Category Archives: Miscellaneous
It was an ancient barn door, varnished and mounted on crude stumps, set in our kitchen like a fallen tree grown over with hairy moss, permanent and rotting into the floor. We ate dinner around that table every night. Yet, of all the meals I ate there, all the smoked pork shoulders and venison steaks and lemon pies, I most clearly remember tuna melt Mondays. We would set out a relish tray piled with dill pickles and pimento-stuffed olives, baby corn, sweet pickles and hot pickles, unsalted cucumber chunks and beefsteak tomatoes slices, sprinkled with iodized salt till they wriggled like squirming slugs. Here’s how we made the melts: three spoonfuls of tuna salad on Thomas’ English muffins, American cheese peeled out from between waxy paper sheets, and then, a ten minute wait for the cheese to melt—ample time for lingering over a pickle nosh.
Today, in New York, it’s not hard to find a corner diner spitting out serviceable melts. Continue reading
Zach Bell, Yale University
Strawberries are in season, so my Mom requested a strawberry pie. I made this pie with only nine ingredients: flour, butter, shortening, sugar, salt, strawberries, corn starch, nutmeg, and some whole milk brushed on the top crust for a golden brown finish. (Pics after the jump)
Zach B., Yale University
I made almond biscotti, a crispy cross between cookie and bread, baked twice to its dry, coffee- dunkable perfection.
Here is the unbaked loaf on a baking sheet. One makes biscotti dough with a combination of flour, sugar, eggs, and baking powder for a lighter texture, plus any flavoring or nuts (traditionally no fat is used, but I put in around a half a stick of softened butter for good measure, everything’s better with butter).
Zach B., Yale University
In 1914, Joel Russ, a German Jewish immigrant opened his first store, selling Polish mushrooms, herring and salmon. Nearly one hundred years later, Joel’s shop still flourishes on the Lower East Side in New York City. Over time, this neighborhood’s demographic has changed multiple times, from the original Germans, to Yiddish speaking Jews, and more recently to Hispanic and Asian immigrants. Although the Jewish community has dwindled, its presence can still be felt through institutions like Russ and Daughters.
Running your first marathon is an experiment; running your second is a race. After experiencing the training cycle once, a runner understands the demands on his body, the trials of the race, and the process of post-race recovery. The next time on the track, each step merits examination and reevaluation. Losing your marathon virginity is a learning experience—success or failure during the first race depends on a galaxy of uncertainties. From how you train to what you eat, these constantly evolving factors determine speed, strength, and stamina. Continue reading
Where have the days of bland vegetables gone? Have they receded into the memories of baby boomers, left to simmer until grayed and withered? Contemporary vegetable cookery—the use of fat, sweeteners, and salt to intensify vegetable flavors—overcompensates for the perceived deficits of its forebearers. As an outgrowth of the comfort food and stoner food movements, contemporary vegetable cookery embraces the unhealthy, the bombastic, and the overstated—in effect, it denies the traditional concept of “vegetable” in the American culinary canon. Whereas the humble vegetable was once relegated to a corner of the dinner plate, pushed aside in favor of steaks and roast chicken, “contorni” now occupy a privileged place in Manhattan’s top shelf Italian restaurants. Kids ask for kale chips instead of Lays (dusted with sea salt and chili, of course), and “eat your vegetables” is often met with furiously chewing mouths. A balance does exist, however, between the grossly exaggerated and the bland: the tasteful use of seasoning to magnify, not caricature; to complicate and make delicious, not to lampoon in burlesque.
Brussels sprouts occupy a lower position in the vegetable hierarchy than even broccoli. While children can be coaxed to try a floret, the much maligned sprout requires coercion. One faddish take on Brussels sprouts solves this problem without force feeding: just add prosciutto, pancetta, speck, or sopressata—any sort of cured meat contributes fat, salt, and porky exclamation points. The more, the better. Caramelizing those sprouts and dressing with a piquant olive oil increases the deliciousness factor by several orders of magnitude. Oftentimes though, this technique overshoots the mark, resulting in an overwhelming mess of greasy sausage and burnt Brussels sprouts. Continue reading