Friday, December 31, 2010

Don't waste my time

Here is the perfectly cute, entry level salad I prepared for my boys, and for which I am still mocked. I figure they can't try it if it's not out there. They were much more receptive to the vanilla ice cream with oreos hand crushed and mixed in. I can't imagine why.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Doing Justice

You know I keep taking these pictures... This is for Sue, who inspired me to put a couple up the other night. Single Pan Cooking: the stuffing mixed in the cast iron I will cook the mushrooms in, stuffed mushrooms slowly displacing stuffing. Ready to serve, in cast iron, with restaurant-style house spuds (restaurant style: generous on the oil and kosher salt) with fresh sage, thyme, and garlic. A few leftover mushrooms the next day, easily a meal.

Monday, November 22, 2010


As promised for a ninth birthday, with a Mario theme. This thing was a beast, and I thought it would last forever, but that top picture is all that survived the party.

I melted and blended butter, sugar, and nestle's semi-sweet chips in a double boiler, and softened a gallon and a half of ice cream. I used plastic wrap to line the pot I usually use to make spaghetti, and alternated crushed oreos, my home fudge sauce, mint chocolate chip and chocolate ice cream until it was full. Hood Mint Chocolate Chip for preferece; they used shaved chocolate rather than chunks, so they don't melt way after the ice cream into a ball of cold chocolate in your mouth.

Served with hot fudge.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Egg Garotte

I'm not just crazy about good knives: I'm crazy about optimum cutting. In the case of hard boiled eggs -- which I make for my son every morning -- they stick to any knife.

To that end, I made this cutting wire for egg, a bit of 10 pound test line between a couple chopstick handles. Goes through eggs smooooth. The halves don't even come apart until you pull them.

The red crescent shapes behind me are devil horns I made for my son's birthday costume.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crusty Old Man

Crusts from three different, amazing MA bakeries. There was some Pain D'Avignon from Sandwich, some Iggy's from Cambridge, and of course some Virgilios from here in Gloucester.

Throwing away bread is a sin.

So, here they are, stuffed in the toaster and smoking, and they sure don't look so bad with a couple of perfect over-easy eggs, and a jar of Garam Masala, for a little change from my usual Chinese or Thai chili sauces.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm Leftover. Fry me.

These were excellent when served with the Causeway's excellent lobster pie. Not so excellent after two days in the refrigerator, imprisoned in polystyrene foam.

I revived them in half a roasting tray under a low broil, frequent turning and a generous sprinkle of kosher salt. Stick to your ribs and good crunch. They didn't last long.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chili Shakshuka

A great one pan meal. Shakshuka is a middle eastern dish, eggs poached in a tomato sauce, and there's a million versions. Here's a middle east/southwest/northeast spin (shakshuka with kosher turkey chili. Poached until the eggs have soft centers, served in the pan with herbs from the garden and fresh bread.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

String 'Em High and Dry

More summer pictures. These peppers are the contents of the 'hot' bin at a friend's CSA in western mass. More than I could use at once, so I got a needle and thread and strung them up to dry. A Pretty Thing.

Bless You, Paul

I've been too busy to post lately, and I've missed it, so I'm catching up on a couple of summer pictures.

The fish here isn't just any fish; it's tuna and mahi mahi my neighbor paul caught on a charter. Any fresher and it would slap you with a fin. Knocks on the door, hands me the ziplocs, and says, 'these were caught a few hours ago'.

I seared them both with a rub of salt, black pepper, cayenne, I can't remember what else but it was pretty damned good.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sun Tea In A Vase

Sun Tea is best made in the the glass pitcher you'll serve it in, or -- better yet -- a big mason jar. Lacking either of those, I used a well washed glass vase, a bunch of brand name tea, and set it in the sun for a couple of hours. Brewed strong, served with palm sugar simple syrup, a little fresh lemon and plenty of ice.

In the picture, I'm pouring freshly made (ie, scalding hot) sugar syrup down a chopstick, rather like I'd do with acid and a glass rod in chemistry class.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Like Chinatown In Your Backyard

Brought home some steamed shrimp and greens with oyster sauce from [will provide name] in Chinatown. Good, good, but the smell of head on shrimp, plus the nearly raw garlic, would have given my wife conniptions. So I hauled the ol' microwave outside and cooked them there. Eaten outside with plenty of chili paste.

Fishcakes Fancy

We were having a party, so I took some of the fishcake 'batter', mixed with soaked and chopped dried abalone mushrooms (which I will never be without from now on) and fresh sage, and formed into little silver dollar fishcakes, a heaping teaspoon each for consistency. Served with (what else) a hot pepper tartar sauce.

