It’s fucking hot right now.
Every time I walk outside it’s like the heat has strapped me down and the stifling humidity waterboards me until I confess that you know what? I don’t really need (insert life essential item here) this weekend…I hail my forever, undying allegiance to the A/C just please take me back to my
Enhanced interrogation metaphors aside, this weather can’t help but remind of one of my favorite late summer vegetable preps, al umido. I first made this dish in Rome with fagiolini corallo (aka romano beans) and was immediately enamored with the preparation because it was not only simple and delicious, but also insanely practical because you don’t have to stand near the hot stove the whole time you’re cooking it. It allows you to stand near other things too…like your air conditioner.
You literally just let it cook and cook and cook…and cook some more. Basically once the beans reach a certain level while cooking, it’s like the process of undercooked to cooked to overcooked restarts. It’s like the beans enters a vortex that sucks it into an alternate universe where the vegetable takes on a whole new dimension of cookedness previously never seen before. That’s how I would describe the universe in umido. Not a bad place to
eat be right now.
Romano Beans in Umido
- 3T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
- 1.5# romano beans, trimmed and cut into halves or thirds (depending on size)
- 2 large tomatoes, skins removed and cut into a large dice
- 1T tomato paste
- 2T mint, chopped
- pinch of chili flake
- kosher salt
- Blanch romano beans in salted, boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and shock in ice water.
- In a large saute pan, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute. Add the romano beans, chili flake and a large pinch of kosher salt.
- Cover the pan and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, another large pinch of kosher salt and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every so often just to prevent sticking.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the mint. Taste to adjust seasoning if necessary and serve.
You ever make a dish and you’re like holy fucking shit this is delicious (**expletives continue to fire off in your brain**)?
Well this is one such dish.
Bottomline: Milk Braised Pork is the braise you never knew you needed but will now and forever always crave.
Braising is one of my favorite techniques in the kitchen – it is versatile, straightforward and forgiving. When braised with milk, pork becomes succulent and savory, rather than rich and heavy like a traditional braise, so it is a dish that can be enjoyed no matter how high the mercury gets.
My favorite vegetable pairing with braised pork is a simple blanched and sauteed turnip.
Tokyo turnips, with their fresh, clean flavor and slightly astringent quality, make them the perfect foil against the luscious braise. For a heartier meal, serve the dish over polenta studded with sweet summer corn.
Milk Braised Pork
- 1# boneless pork shoulder
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 cloves garlic, halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small dried chili
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups whole milk
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- Roughly pick 5 sprigs of thyme. Season the pork on all sides with salt, pepper and picked thyme (stems are ok here). Wrap the pork tightly in seranwrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the pork from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you’re ready to begin cooking in order to take the chill off the meat. Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Slick the bottom of a medium Dutch oven or braiser with a coat of olive oil and heat over a medium-high flame. Sear the pork on all sides, until it’s golden brown throughout. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside.
- Add the garlic, bay leaves, chili, the rest of the thyme and butter to the pot and quickly saute. Add the pork back to the pot and using a spoon, baste the meat with the herby-garlicy oil/butter. Carefully pour in the wine and reduce until sec.
- Add the milk to the pot. There should be enough so the pork is almost covered but feel free to add some more if it looks a little low. Bring the milk to a high simmer and turn off the heat. Cover with a lid
and place in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes remove the pork from the oven and begin spooning the separated milk curds over the pork. Place the lid back onto the pot and return the pork to the oven. Reduce heat to 350F and continue to baste and spoon the milk curds over the pork every 15 minutes or so for the next hour-and-a-half to two hours. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, remove the lid so the curds brown and caramelize over the pork.
- Remove the pork and curds from the pot and cover with foil to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the cooking liquid over high heat and strain. Pour the jus over the pork and caramelized curds and serve with simple Tokyo turnips.
Simple Tokyo Turnips
- 1 bunch small Tokyo turnips
- 3T extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- Clean the turnips and their greens. Cut the turnips in half, quartering any large ones, so they are roughly the same size. Discard any yellow or holey greens.
- In salted, boiling water blanch the turnips for 2 minutes or until almost cooked through. Drain and shock in ice water. Strain.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-large saute pan. Add the turnip greens, a generous pinch of salt and saute for 1 minute. Add the turnips and saute until tender and the edges of the white turnips begin to turn golden brown. Serve immediately.
I love soup. It’s warm, it’s filling, it’s delicious, and every culture has their own take on what you can do with a bowl and a spoon.
As you can imagine, my Seamless soup delivery man and I are very close. We even sing each other Christmas carols in December as he walks the three flights up to my apartment.
Frankly, though, soup in the summer is just inappropriate.
But Beth, you say, there’s gazpacho! There’s vichyssoise!
Well, gazpacho is not a soup. Gazpacho is a bloody mary without the vodka.
