Cooking For Sig

A Sous Chef and Her Stories


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Egg Noodles and Boozy Chicken

IMG_1573For Tuesday night’s dinner I unearthed a recipe I haven’t used in years. And I think I’ve only cooked it once, for our friend Aaron (and maybe my mom?) when Matt and I were living on Shepard street, just outside Harvard Square. It’s the only recipe I have that calls for juniper berries, which means that I am still using the same jar of junipers that I bought many years ago for the last time this dish was made. Clearly, I am not one of those people who diligently disposes of herbs and spices on a regular basis and replaces them with fresh ones. I’ve heard the shelf-life for most spices is about a year if you want them to be pungent and bright. I’m mildly ashamed to tell you that my jar of cardamom pods has outlived three apartments. I just can’t bring myself to throw edible (if not quite fresh or good) food away. Continue reading


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My Gift to You

If you follow the blog by email, you probably got an email yesterday with a broken link. Don’t worry. It’s not you, it’s me. I published a post, then thought better of it. It was a little mopey, a little mean, you really didn’t need to read it. I promise. Still, I feel I owe you a little something to make up for the blunder. And so, I give you the best, easiest, fastest cookie bar recipe ever. Seriously, start to finish in under an hour. And unless you don’t like peanut butter (like my boss’s boss, what?) or chocolate (I’m not even going to comment on this), you will LOVE these. Continue reading


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Valentine’s Day Steak

imageLet’s talk about Valentine’s Day. Does anyone out there actually celebrate? That question is totally facetious and mostly rhetorical, since I listened to an NPR story on Friday about how a Manhattan florist has 25,000 roses shipped directly from a farm in Ecuador to his shop door just in time to sell them to V-day shoppers at twice their usual price. All of the roses need to magically bloom six days before February 14. The flowers wear little hair nets to protect them from the wind and farm workers open and close the canvas curtains surrounding the plants to shield them from the elements. It’s all spectacularly dramatic, far more enthralling than the holiday itself. Continue reading


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Finding the Dek

imageLast week at work, I sat in on a short talk by Christian Caryl. He spoke to a room full of graduate students, all eager to learn the secret to writing well. Have a point, he told us. And get to it quickly. Support it with just the most relevant facts and say it all with passion. All of which, he confessed, is much easier said than done. But then he suggested the following: Start with the dek. The dek is the very brief description immediately following the headline. The dek is your entire story summed up in a line or two. Once you have the dek, the story’s arc is set and you can travel the curve from start to finish, filling in the details along the way. Continue reading


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Kitchen Tools and Challah French Toast

imageI was so eager to tell you about last weekend’s amazing pot pie that I neglected to tell you about the new kitchen tool I bought myself. You’re probably thinking that this is no big deal, that an avid home cook like me must buy kitchen tools the way normal people buy lattes or chapstick (or whatever it is normal people buy on a regular basis). But I don’t. In fact, I basically never buy kitchen stuff unless it’s absolutely necessary (see the French press incident and the must-have melon baller). Desperate times call for new kitchen supplies, but most of the time I’m pretty happy with the tried and trues. Continue reading


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Sunday Lunch Love

imageI know I’ve already told you how much I love Sunday lunch. The Sundays I spent eating dim sum with my dad at Bernard’s in the Chestnut Hill Mall. Or the Sundays we went to Viet Hong and split a bowl of pho. Or the Sundays we sat at the bar at Legal Sea Foods and talked to our favorite bartender over light clam chowder (the cream-less version where you can actually taste the clams). Or the Sundays in Rangeley when dad made eggs florentine and the smell tantalized us for a full hour before it was ready to eat. Sunday lunch is perfect in so many ways. It’s far enough into the weekend that the week feels like a distant memory, but there’s still a long lazy afternoon ahead. And there’s so much time to eat, slowly, lazily, happily. Continue reading


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Really Good Salad (Really)

imageI’m sure this is not the post that you expected after my rant about eating whatever the heck I want. You probably thought I would write about macaroni and cheese (again) or breaded, pan-fried chicken. I will eventually, don’t worry. But right now I have to talk to you about salad. You see, this weekend, I really wanted a salad. And when my body tells me it wants salad, I listen. I figure it’s a sign that I’m low on some essential vitamin or mineral and I need a whole bunch of green things to correct that. And sometimes I just want salad because it tastes good. Continue reading


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The Anti-Diet Diet with a Side of Gluten

IMG_0001This weekend I made bagels. Not whole wheat bagels or spelt or some other altruistic grain disguised in bagel skin, but honest-to-goodness 100% white flour, quarter-pound bagels with extra gluten. I posted the photos of my happily boiling bagels to Facebook and within minutes I received the obvious question: “Can you make a gluten-free version?” The short answer is: “Yes, I’m quite certain I could find a recipe for a rice flour bagel out there.” But there’s also a much longer answer, which I’m about to unleash on you. Continue reading


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An Ode to My French Press

I spoke too soon and jinxed myself. 2015 just seemed so promising, but then this weekend kitchen tragedy struck. While grinding my coffee beans, bleary eyed and grouchy, I knocked over my French press and watched helplessly as the glass carafe shattered on our granite counter top. Gah! I nearly cried. Partially because I have a soft spot for this particular coffee maker, which my college roommate surprised me with senior year, and partly because I really, really needed a cup of coffee.

bread and teaAnd this was not the first disaster of the weekend. Saturday I spent at least an hour needlessly mixing and kneading the wrong yeast into two separate (but equally failing) doughs. This ended with several pounds of flour being dumped in the trash. Again, I was left in near tears, but at least that morning I had had my coffee. I did not however have the heart or energy to complete the original marbled rye recipe. By the time I kneaded the correct yeast into my dough, I was on batch number three of the light rye and there was absolutely no way that I could bring myself to mix its dark rye companion. So, instead I settled on a plain old rustic boule of rye, heavy on the caraway seeds and light on the molasses, just like Matt likes it. I have to say despite the arduous process, or maybe because of it, this bread turned out pretty darn good. Thick, crunchy, flaky crust on the outside. Soft, fluffy, and nicely chewy on the inside. Continue reading


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The Essential Berlin: Mulled Wine and David Hasselhoff

fish soupI’m just going to go ahead and say it. 2015 is already better than 2014. These 7 days put the previous 365 days to shame. We spent New Year’s Eve in a surging hoard of Germans, all pressing toward the stage in front of the Brandenburg Gate, where David Hasselhoff (yes, that David Hasselhoff) was performing, just like he did 25 years ago shortly after the fall of the wall. Did you know that Germans have an unhealthy obsession with this man and his music? Did you even know he made music? Neither did I, but I found out the hard way. Thankfully, the musical portion of the evening lands squarely in the middle of the large hole in my memory that begins with a cup of hot mulled wine in on a crowded street and ends with watching Baywatch on Erin and Oliver’s couch sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Continue reading