Kimchi is an essential staple in Korean (and Korean-style) dishes, and we always have a jar on hand. It’s cabbage and other vegetables fermented in a spicy, garlicky brine and it’s just delicious. The process of making it at home might seem intimidating, but as we’ll explain, it’s actually quite straightforward and so worth the effort.
Matt here. Emily’s going to come in with the important tasting notes and all that later in the article, but I just wanted to share an anecdote from our very early cohabitation. When we first moved in together, I remember I was clearing room in the fridge – and at the time, Emily had a really beautiful spacious fridge she’d got cheap from a bump-n-dent clearance – and there was plenty of room to hide stuff at the back of the shelves. I was clearing out room to fit in whatever we’d bought together at the store, and I spotted a jar whose contents were unfamiliar to me. I opened the lid and, I don’t remember now, but I probably cursed (Emily: Yes, but in a very polite, British way). I think I might have warned Emily that there was something really bad in there that needed to be thrown away right that second, and preferably triple-bagged. (Emily again: The kimchi was just getting good and ripe. I ate a piece right out of the jar and Matt practically fainted. It was so cute.)
Our friends at Mullan Road Cellars wanted us to put together a recipe that would pair beautifully with their red wine blend. Fortunately, we had just the thing – our summery take on Eggplant Parmesan: grilled eggplant combined with sweet, roasted Campari tomatoes and creamy burrata cheese, and topped with crispy garlic and herb breadcrumbs.
We love a good cocktail around here, but more often than not, when we’re looking for a drink to pair with our food, we choose wine. Both of us love the versatility of rich red varieties: making Grilled Steak With Blue Cheese Butter? Red wine is the perfect choice. Having friends over for cheese and charcuterie? Red wine is a must. Hosting a holiday Pork Roast? Yup, you know what to serve with it. As soon as we tasted this wonderfully fruity and spicy Mullan Road Cellars Red Blend, we knew we wanted to drink it with something grilled. We decided to take inspiration from one of our favorite classic dishes, Eggplant Parmesan, and lighten it up for summer. To bring it out into the sunshine, if you will.
Revenge doesn’t have to be the only dish best served cold. We combine crispy baked tofu cubes with cold noodles in a spicy sesame – peanut sauce for a fantastic dinner or picnic recipe.
We’re adopting a new strategy to help us cope with the cold Northeast spring: we’re simply going to pretend that it’s summer. That’s right, readers: the tiki bar has been set out in the garden (which, incidentally, is BLOOMING), we’ve slathered on a healthy layer of SPF50, and we’re putting together all sorts of yummy goodies to take on our next picnic. Yes, it’s perfect weather to take a room-temperature noodle dish out on the deck or to our local park. Okay, all that may not be true, but this recipe is a perfect meal to make when you don’t need to serve up a hot dinner.
Ramps (wild leeks) have a sweet, garlicky flavor that pairs beautifully with brown butter and caramelized oyster mushrooms. We pile this on top of toast that has been slathered with creamy ricotta cheese, making a delicious, simple appetizer.
[2018 update: we’re reposting this article originally published on the blog several years ago because firstly, we actually have ramps growing in our garden for the first time (!!!) and secondly, it’s a damn delicious recipe which for us, celebrates the foraging that starts in our area in Spring.]
If you have no idea what ramps are, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s some kind of disease that turns people into drooling, seasonal zombies. Because like Walkers, we (the afflicted) wander the countryside, arms outstretched, moaning “Raaaaamps. Raaaaaaaaaaamps.”
Come spring we wistfully scan shady hillsides for tell-tale green shoots. We travel great distances to far-flung farmers markets. We meet dodgy ramp dealers* in back alleys, taking our very lives in our hands, all in hope of scoring some of that delicious, garlicky goodness.
*Note: I have never actually met a dodgy ramp dealer but I bet they exist. I can just picture some bearded hippy dude standing on the corner whispering, “Pssst. Ramps. Meet me behind the compost bin in 5. Namaste.”
We took a couple of weeks vacation to get out of cold and snowy New York, and drove down through the Carolinas and Georgia to spend a week in sunny summery Anna Maria Island, Florida. And we want to tell you all about the sights and more importantly, the food.
We take a vacation so rarely that we’re incredibly excited when we get the chance to go away. In fact, long-term readers might remember our last travel report, from the UK back in 2013. This year we made the executive decision to take all our accrued holiday time for the last five years (this is totally not how freelancing works, by the way, you guys) and it just so happened that 1) Emily’s Mom had a big birthday celebration this year and we were invited to stay with the whole family in Florida for a week, and 2) Matt’s Mum is getting married in July and so we’ll have a summer trip in the UK.
Even though these two wonderful occasions are primarily mother-focussed (that’s not a curse-word, Moms), we realize that most of you come here for the food, so we didn’t want to disappoint you. And of course we both love to experience new and interesting cuisines and recipes on our travels. So here are some of our foody highlights from the trip.