Vichyssoise? Don’t lie to me and tell me that thick ass puree of potatoes, leeks, cream and chicken stock wouldn’t taste a gazpachillion times better hot.
Most recently, I was craving a bowl of hot and bubbly cold-weather soup but I simply couldn’t muster a crock of French Onion in 100% humidity. Forced to work with the elements (i.e. on a hot summer day when the desire to move and/or make anything lengthy in the kitchen is minimal), my Summer Onion Soup was born.
It is the yin to winter’s cheesy and rich French Onion yang. With three different types of seasonal onion/garlic-related vegetables, plus some chicken, zucchini and potato to round out the dish, this soup is bright, light and flavorful and totally appropriate for summer. It’s like the white jeans of soup.
Summer Onion Soup
- 1 small, whole Chicken
- 16 oz. unsalted Vegetable or Chicken Stock
- 1 bunch fresh Scallions, cleaned and sliced into 3-4″ long pieces
- 5 sprigs Thyme
- 1 head fresh Garlic, cloves separated and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch Garlic Scapes, ends removed and sliced into 3-4″ long pieces
- 5 small Potatoes with a fancy name, quartered (I prefer Augusta potatoes because Augustus was the heir to Caesar and I love Caesar salad. I mean, who doesn’t? And August is my birth month so it works in so many ways. Just make sure the reason you choose your potato has a great story behind it – it’ll make the soup taste better.)
- 2 medium Green Zucchini, cut into 2-3″ chunks
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Maldon Salt
- Generously season the chicken on all sides with salt. Coat the bottom a large dutch oven or soup pot with a thin layer of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Place chicken in the pot breast-side-up and cook until the bottom is golden brown, around 3-5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and pour in stock. Add enough water to the pot so the chicken is almost covered (you want the top 1/8th exposed but that seemed a little anal to state given my naturally lackadaisical demeanor. Important to note that this soup was also invented on a day where I attempted to minimize dishes and knife work – hence, the whole chicken).
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot except the zucchini. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
- Remove the chicken and thyme sprigs from the pot. Discard thyme and place the chicken on a cutting board. Turn off the heat, add the zucchini to the pot and put the cover back on.
- Depending on how hungry you are, at this point you can either brave the scalding hot chicken and start tearing the meat off with your mighty heat resistant talons you call hands, or you can stick the chicken in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes until that bird has cooled the eff down. Either way, pick the meat off the bird, tearing or cutting the meat into large pieces (around 3″ long) and placing back in the pot.
- Stir the soup around a bit so the chicken can get reacquainted with its old friends and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Serve HOT.
Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits but most strawberry desserts are pretty miserable.
Chocolate dipped strawberries are the most overrated dessert of all time. Strawberry ice cream can be pretty hit-or-miss, most often a miss. Strawberry rhubarb stuff… that’s pretty good I guess (but it needs the rhubarb to make it great!).
When making a dessert with strawberries, I always veer simple and make sure to purchase my fruit in-season and from the green market (versus just munching on them raw where it could be December and I really could care less just give me my gawd damn berries mmkay). Green market strawberries have a sweetness and depth of flavor no supermarket berry has ever come close to.
A great, super simple dessert that anyone can do – even if they live in a studio with a hot plate for a kitchen and a shared bathroom – is macerated strawberries. I always gravitate towards a simple flavor profile of vodka/vanilla/lemon combo with a bit of aged balsamic for added depth, inspired by April Bloomfield’s recipe in A Girl and Her Pig. Using my recipe below as a guide, you can sub in your favorite strawberry flavorings – adding in herbs or switching up the sugar, alcohol or spices.
I prefer to spoon these strawberries over vanilla gelato for the perfect summer dessert but they’re are also great over angel food or cheesecake, yogurt, pancakes or oatmeal. (NOTE: if you have these in the morning, remember the vodka is still quite active).
with Vodka & Vanilla
- 2 pints Tristar Strawberries (or other green market variety), hulled & halved
- 1/3 cup good quality Vodka
- ¼ Granulated Sugar
- 2 Vanilla Beans, halved & insides scraped out (discard beans)
- Zest & Juice of ½ Lemon
- ¼ cup Aged Balsamic Vinegar (that syrupy ish)
- 2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Large pinch of Maldon Salt
- 2t Black Pepper
- Using your hands, mix together all ingredients except for the strawberries in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the strawberries and toss to combine, smooshing around 1/3 of the strawberries into a pulp with your hands as you do it. Taste for sweetness and acidity and adjust if necessary.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve.
In my marginally humble opinion, radishes are just about the most rad vegetable ever. Radishes are delicious, beautiful and – dare I say it – adorable. They’re even more adorable than baby corn.
In fact, in Japan, radishes are seen as so adorable that people carve them into cute little edible art pieces.
