Monday, August 26, 2013

Fried Bay Scallop Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS (serves two):

1/2 pound bay scallops (washed and patted dry with a paper towel)

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup corn flour (Maseca)
1 tsp. corn starch
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
salt and pepper
1 can of beer (a lighter, crisper variety will work excellently)
1/2 cup of oil (we used half olive and half vegetable)

1)  Combine the dry ingredients with a fork.
2)  Add the beer and the egg yolk, making a slightly runnier batter than pancake batter.
3)  Pour the batter into a Ziplock and toss the scallops in, dredging them thoroughly.
4)  Make sure your oil is hot enough for frying by testing with a drop of batter--about 350 degrees.  Fry half the scallops so as not to lower the oil temperature unduly, flipping after about 90 seconds.  When the batter is crisp and brown, remove the first batch to a paper towel-lined plate and fry remaining scallops.

Garlic Aioli:
3-5 cloves garlic
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tblsp lemon juice
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 large egg yolk
a pinch of sugar
salt and pepper

1)  Toast the cloves with skin on in a small un-oiled pan, about 3 minutes per side.
2)  Peel the garlic.
3)  Combine ingredients in a food processor or with a blender until well emulsified.

Dress your delicious sandwich with:

rolls of your choice (we used egg rolls)
fried bacon strips
lemon juice

salt and pepper
a few dashes of hot sauce to taste

And drink a Victory Prima Pils with it!


Prima Pils is a delicious brew hailing from Pennsylvania and the fine folks at Victory.  We like it so much, we might have talked about it on the blog before.  If so, we don't care.  It's technically a German Pilsener, but if you're in the mood for a spicy-sweet pale ale and there are none to be had, this is an excellent choice.  A fine drinking summer beer with a citrus-rind nose and a lingering grassy finish.  You get a lot of lacy head with this brew, and a delicate bitterness at the end after the sweet pils malt fades, and the mouthfeel is excellent for what is essentially a fairly light style.  


I should probably be telling you all about my UK trip.  I'm not going to.  Why?

I hereby swear before Gabe and Prufrock and also Grendel, who are the people currently occupying this living room, that I will update this blog more often and as incentive, I will tell the nice friendly people all about our trip to Scotland, England, and Ireland next time I post, which will be SOON, and if I do not, may I be trapped in a room consisting only of televisions playing the early seasons of Full House and primarily episodes focusing on Michelle.

Anyway, this information might be relevant to your lives because Seven for a Secret comes out on September 17!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!  *runs screaming through woods and fields of tall grasses*  I'm ridiculously excited about it, and apparently some other people are too, including STRANGERS, because Publisher's Weekly and Booklist both put little stars next to glowing reviews and made me very happy.

Because my publisher is extraordinarily nice to me, I'm going on a crazyass tour.  Join me!  I can't wait to see you.  I'll be chatting about Tim Wilde (he's up there on the gorgeous cover, seeeeee him?), but if that doesn't move you, come for the jokes and to see my blue hair and if you asked me something about Sherlock Holmes, I'd very likely answer you, because I occasionally talk about that fellow.

Here's linkage to all my appearances!

NYC Launch Party 9/18
Minneapolis Reading 9/23
Houston Reading 9/24
Scottsdale Reading 9/25
San Diego Reading 9/26
Portland Reading 9/27

And then I shall collapse into the approximate shape and consistency of a very well-cooked bucatini noodle and sleep for eight years. 

Seriously, I've been really really lucky (like, Harrison Ford cast as Han Solo lucky) to be getting some amazing press for the new book and additionally for Penguin to be giving it a great deal of support.  I really couldn't ask for better from them, they're practically requiring their entire sales department to get Seven for a Secret face tattoos.

Meanwhile, the First Draft of Horrendous Unwieldiness and Source of Inexpressible Torment to the Author Also Known As the Third Book in the Timothy Wilde Series is now 127,000 words instead of 150,000 (which is not a book but rather a coffee table).  So I'm starting up two great short story projects that were commissioned as well as Project I Cannot Yet Discuss But Which I Am Confident Will Cause the Sherlockian World Joy.  More soon (ugh, I promise, NOT A YEAR LATER BUT RATHER PERHAPS A WEEK).

