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kitchen diary: march 21 & 22

March 22, 2009


saturday night


the hungry roach and i decide to cook dinner for a few people at my apartment on saturday night. when planning our menu during the week, i think of a nigella lawson show i watched recently (i stick solely to the brits on food network…nigella and jamie oliver). she put together a feast of small mezze-like dishes, and it looked so good (and easy) that we decide to Get Mezze ourselves (sorry, i couldn’t resist). the past few months, i’ve cooked lots of squash and potatoes, roast chicken and other meats – hearty fare that gets me through the colder months. but i’m tired of those things. now, i want something more exotic and spicy – after a long winter, i’m ready to wake my palate up.

we stop by sahadi’s for cheeses, pistachios and smoked almonds, olives and pickled garlic, and pitas. we serve these alongside nigella’s dishes, which are all tinged with the scent of cumin, coriander, and subtle hits of cinnamon and allspice. first, a chunky red kidney bean dip, an inventive riff on hummus that is bright with lime. there is a badenjan dip (i love saying the name of that one), creamy and filled with smoky eggplant, a bit of saffron and mint.  meg whips up a fatoush salad that is bright and perfect.  but the stars of the show are these aromatic lamb meatballs, spicy and addictive.  the meatballs are a new favorite, i think. we crowd around the table, piling our pitas with different combinations and when dinner is over, we’re too full for dessert. i think that’s a first!  definitely a good sign that everyone enjoyed the food.

the next day is bright and sunny, and after a morning doing dishes, i’d like something simple for lunch. if i am eating lunch at home on the weekends, i like to make something more than a sandwich, my usual fare during the week. i decide to make molly’s chickpea salad (which, if you haven’t tried it before, is one of the easiest, most delicious, most addictive things ever. i mean it).

i mix together the chickpeas, add a bit of garlic, a glug of olive oil and fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, and fresh parmesan. spooned over warmed leftover pitas, served alongside a bit of french feta cheese from last night, it’s a lunch that dirties one bowl, and leaves me completely satisfied.

  1. March 22, 2009 5:11 pm


  2. March 22, 2009 5:12 pm

    sorry for that, i mean that this sounds like perfect spring festive. now i need to try preparing at least half of your this-week-menu. nice pictures.

  3. March 22, 2009 5:28 pm

    Brian, the next time I come to New York, I am totally inviting myself over to your place for dinner. Be warned.

  4. marthasnail permalink
    March 22, 2009 7:13 pm

    it all sounds great. the dinner party, the menu, and the simple lunch (one of my faves too).

  5. March 22, 2009 8:42 pm

    wow, it all looks and sounds amazing! i am sure those lamb meatballs were delicious…2 of my favorite things together. have you tried the meatballs at frankies?

  6. marlys permalink
    March 23, 2009 9:04 am

    looks wonderful! a collection of mezze is one of my favorite meals. if you haven’t ever tried it, you might also like claudia roden’s bulgur salad with pomegranate dressing and toasted nuts (warning: the recipe makes A LOT). here’s where i learned about it:

  7. March 23, 2009 10:39 am

    my mouth is watering and my stomach is screaming! what a delicious looking feast… I’m going to the kitchen now to find me a snack. unfortunately it won’t be as good as this meal. bummer. send me a doggie bag next time will ya?

  8. Carrie permalink
    March 23, 2009 11:35 am

    Brian, I’ve been meaning to leave a comment on your blog to tell you how much I love it! I check it all the time, and each entry makes me smile. I loved hearing about your dinner party from Sat night! It sounded just delicious! My mouth is watering thinking about those lamb meatballs! And your photos are amazing!

  9. March 23, 2009 11:36 am

    It was the ultimate feast!! Yes, the lamb meatballs were the smash hit. But, honestly, each and every dish was a close second – and all were such a great combo together. I liked piling everything into parts of a pita and eating it together – flavors were great compliments. And, don’t be scared of pickled garlic – its delish and will not affect the breath! Sahadis really does have some of the best out there. If pnly I lived closer…

  10. March 23, 2009 8:06 pm

    I just found your blog and wanted to say that I love your pictures !!!

  11. March 23, 2009 9:32 pm

    Good food and good friends…there’s no better way to spend the weekend. Looks like fun!

  12. March 24, 2009 12:49 am

    It doesn’t get any better than this…I adore your descriptions of it all and the photos combined.

  13. Maggie permalink
    March 25, 2009 2:38 pm

    Brian – your blog is AMAZING!! Meg reminded me about it today and since then I’ve been incapable of doing any work! Seriously, your photos are fantastic. I’m so impressed. When are you, T, Meg and I having our next excursion? Its been way too long since we visited you in Ann Arbor!

  14. July 9, 2009 4:55 am

    You should check out Yottam Ottolenghi’s recipes I think you’ll like…
    (Not all his recipes are vegetarian, that’s just for this column).
    Lovely blog by the way!

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