(Nevermind that these a more reminiscent of bad taxidermy than actual food…)
Behind the dainty, tickled pink hue of a radish lies a crisp and peppery vegetable with a taste that ranges from mildly spicy to horseradish hot.
(”All it comes down to is this. I taste like a spicy crunchy wasabi jicama guy but look great.” – Patrick Bateman, radish spokesperson)
Radishes can be eaten in a variety of ways: straight up Frenchie with butter and sea salt, in a crudite, roasted, pickled, or – one of my personal favorites – in a salad as the star ingredient.
When making a radish salad, the secret to making it not just a good radish salad but a great radish salad is all in the massage.
Deep tissue that radish.
You literally want to feel like you are trying to push the other ingredients into the radish. Radishes have a high water content and are pretty porous on the inside so by massaging the radish with the other ingredients, you are imparting the maximum amount of flavor into the vegetable.
Even though radishes taste pretty strong solo, they easily take on other flavors. Richer salad ingredients – like aged vinegars and cheeses – are perfect in a radish salad because the light and crunchy radish balances the heavier components with its signature, palate-cleansing bite.
So, without further ado, here is one of my go-to recipes for a tasty radish salad.
Radish Salad with
Aged Balsamic, Basil & Parm
- 2 bunches of Radishes (whatever color or type strikes your fancy, just make sure they’re firm and pretty blemish-free)
- 5 leaves of Basil
- 5oz Parmigiano Reggiano
- Handful of Sunflower Shoots
- Handful of Micro Russian Red Kale (substitute with small bits of torn Lacinato Kale if this is unavailable)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Good quality, aged Balsamic Vinegar (break out the good ish for this recipe)
- Maldon Salt & Black Pepper
- Clean the radishes, removing the greens and saving for another use if you wish. Halve the small radishes and quarter the large guys so all the pieces of radish are around the same size. Place in a large bowl.
- Tear the basil into medium-sized bits and add to the bowl. Break off small chunks of the parm with your hand (sometimes it helps to use a fork or paring knife to get the cheese going) into the bowl.
- Add a large pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and start massaging the radish, basil and parm together in the bowl, pressing the cheese and herb bits into the radish chunks with your hands. Add lemon juice, a drizzle of balsamic and continue to massage until the ingredients have incorporated themselves around each radish chunk
- Add sunflower shoots, micro kale, and a drizzle of olive oil to the bowl. Gently toss to combine (the greens are delicate!). Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve immediately with a little more balsamic drizzled on top.
So you have your Lambo.
You have your Mercy.
You have it all…but you still have your studio apartment with the kitchen that’s made for ants. And tough for you, your friends are people and not ants.
On top of that, you still want to be a social butterfly and spread your wings. You still want to be able to have your people friends (not ant friends) over for a drink, a meal, a good time, etc. etc.
I feel you.
am watching see you.
I am downloading your browser history.
One party dilemma you will always need to deal with when short on space (and probably a dishwasher)? Glassware.
As my great great Uncle Andy once said, “One’s company, two’s a crowd, and three’s a party.”
For company and crowds, I recommend you bring out your finest Baccarat/Riedel/Schott Zwiesel/Señor Frogs-branded stemware and delight in the clinks of actual glass whilst you make toasts to the merriments of your friendship. But when it comes to actual parties, I embrace
landfill friendly recyclable disposable cup.
You could only provide one real glass per guest but, I mean, who wants their Chateau Merlot mixed with remnants of Freixenet mixed with remnants of Ciroc Coconut & Agua? I’ll tell you who. No one. That’s why I recommend disposable cups. No dishes, no breakage, no problems.
Many of you may have thought your disposable days were behind you after you received your diploma proclaiming you a Bachelor of the Universe (or Science, or Arts, or whatever). That life from there on out was going to be all Murano glass goblets and Swarovski crystal carafes…
But you see child, real glassware takes up a lot of space when entertaining and due to people’s propensity to abandon cups mid-drink or move from fino sherry to beer to wine to liquor to liqueur in one evening, you are pretty much guaranteed to find little abandoned glasses and orphaned little glass shards littering your precious slivers of available counter space before the clock strikes eleventy.
Don’t fret though, there are some great options now for those who plan in advance
or wash their disposable cups and reuse them every time instead of running to your bodega a la minute.
For me, I must admit there is a sleek, modernity (
or lack thereof) to the classic red Solo Cup and for that reason it is my party cup of choice.
Personally, I insist on the real thing when flying Solo. In fact, I have been known to go to three separate CVSs just to avoid buying their private label “Solo-style” cups.
Now, I’m going to say something rather bold, but I do believe that the red Solo Cup might be the little black dress of the everyday entertainer. You should always have one ready to go.
That is all.
Till latro, I bid adieu.