See you all at the signings, I hope!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Washington Heights Salad

INGREDIENTS (serves two):

a hearty selection of fresh garden greens; we used baby lettuce, wild arugula, and curly escarole
a handful of yellow wax beans, blanched 2 minutes and then plunged into an ice bath
edible flowers of your choosing; we used arugula flowers and borage
sliced segments from one grapefruit
1/2 a small red onion, sliced very thin
1 large scallion, white and green minced
1 cup of canned black beans
1 cup grated Columbian-style queso fresca
the hank end of a baguette, diced, seasoned and fried into croutons in olive oil

a splash of olive oil
a dollop of mayonnaise
a few liberal shakes of garlic powder
a squirt of Dijon mustard
several dashes of chipotle Tabasco
a glug of apple cider vinegar
a squeeze of honey or agave
plenty of salt and cracked pepper

beer of choice

1)  Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
2)  Toss with the salad ingredients.
3)  Open a beer.  Enjoy together.


It seemed cruel to mention this tasty beverage since you can only get it on draft in the local NYC area, but since we managed to lay our greedy little hands on it, we wanted to shout out to Brooklyn Brewery's Gold Standard Export Kellerbier.  Our pal Kirk Struble of Amsterdam Ale House and Fourth Avenue Pub fame was slinging it on the Upper West Side yesterday, and it's always worth scoping out Mr. Oliver's Brewmaster's Reserve series.  Kellerbiers are unfiltered but with a nicely floral hop nose, and this version is mildly bitter with 100% Bohemian barley.  If you imagine that a hefeweisen and a pilsner had a love child and then married it to a pale ale, you'd be close to imagining what this beer is about.  If you have any desire to watch Garrett Oliver geek out about beergardens and this brew, hit up this video. 



Yes, granted Washington Heights Salad is a vaguely ridiculous name, but you can't eat any more locally than what you grow yourself, and I'm proud to say that 100% of the ingredients came from either our garden plot or the C-Town around the corner. That is staggering.  When Gabe and I first moved up here, we learned the hard way about the ghettoization of grocery stores in poorer neighborhoods.  We love living in upper Manhattan, but time was that our C-Town was good for:

--yucca root
--roots like yucca that are more difficult to identify
--taro root
--roots of many types
--really egregiously terrible meat and fish
--cheap beer

These days, you can get AMAZING (for us) things at our remodeled C-Town, including:

--actual fresh basil
--cheese other than queso fresca, and about 10 national varieties of the latter
--actual organic products of the canned variety
--free range eggs
--leeks (this blew my mind)
--bok choy (see above parenthetical statements)
--snow peas (mind: BLOWN)
--lettuce other than the always delightful iceberg variety

And also:
--really egregiously terrible meat and fish
--expensive beer
--a shit-ton of Fanta (pictured)

So, granted, there was a trade-off, but if I want tofu (and who doesn't occasionally?) I don't have to leave the neighborhood for it.  It's terribly difficult for communities to eat healthy when healthy products simply aren't for sale in the local grocery, and that can lead to all sorts of woes including childhood obesity and diabetes.  It's generally ethnic neighborhoods that suffer this problem, and despite the fact that you can get 15 limes for a dollar during the summertime around here, the shopping for comestibles still presents challenges.  But it's getting better all the time.

Things you still cannot get at my C-Town:

--a baguette
--organic meat, poultry, or fish
--meat, poultry or fish that looks appetizing
--meat, poultry or fish that I'd touch with a ten-foot pole
--meat, poultry or fish that I'd serve to anyone other than someone I was attempting to murder

One day, my friends.  One bright, far-off day.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Diver Scallops with Polenta, Zucchini, Radish, and Chive Blossom

INGREDIENTS (serves two):

1 12 ounce bottle Green Flash Rayon Vert

four large diver scallops
1 tsp ground coriander
four thick slices of cooked polenta (solid leftover polenta from home or the pre-made; we used organic Food Merchants brand)
one medium zucchini, sliced in rounds
1 cup of thinly sliced red radish
4 garlic cloves, sliced very thin
4 ounces of butter, divided
about 1/2 cup of minced roasted bell pepper (we used a nice jarred variety)
a baby fennel frond, pulled into about ten small pieces
2 purple chive blossoms, buds separated
salt and fresh black pepper

