A Chili Paste Primer | Food52

by • April 29, 2015

Today: Sriracha is the only gateway to the wonderful world of chili pastes. Here’s a primer on the others you should be paying attention to.

Now that you know all there is to know about the ever-versatile chile pepper, let’s turn our attention its condiment cousin. The term “chili paste” can be confusing because there are many types of pastes, sauces, and condiments living under the chili paste umbrella.

To get acquainted with chili paste, let’s start with the basics: Chili paste is a paste made of chile peppers. It can be just that: a thick pulp that traditionally comes from manually grinding chile peppers between two stones, such as in a mortar and pestle or metate. However, it can also be flavored, mixed, and thinned into more of a sauce while keeping the same name. Regardless of the consistency, look to chili pastes as a flavoring agent, a sauce base, a dipping sauce, and slathered on just about everything.

Given that chili pastes are used the world over, there are lots of different types and flavors available. For example, there are countless chili pastes in Mexico, which makes sense given that half the world’s chile peppers are grown there. We’ve isolated the chili pastes that will add great diversity to your cooking: Some may be familiar, others a bit more exotic, but they’re all exciting condiments to have around.

These are the chili pastes to know, whether they’re hot, fishy, spiced,fermented, or sweet(ish):

Hot
While all chili pastes have some degree of spiciness, these are the ones to use when you want to add serious heat. Use them to add a kick to soup,noodles, and sauce.

  • Piros Arany: This Hungarian paste is simple: just paprika and salt. While there are spicier and more mild iterations, Piros Arany, or Red Gold, is the most widely used and easiest to find.
  • La Jiao Jiang: When you think “hot chili paste,” there is a good chance this is what you are thinking of. The Chinese paste is made of solely of hot red peppers. You’re most likely to find it sold by Huy Fong.
  • Salsa de Rocoto: Closer to a sauce consistency, this chili paste from Peru is made from incredibly hot rocoto peppers. It’s used as a dip and on virtually any Peruvian dish, from chicken to rice.

Fishy
Chili pastes that have a hint of fishiness (in a good way) primarily come from Southeast Asia. Heat up any of your favorite Southeast Asian dishes, such as Andy Ricker’s Phat Si Ew, with these.

  • Nam Jim: A thin sauce from Thailand that includes both shrimp paste and fish sauce.
  • Naam Prik Pao: Nam Jim’s thicker cousin uses tamarind as well as fish and shrimp pastes.
  • Shito: This paste hails from coastal Ghana, hence the use of dried fish. It also contains ginger and oil, which turn it into a thick dark paste.

Spiced
When pure heat is not enough, these chili pastes bring in aromatics. Try swirling any of these pastes into a fresh batch of hummus or shakshuka.

  • Harissa: This much-loved chili paste from Northern Africa has found its way into all sorts of dishes and is simple to make at home. Typical harissa includes vinegar, lemon, garlic, coriander, fennel, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and tomato paste, along with red chile peppers.
  • Shatta: This Egyptian chili paste has a thick yet creamy consistency and, while there are many versions of shatta, most have a combination of tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, black pepper, parsley, and garlic.
  • Ajika or Adjika: A Georgian paste made with walnuts, hot peppers, and various spices including fenugreek. Its texture can range from viscous to soupy.
  • S’rug: This Yemenite chili paste that goes by many names (s’chug, skhug, zhug, and s’rug to start) is used both in cooking and as a condiment—a must have for falafel and hummus. It is made with cilantro, green chilies, and garlic. It can then be spiced with cardamom, cumin, and coriander, but the amount and type of spices varies.
  • Ají de Maní: A peanut-based Colombian paste that’s thin and spicy. Popular spice additions include cilantro, clove, and cumin.

Fermented
Fermented chili pastes might just be the most enticing bunch of all, as they turn hot peppers into a deep, earthy concoction. Try makingbibimbap or a dipping sauce for spring rolls.

  • Gochujang: A staple in Korean cooking. It is unique because it is made with glutinous rice powder, fermented soybeans, and red peppers. The consistency is incredibly thick and wildly appealing.
  • Sambal: There are many types of sambal. Sambal Terasi has Indonesian origins and features shrimp paste. Sambal Belacan is Malaysian and is heavy on the lime. And Sambal Olek, the most well-known variety, is nothing without garlic.

More: Other flavor brighteners to buy right now. 

Sweet(ish)
No chili paste is going to be sugary per se, but these blends have an enticing sweet quality to them. Try using them in chilimole, or ceviche.

