Sunday, December 29, 2013

I Still Exist

Let's face it.  This blog has been abandoned.  I think it's been at least a year since I've posted anything and there are a few good reasons for this.

The first is that I've been very busy.  Turns out being an attorney and a parent (and doing both well) is really hard work.  Doesn't leave much time for cooking, let alone blogging.

Not to say that I haven't had some awesome homemade food lately.  Last night, we celebrated my mom's 60th birthday by creating a seafood fest that would put Red Lobster to shame.  Lobster rolls, grilled lobster tails, and clams casino were my favorites.  Speaking of which, have I showed you how to make clams casino yet?  Shame on me if I haven't.

The other reason I haven't really been writing on this blog is a little more complicated I think.  I didn't really like where the blog was going and I've been trying to decide whether I'm going to re-imagine it or just let it wither and die.  Indecision and procrastination has won the day (and perhaps the last 500 or so days before that).

My problem with Big Man with an Apron is that it is more or less a copy of other people's blogs.  The more I got into food blogging, the more food blogs I found.  Everyone is talking, and very few bloggers seem to be listening, or even trying out the recipes that are posted.  I sometimes wonder whether many of the recipes posted on the blogs I've read had even been tried out by the writers themselves.

I love the idea of sharing my culinary adventures with anyone who is interested.  I'm always happy to share recipes, and critique my own work.  But once I got to the point where I was wracking my brain to come up with a recipe, rather than having a natural conversation with my readers (however few) about what I was already making, Big Man lost steam. 

The model of writing post after post of new recipes, each and every time I write something, had gotten to be a chore.  Because, as my wife is happy to report, when I find something I like, I tend to stick with it.  I will eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day, because that's what I like.  I don't want a new recipe every day, or every week even.  That's not how I eat, and it's not how I should write.

So, if I give this another go, I want to try to do two things differently:

1) Fewer recipes

There are a lot of great food blogs out there.  They post lots of new recipes all the time.  I don't think I need to do that for you.  If you want new recipes, there are literally thousands of places to find them.  Epicurious is one of my favorite sources for reliable, well-tested and sophisticated recipes.  Orangette is one of my favorite food blogs that combines decent writing, good photography and interesting recipes. 

2) Engage more with existing food content

I would like to be more engaged with the great content that is already out there.  So much of what I see is the production of more and more content without any real follow up.

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi have a new cookbook.  Would it be more useful to review his cookbook or make up my own half-assed babaganoush recipe?  I submit it is the former.  How about that wing recipe I saw on Nibble Me This last week?  Maybe I should focus on aggregating some similar recipes I've come across, rather than coming up the 993,341,243th variation on an old classic.

This is not to say that I won't share any recipes on this blog.  In fact, I owe you clams casino.  But, I think having some direction is important, and this is where I think Big Man with an Apron is going if it is going to go anywhere at all.

Let me know your thoughts, suggestions, hopes, fears, dreams, etc.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Up in your grill...

Howdy Strangers,

The big news in the big man family is that we are buying our very own first house in West Orange, NJ.  This is, theoretically, good news for you as well since the house comes with a totally kick ass Weber grill, with which I can scorch meat with all summer!

I don't have much in the way of new recipes or photos, but sure to find some soon once I get this baby fired up.  Any suggestions as to what I should make?

P.S. - I did make a shepard's pie and a meat pie that make you wish you were a shepard in the worst way.  Check these out:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Accidental Genius (or Momofuko you)

Last Christmas I got the Momofuku Cookbook from the Mrs.  The book was beautiful and fascinating, but honestly I hadn't really had much time to make the food in it.  Part of the problem, of course, is that I've been meaning to eat at one of the Momofukus for almost two years now, but haven't gotten around to it.  Sometimes it's hard to be motivated to make something that you've never eaten before.  For me at least.

Anyway, so this weekend, I found some time to try out David Chang's rice cake recipe, complete with something he refers to as  Red Dragon sauce.  The rice cakes were edible.  It's basically rice shaped into a log and fried in a pan with oil.  I also slow roasted a chicken and adapted his ramen recipe to suit my own ingredients.

