Our Pork Club BBQ at Le Pick Up last Friday was a massive success — oodles of thanks to everyone who came out! I knew the day was going to be special when we woke up to super sunny skies and a flirty breeze. Bartek and I rode our bikes to Marche Jean Talon and tried to stuff 50lbs of new potatoes into his bike baskets (an insane prospect), and I spent the afternoon outside, chopping potatoes and prepping beans on our picnic tables out back while drinking about a million glasses of calimocho. It was totally perfect, though I wouldn’t recommend frosting two massive red velvet cakes while slightly buzzed, and then serving people dinner for four hours straight. Afterward, we hung out on the terrace and ate our lion’s share of pork chops. I’ll be really sad when it gets cold here, the warm weather makes everyone so happy.
More photos here.
Consider this a recipe dump for all things regarding baked goods. At a recent St. Jean bbq at work, I may have gone slightly overboard, featuring:
This cardamom-scented upside-down strawberry cake from Joy the Baker…
This (quite lopsided) raspberry-rhubarb galette from Lottie + Doof…
This stupendously rich chocolate cake with raspberry compote from David Lebovitz, via Cucina Nicolina…
And this lemon cake from Vitae Curriculum, with my own lemon curd recipe (use lots of yolks, no sugar, and more zest than you think you need).
And with leftover lemon cake batter and leftover chocolate ganache, I made a pan of cupcakes, too. And finally, a bit of homemade whipped cream, made by whipping a cup of heavy cream with a few tablespoons of sugar.
Ahh, Ithaca. Ithaca!! Brief trip peppered with both spontaneous and planned BBQs, shotgunning beers (ouch), tiny beef sliders, eating cake, late evening gardening, poor attempts at badminton, Gimme! coffee, concerts with friends, art openings with garlic bread, Macro Mamas and debating its true macro-ness (conclusion: decidedly not), living room dance parties to ABBA, old time and whiskey at Felicia’s, and fantasizing about opening the best restaurant ever, just as soon as I win the lottery.
My latest grilling obsession: Yukon potatoes. The big kind, the cheap kind. The cheaper the better. Parboil thick discs in salted water on the stove for 15 minutes. Drain, and toss with marinade: I used smoked paprika, olive oil and sprigs of rosemary. They went on a piping hot grill, flipping frequently, until golden brown and crispy. Perfect plates for toppings and/or condiments: sour cream, ketchup, mustard, bacon, cheese.
Posted in food, home, memory, music, nature, party, people, summer, travel
Tagged bbq, grilling, ithaca, relaxation, summer, vacation
[Spicy black beans, rice, roasted potatoes, cilantro and avocado tacos]
[Braised chicken thighs and red onions with chipotle chiles in adobo with more avocado & minced parsley… tacos]
[Roasted broccoli burrito with leftover shredded chicken, sharp cheddar and leftover tomatillo salsa with spicy coriander and tumeric rice]
Over Memorial Day weekend I went to a totally insane BBQ where I had the best tacos (really) of my life. The marinated carne asada was so tender and sliced so thin it that had the texture of cotton candy. I ate mine with homemade super spicy tomatillo salsa and avocado wedges on grilled corn tortillas. There were also soft, caramelized onions and grilled, fibrous cactus and hot chorizo and gigantic pork ribs that we ate with our fingers and it was just perfect.
I brought boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I had marinating all afternoon in fresh orange pulp, hot sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and olive oil. They were good, but easily schooled by the Cornish game hens that were slathered with chili paste. I don’t even know why I even bother trying. Anyway, my taco looked like this:
The contents of which came off of this lucky grill:
I picked up a lot of killer tricks, watching these guys grill. For example, hot sauce is really good on watermelon wedges. For another, the chorizo sizzled on a baking sheet, so that the juices gathered in the crevices of the pan, and then the corn tortillas were dipped in the bright red pork juices before hitting the grill so that they were essentially frying in fat, getting super crispy and outrageously tasty. Onions were grilled whole until they turned black, skins and all. When they were sliced in half, the insides had turned into this gorgeous onion paste, sweet and soft and spreadable.
So many new techniques to adopt and reframe. Everything I’ve done since then has been a semi-homage to that afternoon, trying to recreate what I ate, as shown by my lame taco-attempts of the first four photos.
