Living in Italy, well, turned me into a snob. I scoff at strawberries in the winter. I’ve sworn off frozen yogurt. I quickly avert my eyes from the wan, sickly, pale pink tomatoes in the grocery store. ‘These don’t exist in Italy!’ I explain to my friend, to my mother, to anyone unfortunate enough to go shopping with me. ‘It just seems so…wrong!”
Food in Italy is sacred – prepping it, cooking it, and, most importantly, eating it. A meal is a ceremony, a celebration, a time where not much else matters besides the plate in front of you …
**Giveaway Closed: 1/10/12**
Brette Sember is onto something.
Her new cookbook, The Parchment Paper Cookbook, is a volume dedicated solely to dishes cooked in – you guessed it! – parchment paper. One hundred and eighty recipes of parchment-paper cooking: oh, the possibilities. And with the promise on the cover – No Pots! No Pans! No Mess! – how could I not be excited? I’m a sucker for cleanliness. And exclamation points.
So I happily forged ahead, sharpening my origami skills with the step-by-step parchment paper folding-technique, moving aside my Pots! and Pans!, basking in the glory of an uncluttered counter …
Sometimes, I wish I were Italian.
I wish I were one of those long-haired, olive-skinned women, strutting the cobblestones of Rome in sky-high stilettos, never batting an eyelash. I wish that I could toss my head back and fire off some rapid-fire Italian, and a bottle of wine would appear. I wish that I could hop on the back of a Vespa and ride off into the Roman sunset, crossing the Tiber with my arms around a hunky man named Alessandro.
Most unfortunately, my complexion is pale, my accent is obvious, and I’m still waiting for my Alessandro. I’ve had …
Living in Rome, you know, has its pluses. Amatriciana for lunch, carbonara for dinner, pizza bianca in between, gelato for dessert. The meats, the cheeses? Better than you could imagine. Those early-morning markets? Make my eyes grow wide, each and every time.
But one of the greatest benefits of living in Rome is the ability to hop on a train to Tuscany. You know, when you feel like it. Just because you can.
So, I did this. I packed a bag and got right on that train as soon as I got out of my last midterm exam. Because …
My lipstick is on, my dress smoothed, my heels buckled tight. My timing is perfect. I grab my bag, my keys, and I stride into the night. I am hungry. The night is an open plate: filled with promise.
I’m going on a date. With myself.
I’m not a particularly “zen” person. I don’t do yoga. I don’t meditate. I don’t particularly like green tea.
My “zen” is dining alone.
Some people look at this as weird, antisocial. They think I must be lonely, self-hating, or, most commonly, crazy. It’s not, and I’m not. In a world of tests, papers, roommates, parties, classes, libraries, and dining halls, on repeat, spending time alone is therapeutic. Spending time alone is necessary.
Take a deep breath. Hold onto your seat. Remember how you’re feeling right here, right now.
I am about to change your life.
I’m not a DIY-kind-of-girl; I always skipped over those pages in magazines, always avoided subjects like pottery and woodshop, always strayed away from anything that looked too fussy, too crafty, too…well…difficult.
This recipe is none of the above.
You have milk? Great. Lemon? Salt? Okay, you’re ready. Invest …
The freezer can be a sad, sad place. Especially for those of us who do not rely on cheap vodka and Lean Cuisines as our lifelines.
Too many times, I have looked into my friends’ freezers and seen that lone bottle of alcohol, that boxed frozen dinner, and maybe a freezer-burned quart of ice cream.
You, and your freezer, have so much more potential.
When used properly, your freezer can become your pantry, your storage, your best friend. You will reduce waste, you will save money, and you will eat better than you ever thought you could on a harried …
In the circles I run in, I’m known as “that girl who really likes food.”
There could be worse things.
This title, though, comes with responsibilities: restaurant recommendations, menu ideas, party planning. I can handle these. Best dumplings in Chinatown? I’ve got you. What to bake for your best friend’s birthday? Easy.
As a food-lover, dating can be complicated. First dates? Downright terrifying. When food is such an important part of the equation, choosing a restaurant, navigating a menu, and sidestepping food-related issues can be daunting tasks.
Here, then, is a cast of characters that you may …
Dish: General Tso’s Tofu Sub
Restaurant: No. 7 Sub, Ace Hotel, 1188 Broadway, New York City
Price Tag: $9
I’m a big fan of General Tso.
I like him at noon, at 2am, and every hour in between. I like him on chicken. I like him with rice. I like him (sheepishly) for breakfast.
And, as it turns out, I like him on a sandwich.
General Tso is on a roll at No. 7 Sub, an eccentric sandwich shop in the uber-hip Ace Hotel. The General fits in well, here. He’s panko-crusted and deep fried, draped with yellow squash, and …
Oh, to be a raspberry in the summertime. Nestled into lemony batter, dotted onto tart crusts, sprinkled into salads. Fold in gently, they say. Lightly scatter. Garnish. These are crown jewels, people. Keep them whole. Keep them regal.
I’m here to tell you: don’t.
Here, you get to mash up these suckers. Mash, and mash, and shake, and mash some more. There’s something so satisfying, something almost voyeuristic, about mashing these berries to a pulp with some sugar and lime, then dousing the whole concoction with a ton of white rum. It feels like…a sin.
It feels good, let me …