French food at Chez Nous, Schenectady

This past spring I went to Germany for the first time on a work trip. It felt good to see some world, the arts people we were working with were incredibly hospitable, and I left with a warm impression of the German people in general (despite pretty much constant reminders of certain grim parts of their history in the forms of monuments and memorials all around the city, which I wasn't sure how to deal with). I also don't know a lick of German, which was fine because the German people often know English, but the Turkish people only know German so at some Turkish restaurants and second hand shops I had to resort to awkward gestures, which was all in all makes one appreciate what it is to be a foreigner in any land - a foreigner in this country for instance. It's certainly not easy. Anyways, on the way back I unexpectedly got stuck in Paris for a night. It's hard to explain what a natural and easy connection I have with French culture/food/language. Part of it might be t

Salad Bar Party 2017

Its hard to believe, I have been having salad bar parties for five years! Here's the link back to the post of the first one . You can see my punch was a bit more attractive for that party. The idea is everyone brings an ingredient to add to the salad bar, and then everyone can go down the line and even make several very different salads. It ends up feeling interactive and community building, I think. This is a tradition I've been really happy to keep going because I feel like it was a really great idea to start off with. It doesn't require much cooking which is great for summer months, sometimes people have extra produce in the summer from their gardens or CSA memberships, and its really healthy and refreshing so it just feels perfect for this time of year. I thought I'd break it down how this year went. Alright, so first on this punch... uh what can I say, everyone thought it was like a science experiment. Started out with Joy the Baker's Lavender Lemonade

The Hollow, Albany

Yesterday, my friend and former co-worker Megan and I met up at an opening at the Albany Center Gallery (where I had never been before, but thought it was a really cool space) and headed over to The Hollow , where I've been wanting to go for quite some time. I'm not really one for Happy Hour menus (maybe because most nights you'd rather go on and have a proper dinner), but on Fridays, after a long hard week - you deserve those sliders and that mason jar of whatever pretty looking mixture! You made it this far! Anything else can wait, I say. So we showed up and ordered from the Happy Hour menu the shrimp skewers which come with a really nice vinaigrette, some arugula, and some roasted red peppers. They were very flavorful and had a kicked up spice on them, which I enjoyed. We also ordered the asparagus plate which tasted super fresh and was perfect for spring (shall it ever really show up) with the lemon and the parsley. We were drinking the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Bla

Valentine's Day Honeymoon Quasi-Re-Creation

Ms. Garlic and I never go out for Valentine's Day, which even if you can get into your restaurant of choice tends to involve prix fixe specials that are inferior but substantially more expensive than the restaurant's typical menu.  And a restaurant meal budget can get you some very fancy ingredients for a home meal, so we prefer that. Back in February, I made rack of lamb for the anniversary.  I use Thomas Keller's recipe , which reminds me of our honeymoon (we spent part of it in Northern California, and while Keller's most famous restaurant is far beyond our means we did eat at the much more affordable and still excellent bistro Bouchon .)    I pretty much follow the recipe as is, although as with most restaurant recipes about half the butter in the rub works fine.  You combine anchovy, garlic and butter with a mortar and pestle (or food processor -- we did the former, thanks Ms. Garlic for the mortaring and pestling!), add bread crumbs and herbs.  Sear the rack

Old and Married New Year's Eve

A couple years ago I read Rules of Civility by Amor Towles over the holidays and somehow got this idea that New Year's Eve meant trolling through a Jazz Bar in a seedy corner of 1930s Manhattan about to make so many different choices that will profoundly effect one's life for all the years to come, preferably wearing pearls and silk and drinking champagne. Well, there times in life when your choices are made gradually and flow like a river into other choices, and sometimes there are no choices to be made at all, except always the choice to continue on one's set path or to alter it ever so slightly in ways you don't even notice yourself until much later. Also, what is actually wrong with pajama pants New Year's Eve? To which I bring you to old and married New Year's Eve. Old and Married New Year's Eve includes the delicious Love Boat dish pictured above.  We went to Tomo in Slingerlands. Its a great place in general, and the staff is always efficie

Country View Diner Pie

Today we checked out Country View Diner in Brunswick, and let me tell you about lemon meringue pie. We were all set to leave after having some tasty sandwiches, and I spotted a mountain of meringue in the dessert case. I had to have it. I got a piece to go and this slice of pie has to weigh like a whole pound and seems like easily 6 inches tall. Also, there's an extra crust on top of the lemon custard part, and I'm pretty sure the meringue has marshmallow fluff mixed it with it. This pie is impressive - a force of lemon to be reckoned with. Is it socially acceptable to have pie for dinner?

Berle Farm Yogurt

The best food adventures are ones in which your navigation devices do nothing for you. When I went to the Bears' Steakhouse for my birthday a couple years ago, you knew it was going to be good because the GPS, the iphone, and the Onstar were all wrong. The universe was making us work really hard for our pile of meat, and it tasted all the better because of it. When I first saw Berle Farm yogurt at the Honest Weight Co-op , I was surprised to see there was something from Hoosick I hadn't heard of since I've now worked out there for 7 months. My coworker and I decided it was a good lunch time activity to go show up over there and buy some yogurt. We phoned the exceedingly sweet lady for directions, got incredibly lost on unmarked beautiful country roads (GPS and smartphone acting useless), and were promptly greeted by the laziest of golden retrievers. We put our $6 in the cash can, and took with us the smoothest, tastiest of yogurts. Its not sweet (although you could a