“Tomato Poached fish with chile oil and herbs” from “NYT app”

Kirstin: Back in the 90s. When there was no coronavirus. Or Trump. Well there was Trump, but not in his current form. There was the Gotham Bar and Grill in New York, which sadly exists no more. Tom’s godparents took us there one late August for our first experience of grown up Manhattan dining. Laurie Anderson was there. I still don’t know who she is but everyone else was very excited and even the air tasted different. Anyway. There was a cookbook to go with the Gotham restaurant. The chef used to be a jeweller, so for many recipes there were options (go with me here, there is a point. Honest). You could have EVERYDAY presentation. Or. GOTHAM presentation where the food was piled as high as you could make it go. I have pictures of us doing Gotham presentation with our friends. It was mad. And also before children.
Cue this recipe. By Alison Roman (A. Ro.) Who we love. And tomatoes. Which as all keen readers of this blog will know our kids HATE. They will get over it ONE DAY. See also herbs. So this meant that as I finished this recipe I knew that there was going to have to be everyday presentation and also FANCY PANTS presentation. And so here we are. FANCY PANTS presentation. But also yummy food which the kids missed out. And one day I will make sure they know how much they missed out. This was YUM. It really was. The fish sauce added a depth to the stock. The shallot and garlic added an extra zing to the dressing. The coriander added a fresh flavour to it all. Make this. You will not be disappointed. Simple and full of flavours. And I would recommend the A. Ro presentation.

“Tomato Poached fish with chile oil and herbs” from “NYT app”

“Rainbow Sprinkle Cake” from NYT Cooking App

How’s your global pandemic going? Last Friday and Saturday was eventful for us: we had a Quarantine Birthday (happy 17th birthday Nicholas), an American university commencement via Zoom (congratulations Gianna) and a Facebook Live wedding from California (congratulations Taylor and John). Given that all those happy occasions happened within a span of 48 hours, all I can say is: Whew.

As per tradition, the birthday boy (or should I say young man) was allowed to pick whatever cake his heart desired. For the second year in a row, he picked this cake, from the New York Times Cooking App. Having made it for him last year, I made a few adjustments: I doubled the recipe (because it made too small a cake for our liking the last time) and I used my own cream cheese icing recipe, simply because it has never failed me and after several disastrous outings with other recipes, I just return to that one like a trusted friend.

Another thing to know is I did NOT use European Union-approved sugar sprinkles for this. Oh, no. The vibrant colours you see in the sprinkles above can only be attained by using good American sprinkles, where they continue to use all the chemicals so you can get the fun colours. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make, as the EU-Approved sprinkles only use natural colourings, so they end up being a bit insipid, especially after you bake them.

(Sadly, after stocking up enthusiastically on American sprinkles in 2018, it looks as though our stash is now dangerously low. Not sure what I’ll be able to do about it given the current travel situation. I might have to see if I can secure an intermediary. This is important, because honestly, those sprinkles look and taste about a thousand times better than the ones we can get here.)

The cake was a smashing success. The picture above doesn’t really do it justice, but it was great. Our philosophy to get through this with good food and good times continues.

If you’d like to see the recipe, click through here to find it on the New York Times site. I’m sure it’s good even with European sprinkles, but remember to double the recipe to get three 9-inch layers.

“Rainbow Sprinkle Cake” from NYT Cooking App

“Everyday Pancakes” from “NYT Cooking App”

Kirstin: I have to admit my usual pancake recipe is from a beaten up copy of Wallpaper magazine FROM THE 90S. It is everything. But then the NYT cooking section posted their classics dishes you should master. And I saw this recipe!

I added a teaspoon of vanilla essence. And I am glad I did because this was lovely with the bacon. But the pancakes were still much dried than our usual. That said, they did not require 20 minutes of waiting for the rise. The recipe also catered for many more pancakes than we are used to. So this might be my backup recipe.

“Everyday Pancakes” from “NYT Cooking App”

“Roberta’s Pizza Dough” from “NYT cooking app”

Kirstin: We love pizza. We love to make our own pizza. I say that, but I am only any good at the dough part. After that, it’s all over to Tom. So all my experimentation has been Limited to the dough. I’ve tried a number of doughs over the years. Trust me. I have tried ALL THE RECIPES. But I was particularly excited to see this recipe for pizza dough after a trip to Roberta’s in 2013. And so here we are, many years on, still making the dough from Roberta’s. We also use a pizza steel for any of you that might be interested. I ordered it back in the day before they were a thing and it came from America. I watched its progress across the all the states (it was briefly stuck in transit somewhere in the middle of America), all 10 Kg of it. There a number of other adjustments we have made over the years. Polenta, N’duja, spicy sausage, Parmesan. But the dough is the base of it all.

“Roberta’s Pizza Dough” from “NYT cooking app”

“Sheet-pan trout with garlicky broccolini” from “NYT Cooking app”

Kirstin: I make this on a fairly regular basis but substitute sea bass for trout. Both of our children like sea bass, salmon not so much we readers of this blog may have noticed. I cook this longer than the recipe suggests: I like the broccoli to be crisp and the fish to be browner and crisper. And today I served this with bread that we had ordered from our local baker, Paul Rhodes. We have been putting in an order every week for 3 families to share. I cannot even begin to tell you how much we all look forward to this bread order. The excitement when it arrives is quite ridiculous and lovely all at the same time. And it’s a lovely way to connect given that we are unable to meet in person. Anyway, back to the fish. This recipe is genius. It is super simple and also full of flavour. The fact I have been making it for the last few years says it all.

