This is the kind of food I want to have bubbling away in the oven making my kitchen smell of divine porkiness while I am preparing to entertain a group of friends waiting for my beloved Buckeyes to take the field.
(whew… how’s THAT for a run-on sentence?!)
For most people, this is summer food… For me however, I equate having my oven going for over 4 hours with cooler temperatures and for me, cooler temps automatically mean football.
I’m sure this seems absurd to most of you. Everyone else in the blogosphere is making pumpkin this and cinnamon that and here I am making pulled pork. Well, I’m sure someone somewhere understands my particular brand of crazy… it’s called football people and it’s not just football, it’s my Ohio State Buckeyes.
If you are from the Midwest or the South where meetings are rescheduled and Saturday afternoons are off limits “on account of there’s football”, then I needn’t explain any further.
To the rest of you who can’t quite conceive of this, it’s irrational. Those of us that love football with the fervor of a sale-seeking Jersey Housewife with a platinum card understand what it’s all about.
The weather in Brooklyn is perfect today… mid 70’s, sunny and breezy. These end of summer days are the ones I really cherish because I know too well that before long, they will be gone until the spring.
It is nearly unthinkable to cook dinner inside today. The days left in this year that we can enjoy being outside are numbered and I want every last second of warm sunshine I can get.
Although, grilling in inclement weather is no foreign concept to me. I have memories of my grandmother grilling in the rain, tongs in one hand & umbrella in the other… I guess once she decided what was for dinner, there was no turning back. Luckily for me, the weather this weekend has been picture perfect.
If you are among the throngs of apartment dwellers with no access to a grill or outdoor space, this is delicious done on a grill pan or even a saute pan. Speaking as one of the aforementioned, I’ve cooked many a steak on top of the stove and they are almost just as good.
The smell of the lightly singed corn tortilla & the memories instantly flood my mind. I inhale deeply and let the smell fill my head.
I close my eyes and it’s 1993… I was leaving home for the first time to do a semester abroad.
I was on my way to the state of Jalisco, Mexico to attend the Universidad Autonoma De Guadalajara.
I remember very distinctly the feeling of stepping off of the plane, walking alone through the airport and realizing that I was on my own in a foreign country… and speaking Spanish was now a necessity.
The realization that I was the minority in this country where its people were the minority in mine.
Everything was so different; the sounds, the smells, the food… nothing was familiar to me and as terrifying as that was, it was also the thing that was most exhilarating.
The most tedious of tasks at home had become an adventure in Mexico, some of them less amusing than others…
I learned more about this country in the few months I lived there than I did in all the years I had been studying it. Being immersed in a culture other than your own is something I think everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. It opened my eyes to things that changed me for the better, giving me a greater appreciation for what I had.
I turned 40 a few days ago (gasp) and when I was younger I had always used that particular age as a benchmark for being “a real grown up”. I would venture to say that it technically makes me one by my way of thinking but to be perfectly honest, that is entirely debatable.
That being said it led me to thinking about some of my favorites from childhood. We all grew up with soup in that red & white can and while I am a steadfast lover of tomato, one that was always in the regular rotation for me was beef barley. I know… most kids would’ve picked chicken noodle and given my adoration for all things starch it would be the obvious choice, only it never had enough noodles.
There was just something about that broth, it was sweet and tangy from the tomato and the barley was just chewy enough to give it texture. It may not be haute cuisine or even slightly elevated, but I loved it.
Italian Wedding Soup. Just the name evokes thoughts of over-the-top Italian affairs, with miles of food and a Venetian hour that would make any diabetic go into a sugar coma just from looking at it.
Italian weddings in New York are a sight to be seen. If you’ve ever watched “My Sweet Sixteen” or any of the wedding shows, then you are familiar with what I’m talking about.
Everything is over the top, extravagant and then maybe just a little more… I was invited to an event of this magnitude last year and let me tell you, it was AWESOME. They even had someone making cotton candy…
It may not be 100% authentic Alsatian, but how can you go wrong with three kinds of pork, sauerkraut, apples and a bottle of beer poured over the whole mess?!
Traditionally, Choucroute Garni is made with white wine. However, being the good Midwestern girl that I am, beer seemed the natural way to go. These flavors are more familiar to me… cooking with beer is not exactly a foreign concept. The smell of bratwurst & onions simmering in beer is something that greeted me as I came in the kitchen door of my parents house after school on many afternoons.
This is the kind of meal that you gear up for, like Thanksgiving dinner. I’m in no way suggesting that you make this every week. Like Thanksgiving, this is reserved for once in a while when you need a good stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal.
These days my neighborhood is primarily Italian, but rewind a couple of decades and you’d see a very different picture. A few blocks over from where I live now used to be Scandinavian, specifically Norwegian. The streets used to be lined with Norwegian bakeries, stores, restaurants, etc. but unfortunately the majority of these have disappeared. However, all is not lost… every year there is a 17th of May parade, which is a national holiday in Norway marking the signing of their constitution and the best part (besides the food) are the people dressed in traditional clothing showing off their Norwegian pride.
Is it just me or does it feel like spring has forgotten to “spring”? I am desperate to shed my winter coat, fling open my windows and let in the warm breeze… however it is still hovering around 40 degrees. Rain is moving in and the temperature is falling. It was, dare I say it… cloudy with a chance of meatballs. Days like this need comfort food, the kind that takes time to make. I have been craving turkey meatballs for about two weeks so today was the day.
There is something comforting about having a pan bubbling away on the stove, making the house smell so delicious. It’s rather soothing to me to cook at a leisurely pace. I enjoy the process so much more than when it is frenetic. It allows me the time to really focus on the food. The tactile sensations of it, rolling a meatball can be mundane but today it was sheer pleasure. Perhaps because I’ve been wanting them for weeks, these were ridiculously good and I enjoyed every single minute of it. The smell that permeated my kitchen was mouth-watering and the meatballs were absolutely perfect.
There isn’t anything particularly spectacular about a turkey meatball, except they are damn good but the sauce is what really makes it. In lieu of a traditional red sauce to have these with, I went a slightly different route… and today it was the road to happiness.