  • Ancho Chili Paste: Like we mentioned, there are too many Mexican chili pastes to include here. Ancho chili paste is worth discussing, though, because it is quite easy to find and adds both a subtle, rich heat and a warming quality to any dish it’s added to.
  • Biber Salçası: This Turkish paste is a mix of sun-dried red chile peppers and salt and can be either spicy or sweet depending on the peppers used.
  • Ají Amarillo Paste: This Peruvian staple is made by boiling and blending fresh ají amarillo chiles, which are subtly spicy orange chiles. They make for a lovely, bright chili paste that is supremely unique.
  • Sriracha: Yes, we are calling it sweet. Once you can push past the heat, this chili paste is indeed sweet. Have a bottle around, and you’re halfway to dinner.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Should you find that you were a bit too zealous with your chili paste, there is a way to mellow out the flavor: sugar. Just add a bit to your dish to temper the heat.
  • Check the expiration labels of your chili pastes to see how long they’ll last. They should all be kept in the fridge, though.
  • You can indeed make your own chili paste: Simply soak dried chiles in water until soft, then grind—or blend—them into a paste. If you’re making chili paste from scratch, it is best to use the paste right away, though it will be fine in the fridge for up to a week.

What is your favorite chili paste and your number one go-to way to use it? Share with us in the comments below!

First two photos by Bobbi Lin; Phat Si Ew by Austin Bush; Moroccan Merguez Ragout with Poached Eggs by Sarah Shatz; Cambodian-Style Spring Rolls by Nicole Franzen; Short Rib Chili by James Ransom.

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Reaching goals and developing a process

In last couple months, I achieved some really important goals: I made the transition from restaurant life to a career in food media. I am now a Test Kitchen Assistant at a major food and lifestyle magazine. Being that this is my first job in food media I am in an entry level position but I am perfect position to learn more about how this business operates and more importantly, figure out what is next for me and my career. I am learning so much and getting to try flavors and techniques I have never tried before. I am thrilled beyond words for the opportunity.

I now have more time to spend with my family (!!!!) and now I have more time to work on my recipe development for Le Bon Oeuf! And now that I am developing my recipes for other people to read, comprehend and enjoy, I realize that I actually don’t have a structured process for development. All these years of cooking and I never had a certain set of rules, it’s been freestyle. A little bit of this and and dash of that. Nothing I can convey to readers.

At work, I get to cross test recipes. The recipes get tested several times by different people. Feedback is given and things get adjusted. I get a front row seat to watch how true experts develop for readers and trust me I am soaking up the knowledge. I have been working hard on creating a process. I currently have about 8 recipes currently being tested, adjusted and perfected.  I want to put that same care and attention to detail and know that I put it to the test and give you a recipe you will love.

Learning about this process, only solidifies for me how much I love food and developing flavors. Even though it’s challenging, I love what I’m learning! I have been so inspired by everything around me, work, the green markets, the seasons, my neighborhood, and New York City in general. It’s everything! The plate is my canvas and all the flavors in the world are the palette I get to paint with.

The Modern Potluck

I recently had the opportunity to recipe test a cookbook! The book is titled The Modern Potluck and it’s authored by the talented Kristin Donnelly. Keep an eye out end of Summer 2016!

I love this book. So many great recipes and there is something for every kind of eater. Here are some photos of the food I cooked.

Summer Vegetable Tian
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Vietnamese inspired Escabeche
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Scallion Pull-Apart Rolls
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Olive Oil Zucchini Bread
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I also got to attend the photo shoot for the book at Forty North Studio. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot!

I didn’t cook this but this still bubbling Peach Blueberry Slab Pie is ready for it’s close-up!
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Triple Coconut and Brown Sugar Rice Pudding
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Beautiful props styled for the shoot
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I loved watching these talented and creative women collaborate!
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That’s a wrap!!!

To see more photos from Modern Potluck #modernpotluck on Instagram. And more importantly please buy the book. Buy one for all your friends and then have a (modern) potluck with all the fabulous recipes!

Saving The Sweetest Watermelon The South Has Ever Known | NPR

BY:JILL NEIMARK
Nat Bradford holds a Bradford watermelon, known for its sweet, fragrant red flesh. The melon was created by Bradford's forefathers around 1840 and was once one of the most important and coveted melons of the South.

Nat Bradford holds a Bradford watermelon, known for its sweet, fragrant red flesh. The melon was created by Bradford’s forefathers around 1840 and was once one of the most important and coveted melons of the South.

