Category: Main Courses

Hail to the Home Chef

In the past few weeks I’ve been a guest at three remarkable dinner parties. And they came just in time. My own hosting schedule has been pitifully light lately, but thankfully the craft is alive and well. While the fodder at these dinners was unique, they shared a cohesion of concept and a just-so of execution that have the three meals lingering on my mind’s palate.

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Spring Lamb For Braise

The Portuguese chorizo soup got the apartment smelling good and the lamb shoulder I braised the next day kept the umami lingering in the air. I used one of the recipes from Food & Wine that I linked to the other day. I can now give my stamp of approval: This dish of braised lamb shoulder and potatoes is very easy to prepare and tastes…super! Even after a couple of days of leftovers, I’m planning another lamb dish this weekend. (Note: DC’s Logan Circle Whole Foods gets local lamb, so ask for that if all you see is from New Zealand.)

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Martha Stewart Living Is Still A Good Thing

After being turned off by its shift toward shopping magazine, I have to continue my subscription to Martha Stewart Living based solely on the strength of its recipes. I must turn a blind eye to the article on what’s new in botox or the feature on how to choose a vet in the April issue, but it’s worth it. Somehow each recipe feels like the last one you’ll ever need. And it still feels worthwhile to buy the print magazine, because the web content is so non-navigable.

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The Neverending Dinner

A couple of weeks ago Joe Yonan had a Cooking For One column in the Washington Post that resonated with me. In it he explores the idea of the “everlasting meal.” Basically, leftovers become a donor to future feasts. This is especially good for people who go crazy at the farmers market or who must sift through their weekly CSA box and then watch as some of that bounty rots in the fridge. If it’s part of a larger, evolving meal plan, you can cook it all up on the weekend and work it into dishes throughout the week.

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Game Day Winner

I think I’ve written about chili on top of salad before, but it didn’t get its own post, so it’s worth a circle back. I order this regularly at diners: side salad and a cup of chili. It’s surprisingly hard to convince people that this is a perfect match-up, so I served it for the game Sunday night, and I believe I may have made some converts.

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Never Order Pizza Again

Thank goodness for Twitter. Otherwise I never would have known it was National Pizza Week. And then I never would have come across the blog Slice Harvester, which rates every slice in Manhattan. The reviews I read were all along the lines of “it’s decent” and “worth a visit if you’re already there.” Which is how I always thought of NYC pizza.

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Food Magazines and Chicken Curries Are For Kids

The February issue of Food & Wine is overall lackluster. I was stunned at a package of easy-to-make child pleasers, which included doctoring up jarred marinara. Is this the Food Network Magazine creep? There is also a feature in which ten chefs talk about the food-related charities to which they devote their time and resources. Most of them involve bringing good food or gardening to schools. The chefs also each submit a couple of boring, I mean healthy, recipes. The one reaction they got out of me was in response to a Mario Batali quote that his recipes were based on “winter food-bank staples.”

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The Glamorous Leftover: Turkey Pot Pie

So, did you get tired of turkey sandwiches halfway through the second one? Do you still have turkey in the fridge even after making a tasty turkey soup? If so, we have a few things in common. But good news! I have a solution for you, a leftovers end game, which will not only end this dragged out eating tradition, but actually elevates the ingredient, so it can go out with a bang. I’m talking turkey pot pie here, something I had not only never cooked before, I’d never even eaten. I’m regretting the years of turkey sandwiches right now.

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The Dish That Keeps On Giving

Last week I flagged a recipe for meatloaf with onion gravy from the November Food & Wine. After making it last weekend, I must take a little more space to sing its praises…and tell you what I did to punch it up. With a recipe this simple, using the best ingredients is what can really elevate it into something extraordinary. So, nearly all the ingredients I used were from the farmers market or my CSA box—where I just happened to get celery and a bunch of beautiful yellow onions.

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If You Can Only Cook One Thing…

All of the food mags are coming out with their Thanksgiving issues. I’ll be passing on any tips that aren’t 100 percent recycled from last year. A I read Martha Stewart Living on making gravy all I could think was that none of these magazines tell you that if you give a bird a nice brine bath prior to cooking, those tasty drippings, the foundation of all gravies, will make yours inedibly salty.

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