By the time you read this the July 4th holiday will be over. But the smell around here from fireworks, lighter fluid and charred flesh from wannabe grillers still fogs the air. Independence from under the English thumb will have been celebrated with beer, burgers, hot dogs and fireworks galore. When the sun goes down on the great day, our neighborhood becomes a war zone — an exaggeration, no doubt, in light of what some people in the world are going through — but the blasts are sudden and furious. Some are louder than gunfire, the reverb drives our dog to the safe places behind the couch, under the table and in the closet.
Couple of years back, a house half a mile from here had its roof burned off from a direct hit from a misguided rocket. Supposedly, It’s illegal to set off a firework in Denver, but you can buy them in Adams county — which is just down the road — the small ones anyway, like ground spinners, Catherine wheels, sparklers and glow worms. But that’s just small potatoes. Continue reading “Tortilla”→
I’ve been thinking lately about what to cook in my newly acquired outdoor Moroccan oven. If you haven’t seen one, It’s a small earthenware container that houses a little charcoal fire. You put a tagine (also earthenware) on top and voila — you get an outdoor slow cooking oven that is compact, transportable, low tech, and downright fun to use.
When the heat kicks in ’round these parts, Ionah’s response, lately, has been — along with sipping San Pellegrino water on ice with a splash of coconut vinegar and a lime wedge — to browse the internet for real estate listings in Maine. A beautiful country in the summer. Cheaper than Colorado, but those massive wood piles out back scare the Charlies out of me. My response is to take a leaf from the Greeks, who know their heat, and make a batch of dolmas — stuffed grape leaves. Continue reading “Dolmas”→
If you’re squeamish in the slightest about sardines—if a high omega 3 content, a healthy dose of vitamin D and a minuscule mercury level don’t persuade you— you could make this sardine pâté, which is milder by far, than eating them straight from the can.
Everyone, if you probe deeply enough, has a sardine story, and they’re not all pretty. Maybe yours is the time you opened a can for your father in law and the oil spurted down his new trousers. You packed a can in your luggage on a flight and it burst open and soiled your only pair of clean underwear. The pull clip came off and you had to smash the can open with a rock. But there are good tales too and here’s mine. Continue reading “Sardine Pâté”→
Any fool can whip up a jar or two of chicken liver pâté. Growing up, it was a staple around the house, usually taken with a glass of sherry on Sundays after Mass, and from the age of ten or so, I was allowed a sip, just enough to wet my lips, enough to feel how it was to be a grown up.The combination of dry sherry with chicken liver pâté, taken on an empty stomach, after Mass or not, still sits in my inside pocket pleasure bank of memories, and still, to this day, generates interest and groovy salivations. In fact it’s one of the most pleasant memories I have of being a kid, along with the mischievous pleasure of stealing cigarettes from Sunday visitors, as my parents were strict non-smokers. Mother thought it a fearful habit. Continue reading “Make Offal Great Again!”→
Spring time is when we tend to lighten our diet. We say goodbye to the comforting foods of winter and welcome again spring onions, asparagus, dandelion greens, radishes and hardy survivor shoots of greens. But spring, as we all know, brings its share of bluster. An untrustworthy, capricious season cut with unstable, schizoid days. A mad time. Continue reading “Brodo”→
When Greens Cafe opened in the mid eighties, one of our signature dishes was grilled chicken breasts with tomatillo sauce. We made the sauce by chopping onions, tomatillos and cilantro, which we blitzed with cumin, salt and chicken stock. It was good and tasty, but, I later realized, a little one-dimensional.
Years later, while traveling in the Yucatán, Ionah and I had a memorable Sunday lunch in Mérida, in a grand but crumbling old colonial hotel, with toucans and giant palms in the dining room, which was a kind of exotic bird house open to the sky. I kept my hat on and she wore a colorful scarf. Continue reading “Pipian Verde”→