocktail lifestyle. Where to start? We believe the Old Fashioned is the great first cocktail, and we did a little research to find out.


Ever wondered what to do with 20-pounds ...

Serious Eats

21st Feb 2007


Loyal readers! Check us out today on Ed Levine's Serious Eats , where we try to make our own Fruity Pebbles, fail, and settle on breakfast bars.

Last week we created a Valentine's Menu for Hard Up Lovers .

This Week''s Coupon Clipper

23rd Jan 2007

2007_01_porkshoulder7_2 Check out my Gothamist post on what to do with 10 pounds of hog for $6.91.  If burritos don't tip your fancy, look back at our previous post about pulled pork sandwiches , which we devoured during the warm weather of Grill Week .  Who else has nostalgia for those 80 degree days?

Check out the Coupon Clipper

17th Jan 2007

Fairway If you drop by Fairway this weekend, pick up the specials on the way in and notice the ridiculous quote plastered on the front .  Who would sink to such depths to promote a big grocery store?  Well, me. I've started writing a weekly column at Gothamist called the Coupon Clipper, a feature where I search for the best deals around the major grocery stores in New York City.  My first Cou...

Five Minutes Later, Pancakes

15th Dec 2006

Img_1243 Sometimes, you get a craving for a totally inappropriate thing, at a totally inappropriate hour, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.  Your mind is made up; the universe has decided.  You submit to your instincts and go far, far out of your way to make it a reality.  In New York, it's famously easy: you can call somebody, and 15 minutes later you've got banana ice cream with a...

Thanksgiving Link Hysteria

22nd Nov 2006


“In the United States, we have the grandest plat convivial of them all, the holiday turkey, which we share with 245 million other Americans, including the members of the armed forces, for whom the government spares no expense in jetting turkeys about the globe. There is an uncanny and intoxicating sense of oneness in enjoying a dish with a quarter billion of your fellows. No fus...

My Birthday Dinner

17th Nov 2006

Birthday_21 I (Blake) turned 24 yesterday and, in celebration, my girlfriend thought up and orchestrated a gorgeous meal of French provincial food.  From the surf to the turf, we ate, drank, and otherwise acted like shameless hedonists.  Since I'm groggy and barely awake this morning, and don't much feel like working very hard, I'll just put up some pictures and perhaps post the recipes some other time...

Steingarten on Why We Turn to Espresso

23rd Oct 2006

Espresso From Jeffrey Steingarten's essay "Explaining Espresso," via his collection It Must Have Been Something I Ate :

It's no wonder that humankind's most persistent activity over the past few hundred years has been inventing new ways of making coffee.  How many coffeemakers you have at home depends on 1) your age 2) your love of coffee 3) your love of toys, and 4) your total inability to...

School Days

22nd Oct 2006

Pudding_8 Corn_dogs_02 Salisbury_steak_09 Library_4676 If you were functioning on the subway this morning, you probably saw a steady stream of backpacked kids parading around with wide mouths and unsure stares.  That daze was the stern face of school, the great unknown and the official end to summer.  Standing amongst those kids, I tried remember my own back-to-school feeling, the churning stomach, the moment when I knew it was all ov...

Check Me Out in the 2007 Zagat Guide

11th Oct 2006

557 As you probably know by now, the New York City 2007 Zagat Guide has been published.  Josh over at The Food Section has comprehensive information and a comparison running all the way back to 1996, showing which restaurants have shuffled in the top ten, in both food rankings and popularity.  I find it especially interesting that New York City's average meal cost on a global scale, ranking 4t...

An Unlikely Salad Concoction

28th Sep 2006

Raun_salad_5 I never have any idea what to put in a salad.  I know this much: make your own dressing, that's a given.  Mushrooms are a good bet, as they soak up all the flavor and end up being remarkably delicious.  Leaves: yes.  Good oilve oil and vinegar (or lemon / lime juice).  Salt, fresh pepper.  Avocado if you feel fancy.  Raw onions, just a bit, taste sweet when combined in with the vinegar....

Artichoke Heart Risotto

26th Sep 2006

Library_4806 On Sunday night, I was subconsciously looking for a kind of willing-the-weather-to-change activity.  After a cool week of light sweaters and no sweating on the subway platform, Saturday and Sunday heralded the return of muggy weather, which was very unwelcome.  The threat of rain provided sufficient justification for me to hole up and read and watch movies all weekend (save a trip to Bensonhu...

School Days Wednesdays: Corn Dogs Made Right

13th Sep 2006

Corn_dogs_15 Hot Dogs are the universally pretty-tasty food.  From middle school to college cafeteria dining, the fair ladies in hairnets have always had quite a hard time messing up the basic formula: buy from distributor, boil or steam, place in bun and send the smiling kids off to the condiments line to fight over packets of pickle relish, and who has to end up with the dijon mustard once the packets of...

