Crispy on the outside, pillowy and creamy in the middle, Arepas make the best sandwich ever, with easy BBQ Chicken, shredded Cheddar cheese, pickled Red Onions and Avocado.
In 1994, I had just graduated college and was living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. During the day I worked my first job in the film industry – interning in the editing room of a film called Surviving the Game (starring Rutger Hauer, F. Murray Abraham, Gary Busey and Ice T … yes, you read that list correctly). At night and on the weekends, when I wasn’t bartending, I was attempting to make a living as a custom hand-bound book artist. This is the long way of saying I was ridiculously flat-out broke.
My partner in book-binding, loft-living and cooking on a budget was my best friend from college, a beautiful and talented artist from Colombia named Adriana, who sadly passed away in 2004. She and I spent countless hours in her loft (a former fish-canning factory which, worryingly, always smelled a little like anchovies when it rained). We laughed at a million stupid jokes, bound hundreds of books, watched many episodes of the X-Files and ate a gazillion Colombian-style arepas, slathered with butter and salt (or sharp cheese and guava paste, Adriana’s favorite).
Not to get too emo on you but looking back, I realize what a formative and precious time those years were. It taught me that I can make anything, including furniture. I learned that film editing is basically magic. And most importantly, I learned that when you cook with people, what you learn from them stays with you forever, so they’re with you forever.
Whenever I miss her I make arepas. I make arepas often.
In need of a little pizzazz to brighten your February? Why not celebrate with our Valentine’s Day cocktail, Roll in the Hay: a sophisticated combination of vodka, fresh grapefruit and thyme, topped with dry Rosé Champagne. It’s a combination you’ll fall in love with.
February, as a rule, is a hard month to love. January, at least, has the benefit of being a FRESH NEW START to the year; we can, if we’re lucky, coast on hopes, and dreams, and the sugar high from Christmas, all the way through to the 31st. And then, the next morning, we wake, mentally done with winter and ready to see the sun again, keeping our eyes closed for a few blissful seconds of ignorance before opening them to find … February. Ugh.
It’s no coincidence that Groundhog Day is right at the beginning of February. If summer is a season of Sundays, February is a month of Februaries. TS Eliot had it wrong: April would only be the cruelest month if it arrived at your door dressed as a spring maiden only to rip off its mask and yell “surprise! April Fool, motherfucker! It’s February again!”.
But it’s not all bad. If you can make it exactly halfway through, to the month’s hump-day, so to speak, you’ll hit Valentine’s Day. (Any sensible editor would absolutely forbid me from using the phrase “hump-day”, but fortunately, this blog doesn’t have one.). We’re not teddy bears and roses kind of people, but we do like a colorful drink with zesty flavors. So that’s what we wanted to blog this year: a good, tasty Valentine’s Day cocktail that you can share with a loved one, or just make for yourself. (Because YOU, my blog-reading friend, are a loved one. Yes you are, and don’t you ever forget it.)
You’ve had pigs in a blanket, but have you taken them to the next level? Have you baked them with a pretzel crust and dipped them in a creamy cheddar and stout sauce? Well, we have, and we want to show you how.
If you’ve ever been to our house for a party, then you’ve probably eaten our standard Pigs in a Blanket recipe. We’ve never blogged them because they’re super dooper easy – though so much tastier and a boat-load more affordable than the frozen packaged kind. ($10 for a dozen, Costco? Really? Are we doing this now?). We simply cut good quality puff pastry into strips, wrap them around mini hot dogs, egg wash them, sprinkle them with whatever, and bake. Delicious, if somewhat pedestrian.
But this year, we wanted to up our party game, so we came up with these: Homemade Pretzel-wrapped Pigs in a Blanket with Warm Cheddar & Stout Beer Dip. Now if that’s not a home run straight through the net, then clearly I don’t know football.
A good beer isn’t only the perfect liquid accompaniment for warm snacky finger-food; it also adds a rich, malty note to a tasty cheese dip that we serve with pretzel pigs in blankets, nachos, chips, or almost any salty dipper!
Like you, probably, there’s almost nothing we enjoy better of a Sunday evening than kicking back and watching one of the many televisual spornts available. We like the foopball spornt, the basket-throw spornt, the shove-ha’penny and all the running-around-in-a-circle events, and we just love cheering on one of the teams we support, usually the ones with the most colorful socks. “Go team!” we shout with vigor at the screen. “Do it for the old home town!” And at the same time we are congratulating the MVP for scoring his or her final homegoal or throwing it all down the end zone at the bottom of the ninth, we congratulate ourselves, most of all, for making the perfect snack accompaniment.
You don’t have to be a grill master to make perfect bourbon honey glazed ribs because there is an easy, no-fuss technique that works every single time. And our homemade BBQ sauce will knock your oven-mitts off. It’s sweet, spicy and you’re going to want to slather it on everything!
(While we’re catching up on some site administration behind the scenes – and recovering from exhausting winter colds – we decided this recipe from a few years back would be a great fit for any upcoming sporty-type television events. This was originally posted as a summer recipe, but since these ribs get cooked in your oven, you can make them every damn month of the year, rain or shine.)
Back when I was just a wee little sprout gazing through my window at New York City, I often wondered what life would be like if I lived in a house instead of an apartment. What it would be like to stand outside on a patch of earth and say “mine!” and know it was true.
Well, it took me a very (very) long time to get there but I finally got my little patch. The fact that it’s a dusty, hilly, weedy little patch covered with poison ivy and crab grass doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm one bit. Okay, maybe a little bit, but just you wait, in twenty or thirty years this yard will be… a tiny bit nicer (we work slowly).
One thing I’ve discovered since living in a house; standing on a deck with a cocktail in hand whilst some form of meat sizzles on a grill is one of life’s simple pleasures. Another thing I’ve discovered; it is nearly impossible to make meltingly tender ribs on a grill unless you are a grill master. (We are not Grill Masters. We are not even Grill Journeymen.)