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Archive for 'people + places'

WINTER WARMTH: TURKEY CHIPOTLE CHILI

I’m a purist about a number of things, but not about chili. I like it with ground, cubed, or shredded meat. With or without beans. With or without tomatoes. I do prefer really good soft tortillas as an accompaniment, but tortilla chips, rice, or the spaghetti (and oyster crackers) that folks in Cincinnati are crazy about […]

OYSTER LOVE

For most people, their first oyster is a rite of passage. M.F.K. Fisher’s was at the Christmas banquet at the southern California boarding school where she was a student. “I swallowed once,” she wrote in The Gastronomical Me, “and felt light and attractive and daring, to know what I had done.” My first wasn’t raw, […]

CHICKEN MARBELLA: WELCOME TO THE CLUB

In 1978, the year I moved to New York, the Upper West Side was still gritty and rough around the edges. Except, that is, for The Silver Palate, a valiant little shop that had opened the previous year on Columbus Avenue, at 73rd Street. Its concept—elegant yet accessible take-home food for dinner parties, picnics for […]

ZUCCHINI: THE RAW & THE COOKED

Zucchini has quite the reputation. The plants are prolific as hell, and with the effortless pick-up of a sports car, their offspring zooms from the cute, almost-ready-to-pick stage to the size of a cricket bat (see above) in no time. Garrison Keillor, chronicler of the small, fictional town of Lake Wobegon on A Prairie Home Companion, has […]

HOT BISCUITS & BLACKBERRY BUTTER

Compound butters—butter creamed with different flavorings—may be old-fashioned, but they are versatile as all get out—think of them as instant sauces that add finesse and another layer of flavor to very simple food. A classic French maître d’hôtel butter (softened butter mashed with chopped parsley and a little lemon juice and zest) ennobles just about anything, especially a […]

BARBECUE SHRIMP

For years, I’ve avoided buying jumbo shrimp (one of my favorite oxymorons), because I’ve never known how to bring out their best. My default method—a few minutes in a small amount of simmering water—is more suited to small or medium shrimp. In my hands, jumbos handled this way become simultaneously tough and mushy on the outside before […]

STRAWBERRIES WITH BALSAMIC VINEGAR AND BROWN SUGAR

They weren’t the most perfect-looking strawberries in the world, and truth is, some were a little overripe. Still, it was the end of the day, and I was amazed the farm stand had any left. Plus, after a few hot, sunny days in the field, they smelled like summer—and just what was needed after a supper that was going […]

SHRIMP BUTTER

Most brides say they couldn’t eat a thing at their wedding reception, but I was not one of them—in fact, the food was so delicious, so absolutely right, it was one of the things I remember most clearly about the day. Sam does, too. We were married 16 years ago at my stepmother’s low, rambling […]

FAST-TRACKING CHICKEN SALAD

Aside from the “fiesta” or “Oriental” versions found at some chain restaurants, chicken salad has pretty much been relegated to the Nostalgia Department: suitable fare for tearooms (of the Woman’s Exchange variety and otherwise), drug-store lunch counters (here’s a marvelous Lewis Hine image), and southern porch suppers, circa 1955. I don’t know why. I suppose people […]

DUKKAH FROM A PARIS KITCHEN

The subtitle of the recently published My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, by David Lebovitz, may lull you into putting the book on top of your bedtime-reading stack. That’s perfectly fine—it’s a terrific read—but you must be prepared to climb out of the wrapper at, say, 11 p.m. and go into the kitchen to eat something delicious. […]