Posts by Nate:


 

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Andrew Bird-Pulaski at Night
 
This week in New York, the temperature dropped below freezing. With the wind chill it was frigid. When I asked Jeff Held our Chef if he had biked to work on a morning speckled with snow flakes, he looked at me with disappointment and answered, “you didn’t?” So, I did the following day. Upon arrival, I wasn’t sure if my face would ever defrost. It is on days like these that warm, wholesome stews are an imperative. Growing up in New York, I never asked for the first days of winter to hit, but I knew it meant my grandmother’s goulash was around the corner. That, and my mother’s butternut squash soup kept me going through the winter months. Now that I am old enough to cook on my own, I’ve found catharsis in chopping vegetables and waiting for them to stew.
 
Finding Swiss Chard to be the best looking vegetable in the local market, I picked up a couple bundles to use as the main ingredient for both my stew. I added the usual suspects–carrots, shallots & celery–to my shopping list. Then a can of white butter beans, a clove of garlic, tomato puree, white wine and fresh herbs to complete. After throwing it all together, I waited while it simmered. Days later, tense with chills of a morning bike ride, I reheated my stew and with the first bite, my face began to regain feeling.
 

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Illustration by Daniel Strongwater

At the end of the summer, we took a trip to the great state of California. We started in San Francisco and ventured down the Pacific Coast Highway to Los Angeles. We drove from SF to Big Sur to San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara, to Los Angeles. We even drove north to Napa Valley. We drove approximately 500 miles. And, along the way, we ate and we drank as much as the California Republic had to offer in 9 days. We ate dry farmed tomatoes, figs off the trees, pig ears and chops, cuban and japanese food, sandwiches, tacos and croissants. We drank plenty of coffee and wine; Anchor California Lager, and some of the world’s greatest cocktails. We embarked on a culinary road trip. We hope you will join us for the ride.
 

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Washed Out–It All Feels Right
 

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New York’s winter was quite long, and the artic chills are finally starting to wear off. When the sun is out, reflecting off skyscrapers, New Yorkers feel compelled to engage in certain springtime activities: wearing sunglasses, shedding layers of clothes, picnicking in parks, riding over bridges, and most of all, drinking during the day, preferably outside, on a sidewalk cafe or rooftop bar. They also enjoy listening to brighter tunes while consuming those very drinks, tunes with upbeat guitar riffs or a synthetic loftiness that both compliment the sunshine, sandals, t-shirts, and dresses. So, with that in mind, I have provided you with a mixtape and some cocktail recipes meant to lift your spirits as the temperature continues to rise. Let’s hope it doesn’t get too hot too soon.
 

——————————————————————————————————TRACK LISTINGS—————————————————————————————————— 
“Feelin’ Alright” by Joe Cocker
“Always Alright” by Alabama Shakes
“Line of Fire” by Junip
“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk (ft. Pharrell)
“Big Love” by Jamie Lidell
“Adorn” by Miguel
“Hang with Me” by Robyn
“Little Numbers” by BOY
 

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03/18/2013 We’ve got Sole by Nate

Sole Two Ways:

I. Pan Seared w/ Buerre Blanc, Shiitake Slaw & Spinach Salad

II. Olive Oil Poached w/ Roasted Radicchio & Fennel

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Jazz (We’ve Got) A Tribe Called Quest
 
I’ve always been a great fan of sole, ever since I was a kid. My dad loves fish, and as a result we found it entering our meals as the main protein at least once a week. But we rarely ate sole, and at the time I despised other species of fish, salmon especially. Sole was for special occasions, and so when I found it at the Food Co-op a few weeks ago, I bought it right away, and once again, only days later. Sole is a delicate, flaky white fish, with sweet tender meat, making it a versatile ingredient. Sole stands up to citrus, tomatoes, wine, butter and everything in between. Sole can also be flaked into a rice or pasta dish. It pairs nicely with a white or red wine.
 
Lately, shiitake mushrooms have become a favorite of mine. As a mildly fragrant mushroom, it never overpowers a dish, but lends a recognizable, meaty flavor, that combines with both western and asian flavors. I throw them into fried rices, pastas, and more recently I’ve developed a strong affinity towards Hugh Acheson’s shiitake slaw. Like the rest of his dishes the shiitake slaw is a marriage of two culinary identities — it’s a refined play on a typical Southern American BBQ side dish. With a creamy olive oil based vinaigrette and the sharp aftertaste of shallots, the delicate mushrooms simply explode in your mouth. It’s an ideal accompaniment to many dishes and is to be eaten in small portions, as the mushrooms reduce when cooked. Though you’ll find yourself nibbling at the shiitake slaw until there’s none left for tomorrow.
 
On these two occasions, I liberally adapted a Hugh Acheson recipe for Mahi Mahi, and inspired myself from a Floyd Cardoz dish I’d recently sampled at North End Grill.
 

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A little lady once taught me how to make rice the right way. The ratio: one cup of rice, to one and a half cups water. The process: wash it first, until the water is transparent; in a pot, add the rice and water and bring to a boil; turn the flame down to a simmer, cover the pot for 10 minutes; turn the flame off and leave covered for another 15. It is important that the rice be fluffy, but not damp.
 
Making fried rice is like painting a blank canvass; I experiment with ingredients, in an attempt to bring color, flavor, and texture to the white rice base. And, it is always good to strike a balance — elements of sweet, salty, crunchy, and umami. This time around, I caramelized Shiitake mushrooms in sesame oil and ginger and toasted some cashews to start. I added the essential egg, and scrambled. I quick pickled some shallots and dried cranberries in umeboshi (japanese pickled plum) vinegar, and added them at the end with some chopped arugula and soy sauce. Then I mixed. I filled two tupperware dishes and to finish, I topped each with a few slices of salt & sugar pickled kirby cucumbers.
 

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01/11/2013 Pickled Fennel by Nate


Pickling Music

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Jessie Ware: Devotion

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Tennis: My Better Self
 
It has become a tradition that with each holiday or birthday or spontaneous present, I am gifted a new cookbook. Some may say it has to do with my affinity for food and photographs. When December rolled around this year, I found myself unwrapping my most utilitarian recipe book yet, one that will forever teach me the science of making pickles and preserves. The Preservation Kitchen is a compilation of ratios, coupled with interesting ideas for the contents of your next Ball Jar. While in the past I’ve dabbled in pickling, I haven’t had very much success, but this time around, I have a good feeling that Michelin recognized Chef Paul Virant may pull me out of my slump.
 
As my first experiment, I used Fennel, a vegetable that contains fresh herbs in the fronds, which protrude from the most delicious meat at its bulbous roots. Fennel is a common ingredient mainly in Mediterranean cooking; in the past I have sliced, caramelized, sautéed, braised and roasted the bulb, including it in many a pasta dish or topping it with Parmesan for a perfect side. Yet, I had never pickled Fennel and I was quite happy with the outcome. Using champagne vinegar for the base of the brine, as Chef Virant recommends for all of his pickles, the pickles took on a bright acidity. The recipe was simple: vinegar, salt, sugar and water. For more flavor, toast red pepper flakes on a dry pan with coriander and fennel seeds, and add them to the bottom of a jar. Add the sliced Fennel, and pour the hot liquid over to cover. My first use for these pickles was a turkey sandwich I made on Amy’s Sourdough Bread, and topped with Comté cheese, fresh cherry tomatoes, arugula and whole grain mustard. My second use will be for a garnish, to compliment a whole roasted white fish with stewed tomatoes.
 

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