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.
I don’t think I know of a single living soul that doesn’t LOVE mozzarella.
Think about it…
Have you ever heard someone say..“Yeah, gimmie a slice and hold the cheese.” ????
NO! You haven’t! I can almost guarantee it.
In fact, I hit the streets to ask what New Yorkers favorite pizza toppings are and guess what the answers were?
I also asked people what are their favorite cheese’s and the 1st responses were always..yup, you guessed it.
And finally, I asked..”What is the best cheese to eat when you have tomatoes and basil or want to cut it into sticks and fry it?
The answer. You know it baby…Mozzarella again.
( Thanks for answering my questions, Mom and Dad)
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.
One of the many simple pleasures coming out of this Irish guy’s kitchen…but in my kitchen we call it…
Bru’sketta, just like Giada.
Ok, I never talk like that, but it sounds more fancy than saying tomatoes and bread, right?
Winter is finally here in New York.
I went outside this morning about 6 am and it was 11 degrees. When it’s 11 degrees it feels like 3 degrees, so I ran back into the house for the warmth of my coffee cup and laptop and to think about hot food and delicious treats.
Right now is prime baking season, so I’m joining the cool kids and turning up the freak switch to high.
Ok, I’m not that outrageous and there is no freak switch…just my oven that ..um..I’m turning up to high.
Enough with my failed attempts of culinary comedy and trying to fit in with the Millennials.
On with the show.
Day 3: Bagels. A New York Foodie’s Christmas Wish List. (AKA, The 12 Days Leading up to a Foodie’s Christmas)
Happy Monday December 18th everyone!
New Yorker’s are always on the go.
Even when we are relaxed with no particular place to go, we are in a rush.
One of the most portable foods and one of the most deliciously simple noshes are NYC bagels.
For me, there are 2 choices. Plain or everything.
All or none.
I like being a minimalist and I like being extravagant with my food, it all depends upon my mood.
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.
Christmas is my favorite time of year.
The house is carefully decorated from floor to ceiling with cheerful displays of celebration…
The crisp and cold weather is finally here and the fireplaces are roaring….
The days are short and the nights are long, so the wine keeps pouring…
Generosity and love are spoken about and acted upon….
As I put together the ultimate foodie wishlist so feast your eyes upon…
The Ultimate Foodie Wishlist: NY Style!