Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cooking in Hoboken

October 1, 2009

If you check out this blog for specific posts you'll notice that I've blogged very little since moving to Hoboken almost two years ago. I love cooking, eating, and writing about food, but in Hoboken until two weeks ago, I didn't really have a place that inspired me to cook. That has changed.This is just a little corner of my new kitchen, and it seems I can think of nothing but cooking. There is a whiff of fall in the air and I'd love nothing more than to bake an apple pie.

You'll see I took a cue from the Home and Garden cable network by putting my cookbooks on top of my cabinets. This is going to require getting a nice little step stool to reach them, but I'm game for that. Until I get the step stool home, I have a ladder. And as a matter of fact, I can cook pretty well without the cookbooks.

It crossed my mind that I have no buddies in Hoboken who are avid cooks. They are all good cooks, but they don't get excited sharing recipes and techniques. I know such foodies are out there in Hoboken--because it's a food town if there ever was one--but there are such great restaurants that the enthusiastic home cooks are under the radar. Maybe this blog post will bring out a few and we can talk FOOD. I hope so.

I had lunch at Biggie's Clam House yesterday with a couple of Hoboken b 'n' r's, (that means, "born and raised in Hoboken" to you who are not in the know). We saw a nice older man--meaning older than us, which is indeed pretty old--eating something like greens out of a bowl. Carolyn's husband Rich said, "That man over there is eating something you'd love," to his wife. When Brother, the son of Biggie, and now the heir apparent to the title of "Biggie," came by our table, we asked what the man was eating. "Brocolli rabe," he said. "We make it with sausage."

I sighed that I had done the predictable thing and ordered fried clams. (I must say the others at the table had done the more Hoboken thing and ordered "Italian hot dogs," which are sausage sandwiches with onions and peppers and a sausage-and-pepper sandwich, which is just a little different.

Today I had a phone call from Connie, who was one who had ordered a hot dog yesterday. I told her I was going to try the brocolli rabe the next time. I have never been a fan of brocolli rabe--I find it bitter--and Connie said, "I always add fresh lemon juice. If you don't do that it will be bitter."

This triggered a long conversation about how Italians cook vegetables, the dependency on fresh lemon juice for vegetables (I have to have lemon juice on my spinach), and other food notes. She said she adds olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice to everything from cauliflower to escarole. I realized I had been missing this offhand swapping of recipes and kitchen ideas.

I'm looking to meet others who love to talk about food and cooking. If you live in Hoboken and have ideas on the subject, get in touch with me. I'll cook up a little something for us someday soon.