Coping with Artichokes
Plus: Re-racking My Spices, Dinner at Osteria Mozza, and Jimmy's Brithday.
Are you an artichoke stan? If I’m being honest, I think I prefer decorating with artichokes to eating artichokes. Like the ones above: I got those little babies at the farmer’s market and they looked so pretty in my pretty little peacock bowl. But then I realized that it would be embarrassingly wasteful to just keep them there and not to cook them. So then I did the usual artichoke tango.
Now I know what you’re going to say: “Adam! Why bother peeling them like that? You should just steam the whole thing and eat the leaves with mayonnaise.” I know, I know: but I wanted to do that super Italian thing (inspired by Lidia Bastianich’s recipe) where you peel away the outer leaves and shave down the stem, so almost the entire thing is edible. (With baby artichokes, you don’t really have to remove a choke.)
So into a pot my little baby artichokes went with lemons and garlic and olive oil and water and wine and salt and chile flakes and away they simmered, for 45 minutes…
…until a knife went through them easily. Then I removed them to a plate, drizzled with fresh olive oil, a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt, and a grinding of fresh pepper.
They were tasty, don’t get me wrong. I think I ate them too fast because I was so hungry.
Were they worth all that work? *awkward silence* But maybe I’m just not an artichoke person. What am I missing?
In other news, I totally reorganized my spice rack this weekend!
It was a wild jumble before, now it makes sense.
What’s the method to my madness? The top row has the most commonly used savory spices; middle row, all the baking spices (with a few seeds thrown in for good measure); and the bottom row, just random, occasional, unfamiliar-to-me spices that I’ve collected over the years. I need to finally break into those Sichuan peppercorns.
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On Thursday, last week, I went to dinner with my parents at Osteria Mozza: their first time.
The food at Osteria Mozza (Nancy Silverton’s flagship L.A. restaurant) is so good, it’s almost embarrassing.
We shared this trio of Mozzarella di Bufala with Cantabrian anchovies, semi-dried tomato, and cruschi peppers with fett'unta (grilled bread).
We had a deconstructed Caesar salad with anchovy toast.
And then we all had pastas for our entrees. I had the gnocchi with duck ragu.
And we all shared a giant raviolo with egg and ricotta in lots of browned butter.
For dessert, there was Cioccolato: a bittersweet chocolate cake with Perugian chocolates.
And this incredible Harry's Berries Strawberry Gelato Pie (yes those are the $20 strawberries I wrote about in my last newsletter) with toasted spiced almonds & saba.
On Friday, I went to a birthday party for my friend Jimmy in his backyard, and it was the most lovely event. For starters: there was a Paloma station.
And here’s the guest of honor (red shirt) being toasted:
The food was by Blood, Sweat, & Butter and it was all delicious.
Making Arctic Char for a crowd isn’t easy, and somehow they pulled it off.
And the dessert was a Campari Olive Oil Cake (similar to Melissa Clark’s) with champagne sorbet and candied kumquats.
Now for some links to distract you from your work!
Dying to go to Bell’s in Los Alamos and apparently they treat their staff really well (Eater LA);
This is a great article about Ed Koch and his sexuality (I once saw him eating alone at the bar of The Washington Square Hotel) (NYT);
Mario Batali’s trial begins today in Boston: he could go to jail for up to two years (Eater).
That’s all for today, folks!
In case you missed it, here’s my latest YouTube video:
And if you missed Thursday’s paid-subscribers only newsletter, you missed my essay about $20 strawberries, Ten Feisty Food Questions with Sarah Copeland, this blah buckwheat dinner that I made (I know, what a selling point!), oatmeal with cherries, and extra links.
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Have a great rest of your day!