During the pandemic there was a number of great pop-up restaurants that appeared in my neighborhood. Perhaps yours too. It was one of the few good things during all the lockdowns. I was especially glad to wander down to the Dai-lo popup on Yonge near Davisville that served a small menu (4-6 items) of delicious Asian food in a coffee shop that was available for them in the evenings. Sadly, it’s gone now, but it was great while it lasted.
A good story on what it’s like to run such a place is here: The Promise and Perils of Running a Pop Up Restaurant | Bon Appétit
Well worth reading, especially if you love pop-ups or thought of running your own. My naive self thinks: oh, it would be fun to have such a place. I have just enough sense to know it might be fun, but it would not be a lark and it would definitely be a lot of hard work to be successful.
(Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash who is available for hire)
It must be time for dinner parties again, pandemic be damned, because Bon Appétit had a bunch of pieces on the topic recently:
Now if you thinking of throwing a dinner party soon, those are worth reading. That said, lord they do overthink a dinner party. Rules! Playlists! Cultural relevance! I mean….
For what it’s worth, if you haven’t had people over for dinner in some time, the KISS principle applies (Keep It Simple, Stupid). If you need rules, here are some low stress ones:
- invite people you know well and who you are comfortable with. Not too many.
- know what they can and can’t eat.
- pick dishes that they can eat and you can make in your sleep.
- have people help you.
- have as much of it prepared ahead of time as you can.
- have a variety of food so that if someone doesn’t care too much for something, they can still fill their eat enough.
- have a dessert if you can. It leaves people with a nice impression. Plus it is great for people who are still hungry.
- have some appetizers if you can. It lets you buy time with early guests and hungry guests.
Ugh. Too many rules. Remember: it’s just dinner! People need to eat! Give them food! That’s it!
Unlike Bon Appétit, the blog Cup of Jo has the right approach to low key dinner parties. Two pieces of theirs I liked were:
And if you are still stressed by things, then make yourself throw a “crappy dinner party”. It’s zero pressure and 100% enjoyment.
If you want to read more about dinner parties, I wrote a ton of things and you can get them here.
(Photo is of the Canadian Thanksgiving dinner party in 2021 in Charleston, S.C. I broke some of my own rules but hey, rules are made to be broken. 🙂 )
Is this one.
If you are thinking: what? Who went to a restaurant in a pandemic? Well, we all did, the same one, every night. Read the review and see what I mean. Also it is very funny.
The one good thing about that restaurant is you always could get a reservation at the last minute. 🙂
(Photo by Hitesh Dewasi on Unsplash )
What is the an alt-martini, you ask? It’s simply a close cousin of a classic martini. Here they are: 3 Martinis for People Scared of Martinis in Bon Appétit.
They also have a recipe for a classic martini too. Something for everyone!
(Photo by Alexa Soh on Unsplash)
What’s nice about the bamboo and other sherry+vermouth cocktails is that they seem familiar, but different enough to break you out of your rut (assuming you are having a cocktail rut). Plus they are easy to make, and because they are lower ABV, easy to drink. Sound good? You can get a recipe for the bamboo here.
For more recipes, you can go Bon Appétit
Ok, you can argue that Sangria is not a cocktail, but I disagree. Also, sangria is great, and it’s especially great in the hot days of summer.
You can buy sangria premade, but if you want to make your own and make it well, then read this: How to Make Sangria – Bon Appétit
Even if you already make a pretty good batch, it’s worth reading for tips on how to change it up and possibly even improve your current recipe.
I started thinking about the Silver Palate cookbook again after reading this piece in Bon Appetit:How the Silver Palate Cookbook Changed Our Cooking
It’s funny to read the staff of Bon Appetit talk about this as their parent’s cookbook. To me the tone is nostalgic. Perhaps they believe it is dated. Like any decades old cookbook, it is dated in a way. There’s lots of things in there that was novel and daring at the time but now are passe, and ingredients which are now commonplace were once hard to find.
But there is much about the book that is still great. The layout and design, for one thing. And some recipes stand the test of time and became classics. It’s so much more than a collection of recipes.
In some ways, publications like Bon Appetit are the same. Many of the things I’ve said about that cookbook will apply to Bon Appetit over time. And like the Silver Palate cookbook, I believe people will look back on Bon Appetit in this era the way the folks at BA look back at this kitchen classic.
