March 23, 2013
On a night so cold that my glasses immediately fogged up upon entering the building, I met up with T for drinks and snacks at Septime’s new offshoot bottle shop / wine bar.
Let’s get our expectations straightened out: Septime La Cave is not the kind of wine bar to which one goes for dinner. One goes for some nice little nibbles and a glass or two of beautiful wine.
There are bottles, which can be had for a €7 corkage fee, lining the walls. No tables to speak of, but a bit of counter space to work with.
October 11, 2012
This thing I am showing you today, is an atmospheric snack.
We all know that combining garlic and oil and heat can make a house instantly smell delicious. It makes mouths water and stomachs rumble. Well, as it turns out, if you do the same thing with garlic and lemon and thyme and smoked paprika, the effect is multiplied several times over. I don’t think my house has ever smelled so enticingly like a spice bazaar.
I used to fry these in oil, as the original recipe dictates, but I generally prefer to oven-fry as it creates less of a mess and less of a danger of scalding myself with hot oil. (I’m kind of a klutz.) Oven-baking also results in chickpeas that are crispy all the way to the cores, instead of just a crispy shell hiding a mealy interior.
Warning: these have that Cheetos problem where your fingers will be dusted in orange powder after you’ve eaten them. They’re also just as addictive as Cheetos.
October 9, 2012
I don’t know if you can tell, but I get really excited about food. It’s not just the end product, the delicious thing I get to put in my mouth that does so much more than just nourish my body. It’s the process, too, the learning and doing and standing in the kitchen, working with my hands, listening to things sizzle and pop, my glasses steaming up as I open the oven door.
I had some amazing kale and taleggio arancini during the kale party at Verjus a couple of weeks ago, and they were stellar. Perfectly prepared balls of rice and cheese and vegetal kale, deep-fried to a golden brown and served with a salty-sweet bacon compote. It’s a dish that makes sense — you know by reading the description that there’s no way that this could be bad, and chef Braden Perkins didn’t disappoint.
The plate cost €8, a steal for such high-caliber food. And yet, and still. There was something missing. I didn’t make it myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love dining out, and I know my skill in the kitchen can’t match a trained chef’s, but… but what? I guess I miss the challenge. How extremely clever I feel whenever a dish turns out just how I wanted it to. I wanted to be the one whipping out those perfect arancini with that sticky, perfectly paired sauce. So I came home and made some.
And yes, I felt extremely clever.
September 3, 2012
It’s September! Can you believe it?
I remember when September meant that I had finally grown bored with summer vacation and was actually excited to start school again. (Not that that feeling lasted very long.) Now it just means that the strawberries won’t be worth eating for at least eight months and I should really start thinking about getting a new wool coat.
My favorite after-school snack when I was a kid was a Coke Slurpee from 7-11 and a grilled cheese sandwich. American cheese on white bread with lots of margarine, fried almost black. I loved it.