I ate curious foods around my grandparents' table, although they never struck me as unusual. When my family visited my grandparents, we’d gather around for an array of German products I never saw anywhere else: liverwurst, weisswurst, gooseberry fool, little pickles, dense, grainy bread, Westphalian ham. My grandmother hated the kitchen, but my grandfather loved food. It was around their table that my identity as “feinschmecker” was born.
Though she wasn’t much of a cook, my grandmother baked, and she passed down her love of sweets to me. Every visit brought the promise of cookies, cobbler, or my hands-down favorite plum torte.
You may have noticed it’s tomato season. Time for Caprese salad, tomato and mayo sandwiches (yum, btw), fresh tomato pasta sauce, tomato this, tomato that. One of the perks of the perfect tomato is that it’s best eaten as is, out of hand, like any other delectable piece of juicy summer fruit. But the thing is, with all this fresh fruit around, sometimes you just want something a little bit more satisfying (read fattening). That’s where this week’s recipe, tomato tart, comes in.Read More
It’s mid-August, people. When and how exactly did that happen? Out here in the ‘burbs (also known as my parent’s house north of NYC), my mom is reaping the benefits of her vegetable garden. Kale is ready to be cut, eggplants shine in the summer-sun, basil plants are knee-high, and, somehow, there is a new zucchini on the vine each time you blink. Wasn’t it just a moment ago that the farmers’ market was brimming with spring’s sugar snap peas, asparagus, and strawberries? This morning, it was overflowing with the high-summer harvest: beans, corn, summer-squash, peppers of all colors and kinds, and tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes.Read More
Last week, as a sticky heat wave descended upon New York City, I went on a mini-vacation to Vermont. There, I enjoyed country air, pastoral views, cool, fresh breezes, a swim in a crystal clear river-bend, and a much-needed break from the sweltering temperatures (oh, and lots of Vermont cheddar cheese).
Then I returned to New York, and the heat felt even hotter. As steamy weather always calls for light meals and cold food, I decided I’d make use of summer’s bounty by using my farmers’ market beets to make a classic cold soup: borscht.Read More
My Hungarian-born grandma’s Bronx apartment always smelled of paprika and chicken fat, the scent of which permeated the upholstery and lingered in the air. Even in the heat of summer, Grandma Rose cooked Hungarian foods that were unapologetically hearty, like stuffed cabbage, and chicken paprikas with nockedli. One perennial summer favorite broke the pattern, though: meggyleves, cold sour cherry soup. Of all the foods I was ever served by my Grandma Rose, it was my hands-down favorite.Read More
The Fourth of July is clearly a day on which we American foodies ought to celebrate American food. But what American food is exactly seems much less clear. Short of the few foods native to North America (most notably plants like beans, corn, and squash) the foods we eat are a culinary hodge-podge of foods brought by generations of immigrants arriving in this country and tweaking their recipes to fit their new surroundings and new lives.
German immigrants, who flooded onto American shores in record numbers in the middle of the 19th century, brought with them some staples that most of us would list when asked to name a few American favorites: hamburgers, hotdogs, pretzels, and beer. In fact, that list sounds like a pretty good start for a Fourth of July menu, right?Read More
Frogmore Stew contains no frogs. Actually, it isn’t really a stew either. It is one of the beloved recipes in the category of recipes known as Low country cuisine, the food local to South Carolina’s coastal towns and cities and the bit of coastline south of Savannah, Georgia. Also called a Low Country boil, Frogmore Stew showcases the seafood of the region, and, although it has a grandiose name, it’s simple to prepare.Read More
This week’s recipe was supposed to be easy. Especially for me. I’m a trained pastry chef. I’ve made puff pastry, croissants, petit fours, sugar showpieces, and wedding cakes. For this week’s recipe, all I had to do was open some pre-packaged ingredients, do a little stirring, and stick a pan in the fridge to chill, and voila!, I would have a beautiful, refreshing, delicious cake to write about for my blog.
Things didn’t quite go as planned. First off, there was the weather issue. Next, the pre-packaged ingredients weren’t so easy to come by. And then there was the problem of the eggs. Here’s what happened, starting from the beginning:Read More