Accessories for Your Recipes

Posted by    |  March 24, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Technique

I apologize in advance to all of the loggers, crabfishermen, and construction tradesmen who might be among our readers.  This article is probably only going to make any sense to women and those men among us who’ve got the “queer eye.”  I love this analogy, though and think it might really help many of the folks who can relate. Read more

When life hands you rutabagas…

Posted by    |  March 24, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Ingredients, Recipes

So I picked up my Community Supported Agriculture mystery box of veggies this week, and I thought I’d show you how I approach cooking my way through the contents.  Why not start with some chard and rutabagas?  Now, I know–who doesn’t have a dozen “go-to” rutabaga recipes in their repertoire already, right? Read more

German Pancakes

Posted by    |  March 24, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

Adapted from the Food Network Website

I’ve been a bit bored with the breakfast rotation lately.  I was rescued from my doldrums a few weeks ago when I heard someone talking about German Pancakes and suddenly found myself with a new craving.  But are German Pancakes a weekday sort of breakfast? Read more

In search of America-shoku

Posted by    |  March 24, 2010  |  Filed under: Foodlife, Home

Living in Shirotori, Japan was the equivalent of living in rural Appalachia. Here I am at age 20 on the only transportation I had aside from my own two feet. Enamored and fascinated by the countryside, I ran long distances so that I could see, smell and hear even more of this place. I ran so much that, by the time I got home that fall, I had unintentionally trained enough to run my first marathon. So I did.

I traded in tagines for dashi this winter.  I’ve been having a two-year long affair with the food of Morocco.  I still love it, but Japanese cooking has me under its spell of late.   I guess it is- in part- about contrast.  I joke with Bill that- should he meet with an untimely demise or just really piss me off- my next love would probably be a cowboy or logger or something.  I mean, I’ve had a banker already.  I’d want something new.  Right?  This is surely the origin of my crush on Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs).

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Produce Primer: Artichoke Hearts

Posted by    |  March 18, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Ingredients

Step 1: Cut off the base, going just north of the stem to take off the bottom layer of leaves.

This is what a motley artichoke looks like. After sitting on my counter for three days, their leaves dried out a bit, but their hearts were still wonderful.   They’re still beautiful to me because I know how wonderful they are on the inside.  Oh no. Am I talking about a vegetable or having a moment of self-examination?
Its artichoke season!  Do you know what this means?!  Do you?  Do you?  This is the beginning of the year’s good produce.  We’ve made it through the doldrums of January and February.  Another head of cabbage anyone? We can now begin the countdown to local asparagus- but we’re not rushing through artichokes.

Though the season technically runs from March through May, we just started getting good-looking ‘chokes that aren’t absurdly expensive.  I just paid 89-cents each for 10 slightly motley but quite large ones.  No one is more excited about this development than my Sally, whose love for the prickly, leathery flowers is legendary. Read more

Plugged in to my Pestle

Posted by    |  March 10, 2010  |  Filed under: Equipment

I have lots of tools I love.  My Bob Kramer chef’s knife- affectionately named “Mike” for reasons I’ll explain later-  is like an extension of my right hand when I’m prepping.  When I’m making hot chocolate, whipping up a little cream, or blending an elixir to pour into a martini glass, my Bamix immersion blender gets its daily workout.

No tool holds me under its spell like my mortar and pestle.  Though I’m not a romantic girl, I have a silly, girlish passion for this stone bowl and stick.  This isn’t an infatuation- it’s the real thing because this love has grown and deepened the more I’ve used it.  I’ll get to the practical ways that I use it in a moment, but indulge my little rhapsody a little longer. Read more

Tofu and Vegetable Soup in Miso Broth

Posted by    |  March 9, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

As Chicago warms up to a balmy 40-degrees, the hearty, beefy stews of winter begin to feel like a wool sweater- uncomfortably heavy. But we’re not yet ready to start showing off our pedicures. This is the time when I most crave a dashi-based soup.  It’s light, nourishing and full of flavor.  It’s also still warming. Read more

Dashi Broth (Ichi-ban Dashi)

Posted by    |  March 9, 2010  |  Filed under: Ingredients, Recipes

I can’t help but giggle at the likely reaction most of you will have to the idea of this recipe even as I begin to write it.  This is going to seem like such a stretch for some of you.

“She wants me to make a broth out of seaweed- kelp, no less- and shaved flakes of dried fish!  Blech!  Are you kidding me?!” Read more