“Sheet-pan trout with garlicky broccolini” from “NYT Cooking app”

“Pressure cooker miso chicken ramen with boy choy” from “NYT app”

Kirstin: I asked Tate what she would like to do when lockdown is over. They said they would like to have ramen. But then I pointed out that I can make ramen. Obviously not as lovely as the ramen at Ippudo, but still.
I’ve tried a number of ramen recipes over the last few years but this one seems to be the winner. I am the only one who likes eggs so I leave them out. Miles doesn’t like boy choy so there’s none in the pic of his bowl. Also, in a weird twist, while I seem to have run out of flour on day one of Lockdown, I seem to have stocked up on miso paste. Also harissa. So there is also that.
And I still suspect that our first trip out after Lockdown will be to have ramen and I can’t wait.

“Pressure cooker miso chicken ramen with boy choy” from “NYT app”

“Vinegar chicken with crushed olive dressing” from “NYT cooking app”

Kirstin: This is a winner of a recipe in so many ways. It’s by A. Ro (Alison Roman). It’s a tray bake. Oh and it’s also delicious. Have I mentioned how satisfying it is to crush the olives to remove the stones. Because there is that too. Add some yummy summer light and french music, may be a punt e mes and really you are SET.

“Vinegar chicken with crushed olive dressing” from “NYT cooking app”

What We’re Eating Again: Baked Ziti from the NYT Cooking App

Winters in London can sometimes be a bit depressing: short days, damp, rainy, fog, dreary with VERY occasional snow showers. So the only answer on days like this is to have some comfort food, and if you ask me, you can’t get more comfort than baked ziti.

Having grown up in Northern New Jersey– where people take their Italian food very seriously with an Italian dish of one kind or another featured on every buffet table– I love Italian food (even if I am of Irish-German extraction). In the past, I’ve tried to make baked ziti without a recipe, but didn’t have much success doing so. But when I gave this one from the NYTimes a try, that all changed.

This reminds me so much of the ziti I was raised on– cheesy, tomatoey goodness. When I made it recently on one of the aforementioned December days described above, I added a new feature of smoked bacon lardons. It did not disappoint. It was just the thing this family needed to propel us toward another dreary December day.

If you’d like to give a try, the recipe can be found by clicking through this sentence.

What We’re Eating Again: Baked Ziti from the NYT Cooking App

Our Verdict: NYT Cooking App

Kirstin: This is one of my favourite apps. It never ceases to cheer me up.

Maureen: There’s so many recipes to choose from! I would think of a recipe we wanted to eat and inevitably they would have one.

Kirstin: But we should point out that it’s crazy busy because it’s the end of term and other stuff happening, but we used this app way more than it would appear on the blog.

Maureen: That’s true. I made dozens more recipes than I actually got around to posting.

Kirstin: The comments are often worth having a peek at.

Maureen: There’s usually lots of good tips in there.

Kirstin: But just this week they announced that they’re going to start charging for access.

Maureen: They’re going to put a metered paywall, which means you’ll get a certain number for free, but after that you’ll have to start paying. It makes sense. I’m also from the school of thought that good content shouldn’t be free.

Kirstin: It’s a great app when you go on holiday because all the recipes are right on your phone.

Maureen: It’s also great when you’re out in the middle of the day when you don’t know what you want to make for dinner, so you can decide on the hoof and then stop at the shops for what you need.

Kirstin: Also, it’s got Melissa Clark and Sam Sifton. Do I need to say more?

Maureen: No. You do not. They are brilliant. I also liked the featured recipes at the top. They gave good suggestions.

Kirstin: Absolutely.

Maureen: It’s almost not a fair fight because the New York Times has so many good recipes over the years, and they’re all there. If you published all these recipes in books, it would be a multi-volume encyclopedia.

Kirstin: Also, the e-mails make my heart so happy. They just are so lovely. They have great suggestions. Sign up for the e-mail!

Overall Grade (A- F):  A (Maureen)  A (Kirstin)
Best recipes:  Salmon roasted in butter (Kirstin) The Katharine Hepburn brownies were definitely the most memorable, but the macaroni and cheese is a desert island dish in this house (Maureen)
Grade for Photography (A-F): A
Any disasters? Maureen: No. Kirstin: I’m trying to figure out how to spatchcock chicken.
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? Not applicable, but we’d put it on the front page of our phones.
Would you give this to a friend? (Both) Yes, though we would tell them to install it and to sign up for the daily e-mail.

Our Verdict: NYT Cooking App

“Steak Mock Frites” from “NYT Cooking App”

Here in London, we’re experiencing something that suspiciously feels like summer. I say it’s suspicious because I’m doubtful it will last. It never does. But in the meantime, we’re maximising our enjoyment of it while we can, which includes eating in the garden under the setting sun eating simple dishes that we love.

To wit: steak. Takes minutes to prepare, is delicious and we love it. As this is a rib-eye steak, it’s definitely a treat and not in the regular rotation, but still… full of yum. Also, we have a friend staying with us from the U.S. for the next week, so we wanted to treat her to one of the legendary steaks from our local butcher, Dring’s.

I’ve cooked steak enough times that I’m pretty confident on how to do it. But this recipe helpfully included a method for Maître d’Hôtel butter, which is pretty simple (butter, thyme, shoot, lemon juice & a splash of white-wine vinegar), but the real revelation was the recipe for “Mock Frites.” For this, you basically just boil new potatoes, dry them and smash them on a greased baking sheet and then bake them some more.

They. Were. Delicious. And so easy! Sam Sifton says in the introduction that the potatoes have “a terrific quality of French fry-ness, supreme crispness, with soft and creamy flesh within.” They really did all of those things. I plan to make these mock frites again. And again. And again.

If you’d like to make this yourself, click through this sentence to see the original recipe in the New York Times. 

 

“Steak Mock Frites” from “NYT Cooking App”