You’ve Got Balls

July 14, 2016

That recipe for Cibreo I posted the other day is decidedly challenging, but should you decide to pursue cooking with balls, here’s a recipe that sounds really delicious – and doable – to me.

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The problem, of course, is finding prepared balls.  Should your butcher sell them in their native state, don’t fret: here’s the recipe you need.

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Leave your thoughts

Alone in the Kitchen with an Aluminum Can

July 13, 2016

IMG_5875Laurie Colwin wrote one of my favorite essays (in this book) about the singular experience of being alone in the kitchen cooking for yourself. In Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, Colwin writes: “Certainly cooking for oneself reveals man at his weirdest.”

These days cooking for yourself may not seem weird – but it’s too often seen as selfish. That’s why I appreciate Corned Beef and Caviar,  written by the great Marjorie Hillis in 1937. (Hillis, incidentally, remains sadly unsung.)  This “recipe” for what the author called female “live-aloners” is less a recipe than a lesson in cultivating solitary rituals. It struck me as remarkably modern, especially when I think of the tone of some of the new bride cookbooks I’ve featured here in the past.

Hillis encourages her reader to be what MFK Fisher called “a guest to yourself.”




Curiouser and Curiouser

July 12, 2016


I couldn’t resist buying this book…

It’s filled with all sorts of wonderful information.  Here, for example, is the classic Tuscan  Cibreo.

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Perfect Summer Salad

July 11, 2016


Fresh Corn Salad for a Summer Day

Shuck 6 ears of corn and cook them, very briefly, for about 2 minutes in boiling water.  Remove, allow to cool slightly, and cut kernels off the cob.

Cut half a sweet onion into fine dice. Toss the onion into the corn along with a pint of cherry tomatoes that you’ve cut in half.  Mix in three tablespoons of good olive oil and three tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to sit for a bit, so the flavors become acquainted with one another.

Just before serving toss in a half cup of grated parmesan cheese and some freshly snipped basil.

Serves 6


Memorable Menus

July 9, 2016

Going through old files, I came upon this folder filled with menus from special occasions.  Interesting….

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This was a banquet given by Cecilia Chiang (or maybe for Cecilia?) at Shun Lee.  The food was truly spectacular; I particularly remember the Panda’s Garden, a set piece complete with lake, garden and various animals – all edible.



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The conjunction of three giants of modernist cuisine: Wylie Dufresne, Nathan Myhrvald and Grant Achatz. Actually four, when you consider that Alex Stupak was doing the pastry.


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This menu is from around 2003.  The food, by an imported Spanish chef,  was fascinating, but it was way too ahead of its time for Miani.  Sadly, the restaurant did not last.



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This meal, to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Phyllis Richman’s tenure as restaurant critic of the Washington Post was a no-holds barred celebration at The Inn at Little Washington.  Completely over the top – the only way Patrick O’Connell knows how to do things.



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A menu from Laurent Gras’ tenure at Fifth Floor in San Francisco.  Gras is, hands down, one of the most talented chefs around. Sadly, he no longer has a restaurant.



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Another really talented chef who no longer has a restaurant: Rocco Di Spirito’s menu at Union Pacific.