Cooking For Sig

A Sous Chef and Her Stories


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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 Matt Chronicles: Macaroni and Cheese

Ten years ago next month, Matt and I met in the Newark airport. Matt can tell you the exact date (and probably the exact time) because he has an uncanny knack for remembering scarily specific details. Speaking of details, we didn’t technically meet in the airport. I scowled at him from my seat at the gate, while he stood, arms crossed, weight on his heels, talking to a group of our Heathrow-bound peers. Matt has a knack for that, too. Being the one to introduce himself (formally and politely), to make new friends, and to start conversations. We didn’t actually meet until a week later, when I found myself in the dorm room next door to his and realized that I probably needed to acknowledge his existence. Given the impending anniversary of this momentous occasion, I feel compelled to share with you some of my favorite Matt stories and memories over the next several/very many posts.  Continue reading


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Bread Reincarnated

spinach strataI was so excited to tell you about my successful bread baking last weekend that I completely neglected to tell you about my lovely Sunday. It was lovely because we did absolutely nothing (except eat bread and get back in bed at 11:00am). I left the house once to pick up our turkey, which Matt tells me the grocery store would have almost certainly sold out of by now. The rest of the day we were warm inside, listening to the steam gurgling in the radiators and the wind whipping leaves against our window panes. For dinner I made soup. Of course. Continue reading


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Seven Years Later

Yesterday was the seven year anniversary of dad’s passing. He was fifty-five. I was twenty-three, and I couldn’t imagine how life could continue normally or happily without him, but it has. I went to grad school (at Harvard, dad!). I ran 8 marathons (including Boston! I survived Heartbreak Hill three times, dad!). I married Matt. We moved to DC. We bought a home. I think dad would be proud of what I’ve done and who I am and this helps me keep him close. Still, this time of year I always get a little bit restless, a little bit emotional, a little bit lost.

pizza failWe spent Halloween with our neighbors and a group of their friends, handing out candy to the neighborhood kids, carving pumpkins, grilling a feast, and ending the night with a viewing of Carrie. There were several times throughout the evening when I found myself engrossed in a long conversation about this blog. In fact, Meg our hostess attributed the night’s seasonally appropriate (and delicious) meal to my post about the sins of eating corn in October. I was touched, honored, moved and caught completely off-guard. To know that a blog inspired by my dad is in turn inspiring others made me incredibly self-conscious, but also incredibly happy. I’m accomplishing what I set out to accomplish, keeping dad’s spirit alive, not only through my own cooking and writing, but through your cooking, too. Thank you for that.   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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Happy Saturday

For the first time in weeks, Matt and I are sitting quietly at home on a Saturday enjoying lunch together. I love these days, when our pace slows down and the stress melts away and we can sit cross-legged on the living room floor and happily eat our midday meal. Today we ate potato salad, full of crunchy fresh vegetables and tossed with a mustard vinaigrette.

big bowlGrowing up, we ate a lot of potatoes – mashed with extra butter and chicken broth, cut paper thin and doused with Lawry’s seasoning before being oven-fried, or roasted in a cast iron skillet with olive oil and a healthy serving of salt. But everyone’s favorite potato dish was only served once a year at Chanukah time, when mom put me to work peeling potatoes over the kitchen sink. It took me over an hour, peeling potato after potato and watching the skins fall away in a long spiral into the stainless steel basin. One year, I neglected to run the disposal between potato peelings and when I finally tried to flip the switch the sink filled with murky brown and starchy water that refused to drain. Mom spent the rest of the evening plunging and fiddling under the sink. The disposal motor never worked well again. But it was worth these trials to get to the end result, golden brown and crisply fried potato latkes, salty, hot, and dangerously addictive. Whenever my mom’s dad visited, he always requested her latkes. He called them potato pancakes because he could never quite wrap his head around the Jewish words and traditions that his daughter adopted. But he loved latkes and would have been perfectly content eating nothing but latkes for the duration of his visit. Continue reading