strange makes the world go round

Riverhead Table: WONDERLAND

Vanilla. Pepper. Cloves. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. According to Steven Johnson’s latest book WONDERLAND: How Play Made the Modern World these are the spices that make the world go round, some even as far back as 1721 BCE in Syria! When we consider the food we eat—from Thanksgiving meals to that giant bag of Doritos sitting in our snack drawer—we don’t always think about what goes into them, and we’re not just talking ingredients, here. We’re also talking about history. As Steven writes, “Like many forms of delight, the taste for spice propelled us far from our roots—not just geographically but also existentially. That strange new taste on the tongue that would send any child into howls of pain could be savored by an adult, its pain turned into pleasure. Spices enlarged the map of possible desires, which in turn enlarged the map of the world itself.” 

So for this edition of #RiverheadTable we decided to focus on these five core spices to show just how propelling and versatile they can be. Special thanks to Steven for being on grill duty, and thanks as always to Jones of Boerum Hill for our fashionable aprons!

Cacio e Pepe (Serves 11)


2 lbs dried spaghetti (2 boxes)

8 cups baby arugula or spinach

4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more to serve

½ tbs black pepper, plus more to taste

½ cup lemon juice (or more if you like super lemony pasta)

2 tbs red pepper flakes, plus more to taste

8 tbs minced garlic

1-2 sticks of unsalted butter

½ cup EVOO 

In a large pot of heavily salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti to al dente according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water (it comes in handy), then drain the pasta. 

(NOTE: You might have to do the next couple of steps in two parts, depending on how big your skillet actually is.) In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Make sure it doesn’t burn! Add the olive oil, then add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and black pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Add the lemon juice to the skillet, then toss in the drained pasta and toss to coat. Add the cheese and toss, adding the pasta water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, just to help the cheese coat the pasta. Add the arugula or spinach and toss until it wilts, about 1 minute. Season to taste with additional salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Serve with more cheese.

Riverhead staffers Jessica and Kevin on the pasta station!

WONDERLAND author Steven Johnson marinates the salmon.

Salmon with Vanilla Balsamic Marinade (serves 11)

Ingredients for Marinade

6 tbs EVOO

1 shallot

2 tsp dried parsley

2 tsp dried basil

¾ tsp brown sugar

¾ tsp Worcestershire sauce

3 tbs balsamic vinegar

1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract   

Ingredients for Salmon

11 salmon filets (or half of a large salmon, deboned by your fish guy/gal if you can’t do it yourself)

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil 

For the marinade, combine the olive oil, shallot, parsley, basil, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and vanilla paste into a food processor and puree. Pour evenly into two containers and set one container aside.

Preheat your grill. (NOTE: If you bought half a fish we recommend slicing it into three large pieces.) Brush each filet with canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the tops of the fillets with the marinade, then discard any leftover marinade.

Place the filets marinated side down on a grill rack over direct heat. Grill for 8-10 minutes or until dark grill marks appear and the marinade begins to caramelize. Turn the filets and grill for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Serve with the reserved marinade.

Oven Method: Don’t have a grill? No problem! Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place your marinated salmon on a lightly greased baking pan and cook for 15 minutes or until done the way you like it.

Steven really enjoys being on grill duty!

Simple Kale Salad (serves 11)


Kale (we bought one large box but feel free to buy in bunches–3 should do)

7 tbs EVOO, plus more if necessary

1/3 cup lemon juice, plus more if necessary

6 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl put the kale, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic cloves, parmesan and salt. Using your hands start massaging the kale salad and continue to do this for about 3-4 minutes (you want the kale to reduce down to about half of what you started with). Taste the salad and add pepper and continue to massage for another few seconds. Taste again and adjust seasoning accordingly.

Spice Cake (with Vanilla Ice Cream)


1 cup milk

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup unsalted butter, softened until easily spreadable

2 cups dark brown sugar

2 ½ cups bleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup cornstarch

4 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground allspice

½ tsp ground cloves

Vanilla ice cream  

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a metal or disposable foil 9-by-13-inch pan. Whisk dry ingredients and spices in a large bowl. Mix milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a 2-cup measuring cup.

Beat softened butter into dry ingredients, first on low, then medium, until mixture forms pebble-sized pieces. Add about 1/3 of the milk mixture and beat on low until smooth. Add remaining milk mixture in two stages; beat on medium speed until batter is just smooth. Add the sugar; beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Pour batter into cake pan.

Lydia from our marketing team masters the Kitchen Aid. 

Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake’s center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the pan perimeter and turn cake onto rack. Let cool then serve with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream!

The right spices can make even the simplest of meals stand out! Don’t be afraid to play around with them in the kitchen and enjoy the delicious meal you end up with.

Setting the table for our Wonderland inspired dinner.

Special guest model/chef Scully :)

Cheers to spices!

Bring on the eats.