8 ounces arugula leaves
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
dash of salt
pinch of sugar

1)  Combine the arugula leaves, olive oil, salt, and sugar in a food processor and puree.  Strain the liquid into a squeeze bottle or other receptacle of choice and discard the solids.  Set arugula oil aside.
2)  Season the scallops on the bottom and top with salt, pepper, and coriander.
3)  Divide the butter in half and heat until foam subsides in two heavy skillets (we used cast irons). 
4)  Saute the zucchini in one skillet and the radish and garlic in the other over medium heat, well seasoned with salt and pepper.  When cooked through, about 5 minutes, transfer the zucchini to your serving plates and sprinkle the radish and garlic over it.
5)  Garnish the vegetables with about five fennel fronds per plate.
6)  Add oil or more butter to your skillets if necessary and bring back to medium high heat.  In one skillet, sear the polenta on both sides until nicely browned.  In the other, cook the sea scallops, turning to sear on both sides as well.  This should take about 4 minutes per side for the shellfish, supposing you have jumbo scallops.
7)  Layer two polenta rounds on each plate over the zucchini, radish, and fresh fennel.
8)  Place sea scallops on tops of polenta rounds.
9)  Garnish scallops with minced red bell pepper and chive blossoms.
10)  Drizzle arugula oil around the perimeter of both plates.
11)  Open Green Flash Rayon Vert.  Enjoy together.


According to Green Flash, a fabulous brewing company located in the heady beer mecca of San Diego, California, the Rayon Vert would have been their flagship brew had they accidentally conceived the brewery in Belgium instead of the United States.  That's a fine endorsement, and the beer stands up to the praise.  Its pours with a rabidly enthusiastic Belgian-style head, softly foamy and frothy and lingering, with a hazy orange color below.  Due to the use of Belgian yeast, there's a touch of medicinal funk on the nose along with the piney hop aroma.  Sip this beer gently as you fork into your sea scallops and you will not be sorry, we found.  The sweetness of the scallop was brightened by the round, subtle citrus of the Rayon Vert, and its dry earthiness really complemented the buttery veg and polenta.  All in all a splendid pairing, and one hell of a fine lunch.

(A word about Green Flash--they're a small company who make killer beer and partner with local charities who request donations.  In other words, they're good people.  So drink their beer.  It'll make your heart strong.)


I went on my first book tour!

(Takes moment to scream HEAVENLYGODHEAVENLYGODHEAVENLYGOD a la Eddie Murphy crossing the freeway in Bowfinger.)

It was awesome.  I learned a great deal, and went to three cities total--the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ; Murder by the Book in Houston, TX; and Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis, MN.  Here are a few of the things I learned, in no particular order.

--I already figured I was incredibly lucky to be sent on a small tour by Amy Einhorn/Putnam/Penguin, but if I even contemplate guesstimating the travel expenses, my brain freezes like a laptop with three anti-virus programs and steam emanates from my eyebrows.  I am a duck who fell out of the lucky tree and hit every branch on the way down.
--Everything authors say about book tours is true.
--That is, they largely consist of being alone in airports.  This aspect is ameliorated by the fact that I visited not one, not two, but SIX airport bookstores and signed their copies of The Gods of Gotham as a cure for my own boredom.
--I have a tumblr and can look at pretty dresses and BBC Sherlock screencaps too, which is remarkably...time consuming.
--Also, being alone in a hotel room is exotic on the first night, still rather glamorous the second, and by the third, you are watching all three Matrix films in a row and conducting this conversation with yourself:

