I moved into my own apartment about a week ago. After driving across seven states with my parents, I finally had arrived at my third floor apartment in an old New England home last Monday. My parents returned home a few days ago. And I am settling in nicely, ready for life to begin.

But before I set my mind too much on the present and future, I will recap just a few of our pre-journey preparations. Before heading out on the open road, my mom and I canned a few tomatoes . . .

. . . oven-dried a few red peppers . . .

. . . and transplanted a few herbs. All herbs survived the trip. Currently, they are happily sunning themselves in their new pots on my deck (pictures to come).

The first food I prepared (well, chopped and ate) in my new apartment: tomatoes and mangoes. In the background of the following two photos is the cutting board my dad designed and built for me before we left. I think it is beautiful.

Until we meet again, Wisconsin. This next photo is for you.

Two restaurant experiences in Rochester, Minnesota

A few weeks ago, we visited my brother in Rochester, Minnesota. Home to IBM and Mayo Clinic, it’s a neat little city with some very cool eating places. City Cafe is located downtown, and focuses on both fresh seafood and ocean fish. I ordered a Thai noodle bowl with scallops, Gulf shrimp, vegetables, and a Thai-inspired sauce with plenty of zest.

For breakfast the next morning, we went to Pannekoeken, a diner that is well known for its Dutch-style pancakes. These breakfast treats remind me of popovers—maybe even “eggier” and slightly sweeter. I ordered a banana pannekoeken with rum sauce on the side.


beggar’s soup

Here is yet another dish from Batmanglij’s Food of Life. Soups, I believe, create some of the most divine meals. And Batmanglij’s soups are some of the best. This beggar’s soup is a great one for using up whatever you might have on hand. We used a combination of kidney beans, chickpeas, white northern beans, lentils, brown rice, and lots of spinach and fresh herbs. We also added a bit of red meat for good measure.

I now have completed 32 of Batmanglij’s recipes. Percentage complete: 11.94%

orange khoresh

Finally. Finally, I have made a chicken khoresh that not only was acceptable, but utterly superb. The key is in the thickness of the sauce. And this khoresh’s sauce was beautifully thick. Largely, the sauce was composed of scraped bits of browned meat, a touch of flour, reduced orange juice, and lots of spices (think turmeric, coriander, cumin, crushed red pepper).

We served this khoresh with brown basmati rice and plain Greek yogurt.

Bring on the khoreshes, my friends. I so have this. I now have completed 31 recipes from Batmanglij’s Food of Life. Percentage complete: 11.57%

braised baby fennel

Apparently, growing fennel takes a bit longer than we had anticipated. And admittedly, we have been getting anxious. So, a few days ago, we picked the bulbs while they were still very young, and made this dish of braised baby fennel. As you can see in the photos, we didn’t get to enjoy much. But, the small bite we did receive held great promise for a potentially amazing future meal. The licorice taste of the fennel couples so well with the anchovies. And the mix of spice and citrus (here, orange zest) has never failed me yet.

I now have completed 67 of Batali’s 327 recipes. Percentage complete: 20.49%