**BONUS** We decided to take the concept of “playing with our food” to the next level by also partaking in some weird (but awesome) tasting experiments. We each dissolved one mBerry Miracle Fruit Tablet on our tongues to see how the flavors of various fruits and cheeses would change. The results were surprisingly delicious. Lemons tasted like lemonade and green apples tasted pleasantly sweet instead of tart!

Dinosaurs tasted the same even after mBerry consumption.

Strangers - Dean Winchester x Reader

Originally posted by lonesomesam

“Let’s pretend we’re strangers.” You whispered, leaning over the small, round table between the two of you. Heavy old books pressing into your chest.

Dean chuckled, “And why would we do that?”

“I’m curious.”

“What difference would it make?”

“The world.”

He laughed then, shaking his head and going to the fridge to get another beer.

“Okay then, princess. Let’s say we’re strangers.” He sat down opposite you, sipping his beer and staring at you, silent.

“That’s not fair.”

He laughed, ‘Why not? What am I doing wrong?”

“You’re not doing anything!”

“I’m watching you. A strange, gorgeous girl is in my motel room. Of course I’m going to be watching you and wondering what happens next.”

You ran a hand through your hair, “If we hadn’t grown up together, if I wasn’t ‘like a sister’ to you, would we-” You looked down, putting your bottle down on the table with a little too much force.

“Whoa.” Dean said, eyebrow raised.

“Sorry, I just- Sometimes I wish I’d only met you recently. So you didn’t think of me as a sister.”

“I don’t think of you as a sister. I may say you’re my family, but that doesn’t mean you’re like a sister to me.” He chewed his lip slightly, still watching you.

“So what am I then?” You asked, leaning back in your chair.

He laughed, “Am I supposed to answer that in a few words?”

You nodded.

“You are so much more than that, sweetheart.” Dean shook his head, sighing.

“So what, then?”

“You want to be strangers?” Dean asked, standing up again.

“Just for tonight.”

“Good, come ‘ere.” He opened his arms, and placed his hands on your hips when you came to him.

“Is this what you wanted?” He murmured in your ear, lips attacking your neck, your collarbones, your ear.

A nod, your hands tightening around his belt loops, head tilted to the side to allow him better access. 

Dean moved his lips to your shoulder, slipping your shirt sleeve and bra strap out of the way. 

“How far do you want to go?” He asked softly, fingers pressing into the flesh around your hips.

“I’ll tell you when to stop.” You murmured, leaning into him.

Dean smirked, eyebrow raised, slight nod, and then he started.

“We should be strangers more often.”

inktae  asked:

for the writing game: tae x reader, titled 'the unknown guest'. make it any AU you want. thank you cutie <3

When you laid down in attempt to reset your body clock after almost an entire day’s flight, you had expected nothing but a peaceful evening. You supposed that since you’ve arrived late into the night, you might as well sleep in and start exploring tomorrow.

However, as you were about to fall asleep, the odd sounds of what you thought were horseshoes hitting tiled floors jolted you awake.

You found it strange; you rented an apartment on the twenty-third floor, after all. Horses weren’t supposed to get this high into the building, right?

The doorbell rang as soon as you let out a confused sigh. Tilting your head as you eyed the door, you deliberated whether or not to open it. Deciding that it might be the landlord, you begrudgingly left the comfort of the twin-sized bed you laid in.

“Who is it?” You called towards the door as you put on your slippers. “Mrs. Jung?”

Getting no response, you paused. Humming a song to yourself to keep calm, you grabbed your phone to check if you could call anyone. Luckily, some of your friends lived a few blocks from your apartment. You closed your eyes to pray that they’d pick up a call on KakaoTalk at this hour.

Your first night in a foreign country was already driving you crazy. Maybe, this was just a dream?

Your phone remained in your hand, however. Approaching the door carefully, you prepared yourself for the worst.

At least I have a loud voice, you mumbled to yourself as you recalled the local word for help. Your terrified steps were all that was heard other than your voice as you called out once again.

“Who’s there?”

A series of knocks made your heart lurch in fear. Whoever it was hadn’t said anything, but the insistent knocking told you that whoever it was intended to make its way inside.

Turning the knob, you prepared yourself to hit the unwanted guest with the umbrella you grabbed from just beside the door—Mrs. Jung would have texted before coming over (and she would have responded to your question) so you were pretty sure this wasn’t her. 

You swung the umbrella but when you pulled the door open, you faltered. The scream you had ready evaporated and so had your strength. You stood there, frozen in fear, as your brain digested what it was currently seeing.

Right there, by your door, stood a black horse that seemed to be wrapped in black flames. Puzzled, you continued to gaze further up only to find a man in all black staring straight at you.

You didn’t see him speak, but you heard his terrifying voice. No words could describe how spine-tingling it was, but you’d daresay it sounded as if it came from the deepest hollows of hell—and then some.

“Where is my head? Give me back my head.”

It was only then that you registered the fact that the man—no, the thing—merely had a tongue of fire in place of its head.

You blinked twice before you passed out.

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