Garlicky Chicken with Lemon-Anchovy Sauce

Noritake Blue Hammock Dinnerware | HomeGoods Macrame Placemats (similar from World Market)

You guys sent SO MANY RECIPES! My stomach thanks you, as does my wallet - because something I really appreciated was that so many of the ideas you sent - and please keep them coming - use normal-ish ingredients that I already have in my cupboard, as opposed to, say, saffron threads (WHY must saffron be so expensive?).

The first recipe I decided to try was one for Garlicky Chicken with Lemon-Anchovy Sauce. It was sent over by Mimi, who called it "one of the best things I've ever eaten." Sounds good to me.


A Little Life Milestone (Plus Creamy Chicken with Couscous, Bacon and Corn)

Remember when I started this site, and I didn't know how to cook, but pretended I did because I thought I was supposed to know how to do things if I was going to write about them? (I abandoned that ethos pretty quickly, but there was definitely a period when I authoritatively delivered tomato sauce recipes that included actual Prego - which I still enjoy as its own thing, because come on, Prego is delicious, but no longer add to meat to make "homemade bolognese.") My meal repertoire at that point was mostly a rotation of roast chicken from a recipe I'd found in Allure in the '90s and Bertoli four-cheese tortellini with, yes, Prego.

But writing this site inspired me to do many, many (many many many) things I never would have done otherwise, and among them was learning my way around a kitchen. I don't consider myself a "food blogger," obviously - I consider myself a person who likes food, and writes about it, but who still has to solicit advice from Google and my next-door neighbor Alisa whenever I run into something tricky. And while I might make little adjustments to recipes (usually more salt, less pepper, because in my opinion pepper should be illegal) I wouldn't ever really presume to have improved upon an actual recipe written by an actual food person. I always assume, in other words, that everybody who has ever come up with and published a recipe is a better cook than I am, and I should probably sit down and listen.

And then, last night, this cool little thing happened: I found a recipe I wanted to make on The Kitchn, and as I was reading it I thought...hm. Some of this doesn't sound like it'll work quite right. 


It Took A Few Decades, But I (Finally) Tried Falafel

comparison of different meal preparation delivery services

Pictured: Noritake Dinnerware (click here for my curated collection)

I'm not a person who eats falafel. Which is weird, because I'm also a person who grew up in New York City, and falafel is definitely among the most consumed foodstuffs (foodstuffs!) within the five boroughs. I've never eaten falafel mostly because I'm not entirely certain what it is, apart from having a vague notion that it is spicy (do not like) and involves pita bread (which, you know: meh). Also chickpeas, to me, are really just a thing that makes salads look sadder, and my only serious interaction with them involved my ex-boyfriend eating a whole bunch, turning into a chipmunk, and almost dying (true story).

So what I've always understood falafel to be is, in a nutshell, "Pita Filled With Spicy Things That Might Make You Die." My desire to learn more has always sort of stopped at that point.


I Have Conquered The Paella

Okay, so I had help. A lot of it. And okay, so maybe my primary contribution was to hover around my paella-knowledgeable friends taking photographs and taste-testing ingredients just to make sure nothing was poisonous, rather than actually "cooking." But still.

The first time I ate paella was in Barcelona, which seems like the right place to have your first experience, except mine was kind of traumatic. The bowl arrived and I gave it a stir, and all of a sudden the creature from the black lagoon came launching up at me out of the depths, all claws and tentacles and such. (Spoiler: it was a crawfish. But when you do not expect to see a crawfish and are surprised by one in your food, terror is a totally acceptable reaction to have. Those are scary little fuckers.) I've never tried making it myself because it looks complicated, and saffron is expensive, and it seems like the kind of dish that should be made from a recipe handed down from a relative.

Enter: my friend Erin, whose mother-in-law Linda has a family recipe, and who just so happened to be in town last weekend.


Fig Season In Full Swing

Noritake China serving dish & gravy boat (shop my curated collection here)

My neighbor Hannah has a fig tree, and too many figs. This was a problem I was more than happy to swing by to help her with.

Hannah gave me bunches of ideas for what to do with the figs, including dipping them in chocolate and large-flake salt, stuffing them with goat cheese and drizzling over some honey, and topping pizzas with them - and yes, all of those are going to happen because HOORAY FOR FIG SEASON - but what I ultimately decided to do with this particular batch was to incorporate them into a dinner by cooking them up in a port-wine sauce that I poured over goat cheese and shallot-stuffed chicken.

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