Posted in celebration, food, outdoors, party, summer
Tagged avocado, bbq, cactus, carne asada, chicken tacos, homemade, learning, memorial day, mexican food, new techniques, tacos, tortillas
hmmm. how could i forget to post about such a wonderful meal i cooked up the other evening? with perfect company and ice cold bottles of red stripe, it was the kind of abundance that can only be discovered in the summertime.
a gigantic side of salmon from alaska was treated with a dry tea rub, made mostly with oolong and offset with chinese five spice, ground chipotles, ginger, garlic and chili pepper. we coated the salmon with the dry rub and set it on a bbq – the salmon was wrapped in foil – for about 20 minutes on low heat, no flipping required.
the flavor of this salmon is phenomenal, with a fierce spice that creeps up and lingers at the root of your tongue, as dry and hot as the desert, with undertones of aromatic teas and spices. the salmon was wondefully rich and decadent and fatty, with much-needed citrus tang from plenty of fresh lemon wedges i scattered around the table.
everything else was fairly straightforward; now that i think about it, the entire meal was decidedly low-fuss. the salad was pulled straight from the garden, the lettuce, that is, and mixed with farmers market strawberries, toasted walnuts, and freshly grated parmesan. i whisked up a dressing with the juice and zest of a lemon, good olive oil, more parmesan and plenty of cracked black pepper, for a vinaigrette that was sharp but not overly so. i personally the think that the salad was the most addictive plate of the meal – i kept sneaking handfuls of the stuff with my bare fingers!
and finally, whole wheat rigatoni boiled to the perfect al dente, and slathered with the freshest pesto you can imagine – bales of basil, direct from the backyard.
a perfect summer evening, augmented with lively conversation, slow country waltzes & a persistent summer breeze. xo
i made pesto last weekend, for a fourth of july bbq. i spotted garlic scapes and fresh basil at the farmers market earlier that morning and knew it had to be made into a fragrant something-or-other. boy, was i right.
the garlic scapes, raw, were so strong and spicy that they made my throat run. i know that cooking them – as you would, say, an onion – would tone it down, but this pesto means business. it’s pungent and sharp and doesn’t back down. ingredients were basic:
- 2 large bunches garlic scapes (about 5 cups, packed and roughly chopped)
- 1 large bunch basil (this was about 3 cups, lightly packed and roughly torn)
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup parmesan
- 2 tbsp miso paste (i used this instead of salt)
- black pepper
and give it a whir until a loose paste forms, adding the oil gradually through the top of your food processor. this will be thicker than a tomato sauce but not as thick as, say, hummus. i added 3 tbsps of hot, starchy pasta water to loosen things up, and it was perfect. tossed with 1 lb of rigatoni, the heat from the cooked pasta “activated” the pasta and its aromas filled my kitchen. it was insanely fresh-tasting, bitter and garlick-y. it’s not your normal pesto, and has a dry, intense heat from the raw scapes that i really didn’t anticipate.
i would imagine this would be delectable on grilled fish, carne asada, tossed with salad, or in couscous or quinoa. but with just pasta and cherry tomatoes, the pesto really stands front and center, totally unapologetic and in your face. i took it to the bbq later that afternoon, and it was completely demolished within the hour. people raved, eyes teared from the heat, no one kissed for hours. potent stuff.
i met this guy and he looked like he might have been a hat check clerk at an ice rink.
which in fact, he turned out to be.
and i said, oh boy. right. again. let x = x.
you know, it could be you. it’s a sky blue sky. the satellites are out tonight.
let x = x.
you know, i could write a book. and this book would be thick enough to stun an ox.
because i can see the future, and it’s a place about 70 miles east of here. where it’s lighter.
linger on over here.
got the time? let x = x.
i got this postcard. and it read, it said:
dear amigo. dear partner. listen, uh – i just want to say thanks. so… thanks.
thanks for all the presents. thanks for introducing me to the chief. thanks for putting on the feedbag. thanks for going all out. thanks for showing me your swiss army knife.
and uh – thanks for letting me autograph your cast. hug and kisses. XXXXOOOO.
oh yeah, p.s. i feel – feel like – i am – in a burning building. and i gotta go.
cause i – i feel – feel like – i am – in a burning building. and i gotta go.