It’s a Pig & Quill baby shower!! I can’t remember when I first came across the sassy sunshine that is Emily’s blog, but it’s one of my oldest reads — Emily’s irreverent vivacity and passion for good eats make the Internet that much brighter, and on the days when she turns reflective, it’s the kind of writing that hits home, lingers, and inspires. Also, she knows how to enjoy her SPAM. I don’t know what else I could ask for from a blog. The best news is that Em is having a mini-Em in just a few weeks, and when the amazing Gina and Sherrie put together a virtual party to celebrate, I couldn’t wait to join in.
Pinch dishes from The Fortynine Studio.
We had a mini impromptu Friendsgiving last weekend! Even in miniature, it was my first time putting together anything remotely like a Thanksgiving meal on my own, and it was so much fun. For the main, I braised an abundance of chicken legs using Jamie Oliver’s milk chicken recipe, which was life-changing and totally worth the hype, at least in my opinion (also, one day I will stop being scared and I will roast a whole chicken, I swear). For the salad we had mixed greens with ridiculously ripe Bosc pears and shaved Parmesan, drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil — simple and easy. But my favorite dishes — as it should be with Thanksgiving — were these sides.
We’re back! As of an hour ago, Bowl #2 and I are back in our Brooklyn nook, a little tanner, a lot rounder, kind of sleepy, and trying to remember what it’s like to be hungry.
Before I go nap off our red-eye, I just wanted to drop in a little hello and a note that I have a guest post up this morning on With Food + Love! Sherrie’s blog is a gorgeous and inspiring take on vegetarian, gluten-free eating, and I’m so excited and honored to be able to contribute something today (especially as a gluten-ful omnivore!)
When it comes to tofu, I’m generally not persuaded by it unless it’s the chewy dried version that crops up in stirfries and savory braised meat dishes (or, if my dad is involved, eaten plain out of the package). But when Bowl #2’s mother introduced me to this banchan last fall – incidentally, on our last trip to visit his family almost exactly a year ago – I was totally smitten, even despite my textural bias. The tofu is pressed with paper towels to remove moisture, then briefly panfried to add a touch of crisp, and finished by braising in an intensely flavored soy sauce and sesame oil mixture, punctuated by bright scallions, garlic, and a touch of red pepper. It’s vegan, and if you use tamari, gluten-free – more importantly, it’s just really good. Hop on over to Sherrie’s blog for the recipe!
And now it’s time for a nap! Hope you’re all having lovely Wednesdays!
So this may seem odd, given my great and well-documented love for Southern comfort food, but I’m not usually the biggest fan of mashed potatoes. To me they’re like the vanilla extract of side dishes — potentially delicious, but usually in need of a partner.
When I was a kid, my dad used to drive me to KFC as a treat once in awhile after piano lessons or swim practices. Man, I got all up in that meal. Two piece meal, all legs, Original, mashed potatoes and coleslaw, please, thank you. But I’m pretty sure I spent half my time (after tearing into those Original chicken legs like a starved shipwreck survivor) trying to figure out how to make those mashed potatoes more palatable. Leftover fried chicken bits mixed in? Spread thick on a biscuit? With … the coleslaw? (I wish I could say I didn’t try that, but I did. … And I liked it.) However you slice it, the mashed potatoes were the one thing on that plate I didn’t devour with single-minded ferocity.
I realize I’m making it sound like I was very into my KFC experience. I was. I was very into KFC.
Anyway. I’ve come to realize that making mashed potatoes from scratch does a thing or two or trillion for them. But a few months ago, I came across these glorious-looking roasted garlic smashed potatoes on The Baker Chick, and that was a real game-changer.
First, this salt potato thing is genius. Boil the potatoes in well-salted water, pasta-style, and the result is a flavorful skin and a creamier potato. Smash it all up with butter and milk, leaving the skins
because you’re lazy because they’re nutritious and have fiber and such. Then, add to that a couple of cloves of golden fried garlic. (That should have been one awesome head of roasted garlic, but I got impatient.) Finally, throw in one pan of sage leaves crisped up in brown butter? It turns out mashed potatoes can do the damn thing all on their own after all.
So I have this problem. Namely, it’s a shocking inability to put a salad in my mouth that is not, at the very least, just as unhealthy than a burger or a pizza or any other non-salad-y unhealthy thing that I would otherwise be eating if I weren’t eating a “healthy” salad. And then I also have this other problem — namely, a shocking inability to leave bacon out of anything and everything. (Creamed corn. Pancakes. … Chocolate chip cookies.) Put those two together and … well, you get this salad. Ta-da! Two wrongs do make a right! (Or two rights make a righter right.)
One of my favorite restaurants back home serves a mean creamed corn. Decadent, syrupy-sweet, almost like a custard. (Whenever my dad orders it and the waitress asks if we’d like dessert, he always says, “Got my dessert right here!” and holds it up with big grin. My father is a faithful subscriber to the school of Jolly Dad Banter.) To me, it’s one of the ultimate comfort foods, a dish that typifies warm, indulgent Southern nourishment.
Here’s what not to do when making tea eggs. Do not:
1. Go to law school, and in your first year, get really stressed and sleep-deprived, then decide to destress by making them in your communal kitchen that is down the hallway and through some locked doors from your dorm room.
2. Make them in your faraway communal kitchen, at night, when you are tired and sleep-deprived, and then think it is a good idea to leave them unattended while they simmer for a few hours. No biggie.
3. Go back to your room.
4. Fall asleep.
5. Until the next morning.
I don’t really associate New Year’s Eve with champagne or sequins. Instead, I associate New Year’s with food — maybe even more than Thanksgiving or Christmas, at my house, New Year’s Eve meant a family feast. A traditional Chinese New Year (and regular December 31 New Year’s Eve, because we totally double-down on our New Year’s celebrations) at my house was hot pot and “long life noodles,” hot pot because it symbolized prosperity and celebration, and noodles because they symbolize … well, long life.
It’s December! Which means all I want to do these days is bake Christmas cookies and post about them. But, while that’s definitely coming, I felt like I needed to do a post first on this Korean staple (again, all about the blog staples!) because it’s so essential in some of the recipes I’ve posted, and because I’ve already been talking to so many of you about it in comments. So I’m resisting the ginger snaps, cranberries, and peppermint extract for now (so hard!), and sharing with you all my (limited) experiences with making homemade kimchi.
It’s almost Thanksgiving! So this week I thought I’d post on what seems to be the Thanksgiving vegetable of the year. If last week was about bucking trends (or being unable to participate), this week is definitely all about falling in line with them. At this point, I think I may be the last blog on the Internet not to have done a post on these toy cabbages. But just in case you’re not already Brussels’ed out, here’s several more ways to roast them — as chips and as hearts, and in three different flavors. (In other words, if you’re not Brussels’ed out, after this you will definitely be.)