Yowza, did I make a good lunch! I mean, I knew it would be a good lunch because tomatoes are at their peak right now and I bought some beautiful ones yesterday at Cookbook in Echo Park. I also bought a loaf of rye sourdough that was shaped like a more traditional sandwich loaf and some basil. The plan? Open-faced heirloom tomato sandwiches.
My first step was to slice the bread thickly: I like a good, hefty piece of toast when I’m having toast for lunch. I stuck the four thick pieces into my four-slot toaster (thank you to my in-laws, Julee & Steve!) and toasted until golden brown. Then I slathered — and I mean slathered — with good old-fashioned mayonnaise (Best Foods / Hellman’s). On went the tomato slices, which I drizzled with olive oil, then sprinkled with Maldon sea salt, za’atar, and Aleppo pepper. Finally, I shredded on some basil.
Craig, who’d been a bit peckish, said that this was one of the best things he’s ever eaten. I know he means it when he “mmmms” while he eats, which he did here. And what’s not to love? The tomatoes were sweet and juicy, the bread was chewy and just a teensy bit sour, and the mayo was like the red carpet at a VIP event, which this was.
So go grab some perfect tomatoes and make this and, while you’re at it, grab some stone fruit (sorry, Ben Mandelker) so you can eat as much of it as you can before it goes away. I’ve decided, as much as I love peach pie and peach crostatas, I think I prefer my summer fruit in its raw state. Which is just how I had this luscious nectarine with yogurt and granola this morning.
Not everything that I’ve been making lately has been super seasonal.
For example this tuna salad, which the Instagramees went wild for (except for those who didn’t).
What can I say? I like a lot of stuff in my tuna. So here you’ll find two cans of oil-packed tuna, drained, and then placed in a bowl with a big dollop of mayo, a smaller dollop of Dijon mustard, lots of celery, red onion, some gherkins, and salt-packed capers which I soaked and drained. The red stuff is Aleppo pepper, plus there’s a drizzle of olive oil and just the tiniest sprinkling of salt (those capers are salty). The resulting tuna salad was so good, I could’ve eaten that whole thing myself… sadly, I had to share it with Craig.
What else is cooking?
On Saturday, I made breakfast tacos for brunch.
It was as simple as rendering some bacon lardons in a skillet with a splash of olive oil (I think the oil helps the fat render) and, when just starting to crisp, I added half of a sliced yellow onion. On high heat I cooked that until the onion was brown, then I lowered the heat and added six whisked eggs, a pinch of salt and pepper. I stirred that gently with a rubber spatula, then added a good smattering of shredded sharp cheddar, and folded on medium-low heat until everything came together.
To serve, I put corn tortillas directly on the burners and charred them, flipping with tongs, until they were spotted all over. I love heating up corn tortillas that way.
On Sunday, we treated ourselves to some donuts from Colorado Donuts, my favorite donut shop in L.A.
Oh, Lord, were these good. Those buttermilk bars? Dreamy. And the apple fritters? Worth carving a year or two off my life. And that glazed one? Horchata-flavored. These donuts made us swoon.
Her latest cookbook, The Weekday Vegetarians, is already a NYT bestseller (it reached #3 on the bestseller list last week). In today’s session, we talk about being a three-day empty nester (her youngest daughter just went off to college), how she goes about writing a cookbook, what she's been eating since her three kids went to school, and how she and her husband negotiate who cooks what. We also get into setting boundaries in terms of how much she shares online, her Jewish and Italian roots, and how she's been taking pictures of her food since the early nineties.
CLICK HERE to listen! And, as always, if you like the episode, please write a nice review in Apple podcasts. It always helps.
Okay, now for some food links:
Here are the best cookbooks of Fall 2021 (Eater);
A new food hall for midtown Manhattan? Sign me up, we’re always looking for a spot to grab dinner before a show (NYT);
Ottolenghi has a new YouTube channel and it seems like a lot of fun (YouTube);
I got to sample Ben Mims’s Honeyed Fig and Rye Cake while he was testing it, so take it from me, this recipe is tops (LA Times);
A food critic reviews the Swedish chef’s new restaurant, Dorg Schnorfblorp Horganblorps (The New Yorker);
A heartbreaking read about the manager of Windows on the World on 9/11 (The Atlantic).
That’s all for this week, folks.
If you missed Thursday’s paid-subscribers only dispatch, I wrote about Our Dinner at Bestia (or Where Do You Take Someone Out to Dinner in L.A.?) It was a pretty extraordinary meal, especially this roasted bone marrow scooped over spinach gnochetti:
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Until next time!