Last week my wife tells me that her friend is out of town on vacation and she needs a big favor?
She has a large garden that needs to be watered and as a “Thank You”, we would be able to take as many cukes as we wanted.
So, I grabbed a basket, a colander and my favorite helper. My little guy.
There’s a game I like to play every spring and summer evening when walking our dog: What’s on my neighbor’s menu.
It’s an adventure in olfactory exploration. One house has the charred and robust smell of slow smoked brisket, and another the garlicy aroma of vegetable kabobs. Perhaps there is the yeasty scent of grilled pizza and then the unmistakable smell of beer can chicken. Potatoes, corn, hot dogs, burgers – you name it. I can sniff it out with my nose.
Summertime is quite literally a magical time: It is a time of rebirth, awakening, and reemergence. We are well out of our winter stupor, let go of our soups and our casseroles, and make way for fresh, crisp, vibrant foods that rise like a phoenix during the sunny summer days. It is the time of Farmer’s Markets and vegetable stands on the side of the road. It is the season of grass-fed beef, copper river salmon if you’re in the pacific northwest, or lobster if you’re on the east coast. It is the time to unleash all of the amazing ingredients that hid quietly and unassumingly during the winter months.
I love grilling for so many reasons. The cleanup is easy, the act is social, and there is something beautiful about cooking a meal with the wind blowing through your hair and the sun upon your face. Beyond that, grilling is a method of cooking that releases subtleties in flavor that simply sautéing, baking, or frying just cannot compete with.
If you want to maximize your spring and summer culinary game, just follow these easy steps:
- Talk to the farmer or butcher Some of the best meals start with the following phrase: “What would you recommend today?” Farmers and butchers are more artist than grocer. These are the people that know their produce and meats. They can tell you not only what is best in the bunch, but how best to prepare it.
- Get spicy Or herby. Whatever you choose, choose fresh. Use old coffee cans to grow your own herb garden and simple pick and choose your spices and herbs straight from the plant.
- Let your meat rest This is good advice anytime you are cooking meat, but it is crucial when grilling. The super heat of the grill can char and beautify a piece of meat, but without the proper rest time, your grilled meat will be an utter disappointment.
And if you’re looking for inspiration, I encourage you to walk through your neighborhood and follow your nose: You never know what inspiration you might find.
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Oh, to be asparagus: One of the most vilified vegetables of the bunch. Next to broccoli and Brussel sprouts, asparagus continues to be one of the most misunderstood and underutilized greens in the garden……but not for long.
We’re taking it back to the top, gang.
Penne ala Vodka.
Delicious. How can you go wrong?
Come on people…this is comfort food calling you.
It must be getting cooler out because I’m actually cooking inside the house and giving the charcoal and propane a much needed rest..for now.
For decades, Italian grandmother’s have been arguing with other grandmother’s or “Nonna’s” about their recipe for sauce and meatballs being the best.
Day 4: Coffee. A New York Foodie’s Christmas Wish List. (AKA, The 12 Days Leading up to a Foodie’s Christmas)
Happy Wednesday December 20th everyone!
Whether you are in need of a pick me up after a long day of chasing the kids around or you need a little go-go juice after work, this nectar of the city will do the trick.
New Yorker’s aren’t naturally energetic. We are naturally beautiful and naturally awesome, but the false sense of energy and excitement…
Yeah…that’s all coffee.
Day 2: A New York Foodie’s Christmas Wish List. (AKA, The 12 Days Leading up to a Foodie’s Christmas)
Happy Friday Dec 13th everyone!
I hope you are enjoying this crazy holiday season and are not making yourself crazy trying to get too much done in a short period of time.
Whether you’ve been to NYC or not, you know about the foods that NYC is synonymous for.
Pickles, Pretzels, Knish, Hot Dogs and the list goes on.
If you like food, and I assume you do, you NEED to get this book.
Arthur Schwartz is the foremost authority on NYC food.
When I hear the words NY Foodie I always think of Arthur, second.
I think of myself first, of course.
If you want to make someone happy this holiday season…give them this book.
If you want to make yourself REALLY happy this holiday season, but a copy for yourself.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.
The temperature starts to drop, the leaves turn beautiful colors and the neighborhood kid’s are running around with candy bags so heavy that they can barely lift them. And then there are the parties.
It’s hard to eat healthy when you are surrounded by so many delicious foods and treats but if you don’t want to scream like a kid running into a witch when you step on that scale ,well, you find a way to incorporate some healthy options into your party hopping.
Oh yeah, St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th, and that can only mean one thing.
Getting drunk at 9 am?? No…….well, maybe..but it’s a “day for wearing of the green” and other kick-ass Irish traditions, like making Irish soda bread, watching the parade on tv, listening to Irish music and ..ok, perhaps getting drunk early in the morning.
Many of you don’t know that St. Patrick was not even born in Ireland, in fact..it is said that he may have been,,,ugh..don’t shoot the messenger, Italian. Yup.
Waiter…extra whiskey in my coffee please.
So before you start drinking green beer and dancing with strangers make sure that you gather up all of your ingredients and ready to have the most delicious corned beef and cabbage that you have ever had.
When I hear the words, “Classic, old school party foods”, a few thoughts come to mind.
I usually conjure up images of….
* Flakey, golden brown dough strips blanketing a salty mini-frankfurter dipped in spicy brown mustard..
* Crusty, mini quiche packed with flavors of fluffy eggs, sharp cheese and smokey bacon…
* Wonderful, freshly picked clams on the half shell, broiled with seasoned breadcrumbs and fresh herbs…
and of course, Classic Shrimp Cocktail.
It’s Timeless…Classic… Classy…and Simple, but is always predictable.
So how do I transform my mundane and predictable shrimp cocktail to get In the Zone?