Heather Grilliot/Courtesy of Bradford Watermelons

The most luscious watermelon the Deep South has ever produced was once so coveted, 19th-century growers used poison or electrocuting wires to thwart potential thieves, or simply stood guard with guns in the thick of night. The legendary Bradford was delectable — but the melon didn’t ship well, and it all but disappeared by the 1920s. Now, eight generations later, a great-great-great-grandson of its creator is bringing it back.

The story of the Bradford begins on a prison ship during the American Revolutionary War. It was 1783, and the British had captured an American soldier named John Franklin Lawson and shipped him off to the West Indies to be imprisoned. Aboard the prison ship, the Scottish captain gave Lawson a wedge of watermelon that was so succulent, he saved every seed. When he got home to Georgia, Lawson planted the seeds and grew a popular watermelon. Around 1840, Nathaniel Napoleon Bradford of Sumter County, S.C., crossed the Lawson with the Mountain Sweet. By the 1860s, the Bradford watermelon was the most important late-season melon in the South.

Nat Bradford inherited his forefathers' love of farming. "I grew my first patch of Bradford melons when I was 5 years old," he says. "This watermelon is like a kiss from heaven to me."

Nat Bradford inherited his forefathers’ love of farming. “I grew my first patch of Bradford melons when I was 5 years old,” he says. “This watermelon is like a kiss from heaven to me.”

Heather Grilliot/Courtesy of Bradford Watermelons

The Bradford boasted fragrant red flesh, pearly seeds and a rind so soft you could slice it with a butter knife. The fruit was more than just a savory summer treat — its sweet juice was routinely boiled into molasses or distilled into brandy for cocktails garnished with fruit and syrup, and the smooth soft rinds were pickled. Home cooks often turned to watermelon molasses to preserve fresh fruit for the winter.

But the oblong, soft-skinned Bradford was never suited to stacking and long-distance shipping. In 1922, the last commercial crop was planted, and the melon wholly gave way to varieties with tough rinds. For the rest of the century, the Bradford survived only because family members went on planting it in their backyards and saving seeds — making sure to plant it at least a mile from any other melon, so that it wouldn’t cross-pollinate and lose its purity.

Meanwhile, around 2005, David Shields, a professor at the University of South Carolina, began hunting without much hope for a surviving Bradford melon. Shields is author of Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine, and his current mission is to restore antebellum cultivars and foodways. He’d been researching important melons of the 19th century and concluded the precious melon was extinct. Says Shields: “I checked germ plasm banks, seed saver’s exchanges, read original seed catalogs from the 1800s, and wrote watermelon growers in the boondocks rumored to have old melons. They tended to have old bad melons, though. I almost lost hope.”

That all changed on Oct. 31, 2012, when Shields woke up to an email response from Nat Bradford, a landscape architect in Sumter, S.C., inquiring whether his family’s backyard melon was the famous Bradford.

“My family has been maintaining this watermelon in a little field in Sumter, S.C. for well nigh onto 100 years that I know for sure,” wrote Bradford. Shields’ heart leaped. Not only was it the Bradford — Shields now knew it could be revived.

Bradford watermelons sit on a joggling board at Nat Bradford's home in Sumter, S.C.

Bradford watermelons sit on a joggling board at Nat Bradford’s home in Sumter, S.C.

Courtesy of Bradford Watermelons

Though there are literally hundreds of watermelon cultivars in America today — ranging from the supersized Sangria to the delicate Sugar Baby and the common supermarket icebox varieties — the Bradford was in a class all of its own.

“To give you an idea of the splendid sweetness of this melon,” says Shields, “its ‘brix’ measurement is 12.5.” Brix is a widely used sweetness rating, and most melons hover around 10, which is already considered very sweet.

Shields implored Bradford to help restore the watermelon to its iconic glory. Bradford had inherited his forefathers’ love of farming, and he embraced the idea of reviving his family’s sweet melon legacy. In the wet, cool summer of 2013, Bradford took a few mason jars of precious seeds and began to restore the heirloom melon. He adopted a classic way of farming that helps cull the strongest plants. He created small hills, planting 12 seeds to a hill. The 12 sprouts on each hill were thinned to the six strongest, and those were soon culled to the two strongest. Finally, he had 220 hills with two plants per hill, for a total of 440 plants, and the melons thrived. “We grew 465 watermelons that summer,” Bradford says proudly.

