Lately I’ve been obsessed with tacos. Going gluten-free has been pretty easy at home, but dining out is a bit of a challenge. No short ribs because they’re dusted in flour before searing; sushi is a bit complicated unless you bring your own tamari (gluten-free soy sauce); and watching people gobble down a giant bowl of pasta is just not fun. So I’ve latched onto Mexican cuisine. It was already one of my favorite cuisines, but knowing it’s pretty much all naturally gluten-free, so long as the tortilla shells are corn, it’s a no brainer. Though ordering or dining out on tacos a few times a week does add up.
When we arrived to our cozy cottage in Keene, New York, right smack in the center of the Adirondacks High Peaks, I found myself at a loss of words. The silence was not from the sheer beauty of the place (it was plain, but cute and cozy, serving our hiking needs perfectly) but due to the size of the kitchen. I never really thought of myself as a kitchen snob, but somehow in that moment, knowing I’d be here for a week, it all became clear. I guess you can say I have certain standards. I would gladly trade in my queen sized pillow-top bed for a generic branded air mattress every night for the opportunity to cook in a chef’s kitchen daily. It also makes me wonder if my snobbishness has anything to do with our 3-year quest to find a suitable apartment. Maybe just a tiny bit…
I’m not sure I fully understood and appreciated real barbeque until I moved to Brooklyn. Growing up, I thought of barbeque more as a cook out. Friends and family would come over, and we’d grill hotdogs and hamburgers, maybe some steaks if we were being really fancy. I knew of pulled pork and ribs and brisket, and sure I had them a few times, but never really craved them. My first real barbeque joint in Brooklyn was Fette Sau. If you’ve never been, you are truly missing out. Don’t expect fancy. Fette Sau in Williamsburg is a renovated garage that dishes out trays of the most delicious smoked, braised meats you could imagine. Dining is communal, picnic tables inside and out stacked with rolls of paper towels. On a Friday or Saturday night you can spot the place from the huge line that forms outside. Meat is ordered by the pound, slapped on a tray and served with as many slider buns as you can handle. Line two offers local craft beers served in mason jars, of if you have a crowd, by the gallon. Yes it’s a bit gritty but that’s what barbeque should be.
Some of my favorite recipes are the ones I don’t have to get anything special for. In my resolution to cook at least once recipe from the several dozen cookbooks scattered around my apartment and goal to cook something healthy at least once a week, I stumbled upon my Cooking Light: Cooking Through the Seasons. (but of course, I would own their seasonal cookbook). Leeks are one of my favorite vegetables, so as long as they’re in season, I generally have a few on hand. I had a pork loin in the freezer and everything else was basic pantry items. What I also loved was that technically this is a one pot meal. With the leeks, you don’t really need another side, though I chose to go with some balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts anyway.
It’s Monday, January 7 and that means the official kick off of New Years Resolution diets all over the world. Or at least for me. Why start now, and not January 1? Well, usually New Year’s day is still full of unhealthy eating. Plus you have to get back to work…anxiety…yada, yada, yada. Plus New Year’s Day was a Tuesday. EVERYBODY knows you start a diet on Monday. Why? I have absolutely no idea. It’s just the way things are, from the beginning of time. If nothing else, it gives you a few more days to pig out on those leftovers, right?