September 19

Back to a lot of late nights and the pressure to get ready for a work event. I’ve been buying muffins from Safeway, because I need to find breakfast somewhere and it saves me the three dollars going to some coffee shop near the office. Like most grocery store pastries, they are sticky, meaning that…

September 18

I tried a white wine from Cumberland, Maryland, on the panhandle that is topographically similar to West Virginia. The wine seemed to lack character, though it was refreshing and it did go very well with slices of peach. We are in the midst of an endless summer that feels in every respect like the middle…

September 17

A coca is a Catalan version of a pizza. I use a very thin crust and omit any kind of sauce or cheese, emphasizing the roasted vegetables which are placed upon it in a thick layer. For this version, the crust was just olive oil and water mixed with flour and no yeast. I combined…

September 16

We went to an outdoor happy hour near U Street crowded with gay men. At the beginning of the Obama administration they would have been clean-shaven and fresh-faced, and the new bars and condo buildings were just beginning to transform the neighborhood; and now, at the end of it, most of them have sculpted facial hair…

September 15

My recipe for Southern biscuits directs you to shape the dough into a six inch-by-six inch square. This leaves you with a very thick crust divided into very small biscuits, and you could probably serve them at a nice restaurant with quotation marks around the menu item. Rolling out a 12-inch square would bring them…

September 14

I put lamb shoulder in the oven and made romesco sauce, which is a no-nonsense mixture of roasted tomatoes and cold vinegar. I cooked a pound of tomatoes with two garlic cloves for about 20 minutes, peeled the skins, then put them in a food processor with half a cup of roasted almonds. Since there…

September 13

It’s time for someone to write an exposé of Alamos Malbec, which has somehow taken over the discount racks at major retail stores and the menus at low-priced restaurants. Around here, at least, the taste has become so familiar that it’s a recognizable brand, like Sierra Nevada pale ale. Viet likes it a lot, and…

September 12

I had a recipe for stuffed poblano peppers fried in oil, and I abbreviated it to cooking chopped poblanos with ground pork and a small tomato. I added ground canela and cloves for seasoning. At the end I threw in two eggs, creating a delicate texture. It would probably have tasted good with some kind…

September 11

For the sake of my own well-being, and to avoid giving over my entire life to refreshing Nate Silver’s Twitter feed, I made a rule that I wouldn’t check my phone more than once a day, other than email. Instead I spent most of the weekend doing yard work in the lingering summer heat. I…

September 10

My garden is a mess, with its vines overturned and unrelated vegetables interweaving haphazardly. But it is a productive mess, giving me a daily supply of tomatoes, a little eggplant, and an upcoming crop of winter squash. I have my pick of herbs as well, except the basil is just about over: Its leaves have…

September 9

The best Friday nights are the ones where you drink a glass of wine and then go to sleep. I see I have become middle-aged. When we got home we ordered chicken from Pollo Rico, which comes with a mustard sauce that goes well with white wine. But we had no ice to chill the…

September 8

Ethiopian at a place on the way home from the Metro, with gored gored that took advantage of the spicy and sweet taste combination you find in berbere. Like at many Ethiopian restaurants, the wait staff only seemed to know a few words of English, and I’m starting to wonder if learning a little Amharic…