Parsley salad

Parsley’s potential as a vegetable has always been acknowledged by the cultures of the Levant. It’s used in a variety of ingenious ways. It’s the prime ingredient for tabouli, holding forth over bulgur wheat. And most Persians, Armenians, Arabs, Israelis, Ottomans, Zoroastrians, Coptics and Kurds have home versions of parsley cucumber salads. Over there it gets its true due. They treat it not just as a sprig that is seen and not eaten, but as a mature vegetable worthy of critical attention.

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Cauliflower with Harissa

Treating a cauliflower to a two-hour roast is a fair way to go. But, If you don’t have two to spare, yet, you have a cauliflower, and, perhaps, a jar of harissa in the fridge, you have the makings of a beautiful side dish — or with a parsley salad, a light meal in itself. Add some lamb chops or a plate of merguez sausage and you’re approaching mini feast.

If you have extra bucks to spare, open a bottle of Bandol, my favorite but, alas, spendy wine, if you don’t, rustle up fifteen, grab a minervois and you’re probably eating, and certainly drinking better than the leader of the free world. Continue reading “Cauliflower with Harissa”

Harissa

 

This simple North African condiment should be a part of everyone’s culinary closet. Like an exotic scarf dangling from a hook waiting to be coiled around your neck, you can accessorize with harissa and add a splash of color, spice and mystery to the dullest of meals.

It should hang with your condiments in the fridge waiting and ready for anything that might come its way. It goes with most of what I have, with everything that I love and it’s easy to make. Continue reading “Harissa”

Gentleman’s Relish

Breathe your inner dragon.

A couple of weeks ago, I was roused from my bed by a recipe for anchovy butter penned by Sam Sifton of the New York Times. It brought back memories of a breakfast I once had in London in a depressing hotel in Earls Court. I was in transit— on my way to look for a job in Spain. It’s amazing how the memory of a meal, a bleak one at that, can linger dormant under the skin for years and then flare up with the stroke of a journalist’s pen.

The dining room had the remains of former splendor. It had been divided and subtracted more than once and was reduced to a cramped, damp room with four or five tables. It had a stained ceiling, peeling cornices and a bricked up fireplace. An electric fire buzzed in the corner. Nobody spoke. The pale server was decked out in black and white from shoe to hat. Continue reading “Gentleman’s Relish”

The Lemon Cure

Brother Dez skyped me from his London kitchen the other day. He said to tune in to the Iggy Pop radio hour on BBC Radio 6. It was an all Bowie show. As I was pulling it up I got to thinking about David Bowie and Iggy Pop, who arguable wrote the greatist lyric in the history of rock and roll, “I wanna be your dog.” Still relevant today in these friendliest of dog times. Then, a long buried Bowie lyric from his album, Life on Mars, came into my head, “ ’cause Lennon’s on sale again,” but which I first misheard as “There’s lemons on sale again.” Got me thinking.

Iggy went through some fast times in his youth. Take at look at his face. Those wizened lines tell a tale, like lizard tracks in the sand. He lived hard, he got sick — but he cured and got the gig with Radio 6. I believe he sticks to one glass of Bordeaux Supérieor a day these days. He recently posed for a life drawing class at the Brooklyn Museum. Does laps in his pool most mornings in his house. Calls in the show from there. Continue reading “The Lemon Cure”

Oat Cakes

                     An ode to my oats of allegiance

January is the month for broken bargains. We make deals with ourselves and our spouses and break them before the month’s out. Broken promises smashed to smithereens to sugar, booze and caffeine.

3 cups of rolled oats…

Like the self flagellating catholic penitentes of old New Mexico, we pull out the annual willow whips and beat each other into frenzied, fasting, caffeine starved, teetotaling, sugar-free versions of ourselves. We swear, we pledge, we tear at our hair. Continue reading “Oat Cakes”

A Winter’s Salad

 

                                        A Colorful Crunch

 

raw fennel, watermelon radish, scallion…

Everybody loves a salad but fresh green leaves are dependably not fresh nor very green in these parts this time of year.

for the vinaigrette— a small amount of mustard and minced or grated garlic…

Farmers markets are gone. The plains silent between storms. Red Tailed Hawks search and swoop at the slightest movement and come up empty beaked. They long for the crunch of winter’s delicacy, but the mice have retreated and nothing grows. Coyotes curl in their dens. Prairie dogs huddle in burrows beneath frozen crusts of snow.

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