Workers at High Wire Distilling in Charleston, S.C., cut Bradford watermelons into small pieces to smash through a screen in order to extract the juice and preserve the seeds. High Wire distilled the juice into 143 bottles of heirloom brandy — 750 ml and $79 each — not made since the last century.

Workers at High Wire Distilling in Charleston, S.C., cut Bradford watermelons into small pieces to smash through a screen in order to extract the juice and preserve the seeds. High Wire distilled the juice into 143 bottles of heirloom brandy — 750 ml and $79 each — not made since the last century.

Courtesy of High Wire Distilling

Then the fun began. He hauled 300 melons to Charleston, where James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock, owner of McCrady’s Restaurant, took 50 and crafted watermelon molasses and pickles to serve at his famous eatery. Another 140 melons were carted to High Wire Distilling Co. in Charleston, where co-owner Scott Blackwell and his crew spent 12 hours mashing the fruit and pressing out juice to distill into 143 bottles of heirloom brandy — 750 ml and $79 each — not made since the last century. The brandy was light and smooth, with a fragrant top note of watermelon. Every last bottle sold out.
Bradford was hooked. He saved about 25,000 seeds, packaging some to sell via his website, Bradford Watermelons, and donating a few dozen to NGOs in water-thirsty Bolivia and later, Tanzania, to see if they might grow a refreshing, drought-resistant fruit.

North Carolina-based April McGreger, owner of Farmer's Daughter Pickles and Preserves, used the Bradford to craft 150 jars of traditional Southern pickled watermelon rinds, as well as watermelon jam.

North Carolina-based April McGreger, owner of Farmer’s Daughter Pickles and Preserves, used the Bradford to craft 150 jars of traditional Southern pickled watermelon rinds, as well as watermelon jam.

Lissa Gotwals/Courtesy of Farmer’s Daughter Brand Pickles and Preserves

The following year, he hooked up with North Carolina-based April McGreger, owner of Farmer’s Daughter Pickles and Preserves, who describes her business thus: “I promote old Southern recipes, fruits, and forgotten flavors, using local ingredients and classic techniques.” McGreger grew up in Mississippi with sweet, pickled watermelon rind spiced with clove and cinnamon. She crafted 150 jars of traditional Southern pickled watermelon rinds, as well as watermelon jam. She brought both over to the Slow Food International conference in Turin, Italy, in October of 2014. Once again, the Bradford sold out.

This year, Nat Bradford plans to grow 1,000 watermelons — and then some. He’s also growing Bradford collard greens and Bradford okra, and he’s trying to breed a cold-hardy peach that can survive the South Carolina winter.

“My hope is to steer my life into a fusion of sustainable farming and landscape architecture,” he says. “I grew my first patch of Bradford melons when I was 5 years old. This watermelon is like a kiss from heaven to me.”

7 Unexpected Ways to Cook with Tea, from Pasta to Pudding | Bon Appétit

BY: ROCHELLE BILLOW

http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/how-to/article/how-to-cook-with-tea

We love a good, hot mug of matcha, tisane, or Darjeeling, but lately we’ve been thinking about ways to get a little more creative with tea. Our favorite teas are fast becoming one of our favorite ways to add grassy, herbal, sweet, and even smoky notes to our cooking repertoire. From silky puddings to buttery cookies and even stir-fries and butter, here’s how to eat more tea.

1. Bake Cookies
Tea is a perfect complement to the buttery, sweet note of shortbread and sugar cookies. Instead of the more traditional vanilla, flavor your cookie dough with matcha powder, or looseleaf tea leaves that have been ground into a powder (you can use either a mortar and pestle, or electric coffee or spice grinder). Don’t have access to looseleaf tea? Just rip open a few teabags. And don’t stop with the dough: The Matcha-White Chocolate Sugar Cookies (pictured above) are flavored with double the tea. Two tablespoons of matcha go into the dough, which is then rolled in a tea sugar, made with half a teaspoon of matcha and half a cup of granulated sugar.

2. Infuse Dairy
Infusing milk or cream is simple. Just add a sweet or savory flavoring agent to milk or cream, then slowly heat it to just below boiling. Let it cool completely, and strain out the solids. This process works with vanilla beans, garlic, and cooking herbs, to name a few. With tea, there are just as many possibilities. Using looseleaf tea to infuse your dairy is a sneaky way to add flavor and fragrance without the tragedy of a mouthful of bergamot—don’t forget to strain the leaves. Earthy, grassy sencha can add a savory note to béchamel or cream sauce for pasta and rice, while herbal tisanes (think rose, lavender, and chamomile) are perfect for crème brûlées and sweet ice creams.

