appetizers

Cooking with Tea

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If you haven’t already heard, then let me be the one to tell you: Tea is not just for your afternoon cuppa.

For a recent cocktail party, Tony and I demonstrated a moment of serendipitous marital and culinary harmony when we both reached for the tea leaves. Keeping with our usual kitchen division of labor, I made the salty snack, he made the cocktail. They married beautifully.
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Superbowl Sunday: The do-(almost)-nothing plan

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As it turns out, our team is in the Superbowl.

Ok, not really our team, but the local team. In truth, we are not serious (American) football fans. We love a good athletic event as much as we love Downton Abbey or Phineas and Ferb. We  Ella and her dad  watch soccer, baseball, college basketball, more soccer, much of the weekend. But football doesn’t really grab us until the playoffs. Even so, the Superbowl is an Event we don’t miss: the day stops, we cook a whole lot food, and watch it all unfold. More

The Little Fish That Can

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There was a time when my daughter would fish anchovies out of the jar and eat them whole, and when both kids lapped them up on pizza, and those times are no more. They don’t dislike anchovies so much as they don’t prefer them. Whole, anyway. More

Unnecessary Olive Crackers

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The holidays had us going non-stop in the happiest way. First, a cross-country flight to spend Christmas week with my family; then, we flew back home (where our cousins were already staying in our house) and had one day to visit with the cousins and cook for our annual New Year’s Day party. After the last of our fifty-plus guests left — carrying goody bags of cookies and candy — we packed for a 2-night stay in Lake Tahoe with three other families. The night after we got back, we hosted old friends for dinner. More

Zucchini Blossoms, Two Ways

by Caroline

I grant that this post is a little silly. I know for most folks zucchini blossoms are more of a rare summer treat than something you’re looking for new ways to prepare. They are too fragile to find in grocery stores, so you really need either to grow them yourself or look for them at a farmer’s market, where they aren’t cheap. And once you have them at home, well, when they are so tasty dipped in batter and fried, why look any further?

But I was taken by Melissa Clark’s recent NYT column about zucchini blossoms, in which she points out what we really all know: once you batter and fry something, especially something as delicate as a zucchini blossom, the prevailing flavor disappears in the larger sensation of salty crunch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but, maybe there’s another way?

And also, I’d bought a bag full of the flowers expecting friends for dinner; their plans changed but my sense of urgency about getting to the blossoms before they wilted did not. So I figured two preparations would be the best way to handle the bounty.

I fried half, using a simple flour and seltzer water batter like this one; for the other half, I followed Clark’s lead and simply stuffed the raw flowers with tapenade and burrata (the mozzarella filled with heavy cream).

As we sat down to eat, the fog rolled in and it started to drizzle, but the sunny platter loaded with zucchini flowers brought a little summer into our evening.