Both courses were well and good, but the moment of genius occurred when I took the leftover chicken and slathered the sauce over it and give it a quick re-fry.  Out of this momofukoing world!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hard Day's Night

Hi All,

It's been a while since you've heard from me.  Months to be exact.  I'm really sorry about that.  I can't say that it won't happen again, but I can say that I've been thinking about Big Man all this time and trying to figure out how to write more with everything else that is happening.

When you last left your fearless hero, he was a new father and studying for the NJ and NY bar exams.  Months later, I'm still a new father but am now working in a law firm at the schedule and pace of a young attorney.  I passed both exams, and tomorrow will be sworn in as an attorney in NJ.  I still have to send in a bunch of paperwork before being admitted to NY.

Work is interesting.  I like my firm and I like the sophistication of most of my cases.  But it really doesn't leave me much time to write or to even to cook.  Mrs. Big Man has really stepped up her game in the last few months, cooking most of the dinners on the weeknights.

I did have a massive culinary victory on my birthday when I invited 15 people over and made Indian food for everybody.  This was one of my goals, to get some proficiency in Indian food.  I bought a cookbook on the subject, pretty thorough in my opinion.  I'll put up some amazon link at some point in the future to point you to how to buy this book if you are interesting.  Some percentage of the proceeds will go towards justifying the time that I spend thinking and writing about food.

Anyway, while I've been thinking about how to keep Big Man going while also keeping my day job, I think the answer is just to re-adjust some of my expectations about what this blog is.  It began as an experiment, and I made no promises.  But, naturally, pretty quickly in fact, I worked toward improving the look and quality of the content, substantively and presentationally.  I created some recipes, and reprinted a few old favorites, with the hope that maybe at some point in the future, they would be the makings of a cookbook or magazine article.

The truth of the matter, however, is that I'm not Orangette.  She blogs and writes cookbooks with her blog and gets magazine gigs and takes prettty pictures of her husband's pizza shop.  I blog and practice law and raise my son and go fishing and look for a house to buy and spend time with my wonderful wife.  I'm a renaissance man, which means that I'm limited in the time that I can spend on this.  So, going forward, rather than publishing recipes, I will likely stick with pictures and shorter posts.  Brevity if a virtue, they say.  And to the extent that I am up to that task, I'm going to give it a try.

So, I hope this means I'll be writing more.  Maybe not.

Enjoy the pictures!  But if anyone is offended by a pig roast, you might not want to scroll all the way down.

Damn Good Fried Chicken for a Yankee (I cheated, I'm half-Texan).

Beautiful Tomaters

In Texas, Basil is free.

So we eat it with tomaters.

Summer Sweet Salad

I don't totally remember what this is, but it looks delicious.

What is a summer fair without a prize winning rooster?

Lobster Roll in Portland, ME.

I picked blueberries in Bar Harbor.  There were more than I could fit in a paper bag.

It's a salmon, stupid.

We drank well in Maine.

Jersey Tomaters.

Best damn BBQ I've ever had.  Even better with a hangover.

This is what I had for lunch.
Jersey does BBQ, too.

It gets hardcore at the Jersey Shore.  Don't mess wit NJ.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

6 Days

In 6 days I will be taking the NY, then the NJ bar exams.  Looking forward to cooking something soon.  So far, it is just my brain that is fried.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Don't mind me.  I'm not really here.  I'm actually studying for the bar, so I am DEFINITELY not blogging right now about food.  I am way too busy to be doing anything remotely like that.  Although, I do have a couple pictures of pizzas that I've been making.  I've been working on really perfecting my pizza making.  Right now, my pizzas are way better than your average pizza place pizza about 75-85% of the time.  Although, occasionally I do have pizza disasters where you have to scrap the dough off the pan with a paint scraper. 

I have no sage advice about how its done right now, except to say that, yeah, throwing the dough in the air is ACTUALLY necessary to making a good thin crust.  You need the centrifugal force that is only available in a zero-gravity, spinning, floury, environment.  O.K., enough talk.  I have to go.  I really do have to study for this thing.  But here are some pictures in case you are wondering what I'm having for dinner tonight.

Also, my friends Burkett and Katherine had us over for dinner yesterday.  Dinner was amazing, and I got this pretty picture of our first course.  They were extraordinary with grilled lemon squeezed over them!