3. Flavor a Stir-Fry
Nutty-tasting genmaicha (a mixture of green tea and puffed rice and corn) is great used as a seasoning. When the leaves hit the hot pan, they unfurl and become toasted. Meanwhile, the corn and rice picks up a golden, roasty flavor that’s an excellent addition to quickly seared greens, root vegetables, and meats. Stick with heartier, more savory teas, and save the sweet tisanes and fruit blends for dessert.

kusmi-tea
Looseleaf teas have a more robust flavor than bagged varieties. Photo: Gisel Florez

4. Use It As a Rub
Adding tea leaves to the usual rub suspects, like salt, brown sugar, and garlic, adds a savory “Whoa, what is that?” note to quick-cooking meats like flank or skirt steak, as well as low-and-slow cooked cuts like pork shoulder and ribs. Try smoky lapsang souchong to infuse the meat with a “cooked over the campfire” scent and flavor.

5. Work It Into Pasta
Adding green tea powder to homemade pasta dough imbues it with a pretty pale green color and an herbaceous flavor that’s ideal in noodle soups. If you’re not up for the challenge of homemade noodles, dried green tea soba noodles, traditional to Japanese cooking, are readily found at many supermarkets, health food stores, and ethnic food shops.

6. Make Tea Butter
Consider this a G-rated version of herb butter. To make it, let unsalted butter sit at room temperature until very soft and pliable. Mix together the butter with tea leaves (either whole or ground; ground will change the color of the butter completely, while leaves will add streaky abstract designs). Shape the mixed butter into a log and wrap well in plastic wrap. Store in the fridge to firm back up, or keep it soft and slather it on freshly baked bread and biscuits.

7. Swap Stock for Tea
Cooking grains, like rice, barley, buckwheat, or quinoa? Use a lightly brewed tea instead of (or in addition to) stock.

10 Brilliant New Cookbooks That are Inspiring the Country’s Best Chefs | Food & Wine

BY CHELSEA MORSE

We asked the 100 contenders for The People’s Best New Chef about their favorite new cookbooks. Here, their top 10, ranked by level of obsession.

1. Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns
“That book is a wonderland. Nick and Cortney make everything in the house at Bar Tartine in San Francisco, so being able to actually have all these different recipes is just great. It is also one of the few books out there that breaks down ingredients and techniques in a non-fussy way, easily digestible for home cooks.” —José Ramírez-Ruiz, Semilla, Brooklyn

2. Relæ: A Book of Ideas by Christian Puglisi
“The restaurant Relæ’s opening story in Copenhagen is challenging and inspiring. I like their approach of taking the food seriously but not themselves.” —Kris Komori, State & Lemp, Boise, Idaho

3. Heritage by Sean Brock
“So beautiful and thoughtful! What stood out most to me is his ability to take something as simple as a grain of rice and make it so damn interesting: the story of where it came from, the people that grow it, what it means to him and how to honor it through cooking.” —Adam Evans, The Optimist, Atlanta

4. A New Napa Cuisine by Christopher Kostow
“The book showcases Kostow’s incredible style of plating at The Restaurant at Meadowood, which inspires me when plating our dishes at Boka.” —Lee Wolen, Boka, Chicago

5. The Wizard’s Cookbook by Ronny Emborg
“This is my favorite new cookbook. The pictures are subtly amazing, and the technique is clean and precise. I also enjoy his flavor combinations because they are very similar to mine, like beetroot with licorice or grilled marrow bone with porcini and raw chestnut. One technique from the book that we utilize in our kitchen is the burning of vegetables or hay to make ash.” —Phillip Lopez, Root and Square Root, New Orleans

6. Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton
“I adore her, her cooking and the restaurant. (I even named my dog Prune!) I love the Garbage section in the book that discusses how to use up products that some may just throw away. She’s a fearless warrior in the kitchen.” —Zoi Antonitsas, Westward, Seattle

7. Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by Dave Arnold
“His Experiments section of the book is a must-read for anyone who makes a cocktail, because it helps to dispel old habits and misinformation. The dilution rate experiment was particularly eye-opening.” —Thomas Kim, The Rabbit Hole and The Left Handed Cook, Minneapolis

8. Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi
“I really love all of Yotam Ottolenghi’s books, but his new one, Plenty More, is amazing. I love the spice combinations that he uses and the way he plays with textures.” —Marjorie Meek-Bradley, Ripple and Roofers Union, Washington, DC

