annalouielou

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hello. I am moving on to a new (mostly in spirit) space, with (in theory) a more defined, developed thematic. I will say hello more regularly and talk about food & cooking, film & music, fashion, literature, art. you know, the good stuff.
hope to see you there!
xo

lately: gumbo, deviled eggs, ginger cookies.


‘Lately’ has been special, because of Christmas and New Year’s. Lately has been winter salads, peanut butter out of the jar, honey by the spoonful, the dense, almost fudgey chew of chorizo, eaten on the walk home. Lately has been Vietnamese iced coffee and dark-grained bread. But lately has also been family, twinkly-lit trees, and parties with bonfires.

Christmas Eve was spent baking ginger cookies, drinking pumpkin stout, and roasting chicken thighs with tomatoes–a bright, rich sauce stewing as the chicken cooked. The next morning, we started with coffee and citrus; later, we breakfasted (at 1 in the afternoon) on buttermilk pancakes with bananas & pecans, fried eggs & bacon. Christmas dinner, there was dad’s chicken & andouille gumbo. Board games with the cousins, midnight chocolates.

A week of winter salads later, and New Year’s day was mild. My sister and I took a walk, and left black-eyed peas simmering on the stove, and vegetables roasting in the oven, trusting. Later, we had dinner at a wooden table outside with blankets and family friends. Deviled eggs, guacamole, green salad + raisins & toasted pecans, pork loin, mashed potatoes spiked with scallions, black-eyed peas + bacon, roasted winter vegetables, Champagne. Dessert was Blue Bell ice cream sandwiches, the taste of cocoa powder sticking to the roof of my mouth. And all was right with the world.

Lately has been celebratory. Lately has been good.

(photos: alice gao, via nikole herriott; life magazine)

winter salads

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I’ve returned after a long absence to tell you: it’s been a winter of salads. A year of salads, even. For Christmas in New Orleans, I roasted chicken thighs with local tomatoes & lots of garlic & parsley. And lately, I’ve roasted several pans of vegetables, eaten with herb-spiked yogurt.

But, the salads.

Winter salads are some of the very best kind. Sturdy, happy to marinate in mustardy vinaigrettes for days. Jewel-toned and restorative.
I made a slaw/salad hybrid of finely shredded red cabbage with chives, & parsley. It was mineral, herbaceous and just-sweet.
I made an earthy salad of red kale & avocado with mint.
I spent a cold, clear day tidying and eating bowl after bowl of chard, radicchio & kale salad with roasted tomatoes, currants, chickpeas and almonds.
I made a toothsome farro salad with roasted sweet potatoes, arugula, goat’s cheese and scallions.

For the coming week, however, I admit I will put away the salad bowl. I’m going to dust off the dutch oven and making some ribollita, with the Saltie cookbook as my guide. I’m going to roast some more chicken thighs. And I’m going to tell you all about it.

(images via Saltie).

summer

IMG_20130530_112253 I’ve been gingerly getting ready for summer.

Summer! Long evening walks. Wistfulness.

A recent load of summer provisions included firm-skinned pattypan squash, cluster tomatoes, the richest, cream-colored fresh mozzarella, Easy Tiger pain au levain, blueberries, purple basil, green beans.

The squash was roasted until caramelized, near-melting, with a couple of the tomatoes.
The green beans were boiled with garlic and new potatoes until tender, the lot smashed lightly together with olive oil and salt & pepper. This dish is summer. Perfect in its fresh-faced simplicity, and wonderful eaten cold.

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All is in readiness. I am ready to throw myself into the long, bright, lonesome days.

summer latelies, or, how the blue sky revived inspiration

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well, hello.

it’s become summer. a tad late, but with hot gusts and big (endless!) blue skies. so, whereas last week I was able to tolerate slow-roasting tomatoes (scooped and mopped with crusty, chevre-spread baguette), this week has been still simpler. (simpler still?)

there was an enormous chickpea salad with torn parsley & basil, diced carrot, tiny yellow, orange and red tomato and feta. this sat marinating in grassy olive oil for a few days as I worked through it; the blushing summer-colored tomatoes sweated and slumped, offering sweet-tart contrast to the oil. vinegar schminegar.

today, I made a salad of grilled radicchio, parsley, shaved parmesan, olives, dried apricots, and almonds. it was a gem: multicolored, multifaceted. sweet, salty, savory, bitter, briny, mineral.

The Talking Heads’ 77 cheered on the assembly process, but lately I’ve been very into listening to Thee Oh Sees.

And I cannot wait (cannot!) for Frances Ha. You guys. It looks perfect.

dearest

well. it seems I’ve been nominated for the Liebster (“dearest,” in German) award– a sort of virtual handshake/chain letter passed along by one blogger to another. marketmaiden — thank you for reading about my latelies and thinking of me!
I am excited to have this space enjoyed + acknowledged.
so, here’s how it works:

answer 11 questions asked by whomever nominated you. /post 11 facts about yourself. /nominate 11 blogs. /ask your nominees 11 questions.

alas, I am going to break the chain. this may disqualify me. but, I’m not too into chain letters; I also don’t think you need to know 11 random personal facts, so I’ve given 5. in lieu of nominating, I’ve recommended a few blogs (some longtime favorites, some new) that I’ve been especially digging lately.

questions answered

1. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If I were just to choose one place, I would choose Paris– despite the rain.

