One of the major differences between our old place and the new house is that we no longer have central A/C. So far, we’ve done pretty well… making sure to open all the windows at the end of the day as the temp cools and then closing them first thing in the morning. At this point, we do our best to avoid cooking indoors. It’s hard to fathom turning on the oven when you’re already sweating buckets.
Eric is usually the grill-master in our house, but once in a while, usually when I have a project that necessitates it, I’ll get the thing going. Earlier this year, I was contacted by Frontier Natural Products Co-op to do some recipe development and photography for their “Grill the Goodness” campaign featuring their line of organic seafood seasonings. Since we’re fully into grilling season, I hope you all enjoy these recipes. I’m fond of all of them, but these scallops, paired with a bright citrus, grilled romaine and avocado salad, is something I could eat every day and never get tired of it.
We went back and forth on what we wanted to do for our fifth wedding anniversary. At one point we had talked about taking a little weekend trip somewhere within driving distance. As we discussed it further, the more it seemed like the wrong time for us to be going away and that it’d be so much more enjoyable to stay local. That’s when we decided to instead make reservations at Oleana. We’ve been to most of the big dining establishments here, but Oleana was still one that we hadn’t been to. Based on the reaction I got when I mentioned this to my food-loving friends, the fact that we hadn’t dined there was a real shame. Going in, our expectations were exceedingly high and because of that there was a very strong possibility that we’d leave disappointed. “Well, the food was decent, but the service was terrible” or “I can’t believe they would pair that with that! Gross!” Nope. None of that. The service was friendly and attentive and the patio area of the restaurant was the most romantic environment to celebrate an anniversary. The food was all executed beautifully: Buratta and fried eggplant. Octopus shish, Egyptian garlic sauce, sprouted lentils & fresh chickpeas. Spinach falafel, tahini sauce, beet yogurt & cress. Baby farm greens, pistachio freekah, cherries, homemade string cheese. Ok, I’ll stop.
It was a special treat to go out for a few meals this weekend after doing a lot of cooking these last couple of weeks. I’ve been so inspired by all the produce that’s graced the markets. I often just go to the store with no idea what I want (which can sometimes be a dangerous thing). I’ll grab three or four items, developing a dish on the spot. And that’s how this salad came to be. Certainly not traditional, but it works. A bit of a bite from the radish, sweetness from cherries, and a little tang from the goat cheese make this a lunch I plan on coming back to.
Summer is most certainly here. No doubt about it. All I’m craving right now are things that don’t involve the stove.
I recently photographed this spread of raw dishes from local restaurants for our alternative magazine, the Improper Bostonian. I wish I could take credit for the beauty of these images, but all of that goes to the talented chefs who prepared them: Will Gilson of Puritan (vegetable crudités), Rachel Klein of Liquid Art House (hamachi), Robert Sisca of Bistro du Midi (lamb tartar), Todd Winer of Pastoral (albacore crudo), Cassie Piuma of Sarma (Tunisian steak tartar), Leo Asaro of Tico (razor clam ceviche).
No fear. That’s what I tell myself as I go in with the spatula to give the pancake a flip. No fear. I don’t know why it makes me so nervous. Is it the possibility that it won’t land gracefully? That it’ll splatter and become misshapen? I have to psych myself up.
You can do it Brian! It’ll be ok! Just go for it! I take a deep breath. Flip. Minimal splatter. Slightly misshapen. I grab one that’s been cooling on a plate and dunk it in the pot of simmering rhubarb and berries. One bite and I no longer care if they look perfect. They taste perfect. That’s all that matters.