9. Charcutería: The Soul of Spain by Jeffrey Weiss and Sergio Mora
“Jeffrey spent a good amount of time in Spain learning the process of Spanish charcutería from the matanzas (butchers), from fabrication to seasoning, curing and finished product.” —Omar Flores, Casa Rubia, Dallas

10. elBulli 2005-2011 by Ferran Adrià, Albert Adrià and Juli Soler
“This book is something really fun and different. You probably won’t cook from it, but you can see some pretty cool cuisine.” —Damian Sansonetti, Piccolo, Portland, Maine

Honorable Mention: Flour + Water: Pasta by Thomas McNaughton
Brooks Headley’s Fancy Desserts: The Recipes of Del Posto’s James Beard Award Winning Dessert Maker by Brooks Headley
A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories by Renee Erickson and Jess Thomson
Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food by Jody Williams and Mario Batali
My Best: Eric Ripert by Eric Ripert and Angie Mosier

My Spring kitchen

It’s Spring! I’m obsessed!

This last week off… I have been hitting up the farmer’s markets and cooking non-stop.  It has been absolute bliss. I made:

– Asparagus and Ramp Pesto, fresh fettucini, roasted tomatoes

– Beer battered fish and chips

– Fish Sandwiches (the the leftovers)

– Ramp and Parsley spaetzle with ramps, asparagus and pea leaves, wine braised lamb shank

– Bacon Marinara Macaroni Bake

For my vegan hubby I made:

– Smokey Asian mushrooms sauteed with ramps, asparagus and pea leaves served with brown rice

– Carrot Ginger Olive Oil Bread with pine nuts & pepitas

It’s been a fun time off but it has come to an end. I started my new job today! But worry not, my new schedule gives me PLENTY of time for cooking. I am excited about my new opportunity and I’m looking forward to continuing my education  and cooking as much as I can.

Ode to the Fish Sandwich

I was raised a “fast food baby”. I have so many childhood memories at a McDonald’s. Eating a happy meal, playing in the playground. Cheap, convenient, everywhere. My first job was working the drive-thru at Mickey D’s closest to my house. This isn’t about McDonald’s though.

It’s about the fish sandwich. I used to loooove me a fish sammich! I still do. Through the years there have been places that I went primarily for a fish sandwich. My first sandwich memory was McDonalds. After I outgrew Happy Meals, a fish sandwich was on regular rotation. There was a place in my short time in Bremerton… Noah’s Ark I think. Then Daly’s on Eastlake in Seattle. Daly’s had my all-time favorite fish sandwich. They closed many years back. That one hurt.

Over the weekend I made Beer Battered Fish & Chips. The next day, we had fish sandwiches with the leftovers. I like to keep it simple, melted cheese on top, sweet pickle tartar sauce, lightly toasted bread.

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A Sunday like I once knew

Before I lived in Brooklyn, I lived in Seattle. I lived there for over a decade. I loved it so much but the recent years it started to evolve in a way that neither my husband or I liked very much. We both got restless but for different reasons. That’s not to say there haven’t been things I have missed immensely. (There’s a list, but that’s another post.)

On Sundays, my husband and I would wake up to the alarm of our 2 year old daughter. Coffee, internet, wake up the teen and we were out the door to the Fremont Sunday Market. We’d browse the vendors and pick up some food. Then we would go home, put the baby down for her nap and just hang out around the house. We’d watch basketball, garden, clean, cook dinner while listening to Street Sounds on KEXP. I loved our Sundays.

Since we’ve moved to New York, we’ve been so busy. I was going to school with two jobs and when I was finally out of school I was working over 50 hours a week. On Sundays, I wake up late and feel pretty crappy. Definitely NOT trying to run out and be productive. I have lived here for over a year and have had rarely a moment to even enjoy it, at least the living part.

I haven’t worked in a week. Even though I was pretty busy early on in the week, I have really enjoyed the last couple days. I had a “lazy” Saturday. This means I had a nice balance of deep cleaning, cooking, and chilling. And today I woke up at 830am, not feeling like total crap, coffee up and relax. My husband had a photo shoot and when he was done we met up at the flea market.  We browsed the racks, I bought some vintage frocks. We came home and put the baby down for a nap. We relaxed, watched basketball playoffs, cooked dinner (no Street Sounds though, dang time difference!), and relaxed some more. It reminded me of a different time in our lives, before all the craziness New York has brought into our lives. It felt good. It feels good. It feels even better knowing that those times are back.

A couple more days before I begin my new job, but for now I’m enjoying this….