Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Comfort Food Links

What a week.

I have been sick at heart watching the news unfold in Boston this past week, as I’m sure you all have too. Words usually fail at a time like this, and I’ve started this post many times only to delete it, feeling that anything I say is woefully inadequate. 


I’ve always had a particular fondness for the Boston Marathon, having gone to school in Boston years ago. I always loved hanging out at the marathon expo the day before the race, which brought back happy memories of going to races with my dad during his marathon-running days. It was inspiring being in the energetic company of these impossibly fit runners who exuded super-health and joyful anticipation of the upcoming big race. As I wandered around the expo sampling various sports drinks and energy bars, surrounded by the runners picking up their official racing numbers and commemorative t-shirts, I wanted to be one of them: capable of going the distance and doing super-human feats too. 

It seems particularly unthinkable that an event meant to be a celebration of monumental endurance and physical achievement could end in such an unspeakably horrifying way. My mind was reeling as I watched the news, recognizing those familiar Back Bay streets where all the chaos was breaking out. I knew that friends of mine were among the spectators or working very nearby, and I have never been more grateful for their Facebook updates letting us all know they were shaken-but-safe. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Minted Sweet Pea Mash

There are certain culinary duos in which the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts.  Fried chicken&waffles, for example, are positively divine any time of day or night.  Apple pie on its own doesn’t interest me, but pair it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and I am totally enthused.  Chocolate-plus-peanut butter is one of the joyful pleasures in life.  (Oh come on, who am I kidding?  Chocolate and almost ANYTHING are great together!)  On a less decadent but equally satisfying note, peas and mint are one of my inseparable combinations, and they join together beautifully in this Minted Sweet Pea Mash.

The recipe for this springy green mash was inspired nearly a decade ago by a fabulous bruschetta I had at Otto.  I would never have thought to bind tender baby peas and fresh mint with olive oil to make a silky puree, but I’m so glad that Mario Batali did so that he could put it on his menu.  It truly is a most delightful thing to enjoy atop grilled bread.

The only problem with the Otto version is that it’s only available on Wednesdays, for their bruschetta special changes from one day to the next.  But once I tasted that minted pea puree, I knew my craving wouldn’t be confined to Wednesdays alone.  Sometimes you simply have to take matters into your hands and recreate a favorite dish for yourself at home.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring-Cleaning For Kitchen Fiddler

Kitchen Fiddler has a new look!

Tis the season for major spring-cleaning, and I’m happily getting rid of anything in my apartment that is dingy or drab. I want to fill my home with fresh tulips and vibrant greens, breathing new life into my sunny little corner in the Manhattan sky. And this springtime purging has also extended to my website.

I’ve wanted to overhaul my blog for a while now, even though I knew it would be a substantial undertaking for me.  We're talking about a serious PROJECT, in bold capital letters.  (Hello, I'm a violinist, not a web designer!  I can't tell you how many times this week I've asked myself, "How do I change this design element/blog feature/social media icon when I hardly know what HTML code even is?!!")  But when there's a will, there's a way.  And after untold hours of tweaking and Google-searching—not to mention much gnashing of teeth and banging my head against the proverbial wall—I am excited to launch this redesigned site.

There are new features, such as a box where you can sign up for email updates, thereby never missing a new post on Kitchen Fiddler. You can become a fan of KF on Facebook and/or follow me on Pinterest. Twitter may come later; I don’t know that I’m ready to commit to tweeting just yet, but that could very well change!

There are now a few extra tabs where you can read more about me and my other culinary endeavors. I’ve also tried to make the recipe index more accessible so you can easily find your favorite dishes on this site.  And after using the same trusty-but-limited camera for all of my photos these past 5+ years, I know it is time for a photography upgrade.  This is a work in progress as I explore new camera options, but I am really excited about these new possibilities.

Since I think of this blog as an extension of my kitchen and my table, I’d love to encourage more conversation with those of you who check in here. I’m always happy to know your thoughts and reactions, especially if you’ve particularly enjoyed certain recipes on this site. Comments and questions are always welcome, so please feel free to leave a comment on the blog itself or email me at kitchenfiddler (at) gmail (dot) com.

Since I feel like I just did major de-cluttering and gave everything a fresh coat of paint, I think the occasion calls for celebratory bubbles. Happy spring to all of you!

Recipe for a beautiful April afternoon:
fresh pink&white tulips for your table and
an effervescent glass of Punkt Sparkling Gruner Veltliner