Saturday, June 29, 2013
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
It fell off the bone as soon as we opened it up. And it was gone, just as quickly. The best chicken ever, hands down, home cooked or otherwise, in Italy or America or anywhere else in the world. Make this and you will not be disappointed.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Thursday, June 20, 2013
It was really like that. But it was also really worth it. After circling an open garage on a suburban street a couple of times, Michele and I walked in to find a huge ice box with our names on it and a giant bag of the most beautiful, organic produce we had ever seen stuffed inside. It was a feast of seasonal produce. All kinds of lettuce, a hefty daikon, pristine beets, perfectly sealed and sweet corn on the cob, bok choy.
And beautiful, beautiful kale.
Inspired by its depth of color and it's rich leaves, I didn't want to tamper with it too much. So I decided to make my favorite salad. So simple, it elevates any meal and the true flavors of the veggie soar.
If you want to try this recipe, you will need five minutes and:Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 shallot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bunches kale, stems removed, leaves shredded or finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
grated Parmesan, to taste
In a bowl, whisk juice, shallot, oil, salt and pepper flakes. Add kale; toss well.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
You can imagine how fit everyone is here on Maui. It's exactly like what you see on TV. No gyms in sight but lean, tight bodies abound, everyone a bona-fide, surf board carrying member of the sea. Kids, adults, moms, grandparents are all strong and slick, just from playing in the waves. Makes me kinda sick. I'm carrying a heavier load what with the recent winter in New York, wine and pasta galore. It's going to take some time to look like a local, but I am determined to start. And by start, I mean a regular exercise regimen of swimming and yoga, as well as a revised diet.
In this spirit, I picked up a copy of the diet book du jour, "Shred". Day One's dinner called for a cup of beans. Seriously. Here's what I whipped up:
Monday, June 17, 2013
We didn't let the delivery hiccup hamper our plans, though. We had two big rib-eye steaks set aside and we were determined to put them to good use. My dry-rub recipe falls flat without a grill so Michele decided to keep it simple with his salt and pepper, olive oil and herb marinaded recipe.
It went a little something like this:
Friday, June 14, 2013
He walked in to my house early the next morning, holding out the the tightly wrapped sandwich, smiling from ear to ear, pride in his eyes. "Here you go. I have one, too. When you're ready, meet me upstairs."
Needless to say, enjoying that sandwich with my dad was memory material. It was everything that I remembered it to be, probably better. Soft bread, flaky crust, salty ham wrapped lovingly around the cheese in folds and mellowed out by the mayo and tomatoes, all coming together in harmony.
Michele unwittingly made another wish come true by bringing Junior's cheesecake home a few days later. It is the only cheesecake that I have ever loved. Another throwback, I have been enjoying the dessert since the 1980's, making a bee line for the restaurant with the family after church service at the old Brooklyn Tabernacle on Flatbush Avenue. It's the texture, smooth and consistent throughout, whipped but firm, not too sweet. Most importantly, it is not cheesy in the way that some ricotta cakes can be and is somehow light and rich at the same time. I relished my last strawberry slice, slowly and systematically, knowing that it would be a long time before I would have another.
I had some momentum here. What was stopping me from having a private little reunion with all of my old food favorites? What was next? Two nights before we left, Michele and I made a spontaneous decision to stop at Uncle Louie's, on Union Street, for an Italian ice. Now, there's something called "shave ice" here in Hawaii but it is a different thing entirely. A mound of shaved iced is drizzled with flavored syrup and it's consistency is more in sync with a granita than the fine and uniform flavor of the ices that speak to summer in New York.
I didn't get to Nathan's. I'll have to take a trip to Coney Island when I get back. There is a particular bite and pop and temperature and flavor that cannot be recreated now matter how many of their branded hot dogs you buy at the supermarket. The sharp, grainy mustard, the buns...are as unique to the experience of eating the dog as the sounds of the Cyclone rumbling in the distance.
Bagels and lox will have to wait too. They did not cross my path. But I did get a couple of slices on a couple of different days from Smiling Pizza in Park Slope. I have been wanting this stuff from the womb, no exaggeration. My young, pregnant mom would walk an hour, in the cold and snow, to fix her craving for their pies. Strangely enough, I wanted it every day of my own pregnancy. So there's a history here. It felt right to go back more than once for the memories and for the simple comfort of enjoying something that has not changed in almost forty years.
I can make fried chicken any time I want. But it's not the same without my family. It's crackle and pop fall flat when eaten alone and I can't do it. Makes me sad. But I have Jada as motivation. I can pass on our specific standards (Each black family has it's own version of bird). Still, it makes me homesick and I will probably not make much of it until I return to my family in the fall.
On a sweeter note, my brother Dave brought me a big bowl of home made banana pudding the night before we left for Maui. The ultimate taste of home and a perfect farewell to all of my favorite New York foods, it was bittersweet to share this traditional dessert with everyone at the dinner table.
It's probably hard to have pity on me. I am writing this from paradise, where mango trees heavy with fruit sway above me and avocados and coconuts abound. Fresh fish and meat and beautiful vegetables grow so wild they are not even labeled. Still, there is nothing like the taste of home. Here's to hoping that absence will make it all better next time.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Friday, June 7, 2013
Packing it all up and getting ready to ship out (again) leaves little time for blogging but I am doing my best. In the midst of all this, and since my last entry, we've celebrated Michele's birthday, first at Brooklyn Crab with the kids and then out at Pok Pok without. An outing to Staten Island's "Touch A Truck" occupied us last Saturday. Our first Sunday shopping at Red Hook's Fairway since Hurricane Sandy was fun. And, there was another food truck rally in Park Slope. I even squeezed in some "me" time at D'Mai and did a "write-in" with Gotham. We also made some incredible meals and shared some great moments with our family and friends in the month that we have been home.
Each of these moments deserves its own post and I will double back soon to share more. Thanks for checking in.