Beating the Heat.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but New York is having a bit of a heat wave at the moment. My apartment wasn’t designed for maximum air-flow, and, as a result, it’s so stuffy in there that I’ve been eating most of my meals on a tray in the bedroom, as close to my sole window-unit as possible.

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The kitchen is the hottest room in the place, so I’ve obviously been doing as little cooking as humanly possible. (When that much sweat involved, it’s hard enough to motivate to eat, let alone turn on a couple of burners.) One can only stand so many makeshift meals, though, and a few nights ago I hit the tipping point. I wanted a real dinner, dammit.

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Purse Food: Three Short Stories.

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I just found a Killer Brownie in my purse. I’d purchased it at least a month ago for Ben, then promptly forgot about it. It’s been in the “checkbook” pocket of my purse, which, I admit, has been feeling a little bulky as of late. (Killer Brownies are not called Killer Brownies because they are tiny.) Ben says he still wants the brownie, but I’m not sure about the shelf life of these things. I’m leaving the decision up to him.

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Here are two other stories of Purse Food.

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On a Mission.

As has been well-established by now, I am not one to jump on the sceney-restaurant bandwagon. It’s not that I don’t want to try the latest and the greatest; I do. But a combination of minor social anxiety (does anyone ever feel skinny and well-dressed enough for trendy new restaurants? Please say no), a growing dislike of crowds (not at all caused by an inherent lack of personal space here in New York—why do you ask?), and a low tolerance for two-hour wait times at tiny spots that don’t take reservations for parties of less than five means that I just don’t tend to enjoy evenings out at this city’s hot spots.

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One solution to this problem? Brunch.

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Quick Dinner.

Due to an unfortunate case of cooking-related masochism, I tend to forget that not every meal requires hours of preparation and compilation. It took a recent experience to remind me of something that working parents have known for years: Weeknight dinners do not, in fact, need to be served at 10:00 p.m.

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After a particularly demanding day in the trenches, I was in the mood for something indulgent; I didn’t have the budget for anything fancy but wanted comfort food nonetheless. This burger, an umami*-rich combination of Italian sausage (I used half hot and half sweet, with great results), anchovy-spiked spinach, and sharp provolone cheese, couldn’t have been a better fit.

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A Friendly Rivalry.

I’m starting 2013 with a version of the Paleo Diet. No bread, no beans, no grains, no potatoes. And only one alcoholic beverage a day. My neighbors presented the guidelines, with the official list banning chocolate, potatoes, corn, sugar, legumes, pasta, bread, rice and other processed goodness. They’re referring to it as the “Stop Eating Sh*t Diet”. I decided to play along. Based on before and after weigh-ins, the person who loses the most at the end of the month gets to pick a restaurant for our first post-diet meal. The person who does the worst has to buy drinks that night.

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So far, I’ve gained 1.5 pounds. I hope they pick a restaurant with inexpensive drinks.

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At Home In Copenhagen.

As much as I enjoy researching and planning where to eat out while traveling, there’s nothing like receiving an invitation to a local’s house for a home-cooked meal when you’re living out of a suitcase. I love seeing how people in other areas cook, eat, and entertain, while my inner voyeur gets a kick out of being inside buildings I’d otherwise only glimpse from the street. Plus, that little frisson you get when you think about sitting down with a bunch of perfect strangers with only a bottle of wine for a buffer? Impossible to replicate.

I was informed early on in the Copenhagen meal-planning process that our Saturday night was spoken for—my cousin has a friend in the city, and her family had invited us all over for dinner. Magic hour was just hitting when we got off the train in Hellerup, a well-kept suburb to the north. (Fun fact: If you stand in the spot where I took the picture above, turn about thirty degrees to your right, and look out over the water, you’ll see Sweden. Hi, Malmö!)

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Mayor Inspiration.

I’ve kind of got a thing for Cory Booker. Dude jumps into flaming buildings to save constituents, loves coffee and isn’t that bad to look at. Oh. And he’s willing to try eating for a week on food stamps just to see what it’s like. Swoon.

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Take note. I am in no way trying to compare the situation I’m about to describe with that of the 46.2 million people who live in poverty in the U.S. Poverty and inconvenience are very, very different.

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Ten Things In 2012.

As 2013 rapidly approaches, we pause to take a look at our top food memories and discoveries of the year.

Jill: My itinerant adventures included a spring trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rice, summer visits to New York City and Cleveland (yes, a worthy destination) and a last-minute trip to San Francisco spurred on by World Series baseball. Below are a few things of note as I look back at the year that the world was supposed to end.

1. One-Course Meals.

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In 2012, I realized that while I may not be able to afford three courses of fine dining, I can create my own buffet of great eats by visiting several places for one course each. San Francisco was the perfect backdrop for this style of eating, and I found myself slurping oysters not once, but twice in the ten-day stay. The key, by the way, is to be upfront with servers from the beginning. And to tip a little extra before heading out for the next snack.

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Green Dreams.

On Friday night, I ate so much barbecue I thought I felt my arteries hardening. Seriously. (Wild-boar rib chop, though—totally worth it.) Yesterday,  I had a brisket sandwich for lunch and Shake Shack for dinner. Today, all I can think of is vegetables.

My mouth is currently watering over the memory of this smoked-trout salad from Boerum Hill’s Rucola, in which bitter frisee and radicchio, coins of soft, creamy potato, and pungent flakes of Shelsky’s fish are roped together with a horseradish dressing and punctuated with crunchy, tangy pickled onions. Yes, please.

Rucola
190 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York
718.576.3209

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Autumn Is for Ovens.

New York is gray and drizzly today: perfect weather for a cozy afternoon indoors, watching black-and-white movies, puttering in the kitchen, and maybe cuddling up with a sanity-challenged feline or two.

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Sadly, work beckons instead, but if you happen to be lucky enough to have a few hours at your disposal, might I suggest a cheesy, oniony, pull-apart bread to warm things up?

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