Monday, January 28, 2013

this and that

So far, this has been a dinner party-less January, but I've still been doing a lot of cooking for myself and Dan. And Mabel when things fall on the floor. Here is a look at what's been in heavy rotation.

At the risk of sounding...I don't know, like a recent visitor from the 1980s, I am on a big-time stir-fry kick. I like dinners that can be made in one pan, that include all of the things that form a complete meal: starch, protein, vegetables. I have tried one with greens, chicken and peanuts, one with chicken and cashews (adding bell peppers and bok choy), and a very-tinkered-with variation of this one, with ground turkey and have enjoyed them all but feel like I haven't cracked the stir-fry code. I haven't yet found one that I want to make again and again. Any suggestions?
Our apartment has been cold (some might say damn cold) this winter, and pizza is a good weeknight dinner and excuse to crank the oven above 500 degrees. We eat pizza probably one night a week in the fall and winter. I always use Jim Lahey's no-fail dough recipe, which requires no kneading and about 12 hours of rising time. Which may seem impractical but it's actually very convenient. I stir the dough ingredients together before I go to bed, and by the time I get home the next day, drop my bags, put on stretchy pants and pour a glass of wine, it's good to go. Bonus: warm apartment. Sort of.

Toppings we're liking:
Tomato sauce, capers, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, pecorino, pickled red onions, fresh thyme
Spicy pork sausage, sauteed chard and garlic, mozzarella
Sauteed spinach and onions, curry powder, feta 

Also in heavy rotation (I am beginning to think Dan hates this meal now) is a quick spinach and chickpea curry from Jamie Oliver's site. It's not an actual Jamie Oliver recipe, it seems to be reader submitted, but it's really great. The key is to add half a can of coconut milk (I go for the light stuff) at the end for a little richness that balances out an otherwise very virtuous meal.

This hanger steak with spicy lemon couscous was delicious and totally dinner party-worthy. We will definitely be eating this again. Maybe you will too, unknown future dinner party guests.

Chef Marco Canora opened a branch of his really awesome little wine bar chain near us, and it's become our go-to place for dinner. One standout meal I had was a bowl of ribollita soup, a homey mix of tender vegetables and beans in a tomato-y broth. Googling produced this recipe, which I've made a few times now and it never disappoints, especially on a cold night. It calls for black cabbage, as it is served in the restaurant, but regular green cabbage works just as well. Be sure to serve it with the suggested croutons or, better yet, garlic bread.
I dipped my toe in the Ottolenghi pool with this spinach, date, pita bread and almond salad and it was unusual in a very nice way, but perhaps not as mindblowing as all the hype had led me to believe. Maybe my expectations were too high. But the real discovery from this recipe was sumac, which I know I've eaten in restaurant dishes before, but had never cooked with it at home. It has the texture of moist soil and is so tangy and mouthwatering, it's amazing that one little spice can have so much complexity. And now I need more sumac recipes. If any of you belong to the Secret Sumac Society, please advise.


Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

Oh, sumac! It's awesome - I've started putting it in my vinaigrettes and sprinkling it on all my bean salads to give things a little oomph.

Vanessa said...

I've only ever eaten sumac as part of zaatar--but it is AWESOME on popcorn!

Daniel said...

Grownd turkee sowndz gud. Ey luv awl fudz ey fynd on thu grownd.




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