2. Who is your favorite person to travel with?
I haven’t really done any traveling, but it would be my twin, Aimee. my big sister, Sarah, too– both my sisters would surely be the best traveling companions!

3. What is your favorite dish to serve to dinner guests?
roasted chicken thighs. they are simple; a wonderful cut of a wonderful bird that is always cheap, and they are one of my all-time favorite things to make and eat. I usually just roast them (organic, free-range, skin-on, please!) with olive oil, smashed garlic cloves, lemon, thyme + parsley, (& lots of kosher salt + cracked pepper); I always throw some parboiled carrots into the pan to roast in all that wondrous chicken fat, too. but: when one of my friends was moving away from new york while I still lived there, I roasted chicken thighs with pancetta and briny black olives, and served it with some blanched beet greens. that was a great success, and a lovely meal.

4. What are three items that you carry with you whenever you travel overseas?
I’ve never traveled overseas. but, for traveling in general, old issues of Gourmet & Saveur, a favorite scarf and a sketchbook.

5. What is the last book you read?
Caleb Williams, by William Godwin.

6. If you could purchase one new kitchen appliance, what would it be?
right now, I want to replace my microplane grater, which was one of my very favorite kitchen tools and tragically (seriously!) disappeared in a move. but, if I were to go with something entirely new– a good + attractive coffee maker. I am really tired of sludgy french press coffee, and would like some good drip coffee out of my own kitchen.

7. Red or white?
not quite sure what this refers to, but: white for paint. for everything else, red (fire-engine or cherry, preferably).

8. What is your favorite meal to eat out in a restaurant: breakfast, lunch or dinner?
dinner. I am very set in my morning yogurt-fruit-granola routine, and while I really enjoy eating lunch out –if the weather’s nice and I can sit on a patio with Aimee– it tends to be more like dinner– I linger until late afternoon, maybe drink a glass of wine, and most likely won’t eat another full meal that day.

9. Do you believe in fitness centers – or would you rather be playing outdoors?
I think fitness centers are silly and really kind of awful, whereas long walks, bicycle rides and hikes are some of the best things in life.

10. What is your favorite coffee shop?
Satsuma in New Orleans–lovely fresh juices, good coffee, bagels shipped in from New York, great yogurt– & the Hungarian Pastry Shop in New York, winning over all of the other trendy, artisanal places I frequented, even the Stumptown coffee bar at Ace Hotel. HPS, I love you.

11. What is your favorite mode of travel / transportation?
I haven’t actually taken a ship anywhere before, or even ridden a sailboat, but I will say by boat all the same. I love the ocean, with all my heart, and travel by sea is endlessly romantic to me.

facts

1. sometimes I dream of running away to the countryside and starting a goat & vegetable farm with whoever my husband happens to be. I truly think this would be the happiest life.

2. I love red shoes.

3. my grandmother, ‘mamoo,’ eats her cereal with cream. ever since discovering this, I have been enamored with such good taste & casual indulgence. it is a great treat whenever I eat cold cereal with blueberries and cream, and I think of her smelly-cat house and jam-jar water glasses.

4. my favorite vegetable –a serious thing for someone as into vegetables as I am– has not changed since my childhood. it’s the good old carrot. when I was a kid, I imitated bugs bunny and devoured big whole ones; today, I make classy grated carrot salads with fennel & parsley.

5. I have a very old-fashioned and discerning sweet tooth. I prefer my cake dry, without icing or glaze. my ideal dessert is usually a biscotti with coffee. I like my oatmeal cookies plain & crunchy, and my ice cream vanilla.

some sweet blogs & sites

sous style (to which we owe the above images)
treehouse
manger
tomboy style

here & there

 

So, the other day I boiled chubby-thumb fingerlings, blanched carrots cut on the diagonal, and tossed the lot with a generous pour of olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice and marjoram. It made a big dish to last for a few sittings; whenever I wanted a bowl, I steamed a handful of spinach and added finishing salt and a dollop of ricotta. It was hot & cold, restorative, the golden-green oil revived. Recommended, gents.

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I like to eat that sort of thing with some salami and these crackers, which I am so obsessed with I’ve starting buying them in bulk online– I mention this because it’s comical, but it’s no joke; I really have.

Out & about it’s been Vietnamese noodle salad colorful with radish and herb and octopus; pâté bahn mis, financiers, with their mysterious almond flavor; two-cappuccino-mornings (with the lushest local milk).

I can’t wait to make & eat this— and more octopus noodle salad, of course. please & thank you.

Also, I’ve been ogling this gorgeousness, reading about a private idol, and smiling over this film, which is sweet, strange, and beautiful.