Cooking For Sig

A Sous Chef and Her Stories


3 Comments

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


Leave a comment

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


2 Comments

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


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

Home Sweet Home

Matt and I are home after three consecutive weekends of travel and we could not be happier. It’s amazing the things that one finds gratifying after being away for an extended period of time – having our neighbor Robin hold the front door open for us, finding the glass of vinegar we set out to catch the gnats in our kitchen filled with tiny bugs, and smelling the lavender candle in the second bedroom wafting down the hall.

While it’s great to be home, it was also a beautiful weekend. Matt’s brother got married in Chicago. I was a bridesmaid for the first time and I was unsure what to expect. The hours of makeup and hair intimidated me. It was a long day. I was tired and grumpy. But the second the ceremony started, I was overcome with emotion. I walked down the aisle, escorted by my youngest brother-in-law. I felt the gravitational pull of family, the spine-tingling and butterfly-inducing promise of a life-long commitment, and the honor of being so close to someone on one of the happiest days of her life. Plus, the food was delicious, the hotel room was gorgeous, and I danced so hard my legs still hurt. Continue reading


1 Comment

My Plate is Full

nicoiseAnd for once, I mean that figuratively, because our dinner plates tonight are actually rather spare. You see, I am in the midst of a bachelorette-wedding-travel whirlwind that is consuming my life and wreaking havoc on my routine. But it’s not all bad. I flew home last night from a lovely weekend in Michigan wine country with my soon to be sister-in-law and a short stay with my in-laws in Chicago. On Sunday night, we had an amazing seafood dinner in Evanston. (You heard me right – great seafood in a Chicago suburb.) I had softshell crabs, a treat to myself whenever they’re on the menu. Continue reading


1 Comment

Cooking for Matt

I”m going out of town of this weekend and leaving Matt home alone. Matt is a very capable man. He can manage a load of laundry just fine. He can grocery shop like a pro. He makes a good frittata and excellent chicken fajitas. He can follow a recipe better than I can because he has qualities I lack, like diligence and patience. And yet, whenever I leave town, I find myself stocking up on food, making extra meals, doing an extra load of laundry, and cleaning the house from top to bottom, so that Matt has everything he needs while I’m away. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Sunday Is For Running & Eating

photo (20)In addition to my food addiction, I have a bit of a running problem. It started in 2007, when Christine, my favorite partner in all outdoor adventures, asked me to do a triathlon with her. My response: “That sounds crazy. Yeah, sure, why not?” She clobbered me in the swim and put further distance between us on the bike. But then, magically, like I had tapped into some hidden fount of energy, I caught up to Christine on the run and eventually passed her. It felt great and easy and natural and I didn’t really want to stop.  And I haven’t really stopped since. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Farmer’s Market Day

On Saturday morning, there is a farmer’s market in Adams Morgan. There are always two produce vendors and a European style bakery stall that sells really excellent loaves of hearty, crusty bread. It takes me about a minute to walk from my front door to the market and about thirty minutes to agonize over the selection of fruits and vegetables, trying not to buy everything in sight. Plus, today’s purchase came with a free onion flower! Continue reading