ME:  The third Matrix movie can't have been as bad as I remember.  I must have had unreasonable expectations.
ME:  No, I remember it was bad.  But true, I could have been in a foul mood that day and just hated on everything.
ME:  See how much fun the second one still is?
ME:  You're right.
ME:  The third Matrix movie is about to be awesome.
ME:  Sit back and prepare to enjoy it like a kid at a carnival.
ME:  You're so open minded.
ME:  This is going to be deeply satisfying Hollywood entertainment.
ME:  WHAT THE ACTUAL F***, third Matrix movie...?
ME:  OK, that effect was kind of cool.
ME:  Was this movie written by monkeys?
ME:  No.  Monkeys give every indication of experiencing emotions.  This movie was written by a spinning Wheel-of-Fortune type line generating device.
ME:  Keanu Reeves, blink like that one more time and I will--
ME:   How many Agent Smiths do we really need, people?  When we know Neo will kick their asses regardless of exact number?
ME:  No.
ME:  NO.  
ME:  So that's your explanation for everything?  That seemed like a good way to end...
ME:  All expenses are presumably paid by Penguin.  Let's set the TV on fire.

--It is possible to be nervous about giving the same speech you have now given four times successfully.  Trust me.
--"Media escorts" are wonderful people who schlep authors out of airports and to multiple book stores for signings.  They are very charming and dislike that the word "escort" connotes "sex worker."  However, in fairness, upon meeting them, one does not assume them to be in the pornography industry, because they do not have Tom Selleck moustaches.
--Planes come automatically equipped with screaming children.
--The Rat Pack was into some crazy shit when it came to hotels.  Look at this.  There's a bathtub in the middle of the room.  A damn BATHTUB.  Is this in case you're in danger of losing your way to and from the bathtub if there are opaque wall-like barriers separating it from the bed?  (Note: it was most relaxing, and it's fun to channel surf while bathing, for the record.)
--The Valley Ho Hotel is the best hotel EVER.  I'm not telling you the price of their happy hour drinks, you'll all move to Scottsdale.  Also...just look at that bathtub, people.
--Booksellers are very kind, intelligent, generous people and I heart them.  All of them were so kind to me, and they had piles and piles of my novel.  It rocked.
--Houston is way, way cooler than I ever expected or even ruminated upon.
--People in Minneapolis are crazy into arts and books.  I enjoy this about them.
--If you throw a pebble in a big city after having advertized your event on Facebook, you'll probably hit an affable Sherlockian.

It was a great time.  There's no place like home and I ate too much hotel bacon, but so goes the natural course of things.  If anyone ever asks me to go on a tour again, I will be delighted and grateful.  Also, my suitcase will be much lighter--after tweeting that I carry far too many books with me due to reading quickly on planes, a Sherlockian from Canada took it upon himself instantly to mail me his old Kindle.  Because, of course you would do that. And pay foreign postage to do so.  It arrived this afternoon.

I mean, I ask you...are people lovely, or are people lovely?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"What Do We Have in the Fridge?" Lamb Stew

INGREDIENTS (serves 6):

1 bottle He'brew Hop Manna Test Batch #4

1 1/2 lb lamb stew meat
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1 yellow pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1/8 tsp red pepper flake
dash mace
2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp flour
1 bottle Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large turnip, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

2-3 large parsnips, peeled and chopped, hard core removed and added to stew with vegetables
3 tbsp butter
6 oz sour cream
a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper


1) Add a touch of oil in the bottom of a dutch oven; heat
and add the lamb. Cook at medium high until browned on all sides.
2) Add garlic, half of the onion and a third of the yellow pepper. Sweat for 5 minutes.
3) Add tomato puree, spices, and flour. Cook 3 or 4 minutes until fragrant.
4) Pour in beer, crushed tomatoes, and water and bring to a boil; then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hrs.
5) Stir in remaining onions and peppers, carrots, turnips and parsnip cores. Increase heat until it starts to boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for about 1 - 1.5 hrs more, until vegetables are tender.
6) Finish with the sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.


1) Heat the butter in a skillet on medium high until it foams and starts to brown; add parsnips and a touch of salt.
2) Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until parsnips are tender. Stir occasionally.
3) Blend parsnips and sour cream in a food processor until smooth.
4) Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Open He'brew Hop Manna. Enjoy together.