If you haven’t read the Silver Palate cookbook in some time (or ever), you can read (at least some of) it online.
Hey. You’re home. You feel: I might as well clean this place. Or maybe you want to get started on your spring cleaning. Good. Here’s a great list of how you can replace many of your kitchen cleaning products with just vinegar (and maybe a bit of water): 18 Places You Should Be Cleaning with Vinegar in Your Kitchen | Bon Appétit
Save money. Cut out those terrible chemicals. Learn some skills. 🙂
One, the new hip Condé Nast: How Bon Appétit Accidentally Made YouTube’s Most Beloved Stars
Two, the Condé Nast of the pre-digital age: Chaos at Condé Nast
It’s fascinating to read them together. Clearly a lot has changed since the turn of the century. While Bon Appétit is clearly on to something, it’s like a fluke that doesn’t translate across the rest of the organization. And regardless of how well they do — and I hope they do well — the golden pre-digital age is gone and not coming back.
Good weekend reading. That you likely are reading on a phone or tablet.
You might argue that spritzers and shandies are not cocktails, but that is just classist nonsense! 🙂 Besides, not everything needs to be prepared by a fancy mixologist. These cheap and cheerful mixes may be some of the best things to drink during these late great summer days.
Bon Appétit has a rich list of articles and photos paying homage to red sauce restaurants in America. You likely know this type of joint. It has:
The oversize portions. The red-and-white-checked tablecloths. A carafe of the house red. Old-school Italian-American restaurants, a.k.a. red sauce joints, are the kind of institutions you’ll find, with very few deviations, in just about any city in America. But as we discovered upon reaching out to dozens of writers, chefs, and celebrities, these restaurants are about a lot more than a plate of penne alla vodka. Whether or not you’re Italian, red sauce likely means something to you—about family, or home, or history, or politics, or class, or citizenship, or selfhood, or otherness, or all the above, or a million other things. And that’s what this package is all about. Welcome to Red Sauce America.
For a feast of this type of dining, see here: Welcome to Red Sauce America – Bon Appétit.
So sez this: 3 Campari Cocktails You Don’t Need a Gazillion Ingredients to Make | Bon Appetit. For anyone wanting to get started making cocktails, this is a good guide for this. Next thing you know you’re well on your way to being a bartender! At least for your friends. Enjoy.
For those of you looking to branch out beyond whites, roses, and heavy reds (for BBQ), here’s a good list: Chilled Red Wines to Drink All Summer – Bon Appétit.
Beaujolais is the obvious choice for Gamay, but lots of new world producers make wine with that grape. For Carignan, you may have to look around: if you can find a place that stocks a good selection of French wine, look in the Midi section. Also check out the Spanish wine section. The challenge there is it can sometimes (often times?) be blended with heavier reds. Ask the staff for help if you want something lighter. As for Zweigelt, the challenge there is finding it at all. If you can, get some.
If you want to know more about carignan, check out this from Winefolly.com:
I think it is great that fast food courts and other eating areas have seen a rise in places serving grain bowls. They are a nutritious alternative to many other meals there.
However, they aren’t cheap, and to be honest, it’s not that hard to make your own grain bowls in 6 easy steps.
Start with this: Healthy Lunch Bento Box Ideas – Bon Appétit | Bon Appetit.
Then cook some grains, roast some vegetables, saute some greens and prepare some proteins. When you get to work, toss on the acid and the dressing and you just saved yourself some money and a trip to the food court.
It doesn’t get simpler or greater than a Gin and Tonic. Ideal for hot weather, but good all year ’round. Enjoy your drink and your weekend.
For amateur cocktail makers, here all the info you need:
Gin and Tonic Recipe, from Bon Appetit
Of course you can go out and order one. But if you feel like staying home and making one, then the good folks at Bon Appetit have two version on the classic martini you might be interested in trying:
- The Modern Martini
- Fifty-Fifty Martini Recipe | Bon Appetit
Don’t have martini glasses? Consider Crate and Barrel: they have a selection here.
(Image from Crate and Barrel)
I clearly collect too many food links. 🙂 These are some of the better ones I have found and think worth sharing.
