A wicked nor’easter and a plethora of sagging leeks pretty much determined the choice of recipe for this week’s post. Originally, I had planned to prepare Marcella Hazan’s Pan Roasted Pork Loin with Leeks after the grocery store delivered two bunches of the leafy alliums rather that the two individual ones I had ordered. However, when Mother Nature graced us with the worst snow storm of the season, getting to the market to procure the loin was no longer an option.
Housebound by the weather, I looked through my cookbooks for other leek recipes but most that I found used a single leek and I had five on hand. I then turned to the web, where I found a recipe that called for three and for which I had almost all the other ingredients on hand except for drumsticks and half-and half, for which I respectively substituted thighs and heavy cream: Pan Roasted Chicken with Leeks.
Way back in the early 70s, I used to watch “The Romagnolis’ Table,” a cooking series on PBS that attempted to do for Italian cooking what Julia Child did for its French counterpart in the United States. Featuring a husband-and-wife team, Margaret and G. Franco Romagnoli, it sought to bring authentic Italian dishes to an audience who thought spaghetti and meatballs with its long simmering Sunday sauce epitomized Italian cuisine. In a Christian Science Monitor interview, he declared: “Ninety percent of pasta sauces are made by the time you bring that pasta to a boil.”
My Neapolitan aunt, with whom I used to watch the show, enjoyed it as much as I did and found their style of cooking similar to hers. Her only objection to their no-frills show came at the end of each episode when Margaret and George sat down to sample their food at their kitchen table. “Why can’t they be like Julia,” she said, “and have their meal in the dining room.”
Once again, the recipe highlighted in today’s post was suggested by my better half, who informed me that we had a haul of salmon in our overcrowded freezer that needed to be pared down. The recipe, “Orecchiette with Salmon, Arugula and Artichokes” is by cookbook author Grace Parisi and comes from the December 2012 issue of Food and Wine.
My search for a novel recipe for pork chops led me to a well-worn cookbook on my shelves: 1,000 Italian Recipes by Michele Scicolone. Although its title might sound a tad gimmicky, the 657-page tome comprises authentic Italian recipes by one of the most respected, and prolific, authorities on Italian cuisine.
My Firefox browser’s homepage features a news-story service called “Pocket.” Throughout the day, it displays a selection of “curated” articles about a wide array of subjects in a 3×7 grid of colorful, eye-catching photos captioned with inviting summaries of the content to which they are linked.
“Shrimp again?” quipped my husband when he unpacked our supermarket order of EZ-peel shrimp on Friday? I could understand the remark; since we’ve been sheltering in place since March, our seafood orders have been limited to shrimp on sale from our local supermarket, frozen, though rather expensive, salmon fillets from celebrity chef Curtis Stone, and Italian tuna in olive oil from Amazon.
One of the best moments in blogging is finding a great recipe on a friend’s website that you just have to make because it sounds and looks so good. Of course, trusting that colleague’s taste is also a determining factor for choosing it.
When one hears “comfort food,” I’d bet most people wouldn’t think immediately of fish. But when I read Ina Garten’s recipe for pan-seared salmon in her latest cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, the photograph illustrating this “pretty-in-pink” dish prompted me to make it.
Before the internet, as some of you may recall, food companies often added recipes to their packaging that would suggest ways to use their products. Of course, the limited space on the package restricted these recipes to relatively simple dishes, but I still remember my mother cutting them out and adding them to her hand-painted tin recipe box, yet another culinary icon of a bygone era.
While self-quarantining these days, I’m cooking even more often than usual. I might attribute this increase to my attempt to avoid waste by using up ingredients before they go bad. I’m sure many of you face the same predicament. We buy more than we need at the market fearing that a long sought-after item might not be available the next time we’re there.
A recent case in point for me was with Roma tomatoes. Because the ones I purchased needed a little more ripening, I had set them aside on window sill where they enjoyed some California sunshine. Well, the proverbial out-of-sight out-of-mind maxim proved true and, if my better half hadn’t noticed them just in time, they might have been out-of-kitchen.