Vadouvan Grilled Shrimp with Fava Bean Succotash

Posted by    |  May 25, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

It’s time for more fun with favas!  This dish is throw-your-head-back-and-moan good.  You’ll be bewitched by the way that the complex spice blend, smoky grilled flavors and sweet succotash come together so perfectly.  Best of all, you will love that this dish is so simple to prepare and execute. Read more


Posted by    |  May 25, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Technique

I am not going to lie to you and say that making homemade pasta doesn’t take any time.  It’s a bit of a project.  But once you tackle the few steps involved and appreciate the superior taste of freshly made pasta, you’ll be hard pressed to not make the time to create your very own.  Enjoy the process, get your friends or family involved, and the time will be most enjoyable. Read more

Spice-rubbed Grilled Chicken

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

This is the summertime version of Classic Roast Chicken.  This recipe is just as much about lifestyle as it is about flavor.  It’s about sitting out on the front porch with the other moms watching the kids play.  Suddenly, I look at the time and realize, ohmigosh, it’s five o’clock.  I run to the grill and light the coals with my beloved propane starter.  I pour a glass of wine, spatchcock a chicken, cleave the breast, rub it with spices, and before you know it I’ve got my bird on the grill and I’m back out with my girlfriends- breaking up squabbles about who spilled the bubbles and finding out the real reason why the folks on the next block put their house on the market. Read more

So you say you don’t have time to cook…

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

“What would you say to someone who said they don’t have time to cook?”

This question was posed to me by a local journalist who was at my house about two weeks ago.

Before I tell you what my answer to that is, let me describe that day.  It was a Monday and my shopping day.  I hadn’t slept all night for the second night in a row- typical kid sickness and insomnia stuff.  After doing the breakfast, dishes, get-‘em-off-to-school thing, I headed out to tackle “grocery day.”  I returned home to put the refrigerated stuff away. Heading out the door to pick up Sally by noon, I listened to the message on the answering machine regarding a business “project” I’ve been involved with.  There was a little crisis with that. Read more

Produce Primer: Real Strawberries

Posted by    |  May 11, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Ingredients

There is a strawberry season.   It’s in full swing right now in sunny California.  “Oh please,” you may say, “I can get strawberries year-round.”  In the dead of winter you can always pick up a pint of fruit called “strawberries”– those giant, scentless, underripe, and largely flavorless strawberry-shaped objects.  A little red styrofoam, anyone?  The truth is that those babies are engineered to fill containers cheaply (the bigger the berries, the easier to handle), look pretty (red and shiny on the outside, white and dry on the inside) and ship looooong distances without bruising or spoiling.  Flavor and texture are minor considerations, since you aren’t allowed the reality check of a taste before you pay for them. Read more

Spatchcock This!

Posted by    |  May 11, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Technique

Okay, I admit it.  I do kinda like to say “spatchcock.”  It sounds naughty.  I’m like a little kid with a bubblegum cigarette, aren’t I?

I actually used this as the password for a website where I’d posted my book proposal.  I’m always forgetting passwords, so I wanted to make this one memorable.  “Spatchcockthis” was pretty unforgettable.  It felt like a dirty little secret of mine.  It was fun until I decided to show the proposal to some people I didn’t know so well.  This included my friend’s father, who is an Evangelical pastor with an interest in cooking.  I explained what “spatchcocking” actually meant, but the secret was out: Jill Shepherd has a trashy, trouble-making side.  Fair enough. Read more

The One. The Only. The Irreplaceable Food Mill

Posted by    |  May 3, 2010  |  Filed under: Equipment, Home

The first serious cookbook I ever acquired was The Martha Stewart Cookbook. Her recipe for a spicy corn chowder was among the first dishes I ever attempted in my teensy NYC studio apartment kitchen.  That recipe also began my collection of serious cooking tools.  The recipe calls for the use of a food mill to separate the soft starchy corn from the tough outside hull of the kernel.  This begs the question, “What the hell is a food mill?”

Undaunted, I traipsed off to the nearest store selling cooking miscellanea.  I asked a fellow 22-year-old who was looking infinitely more knowledgeable about such matters in his authoritative red apron to show me where I might find a food mill.

“A what?” was his answer.  “Lemme go find my manager.” Read more

Produce Primer: Asparagus

Posted by    |  May 3, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Ingredients

Asparagus is the culinary sentinel of spring.  The fresh asparagus available during April and May is the best argument for eating seasonally.  If you’ve been eating asparagus from South America in February and get a taste of the fresh local stuff from the farmer’s market, they hardly seem like the same vegetable.

Because of its versatility, you can eat it every night of the week, prepared a little differently, so that you never get sick of it.  By the time you start to get a little weary of it, the season will be over.  Below are four different very basic methods for preparing asparagus.  Play with these ideas to suit your own tastes. Read more

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Posted by    |  May 2, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

I think the best cookbook title ever is “Happy in the Kitchen.”  The book is by a very interesting chef named “Michel Richard,” who made the amazing leap from being an acclaimed pastry chef to acclaimed savory chef.  This is comparable to Michael Jordan joining the PGA tour.  Michel’s happiness in the kitchen infects the recipes in his book: they are playful, imaginative and spirited.

Happy in the Kitchen contains a simple recipe for a white asparagus soup- well, kind of simple.  Most folks don’t have access to white asparagus, which is expensive even if you do have access to it.  We also don’t have access to quality fresh corn at the same time of year as asparagus.  Finally, his recipe only made a small amount of soup.  So I turned Michel’s idea into something a little less glam and a bit more homey. Read more