- Mark Bittman used to write for the New York Times as The Minimalist. While he published lots of great articles, these three were among twenty five he thought were his best.
- If you want a stress free way to shop for the week’s groceries and have a meal plan all figured out for you, you need this: The 10-Ingredient Shopping Trip – The New York Times
- A great pasta not just for students and everyone on a budget: Sad Boy Pasta Is the Super Cheap Pasta for Everyone (Not Just Sad Boys | Bon Appetit
- I’m not a tuna melt fan but this might convert me: Tuna Melt Recipe – Bon Appétit Recipe | Bon Appetit
- I think we all need more soup, and out of 26 recipes you are bound to find some you like: 26 Light Soups that Press the Reset Button | Bon Appetit
- Likewise, if you find your meals blah, try one of these marinades: 15 Minimalist Marinades to Rescue Boring Weeknight Dinners | Bon Appetit
- A simple but not boring meal. Great for weekdays: A 5-Minute Chickpea Dinner Best Eaten On the Couch, by the TV | Bon Appetit
- Having a dinner party? Start with a cocktail: Simple cocktail recipes anyone can make – Business Insider
- Something for your guests to snack on when they arrive for your dinner party: Tempura Green Beans with Mushroom Salt and Shallot Dip Recipe | Bon Appetit
- Need some other things for guests to eat at the start of your dinner party? Some ideas: Here Are 8 Incredible Dips That Are Perfect For A Last Minute Party
- A good way to end a dinner party. Everyone likes a good cookie: Glazed Chocolate–Crème Fraîche Cookies Recipe | Bon Appetit
- A nice take on a comfort food. These are good enough to serve guests, or just treat you and your own: tomato-glazed meatloaves with brown butter mashed potatoes – smitten kitchen
- Try making your own flatbread. It’s not hard: Whole Wheat Flatbread – Bon Appétit Recipe | Bon Appetit
- There are alot of bad slow cooker recipes out there. These are the best. We Made And Ate The Most Popular Slow Cooker Dinners On Pinterest
- Simple enough for weekdays, good enough for guests: Swordfish Piccata Recipe – NYT Cooking
- Take your tomato sauce to another level with this recipe: Bucatini with Butter-Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe | Bon Appetit
- My son loves mozzarella sticks. I may have to make these: How to Make Mozzarella Sticks Without a Recipe
- If you are stuck for lunch ideas, try this: Make These Now, Pack Awesome Lunches All Week | Bon Appetit
- This recipe is great. I have used pork and chicken instead of shrimp and it has turned out great. Through in a handful of olives if you have them: it made it even better: Shrimp and feta with orzo – The Globe and Mail
- Another great dish from the Wavermans: Skillet roast chicken with veggies – The Globe and Mail
- Marinades are one way to liven up your meals. Sauces are another. Here are two ways to go about making them: All About Fond and How to Use it in Cooking and 3 Pan Sauces for Chicken
- Other than slow cookers, making dinner on a sheet pan is also pretty easy. Just keep an eye on it: How to Make Dinner on a Sheet Pan
- Not so easy, but if you are up for it, here’s a simpler but not easy way to make your own puff pastry: All Hail “Rough Puff,” Puff Pastry for Cheaters | Bon Appetit
Image from: Slow Cooker Bread Recipe | Baked by an Introvert
Posted in food, globeandmail.com
Tagged bonappetit, buzzfeed, chicken, cooking, dinnerparty, food, links, meals, recipes, slowcook, slowcooker, tomatoes, tomatosauce
I find it easy to forget to how to barbeque, since months go by without doing any of it. I am trying to get back into it and get better. If you are in the same position, Bon Appétit has some good advice for both of us, including
Scrambled eggs are so easy to make that you might not realize you can make them better. While noshing on eggs and nibbling on toast, check out 5 Common Scrambled Eggs Mistakes from Bon Appétit to see if you can improve on your most recent rendition of them.
(Photo: Lisa Hubbard, via link to the article)
The story of IBM and Bon Appetit is really interesting to me, since I love food and I am proud of the work IBM is doing with Watson. Anyone interested in the topic of innovation in IT or food should find it worth a read.
For people who aren’t interested in the high tech aspect of it, check out the recipes. In particular, these ribs with a range of flavours from bourbon to oyster sauce look fantastic.