He'brew Hop Manna Test Batch #4...tasty, tasty brew. It has a rich amber copper tone and good head (that's always fun to write, incidentally). On the nose, there is a lot more malt than you normally get from an American IPA. Has a little more of the bready fruitiness of a British IPA style. The taste follows from that exactly as expected--a medium carbonation, slightly sweet, with a late breaking grassy hop presence. They put 6 different hops in this beer, and to be honest, I'm not quite sure why. But overall a very pleasant beer, which went nicely with the richness and acidity of the lamb stew.


Beer, meet Food.

Lyndsay, meet bright red Le Creuset dutch oven.


During the cold, nipply months, one wants brazen casseroles and thick soups and hearty dishes with dripping meat chunks and cubes of roots tossed in with the tenderous fleshy sinews. (Yes, tenderous is a word. No, you can't tell me otherwise.) Never mind that NYC has been effing creepily warm this winter, I will not have my stew inclinations trod upon by temperate climes. So when Gabe scored me the incredibly natty crimson Le Crueset seen above on my stovetop, I did the Happy Happy Joy Joy dance and a couple of laps around the living room.

I wrote up a piece for Otto Penzler in his forthcoming IN PURSUIT OF SPENSER essay anthology (click here!) about Robert B. Parker's use of food and cooking in the series and mentioned my belief that there's something of a soul to certain kinds of cookware. Really old iron skillets, beautifully made knives, seasoned cutting boards...they matter when you're cooking. Making dishes with beautiful or historied tools means something, particularly when you're serving the concoction to loved ones.

So far, my Le Creuset is a baby. Only two months old, having gotten it for Christmas. But I want to make countless dishes in it, until the memory of many meals shared lives in its enamel. Thus far, it has performed admirably. There is something so bloody sexy about getting a brilliant brown sear on a chunk of meat, and for this reason I have been kissing my new dutch oven repeatedly and cuddling it in the wee hours. It needs to see decades of curries and chowders and tagines come and go.

Le Crueset dutch oven, we shall grow old together. While Gabe is gently caressing his Bob Kramer Henckel carbon steel chef's knife, I shall nuzzle your cool enamel surface, and be content.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Egg Noodles with Shittake, Napa Cabbage, and Szechuan Sauce

INGREDIENTS (serves 2):

1 22-oz. bottle Abita Andygator

1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 large yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup mirin
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1/3 cup Szechuan sauce (any brand--I used House of Tsang)
1 tsp. preserved Szechuan peppercorn (this is available in Chinatown--toasted Szechuan pepper in oil with bits of peanut and spice)
dash of white pepper
6 oz. shittake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and sliced
3 cups thinly shredded Napa cabbage
1 8-oz. can of water chestnuts, sliced
8 oz. Chinese-style cooked egg noodles
3 scallions, minced
salt and black pepper to taste

1) Heat oil and saute the onion until well sweated, about 8 minutes.
2) Add minced garlic and stir to toast, 1 minute.
3) Add to your pan the mirin, soy sauce, Szechuan sauce, preserved peppercorn, and white pepper. Allow to reduce slightly, 3 minutes or less.
4) Stir mushrooms, cabbage, and water chestnuts into your pan; cover and reduce heat for four to five minutes, or until cabbage is wilted and mushrooms are cooked.
5) Uncover and adjust your seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with minced scallions.
6) Open Abita Andygator.
7) Enjoy together.


So, we were in New Orleans.

I can't even. I just. WOW.

You know when everyone tells you you're going to love something, and I mean actually every person to whom you speak, and you're like, "That's cool. Yes, I'm excited to see this movie/city/play/concert/mime/cricket match. Yes, I bet I'll love it too. No, sure, I get it, I'll love it more than that." And then it's so talked up that you almost think we'll see, suckaaaaas, and you start thinking nothing could possibly be that much fun?

Yeah, New Orleans is that much fun.


I can't even. I just. WOW.

Tales is an event for bartenders, industry, liquor and mixer companies, and "enthusiasts" (me). It showcases every year the best of American bartending--new techniques, old techniques revisited, high standards, new products--by encouraging everybody there to taste the best of American bartending.

And taste it.

And taste it. Over and over and over again.

