You know those times when you look in the fridge and think, “meh”. You might have a little bit of this and a little leftover that but seemingly not enough of any one thing to actually make something? Well, that’s me about 75% of the time.
While I definitely get inspired and enjoy the process of shopping and cooking (and photographing and blogging), there are many more days when I’m just really busy and can’t even think about what to make for dinner until I’m fifteen minutes past being really bloody hungry.
That’s when I like to make a fritatta. Seriously, you can pretty much throw anything in it and it will work. (Edible, anything edible). Have a potato or two? Great, chop it up! A bag (or frozen box) of spinach? That’ll work. Weird little bits of several kinds of cheeses? Why not. No one’s looking. As we say in Brooklyn, “do you”. (I’m so, so sorry).
The great thing about a fritatta is that as long as you have enough eggs to bind it all together, pretty much anything is going to work. Sure, you have to think a bit about what flavors go together. That really stinky, pungent bleu cheese may not work so well with, say, shrimp but would be delicious with bacon and onion (and shrimp would be fantastic with corn and scallions). Just think about what you have available, what tastes good together and don’t overthink it.
This particular recipe is just what I had on hand (and it’s a nice combo) but you should feel free to substitute any ingredient you want (except the eggs, of course).
Well, well, well. And they* said it wouldn’t last.
*Me, I said that.
I’m so very happy to be wrong! It’s been a full year of Nerds with Knives (actually a bit more than a year but what is this “time” concept anyway, and why are such slaves to it? At least that’s what Matt theorized when we went out for my Halloween birthday in December. Something about “Wibbly wobbly timey wimey…stuff“. Who knows what he was going on about).
So like the fancy mothercluckers we are, we celebrated with a couple of fantastic beers from The Hop, a nice chunk of delicious clothbound Cheddar from our new local favorite Beacon Pantry, and drank out of engraved Nerds glasses given to us as an AWESOME christmas gift by our dear friend Ian.
As a life-long freelancer, I figured I’d post a few recipes, take a few photos and eventually get distracted by some other shiny new project, but somehow, for some reason, that didn’t happen. Honestly, this year has been amazingly fun and has re-kindled my love, not just for cooking and writing, but also for photography, which I’ve been enjoying immensely.
By far, the most surprising thing about the blog has been the response from you. Don’t look behind you, yes you, specifically! Honestly, I figured our audience would be about ten people or so — my mom, Matt’s mum, a few friends and family and maybe one or two strangers who landed here accidentally and weren’t sure how to close the browser tab (it’s the little red button on the top left, there you go, dear). Again, wrong!
As of early March, we’ve had almost 49,000 views! That’s just, like, completely bonkers. And also so, so awesome. So, thank you to everyone who’s been enjoying the blog and saying such nice things about it.
Roasted sunchokes (also called Jerusalem Artichokes) make a fantastic side dish. They’re creamy on the inside with crispy edges and a mild, nutty flavor. They also happen to be packed with vitamins.
A couple of weeks ago, Matt’s sister Hayli got us tickets to see Asaf Avidan at Irving Plaza (quick aside: along with The Ritz and CBGB, Irving Plaza was the place to see hardcore, punk and ska bands when I was in high school. To this day, it still feels wrong to be in there without a mohawk and zebra-print creepers on.)
Anyhoozle, the show was great fun (thanks Hayli!) and since we stayed around Union Square, we got to walk around the Greenmarket before we headed back on the train. (I love living in Beacon, but I do miss that damn market. Seriously, there is nothing else like it). Since we were wandering, we didn’t really want to carry loads of stuff but I just couldn’t resist picking up some sunchokes, which are in season right now.
Now you may be saying to yourself “Hmm, that looks suspiciously like the grizzled, terrifying hunk of old ginger I found hiding behind my refrigerator when I moved last year.” And it’s true that these aren’t the most attractive vegetable in Earth’s garden of delights but we wouldn’t let a trivial thing like that stop us from enjoying something so delicious, would we? Good answer.
Sunchokes are also known as Jerusalem Artichokes for some reason (they are neither from Jerusalem, nor are they related to artichokes. Go figure, but they are part of the sunflower family so that at least makes some sort of sense.) Whatever you like to call them, they have a lovely nutty flavor which some people say reminds them of water chestnuts.
Chinese broccoli is a tasty variation of the standard green, and we show you one delicious way to cook it with a sesame citrus dressing.
After what has felt like a gabillion months of (bone-chilling, face-freezing, fun-zapping) winter, this past weekend the sun peeked out from the behind the clouds and warmed our little corner of New York to a downright balmy 42 degrees.
So we did the only sane thing and grabbed our sunglasses, slathered ourselves with SPF8000 and went swimming in a crystal clear lake and let the fish nibble our vitamin-D deficient toes.
Just kidding! It was 42 friggin’ degrees so we braved the mud that is quickly replacing the permafrost in our driveway and drove to the little asian market we’d been itching to check out for ages.
Sure, by NYC chinatown standards the place is tiny but it packs plenty of great products into its two crowded aisles. Among many other fun things, we bought a bottle of ponzu, some chili-garlic sauce, a big jar of sesame seeds and, best of all, a huge bag of incredibly fresh chinese broccoli. Aw yeah! Party at the Cliftons.
I don’t remember having cookies when I was growing up in Britain in the 1970s. I don’t mean to say that they didn’t exist; in all probability they were around, but in the country’s crowded biscuit industry, with its Bourbons, its Garibaldis, and Custard Creams, its Jammie Dodgers and digestives of both plain and chocolate variety, its Rich Teas, Penguins, and Jaffa Cakes, there seemed to be no great need for American imported options. Biscuits are great, though, you can have them all year round, they have absolutely no health benefits, and you’re allowed twice as many at Christmas, because of course that’s the time when everyone is a bit low on fat and carbs.
There are plenty of sweet baked items you can make at home, of course, but nobody makes biscuits; there’d be no point. And you see, that’s my socialist English upbringing again; of course, in America, you dream, you aspire, and yes, you SHALL make cookies, and take them to the moon, too, dammit. But the same principles apply: they’re not in any way seasonal, and people like to make twice as many during the winter months.
Good thing, then, that just before Spring leapt into the calendar and stole an hour from us, last week I decided to make cookies. To tell the truth, I believe the conversation in the house went something like this:
Me: Do we have any cookies in the house?
Emily: I don’t think so, but you could make some! And blog it.
Me: That seems like a lot of work!
Emily: But cookies.
Me: Can’t argue with that.
Emily: And blog it.