Jul 2020

Spaghetti and Clams

Spaghetti with Clams

One of the upsides of sheltering in place is having time to tackle fussier recipes. Dreams of homemade spaghetti with clams finally came true when a friend included me in a bulk order from Luxe Seafood, one of LA’s wholesale seafood distributors currently making home deliveries due to COVID-19. With four pounds of the freshest Manila clams delivered right to my doorstep, Noah Galuten’s timely recipe in hand, and an afternoon without plans, it was time to get to work.

Calling for just olive oil, garlic, spaghetti, and clams, this dish is as delightful as it is dead simple. After steaming the clams in a bit of olive oil and plucking out the meat from the shells, the noodles are finished in the clams’ reserved juices — infusing every last strand in briny goodness. With clams this fresh, it’s best to keep it simple and let them shine.

Jun 2020

Feasts From My Trunk: Jamaican Goat Curry, Impossible Lumpia, and More

Pasadena Fish Market - Pasadena

Even though restaurant dining rooms are now officially open across Los Angeles, I’m not quite ready for crowds, enclosed spaces, shared restrooms, and full service just yet. So instead, I’m picking up takeout and eating it from the comfort of my trunk.

Sometimes I dine alone, but on most occasions I have family or a socially distancing friend in tow. While this mode of socializing is admittedly strange, so far it’s been a manageable way to keep safe while supporting local restaurants. Here’s where I’ve been eating lately…

Pasadena Fish Market - Pasadena

Pasadena Fish Market is home to expertly fried seafood and the finest Caribbean cooking in the neighborhood. After calling in our orders, June and I met up with Cecilia for a trunk-side picnic.

Pasadena Fish Market - Pasadena

June and I ordered a trio of fried seafood (oysters, catfish, and shrimp) with mac salad and hush puppies on the side, a Jamaican goat stew served with rice and peas and plantains, a Jamaican beef patty, and an order of french fries. Cecilia shared a sanddab for good measure. Everything was incredibly well prepared, from the battered seafood to the aromatic goat curry. Don’t sleep on this fish market in disguise.

May 2020

Three tin cans, three anniversary dishes: soup, pasta, and a cookie

Spanish Tinned Seafood

I have cooked up something delicious inspired by antiquated anniversary gifts to celebrate The Astronomer’s and my wedding anniversary for the past nine years.

He’s been gifted edible interpretations of Paper (Vietnamese goi cuon and bo bia), Cotton (braised rabbit), Leather (pear fruit leather), Fruit (rhubarb cake), Wood (woodear mushroom salad), Sugar (marshmallows), Wool (braised lamb shanks, Bronze (pasta alla vodka), and Pottery (lamb tagine) thus far.

A can of garbanzo beans

It is customary to bestow tin upon one’s beloved in recognition of the tenth anniversary, which was convenient considering that our milestone coincided with the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders.

My pantry is more blessed with condiments and pasta than tinned goods, but I managed to rummage up cans of anchovies, chickpeas, and tomato paste — the latter two, I’m quite certain, were left behind by my cousin Jessica when she moved to northern California over a year ago.

Quick Pasta and Chickpea Soup

Using ingredients already on hand, I fashioned a soup, a pasta, and a cookie. It wasn’t the most elaborate feast, but it was just what the occasion called for. This is what quarantine cooking is all about.

The first dish was a very delightful pasta e ceci soup from Smitten Kitchen, which made good use of the chickpeas and the tomato paste. Considering how few ingredients the recipe calls for, the depth of flavor in each bowl was fantastic. This one’s a keeper.