It was educational for the tastebuds to have a little bit of the plain fishcake first. The contrast made the mushroom and spice really stand out.

Fishcakes Plain

Fishcakes. I love fishcakes. And they are Very Glossta. Here's the raw materials, chowder fish from Connelly's and a bunch of potatoes. Uncooked fishcakes, frozen for later, over cooked fishcakes. On a plate with two over easy, the natural habitat of the fishcake in my book, though they can occasionally be found with baked beans.

The hot sauce in the urine sample jar, btw, is srug (Yemenite Chili Paste, see elsewhere) homemade in Israel. I am not just proud, but positively smug to say that my homemade version was universally preferred by the Israelis.

Favorite Knife

There's no one Favorite, but this is what I reach for to make short work of stir fry vegetables, or cut waffles into the precise eighths my children have come to expect. It's a cheap Thai cleaver, weighted on the handle with four quarters wrapped in electrical tape, so I guess it cost me $8, not $7. Razor sharp when I'm in the mood. Balanced like a gymnast. Walks through push cutting, just never forget what you're holding.

Spring Roll Deck

Ready to roll: shredded carrot, bean thread, scallion, mushroom, steamed napa, fresh mint, and Giladi's chicken. Just add elbow grease.

Spring Roll Deck

Set to go: shredded carrot, bean thread, scallion, mushroom, steamed napa, shredded red cooked chicken. Just add elbow grease.

What I Like About You!

Best thing about Gloucester: a neighbor knocking on my door to ask, 'you want some striped bass? It's about five hours old', and handing me a fillet thick enough that I have to steak it sideways.

Here's the neighbor in question, Paul, with the striper chunk now five hours and two minutes old, and that self same chunk of striper steaked, with barbecue rub for seasoning, and after searing in the ol' cast iron. I got another meal out of that piece, and made fishcakes with the leftovers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


My eldest, Nadav, fixated on the name 'ditalini' in the supermarket, and so we had ditalini with hotdogs that evening. For those unfamiliar, as I was, it's a small tube, about as big across the end as it is long.

And I know what these are engineered for. Don't tell me soups, I know better. Ditalini is the best shape for falling off a spoon and making a mess. If they were smaller, or stringy, they'd adhere and fall off less. If they were bigger, you could eat them individually, like penne.

I attach empirical evidence.

First Tomatoes Out Of The Valley

Back in June, I rose above the common lot of styrofoam store tomatoes with the first of the Pioneer Valley crop, courtesy of Jack Czajkowski of Czajkowski farms in Hadley, MA. Seen here with fresh picked cucumbers, olive oil, thyme from my garden, coarse salt, and Market Basket's finest mozzarella, which is to say mediocre but perfectly serviceable.

Another chunk on a crust of Virgilio's semolina bread, with a little bit of my soon-to-be-world famous anchovy-caper pesto.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

pesto, pestere, pesti....

That's two entry titles in Latin. Don't say I never did anything for you. You say basil and I say pesto. You say two kinds of basil, oregano, and parsley, and I say two kinds of pesto.

First, since someone had a nut allergy, a nut-free pesto with parsely, thyme, capers, olive oil and anchovies, coarse chopped and worked over in a mortar and pestle to bring out the flavor, and additionally make a true pesto (pestle and pesto from Italian pestare, to crush, says a shallow web search).

Second, a classic pesto, save walnuts for pinenutes: chopped basil, Mark's heirloom garlic, walnuts (pine nuts are too damned expensive), good salty parmesan, and olive oil until it has the texture of quicksand. Lump it all in the food processor, and don't puree.

Both good on pasta, tomatoes, or for dipping Virgilio's semolina bread. Note, by the way, the Japanese beetle at the very top of the herb bouquet. We consider this a plus: straight from the field.

Corn, Medium Sweet

Jack was coming to visit, and I wanted sweet corn that wasn't too sweet. The high sugar strains at the supermarket were killing me. For Jack Czajkowski, of Czajkowski Farms in Hadley, this is not a problem. He knows, or can ask, which farmers planted which varieties. Custom corn. Whoever took this photo, btw, and didn't bother to take a better one will be spoken to.

Jack brought his family out for a play at the beach and a minor league game at Fenway. In addition to the dozen ears were fresh zucchini and cumcumbers, an herb bouquet, green beans, squash, and the first tomatoes out of the valley. Squash sauteed and served next to the beans, just steamed and served with toasted almonds, salt, pepper, dash of olive oil. And you say fresh basil to me, and I say pesto.