(A Note from the Liver: Hi! *waves* This is Lyndsay's liver. Lyndsay seemed really to enjoy Tales, and since it was her birthday and all, I wasn't going to begrudge it to her. She's been working hard of late and reasonably well-behaved, not drinking much while she's writing and all. But...I would like to lodge the complaint that I was waving the white flag by the end of this trip, and Lyndsay carried on with the cocktailing like Sherman marching to Atlanta. It got ugly in here, scorched earth and salted fields and scenes of chaos and destruction, and anyway look at that picture up there--that beer is the size of her effing HEAD, who in their right--)

*loud sounds of scuffle*

Sorry about that, I told my liver we weren't interested in her drama.

So, Andygator is an actual big beer from Abita Brewing Company. The best Abita, I think, and done in a Helles Doppelbock style. It's super drinkable, malty but with a very dry, crisp edge to it. I think that it'll pair nicely with Szechuan peppercorn, as the spice from--

(HA! You think a liver who goes through as much as I do would go down without a fight?! Look at this! Look at this picture! THIS is what I am talking about! This sort of behavior! They were pouring amazing liquors and Krug champagne into punch trash bags with single giant ice cubes! How can one behave oneself when surrounded by such debauchery, such utterly hedo--)

*louder sounds of scuffle, followed by muffled thump*


Yeah. The Abita Andygator was good. You should try it. It might be a local thing (I can't source it in NYC yet), but then again, maybe they just don't distribute the big bottles to the Northeast. Fingers crossed for you.

And if you ever go to Tales of the Cocktail, it might be a good idea to give your liver a solid pep talk first. As Niccolo Machiavelli was at pains to remind us all those years ago, it works to be feared. And it works to be loved. But to be feared and loved is best, and that's the relationship I urge you to have with your own liver.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Garlic Scape Risotto with Poached Egg

INGREDIENTS (serves six):

1 bottle Ithaca Flower Power India Pale Ale

two cups of arborio or other risotto rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
approx. six to eight cups of best quality vegetable stock, warmed (better to have too much at hand than not enough)
1 pound of garlic scapes, cut into half-inch lengths
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup grated aged Prima Donna cheese (it's a Gouda style cheese; any nutty Gouda will do)
1 cup mixed fresh herbs (we used chives, lemon thyme, and Italian parsley)
salt and fresh black pepper

6 eggs, cracked into ramekins
1 pot of water splashed liberally with white vinegar

1) Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and add onions, sweating 1-2 minutes.
2) Add rice and dried thyme and toast until fragrant, about 4 minutes. This affects the consistency of your risotto; do not skip.
3) Stirring constantly, add white wine; keep stirring 1-2 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
4) Add about a cup and a half of warm broth to the pot; bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Again, stir constantly, until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
5) When nearly all the liquid is gone, add 1/2 cup more vegetable stock. Continue this process, stirring constantly, adding broth as needed, for six minutes. Meanwhile, heat your water and vinegar mixture for poached eggs until lightly boiling.
6) Add garlic scapes to rice. You should have about six to eight more minutes of stirring/broth adding/cooking left for the rice to be done, and meanwhile the scapes will turn tender and bright green.
7) After about 15 minutes total cooking time in the liquid, taste your rice. If it is too firm, continue adding liquid, tasting frequently. When the rice is done, stir in the cheese and turn off heat.
8) Slide eggs from ramekins into poaching liquid and simmer for exactly four minutes.
9) Meanwhile, add most of your herbs to the rice, adjust your seasoning, and plate the risotto into six bowls, each with a slight dip in the center for the egg.
10) After simmering for four minutes, use a slotted spatula to remove your eggs from the liquid; plate them in the center of the risotto, season, and sprinkle with remaining herbs.
11) Open Ithaca Flower Power India Pale Ale. Enjoy together.


The beer is so freaking good. If you can get your hands on this brew, do so at once. Gabe and I love it when the locals really slam one out of the park--Ithaca is a New York brewing company, and we can very often find this on draft. Flower Power is both hopped and dry-hopped, and five different times to boot, which makes sense when one takes in the layered but extravagantly fruit-forward nose. Go ahead, take a sip of it. Let hints of pineapple and pine horse around with each other in your mouth. You could never regret such a thing. And they bottle, so do you have an excuse? No. Just pull up your bootstraps and drink this utterly delicious beer.


