Cooking For Sig

A Sous Chef and Her Stories


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My Little Kitchen

backsplashWhenever people discover that I like to cook, the first question they ask is, “Do you have a big kitchen?” I pause. “Well. Um. Not really. No. No, I don’t. I have a narrow double galley with limited counter space.” But as soon as those words are out of my mouth, I immediately launch into an extended explanation of the kitchen’s many benefits. There’s amazing sunlight streaming in through the window. When the weather is nice, I can open the door to the fire escape and let the breeze waft in. The previous owner put in beautiful cabinets with lots of storage, including sliding shelves and a large pantry. There’s granite and stainless steel appliances and it was all very nicely done, but it’s just not what would have done. Continue reading

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The Joys of the Casual Supper

all goneSince the end of last week, I’ve been promising Matt jambalaya. But first, I had to find a recipe to use up some old parsnips and then we both had a pizza craving and then I stayed out late with a friend and made Matt fend for himself. So finally on Tuesday, I headed off to work with every intention of making Matt his jambalaya as soon as I got home, when I got a text from one of my closest friends. “I’m going to be in town tonight,” she said, “Can we meet up?” Yes! Yes, of course. While in my head I was thinking, “But I have to make Matt’s jambalaya.” Continue reading


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Corn in October

mise en placeTonight I committed a food crime. I made a corn and tomato frittata, a dish that is undeniably a high summer meal, on October 17. Somewhere my father is cringing and for that I am truly sorry. In my defense, I had a pretty good reason for making this recipe. You see, I recently inherited three pounds of frozen corn and of all my corn recipes, this one seemed the least summery, mostly because it requires a 450 degree oven. Continue reading


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Fish Cakes and Dinner Parties

My mother likes to tell the story of the night she went into labor with me. She had been climbing a ladder at a client’s house just a few hours before, installing new drapes and valances in their living room. For dinner that night she and dad had salmon croquettes. And then a little while later her water broke and I arrived just before one in the morning on my due date. It’s a random little string of inconsequential events that she would otherwise never have remembered except that it happened to precede the birth of her only child.

galetteI’m not sure if it’s the repetition of this story throughout my childhood or the fact that my final in utero meal was a salmon croquette, but I have always been incredibly found of all manner of fish cakes. I love the strange chewy Vietnamese fish balls in pho, I adore crab cakes and salt cod croquettes. It had been a long time since I had made fish cakes at home, so I was pretty excited to make a middle eastern inspired cod cake in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce for dinner on Saturday night. I thought they were delicious. Matt thought they were interesting. I wanted to call my mom and tell her that I had one-upped her salmon croquettes, but I didn’t. Continue reading


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Preserved Lemons and Well-Washed Greens

carrotsSometimes I have moments when I catch myself doing something that I very clearly learned from my dad. This happened on Saturday as I stood over a pile of freshly washed cilantro and dutifully plucked the leaves from the stems. This was my dad’s ritual. Every Saturday morning when we returned from the grocery store, he would immediately begin the process of cleaning his vegetables, paying extra care to the leafy greens. He would rinse them three times in ice cold water, spin them dry, remove any blemished leaves, trim the stems, and roll them up in a clean dish towel to dry. Several hours later he would remove the bundle of greens from the fridge, unfurl the towel, put the greens in a plastic produce bag, and gently press the air out of the bag to form a vacuum-like seal. Continue reading