The other night, I was struck with an inexplicable, deep craving for spaghetti and meatballs. Nothing else would do. Not lasagna, not pizza, not any other kind of pasta. Spaghetti and meatballs. The Italian-American kind, the sloppy, rustic meatball that drowns in red sauce and a blanket of grated Parmesan. Who knows where cravings come from, but I identified mine, and it had to be quashed.
So I made it happen. I made up the recipe as I went along, loosely looking at the Barefoot Contessa version, too. I used equal thirds of ground beef, pork, and veal, and added panko, egg yolks, chopped shallots, and water until the mixture felt moist and ready. The sauce was a simple-enough combination of San Marzano tomatoes, onions, red wine, garlic, and thyme, and it simmered away for hours. And as for the pasta, well, I bought that fresh from Milano!
We dove into the meatballs alongside some decadent garlic bread (I split open a baguette, slather it with a compound garlic-parsley butter, tightly wrap it up in aluminum foil, and gently reheat in a 250 oven until soft and fragrant), a fishy Caesar salad, and lots of red Italian wine. Easiest dinner party of all time!
[Birthday cake bought for my friend by her husband: vegan orange and chocolate cake with mocha and cardamon-spiced ganache]
[Springtime blooms snipped from public sidewalks]
[The sweetest one of all]
I just spent four brief, luminous, relaxing days in Ithaca, New York and maybe it is something about the sweet and wet summer air but I can’t stop hovering around sugar: fruits dripping with pulp and fresh juice in the morning and chocolate cakes and flaky croissants and iced tea and the perfume of fresh flowers. If only I had remembered to take a photo of the vegan coconut milk and chocolate cake smothered in bananas that Sasha made, but I was too busy stuffing my face with it. If only I had remembered to take a photo of the magnificent and tart rhubarb crumble that Anna made and served with sweet vanilla bean ice cream (Mark Bittman says to omit the strawberry — DUHHH!), but I was too busy etc etc etc. I very rarely crave sweet over savoury — I’ll pick pizza every time — but ever since I ate a Portland crepe at 3am laced with cinnamon sugar, butter, bananas and peanut butter it’s all I can think about.
Posted in baking, food, home, party, people, portraits, summer
Tagged birthdays, chocolate cake, cravings, crepes, summer sweets, watermelon
I was seriously craving protein yesterday at lunchtime. After coating one salmon fillet with a cumin/paprika dry rub, I seared the fish at super high heat for about 5 minutes with a little butter and olive oil, but unfortunately the fish kind of stuck to the pan.
Inspired by a bottle of pomegranate molasses in my pantry, I finished it with a sweet, tangy glaze. In a small bowl I mixed about 1/2 tbsp of molasses (so thick and sweet, use sparingly) with 2 tbsp olive oil and some lemon juice, added salt and pepper until I was happy. I poured it over the salmon once it was in the pan and watched my kitchen fill up with smoke.
I was also craving vegetables so I found weird bits and bobs in my refrigerator and diced them up. I parboiled the “teeny tiny fingerling potatoes” (actually what they are labeled as at Trader Joes) for 5 minutes and then added them to the stir fry. After 10 minutes everything had relaxed in the pan and I added lemon juice.
Perfect base for salad dressings, too.
I finished with a huge handful of chiffonaded basil.
….Which I also added to the salmon – plus half an avocado. This was about 3x more food than I could actually eat but it sated all the right cravings and had the neat side effect of cleaning out my refrigerator.