Think about making brunch, and the way the perfect oatmeal coats your palate in the early morning. Think about eggs, and the way that their insides gooze when poached, spreading their buttery justice all over whatever else you have on your plate. Think, for a moment--if you'll pardon me--about mornings following long nights and delightful acquaintances, perhaps even particularly delicious acquaintances, and then think about what you might want to cook for any...stragglers. Think about your loved ones...your family staying over, your best friend from out of town. What's the sexiest food possible? THIS FOOD. This food right here. Sexiest. Food. Ever to have. I made it with my husband Gabe, but I now consider it free game.

Fiddlehead Fettucine with Wild Arugula Cream Sauce

INGREDIENTS (serves 4):

1 12-oz. bottle Sierra Nevada Summerfest

1/2 pound fresh fiddlehead ferns, carefully washed and trimmed
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp red chili flake
1/4 cup apple brandy (or regular brandy)
8 oz. chicken stock
8 oz. half and half
3/4 pound mixed fresh egg noodle and spinach noodle fettucine (bicolore!)
2 large handfuls wild arugula (regular is fine; ours is from the garden)
1/2 cup fresh minced parsley
salt and fresh black pepper

1) Heat oil in a large skillet; meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
2) Add onion, garlic, dried thyme, and red chili flake to skillet; sweat the onions, 3-4 minutes.
3) Pour brandy into pan, followed by stock and half and half. Season with salt and pepper and then bring to a simmer.
4) Cook, stirring often, until the sauce begins to thicken and the flavors blend, 8-10 minutes.
5) Immerse fiddleheads in the cream sauce and cover, turning down heat, cooking for approx. 6 minutes or until tender.
6) Meanwhile, cook your bicolore fresh pasta noodles for three minutes in rapidly boiling water. Drain.
7) Add arugula to skillet just before incorporating noodles. Toss the noodles into the cream sauce, which will wilt the arugula. Adjust seasoning to taste and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
8) Open Sierra Nevada Summerfest. Enjoy together.


Okay, okay, Sierra is not the most obscure choice of beers for us all to geek out over here at Beer Meets Food. But this is a very respectable pilsner, and it won the gold medal at the California State Fair in 1999 for that reason. It tastes like early summer, and so do fiddlehead ferns, and thus are we determined to match them up in our bellies. The Summerfest goes through an extra-long lagering period, according to Sierra's website, which is the time when the yeast re-absorbs ester compounds, sulfur compounds, and tannins, mellowing the flavor of the brew. It leaves this particular pilsner with a nice fresh cut grass aroma that blends very smoothly with bready malts and an active, crisp mouthfeel.


Gabe bought a Canon T3I. As you can see above, our recipes will now be looking MUCH sexier. I have nothing to say regarding this purchase, however, because when Gabe starts talking about cameras with knowledgeable people like my friend Melinda, I start hearing things like, "It's a twenty-ex-three-Mach-niner Millenium Falcon model, with Bravo chrome zoom and eleven o'clock aperture range, and the lens is a seventy-two degree deadeye with curvature of LALALALALALALA."


Know what I DO know about, though? Obscure veggies. The most magical ingredients on earth are always the ones with a very narrow period of availability, such as the powdered unicorn horn only harvested during the the intersection of the full moon and David Bowie's birthday. Fiddleheads taste like the green forest floor and are around for about three weeks, end of May into early June. Technically, it's an Ostrich Fern frond, with the delicate light brown casing carefully removed by the folk who are kind enough to forage for them in the Northeast woods. Clean them very carefully in cold water and then treat them just as you would an asparagus tip or a French bean. They are delicious and sexy and pretty and I love them.


Wow, but this blog needs updating.

I can haz book cover for The Gods of Gotham (!).

I can't show it to you yet. I wish I could. It is very sexy and very shiny. But the marketers have to have a meeting to launch it first, and so instead of showing you my book cover, I will cruelly taunt you with the fact that it exists.

It is sexy like this, except that the picture looks really nothing like this, and neither does the font, and I can't wait to show you, and the book is not by Stieg Larsson, it is by ME: