Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pomodoro Perfection

I feel like I’ve gone back to school, now that the new concert season has officially started. It began with a great bang with two concert performances of “Kristina”, the musical written by Benny&Bjorn from ABBA. “Kristina” had been a huge hit in Sweden and was having its North American/English language premiere here at Carnegie Hall last week with a cast of incredible singers, and I was thrilled that so many of my friends were in this fantastic orchestra. But the rehearsal periods were intense, especially after a leisurely summer of only playing “South Pacific” at Lincoln Center several nights a week. In the same way that I struggled as a kid to sit through hours of September classes after a summer of living in the swimming pool, I must confess that the eight-hour rehearsal days last week were a bit of a shock to my system after three months of having days free to write about my experiments in the kitchen. But one thing that eased that transition was pasta pomodoro, the ultimate in comfort food.

In between “Kristina” rehearsals, I would run with Julie and Cenovia over to Trattoria Dell’Arte. We love this restaurant across the street from Carnegie Hall, a place we affectionately refer to as The Nose Bar because of the hilarious mural of famous Italian noses in profile, such as Luciano Pavarotti, Giuseppe Verdi, Joe DiMaggio, and Anna Magnani. If I were hard-pressed to choose just one thing from their tantalizing menu, it would have to be their divine pomodoro pasta.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dutch Baby Pancakes

I have been craving Dutch Baby Pancakes a lot lately. Maybe it’s partly because I’ve been missing the Junior Owens who are in the Netherlands this fall. My brother and his wife were both accepted by an artist residency program in Delft, and they’ve been given an apartment plus studio space for their use over these next months. As one who has lived in the same apartment for 11 years and has a hard time even making an emotional commitment to rearranging the furniture, I have particular admiration for Peter & Alison’s willingness to uproot themselves and pursue new creative journeys, wherever those opportunities may be. Luckily for them, they have an extremely adaptable child who seems to enjoy the adventure of it all, and Mac was particularly excited about this new chapter in Delft.

Since they were staying with me before flying to Amsterdam earlier this month, I wanted to make them a special send-off brunch before they went to the airport. Mac suggested making Dutch Baby pancakes, something we’ve had in our breakfast repertoire together for a few months now, and it seemed an appropriate and festive thing to have. The Little Chef got to show off his excellent egg-cracking skills as well as his ease with a paint brush as he coaxed melted butter up the sides of the pie plate. He was especially excited to make this for his dad, who had never tasted our version before.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kitchen Fiddler!

My little blog is one year old today!

I had no idea what was in store for me when I started Kitchen Fiddler a year ago today. I didn’t know how to upload photos, much less write anything beyond simple text in a word processing document. Yet I felt compelled to give this a shot, figuring I’d learn as I went along. (I’ve always been a pretty quick study.) After writing more than 60 posts and taking countless photographs, to say nothing of all the time spent on the actual cooking, I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.

I wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have visited me here this year. I have truly enjoyed sharing my kitchen adventures with you. I’ve always found that it’s more satisfying to cook for family and friends rather than for myself alone, so sharing my recipes and photos with all of you on the blog has given me a virtual way to do that. I actually think I’ve enjoyed my time in the kitchen MORE this year because of it, so thank you for your participation!

One of the great things about this blog format—as opposed to merely reading a book by a particular author—is the potential for interaction between the blogger and her readers. If you’ve had success with any of these recipes, or if you have variations or ideas for improvement on a dish, I would genuinely love to know about it. I hope you’ll feel free to leave a comment sometime, for I’m curious to hear your thoughts. If you’re feeling shy about posting your comment directly on the Kitchen Fiddler site, you can also email me at kitchenfiddler (at) gmail (dot) com.

It was a delicious pleasure having larger stretches of time to cook and write this summer, but even with the new concert season beginning this month, I will make every effort to update Kitchen Fiddler frequently. I hope this site will be one that you’ll want to visit often. As we swing into fall, I am excited about the wide array of apples and pears I’m finding at the farmer’s markets, and I have a long list of warming autumnal soups that I can’t wait to make when the crisp weather officially settles in.

Thank you for accompanying me on my Kitchen Fiddler adventure this first year!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Table For One

If I ever moved back to California, I have full confidence that I would enjoy living in San Francisco. At least I’d definitely be very happy EATING in San Francisco on a regular basis! That is one of the main reasons why I planned to have my weeklong writing retreat in this particular city, and what a week it was. Determined to climb the notorious SF hills on my own steam, I charged up and down those steep inclines every day, and when I wasn’t getting a major cardio work-out, I practically gave myself permanent writer’s cramp for all of the scrawling I did in my notebook. And then of course, there was the food.

I had this pre-conceived idea that I would eat my meals at the bars of restaurants, writing in my notebook when I wasn’t chatting up the bartenders and talking with the people around me. But the reality is that I'm usually not one to strike up conversations with strangers, and while my first night meal at Absinthe was lovely, I somehow felt rather lonely sitting at the bar surrounded by couples who were all deeply ensconced in conversation with each other. There wasn't much breathing room, and I felt self-conscious scribbling away in my book as people bumped right into my elbows.