School Days Tuesday: The Snack Pack

11th Sep 2006

Pudding_8 Billy Madison: I guess that Snack Pack is pretty good huh? [the little kid smiles and nods] Billy Madison: Wanna trade me the rest of it for this banana? [the little kid smiles and shakes his head] Billy Madison: You know how how hard I could beat you? From Internet Movie Database. In any serious discussion of school lunch food, you cannot forget to mention the packed lunch.  Anyon...

Grill Week

11th Sep 2006

Img_0232 And like that, it's over.  Summer's stronghold has disappeared.  The days no longer top out in the 90's, the sweat only beads down my face around noon, and that funk has actually started to lose it's grip on the 14th Street Station.  Last week I only walked on the side of the street completely covered in shadow, and now I can walk wherever I choose.  Really, I'm not sad. But I just got a gr...

Grill Week Day 4: Greek Lamb Kebabs

31st Aug 2006

P1010063_4 Back in the days of heroicism and yore, legends and lore, shish kebab was invented.  In between bouts of maiden-rescuing, treasure-finding, and windmill-attacking, the roaming horseman of the world's countryside decided that they hadn't done enough for mankind.  One evening, as the stars shone brightly and the last few vagabonds were settling lazily against rocks for a pipe and a night's slee...

A Surf and Turf Story

18th Aug 2006


We christened him Kurt and set about trying in vain to keep him alive.  The ride back from Fairway was not long, but we needed some wine, and the car was quite stuffy and hot.  Blake, strangely, began developing an affection for the creature, and cared for him so deeply he wouldn't leave him in the car alone. So we carried him into our liquor store, LeNell's , and asked the owners what win...

Find Your Craving

16th Aug 2006


Head on over to Cravings , a wonderful and passionate website published by Celia Cheng , based on the idea that passion for food can be "a consuming desire, a yearning, an urgent need."  This month's feature is on food bloggers and we had the honor to be included.  The blogs The Strong Buzz , The Food Section , The Hungry Cabbie , Cupcake Bakeshop , [ Slice / A Ha...

The Fate of Sweet Summer Corn

11th Aug 2006

Dsc_0012 Both Nick and I are from the Midwest, proud of our work ethic and nice disposition, and find ourselves a rare breed out here in New York City.  I'm not really sure what the conception is--rural, uneducated, whatever--but most people have no idea what exactly goes on in middle of this vast nation, and just assume that most of it is comprised entirely of corn. Here is an example. The other day w...

What''s the best way to make Iced Coffee?

27th Jun 2006

P1010004_3 When I started sweating heavily during my morning walk to the subway and began considering a set of "commute clothes," which I imagined would be composed of a pair of running shorts and a tanktop, I figured it was time to stop trying to drink a steaming hot cup of coffee on the way to work.  There is simply nothing more miserable than thick New York humidity, being full of sweat, descending on...

Subtract Three Ingredients: A Night with Batali, Bourdain, and Buford

22nd Jun 2006


“So why did you write this book?” Bourdain began, gulping from a green bottle of beer.  On Mount Olympus we gathered, two gods of the (celebrity) cooking universe and the scribe who got to tag along, having a casual conversation over beers in front of a packed audience at the New York Public library, at 42nd st. and 5th ave.  It was billed as discussion of "kitchen secrets" as revealed in...

Shake Shack Alternatives Day 4: The Promised Land

26th May 2006


I'd eaten the good and the bad , the big and the small , and paid dearly as a result.  The quest had gotten serious, and I was ready to admit defeat and bow at the altar of the shack if I had to eat another huge, dry burger.  A true alternative to the Shake Shack seemed like an idea too good to be true.

But like all quests, the best inevitably came last, far away, in a place...

Shake Shack Alternatives Day 2: Big and Beefy

23rd May 2006


As the quest continues , the well reviewed alternatives start disappearing, and things get a little more treacherous.  Big, greasy, disgusting, messes sprout up at every corner, making me want head back defeated into the line of shame at Shake Shack for some real food.  But thanks to some random posting on Chowhound , I was given a little guidance.  Today's search for the best altern...

Beating the Waiting Game: Alternatives to the Shake Shack

22nd May 2006


I dream of Shake Shack.  That beacon of irresistible American fare starts simmering in my brain around noon, when I can begin to smell the delectable combination of sirloin and brisket, the potato bun, the perfectly proportioned fresh ingredients, and that secret sauce.  We all have our favorite lunch time spots, the local place around the corner, and this one is mine.  Being just two block...

Weekend Agenda: Taste of Chinatown

21st Apr 2006

Tastechinatown4_1 This Saturday over fifty restaurants will be offering $1 or $2 tasting plates, usually of their signature dish, from 1pm to 6pm in Chinatown.  The event will happen, rain or shine (it looks like rain at this point), and we will be attending and reporting from the field, camera in tow. Mott, Mulberry, Baxter, Bayard, Pell, Doyers and Mosco Streets are the locations. Here is a pdf with all t...